True confessions time! I have been looking forward to showing off my newly minted super pick and sharing with you all how you, too, could get a shiny new upgraded tool in Landmark. Unfortunately, due to the empty chest bug that came with the update, all my resources were lost; ergo, I wasn't able to craft -- let alone upgrade -- any high-level tools. Thankfully, since the new tool upgrade system is not relegated to only the highest of tiers and I can use iron, I can still show you how you can get the spiffy new pick or shiny new ax of your harvesting dreams!

As a bonus, on top of guiding you through the upgrading process, I'll delve into why this is such a important step on the way toward the more robust Landmark game that folks are eager awaiting.

What is upgrading?

Let's get right to the nuts and bolts of upgrading. Whether you are a new player checking out the beta for the first time or a grizzled vet who's been hacking up the terrain since alpha, this new feature is for you.

The upgrading system is exactly what it appears to be: a way to make your tools better. (Of course, this process should also apply once weapons are in game for hunting mobs, which is even more reason to be excited!) Upgrading allows players to both bump tools up tiers -- from superior to exceptional to legendary -- and enhance the harvesting size, speed, and damage stats directly. And the changes you make are your choice; you personalize your tools how you want. Better yet, you don't have to wait until the very endgame of your tool-crafting career to take advantage of it. Even new players can get in on the action. All axes and picks (sorry, no sickles) crafted after the update was implemented can be upgraded.

Another reason to avoid waiting is that upgrading can be done in stages. Some upgrades are still better than none, and you can put in whatever upgrades you have now and then add more later once you get the right materials. The flexibility doesn't stop there: If you end up not liking the upgrades you made and want to change them, you can. Simply remove the old upgrade components (which are destroyed and cannot be reused) and add others!

How to get ready

To get started on your upgrading adventures, you'll need access to the new Tech Forge. This new forge is very sci-fi, so if you don't like that look, you can either disguise it or find one accessible to the public. To craft your own at a Tinkerer's Workshop (the saw-looking one), you'll need: 1 stone forge, 60 cobalt ingots, 60 elemental cobalt, 125 coal, and 4200 obsidian.

Of course, to enhance a tool, you'll need a tool! Now, you can craft lots of tools until you get the one with the stats and number of upgrade slots you want, but that's not necessary; you can make any tool better. When you're making tools, consider that the most sought-after quality for the top tools is no longer a stat but how many upgrade slots it has, which can be anywhere from two to five.

On top of the new forge and a tool, you'll need the new materials that are the components of upgrading. Called relics, these resources are gathered as rare drops when you're mining stone, sand, or dirt as well by converting batches of dirt or sand into relic bags -- a 8,000:1 ratio -- at a Taskmaster's Refiner. Important note: Refiners can be used only by the owner, so you'll have to make your own, and the Taskmaster's is the upgraded version of the basic. These new materials, stored at the very bottom of the materials section of your pack, are as follows: broken talisman, ruined idol, cracked rune stone, drained power source, and damaged artifact.

To make these damaged resources usable, you'll need to repair them at an Alchemy Station. Each relic has different material requirements and results in a different use. They are:
  • Restored Talisman -- moderately increases a single stat.
    - Ingredients: 1 Broken Talisman, 5 elemental tungsten, and 200 topaz
  • Restored Idol -- significantly increases any single stat.
    - Ingredients: 1 ruined Idol, 5 elemental cobalt, and 300 sapphire
  • Destructive Rune Stone -- dramatically increases harvesting damage.
    - Ingredients: 1 cracked rune stone, 10 elemental rubicite, 400 rubies, and 15 palm hearts.
  • Swift Rune Stone -- dramatically increases harvesting speed.
    - Ingredients: 1 cracked rune stone, 10 elemental rubicite, 400 rubies, and 15 thistle seed
  • Vast Rune Stone -- dramatically increases harvesting size.
    - Ingredients: 1 cracked rune stone, 10 elemental rubicite, 400 rubies, and 14 ancient rootstock
  • Restored Power Source -- increases item from Superior to Exceptional.
    - Ingredients: 1 drained power source, 40 elemental gold, 1800 emeralds.
  • Restored Artifact -- increases item from Exceptional to Legendary.
    - Ingredients: 1 damaged artifact, 50 elemental rubicite, and 2000 diamonds
How to craft

Once you have all the materials, your improved tool is but a click away! Seriously, the actual process is quick and painless... well, except for the cost of materials. Open up the Tech Forge crafting window and you'll see the default list of craftable items, like tools, as well as a new tab for upgrading in the upper left corner. First you click on that tab , then you drag and drop your tool into the slot to open new interface.

Now you can drag and drop the relics you want to use to advance your tool. The Talisman and Idol can be placed in any stat slot -- harvesting, speed, or size -- whereas the Rune Stones are stat-specific. The Power Source and Artifact are added to the top. Don't think you can get away with adding extra relics when you see all those slots, though; the forge keeps good track of how many you can put in and removes the option to add more as you fill up your slots. (See image below.)

This is where you can preview exactly how the upgrade will affect your tool before you commit to it. Probably the best part of this system is the absence of RNG. True, you have the RNG gods toying with you during the tool crafting process (I recommend putting your master crafter bracer on if you are a Trailblazer), but no such shenanigans are happening during the upgrade! Additionally, there is no chance of blowing up your tool and losing everything.

If you've done all of this and the "upgrade item" button is still not lit up for you to continue, then you are missing ingredients for the craft. Yes, each upgrade will take even more materials than just the relics, and the more relics (and the more powerful the relic), the more expensive the craft will be raw material-wise. Remember, you don't have to upgrade everything at once: Just upgrade as much as you can now and then use your improved tool to go harvest even more resources!

Upgrading makes a better Landmark

And now for why I believe the upgrading system is a boon to the game's progress. This system is an important step in the path to making Landmark a full-bodied MMO instead of a personal building sim. It's true that some folks are kind of disgusted about the material and time sink that goes into making the tools and the upgrades. I've even heard complains about how it takes time away from building. But that is precisely why I actually like the upgrade system!

This new system starts to encourage interdependency, a facet that I personally think is crucial to really robust sandboxes. When there isn't time to do it all, people have to decide whether they want to be a decent jack-of-all-trades or to specialize in areas and be exceptional. And when folks specialize, they need those who specialize in the areas they are weak in. That is what helps reinforce the social part of MMOs. It gives people reason to get to know their neighbors and seek others out. And hey, with the rarity of the damaged artifacts, trade is definitely a bigger business.

With this upgrade system in place, there is more of an opportunity for players who prefer certain aspects of a game to pursue their passions. Those who want to just gather lots of materials can supply both the builders and the tool crafters. Those who prefer to just craft now have their own carrot to chase in the form of the best tools ever and can disperse their wares to harvesters and builders. That leaves the builders free to build! Certainly this system is not the epitome of fostering interdependence and social networking, but it is definitely a big ol' step in the right direction. And I applaud going in the right direction!

The EverQuest realm is so big that sometimes MJ Guthrie gets lost in it all! Join her as she explores the franchise's nooks and crannies from the Overrealm to Timorous Deep. Running biweekly on Thursdays, the Norrathian Notebook is your resource for all things EverQuest Next and EverQuest II. And keep an eye out for MJ's Massively TV adventures!

This article was originally published on Massively.