I made it.
227 items crafted to get there.
I was determined that while I had the trade skill vitality, while I had the time, and while there was a 20% experience bonus, I was going to get Blintz’s armor skill up to level 30.
Getting to 30 was no easy chore, and it portends a lot of work getting to 40. Getting up to 25 was easy enough. I was able to make a few level 18 and 19 items for initial experience, then started making the level 20 items.
My primary plan to get trade skill experience is to make every item at least once, pristine, to get the extra “first pristine” experience bonus. For levels 10 to 19, this was very easy since, as an outfitter, you can make metal armor, cloth armor, leather armor, and weapons. At level 20 though, your options are limited to metal armor.
For levels 20 through 26 you actually get a few new items to make at each level, so once you get through with the “first pristine” experience, you only have to make a few more items to get to the next level.
Things start to slow down after level 26. At level 27 you only get two new items. That got me about 35% into the level.
At level 28 though, you only get one item! That one item, made the first time, got me 14% of the way into level 28. Then it was time to grind. Each additional pristine version of that item gave me another 5% experience, so I ended up making 20 more, since I did not hit pristine every time.
At level 29 you get two more items to make. But by then I had another problem. I was running out of materials. Every item worth decent experience at that point needed 4 carbonite clusters, 2 strips of boiled leather, and 2 belladonna roots, and my supplies were running out fast.
I was 20% into level 29 when I ran out of boiled leather. A check at the broker showed boiled leather selling for 15sp, a price I was not willing to pay. So I started going through all of my other character’s bank slots looking for supplies. I found quite a bit and started loading up the shared bank slots. This actually cleared out a lot of “old” trade skill supplies I had stockpiled, like carbonite blades for swords, carbonite studs, carbonite pommels, boiled leather hilts, and so on.
Soon I was back up and running.
All of these supplies got me to 97%. And then I ran out of carbonite.
On the broker, carbonite was going for 50sp and more. Despite only needing four more clusters, I was not going to spend 2 gold for them.
I ran out to harvest. Of course, when you really need something, you can never find it. Ore was hiding from me.
I did use the opportunity to get my harvest skills up to at least 140, so I can harvest the next tier of nodes, but I really wanted ore.
The first ore node I found was a tease. It only gave me loam on all three harvests. The next one I found only gave me one carbonite. Finally, in the dwarf mines around the East and West fort Irontoe, I managed to harvest some carbonite.
(In all of my tier 3 harvesting I never once saw a steel cluster.)
I got back, made that last item, and hit level 30.
That not only got me a new tier of items to make, but at 30 you get a new set of trade skill reactions that promote durability. Since I always shoot for pristine, the durability reactions are all I use. That made the end of the 20s a challenge as well, since I was still using the level 10 reactions.
Now I need to find some supplies and get in a few more levels before the holiday trade skill bonus goes away!
Meanwhile, I have hosed the carbonite armor market by trying to sell all of the pristine items I made. Anybody need some carbonite armor on the Crushbone server?