If you’re like me, you have been looking forward to changes to crafting because of the continued increase of levels and the fact that crafting while flexible have been stuck in a curiosity mode; not really useful above level 15 (and arguably even less) and only as a very limited stop gap item – in particular because of the new random items system and also after the release of shadowfell.
After all – why bother making a +6 item (say constitution) when you can probably find a similar or better random item?
There are some caveats and major changes to the new system. First and foremost flexible shards are gone. This was introduced in 2.0. It was a way to extend the utility of the crafting system without extending the level cap. It was still stuck on 20 and not really useful above a certain level, but the flexible shard system allowed attributes and features to be crafted onto items that generally didn’t have them. Such as onto headgear where you normally would only find that feature on bracers.
Turbines argument is that the new random loot system and in extension crafting, will have a natural flexibility compared to the old system in that you’ll find more attributes and features across more items. Such as spell power on all type of items when it the past it was confined to a very narrow gear selection and some even only on specific named items.
And it is true; it’s hard to find a real limitation when the most important pieces of the puzzle exist on not just some really nice named items now a days, but can also be found on easily geared slots such as rings and necklaces.
However I’d really like to see flexible shards to add another layer of ‘special’ to crafting. Just as it did with 2.0.
Another argument against adding flexible shards is that there are specific features that exist on crafted items only. That is true with random as well. The idea is that if you want a very specific feature it might just exist on crafted items, but the truth is that there are few of those that really stand out as awesome and ‘must have’.
Another essential change is that there is only one type of essence (and you can trade in your old ones for it). That also require some of the old collectible items including purified Eberron shards, but also new collectible materials – many of them specific to either Eveningstar or Stormreach. This includes 2 new purchases in the store; the regular one of essences (no different than how it was before) and a crate with 3 random collectible items (10 each). No idea what the cost is since the store on Lamm have it for 1 gold.
Finally, the wicked witch of BTC seems to be dead. You can re-disjunct old items to the new format and in doing so it won’t change how it’s bound, but once you add a shard of ML it’ll determine the bound status with a major exception. BTC items will become BTA no matter if you make a bound or unbound shard. So you can take formally BTC crafted or such (as you will see below) and make them BTA. And all new unbound items that are created as bound will become BTA. Again, the status on the disjuncted item do not determine the final bound status; adding a shard does.
What that means is that you can take any formerly BTC items (such as those with guild slots) and add bound shards and turn them into BTA. I hope that is as intended, because this would make crafted items useful, even beyond basic stop gap measures.
How it works.
It is a much simplified process; gone is the different shards of increased power of an item – such as con 1, 2, 3 etc. Gone is also shards of potential. This was convoluted system where if you wanted say impulse 54 and something else, it required you to put a specific shard of potential on the item. And the power of these features determined the ML of the item.
This more or less required an external crafting app or else you would have very little idea as to what the ML would be in the end.
The new system works like this; you create a shard of minimum level. That will automatically determine the appropriate level of power of the effect you’re adding. So for attributes like constitution it’s +8 for level 15. So no ambivalence there. It is fully possible to create items without external apps. Altho I’m sure it’s still useful since the old system of prefix and suffix still exist; what that means you cannot have 2 suffix features on an item. You can have one suffix, prefix and extra slot.
Extra slot is usually of an insightful type but that can also be found as suffix type stuff (I think).
There’s right now a bug where you can add more than one extra slot.You do this by adding an extra slot, add a extra slot shard, then add an extra slot, then add an extra slot shard etc. As you’ll see below it’s fully possible now but it will be fixed.
Another thing is that augment slots no longer add a minimum level to an item. So if you have old crafted blanks that still might show up at first as ML 5, once you add an ML level shard on it, it’ll automatically become what ever the ML is for that shard.
And it works.
(I even slotted it to make sure it worked)
As you can see by this example it has the prefix and suffix and 2 extra slots. Now, note that 1 extra slot is how it should work. I simply added an additional one to see if the bug would prevent the item from working. As far as I can tell it does.
Again – that will most likely be fixed. Assume 1 extra slot as the norm. This was also a previously BTC guild slot item. So as you can see it is now BTA – useful for any of your characters. And that is fantastic. Of course guild slot items are really only super useful on the low end, where those extra HP and maybe SP makes a big difference and not really on the higher end where a piddly 15 HP isn’t going to make much difference. In those cases maybe an item with augment slots would make more sense.
Is this better than random?
Not really. Random can still get that little extra. But random is also random. While you can get a higher charisma in random (lucky, lucky roll) it’s unlikely that you also get the combo you like. At least with crafting you can get average good items, the way you want them.
Assuming they fix bugs there is one issue that I noticed myself.
Leveling in crafting works similar in the new system as it did in the old. You craft shards that are above your regular level – the difference gives you a difficulty chance to complete a shard. Too high and you get zero chance, just a little above it can be everything from below 50% up to close to 100. The lower the chance, the higher the experience for completing it.
Normally you don’t get anything for stuff at or below your crafting level and the more of the same shard you make, the less XP you get for each shard.
Traditionally you would use crafting tools that give you an increased chance ontop of the chance to create the shard. Say 15% (I think the max you can buy from the store is 35%.) That’ll add 15% to whatever chance there is to make one. If you fail the roll you waste some mats, if not you get the experience and a shard.
Simple enough. In the old system this was less of an issue since you has a lot more recipes both from unbound and bound using lots of different types from arcane to good to evil etc. It was a convoluted system for sure, but you always had something with 60-70 percent chance to make lots of experience on.
There are a lot fewer recipes in this system and a lot more levels. Granted, you lever somewhat quicker, but the diminishing return on shards still exist.
In the old system the same feature, say impulse spell power had several shards dependent on power and assumed ML. So you could find say 30, 54 and 60 something. In this system there’s only one. It’s the ML shard that determine the power.
While there are more effects to pick from, there are only one shard for that effect. The crafting level determine what new effects you unlock, not what new ML you can add for that effect (old system).
That means that when I tried to level from 223 that I started at, and finally got to 227, I had very few other choices to level with.
I did level ML shards, requiring only essences (altho Turbine is saying that they might add something else to it and I think that is a big mistake; that was never true in the old system. Power of potential was an increasing amount of essence only). You can do both unbound and bound ML shards, but unbound are about twice as much. Again you can, but even doing that will end up with you hitting a arbitrary wall of poor return.
The basic gist of it is that you HAVE to use tools and xp boosting potions. Or else you won’t make enough XP to level up until you hit a shard level where you once more level another recipe with a reasonable return. This is particularly important when you have only 23% to complete in the next dozen or so levels above where you are and it takes increasingly rare materials to make. You don’t want to fail then.
I hope this gets rectified. Either slowing down the diminishing return effect or making failure less painful. One way or another you shouldn’t want a system that banks on people using consumables. That should always be a choice.