Getting Started with Crafting
[Let me know if anything is wrong or confusing.]
Crafting is an important part of LOTRO. For a player just starting the game, it isn’t essential, but eventually, doing some crafting can add a lot to the game experience.
As with other game systems, crafting can get complicated. The purpose of this post is to guide players who are getting started with crafting. It is not meant to be a complete tutorial or reference, but rather a supplement, providing some advice that might be hard to distill from the normal sources.
I enjoy crafting and it is an important part of my game play. Some people don’t care for it. It is not absolutely required. With only a few exceptions, things that are crafted can be obtained from other players who do craft. How much you craft is really up to you.
There are many things that can be crafted in the game. Gear such as weapons, armour, jewellery, etc., can be made and used. Such items contribute to the capabilities of your character, and are restricted by level. As your character “grows up”, you will need to replace your gear with more powerful gear suited to your new level.
Consumables are items that you use that provide temporary enhancements or buffs, usually for some number of minutes. Those buffs can be important when fighting, so when they expire, you’ll want to use more.
Cosmetics are items that affect the appearance of characters, but don’t otherwise affect gameplay. For many people, cosmetics are an essential part of the game.
In addition to the ability to directly make things, crafters are important to the economy of the game. For example, even if you don’t care about what your gear looks like, you can earn a lot of gold by making and selling dyes. If you are a raider, you will have to have consumables, so if you don’t make your own, you’ll need to spend gold to buy them from someone else. The raw materials for crafting are gathered in the game. If you are willing to spend the time to collect them, you can earn gold by selling them to other players who want them.
Whether you do it for fun, for profit, or to get things that you need, crafting is an activity that benefits from planning ahead.
Professions and Vocations
Crafting is organized into 10 Professions. Each profession makes different items. Prospector, Forester and Scholar can collect resources, which are the basic materials for crafting. Farmers can grow resources. Other professions use materials that are derived from those resources.
|Prospector||Gathers ore, makes ingots||No|
|Forester||Gathers wood, makes boards, turns hides into leather||No|
|Scholar||Collects Scholar ingredients, makes scrolls, potions, dyes||Yes|
|Farmer||Grows food ingredients and dye ingredients||No|
|Cook||Makes food ingredients into food||Yes|
|Metalsmith||Makes ingots into heavy armour||Yes|
|Tailor||Makes leather into light and medium armour and cloaks||Yes|
|Weaponsmith||Makes ingots into swords, axes, daggers||Yes|
|Woodworker||Makes boards into bows, spears, javelins, hammers||Yes|
|Jeweller||Makes ingots and gems into jewellery||Yes|
Most players will have use for items from all of the professions at different times, but it is possible that some classes will have use for some more than others.
A craft guild has important recipes that can be used only by guild members. Not every profession has a guild. A character can be in only one guild.
A crafter has three professions, but cannot choose them arbitrarily. A Vocation is a combination of three professions, and you are limited to one of the seven combinations below. Some professions (shown in bold) are available only in a specific vocation; others are available in multiple vocations.
|Explorer||Prospector, Forester, Tailor|
|Armourer||Prospector, Tailor, Metalsmith|
|Armsman||Prospector, Weaponsmith, Woodworker|
|Woodsman||Forester, Farmer, Woodworker|
|Tinker||Prospector, Cook, Jeweller|
|Historian||Farmer, Weaponsmith, Scholar|
|Yeoman||Farmer, Cook, Tailor|
Most players end up with multiple characters. Some people use some of their characters primarily as crafters, rather than using them to do quests, instances, etc. All professions can be performed without the crafter having to gather the materials, assuming the materials can be gathered by your characters or other players, for example, purchased on the Auction House.
Changing your vocation
You choose a vocation when you do the introductory crafting quest you are given in the starter area. You can change your vocation by talking to a Master of Apprentices NPC. You lose any advancement you have made in any profession that is not also in your new vocation. For example, if you change from Explorer to Armourer you will retain your progress as a Tailor and Prospector, but your Forester progress is lost (even if you later change back to a vocation that has Forester), and you start at the beginning in Metalsmith.
If you want to try different vocations, it is no problem to switch yours when you are just starting crafting. After you have some months invested in a profession, you probably won’t want to discard it.
Resources, recipes and crafted items are organized in tiers. Tiers follow levels. As your character gets to higher levels and moves into new areas, you will find new resources necessary for making the higher-tier items suitable for higher-level characters. Crafted items have minimum levels that you must be to use them, so a level 20 character will not be able to wield a level 100 sword.
|Tier||Level range||Item level|
You will encounter many different items that are part of the craft system, and the names can be confusing. If you mouse over a craft resource or ingredient, it will show an item level that will help you tell what tier it is associated with.
It is possible for crafters to advance to higher tiers without being the corresponding level. I have top-tier crafters that have not done quests since leaving the intro and taking up residence in the Bree craft hall. My first character is an Explorer that provided them with wood and ore as he levelled up, and they have been able to craft gear for me all the way to level cap despite being low-level.
Planning Your Crafters
A frequently asked question is “What vocation is best for my class?” There is no consensus answer, since any choice will have pluses and minuses. A better way to think about it is “Which professions should my characters include?” If you will be playing multiple characters and levelling them in parallel, you may have a different answer than if you will focus on playing one character and use others primarily for crafting.
Some things to consider:
- It is common for a profession to need ingredients from another profession, for example, a Weaponsmith needs ingots made by a Prospector and a Cook needs produce grown by a Farmer. It may be cheaper and more convenient to get the ingredients you need from your own characters.
- Armour and jewellery require multiple items. If you need a new weapon, you may be able to get someone to make one for you. A set of armour includes 6 pieces (and you may need a cloak or shield as well) and a set of jewellery is 7 pieces. It may be a lot to ask someone else to make a full set for you, especially if you want guild-crafted gear (see Guilds below).
- Only a Scholar can collect Scholar resources. You may get some in drops and chests, but you will need a lot of them to tier-up a Scholar.
- Hides for leather (for light and medium armour) are primarily obtained from drops, so any character out questing in an area will get them. A Forester is needed to process them into leather before a Tailor can use them.
- The ability to earn gold from crafting varies a lot. At any point in time, the largest number of players is at or near level cap. Those are also the players with the most gold to spend. Depending on what items are in demand, crafting can be profitable, but a subsequent update can destroy a market.
- You should also consider the gold you can save by crafting. For example, if you have no Cook, you will need to buy food if you want to be competitive when grouping. There’s no guarantee that what you want to buy will be available when you want it.
- A Yeoman is a convenient low-level crafter. The Farmer can grow what the Cook needs, so it can be self-sufficient in a low-level area.
- Although your vocation gives you three professions, you can be in only one guild. For example, an Armsman would have to choose between the Woodworker’s and the Weaponsmith’s Guild.
If you plan ahead, you can cover the crafts you want the most.
If you will be playing one character primarily, I recommend an Explorer if your class uses light or medium armour and an Armourer if it uses heavy armour. Both will allow you to collect ore and to craft armour for yourself. If you plan to have multiple crafters, then I recommend an Explorer for your highest-level character, since you will be able to supply ore and wood to other crafters that need it. Once you have ore and wood covered, you should consider a Scholar. If you will be levelling more than one character at the same time, having a Scholar to collect resources at the level you need them will be very helpful.
A recipe uses some ingredients to make an item. Some recipes take raw materials like ore or logs and turn them into ingots or boards. Other recipes might use ingots or boards to make armour or bows. Players use the term mats (materials) to refer to ingredients for recipes.
Recipes come from different places. You receive some recipes automatically when you open a tier. Some recipes for the first few tiers can be bought for silver from the profession NPCs in the craft halls. Guild members have access to special recipes purchased in their guild hall. Other recipes may be available by barter from different factions in the game once you have sufficient standing with them.
Many recipes, especially in higher tiers, are dropped by mobs in scroll cases. You can open the scroll case to see what the recipe is. You right-click on the recipe to read it. Scroll cases and recipes can be passed between players or bought or sold on AH. Any higher-level character will accumulate scroll cases for all the professions, so lower-level crafters do not need to visit the area to get dropped recipes.
Most recipes are permanent. Once you know it, you can use it as many times as you like. Some are single-use, which means the recipe is forgotten once it is used to make a single item. You will need to get and read the recipe again in order to make another item.
The significant ingredients for a recipe come directly or indirectly from some resource. The Prospector recipe to make a copper ingot uses copper ore, mined from a copper deposit. A Jeweller recipe makes a copper ring from copper ingots. Cook recipes need ingredients produced by Farmers.
Many recipes also use ingredients that can be purchased from profession NPCs or Supplier vendors. The Prospector recipe to make bronze ingots uses tin ingots, which are sold by suppliers, as well as copper ingots, which are produced from copper ore. Cook recipes use a wide variety of ingredients sold by vendors in addition to resource ingredients made by Farmers.
In the Heavy Ash Hammer recipe above, the Ash Boards are resource ingredients made by a Forester. The Fine Leather Wrapping is bought from a Supplier or Woodworker NPC vendor.
Most recipes have a chance to produce a critical result or crit for short. For some recipes, the critical result will produce a better version of the item you were making, for example, a more powerful sword. For other recipes, it produces more of the item you were making, for example, 3 ingots instead of just 1. Critical results happen randomly according to the critical chance.
You must have proficiency in the tier of the recipe and mastery of any lower tiers in order to be eligible for a crit. For some recipes, if you have and choose to use (by checking the box) a special ingredient, you can increase your crit chance. The special ingredient is consumed whether or not you get the crit.
In the Heavy Ash Hammer recipe above, you can see the difference between the non-crit and crit result. The Heavy Ash Hammer adds +6 agility, but the Hardened Ash Hammer adds +7 agility and +20 morale. This crafter has a 25% chance of critting this recipe. It he chooses to use the optional Drop of Ashy Resin, the chance will go up +45% to 70%.
Some recipes have multiple options. At the upper right of the crafting panel, you will see Select Output and arrows to change to one of the other options. Always double-check that you have the right option selected, since it is easy to make the wrong one. Although it says Select Output, for some recipes it is actually changing inputs. Under Obsolete Item Conversion, you may see a recipe that can convert several different things back into something that is useful.
The Heavy Ash Hammer recipe has a second option that has different stats, shown above. In this case, instead of raising agility, it increases your parry rating. The crit version also raises your might.
When you do the introductory crafting quests, you are given three tools for the different professions in your vocation. It is necessary to switch to use the tool for a particular profession to perform one of its recipes. You can buy slightly better tools from the Supplier.
Since Update 12, Metalsmiths can make a combination toolset for a vocation. It replaces the three separate tools. If you’re using a toolset, you don’t need to switch tools, and you save the bag space for the two tools you aren’t using. Toolsets also increase your crit chance. Toolsets may be found on AH or made by a friendly Metalsmith (let Varmentor know if you need one). There is also a Universal Toolkit in the LOTRO store for 150LP that works for any vocation.
Your expertise in crafting in a profession increases with craft XP, which you gain by performing recipes. Different recipes give you different amounts of craft XP. (You also get regular XP doing crafting. My crafters who stay in the craft hall reached level 50 after 4 years of mostly crafting.) You gain craft XP in a tier by doing recipes in that tier.
Proficiency and Mastery
Once you have enough craft XP in a tier, you reach Proficiency and the next higher tier becomes available to you. You continue to earn craft XP in that tier until you achieve Mastery. You do not need to achieve mastery to open higher tiers, as long as you have reached proficiency in lower tiers. However, you can only earn craft XP toward mastery of a tier if you have already achieved mastery of all lower tiers.
Mastery is important in being able to obtain critical results. To be eligible for a crit, you must have achieved proficiency on the tier of the recipe and mastery in all lower tiers.
The crafting display shows your current progress. This Prospector is working on proficiency on the Anorien tier, having earned 800 of 840 craft XP needed. The bronze anvils show that he has achieved proficiency on all lower tiers. He is working on mastery on the Westfold tier, having earned 156 of 1360 craft XP needed. The gold anvils show the tiers he has mastered. Before working on mastery on Eastemnet, he needs to complete mastery on Westfold.
As of Update 21.2, the quests to advance to Expert Mastery and to allow use of Superior craft stations has been eliminated! All craft stations are considered Superior and you progress through the Expert tier the same as other tiers. The following paragraphs no longer apply.
Try to remember this: There is one tier where you do not automatically advance to the next one when you achieve proficiency. When you achieve Expert tier proficiency (except for Prospector and Forester), you must complete a profession quest before you have access to Artisan tier or are able to work on Expert tier mastery. (This is a holdover from an old scheme in which there were regular and superior craft stations. Now all craft stations are considered superior.) When you reach proficiency on Expert tier, the craft NPC for your profession will have a quest ring. The quest will send you somewhere to craft some items. Once you complete that quest, the Artisan tier will be open and you will be able to work on Expert mastery. Players are often surprised when they reach this hurdle.
This picture shows a Tailor who has reached Expert proficiency but cannot advance further until completing the quest offered by the Tailor NPC.
Before travelling to the quest location, consider whether or not this is the profession whose guild you plan to join. If so, see the Master of Crafting Guilds and select the guild. You will get a guild introduction quest that goes to the same area as the profession quest and it will save you a trip later.
In the past, a crafter who wanted to reach higher tiers might make many items that no one needed, just to get the craft XP to advance. There are now special recipes in the Processing category that are more efficient in using resources to generate craft XP. Rather than making dozens or hundreds of items that end up being vendored because no one needs them, you use these two recipes, consuming some resources, but producing more craft XP.
There are two recipes: the first recipe chops up 2 ingots, leathers, or boards into 4 shavings and earns 8 craft XP. The second recipe converts the 4 shavings back into 1 ingot, leather or board and earns 8 craft XP. The net result is you have consumed an ingot, leather or board to produce 16 craft XP. (Notice the Sturdy Leather Shavings and Brushed Sturdy Leather recipes in the previous picture.) Be sure to calculate how much craft XP you need so you don’t waste resources by generating more shavings than you need, since there is no other use for shavings except these recipes.
Only Jewellers, Metalsmiths, Tailors, Weaponsmiths, and Woodworkers have processing recipes. The other professions are considered able to generate sufficient craft XP with other recipes. (Some players may disagree.)
After you reach Expert tier, you are eligible to join a crafting Guild. (In some other games, a guild is what LOTRO calls a kinship.) A Guild has many important recipes, including better gear and better versions of some non-guild recipes. A crafter can be in only one guild, so you may have to make a choice depending on your vocation.
Progressing in the guild is through reputation, similar to other factions in the game. You craft guild symbols that are worth different amounts of reputation, then right-click on them to consume them and earn the reputation. As you advance in your profession, you will be able to make higher value symbols, allowing you to progress more quickly in the guild. The names of the tiers of your profession and the tiers of the guild are similar, but they are independent, one based on craft XP, the other based on reputation.
The recipes for guild symbols (and most guild recipes) have cooldowns, limiting how often you can use the recipe. The cooldowns are nominally 1 day (actually 18 hours), 3 days (2 days 18 hours), and a week (6 days 18 hours). It takes both time and mats to advance in a guild.
Because guild advancement is based on reputation, you can use reputation accelerators to save time and mats. You can obtain Small Reputation Acceleration Tomes from the Skirmish Camp Curiosities vendor for 250 marks and 25 medallions giving 1,000 bonus reputation each. (They are often available for gold from other players.) Using a rep tome adds to your bonus reputation. Any reputation you earn will be doubled until the bonus amount is consumed. For example, if you use two of the Small Rep Tomes, you will have 2.000 bonus reputation. Using a Medium Artisan Symbol gives 1,200 rep, which will be doubled to 2,400, leaving 800 bonus reputation for later. Use the rep tomes just before you right-click on the guild symbol.
Guild symbols are also required ingredients for most guild recipes. A set of armour is 6 recipes, and at higher levels has a week cooldown. You can make all 6 pieces at once, but only if you have saved up 6 symbols.
The above guild recipe uses boards (ordinary resource ingredients), a leather wrapping (a vendor ingredient), a Mithril Flake (a rare ingredient that can be obtained from the Skirmish Camp Crafting vendor if necessary), and a Large Supreme Carving (a guild symbol the crafter makes). The Large guild symbol recipe has a one week cooldown, as does this hammer recipe. If the recipes were off cooldown, you could make the guild symbol then immediately use it in the hammer recipe.
If you are levelling rapidly on your character or in your profession, you may want to delay working on guild reputation. The higher-tier guild symbols give more reputation, and you can make all the lower-tier symbols as well, so it will go faster than just making the lower-tier symbols.
Universal Ingredient Packs
In the introductory crafting quests, you are given a few Universal Ingredient Packs (UIPs). They are also sold in the LOTRO store. UIPs are shared by all the characters on your account and are shown in your wallet. Many recipes allow you to substitute UIPs for the normal mats. The catch is that whatever item you make is bound to your account. If you are making something for one of the characters on your account, that’s not a problem.
To see if the recipe can use UIPs, look for the check box that says Use Ingredient Packs. If you check the box, it will show you how many UIPs the recipe uses and how may you have in your wallet. You can even use UIPs for many recipes that require a guild symbol! You are still limited by recipe cooldowns, but you may be able to avoid weeks of accumulating guild symbols.
The above recipe is the guild hammer recipe shown above but using UIPs. It will consume 10 UIPs, but allows you to omit the resource, vendor, and rare ingredients as well as the guild symbol.
Since Update 17.1, there is now a way that you can accumulate a large number of UIPs free! There are two new housing items, an Ingredient Crate and a Premium Ingredient Crate. Once a day (22 hour cooldown), each character (level 15+) can get 3 UIPs from an Ingredient Crate. If your account is VIP, each character on it can also get 6 more UIPs from a Premium Ingredient Crate. You don’t need to own the ingredient crates; you just need to find someone that has them available for people to use. (Mine are at 5 Long Street, Stanlinch, Bree-land Homesteads on Landroval.)
May all your recipes crit!
If you find you like crafting, you can develop a crew that can make anything in the game. If it’s not your favourite thing, you still may want to do some. Over the years, crafting at level-cap has sometimes been very valuable and other times not so much. With Update 20, crafting has again become important. All professions are able to craft items to get reputation to get level-cap gear.
You’ll discover there’s more to crafting as you progress. An important reference is www.lotro-wiki.com.
It contains pretty complete and accurate descriptions of items and recipes. Pages like
show all the available recipes for a tier of a profession, where the recipes come from, and what ingredients they use.
Crafters are generally friendly. After investing in building crafting expertise, they like to make use of it to help other players. Most are willing to craft things for other players who can provide the necessary ingredients. Many players will tip crafters who make things for them.
If there’s anything wrong, confusing or missing in this post, please let me know. If you have any questions or need assistance, contact me in game.
by Michaleo on 2017-05-19 07:42:31
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