Friday, September 14, 2012

The Mysterious Mystic Forge

A couple of weeks ago I was asked by Khalija from Guild Wars 2 Guru to write a guest article about the Mystic Forge. Considering the very nature of the forge and the fact that new information is discovered everyday, writing an article which information wouldn't be considered old the next day has been challenging. Instead of discussing every little thing in great detail, this article aims to explain what the Mystic Forge is, how one can use the forge for different purposes, and what patterns have so far been identified in its behavior. Hopefully after reading this article the people who were not yet very familiar with the forge will have a good idea what it is about, and will perhaps also be excited to experiment with it a little. At the moment you can also read the article on the front page of Guild Wars 2 Guru.

The Mystic Forge is located in the center of Trader's Forum in Lion's Arch as well as in the Heart of the Mists. The two forges are inhabited by genies that are willing to exchange gifts with players. The genie in Lion's Arch is called Zommoros, while the name of the genie in the Heart of the Mists is unknown.

Zommoros arrived in Tyria with an Elonian woman called Miyani. According to Miyani, Zommoros is very powerful, arrogant, mysterious, unpredictable and inconsistent. She also tells that Zommoros offers players a chance to improve their items, but due to his unpredictable nature, one may also receive items that are useless to them.

The two Mystic Forges: Zommoros in Lion's Arch on the left and the Mystic Forge in the Heart of the Mists on the right.

The Mystic Forge works in a very similar manner to the crafting stations' discovery panel. In order to transform items, one needs to place four compatible items into the forge, and in return will receive one item. The result is often unpredictable, but there also exists exact recipes for the forge that will always result in the same item.

Most of the players are already aware of the random factor of the Mystic Forge. The genie's inconsistent nature is involved when one places pieces of equipment (armor, weapons and jewelry), minipets, dyes or upgrade components into the forge.

The items placed into the forge need to be the same type. For example if one places a piece of equipment into the forge, they can only place pieces of equipment into the other three slots. Or if one places a minipet into the forge, they can only put minipets into the other three slots.

In addition to the requirement of items being the same type, they also need to be the same quality. This means that a fine quality item can only be combined with other fine quality items, a masterwork item with other masterwork items, a rare item with other rare items, and so on.

The result is a random item that is of the same type as the items that were placed in the forge and usually also of the same quality. However, there's a small chance for items to increase in quality, just like Miyani says: Zommoros offers the chance to improve your items. One might for example receive a masterwork quality item after placing four fine quality items into the forge. In addition to having a chance to improve in quality, the resulting item can also be higher level, which is most noticeable in the case of equipment.

The Mystic Forge seems to at first calculate the average level of the four items inserted and then apply a small increase to the level. This phenomenon cannot be noticed in the case of minipets or dyes because those types of items do not have a level. However, it can be clearly seen in the case of equipment as a level requirement and attribute value increase, and sometimes also in the case of upgrade components if different tier upgrades were inserted.

After telling how Zommoros offers players a chance to improve their items, Miyani also adds: You may get a wondrous item. Or, you may get garbage. The resulting item can be one of the same items the player initially inserted into the forge, or in the case of equipment it could be a type of equipment one cannot use and on top of it be soulbound.

The resulting item seems to be something that can be also obtained elsewhere in the game. The item could be dropped by a monster somewhere, or it could be sold by a vendor. Whether the resulting item is soulbound does not depend on the items that were inserted in the forge, but rather seems to be a property of the resulting item itself. One can for example place four karma items into the forge and the resulting item isn't necessarily soulbound.

Gemstones can be combined with each other as well as other upgrade components
in the Mystic Forge in the hopes for a better upgrade component. Remember
though that the jeweler discipline can also transmogrify 2 lower tier
gemstones and a pile of dust into a one tier higher gemstone.

Regardless of the unpredictable nature of Zommoros, there are some recipes related to the Mystic Forge that are constant. Those recipes often require items sold by Miyani.

Miyani, the woman who brought Zommoros to Lion's Arch, is standing right by the forge. She coordinates the business between the Mystic Forge and the players, and also sells some items related to the forge. She is a traveling companion and something close to a friend to Zommoros, and wishes to be with him because the genie sometimes tells her stories about Elona. Those stories help her remember her homeland, which has now fallen under the rule of undead lord Palawa Joko, and keep the memory of her people alive, for which she is grateful.

Regardless of selling items, Miyani is not actually tagged as a merchant, which might make her slightly harder to spot. She sells items related to the Mystic Forge for gold and skill points. One might at first be alarmed about the skill points being used as a currency, and think that skill points are a limited resource that should primarily be used for buying skills. However, skill points are in fact unlimited: one keeps on receiving them for every 254,000 experience gained after reaching level 80. Because of this using food, potions and boosters to increase experience gain even after reaching level 80 is useful: it makes acquiring skill points faster and allows players to buy a larger quantity or more expensive items from Miyani. Miyani sells the following items that can be placed in the Mystic Forge: Siege Masters Guide, Philosopher's Stone, Crystal, Eldritch Scroll, Bottle of Elonian Wine and Bloodstone Shard.

The Siege Masters Guide bought from Miyani is used at least for upgrading siege weapons for World vs. World battles and for crafting some exotic weapons. Philosopher's Stones are used at least for transmuting one material to another, and also for crafting Improved Experience Boosters. Crystals and Bottles of Elonian Wine are used at least for obtaining recipes and exotic pieces of equipment from the forge. Eldritch Scrolls are used at least for obtaining exotic weapons. Bloodstone Shards are used for crafting legendary weapons. Miyani also sells recipes for components that are used in the process of crafting legendary weapons. Transmutation of materials, upgrading siege weapons, obtaining recipes, acquiring exotic pieces of equipment, and crafting of legendary weapons are covered briefly a bit later in this article. These subjects will be covered in greater detail later on in separate articles.

In addition to the items sold by Miyani, there are two more things that should be mentioned here: the Mystic Coin and the Mystic Forge Stone. One can obtain Mystic Coins by completing daily and monthly achievements, and Mystic Forge Stones can be bought from the Gem Store and received as rewards for progressing in the personal storyline. Mystic Coins are used at least for obtaining recipes, transmuting high level materials and obtaining mystic clovers, as well as for crafting exotic armor. Mystic Forge Stones are used for crafting exotic pieces of equipment and a special Mystic salvage kit.

Miyani, the Elonian woman accompanying Zommoros, and the items she has for sale.

There are many different kinds of recipes for the Mystic Forge. Some of them seem to follow a clear pattern that is shared between all the recipes of the certain type, while some have plenty of room for exceptions.

One of the recipe types which follow a clear pattern is material transmutation with the help of Philosopher's Stones. One can transmute lower tier material into one tier higher material of the same type. The recipe always requires a certain amount of the lower tier material, a certain amount of one tier higher dust, and some Philosopher's Stones that are bought from Miyani. In addition, one needs to place one unit of the one tier higher material into the fourth slot to indicate the wanted result.

It has been confirmed that this pattern is applicable for transmuting basic and fine materials. The amount of received material seems to vary greatly, but is always much less than the amount of lower tier material inserted: it'd seem that the higher the tier of the resulting material, the less units of material one will receive. At this moment in time it does not seem to be possible to transmute higher tier materials into lower tier materials.

It has also been reported that by combining Globs of Ectoplasm, Obsidian Shards, Mystic Coins and Crystals, one is able to obtain tier 6 crafting materials. Crafting this combination can also sometimes yield Mystic Clovers, which are used in the process of crafting legendary weapons, and seems to be the main reason for combining these materials in the Mystic Forge.

Examples of basic and fine material transmutation at the Mystic Forge.

It is possible to obtain exclusive recipes for different disciplines from the Mystic Forge by offering the genie exact reagents. If one offers the genie some Elonian wine, Crystals, Mystic Coins and a product crafted by the discipline, they can get a recipe sheet containing a new recipe in return.

Armor crafting professions (armorsmith, leatherworker and tailor) can obtain recipes for armor boxes, which contain full armor sets. They work as an alternative way for crafting armor sets without the need to craft each piece individually. Chefs can obtain recipes for food trays, which can be shared with many people. So far only these two disciplines have been confirmed to have recipes that are obtainable only from the Mystic Forge, but hopefully recipes for others disciplines also exist.

The Mystic Forge can also be used for crafting specific pieces of exotic quality equipment. Crafting of exotic equipment with the forge seems to always require Mystic Coins and an Eldritch Scroll which can be bought from Miyani for 50 skill points. The remaining two materials vary greatly; the materials can be common, fine or rare, basic weapon components or something completely different, such as a Siege Masters Guide.

One of the most mysterious things related to the Mystic Forge is crafting of legendary weapons. Crafting of legendary weapons is such a complex task that it deserves an article of its own and hence won't be covered here in much detail. The process is very challenging and has many phases, all of which have something to do with the Mystic Forge or Miyani. Miyani sells recipes and ingredients for the components required by the legendary weapons, and the Mystic Forge is used for combining the components, which eventually form the actual weapon. The forge can also be used for obtaining some of the materials required by the weapons, but those materials are not necessarily exclusively obtainable from the forge.

As stated earlier in this post, it is also possible to upgrade the siege weapons used in World vs. World by combining blueprints, two different types of basic materials, such mithril ore and elder wood logs, and the Siege Masters Guide in the Mystic forge. This is one of the ways the Mystic Forge is useful to PvP players, but there are also other ways for PvP players to benefit from the forge.

As stated in the beginning of this article, there also exists a Mystic Forge in the Heart of the Mists. The Mystic Forge can be used for obtaining new skins for PvP equipment. The results are purely cosmetic. One needs to place an item token, a rank token, some arcane material (Arcane Crystal, Arcane Sliver, Arcane Orb) and also some Arcane Powder into the forge. One can also craft consumables such as dyes by combining a consumable token with two different types of arcane materials and some Arcane Powder. The arcane materials and rank tokens are obtained by salvaging PvP equipment, while the item and consumable tokens can be bought from glory vendors.

There also exist some recipes that don't really belong to any of the categories 
discussed above, such as Mystic Salvage Kit which has 250 uses, 
and Improved Experience Booster, which increases 
experience gain by 100% for two hours.

Many people wonder when the Mystic Forge should be used and when it should be avoided. The answer to this question is simple, but requires some thought: whenever it is profitable or one cannot achieve their goal any other way.

Whenever one wishes to obtain or dispose of something, they should always compare the different methods, calculate the values and then choose the way that is the most profitable. Instead of placing items into the Mystic Forge they could salvage them, sell them to a vendor, sell them to other players via the Trading Post, or in the case of materials use them to craft something that sells well, whichever of these methods is the most profitable. The same way one should check if they could get the wanted item for cheaper from somewhere else than the forge. This also works the other way around, and sometimes using the Mystic Forge is the best option. There are ways of making profit with the Mystic Forge, but one can also end up with a great loss if they are not careful.

Calculating the value of the exact recipes related to the Mystic Forge is much simpler than calculating the risks one takes when playing with the random factor of the forge. A lot of people use the forge in the hopes of receiving an equipment upgrade, but in the end it could be for the best to sell the four items to the vendor and buying the desired piece from the Trading Post.

An unfortunately large amount of people don't seem to realize that in addition to Trading Post taking the 5% listing fee, it also takes 10% off the price when an item sells. People are listing items, especially fine and masterwork quality pieces of equipment, for only slightly above the merchant price, without realizing that in the end they'd actually gain more money if they sold the items to the vendor. Because of this, inserting fine and masterwork equipment into the Mystic Forge seems to be a waste at this moment in time. There does not seem to be many fine or masterwork level items that would be worth more in the Trading Post than the total vendor value of those four items placed in the forge. Exceptions to this rule are the pieces of equipment that are bought from karma vendors: they are soulbound and cannot be salvaged or sold to a vendor. They can only be destroyed or placed in the Mystic Forge.

There are still some reasonable ways for one to gamble and try their luck when it comes to putting pieces of equipment into the Mystic Forge: there exists the small chance that four masterwork items will result in a rare item, or four cheap rare items result in one expensive rare item, or even an exotic item.

Considering the nature of the Mystic Forge, there’s most likely still a lot of information we are not yet aware of. It has been said that Tyria is full of little hints regarding the Mystic Forge, so we should keep our eyes and ears open. There is for example a vendor called Rojan the Penitent in Frostwalk Tundra, Frostgorge Sound, who lives far away from the Mystic Forge, but still sells an item called Icy Runestone which tooltip indicates that is used some way in the process of crafting legendary weapons. In addition to exploring, learning the ways of the Mystic Forge also requires a lot of expensive experimenting, which will slow down the speed of resolving its mysteries. It has also been said that new recipes will be added for the forge in the future, so even if the current mysteries were revealed, some new ones will arise to take their place. Perhaps Zommoros will reveal his secrets one day, or perhaps he will always be an enigma.

3 comments:

  1. Great post! I saw this on guild wars 2 guru and wanted to commend you on the excellent write up!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm glad you've liked it.

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  2. Great article. Definitely keeping it bookmarked for referencing.

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