I swore when I rolled Terntia over on Firefoot that I was NOT going to get involved with crafting.
No, no, no, it was not going to happen. I was not going to be distracted by it.
Not that crafting in Lord of the Rings Online is bad. In fact, it is enticingly good to start with. You can, almost immediately, begin to craft useful items, items that are upgrades to the kit with which you start out.
That is how they suck you in to crafting. Once you can make something useful, you want to do it again.
And you’ll have to do it again… and again… and again. That is because to advance to the second tier of crafting, you first must make enough items to achieve a basic proficiency in the first tier. Then to get to the third tier, you must gain a master proficiency in the first tier, plus basic proficiency in the second.
And if you have one of the skills that makes finished products, like armor or weapons, to move past basic proficiency at each tier you have to do a quest, some of which used to be hella hard at level.
I was just going to say no all of that. I would gather resources, sell them at the auction house, and then just buy what I needed.
So Terentia chose the explorer trade class, which mines ore, harvests wood, and can tailor light (cloth) and medium (leather) armor. (All of this LOTRO trade skill stuff is detailed nicely on the crafting page over at LOTRO-Wiki.) I was determined just to sell resources.
And how did that work out. Well, here is how Terentia stands at the moment.
As an expert (and master expert) Forester and expert Prospector, she now has access to the fourth (of six) trade skill tier for these professions. They are the harvesting professions, and so would naturally progress as part of my initial plan.
Then there is the expert Tailor title.
It turned out to be not as bad as it once was to level up a profession that makes finished products, something illustrated by Silinus’ progress. (And I wasn’t going to make any alts either, so you see what a tower of Jell-0 I can be on these sorts of decisions.)
Silinus has prospector up to master expert level, but also has access to the fourth tier of woodworking and weaponsmithing.
So what changed my mind on this subject. A few things, actually.
Access to trade skill materials: Harvesting got an upgrade from the day one “one node, one resource drop” model quite a while back, but other things seem to be more readily available as well. Recipes, especially, seemed to drop more often as well as special ingredients. And then there are some special quests focused on giving trade skill related rewards that open up more recipe and rare item access.
More reasonable trade skill quests: As mentioned above, to advance a tier in a trade skill that produces finished goods, you have to go complete a quest. The initial quests for tier 2 and tier 3 used to be heinously difficult to c0mplete at level in anything short of a full fellowship. A couple involved sneaking into a zone way over your level and taking out an elite mob also way over your level.
That has been dialed back some. You still have to sneak into a dangerous zone, but now the elite mob is level appropriate and you can solo it with some care.
Oddly, at higher tiers, the quests seem to get considerably easier. For example, to get access to artisan woodworking, the tier past expert, Silinus just had to collect some special wood and then help repair a bridge.
Then there were the vagueries of the auction house: The auction house in LOTRO is not totally dead, but neither is it a supermarket of choices. I quickly found that I could not depend on it for all of my equipment upgrade needs. Quests do a pretty good job of that, but you can go for long stretches before you get, say, a new spear.
So I started making medium armor with Terentia, then got Silinus on woodworking and weaponsmithing, which together seemed to cover most of their armor and weapon needs.
Finally, there was the matter of money: Part of the initial harvest and sell plan for trade skills was based on my initial wave of characters being dirt poor. In the early days of the game the weight of repair bills and the stingy rewards from quests did not leave your average adventurer with much in the way of savings. From my first wave of characters on Windfola, I have three at or around level 30, and they might have a gold between them. Buying that level 35 mount was going to be a rough road.
Now, however, with my latest characters on Firefoot, both also in the level 30 range, money does not seem so tight. They have about five gold a piece and still have some time before they need to buy a mount. And this was without selling resources at the auction house.
And, as a bonus point, the shared storage space that came with the explorer’s kit was a big help to a combined harvesting/crafting effort. Having 20 slots to exchange raw materials and finished goods between Silinus and Terentia made things a lot more manageable (and less expensive) than having to send everything by mail.
I was thus able to indulge my crafting desires… because I feel that need in every MMO I play… and actually benefit from it over time.
Now I just have to do something with all those gems I have in the bank or I’ll end up rolling another alt just to have a jeweler.
I could go the Tinker route though… that would give me jeweler, prospector, and cook… good food is very important and way too short lived in Middle-earth. Hrmm.