Arelite Core: Smithing

Something I didn't get into in my overview post is that Arelite Core has as a clearly-intended-to-be-a-big-deal element that your primary character is a smith, up to and including that you can forge custom weapons and armor for your party members.

This is a cool idea and part of why I gave Arelite Core a serious go in the first place, but the actual execution is... bad. Bad in an inoffensive way, mind, but still bad.

There's a few different things that come together to undermine the smithing thing.

First and foremost: the game does the usual JRPG thing of regularly updating your party's gear as you progress through the game. This means that forging your own gear is always at risk of whatever you just made being invalidated ten minutes later.

Compounding that issue is that forging materials come in extremely limited supplies (You don't get to buy them, and grinding enemy drops isn't an option), and you can't get them back once used up. Any such wasted forging is thus a pretty significant long-term loss.

Then there's the pointlessness of customization: the game places no limits on how many types of forging material you can use in a single piece, so it's not so much 'customization' as it is 'how much value are you willing to dump into a given piece'. On top of that, the majority of forging materials only affect the direct quality of the resulting item. (ie its damage if it's a weapon and its defense if it's an armor) The exceptions aren't very effectual exceptions: one of them just makes the weapon sell for more (Making Gold drops just a roundabout way of picking up cash), one of them causes you to sometimes heal when attacking but only for 1/50th of the damage you deal and only sometimes (Making it essentially irrelevant), while the final one is actually pretty good for boss fights, adding a chance to inflict Decay on a target. (Which does percentile damage derived from the victim's maximum HP)

There's also a notion of 'smithing level' where you ostensibly become a better smith as you progress through the game, but I never noticed any impact from it.

This is all disappointing, but I call it inoffensive because it doesn't particularly hurt the player's experience. If you ignore the smithing system, you'll get through the game just fine. If you mess around with it and are persistently unhappy with the outcomes... you haven't particularly screwed yourself over, as the looted ultimate weapons have the same base attack as a forged ultimate weapon,and forging only costs you forging materials, which themselves sell for 1 unit of cash. (In a game where you start from double-digit prices and go up quite rapidly) And can't be used for anything other than forging, either.

I'd rather the developers poured the time and effort that went into the smithing system into refining the rest of the game, but this is minor compared to games with systems that actively make the game worse than if the poorly-designed system was ripped out entirely.

This is why I didn't bother to mention it as a failing of the game in the main post: because while it's disappointing that it's fairly pointless, it's not harmful to the experience. Not unless you were drawn to the game on the idea that it would be central, anyway.


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