Guild Wars 2 - Three Weeks In
Guild Wars 2 - Three Weeks In
In the past two weeks I have written a fair bit about Guild Wars 2 - in the first week I covered questing and in the second week I covered combat. This week we are going to take a look at Guild Wars 2's crafting - which could almost be its own game in itself.
There are eight different schools of crafting in Guild Wars 2 - Armorsmithing, Leatherworking, Tailoring, Weaponsmithing, Huntsmanery, Artificing, Jeweling and Cheferising. The first three create armour for the various classes - Armorsmithing taking care of Heavy Armor, Leatherworking medium armour and Tailoring for light armour.
10 copper for a carrot!? Damn my laziness!
Schools four, five and six let you create weapons - Weaponsmithing creates swords, axes, daggers and various other metal weapons favouring melee, Huntsmen (and women) can create wooden weapons and firearms favouring ranged combat like longbows, pistols and torches and Artificing crafts magical weaponry like staves and scepters.
Jewelers create accessories like earrings and necklaces and Cooking, fairly obviously, is used to create food. You can begin crafting from the beginning of the game and while you can only craft from two schools at a time, it's free to switch out one of your schools and begin another one - and while it costs 10 copper per skill level you had in the school, when you go back you'll still have the same amount of experience and knowledge you had when you stopped.
Naturally however, you need materials to craft. There are three different tools required to gather materials - axes, pickaxes and sickles and fortunately you can pick them up from almost any merchant. You get better results with better quality tools however - and for that reason it's usually a good idea to go into your home city (like Lion's Arch or Divinity's Reach) to pick up the best quality tools you can afford. If you use an Iron Sickle on a plant you might get nothing more than ruined plant fibre, whereas a Darksteel Sickle would have yielded a delicious strawberry.
Following the standard MMO technique of letting the player figure things out (or looking it up on the Wiki, which I am generally against) gathering feels like an unnecessary burden on your inventory and bank space, until you realise you can put most (excepting special rare ingredients) items in the Collections section of your bank - a second tab listing the giant variety of ingredients you can gather in the game. You don't even need to visit the bank to do so - when you are not in battle, just hit the option gear in the top right corner and select 'Deposit All Collectibles' and every collectible item you have will automatically be sent to the bank.
Easier to figure out though, is the discovery process. You begin each school of crafting with a smattering of basic recipes and as you increase in level (each school has 400 levels) you learn many more, but you can also figure out new recipes through the discovery tab. It presents you with a list of crafting materials you have that can be combined to create something unknown - and by mixing and matching them to find working combinations, you create something new - a pair of shoes specifically designed to boost power, or a cup of 'Potato Fries.'
Carrot + Soy Sauce + Onion + Red Meat = Delcious Stir Fry!
When you first start playing Guild Wars 2 though, gathering items becomes just another thing to do as you venture across the lands of Tyria in search of the weird and wonderful. With the 250 item limit in place, it's easy to forget about crafting entirely - and while Guild Wars 2 is more than happy to let you play that way, there are definite benefits to taking the time to craft materials.
The biggest benefit is experience. Reports came in during the 3 day headstart (before the game had officially launched) that someone had reached level 80 - their guild mates had given them all of their gathered materials and they'd crafted their way to the level cap. Of course, you can easily gain enough experience throughout Guild Wars 2 without touching the crafting system - but given the other benefits you would be crazy to do so.
Armour crafting seems way more beneficial than Weapon crafting, simply because at no point will you be building something your character can't use. While with Weaponsmithing I can make daggers and axes, in order to level up my crafting ability I will need to build swords and other weaponry I can't use. As my Necromancer can only equip light armour however, anything I craft with the Tailor discipline will be useful to me.
Jewelering and Cheferising are a different ball game again however. Creating Jewelled items has the most obvious benefit to everyone, but it is weighed against the frequency at which you acquire gems. Gems are dropped by the occasional enemy, but the most effective way to gather them is by gathering other materials - as you chop down trees, mine and harvest vegetables, you will randomly find a gem amongst your loot (with gems having a greater chance of dropping the better quality your tools are of course.) This makes gathering materials much more difficult and time consuming - and I found it easiest to just ignore Jeweling until I'd reached the higher levels and acquired a stack of them in my Collection over time.
Ettins protect their delicious potatoes to the death. They are the Irish of Tyria.
Cooking goes the other way with it, seeming at first to be incredibly simple to begin once from the beginning - but gradually growing into what is best described as 'a convoluted mess.' There are an insane amount of different combinations you can make with cooking ingredients - and since something like 'piles of salt and pepper' and 'balls of cookie dough' aren't collectible, once you begin cooking you can easily end up with very little bank and inventory space left.
That said however, Cooking could almost be its own separate game. Throughout the game, I've often found myself having conversations about different foods we've created, or where to go to get certain materials. Logging on the other day and seeing one of my friends online, I excitedly told her of my latest discovery - Heads of Cabbage in the Dredgehaunt Cliffs - and we partnered up to go take down their Jotun guards and get our stew going.
A couple of days later I was in World vs World defending a camp with some strangers and during a lull we talked almost exclusively about different combinations to try through the discovery tab - much to the chagrin of the one guy who only cared about PvP. Like most things in Guild Wars 2, a player can look everything up in the official Wiki - including ingredient locations and all available recipes - but that sounds like an incredibly boring way to ruin a good time.
Basically what I'm trying to say is this - Cooking is awesome. Did I mention you get boosts to your attack, speed, defense, magic find and basically anything else you could possibly care about through Cooking? No, because it doesn't matter. People who get into Cooking in Guild Wars 2 for the boons are the same people who look like they are going to win, but ultimately lose in a thrilling penalty shootout in every Disney movie. Don't be that guy.
Next week we will wrap up Guild Wars 2 with a look at what is fast becoming my second favourite part of the game (next to Cooking obviously) - PvP! More specifically World vs World, which is fun, as opposed to Player vs Player, which I am bad at and is therefore stupid.
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