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Diving Deep Into ESO's Crafting

Michael Bitton Posted:
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Clothier, Blacksmithing, and Woodworking

These three are being lumped together because while they all create different sets of items, they are functionally identical in how they work.

  • Clothier uses plants and hides to produce light and medium armor, respectively
  • Blacksmithing uses ore to produce melee weapons and heavy armor
  • Woodworking uses wood to produce bows, staves, and shields

None of the aforementioned crafting skills require the use of any equipped tools, so all you need to do is go out in the world and find the appropriate nodes (ore, wood, etc) or kill creatures to acquire their hides. Once you’ve gathered your materials, you’ll want to go the appropriate station and refine them into usable ore, planks, and so on. You can also extract these materials from existing weapons and armor you’ve found in your adventures.

Once you’ve got your materials, the basic process of crafting is to pick an item type (ex. Dagger), select the appropriate material for the level of item you’d like to produce (you can add more of that material to bump up the level within the level range that material governs), select a racial style, and then select a trait if applicable.

Each piece of armor, weapon, staff, or shield you create can be created in different styles. In the beginning, you’ll only have access to your own racial style, but you’ll be able to learn other styles later on. Each style corresponds to a certain style stone and your crafted item will consume one of these stones in addition to the other materials necessary. For example, if you are crafting in Dunmer style, you’ll need a piece of Obsidian. As one might expect, crafting in different styles changes the look of the item, but that’s it. It’s a purely cosmetic difference. Style stones can be purchased from a vendor or acquired randomly through the extraction process.


  • Breton
  • Redguard
  • Orc
  • Dunmer
  • Nord
  • Argonian
  • Altmer
  • Bosmer
  • Khajit
  • Ancient Elf
  • Reach
  • Primitive
  • Daedric
  • Imperial

As you can see, there are quite a few styles to learn, even beyond the styles for each race. This allows you to mix and match gear however you like to create a look that suits you. The progression involved in learning all the styles should also give dedicated craftsmen something to strive for and set themselves apart.

Traits are another way you can customize your gear.  Traits allow you to add significantly impactful properties to the items you create during the creation process. Adding a trait to an item requires a trait’s corresponding stone and that the research for that trait be completed for the specific type of gear you’re trying to create. 

To learn a trait, you’ll need an existing piece of gear with the trait you want on it. Let’s use the ‘Sturdy’ Trait in our example. Sturdy gives your piece of gear an X% chance to avoid decay when you die. If you want to learn the Sturdy trait, you will need to go the Research tab of whichever station you are currently working on and find the item with the Sturdy trait already applied to it. You can then click on that item to begin researching the trait. Research will take several hours to complete and will consume the item as part of the process. You can potentially research multiple items at a time, but the research will take longer as a result. Again, researching a trait will only unlock that trait for the specific type of item you researched it on. If you researched the Sturdy trait on a heavy armor chest piece, you won’t be able to apply Sturdy to heavy armor gloves unless you also research it for heavy armor gloves. 

Once the research is unlocked, you’ll need the trait’s corresponding stone in order to apply it to an item during the creation process and that stone will be consumed as part of the process. Additional stones can be acquired through extraction from other items or perhaps found or bought.

Traits (Armor):

  • Sturdy –%Chance to avoid Decay when defeated
  • Impenetrable -- +Crit Resistance
  • Reinforced -- +% Armor value on item
  • Well-fitted – Reduce sprint cost
  • Training -- +Experience with item’s corresponding skill line (e.g. +% Heavy Armor experience)
  • Infused -- +% on Armor enchant effect
  • Exploration +% Exploration experience
  • Divines -- +% Mundus Stone effect

Traits (Weapons):

  • Powered – Reduce weapon enchant cooldowns by +%
  • Charged – Increase enchantment charges by +%
  • Precise -- +Weapon/Spell Critical value
  • Infused – Increase weapon enchant effect by +%
  • Defending +% Total armor and spell resistance
  • Training - +Experience with item’s corresponding skill line
  • Sharpened – Increase armor and spell penetration by +%
  • Weighted -- +% Attack speed

And finally, you have Improvements. Improvements allow you take a piece of crafted gear and upgrade its quality. All crafted weapons, armor, shields, and staves are produced at common (white) quality. If you want to increase their quality you will need to use the item’s corresponding crafting station and appropriate improvement material.

For example, to upgrade a white heavy armor chest piece to green quality, you will need a Honing Stone. Each Honing Stone you apply to the Improvement process will increase the chance of the Improvement completing successfully by 20% (base).  This means you’ll need five stones to guarantee the Improvement or you can roll the dice with fewer stones. So far, I’ve only been able to find improvement materials by randomly getting them from extracting resources from other pieces of gear. 


  • Tailoring/Metalworking/Woodworking – Governs the use of material tiers
  • Keen Eye: Cloth/Ore/Wood – Resource nodes are easier to see at X range
  • Outfitter/Miner/Lumberjack Hireling – Hireling will send you resources corresponding to its respective craft (and perhaps other items) once a day.
  • Unraveling/Metal Extraction/Wood Extraction – Improves chances of acquiring materials through extraction
  • Stitching/Metallurgy/Carpentry – Reduce research times and allow for additional concurrent research tasks
  • Tannin/Temper/Resin Expertise – Increases the chances of improving an item with Improvement materials

As you can see, there is quite a bit to dig into with crafting in The Elder Scrolls Online. I used to be a player that absolutely loathed crafting in MMOs, but now I’m eager to find games that approach crafting in an interesting and meaningful way. Elder Scrolls Online looks to be on course to do just that. There’s a great level of breadth and depth to the options available (with Provisioning perhaps being the sole exception) and crafting seemed to be a worthwhile pursuit in my adventures so far.

You simply have a ton more control over the look and stats of your gear as you level if you pay more attention to crafting than you would by simply using drops alone. And while it’s hard to say what role crafting will play in ESO’s endgame PvP/PvE content, it’s readily apparent that the possibilities for customizing gear dovetail well with the same possibilities for customizing your skills and weapon loadouts.

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB

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Michael Bitton

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB