To craft in Witcher III is to do quests and to make items that you can mostly buy, for much less than their price in crowns. It's a bit of research and a bit of fun, but it's mostly a later in the game thing to partake in. First, a few things to understand about Witcher III. You're broke and buying anything from merchants is going to make you more broke.
Quests give you 30 crowns and that's if everything goes well, and even then you might get less. Crafting, thankfully, along with merchants is Dying Light styled. The world is littered with everything you need to craft at the current level your character is. You can loot and loot and loot and find literally everything you need to make potions and craft whatever you wish. Let's first start with the basics, then gathering, and finish with the quests.
On lower difficulty modes, crafting is quasi-useful, on higher difficulty modes you'll obviously have to focus on min/maxing your gear. A note on armor - you should never get hit, you should dodge every hit. As for a weapon, the more damage the faster the fight, but you should be dodging as much as possible to avoid damage. Geralt isn't sturdy.
Crafting in Witcher III is known as armorsmithing or blacksmithing. Geralt can't do it himself, only alchemy, so you'll have to find someone within the world.
You'll need to find an armorsmith or a blacksmith to forge either armor or weapons. They each have a proficiency that will determine what they can craft, with the best recipes going for the two master crafters (weapon in Novigrad and armor in Crow's Perch) while the rest are amateur or journeyman and can craft most non-super special armor and components and weapons.
You'll need a diagram for the item you want crafted, it'll list the kind of crafter you'll need (master class crafters are only needed for later game items, so rest assured by around 24 when you'll need to do the quest, you'll be ready). With the diagram, you'll just then need the components. You can craft or gather or buy these components.
Then that's it! Select make and voila, done, everything is great!
I won't waste your time. You've got four options:
- You can go around and just loot everything that no one is watching you loot. This isn't Skryim level of detection here, just don't be an idiot and pick things up from something guarded. Most crafting materials are going to be found in abandoned houses and abandoned areas of the game littered everywhere. Loot everything, don't worry, there is little to no consequence for doing so.
- You can craft materials. This is great if you have a bunch of lower level materials and you want to upgrade it into something better.
- You can buy materials, if you're desperate. This works good for stuff that's super cheap, otherwise you'll be burning your coin.
- You can dismantle anything but a quest item. Sometimes you get a natural return on investment with your time, sometimes you'd be better selling the item to a vendor. You get a preview of what you'll receive when it's done.
That's it. No special tricks here, no special caches for you to find.
Crafting vs. Buying
Crafting costs fewer coins than purchasing an item. Purchased items often "level up" along with you, so that as you gain more levels, the items they stock can be a bit higher quality. Crafted items are naturally always better than their store bought counterparts. However, if you have the extra coin and don't want to fuss with the crafting system, then you can loot and purchase all of the gear you'll need.
You pay a fee to get components. That's as simple as that. It's best for higher level materials that cost way too much to purchase, but you can get say a steel ingot for 8 crowns, not bad.
Runeslots let you buff your stuff, but they're forever, until you get 'em removed, which destroys them in the process.
You can repair with repair kits, out in the field (keep a few because you might break something before a boss fight). You can pay to repair everything from a crafter.
How do you find the master crafters? Well, one comes quasi-naturally at Crow's Perch (the armorsmith). It's higher than when you first start, but here's a brief walkthrough. You'll need to go to Skellige and follow the marker through a cave and fight a rock troll, then get the tools (this can be done while main questing on the isle of Undvik). After, return and then defeat the archgriffen north of town (unless you already have the acid). Some other cutscene type stuff and voila. You have your gear!
For blacksmithing, go to Novigrad to the blacksmith there, he'll talk about dumplings then ask you to accompany him. You do so having to fight some henchdwarves, then end up returning, having another brawl, and then accompany him on another brawlfest. This is all obviously breadcrumped for you and you should be around level 25 before you do it. Anyway, it's super simple. The hardest part is the fights and the fistfight at the end.
Anyway, you shouldn't bother with the armorcrafting one until you're on a main quest that literally takes you to the Isle of Undvik. You shouldn't bother with the blacksmithing one until it's absolutely necessary. They can craft the best armor in the game, which you'll find from the treasure hunting quests from the different witcher schools.
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