Posted Wed, Aug 07, 2013 by gunky
Dragon's Prophet has a lot of interesting and unique systems throughout the game, most of them focused on or around the dragons for which the game is named. The great wyrms have their talons in pretty much everything, including the crafting system.
The crafting system in Dragon's Prophet, while intricate and engaging, is not well-documented. It can be difficult to figure out what you need to do with all the stuff you're getting based on tooltips and absurdly unhelpful "tutorial" missions. There is often no in-game indication on how to perform relatively basic tasks.
Essentially, the base concept is pretty easy and familiar from any other MMO ever: harvest materials from the wild, fashion them into usable items. You don't need special tools to get started gathering materials - anything you come across during your adventures is harvestable, regardless of character class or level or whatever.
There are six crafting disciplines:
You can master as many of these as you want, but they all tend to use the same ingredients. Weaponsmithing and Armorsmithing, for example, both use ores, and Weaponsmithing and Carpentry both use wood. Sticking to one discipline at a time means you will advance that one craft faster at the expense of one or more others.
Also be warned that there is a relatively low cap on the number of recipes a character can learn in any given profession. This will be especially restrictive for something like Armorsmithing, which has automatic leveled recipes for all 4 classes for each piece of worn armor. You will want to specialize for your character early on, and not bother with some recipes that your character can't use.
First things first: you are going to need a lot of inventory space to get started with crafting. There are a lot of materials to be gathered, which add up very quickly, and inventory space comes at a premium unless you pay for unlocks. As a die-hard cheapskate, I found it was best to tackle crafting separately from adventuring, because I ran out of bag space too quickly to effectively do both at the same time. My bag would be too full of crafting mats to pick up quest items, or too full of trash loot to harvest nodes.
Also worth noting is the fact that you need several blank inventory spots to harvest a node, even if you already have partial stacks of that material type in your bag. Harvesting the node adds the new items to existing stacks, but only after dropping them in blank inventory spots first, and most resource nodes provide two or three different resources. For example, I tried to harvest a tree while I had only one blank inventory spot open, but couldn't because I didn't have enough room. I had to dump some vendor trash loot to clear 3 spots, and those spots stayed open after harvesting because the materials were added to existing part-stacks.
For basic wilderness gathering, you'll need to keep your eyes open to find your materials, and know where to look for them. Wild herbs grow in grassy areas, like pastures or plains, usually out in the open. Harvestable wood tends to grow next to large trees, in narrow saplings that sprout up between the roots. Ores can most often be found clustered up next to rock walls, in little nooks and crannies, and you may have to do some serious hunting to find ore nodes. To harvest, just run up to the node and click the F key. If the node doesn't immediately despawn after harvesting, click F again - some nodes can be harvested 2 or 3 times before they are tapped out.
Another important resource you will find in the wilderness is recipes. These drop as rare random loot from some mobs. You can use them in the field to learn the recipes, but you won't be able to craft the item until you reach the appropriate crafting level in that discipline.
Wilderness gathering is not the only way to collect resources, though. Nor is it the most efficient. If you want to really accelerate your resource-gathering without sacrificing questing time, snatch up a few extra dragons for your lair. Dragons in your lair can be sent on resource-gathering missions from the Dragon Process tab. These processes take an hour apiece, but they bring back a good haul of materials, you can do them while you're off adventuring or before you log off for the night, and the materials are stored in the lair rather than taking up precious inventory space. It's actually a fairly elegant system - you can focus on gathering just the materials you want, and then you have a storehouse from which you can make withdrawals. You can withdraw everything at once, or you can take a few pieces at a time for a specific project. Lair storage is withdraw-only; you can't add items to it (except through resource-gathering processes), only take them out. For regular inventory management, use the bank.
You can queue your lair-bound dragons for 5 processes at a time, and the processes cost a bit of money. It's possible to expand their mission capability, but that starts to cost Station Cash after the 5th process. You can also spend Station Cash to increase production on a given run; clicking the little star icon on the Processes tab and spending 30 SC will gain you 3x the amount of materials you would normally get from a process. It doesn't reduce the amount of time the process takes (it still takes an hour per process), but it's like running several processes at once.
Your dragons will usually bring back weird unidentified items from their gathering missions, and the tooltip tells you that these items need to be broken down to figure out what they are and what they can be used for. To extract them, use the little Extraction button on the bottom of the inventory window. There's also a Bulk Extraction button, which opens up a second window that grinds up whatever you place inside it. Extraction can also be used on crafted gear to learn improved recipes, and obtain Invocation Orbs which are used for enhancing your gear. Extraction also has a chance of refunding some of the materials used, so if you're doing some bulk crafting strictly for XP gain, Extraction is the disposal method of choice.
Another unexplained gem: independent of any crafting station or inventory button, and completely ignored by any kind of introductory quest or tooltip hint, is the Synthesis tab, mapped to the U key by default. You'll be picking up a crapload of mystery items that mention "synthesis" in bright blue letters, and this is how you use them: to make catalysts, which can add additional properties to crafted items. You'll need some Refinement Essence, and then a bunch of different synthesis materials to combine. Different combinations will yield different catalysts, indicated by the varying levels of the four colored test tubes in the middle. Stacking more synthesis materials creates a purer catalyst, which results in a greater chance of a crafted item having an additional property.
Don't get tied up on the word "catalyst," though. That word can apparently have two meanings when you're crafting. More on that later.
It takes quite a bit of raw material to make advancements in crafting. Some of the low-level recipes eat up a lot of resources, so take your time and gather a lot of stuff together. The actual crafting doesn't take much time at all.
There are "tutorial" missions for each type of crafting, but these tutorials teach you little more than how to stand next to a workbench and click F. Do them if you must for the mitt-full of free 0-level mats and the half-level crafting XP. You won't learn much about the system from them.
You'll start off by creating a bunch of nearly-worthless level 1 white-quality items, cranking them out in bulk for the XP. Stand next to your chosen crafting station and click F to open that menu. This is identical to the menu that is opened by the U key, but will be specific to the crafting station you are standing near. Clicking on the drop-down menu that says "Click here for more recipes" will show a list of item types that you can potentially craft here, but setting it to the default (so it reads "Click here...") will show you all the recipes you actually have the materials for. If there are no recipes showing up in that list, you'll need to go gather some more materials before you can do anything. Hopefully, you have enough to get started with at least one white-quality item. The right side of the window shows you what all is required to make your item.
Technically, you don't need to make a whole lot of these items - just enough to get a green recipe when you Extract them later. You could get an improved recipe from the very first item you craft, or it may take a dozen or more extractions. Make a few, but don't use up all your resources just yet.
That right-hand window bears some closer inspection. Immediately below the materials panel is the big circular progress window. To the left of that is a small widget that has a little picture of rocks or something, and +/- buttons on either side of a 0. This is a "catalyst" window, but the tooltip description seems rather inaccurate at present. Clicking the + button here adds the mystery item to the boiler, which increases your chances of a critical success when crafting that item. With normal white-quality items, you have a very slim chance of getting a green-quality item (3.3% or so) without adding anything to this window. Cranking in the maximum of 20 "catalysts" through this widget increases the odds to 36.4% for a crit. These "catalysts" cost Station Cash.
Additionally, there is a second "catalyst" wiget, attached to the three-paned results widget at the bottom, for the enhancement potions you create with the Synthesis system. These second "catalysts" add additional properties to the item being crafted. They cost nothing to use, but they can be somewhat resource-intensive to make. Don't waste either type of catalyst on a white-quality junker item. Save it for green or blue recipes.
Once you have a passel of white junk, start the Extraction process. Grind them all up for a small material refund, enhancement orbs and, most importantly, those juicy improved recipes. Again, be aware that there is currently a somewhat restrictive cap on the number of recipes you can know, and that the auto-generated recipes you learn when gaining a new crafting level count towards this cap, and cannot be unlearned to make room for new ones later. You can unlearn green and blue recipes, but not the crappy level 1 white ones that you will likely never use again.
Anyway, you should end up with a green-quality recipe of whatever you just extracted. Green recipes have a chance of critting to blue or even purple quality. Green recipes require refined ingredients from the Processed Products category. Processed Products are rather resource-intensive, so crafting a green-quality item can cost several times the amount of ingredients of a white-quality item.
This should be enough to get you on the right side of the learning curve. There's plenty more to learn on your way to level 60 mastery, but it all branches off of these basic ideas. So send your pack-dragon out prospectin'! Dragon's Prophet goes live on September 18.