Posted by: Sean | September 3, 2008

Engraving Stations

Y’know, it occurs to me now that you could also provide some small measure of support for in-game marriages simply by setting up engravers in the game. Just an NPC here or there who can add flavor text of your choosing to an item, shown in the tooltip. This would go well and truly beyond weddings, it has all sorts of practical applications for role-play.

  • As noted, you could turn any ring into a wedding ring.
  • You could give more appropriate gifts to celebrate promotions in your guild; a high-level weapon-smith might make a Blackguard and have engraved, “To keep peace and wage war,” on it.
  • You could get two fist weapons engraved with “Love” and “Hate”. Or maybe “Fear” and “Loathing”. What about “Pain” and “Even more pain”?
  • “Hand me my empty wallet. It’s the one that says ‘sweet guy’ on it.”
  • OK, that one’s not really very serious.
  • Alright alright, but how about this one: You could engrave small items with instructions on them and have your rogue pass them to other rogues as a way of secretly communicating, spy style? Or you could hand them out as part of player-run quests?
  • You could put safety warnings on Engineering items.

Seriously, the possibilities are endless. This wouldn’t, I think, be a major coding effort either. I think that Blizzard should do this, and if you’re reading this, Blizzard, I just want to let you know that I think you should this this.


  1. I think you’ve raised a very broad point here, and that is customisation in-game. When you look at traditional pan&paper RPGs versus CPU/NPC RPGs there is a trade-off in that the DM is a hardcoded behaviour and it means you can’t make little changes that everyone could adopt. I think it is still technically impossible (or is that improbable?) to make an RPG interface that allows broad (and easy) customisation like the type you mention.

  2. You’re almost right, David.

    I spent a few years coding for a MUD in the early days of my EverQuest gaming. Customizing items is actually very easy, and can be handled simply by an in-game mechanic. Coding it isn’t hard.

    What ends up happening, however, is that you have 10 million subscribers potentially customizing every item that they have. Now, I’m not sure how Blizzard handles character data, so I’m just guessing here, but in the MUD I worked on, this meant that each item had to have its own storage location. Typically, it’s small – a sword takes up only a tiny amount of memory; but multiply that by however many items 10 million people want to customize, and now it’s not so small of a storage space.

    Then again, it could be possible – EverQuest did eventually add customizable armor coloring, but that was for far fewer users…

  3. A clever idea. If memory serves, there are a handful of addons that will allow you to simulate this, or at least at one point there was. Though, granted, said engravings would only appear to others who had the addon al’a character descriptions and flagRSP.

  4. I’m not sure the armor coloring is comparable – That’s one pointer for every green piece of armor item X. I’d not considered memory issues.

    But it’s storage only, not access. None of this needs to be loaded until it’s looked at. But yes, memory wise it may be a failure. Which is sad.

  5. Well, it may or may not be a failure. Feasibly, you could limit the “engraving” to, say, 30 characters on a ring, 180 on a weapon. 30 characters would take up an incredibly small amount of storage space (30 bytes, if I remember my programming classes correctly), and you probably could avoid the necessity of storing extra copies of the weapon and just have them load on a character query, meaning it would be part of your character, rather than the item.

    I didn’t think of it that way, actually. That might work.

    I would say that Blizzard should probably limit such things to specific items. Weapons, rings, neck items… those would work out okay, I think, without getting too out of hand.

    The only foreseeable problem I could think of would be the Mary-Sueing of items… I’d have to scream if I saw the “Warhammer of Arthas, Paladin of the Silver Hand.”

  6. That’s handle-able enough; it can be similar to the naming policy – No names of canon characters will be accepted to begin with, and it’s all reportable.

    And sweet! Now I want to make my Pain and More Pain fist weapons!

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