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Chaos Theory: Understanding The Secret World's crafting, part one

Jef Reahard
The Secret World's crafting system, much like the rest of the game, is deeper and more complex than it first appears. On the surface, it's a matter of arranging stacks of materials into Minecraft-like visual patterns and pushing your assemble button.

Underneath that, though, there's an elaborate game-within-the-game that's one of the more enjoyable MMO tradeskill systems I've experienced to date. Is it strictly necessary? Well, no. The Secret World is not a pure sandbox, so players can simply use drops and auctioned items to equip their characters.

Rune-, glyph-, signet-, and gear-crafting offers an absurd amount of customization, though, and those of you who want full control over your decks and your play experience will want to have a look through my two-part crafting guide.

The Secret World - Sandy crafting
Basics - tutorials and harvesting
As you play, you'll acquire weapons, runes, tool kits, and talismans via mob drops. I know you need plenty of Pax Romana to purchase those essential run-speed upgrades, but you should avoid selling these drops to a vendor and hoard them if you plan to craft.

There is no harvesting mechanic in TSW, so all of your crafting materials will come directly from disassembling what you've looted (or be purchased from other players).

Now that you know what to keep, you'll also want to run through the game's two crafting tutorial missions. They will give you a quick mechanical primer and a fair bit of XP if you're a newer player. You'll find them both in Kingsmouth (Zen and the Art of Weapon Maintenance can be picked up from Sandy "Moose" Jansen just out the Kingsmouth police station, while The Occultist's Cookbook is available from Madam Roget at the Raven's Nook).

Jansen's quest introduces you to the assembly window and the aforementioned visual patterns. Roget's mission introduces the glyph system, which is analogous to the various gem-based gear upgrade systems you've probably seen in other MMOs.

Material acquisition
Certain material subcomponents are required to craft all items in The Secret World, though for simplicity's sake I'm not listing every type of rune here (more on this in part two next week). These materials must be obtained by either buying them from other players or disassembling items.
  • Metal: used to craft weapons and consumables
  • Fire: used to craft talismans and add offensive stats to items (attack rating)
  • Dust: used to craft talismans and add healing stats to items (heal rating)
  • Water: used to craft talismans and add tanking stats to items (health)
  • Runes: used to make offensive and defensive glyphs
The Secret World - hammer disassemblyTo obtain your crafting subcomponents by disassembling items, first open your assembly window (press Y or select it from the in-game menu), then grab a looted item from your inventory and drag it to the "item" box at the bottom of the assembly window. Not all items can be disassembled, but those that can will display their resulting subcomponents in the big field at the top of the assembly window.

When you disassemble an item, the resulting materials are usually one or two quality tiers lower than the item you disassembled. There are five quality tiers in the game, and each corresponds to the quality level (QL) found on the game's equipment. The quality tiers are base, imperfect, normal, sacred, and pure. As an example, if I put a QL10 Savage Chaos Focus weapon in the item slot and disassemble it, I get stacks of sacred metal and a couple of sacred runes (note from the bullet list below that QL10 is pure, so the disassembly produces subcomponents that are one tier lower, or sacred).

How do you produce higher-tier subcomponents, though? Easy: Just combine five subcomponents from a single tier and you'll get one subcomponent from the next tier. For example, I can take five pieces of sacred metal and drop them in the main field of the assembly window. When I do so, the "item" box at the bottom shows that I will get one piece of pure metal if I proceed with the combine.

The quality level (QL) of subcomponents resulting from assembly is as follows:
  • Base: none
  • Imperfect: QL 1 to 3
  • Normal: QL 4 to 6
  • Sacred: QL 7 to 9
  • Pure: QL 10
The quality level (QL) of subcomponents resulting from disassembly is as follows:
  • Base: QL 1 to 3
  • Imperfect: QL 4 to 6
  • Normal: QL 7 to 9
  • Sacred: QL 10
  • Pure: none
Note that you can't obtain pure subcomponents by disassembling items; you have to combine subcomponents.

The Secret World - assembly patterns
Now that you've got your crafting materials, it's time to actually do the deed. Remember Sandy Jansen's weapon-crafting tutorial quest? Hopefully you screen-capped those assembly patterns from his notebook because you'll need them to make your first crafted item. If you didn't save them (or you don't remember them), fear not, as you can simply open your quest journal and view the image under the active or finished quests tab at any time after accepting the mission.

Let's say we want to start our crafting career by making a weapon. Looking at the component list above, we know that we need metal. We'll need to collect several looted weapons and then disassemble them to get it. Looking at the assembly pattern diagrams, we can see that we need seven pieces of metal to make one weapon.

We'll also need a weapon tool kit, which is found via loot drops or purchased from other players. Note that tool kits have quality levels just like material components, so if you're aiming for a particular quality of weapon, choose the appropriate ingredients. For example, if we want a QL8 shotgun, we'll need a QL8 weapon tool kit and seven pieces of sacred metal (seven pieces because that's what the shotgun pattern calls for, and sacred because QL 7 to 9 calls for sacred). Once we have all that, all that's left to do is to drop everything in the appropriate assembly window boxes (making sure that the metal is arranged in the correct pattern). Press the assemble button and enjoy your new weapon.

Finally this week, I'll leave you with a handy stacking tip that I just recently learned (yes, I know, point and laugh at me in the comments below). Prior to learning this little trick, I found that arranging stacks of crafting materials into the appropriate item shapes could get a little tedious. Left-click your stack and drag it around the assembly window grid. While keeping the left button pressed, right-click to drop single items from the stack wherever you drag the mouse. Much more efficient, wouldn't you agree?

Join me next week and we'll delve into glyphs, runes, and more in part two of my guide to crafting in The Secret World.

The Secret World - London intrigue
Yes, Jef Reahard is paid to play The Secret World. But he's not paid by Funcom; Massively leaves the bribes and the bad grammar to its imitators (it's a conspiracy!). Chaos Theory comes your way every Thursday, bringing you Gaia's latest news, guides, and commentary.

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