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Elder Scrolls Online Previews: Diving Deep Into ESO's Crafting

By Michael Bitton on February 07, 2014

Crafting in The Elder Scrolls Online is surprisingly deep and satisfying. As a whole, ESO is a game that will often surprise you whenever you try to play it more like an MMO with an Elder Scrolls skin. The team at Zenimax Online has gone out of its way to make it obvious that ESO is first and foremost an Elder Scrolls game and this extends to the game’s crafting system. For the most part, ESO’s crafting plays out just like it would in Skyrim or Oblivion.

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Today, we’re going to offer an in-depth look at crafting in ESO, breaking down each discipline into separate sections.

Provisioning

Let’s kick things off with Provisioning, which benefits least from playing to your expectations of cooking in an Elder Scrolls game. Provisioning is the most simple and straightforward of all of ESO’s crafting disciplines. It’s also a bit tedious, unless you’re an obsessive scavenger type.

Recipes and materials are acquired by searching through the game’s vast amount of crates, pots, trunks, and other containers. Once a recipe is acquired, all you need to do is consume it to add it to your list of known recipes. From there, it’s just a matter of having the materials required for the recipe and hitting craft at a cooking fire. That’s literally it. Ironically, this is an improvement over Skyrim, where cooking wasn’t even an official crafting skill. When compared to the other crafting skills available in ESO, Provisioning stands out like a sore thumb. It’s hard to say at this point whether or not the consumables creating by Provisioning will be worth it or even necessary for players to pursue in ESO, but I can say that the actual act of cooking isn’t anything to write home about.

Provisioning Passives:

  • Recipe Quality – Governs the quality of recipes you can use (green, blue, etc)
  • Recipe Improvement – Governs the max level of recipes you can craft
  • Gourmand – Extends the duration of effects granted by eaten food
  • Connoisseur – Extends the duration of effects granted by consuming drinks
  • Chef – Create extra servings when crafting food
  • Brewer – Create extra servings when brewing drinks
  • Hireling – Hireling will gather food and drink ingredients for you while you’re offline. Can be used once per day

 

Alchemy

Like previous Elder Scrolls games, Alchemy allows you to create potent potions using solvents and reagents found throughout the world. And yes, this means you’ll be wandering around picking flowers and the like and combining them to figure out what they do. That’s right, the sense of experimentation has been fully preserved in Elder Scrolls Online and it’s awesome.  Potions are level gated by their solvent. For example, Natural Water will produce level three potions while Clear Water will produce level 10 potions. If you want a higher level potion, you’ll need a higher level solvent. Aside from that, it’s a simple matter of combining two reagents (three if you have the right passive) for the intended results. However, you’ll have to experiment to reveal each reagent’s four properties by creating potions using them. Potions can even have negative effects, which, again, can be mitigated some by taking one of the Alchemy passives.

Figuring out what each reagent does that and the types of potions you can create with them (while balancing out any potential drawbacks) is sure to be a lot of fun for aspiring Alchemists who can resist looking it all up on various database sites.  As someone who loves to explore every nook and cranny and find new things, this was easily one of my favorite crafting skills during my play.

Alchemy Passives:

  • Solvent Proficiency – Governs the level of solvents that can be used to create potions
  • Keen Eye: Reagents – Makes reagents easier to see in the world
  • Medicinal Use – Potion effects last longer when used
  • Chemistry – Extra potions per attempt
  • Laboratory Use – One extra reagent (total of three) when creating potions
  • Snakeblood – Reduce negative effects of potions by X%.

Enchanting

Enchanting allows you to combine Runestones found in the world (or extracted from Glyphs purchased or found) to create Glyphs that can be applied to your gear. Example Glyphs effects include: give your weapons an elemental damage effect, add health or magicka to your armor, reduce the cost of abilities, and more.

In order to create a Glyph, you’ll need to combine one each of Potency, Aspect, and Essence Runestones. Potency Runestones will determine the level of the resulting Glyph, while Aspect Runestones will determine the quality of the Glyph, and Essence Runestones will determine the Glyph’s effect. Like Alchemy, you won’t know what each Runestone does until you use it to create a Glyph, which makes for fun experimentation and discovery.

Enchanting Passives:

  • Aspect Improvement – Governs the quality of Runestones that can be used
  • Potency Improvement – Governs the Potency Runestones that can be used (level of Glyphs that can be crafted)
  • Keen Eye: Runestones – Runestones are easier to see in the world
  • Hireling – Your hireling will find Runestones for you while offline. Can be used once a day
  • Aspect Extraction – Increased chance of extracting Aspect Runestones from Glyphs
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