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Research and Development: Crafting in Champions Online

Updated Tue, Aug 18, 2009 by Sardu

The crafting system in Champions Online offers players the opportunity to expand their arsenal of upgrades and devices, and can even be a means of creating interesting new visual elements for many of the available powers in the game. At first glance the system can be a bit daunting, as crafting deviates from industry norms in a few key areas while still providing a fairly robust overall experience. To help players better understand what Research and Development is all about, we’ve put together a complete guide to crafting in Champions Online.

Contents:


A Crafty Contrivance


The easiest means of picking up a crafting profession will be to follow the quest chain, A Crafty Contrivance, which can be started in either the Crisis in Canada or Desert Disaster crisis zones just after completion of the Qulaar Invasion tutorial mission arc. Be sure to check out our survival guides for each zone for a complete walkthrough of the intro quests for crafting.

While the survival guides are a great means of getting pointed in the right direction, they won’t cover some of the finer details of what makes crafting tick in Champions, so read on for a complete breakdown of the three main professions, their associated components and last but not least the nitty-gritty details on research and development.

Arms, Mysticism and Science


Crafting is broken down into three main professions; Arms, Science and Mysticism. While each of these professions offers a self-contained overall progression, there are a few key areas that help distinguish each of the three. It should also be noted that each character can only progress in one of the available professions at a time, though you’re also free to switch between then at any point. Doing so will reset your advancement though, but you will retain any previously learned recipes should you ever decide you want to switch back.

The following details are a good starting point when trying to decide which profession might synergize best with your current champion, as Arms, Science and Mysticism each have a particular focus primarily based on what stats any associated upgrades from that school can or cannot enhance.

Below, you’ll find a complete breakdown of which stats are not covered by that school’s upgrades, broken down by the available upgrade slot types:

Arms:
  • Utility: No PRE
  • Defense: No EGO, END, INT, PRE
  • Offense: No PRE

Science:
  • Utility: No PRE
  • Defense: No DEX, REC, STR
  • Offense: No PRE

Mysticism:
  • Utility: No CON
  • Defense: No CON, DEX, REC, STR
  • Offense: No CON

Taking the stats listed above into account, you can make some loose associations as to which Power Sets might be best suited for a particular crafting school. For example a Sorcerer will benefit most from selecting Mysticism while a character focused on melee attacks might find more useful upgrades contained in the available Arms blueprints.

Tip: Certain instances or lairs will include interactive objects that can only be used if you have the appropriate crafting skill of the minimum required level. For example you might head into an underground bunker to put a stop to one of ARGENT’s lieutenants and have the option to disarm or even rewire the defensive weapons systems if you have a high enough Arms skill.

Blueprints


A Blueprint is a recipe used to make individual upgrades either for your character, or to be traded with other players via the in-game Auction House, while Schematics will teach you how to craft different devices or consumables. Both can usually be purchased from NPC vendors for the associated crafting school, though on occasion they might also be obtained as quest rewards, loot or even from a highly successful Experimentation attempt.

To learn a new blueprint or schematic, double click it in your inventory and it will automatically be added to your list of known recipes based on the particular category it falls under. Each of the three crafting schools will have a uniquely named type of recipe for each type of upgrade, as listed below:

Arms Upgrades:
  • Fighting Techniques (Blueprint name: Kata)
  • Alien Biology (Blueprint name: Dossier)
  • Ordnance (Blueprint name: Diagram)

Mysticism Upgrades:
  • Arcana (Blueprint name: Grimoire)
  • Avatars (Blueprint name: Apotheosis)
  • Enchanted Gear (Blueprint name: Imbuement)

Science Upgrades:
  • Inventions (Blueprint name: Schematic)
  • Mutations (Blueprint name: Mutagen)
  • Exposures (Blueprint name: Catalyst)

Components


Components are the building blocks for crafting upgrades, devices, bags and even certain power replacers in Champions Online and can be obtained in one of two ways. The first of these is by interacting with Skill Objects randomly placed throughout the world. These objects will correspond to the three main crafting professions – Arms, Science or Mysticism - and will have minimum skill level requirements to use.

Skill objects include items such as weapons caches, portable labs and mystical artifacts and are typically found near villains who would use that particular type of item. For example you might find magical items near members of DEMON or PSI, scientific equipment near VIPER agents or weapon lockers near ARGENT members. This same rule holds true within any instanced mission areas, so you might head into a building to stop DEMON members from completing a ritual as part of a Patrol Mission, and within the instance there may be Mysticism skill objects randomly placed.

The second method for obtaining components is through conducting Research, which will be described in greater detail below.

Components will have three main ‘frequencies’, or degrees of rarity; Common, Uncommon and Rare. These frequencies are represented by the color of the component name: Yellow for Common, Blue for Uncommon and Purple for Rare. Most tiers will have 4 different components for each associated profession, with some extremely rare components thrown into the mix with higher tiers that allow you to ‘develop’ the highest quality for certain upgrades.

Research


Research is the primary means of crafting advancement, though on occasion you may also gain advancement points by interacting with skill objects. To conduct research, simply interact with a crafting station for your chosen crafting school, and click on the ‘Research’ tab located at the top of the crafting UI window. It’s also handy to keep your inventory open, as research primarily consists of breaking down upgrades into their individual components.

You can only research upgrades from your chosen crafting school, which will be indicated on an item’s tooltip in the upper right corner. Upgrades are most commonly obtained as loot, but many quests will also reward you with a choice between a few different upgrade options. So even if a particular quest reward isn’t an upgrade you plan on using for your character, they can be an excellent source of items to be broken down via crafting.

Any upgrades that can be broken down in your inventory will be highlighted for easy reference, and from there it’s a simple matter of dragging the upgrade and dropping it into the crafting window with the Research tab active. Each item will be ranked based on a combination of your current skill level and the quality of the item you’re attempting to break down, with a score ranging from 1 to 5 stars. This ranking indicates how successful the research will be, which can influence how many components you’ll gain and even how many skill points can be gained.

From here it’s a simple matter of clicking on the “Experiment” button located at the bottom of the crafting window. Any components gained will automatically be placed into your inventory, so be sure to have enough available slots or the experiment will fail. You will also be alerted with an on-screen message informing you of how successful the experiment was; the higher the success the more overall skill points you’ll gain towards the next crafting tier.

Development


Now that you have your inventory stuffed full of components, it’s time to start crafting some shiny new items that you can either equip yourself or sell to other players. To do so, simply click on the Development tab in the crafting window, and this will bring up a complete list of all the recipes you currently know. These can be sorted in a couple of different ways; either by the item’s level or by the specific category it falls under.

Clicking on a recipe will bring up a list of required components, with any currently missing from your inventory appearing grayed out so you’ll know which things you need to collect more of either through research or from interacting with skill objects. To the right of the required components you will also see an icon for the item you’re attempting to create. Hovering your mouse over this icon will bring up a tooltip containing the details for that particular item.

Most crafted items could be considered ‘static’ in the sense that a given recipe will net you very specific results. In some cases, however, rare recipes will allow you to set parameters for the overall upgrade quality and even which stats or bonuses the item will contain. These recipes are distinguished on your list by having their name appear in italics. Clicking on one of these will present you with some additional options as described below:

Quality – This can be adjusted from normal to rare. The higher the overall quality of the item, the more components will be required to craft it. “Rare” quality items most often require one or more equally rare components, which are most often obtained through interacting with skill objects.

Minor Enhancement – As you progress, you’ll also learn different types of Enhancements based on your current crafting school. Minor enhancements will most often be associated with a specific stat or group of stats that can be added to the recipe you’re currently working with. Clicking on the minor enhancement field will open a dropdown list that shows you what options you currently have available. If an item can be crafted with enhancements, a minor enhancement will be required before you’re able to create the item. The specific enhancement you select will influence which components are required for the item in question.

Major Enhancement – These work similar to minor enhancements, though rather than affecting what stats will be added to an item, major enhancements can add one or more additional benefits to your character. These can include things such as an increased energy regeneration rate or an overall boost to your crit chance or crit severity. As above, selecting a major enhancement will influence which specific components you need to craft the currently selected recipe.

Other items beyond upgrades can also be created through the development process, such as devices and bags. Each crafting tier will open up more powerful device schematics and larger bags which can give you a nice boost to your overall inventory space. While the specific devices you can create will be based on your crating school, those of you who are tired of paying an arm and a leg to obtain new bags from other players will be happy to know that each of the three crafting schools can create their own.

Tiers and Advancement


Crafting advancement is broken down into tiers which are based on your character’s current level, with each tier consisting of 100 skill points. Which recipes you can learn will be wholly dependent on your current sill level which can be increased by combination of interacting with skill objects and via conducting research as described above.

The tier breakdown is as follows:

  • Tier 1 – Covers skill levels 1-100, and opens up upon selecting a crafting school
  • Tier 2 – Covers skill levels 101-200, and can be learned upon reaching level 10
  • Tier 3 – Covers skill levels 201-300, and can be learned upon reaching level 20
  • Tier 4 – Covers skill levels 301-400, and can be learned upon reaching level 30
  • Tier 5 – Covers skill levels 401-500, and can be learned upon reaching level 40

Raising your current skill cap is a simple means of visiting one of the local trainers for your crafting school. Doing so simply requires that you meet the minimum level and that you pay a small fee to open up the next tier of progression.
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