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.
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.
- 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
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
- Base: QL 1 to 3
- Imperfect: QL 4 to 6
- Normal: QL 7 to 9
- Sacred: QL 10
- Pure: none
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.
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.