Discipline and Discovery - First Crafting Details Revealed for Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 Crafting

As part of the week-long buildup to PAX East this weekend in Boston, ArenaNet’s Andrew McLeod has revealed the first details on how crafting and gathering will work in Guild Wars 2. In his blog post, Andrew gives us an overview of what crafting disciplines will be available, examples of how materials can be obtained, and how crafting will be more reliant on discovery than simply purchasing new recipes from trainers.

On the crafting side of things, players will be able to train two different disciplines at a time. The fickle-minded need not fear though; you’ll always have the option to change your mind and learn different disciplines should you so choose. Then, should you opt to switch back at any point, you'll retain any advancement or recipes already learned for that discipline.

Guild Wars 2 Crafting UI

Here you can see an example of the in-game crafting UI which is accessed through a tab in the main Hero window

The current list of crafting disciplines includes:

Weaponsmith – Weaponsmiths craft melee weapons, such as swords, axes and hammers.

Huntsman – Huntsmen craft ranged weapons like bows and pistol, as well as torches and warhorns.

Artificer – Artificers craft magical weapons such as staves and scepters

Armorsmith – Armorsmiths craft heavy armor pieces.

Leatherworker – Leatherworkers craft medium armor pieces.

Tailor – Tailors craft light armor pieces.

Jewelcrafter – Jewelcrafters craft jewelry, such as rings and necklaces.

Cook – Cooks can prepare food which characters can eat for temporary combat buffs.

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This list doesn’t necessarily push the MMOG envelope as much as you might expect in light of all the other unique gameplay mechanics in GW2, and on the surface appears to be pretty vanilla. However, that doesn’t mean crafting in GW2 will be the same empty exercise of pressing a button and calling it a day that most MMOG crafting has devolved into over the years thanks to the dreaded WoW Effect.

As noted above, ArenaNet intends crafting to be a more rewarding experience for players by allowing them to experiment with the materials in their possession. By doing so, you’ll be able to “discover” new recipes. Once a new recipe has been discovered this way, it will be added to your list of available combines so you’ll never be left guessing what components you used the first time.

Likewise, Andrew explained that the various crafting disciplines would have the ability to create upgrades for their gear. In his example, Andrew noted, “For instance, a weaponsmith can craft a handle which can be attached to melee weapons to give them a chance to poison enemies.”

We also learned that crafting disciplines will use an experience-based system, with a maximum of 400 points that can be gained. It remains to be seen if advancement will be gated by combat profession level as it is in most MMOGs, or if you can reach that 400 point maximum with no restrictions beyond having enough resources to get there.

Guild Wars 2 Crafting UI

Another question mark is where crafted items fit into the overall itemization hierarchy. It’s all too common in MMOGs for crafted gear to be maybe slightly better than random solo-mob drops, but then far less powerful than what can be obtained in group situations. This is usually the silver bullet that kills most players’ desire to bother with crafting in the first place since, at best, you’ll be able to create some gear to help you while leveling up, but once you reach the level cap there’s rarely a worthwhile payoff for the effort.

Chances are, the gear upgrades you can make, such as the weaponsmith example cited above, will help provide a sense of balance here, but it remains to be seen if the discovery system for obtaining new recipes will be a source of fascination or frustration should the results prove to be lackluster compared to common drops.

The other potential downside to the discovery system is the inevitable cataloguing of all potential combines for each discipline on the web shortly after the game’s launch. Call it what you will, but it kind of defeats the point of wanting players to be able to distinguish themselves as a crafter when they can pull up the in-game wiki (already confirmed as part of the “extended experience” for GW2) and scan over the list of possible combines.

It will be interesting to see how each of these things is being addressed to keep the crafting system fun and interesting for players. As the Ten Ton Hammer team descends upon Boston this weekend at PAX East, we’ll be sure we have our interview guns loaded with questions on all of this and much more. In the meantime, be sure to join the discussion on crafting and gathering in our Guild Wars 2 forums!

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Designer Andrew McLeod’s original blog post, including details on how resource harvesting will work in Guild Wars 2, can be found on the official Arena.net blog.

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