Well folks, it is finally here: a firsthand look at Crafting in Elder Scrolls Online. This past week we got to play the game for a long while at Zenimax Online Studios and crafting was in there. We stumbled upon it, brewed some Dawnstar Ale and cheered! From what we have seen so far, the Crafting system does not disappoint. With ingredients and additives available all over for players to find, the system encourages experimentation. Also the breakdown of Crafting Professions is very much Elder Scrolls at heart. So let’s take a full look.
What can you Craft?
The professions are: Provisioner, Enchanter, Weaponsmith, Armorsmith, and Alchemist. These five cover everything that you can make in the game. You will get Crafting points which you can distribute to the skills. The team said that you can Master two skills or have a decent base in all five. Being an MMO with guilds and a world economy, it makes the most sense to master two of the five. However, if you are a true solo player, you can do all five, just not as well as the masters.
We talked with Paul Sage about crafting and progression...
We saw two examples of what you can make. The first was the Dawnstar Ale which I made in the demo. I had found some grains in a barrel in town and also got some Pure Water off of a shelf in the island’s palace. I was going through a dungeon and found a campfire. It said “Press E to use the campfire” and so I did. Then my Orc was standing with a bowl and working over the fire. Provisioner had two categories: cooking and brewing. I was able to add the Grains and Pure Water as the main ingredients and DawnStar Ale was made. I did not have any Additives this time, but more on that later.
The next example we saw was during a demo when Paul Sage had his Orc blacksmithing an axe. For those of you interested: yes you can make all of the racial armors and weapons in Elder Scrolls, plus a few other classics. Daedric weapons please, yes, and thanks. Paul crafted the axe using Iron Ingots and another ingredient, but then went crazy with the Additives (again more later). The result was an Iron Battleaxe of Undead Bane and Lightning. Yes, you heard that right. Because Paul was an Orc he was able to make the axe in the Orc styling. All the races will automatically get their own weapon and armor racials to learn. A Blacksmith can learn to craft other types of weapons and armor, but they told us that was something to be discovered in game and not just handed out freely.
How do you Craft?
The crafting interface is very easy to pick up. You go to an anvil and forge for example as a Blacksmith. We did not see the Enchanter’s table or Alchemist’s lab yet. Once at the spot, the game will ask you if you would like to use the Forge. Then it shows your character working on whatever the profession is, hammering for blacksmith, mixing over the fire for brewing etc. The screen opens up slots for Primary Ingredient, Secondary Ingredient, and then three slots for Additives. The Primary and Secondary Ingredients actually make the item you want. So in the weapon case, it was the axe. The Additives are where the real experimentation comes into play. You have three slots to add different additives which give the weapon its propers. You can also max up to five of each additive. So you can make a weapon that is very strong at one particular skill.
The experimentation of the system really comes into play with the additives as everything in the game brings different properties to the weapons or potions. Finding out what everything does and then getting the right combination is something all the players can enjoy. There are definitely a ton of ingredients lying around the world just like any of the Elder Scrolls games. Even at level two I made the Ale which I used to heal myself after a fight with some pretty nasty pirates. Once the item is made, it shows up on your screen. A good example of how additives work is when I made my Dawnstar Ale: Paul also did brewing and created Invigorating Dawnstar Ale which was much stronger than the one I had brewed. This is all done through the experimentation in Crafting.
Will my Crafts be useful?
Absolutely! The team is very serious about crafting producing some of the best loot in the game. So becoming a master weaponsmith will bring you great results. They also said that if you get some great high level gear from a dungeon run or beating a boss in another zone you will be able to enhance them through Crafting.
They also said they want crafting to be fun and not a grind. They want you to make some great experiments and the system is open enough for a lot of combinations. Paul Sage explained that the more you craft the better you get at finding the right combinations.
Overall I think all of the journalists there were very impressed with the Crafting system and demo. I know in Skyrim I spent a lot of points in blacksmithing and enchanting on my Orc to make some serious two-handed weapons. I can only imagine how things will go in Elder Scrolls Online. The best thing to take away from the Crafting was that it will be on par with raid weapons and loot. They want the top items in the game to come from crafters. One last note: they did not talk about an in-game economy, but they did say they wanted crafting to really encourage trade among players. Let’s see how it all plays out and how that trade is initiated later on.
What do you think of crafting in ESO? Let us know in the comments below!