Whenever I play a game, I get addicted to crafting. When I played Rift, I made a lot of money by crafting armor and selling it on the auction house. In Skyrim, my alchemy was level 50 by the time my character was level 10. In Aion, I’ve been playing around with crafting stuff. Basically, I like to pick up everything and see what I can make out of it (I blame this on me being a crafty sort of person in real life). So of course in Guild Wars 2, I wanted to try out their crafting system.
I wound up not spending nearly as much time on it as I had intended, sadly – other things (like exploring) kept distracting me. However I did do enough to get a grasp of the system. It definitely has its similarities to systems from other games – you pick up materials, you bring them to a crafting station, you refine them, and then you craft them into armor/weapons/etc. There’s also cooking, which I didn’t touch at all, but works slightly differently than the others…and is also ridiculously in-depth and has a ton of different ingredients; enough so that there’s a separate storage pane in the bank for cooking ingredients.
Oh, and you can experiment with different components to come up with recipes for items.
Some notes on how crafting works: You’re not just going to go up to a station with, say, a bundle of stretched leather and be able to instantly craft yourself armor. First you need to refine the raw materials you’ve gathered or salvaged into refined materials, which then craft into item components, which then can be crafted into weapons and armor.
It’s simpler than it sounds, really, though it can get quite complex later on.
Take the armor set my character is shown in, there – a simple Embroidered set that I crafted at the Tailoring station. To make the top, I first had to refine Jute Scraps and Rawhide Leather Scraps into Bolts of Jute and Stretched Rawhide Leather Squares. Then I had to use these to craft a Jute Tunic Panel and a Jute Tunic Lining. Then I took those materials as well as a Vial of Weak Blood, and crafted them into a Embroidered Coat.
That’s basically crafting in a nutshell. However, you’re not going to get all of these recipes just handed to you…nor are you restricted from experiment. Recipe discovery is a large part of it, and it’s really worth playing around with that. First of all, that’s how you find/learn how to make insignias and inscriptions, which can be used in place of vials of blood when crafting your armor and weapons, and these will also change the stats. Combining a Bolt of Jute with a Bone Sliver in the recipe discovery pane will give you a Vital Jute Insignia. Take this, add that, the Jute Tunic Lining and the Tunic Panel, and put them in the recipe discovery pane…and you’ve got a Vital Embroidered Coat.
The nice thing about recipes is that it’ll tell you if you’ve discovered something before you actually craft it – it’s not like Skyrim where if you don’t find a viable recipe, your components are destroyed. Put an item in, it’ll tell you that there are x number of recipes available and to add more. Once you’ve hit something, the Craft button will be usable, and you can see what you’ve created. And once you hit a certain point, you’re going to need to use it to create your items. For example, once I hit 25 in crafting, I was given the recipes for Jute Headpiece Straps and Padding…but no recipe for actually combining these into a piece of headgear. Over to the discovery pane I went, then; first to create an insignia, and then to combine it all together. Then, after I had discovered it (I made myself a Resilient Embroidered Mask), it was stored in my learned recipes that I could craft at any time.
It starts out simple, but the more you get higher in crafting levels, the more complex it gets, and the more that things like the insignias and inscriptions you pick for your stuff makes a difference.
One of the nice things about crafting in Guild Wars 2 is that it’s quick. In most games you have to sit there and watch that bar fill up over and over and over…yes, that does happen here. But if, say, you’re refining a stack of stuff at once…you’re not going to be staring at that bar going across the screen for twenty minutes. It starts out slow (which is still quicker than in most games), and rapidly speeds up until it’s essentially “blink and it’s full”. You also cannot fail at crafting an item. No need to worry about those rare materials you scraped together for something breaking or being destroyed because your crafting failed – if you try and create an item, it’ll be a success. You can get critical successes, but that doesn’t make the item any better – it’s usually something like extra experience or an item refund.
Overall, I wish I had spent more time on it. However, I enjoyed what I did try of it – I crafted myself a full set of armor (the mask I made actually I couldn’t use right away because it required a higher level than I was!) as well as a few weapons – I went for Tailoring and Artificer. The things you can make are not necessarily any better or worse than what you can loot or buy, however they do have different appearances, as well as when you get to higher levels in a crafting discipline you have more control over the stats that go on your items. For me, though, crafting is a success, and I definitely plan to go more in-depth into it come the game’s release.