Daily Archives: April 26, 2011

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.