Wednesday, December 23, 2009

10 Days of WAR: Day Six (Crafting)

I was inspired by the furious pace of Santa's elves to meet the Christmas demand and for my sixth day of WAR I crafted.  The crafting in Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning has always intrigued me.  The concepts are solid, but the execution was lacking at launch. The basic premise is that most monsters and player kills would result in crafting components.  Crafted items are mostly consumable items.  There wasn't traditional blacksmithing or weapon making: there was apothecary for potions, talisman making, and cultivation (which is a gathering skill, but I consider it a craft).

Often times crafting far outpaced a character's progression in WAR due to the mismatch of ingredient levels to a player's level.  The result was often piles and piles of crafted items that were unusable for several levels.  This was not only frustrating, but also impossible to avoid unless a player ignored crafting until they were max level.  To highlight this issue, I created this screenshot a long time ago:

As can be seen, level 30-32 ingredients resulted in level 38 potions for a character that was level 30.

Since that time, there have been general improvements to WAR crafting.  While I do not have the time to list everything, let alone test everything, I will give my general thoughts after an hour of dabbling.

The first noticeable change is the addition a separate inventory bag for crafting supplies.  No longer does a player need two alts with entire banks dedicated to holding crafting supplies.  Everything can now be maintained under one character.  Organization wise, there is no more searching through a backpack full of quest rewards, currency items, and random junk to find single crafting components!  No longer does a player need a half dozen crafting UI addons to survive!

The second improvement actually occurred while I was still playing originally.  The gathering professions were re-balanced.  Butchering and scavenging were changed to focus on a specific craft: butchering for apothecary, scavenging for talisman making.  Previously, scavenging was by far the best gathering skill for both.

Then there is cultivation hanging out to the side.  Its considered a gathering skill, but it requires components to be combined to gather an item produced.  To me, that is crafting.   As a big-time gardener in real life, I've always loved cultivation in WAR.  It was changed to produce more apothecary related ingredients, which was a very welcome change after the butchering/scavenging reworks.  However, I didn't care enough to buy seeds and didn't touch my cultivator.

I have every crafting skill up to 200. The only gathering skill I am lacking on my characters is butchering. This adds up to a self sufficient account.

Apothecary Impressions

The basics of Apothecary felt the same. However, the most common ingredients were changed with the scavenging/butchering changes. With scavenging changed to result in talisman making ingredients, I was forced to use the auction house. Without knowing the names of the items I needed, I headed to the web for a WAR crafting wiki. Minor gripe here, the WAR auction house search is horrible (anyone have any addons for this?).

An addition to Apothecary is hybrid potions that boost two stats at once.  From my research, these were the best to make for individual use.  As always, healing potions appear to be the most sought after potions by other players and where apothecaries can make some money.

Another welcome change, which I did not realize at first, is that potion effects persist through death.  Originally, potion effects were canceled by death, which is a dumb idea in a game that actively promotes dieing, a lot!  Great change in my book.

Talisman Making Impressions

Talisman making also features some tweaks that make it more enjoyable. End-product talismans are more predictable and I don't believe they have timers associated with them any longer (anyone confirm?). Also, they FINALLY have level restrictions on talismans, preventing low level twinks from using talismans meant for rank 40s. This diminishes the consumable market for talismans some, but its not detrimental as my next point will demonstrate.

There is a glaring problem: the raw materials for talisman making are STILL worth far more than the talismans. Why? Because rare components can lead to extraordinary results. Unfortunately, the majority of the time a low end component will produce the same result as an ultra-rare component. This makes scavenging, where the rare components come from, a more profitable venture than the crafting. So, talisman making is best done for a player's own characters and not as a for-profit trade.

Come back for day seven!

PS.  It took me six days to notice returning players get a quest for a neat 7 day buff:

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