Now that Game Update 63 is on the live servers, we wanted to revisit tradeskills with a bit more depth. A ton of tradeskill content was added as part of this Game Update, so we sat down with Designer Brian "Omougi" Ferguson to get his take on it all.

Piestro: So this was a big update as far as tradeskill items are concerned?

Omougi: Yeah, we added several hundred new tradeskill items, some very specialized. We expect some of these items to be useful for quite some time to come, especially special clicky items and consumables!

Piestro: Everyone loves clickies. What sort of clickies did you folks add?

Omougi: Two for each archtype, group and raid versions. An example is the Tank focused one, which gives 20% damage reduction for 12 seconds for the group clickie, and 25% for the raid version. It essentially gives them another defensive cooldown.

Piestro: Tanks can always use another "OH NO" button!

Omougi: Healers get one as well. It puts a ward and a heal on their defensive target (quite a large one) so it can help out in those nasty situations.

Piestro: So what are some favorite items that you added, or particularly interesting ones?

Omougi: Well carpenters got a lot of housing items for sure this update. We worked with carpenters especially during Beta to make sure they felt they were getting enough. Initially it was a bit light, so we went back and worked with the artists to make sure they had plenty of unique and interesting stuff!

Piestro: Very cool!

Omougi: We really liked that we hit poisons and potions in this update too. This was an area where our existing items weren't scaling as well as we'd like. It's important to make sure that the items are relevant but not necessary. We're much happier with the balance now. We don't want people to feel like they need to carry a bag full of consumables, but if they really want to go that extra mile and eke out an extra few percent of effectiveness they can.

Piestro: Potions are something that we've seen a lot of feedback on the forums about, and more effective potions that are more relevant is a pretty big deal. How about scholar type classes?

Omougi: Sages and Alchemists will be very busy making everyone's spell upgrades for sure! Another thing we did this update was to make sure that the base gear created through tradeskills was much more competitive compared to drop gear. We spent some time mapping out exactly where we wanted this gear to fall in progression so that it would be useful and interesting without eliminating drops from viability. There isn't a full set of Mastercrafted gear available, but there is enough so that you could go in to a group instance and do just fine. These aren't dead slots because they aren't quested gear.

This affects jewelers, armorers, weaponsmiths, everyone. We also put in new bags, which is always a crowd pleaser. I'm actually using them myself to do testing!

Piestro: So this isn't a full "Tier" of crafting correct?

Omougi: Correct. We did mix in some things and front load some of the tradeskills a bit because we felt they could use it a bit more. For example with poisons we felt they needed a little more right away. They'll be a little sparser towards the end of the tier but that gives us some room to potentially make some new poisons.

Piestro: What item would you say has the most "cool factor"?

Omougi: I really like tanks, so what jumps to mind for me is the Hammer of Concussive Omens. It has a hate gain proc, that buffs your groups DPS, gives you a damage reduction effect, and potentially knocks your enemies down. It's a unique effect, but not something that's irreplaceable. The Dragonbone Guard is another fun one, with a nice proc that goes off when you get hit. For scouts I really like the clicky, with a buff that really increases the damage you do for a short period of time. It's a nice thing, but definitely not required.

Piestro: So one of the things we've noticed is the food and drink is much nicer this time around. Was this intentional?

Omougi: In Age of Discovery stat food became much easier to acquire, and this took a little bit away from handcrafted food. This time around we've created a clear progression of food that starts with handcrafted and improves with group and raid tradeskill apprentice food. You can get the same effects, to a lesser degree, with handcrafted food. If you're looking for optimal you will probably want tradeskill apprentice food, but for general running around handcrafted food gives you a lot of the same bonuses.

Piestro: So let's go with the controversial question... If you only had one level 92 tradeskiller in GU63, what would it be?

Omougi: *pauses to think deeply*

Gninja: Asking him to play favorites huh?

Piestro: It'll help get discussion started!

Gninja: Just say Assassin.

Piestro: *laughs*

Omougi: I want to say Alchemist. They got a little more attention this Game Update and I think that what they can make should be pretty desirable. Everyone gets something awesome, but I like the idea of making consumables that are viable for anyone doing any level of content.

Piestro: Is there anything you'd like to say to tradeskillers or anything you want them to all check out?

Omougi: I'd say go check out the Withered Lands tradeskill content, and get their new recipes. They should all get their Tradeskill Apprentices too, and talk to one another. Find out who is making what, and carve out a niche on your server!

Piestro: Thanks Omougi!