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.

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