Friday, March 11, 2011

Crafting: Tiers and Experience

In our previous post we have already discussed all the options regarding available professions. Another concept which must be clear for everyone are the crafting Tiers. The first available Tier upon which all professions start is the Apprentice level (or Tier 1).

The crafting Tiers are:

Apprentice (Tier 1)
Journeyman (Tier 2)
Expert (Tier 3)
Artisan (Tier 4)
Master (Tier 5)
Supreme (Tier 6)

Each Tier will give you the ability to gather ingredients and craft items which will always be level appropriate, i.e.:

Apprentice (Tier 1): Level 7 up to 13
Journeyman (Tier 2): Level 14 up to 21
Expert (Tier 3): Level 22 up to 31
Artisan (Tier 4): Level 32 up to 41
Master (Tier 5): Level 42 up to 51
Supreme (Tier 6): Level 52 up to 65

What does it mean? In order to prospect Copper and Tin (Tier 1 ores) you must be an Apprentice Propector. To craft a Bronze Blade (Tier 1 ingredient) you must be an Apprentice Weaponsmith. To forage for Yew Wood (Tier 3 wood) you must be an Expert Forager, and so on.

Once you have gathered the raw materials (ore, wood, etc) with a Gathering Profession, go to the nearest crafting hall available. In there you will find specific areas to work the materials you have found (Forges, Workbenches, owens and Studies). Each profession requires a different working area (e.g., prospectors, weaponsmiths and metalsmiths must use Forges, foragers, tailors and jewellers must use workbenches, and so on). With the crafting panel open, all items available for work are highlighted in green. If they remain in white, it means at least one ingredient or raw material is missing, or the minimum required quantity of them hasn't been met.

Now, the more the merrier. Every time you craft something, you will receive crafting experience in that given profession. The crafting experience is variable according to the ingredient or item crafted and it is represented in the red anvil bar, as shown in the image below:

Once you progress to completely fill the red anvil bar, it means you've achieved Proficiency with that Tier. The first thing to do is search around the crafting hall for a new quest, which will unlock your next profession Tier! If you don't complete this crafting quest, you will not be able to progress with higher crafting tiers or achieve Mastery on your current tier, which is a problem, because you will not gain any further experience in that level. If you complete the crafting quest, a yellow anvil bar will appear next to your current crafting bar, allowing you to gain further experience towards the next level:

One point that is quite important is that you also cannot achieve mastery on a given Tier unless you have already completed the Mastery of the previous Tier! Is it confusing? Please see the image below:

This is an example of someone with full Proficiency in, let's call it, Tier 1 (Apprentice) and incomplete Tier 1 Mastery. Getting the yellow anvil bar open for business on Tier 1 allowed him to start gaining proficiency on Tier 2 (Journeyman). Once he gets that Tier 1 yellow anvil bar and the Tier 2 red anvil bar full, he's be eligible to complete a crafting quest to open the Tier 2 yellow anvil bar towards Mastery (which will also open the Tier 3 red anvil bar towards Proficiency).

And well, regarding crafting quests... They might give you some trouble. The crafting quests for Gathering Professions are all basically just talking to someone near the crafting hall of work area, reading a book and ergo, you got the next Tier open. For Crafting Professions, it is quite different. Usually those quests will force you to cover great distances just to talk to someone or having to kill someone/something to receive a drop which will allow you to complete the quest. This will go on until you reach the Supreme Tier, where for some reason the crafting quests do not exist. So get ready for at least 5 level appropriate (according to the crafting Tier, not your own level) quests. In the now timeless words of AC/DC: it's a long way to the top if you wanna rock'n'roll.

It's basically a chain of progress, one step leads to another one. It is very important, if you really want to craft items either for your personal use or stockpiling gold pieces, to pay attention to the ingredients and raw materials you gather. As your character levels up you will be lead to higher level areas of the game, where the lower Tier ingredients will not be available, which means you will have the get back to places far away from your objectives in order to fill in your crafting bars.

Crafting is basically a matter of being organized. Keep your crafting goals close to your character's quests. Trade often and try to make money at the Auction House, so that you can afford many of the ingredients which sometimes aren't readily available in the wild and in the dungeons. And sure, one can try to become a Supreme Craftsman of Craftswoman without properly adventuring throughout Middle-Earth, but you know what people say: the tastiest fish you'll ever eat is one you've caught yourself.

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