One of the systems I like most in The Elder Scrolls Online is the crafting. I am not a dedicated crafter in any MMO but I look forward to it as additional gameplay and I want crafting that is deeper than the gather, queue, and wait motif that games like World of Warcraft offer. If you have never played ESO at all or if you did but have not tried crafting on a new character since update five I’ll be dedicating several posts to crafting from the beginner’s perspective over the next few weeks.
Crafting in The Elder Scrolls Online begins when you discover the fighter’s guild or mage’s guild for the first time in either Davon’s Watch, Daggerfall, or Vulkhel Guard depending on your faction. While the guilds have nothing to do with crafting, each one houses an NPC that starts the certification process for crafting writs. Introduced with update five, writs are crafting dailies for the six crafts in ESO. Each crafting writ can be completed once daily after you hit level 6 and the certification process serves as a tutorial. Millenith is waiting for you at the fighter’s guild and will certify you as a blacksmith, carpenter, and clothier. Danel Telleno will certify you in alchemy, enchanting, and provisioning and can be found at the mage’s guild. Each certification requires a simple quest chain that will walk you through the basics and you can work on one certification per NPC at a time.
After initiating the writ certification quest you are directed to an area near the city where you can harvest the relevant materials. Every player can gather all materials and some of them you need to collect are difficult to identify until you’ve seen them at least once. Writ certification gives you an opportunity to see the nodes for the first time when they are marked on your mini map so you know what to expect. Later on if you chose to focus on a particular material to gather you can use a skill point on a passive that will cause a glowing mist to appear over the nodes as you approach them but until then the writ quests will help you identify what you need to gather by its appearance.
Once you’ve collected your materials you will return to the city and meet either Danel or Millenith at the respective crating station for whichever writ you are certifying. For now I am going to focus on Millenith and the fabrication crafts. Whether you chose carpenter, blacksmith, or clothier your first step will be refining the raw materials you’ve gathered. For example, if you begin with the blacksmithing profession you will refine your raw iron into iron ingots. With the refining process complete, Millenith will ask you to craft your first piece of gear.
Crafting in ESO is very different from the system in World of Warcraft and similar games. Here you have several ways of tweaking an item before you create it. Thankfully the UI and accompanying tutorial are more than enough to get you started without problem. First you choose an item to craft by scrolling left or right at the top of your menu to find the weapon or armor piece you want to make. If you have the correct materials you will then have the option to increase the amount used in order to craft a higher level weapon. So a simple dagger for a level one character may only require 2 iron ingots but if you’d like to make it usable to your level 8 Nightblade you can increase the iron amount until the weapon’s level matches your own.
After that you’ll need to select a crafting ingredient specific to your racial style. At first you will have to craft your own race’s gear but from what I understand you will eventually be able to find motifs that allow you to craft in the style of other races or you can purchase them from other players. I’m not sure how rare the drop is but if you are into crafting, collecting these motifs provides a sizeable endgame focus. If you like to adventure you can try and collect them in the open world or you could make money from crafting and use it to buy additional motifs in order to make even more money through crafting. With eight races (in addition to your own) and seven pieces of gear there are a lot of style motifs to collect.
Next, traits can be applied to crafted item. However I don’t know much about this aspect of crafting because I have yet to use it on anything I have made. What I do know is that I can take gear and use it to research traits which can eventually be applied to a crafted item of the same type. Each item has nine possible traits to research that can change the effectiveness of enchantments, increase spell resistance, improve the speed at which you level up weapon skills, or a number of other buffs. However researching a trait on one item does not allow the use of that trait on another item. For example with carpentry there are five weapons that can be crafted, each with nine possible traits. That’s forty-five traits you’ll need to research for wooden weapons alone.
Later you will also have the option to upgrade the quality of your crafted gear to uncommon, rare, epic, etc. This is not necessary for certification but it is helpful to know for later on when you want to make something for your character to use. The upgrade is applied after the item is made and each tier requires a unique ingredient. For every single use of the required ingredient you gain a 20% chance to upgrade the item. If you want a guaranteed upgrade you will need 5 of the upgrade ingredients. You will not receive enough early on to craft a full set of green quality gear, but you will have plenty to craft one or two items to fill any holes in your gear set.
Once you have crafted your first item, return to Millenith. She will inspect what you’ve made and then ask you to deconstruct it, a process by which you take the gear you no longer need or cannot use and turn it into materials for crafting. I love it when games add this to the crafting system, it gives you a meaningful use for all the gear that would otherwise be vendor trash. When you deconstruct an item you have a chance of getting the base material, racial style ingredients, or even the materials required for upgrading gear. However inventory management is a problem in this game so I destroy all of the racial ingredients that do not match my own, knowing I can purchase them from a crafting vendor later when I get the required motifs.
Once you’ve deconstructed your first piece of gear you will be able to complete the quest chain with Millenith and participate in the daily crafting writs. I have found that by casually gathering while I level I do not come across enough basic materials to do the writs every day but enough to do them a few times a week. After completing your first certification, Millenith will ask if you would like to begin another. All of the fabrication professions work as I have just described, so it simply requires repeating the process but with different materials. By the time you have completed all three you will feel very comfortable with crafting gear in ESO.
I’ll stop there for this week, but hopefully you can already see that whether you are serious about crafting or only want to participate casually the system has a lot of potential. You can keep it simple and still be able to provide yourself with the gear you need as you level or you can make crafting a focus for your gameplay and there will be enough choices while making gear to keep it interesting and enough traits to research and motifs to gather to keep you occupied. Between the user-friendly UI and the approachable tutorial getting into crafting in ESO is simple even if the process is not. Next time I’ll take a look at crafting consumables—alchemy, enchanting and provisioning. Each one is a little different so I’ll try to walk through how each one works as much as I can.