Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Taking the first steps

It is the official launch date of Guild Wars 2. Many people have planned what they will do as the first thing and what should be saved for later. There are many ways one can approach crafting and trading in Guild Wars 2 right after the launch, and this post aims to offer some things to think about.

Many people wish to start crafting very early on in the game. Crafting is fun, it helps your character progress and it gives you knowledge and first-hand experience of one of the greatest aspects of the game. Some people are also very curious about the high level items and often hope to be able to make a good profit by crafting them and selling them forward to other players who have not yet trained their crafting disciplines as high. This drives them to level their crafting disciplines early on and in a fairly short period of time.

In the beginning people own nothing. Slowly through different methods - most often by exploring the world - players will accumulate their assets. When it comes to crafting, the most important thing that makes it possible are the materials. There's two options for acquiring them: buy them or gather them yourself. The usual way of thinking is that the most profitable way of training one's crafting discipline is by gathering all of the materials themselves. This of course works in the sense that one is not required to pay for the materials that could be gathered for 'free'. However, this is when one forgets two important things that really make up the essence of trading, and which are closely bound together: time and opportunity cost.

Time is an important resource in online games because it is used for profit calculations and the prices fluctuate in time. A very common term is gold per hour, which simply means the amount of gold one can obtain via a certain method in one hour. The question for which people often seek the answer for is what method gives the greatest gold per hour. Gathering all the materials might seem like the cheapest way to level crafting skill at first, but it is often more profitable for one to obtain gold via some other method than running from node to node, and then use the money gained for buying the required materials.

Opportunity cost is the price one pays in theory for missing a trade opportunity. All item prices fluctuate and it is important to recognise the right time for selling or buying the item. Naturally one wishes to buy items with a low price and sell them with a high price. If one did not buy an item when it was going for 2 silver, but instead when it was going for 4 silver, they theoretically lost 2 silver. Same applies when selling items: one should not sell an item for a low price if they think the prices are soon going to rise. Opportunity cost can also be seen in the previous paragraph: if one spent an hour gathering materials instead of obtaining money via some more effective method and using that money for buying materials, they were theoretically losing money.

It is impossible to predict the future. The best one can do is to look at the many factors that can have an affect to it from all sides, and then try to calculate the chances of them happening. When the chance of something happening is higher than the other options, we can say that it is likely to happen, but it is never definite. It can't be said for sure how the prices are going to fluctuate in the fairly near future; there are probabilities but no definites. In general there are so many things that affect the price fluctuation and opportunity cost that should be taken into consideration when trading, but which are not yet known enough about to actually make proper conclusins or extremely likely predictions. Some people say that the material prices will start high and then drop due to the peak in demand, but at the same time people's assets continue to increase and they have more money to spend. There is only one thing that can be said for sure: there is a risk of missing trade opportunities, no matter what route one chooses; whether one sells materials now and crafts later or the other way around. It is important to realize that it is not humanly possible for one person to take advantage of every trade opportunity because of the limited and uncontrollable resource: time.

There is one thing I wish to stress regardless of the general idea of this post: Even though optimizing and looking for the most profitable way of doing everything is a major part of the trading process in online games, one should not rush too much or let the gaming become an execution of exact processes. Guild Wars 2 is a beautiful game, something that should be enjoyed like a fine wine, or for example ice cream if one does not particularly appreciate such beverages. The time when everything is still unknown and exciting should be treasured, and there's plenty of time later on for building a fortune. There is no rush and one can take their time; the economy is not going anywhere.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Gathering Materials

If you’ve read the previous posts, you have a pretty good idea what crafting is about. However, before you can craft anything, you need to obtain materials required by the recipes. This post takes a close look at the different methods of obtaining materials, the different types of materials, and other important things related to them.

In Guild Wars 2 there is 4+1 ways of obtaining materials: buying them from merchants, karma vendors or other players, harvesting them from gathering nodes scattered all around Tyria, looting them off defeated enemies, and salvaging them off armor pieces, weapons and salvage items. In addition to these, one can also craft some materials: the refined materials and components, which were already explained in an earlier post.

Many merchants and karma vendors in Tyria sell materials and ingredients for crafting that cannot be obtained from anywhere else in the game – except for buying them from other players via the Trading Post, who bought them from the merchants. Especially ingredients needed by chefs are often sold by merchants and karma vendors in cities as well as by karma vendors that are unlocked after one completes Renown Hearts.

The so called 'gathering disciplines' don’t exist in Guild Wars 2, which makes it possible for everyone to obtain all types of materials. Basic crafting materials are commonly found while exploring and are also most often used for crafting items. The basic materials include different types of metal, wood, cloth, leather and raw cooking ingredients. Ore, logs and ingredients are most commonly obtained by harvesting them off specific nodes. There are mineral veins, trees that are suitable for logging and edible plants all across Tyria, which one can harvest using the appropriate tools: a mining pick, logging axe and a sickle. These harvesting tools are bought from merchants, come in different levels and have a certain amount of uses. Harvesting materials also gives one character experience.

There are many different levels of harvesting tools that can be bought
from merchants. The higher the level, the higher the price.

Different levels of harvesting tools can be used for harvesting different tier materials. A bronze pick axe is meant for mining copper ore and won’t work for mining any other kind of ore. If one tries to mine a mineral vein with a pick of too low level, they will only get ruined materials which can’t be used for crafting. At the same time the mineral node will get consumed, even though one did not get anything useful out of it. This is why one should always check that they have harvesting tools of appropriate level equipped when they adventure to a higher level area which has higher level material nodes. One can of course use a higher level harvesting tool always, which removes the need of carrying around different levels of tools and switching between them. However, the higher level tools cost more than the lower level ones, so it is more cost-effective to use tools of the lowest possible level.

Another thing to pay attention to with the harvesting tools is their durability, in other words how many times you can use them. Mining picks and logging axes come with 100 uses while a sickle comes with 50. There is a reason to the difference in the number of uses: When one harvests an ingredient, such as a mushroom, they only need to use a sickle once. Harvesting minerals and wood is a bit harder however, and require one to hit the node with the appropriate tool approximately three times before all resources have been gathered. Each one of these hits use up one point of durability. There are also rich mineral veins that can be harvested multiple times and hence end up using even more durability. If one does not know this they might think that they will run out of sickles first, while in reality it’s more likely to be the other way around.

When the durability of a tool reaches 0, the tool breaks and needs to be replaced by a new one. In addition to keeping an eye on the correct harvesting tool level, one should also keep an eye on the amount of uses left for the same reason. At least during one beta, if the durability of a harvesting tool reached 0 in the middle of the harvesting process, the remaining materials in the node were received as ruined materials and couldn’t be used for crafting. If your mining pick or a logging axe has less than three uses left, consider switching it for a new one. Not using the remaining durability might feel like a waste, but the cost of those remaining uses is most likely much less than the price of the extra materials you can get if you switch the tool for a new one. There's also been claims about harvesting tools sometimes breaking even before reaching 0 durability. These details presented here will be updated after confirmation. The bottom line is that one should carry spare tools with them when the durability of their tools is nearing their end.

Harvesting tools need to be equipped before they can be used, much like
weapons and armor. You can see the amount of uses left by looking
at the small number within the tool icon in the Hero pane.

Unlike in many other MMORPGs, in Guild Wars 2 one does not need to compete for the resource nodes with other players: all nodes are spawned as separate instances for every player. When a player harvests a node completely, the icon indicating its location disappears from their mini-map and the node itself looks depleted. However, the node will still look resourceful and its location will show on the mini-map for the players who have not yet harvested it, and those players can go and harvest it the same way as the first player did. The node will reappear for the player who already harvested it after a while. The respawn time varies quite a bit, but fairly often seems to be approximately 20 minutes. Nodes also don't always spawn exactly in the same spot.

There’s one more thing about harvesting ingredients that should be mentioned: farms. Ingredient nodes for the chef discipline can sometimes be found in clusters of  approximately eight nodes. The term farm comes from the fact that these clusters are often located and positioned in a way that makes it look like they were purposely planted there. There can be only one farm in an area and the ingredients found at farms can only be obtained from farms and nowhere else in the game – unless someone decides to sell them in a trading post, which actually is a decent business opportunity to consider.

Examples of ingredients that can only be found at farms are potato, lettuce, strawberry and spinach leaf. On the contrary to a popular belief, clam is not in fact a farm ingredient. Single clams can be found scattered across Tyria. The confusion is due to the large group of clams in Brisban Wildlands, and that clams can only be found in water which narrows them to certain areas. The nodes have a 23 hour respawn timer, which sets a limit to the supply of the  materials.

A potato farm in Metrica Province on the left and the large group of clams in Brisban Wildlands on the right.

A lot of the basic crafting materials can be gathered from resource nodes, but hostile NPCs also sometimes carry basic materials such as cloth, leather and meat. If one wishes to obtain a lot of these materials, one way is to find a place with a lot of hostile NPCs that carry the wanted material. Hostile NPCs can also carry fine and rare materials. These materials are used for crafting the slightly more advanced products and components. For example Vial of Weak Blood is a fine material and is used for making inscriptions for weapons.

In addition to obtaining materials through the methods mention before, one can salvage existing armor and weapons for crafting materials by using a salvage kit. There also exist salvage items, which are specifically meant for salvaging and can be obtained from hostile NPCs. Both of these were already introduced in the original Guild Wars.

In Guild Wars 2 salvaging is a very important thing to disciplines that craft armor, especially tailors and leatherworkers. Cloth and leather are not found as often while exploring as metal, wood and cooking ingredients, because they can’t be gathered from nodes. This is why a fair share of the materials armor crafters obtain themselves come from salvaging items.

When salvaging one should always consider which method will benefit them more: salvaging the item for materials, or selling the item and buying materials with the money gained. This requires one to keep a regular eye on the trading post prices and have an idea of how much and what material salvaging the item will yield. If one is ready to invest a little bit of additional effort into tracking these two things, they will notice the fruits of their labor later on in the form of higher income. Remember that you can also salvage items crafted by yourself.

One should also regularly check the trading post for decent priced salvage items, armor and weapons, and think if they can get materials for cheaper by salvaging those items than buying the raw materials. However, salvaging does not always yield the same amount or the same materials, so there is a small risk involved which should also be accounted for. As the time goes by and people salvage more and more items, it becomes easier to predict how much and what material you will get from salvaging an item. This is a subject that will be shed more light upon later on.

There are six different kinds of salvage kits, and the differences between them are the chances of obtaining rare materials and crafting components. Salvage kits are usually bought from merchants and have a certain amount of uses, much like other gathering tools. The salvage kits that have a higher chance of being able to salvage rare materials or components off items naturally cost more than the more basic kits. There also exists a Black Lion Salvage Kit which is obtainable from the Gem Store and has a 100% chance of recovering upgrades.

There are five different levels of salvage kits that sold by vendors. The difference
in chances between kits is 5% for rarer materials and 20% for upgrades.

Gemstones and runes of holding are materials that belong to categories of their own. Gemstones, which are used as upgrade components and for crafting jewelry, are frequently obtained when mining mineral veins and logging trees. They can also sometimes be found when looting an enemy's corpse. In addition, pearls can be found inside of clams. A jeweler can also transmogrify lower tier gemstones into higher tier ones. Runes of holding can only be bought from merchants and are used by disciplines that craft armor for making item containers that increase inventory capacity.

Runes of holding are sold by tailor, leatherworker and armosmith trainers.

The many ways of obtaining materials in Guild Wars 2 bring refreshing diversity to the gathering process. If you just remember to have harvesting tools of appropriate level with you wherever you go, keep a salvage kit at hand, and check what materials merchants and karma vendors can sell you as you walk by, at the end of the day you will end up with a fair share of materials. And if you find your bags to be full of materials, remember that you can send raw materials to your bank by clicking on the cogwheel icon in your inventory pane and selecting Deposit all collectibles, no matter where you are.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

At the Crafting Station

In the previous post it was mentioned that this post would cover the features of the crafting station as well as the discovery process. In addition to these topics this post will take a brief look at the bank and its benefits, because in practice the bank is also a part of the crafting station.

Crafting stations are the places where one trains and performs their craft as well as discovers how to make products they’ve not been able to make before. The discipline specific crafting stations are located nearby the trainers of those disciplines, who again are displayed on the map with the discipline specific icons. The stations are often located quite close to each other, or are otherwise positioned in logical pattern. Crafting stations can be found in every city as well as in some explorable areas.

When one walks up to the crafting station and begins to use it, they will see a pane with four tabs: production, discovery, bank and collections.

The production tab shows all known recipes for the discipline. By clicking a recipe in the product list, you will be able to see what materials are required for crafting the product. When you start crafting the item, you can specify how many you wish to craft or alternatively select Craft All. The advantage of crafting multiple items at once is that the crafting time is halved every time one continuously crafts a certain kind of item.

When you click on a recipe, the materials required for crafting the item are displayed.

The recipes are color coded by how much character experience crafting the item yields. There are four colors to illustrate the amount of experience: orange, green, white and gray. Orange means one will gain a good amount of experience, green indicates a decent amount, white only a small amount and gray means no experience. There are also recipes which names are displayed in red: this means that the crafting skill level is not quite yet high enough for crafting the item, but if one trains their crafting discipline a little bit more, the recipe will turn orange and they will be able to craft it. By being able to see the red soon-to-be-available recipes, you are given a chance to plan ahead how you will train your crafting discipline further, and possibly avoid using up the materials required in the near future.

You do not always need to go to the crafting station to be able to see what items you can make; you can open a similar pane showing all known recipes for their disciplines via the hero pane anywhere in the world. However, it does not allow you to craft the items; crafting must always be done at the crafting station.

In Guild Wars 2 one can obtain recipes in the following three ways: automatically every 25 skill levels when training their discipline, by obtaining recipe sheets from merchants all around the world and then studying them, and by making discoveries at the crafting station.

You are able to research and discover new recipes by using the discovery tab. To make a discovery means finding maximum of four compatible materials that together make a useful product.

The materials one wishes to experiment with need to be located in one’s inventory. The materials which are suitable for making discoveries will automatically get displayed in the discovery tab’s material section. The materials then need to be either drag-and-dropped or double-clicked into one of the four material slots in the main section of the discovery tab – on the table so to speak. When an item is placed into a material slot, the materials that are not compatible with it are faded out in the material section, so it is easier for one to see which of the other materials go well with the material already placed on the table. When one puts a compatible material on the table to accompany the first, the selection of compatible materials is usually decreased even further; after all the available materials need to be compatible with both of the materials now placed on the table.

In the previous post the construction of jewelry was explained. It was told that for example a ring is constructed of a band, a setting and a gemstone or a jewel. If one places a copper band into one of the discovery slots; hooks, chains and bands as well as gemstones, jewels and settings that belong to another material tier get faded out in the material selection. One is then only able to combine a setting and a gemstone or a jewel of the same tier level with the band already placed on the table.

When you place a material on the table, you are also able to see how many discoveries you are able to make by using that material or the combination currently on the table. You can use this information to craft exactly the required amount of refined materials or components for making all of the discoveries.

There exists 5 recipes that can be discovered by using the materials currently on the table, and one material currently
in the inventory is compatible with them. Materials that are in the inventory but can no longer be used
for making more discoverieswon't get displayed in the material selection.

When one finds a new combination of compatible materials, they see a message “This looks like something! Craft the item to save the recipe”. When one presses the craft button, the materials required by the discovery will be used up and one will get the discovered item as well as learn the recipe permanently in return. Making a discovery yields twice the amount of experience one would normally gain from crafting that item.

A message telling that one has found a new combination
 of materials that together make something useful!

Some crafting materials require a higher skill for being used in discoveries than others. Some discoveries also require more than one unit of a material for a discovery. A subtle error message is displayed on the discovery tab when one of these situations occur. You should take note of this kind of experiment and try again later with either a higher crafting skill level or more materials. Taking the materials off the table happens the same way as putting them on: either double-click or drag-and-drop them back to the material selection, or press the Reset button.

There also exists a crafting station that does not belong to any discipline: the Mystic Forge. If you throw compatible items into the forge, you will get something else in return. This mysterious subject will be covered at a later time.

The bank is a place where one can store the items they do not need often enough that it would be beneficial to carry them around all the time. By depositing items into the bank, one can for example make room for new items that are found while exploring. In essence the bank is a completely separate entity, a place where one can walk into to deposit or withdraw items from their personal safe.

The bank tab at the crafting station allows one to access the bank straight from the crafting station without having to go to the bank to either deposit or withdraw crafting materials or finalized products. The bank tab was not a part of the crafting stations during the first two beta weekends, but was later on added thanks to ArenaNet carefully listening to players’ requests. Having the bank tab available at the crafting station helps the chef discipline in particular. Chefs need more different types of materials than the other disciplines for crafting their products as well as for discovering new recipes. A chef might not be able to fit all of the ingredients in their bags at once, and if the bank was not accessible from the crafting station, the chef would often need to run back and forth between the bank and the crafting station to be able to experiment with all the different types of ingredients.

In addition to the normal bank tab there is also a collections tab. The collections tab stores 250 units of every raw material as well as mini pets. When one has deposit 250 units of a certain material in their collectables tab, they need to store the rest in their normal bank tab.

The collections section of the bank has room for 250 units of each kind of raw ingredient.

It is possible to deposit collectable materials into the collectables tab from anywhere in the world by clicking the item or the cogwheel icon in the inventory and selecting deposit, provided that the limit of 250 units has not been reached. Components cannot be stored in the collections tab and hence must be stored in the normal bank tab.

There is an option in the inventory pane to deposit all collectible items into the
bank's collections tab. Just click on the white cogwheel icon
near the top-right corner to open the menu!

There’s one more thing which is not exactly a part of the crafting station, but is nearby and important to remember: the discipline trainer at the crafting station can also sell materials and recipes for the discipline. When training a discipline, you should check what items your trainer has to offer.

All in all the crafting station is a very well planned feature that allows one to perform almost all of the crafting related actions in one place which removes the unnecessary traveling between places and allows players to focus on what they enjoy the most: the crafting itself.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Uncovering Disciplines: Jeweler

Considering the topics covered in the previous post, moving straight to talk about the jeweler discipline might seem like an awkward choice. At first covering the crafting station's interface and explaining the discovery system sounded like the most logical topic for this post, but then again being able to use an already explained discipline as an example would made things more comprehensible. That is why this post explains what being a jeweler is all about, and only the next post will cover the features of the crafting stations and explain the discovery process.

A jeweler crafts accessories which are pieces of equipment usable by all professions. There are equipment slots in the Hero panel for each type of accessory: two slots for rings, two for earrings and one for a necklace. In addition to the accessory type of equipment, a jeweler also crafts jewels which are upgrade components for accessories with an upgrade slot, but which can also be used for crafting accessories.

A jeweler uses different types of metals and gemstones as raw materials. Metals are obtained by mining mineral veins and by salvaging weapons and armor that are made of metal. Gemstones are frequently obtained when mining mineral veins and logging trees. They can also sometimes be found when looting an enemy's corpse. In addition, pearls can be found inside of clams, which are marked on the map as plant nodes. Higher tier gemstones can also be transmogrified by the jeweler. Transmogrification is explained in greater detail later in this post.

The crafting process happens at the jeweler specific crafting stations, which are marked on the map with the purple gem icon seen on the top of this post. Crafting jewelry mostly follows a clear pattern. A piece of jewelry consists of a gem, a setting for attaching the gem, and the base component: chain for necklaces, band for rings and hook for earrings. These are the vital components for crafting the different types of accessories.

There is only one kind of each type of component per material tier, even though there are several different kinds of components in real life. There are recipes which clearly indicate that one is crafting a stud earring, such as Amber Copper Stud, but still the component which pierces the ear is called a hook. There is also many different kinds of settings for jewelry in real life, but only one type of setting for each material tier in Guild Wars 2.

A photo of a silver ring and a stud earring, as well as an earring with a hook. From the
images you can notice how there exists very different kinds of settings in the real world.

In addition to rings, necklaces and earrings, a jeweler crafts jewels. There is one more component which was not mentioned earlier: filigree. A filigree is a very delicate decoration, made of extremely thin threads of metal. When complete, the design of a filigree is similar to lace. Jewels are made by decorating a gemstone with a filigree. Jewels can be used for upgrading accessory type of equipment. While a raw gemstone can be used as an upgrade for any kind of piece of equipment, a jewel can only be used for upgrading accessories, but in compensation has a higher amount of attribute points than a raw gemstone.

Jewels can also be used for crafting master versions of jewelry. There exists two versions of jewelry recipes: normal and master. Master versions of jewelry have a slightly higher amount of attribute points than their normal versions and are green quality items instead of blue. While a normal version is crafted using a raw gemstone, a master version is crafted using a jewel made of the same kind of gemstone and a filigree. The recipes are called exactly the same apart from the note (Master) at the end of the name of the master version. The item names are slightly different.

Normal version of Garnet Stud on the left and its master version on the right.

In addition to using gemstones as components for accessories and jewels, jewelers can also transmogrify lower tier gemstones into one tier higher gemstones. There are total of six different tiers of gemstones. Transmogrifying a gemstone requires 1-2 different kinds gemstones of the previous tier and one pile of dust which type depends on the tier level. There are some exceptions to the rule though: For example a second tier gemstone called Sunstone Nugget requires one lower level gemstone, a pile of dust and a Copper Doubloon.

The attributes of a crafted item depend on what kind of an activator component was used for making it. Inscriptions are activator components for weapons, and insignias are activator components for armor. For jewelers the activator components are the different kinds of gemstones and hence the attributes of an accessory or a jewel depend on the gemstone used. The lowest tier gemstones have only one type of attribute: Amber increases Condition damage, Garnet increases Power, Malachite increases Toughness, Pearl increases Healing, Tiger's Eye increases Precision and Turquoise increases Vitality. The higher tier gemstones have 2-3 different attributes. Most of the time when one transmogrifies gemstones, the transmogrified gemstone will have the same attribute types as the materials used for the transmogrification.

Jeweler is a good choice of a discipline for any profession, because every type of character can benefit from the products. Also, for the vast majority of time, gemstones are only used by the jeweler discipline so one does not need to worry about saving those materials for another discipline. The products made by a jeweler will most likely sell well in the Trading Post because accessories are only rarely given as rewards or found as loot, and a jeweler is the only source of enhanced upgrade components for accessories.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Basics of Crafting in Guild Wars 2

This blog will start off by covering the more basic topics of crafting and trading. Guild Wars 2 is due to come out in two weeks time and right after the launch there will be a lot of players who did not get a chance to participate in the beta events and who can benefit from the kind of information when stepping into the crafting districts and trading posts for the very first time. The more experienced crafters have no need to get worried though: more advanced topics will be seen here soon enough.

This post covers the very basics of crafting in Guild Wars 2. Because crafting consists of many different aspects that need to be taken into consideration, this post offers only a brief overview of those aspects in order to keep the length of this post reasonable. The individual aspects will be covered in greater depth in the future. In this post we take a quick look at the crafting disciplines and their products, activation of disciplines, gathering, the crafting stations, training of the crafting skill and ways to obtain new recipes.

Before moving on to the actual topic, I wish to elaborate a little on the term discipline and why it is used in Guild Wars 2. Many other MMORPGs use the term profession when referring to a certain type of craft. Because the term is so commonly used in other games, it also has been used quite a bit in relation to Guild Wars 2, which has occasionally caused confusion. In Guild Wars 2 as well as in the original Guild Wars, the term profession means the same thing as the term class means in many other MMORPGs: the character type, such as warrior or ranger. If a player uses the term profession to talk about a crafting discipline in Guild Wars 2, another player might think that they are actually talking about a character type. It is likely that the developers of Guild Wars 2 chose to use the word discipline in order to avoid this kind of confusion.

Now, to the actual overview of crafting. There are total of eight crafting disciplines in Guild Wars 2: armorsmith, artificer, chef, huntsman, jeweler, leatherworker, tailor and weaponsmith. These disciplines allow the player to craft different types of items that can benefit them or their fellow players in one way or another. Such items are weapons, armor, armor dyes, potions, jewelry, meals and item containers. One can learn all of these disciplines on one character, but only two of them can be active (in a usable state) at a time. Disciplines are character specific, so you must perform the craft on the character that has received the training for that discipline. One also cannot move a trained discipline from one character to another. There are no ‘secondary disciplines’, ‘gathering disciplines’ or character level requirements for crafting like in some other MMORPGs.

Armorsmith, leatherworker and tailor craft different types of armor, runes (armor upgrades) and item containers more commonly known as bags. Armorsmith crafts heavy armor for warriors and guardians, leatherworker crafts medium armor for thieves, engineers and rangers, while tailor crafts light armor for the scholar professions: mesmer, elementalist and necromancer. Artificer, huntsman and weaponsmith craft weapons and sigils (weapon upgrades). Artificer crafts magical weapons such as staves, scepters and focus items, huntsman crafts mostly ranged weapons such as guns and bows, while weaponsmith crafts mostly melee weapons such as daggers and swords. In addition artificer also crafts potions which give their user temporary combat buffs. Jeweler crafts jewelry such as earrings and necklaces, and jewels which are upgrade components for jewelry. Chef prepares different types of meals, armor dyes and at least one potion called Ooze Custard which restores health. I will cover all of the different crafting disciplines in much greater detail in later posts.

One can learn a discipline by talking to its trainer. The trainers are marked on the map with discipline specific icons. As mentioned earlier, a player can learn all of the disciplines, but only two can be active at a time. In order to activate a discipline that is currently in a passive state, one needs to speak with the trainer NPC of the discipline. In the process of activating a discipline, one must choose which one of the currently active disciplines they wish to deactivate. The training received for the deactivated discipline will be retained, so one can later on simply reactivate the discipline and continue where they left off.

The locations of the trainers are marked on the map as small icons
that represent the discipline in question.
In addition to deactivating a discipline, one must pay the trainer an amount of copper coins that is equal to ten times the crafting level of the discipline they are activating. The maximum crafting level for each discipline is 400, so reactivating a discipline one has previously trained to its maximum level will cost 40 silver. Again, activating a discipline one has never trained before costs nothing because the skill level is still 0.

As mentioned earlier, there are no gathering disciplines, but one still needs to obtain materials for crafting. One can’t make armor without cloth, jewelry without beautiful gems or delicious food without ingredients. Some of the materials can be bought from merchants and karma vendors while some can only be obtained by gathering them.

In Guild Wars 2 everyone can gather all available materials. There are mineral veins, trees that are suitable for logging and edible plants all around Tyria one can gather using appropriate tools: mining pick, logging axe and sickle. Hostile NPCs sometimes carry materials such as cloth, leather, meat and more special materials called trophies which one can obtain after battle. In addition one can salvage existing armor and weapons for crafting materials by using a salvage kit. There also exist salvage items, which are specifically meant for salvaging and can be obtained from hostile NPCs. Gathering tools and salvage kits are bought from merchants all over Tyria. I will cover the different materials, the methods of obtaining them and other details related to gathering in depth in a future post.

The actual crafting by combining different materials happens at discipline specific crafting stations which have all the required tools available for performing the craft. One can find the crafting station for a discipline at its trainer. When one walks up to the crafting station and starts using it, a pane opens. Through this pane one can view what products they’ve learned to make, craft those products, discover ways to make new ones and access the bank. I will cover the features of crafting stations in greater detail in a later post.

Jeweler crafting station in Hoelbrak. It is marked with a sign and the jeweler trainer is waiting for apprentices nearby.

Usually one starts crafting by refining the raw materials such as copper ore into refined materials such as copper ingots. These refined materials are then used for making components. By combining up to four different components one is able to make an end product which will benefit its user. Depending on the discipline and product type, one of these components is an inscription, insignia, jewel, gemstone or a rune of holding, and the attributes of this component define what attributes the final product will have. The chef discipline is an exception to this rule: rather than following a predictable pattern, the recipes resemble real life cooking recipes.

One does not level a crafting discipline to its maximum skill by always using the same materials. There are different levels of materials that are split into six tiers. The tiers are based on the crafting levels of recipes that use those materials and mostly seem have 75 skill levels each. For example a tailor crafts armor using jute from level 0 to level 74, after which they learn to use wool on level 75. When they reach level 150 they can start using cotton. It was not possible to reach the maximum level in any crafting discipline in the beta weekend events because areas containing the higher level materials were unavailable for exploring. We can assume though that the later tiers follow the same pattern as the earlier ones, apart from the last tier that is either a larger (300-400) or a smaller section (375-400).

When leveling the crafting skill, some new recipes are learned automatically every 25 skill levels. Other recipes can be learned by purchasing a recipe sheet from a merchant and then studying the recipe written on it, and by experimenting with different materials and discovering new recipes in the process. Recipes often have a crafting level requirement before they can be learned. I will cover the different ways of obtaining recipes in a future post.

This post is closing to its end, but there is one more thing I still wish to mention: crafting gives experience that increases one’s character level. Reaching the maximum level in one discipline gives one 10 character levels. This makes it possible for one to reach level 80 – the maximum character level – by training every crafting discipline to the maximum level of 400. I will cover this topic in depth in another post.

In conclusion the things one needs to do when starting crafting are picking one or more disciplines, gathering materials required by those disciplines, performing their craft at the crafting station and keep on learning new recipes. There were many more things I wanted to explain here in greater detail but – considering the length this post has reached already – those things are better being left for later posts.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Kitten Crafting Station?

Welcome to read the very first post of Kitten Crafting Station, a new blog focusing on crafting and trading in Guild Wars 2 - and everything in between and combined. This first post is a simple introduction, written to give you a clear idea of what kind of topics you will see uncovered here in the future.

I wish this blog to become an up-to-date comprehensive source of information to all Guild Wars 2 players who are interested in crafting and perhaps even in profiting from it. There will be some articles covering the more basic areas for the people who are not yet very familiar with the subject, as well as articles that uncover more advanced topics and will hopefully give some brand new ideas to even the most knowledgeable in-game entrepreneurs. Also, when the situation calls for it, I will take on the freedom of talking about some other subjects related to trading which don't necessarily depend on crafting, but are still interesting things to think about and take into consideration. I will also update older posts when changes occur in the game.

If the above paragraph piqued your interest, feel free to keep a regular eye on this blog or even subscribe to the RSS feed. I have not set an exact schedule for the posts, but I can assure you that the articles will be topical and that at the moment there's plenty of topics I wish to uncover. As long as I have something to say and my passion for trading and crafting in games remains as inextinguishable as ever, I will keep on writing.

Canton Factorium, the crafting district of the Black Citadel - See you there!