Image courtesy of Niami Denmother
With tradeskills being a frequent topic of conversation around the forums, and an area of EQII that I find especially fascinating, I decided to have a chat with EQTraders.com's very own Niami Denmother to find out a little bit more about tradeskills and what makes her tick.
Piestro: What got you interested in tradeskills in MMOs?
Niami: I was invited to the final phase of beta for the original EverQuest, and ended up hooked the moment I combined items in my spit and came up with something edible!
Piestro: How did you get involved with EQ2?
Niami: I was already busy with our EQ tradeskills site, but the hubbyogre convinced me that we should look into EQ2 tradeskills as well. So, I hopped into the beta a couple weeks before launch, discovered the wonders of furniture, and got slurped in.
Piestro: What about tradeskills in EQ2 appeals to you? How many level 90 crafters do you have? Any level 92 yet?
Niami: What about EQ2 tradeskills appeals to me? That's actually a tough question. On some days, I just like being able to create something useful, instead of slaughtering everything in sight. Other days, I'm more in the mood for "combat harvesting". I enjoy having some variety - crafting quests when I'm in the mood, helping others with their crafted items needs, or even just curling up in my guildhall or home crafting for my alt-army.
I have six level 92 crafters on Test. Of my 13 level 90+ crafters on my home server, ten of them are 92, the other three are 91 and currently only leveling through apprentice runs.
Piestro: What was your favorite item you ever crafted? Why?
Niami: Wow. You want me to limit it to a single item? It really is a tossup between three items. First, there was the generic elm table that started me on my furniture addiction. Then there was the first DenMother's trail mix that my provisioner made, and all that it symbolized. It wasn't quite the "Straightjacket of Tradeskilling" that I'd been requesting for years, but it was still simply wonderful to see something named after me in both EQ and EQ2. (I still bring the "trail mix" that inspired it to Fan Faire every year.) Finally, there was the Blessed Coldain Prayer Shawl. It was absolutely fabulous to see a tradeskill heritage quest that borrowed heavily from the EQ version of the item, and it brought back a lot of lovely memories. (Between Test and my home server, I have a dozen shawls. I should do the rest of the 90+ crowd, but with everything else that has been going on, I need a bit of a breather.)
Piestro: How would you describe tradeskills in EQ2 to someone who has never tried them before?
Niami: You can create a variety of items for yourself and others, using harvested materials and purchased fuel. What items you will be able to make in the long run (armor, spell upgrades, food, furniture and more), will be decided by which crafting profession you choose once you sample the various artisan offerings.
Piestro: What's your recommendation for someone starting off with tradeskills? What's a good start and what resources should they check out?
Niami: I strongly recommend running through the crafting tutorial that is available in crafting societies in every major city. It will give you a good feel for the various crafting classes, teach you about crafting events that need to be countered, and so on. By the time you finish that series, you should be ready for level 10 and choosing to become a scholar, craftsman or outfitter. Then you can dive right into the New Halas crafting quest series. You will find a variety of helpful resources in both the Tradeskill Guides section of eq2.eqtraders.com and in the Quests section. If furniture is your great passion, you'll also find the Furniture Gallery to be filled with images of all the lovely crafted furniture. In addition, you will likely find the /crafting channel on your server to be of help, and those in the mood for decorating should keep an eye on /antonia_bayle.homeshow and the fabulous decorating community that can be found there.
Piestro: Have you experienced much GU 63 tradeskill content yet? Anything you particularly like?
Niami: Since GU63 only covers a 2-level increase, not a full tier, I gobbled through the crafting content pretty quickly. I really enjoy the new furniture, of course, and the short quest series that gives us our new recipe books also gives us some of the lore information for the area. (Getting access to a cloak that allows me to stay airborne out there without worrying about the dragon is a boon for those of my crafters who aren't also high level adventurers, too!)
Piestro: So a number of people who aren't tradeskillers themselves have expressed some interest in the various items obtained from tradeskillers. How would you recommend people approach tradeskillers about getting something crafted?
Niami: Crafters will have different access to recipes based not only on their crafting class and level, but also based on faction recipes obtained, what recipes they have had their apprentices researched and more. Because of this, the first thing you need to know is exactly what you want, and to be clear about that when requesting an item to be made. A request in /crafting that reads "Looking for someone to make level 91-92 scout experts", for example, is more likely to get the attention of a crafter able to make what you need, than would "Can someone make some spells for me?" This is especially true for newer content, where even the crafters are getting used to items and terminology.
Also remember at payment time that they have expenses as well, in the form of resources, recipe books, time invested and so on. (It is always a good thing to discuss the cost up-front, to prevent misunderstandings.)
Piestro: Is there a good resource you know of for non-tradeskillers to learn about tradeskills enough to be informed before they start looking to get something made?
Niami: This covers a LOT of ground, based on what they're looking to have made.
Are they looking to have Mastercrafted gear or Expert CA/spells made? If so, knowing what different rares are needed for their class is a must, and they might find the rare guides for fighters, mages, priests and scouts to be of use.
Are they looking for crafted battleground gear, void shard armor, mark of manaar armor, Thurgadin or Ry'gorr gear, or from special Velious 1 dungeon drops? The level 80+ commissioned gear guide should help them know what they're going to need. Are they looking for gear made from reactants or from the elite Velious apprentices? Different crafters will have access to different recipes, so it is good to know a bit about the basic apprentices that research reactant recipes and the two elite apprentices that research recipes that require Skyshrine drops. The latter is especially important, because that lovely drop you found from the heroic or raid instances in Skyshrine will need several other drops before you are ready to have something made. Are they looking for crafted "white" adornments or tier-appropriate food and drink?
A lot of crafting information, of course, can be found over at eq2.eqtraders.com. However, there's only so much information one halfling can pull out of her brain to help folks along, so it isn't going to cover everything everyone will want to know. Also, there are times when a bit of rewording can also help make more sense to one person than another, so remember to also make use of your server's /crafting community.
Piestro: Anything else you'd like to share?
Niami: Crafting in EQ2 has become very rich in detail. Gone are the days when there is "just" Mastercrafted and Handcrafted gear. There are recipes from quests, from various factions. Ones that need special drops. Ones that even need special crafting equipment. No-trade or heirloom items that require the commission crafting system. The above-mentioned apprentice recipes, where each recipe takes a certain amount of time to research, and where it might be a bit harder to find a crafter immediately available who has researched the specific item that you desire. Have patience when asking, as it might take a crafter a bit of time to finish up a timed writ (or the fight that they're in while out adventuring), before they can respond. Remember to be as specific as possible when making the request, as it helps the crafter(s) who see the request know if it is something that they can help you with.
And, for goodness's sake, if you're just starting out with crafting, choose a profession that you enjoy. Otherwise, you are likely to put a lot of time and effort into it, only to give up at some later date. Even if it doesn't immediately rake in the wild money on the broker, a determined crafter can always find some items that have value, especially in the higher tiers with the variety of special recipes that are available from quests, faction, and so on.