So I probably don’t speak for everyone, but I know that one thing that’s been bothering myself and a lot of the people that I play with is the issue of crafting. Crafting things like gunpowder or low-grade fuel in bulk can take quite a long time, and during this time you can’t craft anything else. If you’re building that means you have to cancel the order before you can build crates, furnaces, ladders, or anything else you might need. If a friend comes under attack and needs your help, it means you need to drop everything and go or bail on your buddy while the order finishes. And if it’s anything that’s costly to craft in bulk, like gunpowder or explosives, it means you’re usually hesitant to venture outside your base until your order finishes and you know you can put those items somewhere for safe keeping.
In short, while crafting is a vital part of the game, I feel as though limiting players to being able to craft one thing or bulk order at a time imposes a lot of limits on what players can and can’t do while something is being crafted, and usually leads to a lot of time spent waiting around with nothing to do while you wait for crafting to complete.
What I’d like to suggest is the idea of a Crafting Table - similar in size and cost to the repair table, except instead of repairing tools and weapons, it allows you to set up a crafting order, walk away, come back, and collect the order after a time, not unlike the same way you might leave a quarry or furnace to go about it’s business. This gives players the option to multitask, setting up orders and going back to building, mining, hunting, raiding, whatever until the order’s done.
Each table could have maybe a half a dozen slots for crafting and you could queue up multiple orders the same way that you do in the personal crafting menu (the limited number of slots mean that, just like with the furnaces or your own inventory, you need to be mindful of stacking limits so stuff that gets crafted doesn’t just get spit out and disappear). Operating the crafting table would require some type of fuel (crude or low grade fuel for example) and orders placed at the crafting table would still immediately remove X number of items/resources from your inventory just like the personal menu, but you wouldn’t be stuck waiting around doing busy work until the order is complete before going on to do other things.
This also opens up new options for developers (or even individual servers) to influence object rarity in the game. Instead of increasing building costs or requiring rarer materials, you could increase craft times for certain items or resources, making them take more time and effort to acquire but also not forcing the player to sit around and twiddle their thumbs while they wait for the personal crafting menu to finish something. Or you could even require certain items be made using the table to shift gameplay dynamics. How players handle ambushing or defending themselves from other players, for example, changes a lot if a player can’t duck behind a rock, drop trou, and immediately crap out a dozen rockets to return fire with at the drop of a hat.
Anyways, just a thought and was curious what people thought