Planning a Division of Labors

With the transition of the instance group to a new game, everybody is in the process of establishing their role in the new order of things in EverQuest II.

We started with our characters, shaking out into the roles of tank, healer, and a variety of not necessarily DPS classes. (Okay, the wizard is totally DPS, but the troubadour and the swashbuckler have more tricks in their portfolio than a Swiss Army knife.)

After character classes, we started talking about trade skills.  Trade skills can be very useful in EQ2, and some of them feel almost indispensable to any regular group or guild.

Not all of us will pursue trade skills, given the variability of play time across the group.  But a couple of us will, and with Meclin joining us for the ride and an alt or two in play, we can probably count on covering at least 4 of the crafting trades in game.

But which ones should we go after in a serious way?  Which ones will benefit the team the most?

Which craft to choose?

There are nine major crafts in the game, and a character can learn only one.  So while Potshot muses about harvesting materials for trade skills, I am trying to figure out what we should be trying to make.

This is complicated by the Station Cash (SC) Store, something new in the mix of things in EverQuest II Extended.  Some of the crafts compete directly with the store while others have the market to themselves.

The trade skill choices are divided into three categories for reasons of symmetry I would guess.  A couple seem to overlap and one sticks out as different than the rest, but when you force things into groups you’re always going to end up with one of those “and everything that was left” categories.

The trade skill divisions are:

Craftsmen – Workers of wood, makers of pastries

Carpenter – Makes house decorations, storage boxes, salesman’s racks, and altars

  • Plus – Everybody needs those boxes, the salesman’s racks are essential to any serious seller, and housing decorations sell surprising well on the market.
  • Minus – Nothing you make will kill an NPC directly, even if you drop that dresser on it.  Plus the altar thing makes me think of the first two commandments and that scene in Inferno when Alan Carpentier has to explain away making up religions in his books. Is creating a fake person and having them worship a fake god heresy?

Provisioner – Makes food and drink

  • Plus – No SC Store equivalent, player created food has bonuses far beyond NPC vendor food, has been a money making profession in the past.
  • Minus – A lot of people will just by NPC vendor food, while slot-machine like food harvest nodes have a habit of coming up with three lemons when all you needed were two cherries.  And did you keep your fishing skill up to level?

Woodworker – Makes totems, small shields, bows, arrows, other wooden weapons, and gets confused with the carpenter a lot.

  • Plus – Bows are nice and I have made more money selling arrows on the broker than I have via any other method.  And harvesting tools are appreciated by everyone.
  • Minus – Almost everything you make competes with the SC Store.

Outfitters – Makers of player equipment… unless it is made from wood… or is considered jewelry.

Armorer – Makes chain and plate armor plus shields

  • Plus – Very handy to have about when you need a new suit.  People need a whole suit of 10 pieces every 10 levels or so.
  • Minus – The SC store competes directly, with the demise of the first pristine exp bonus you end up having to make a lot of armor sets to level up.

Tailor – Makes cloth and leather armor, plus bags, quivers, and other ammo pouches for ranged weapons.

  • Plus – Like the armor crafter, people need a new suit of something every 10 levels or so, bags are really handy, and quivers and ammo pouches actually sell pretty well.
  • Minus – The SC store sells the same suits and better bags than you’ll be able to make for a long long time.

Weaponsmith – Makes all metal weapons like swords, daggers, and axes.

  • Plus – Handy to have about, not many people take this route, lots of strange and exotic weapons to be made
  • Minus – People generally just need 1 or 2 weapons every 10 levels so selling can be tough even when you don’t compete with the SC Store, and of course you compete directly with it.

Scholars – Makers of skill upgrades and shiny little things

Alchemist – Makes skill upgrades for fighters along with poisons, buffs, and the closest thing to a healing potion in EQ2, which frankly isn’t that close at all.

  • Plus – Lots and lots of recipes, no SC Store competition
  • Minus – Competition comes from the very, very common Adpet skill drops from NPCs which cut into the sale of journeyman skills while NPC vendors sell lesser versions of some of your potions.

Jeweler – Makes skill upgrades for scouts along with items for all of the non-armor spots including rings, necklaces, earrings, and, oddly enough, belts.

  • Plus – Plenty to make, little SC Store or NPC competition
  • Minus – The whole Adept drop competition plus you end up with so many recipes it can be tough to keep track of them and what they do.

Scribe – Makes skill upgrades for priests and mages

  • Plus – Lots of skills to make, no SC Store competition
  • Minus – Adpet level skill drops from NPCs tend to flood the market which kill off the sales of journeyman skills, and all you make are skills

So that is the list.

My temptation is to try and get people to cover all of the scholar professions to cover the making of player skills and spells.  It is easy to forget, coming from WoW, that skills have various quality levels.  The skill tiers have been renamed since I last crafted heavily in EQ2 (and what hasn’t been renamed or reworked heavily in EQ2 by now?), but they are now ranked:

  • Master (rare drop from named mobs)
  • Expert (crafted)
  • Adept (random, but common, drop)
  • Journeyman (crafted)
  • Apprentice (free)

The apprentice skill is what you get for free as you level up.  You don’t even have to visit a guild master or anything.  However, life starts getting tough with only apprentice skills somewhere in the mid-20s and I hear that beyond 70 or so life with such skills becomes near impossible.

So keeping the group out of the apprentice doldrums has an appeal.  On the other hand, I’ve been down the skill creation path before and the free flowing adept skills can crush you if you are not careful.

Still, having those skills upgrades on hand would be good.

At this point I have sent Campell down the path as a jeweler.  That will keep him and Cerredwyn good on skills as well as having all the jewelry slots covered.

Cerredwyn has expressed a desire to try carpentry, so we may have housing decor and boxes.

But what other trade skills should we try to pursue as a group?

I am also tempted to copy over one of my characters from Crushbone.  I have an alchemist and a woodworker that are both up in the 70s skill wise.  And with SOE having dropped the price of a copy by $10 and that half-price Station Cash I just bought, the price of copying one character seems fairly reasonable.

First though, we need to figure out what we want  to do and what we really need.

7 thoughts on “Planning a Division of Labors

  1. Troy

    The system at one time was rich with cross dependencies of one class to another, requiring either creating multiple crafters or relying on others to help construct spells, weapons, armor, and house items. The system of crafting was not simply a mere mashing of buttons.

    But like all things Sony, that was too difficult and was not to last.

    As with everything Everquest, it has been dumbed down to the point of extreme boredom and nauseating repetition.

    Why don’t they create a progress server for EQ II? where the crafting was lively and spirited again!

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Troy – Having gone through the original crafting period in EQ2, I would have to politely discourage any thought of returning to that system.

    The idea was noble, to create interdependent crafting skills. The execution, not so much.

    My first character was an alchemist, a trade at the lucrative end of the food chain, and one of the two most independent trades. (The other being provisioner.) I made all the chemicals that most of the other crafters needed. I grew quite wealthy even with fierce price competition.

    But for people who picked crafts with the intent of actually producing things people could use, life was hell. SOE was trying to keep cash hard to get. No NPCs dropped coin at that point. Only quest rewards and vendor trash made you any money… well, those and the broker.

    So people who made crafting parts were trying to charge as much as the finished product would sell for on the broker. Eventually people were driven to make crafting alts. And once you go there, the market dies off for parts.

    I think if SOE gone a different route and let a craft make actually, usable finished goods and perhaps had interdependency to upgrade them, it might have been viable. But when creating finished goods is a four step process and you depend on other players for the first three, it was a royal pain.

    But you do point out something I was saying in the comment thread in the last post. No matter what the feature is and how many people hate it, there is always somebody out there who thinks it is the best thing ever!

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  3. Rebecca

    Depending on how many of your group have the time to take up crafting professions, I think I’d personally have an alchemist, a scribe, a provisioner and a jeweller in the group (though you say you’ve already got one of those). That way you’ve got professions that will continually provide your group an edge which is slightly better than what you can get elsewhere, and which isn’t only needed once every 10 levels.

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  4. Troy

    I would concur with you, if they followed it down the “food chain”. The next obstacle then was rares, which became the new paradigm for people to make money. So those, like the Alchemist, who used their profession to make money was left out in the cold. All the time spent in Alchemy was lost, and people clamored to find the rares.

    It was then those who cornered the markets on rares that made the money. Buying all other competition out of the market, 20th level something rares were selling for 10s of plat — out of reach of everyone.

    Once the rare was used, it was then passed on to the Master spells and appropriate gear — again, another way to squeeze money out of the masses who played.

    So to me, nothing has changed. So you don’t have the provisioner and alchemist making the money, but rather the “entrepreneur” who corners the market on rares.

    At least with the original system, there was some balance in that all classes made something that other needed: paper, pens, inks, etc… That is what creates a vibrant economy, not one controlled by a few greedy cheats!

    Once again, Sony tried to rectify it by giving players FREE Masters or upgrades to the Master spells, completely cheapening the entire experience.

    Why they just did not increase the drop rates for these, and let the economy flourish with spells on the market — they gutted the whole system for something so dry and unflattering as clicking on what you want and waiting for 30 days (or whatever) for the spell to be plainly and dumbly given to you.

    So, I would still prefer the old system where there was a dynamic culture of crafting, trading, and exploring to one that is driven soley by a few rich players who buy all the rares and a system to pathetically give you FREE spells for doing nothing but ponying up your monthly subscription fee.

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  5. Bhagpuss

    I’d have to politely disagree with Troy on the original EQ2 crafting system. I was there and it was an abomination. That crafting system was directly responsible for two people I knew giving up EQ2 and never playing again, having become max level crafters during the first few weeks. Mrs Bhagpuss, who was one of the top alchemists on our server in the first few months, found it highly stressful, as did I having to listen to her!

    Then again, there was barely anything right with EQ2 in the first year. It’s a thousand times better now than it was then.

    The current crafting system is excellent. Since Domino became the lead craft dev everything has improved month on month. I’d say that most of the crafts are pretty easy to level. You can get just about any of them to level 30 in two or three hours, providing you start with full rested XP and you should be able to have a level 50 in a week without any special effort. And that’s if you gather your own materials. If you buy them off the broker it’s far faster, of course.

    I’d concentrate on whoever makes the armor you need and whoever makes the spells/skills. If half your group is determined to stay with Bronze accounts, though, they aren’t going to get much benefit because I think that means they won’t be able to wear Mastercrafted or scribe Experts. (Not looked at the Matrix recently so that might not be right).

    At Silver, however, MC and Expert are allowed and that is all anyone needs below 80+ level heroic dungeon content.

    Provisioner is probably the most grindingly tedious craft, but it does have the advantage that any account level can use the food and drink. (I can’t believe anyone actually uses vendor food/drink, which is appalling. Even much lower level crafted food and drink than your level will far outstrip vendor stuff).

    If you get into housing you will want to do carpentry. It’s probably the most fun of all the crafts, anyway, and as you say you can make money at it too.

    I have a level 80 (maxed on Silver) Weaponsmith on Freeport. Mrs Bhagpuss has several maxed or nearly maxed crafters there. I did weaponsmith because I hadn’t done it before. If I did it again I’d have done armorsmithing, though, because there are a lot more armor slots to fill than weapons.

    Also, Sages do make something other than spells – they make the books that players can write in!

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  6. Green Armadillo

    I can’t speak to the prior state of the professions, but here are my current experiences:

    – Provisioner is useless, never take it. Even if someone gives you the exp for free, the time it takes you to craft food is not worth the difference in price between the cost of NPC fuel and what you can pay for cooked food on the broker.

    – Spell crafting professions are indeed very useful, especially at higher levels – bear in mind that at low levels you’re going to have “competition” from the automated spell upgrade research tab.

    – If you wear cloth or leather armor, tailor is arguably the best profession because it fills all your armor slots, makes trinkets everyone can use, and the bags. I don’t recommend Weaponsmith for the solo crafter because you need one weapon per 10 adventuring levels, YMMV if you’re crafting for a group.

    – Carpenter is the best profession if you’re not committed to keeping it up to pace with your adventuring. Cosmetic furniture is still cosmetic if you’re level 90 adventurer and 20 crafter. Level 20 armor is useless in the same scenario.

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  7. Mallika

    When I played EQ2, I loved my carpenter — I agree with Green Armadillo that it’s the best, most fun profession … more fluff than anything else, but fluff is something I adore.

    If/When the multiple housing drops, I think I may come back to EQ2, even if I’m playing Rift or whatever else. I love housing so much.

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