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

Jef Reahard

So last week we tested the waters of The Secret World's crafting system, and we learned the basics of material acquisition, how material quality level works, and how to assemble and disassemble basic items.

This week we'll go into more detail on the assembly process. Whereas last time we stopped after creating a simple weapon, today we'll look at crafting talismans (TSW's answer to traditional MMO armor) and glyphs (which are basically talisman upgrades and the primary way to customize your gear).

The Secret World - Overlooking an Egyptian cafe
More on toolkits
I touched on toolkits when we made our QL8 shotgun last week, but it was suggested that I explain them in further detail, so here goes. They come in four flavors: weapon kits, talisman kits, consumable kits, and glyph kits.

These weapon, talisman, and consumable kits are colored according to their rarity (from green to blue to purple). A certain QL (and rarity level) toolkit can be used to make an item with the corresponding QL and rarity level. For example, a QL6 blue weapon toolkit will make a blue QL6 weapon provided you're using the appropriate crafting materials (recall from part one that TSW's crafting materials are metal, fire, dust, water, and runes).

The material requirements for each toolkit QL are as follows:
  • QL1 - base crafting materials
  • QL2 - 3 kits: imperfect crafting materials
  • QL4 - 6 kits: normal crafting materials
  • QL7 - 8 kits: sacred crafting materials
  • QL9 - 10 kits: pure crafting materials
Finally, you can acquire toolkits via the auction house, mob drops, and various Council of Venice NPC vendors.

Making talismans
As I mentioned, talismans are essentially your avatar's armor in The Secret World, and customizing your talismans with the appropriate glyphs for your preferred role makes up a large part of the title's theorycrafting metagame. Before we get to glyphs, though, we need to make a talisman. Sure, you can buy one off the auction house, and you may get an occasional lucky drop, but why not put all that loot you've collected to good use in the meantime?

In terms of crafting materials, talismans require fire, dust, or water, and these components determine the talisman's role. Fire-based talismans boost your DPS, dust talismans boost your healing powers, and water-based talismans boost your tanking capabilities.

The Secret World - talisman slotsAs mentioned in the toolkit section above, you need one toolkit to make one talisman, and its quality and rarity level will determine the quality/rarity level of the resulting talisman. If you're wanting a QL8 DPS talisman, you'll need a QL8 talisman toolkit, preferably a purple one if you can afford it. Also note from the previous section that you'll need sacred crafting materials for QL8 -- in this case, sacred fire since we're aiming for a DPS talisman.

The last thing you need to know is how much sacred fire material, right? That's easy, but it depends on which type of talisman slot you want to fill. Head talismans require 12 materials, neck and belt talismans require 10, and finger, occult, luck, and wrist slots require eight crafting materials.

So, if we want our theoretical QL8 purple DPS talisman to go in the head slot, we need 12 sacred fire crafting materials and a purple QL8 talisman toolkit. What are the differences between head, neck, belt, and all the other talisman slots? That's a lengthy article in its own right, and a player named Yokai has written the definitive talisman guide that I strongly encourage you to study.

Once we have all the materials, it's time to assemble the talisman. As with our weapon last week, we need to arrange the materials in the correct pattern and then drop the toolkit in the appropriate assembly window slot. When we do that, the window lights up and we can simply press the button and enjoy our new talisman.

Unfortunately I haven't found an in-game reference for talisman patterns like the weapon-related screenshot I posted in part one, so you'll have to make do with my crude Photoshop skills for now.

The Secret World - talisman crafting patterns
Making glyphs
While it's great that we know how to make talismans now, we're still pretty weak without some glyphs to augment them. Glyphs are kind of like gems in more traditional MMOs in that they are stat bonus items that may be added to talismans to achieve various effects.

Glyphs also give rise to item prefixes, so the difference between a hammer and a ferocious hammer is that the latter bears a glyph and thus some sort of stat boost. Glyph quality level and rarity level falls onto the familiar one to 10 and green-blue-purple scales, respectively.

While you can add glyphs to any item with a glyph slot regardless of quality level, it's worth noting that the bonus granted depends on the QL of the glyph (with higher numbers being more desirable).

In terms of recovering glyphs and glyph crafting materials during disassembly, well, you can't. Once a glyph has been added to an item, it's there for good until you overwrite it with another glyph.

Glyph quality and rarity depends on the glyph toolkit, just as we talked about in the talisman section above. The difference here is that instead of fire, water, and dust crafting components, we need runes, which come in two flavors:

  • Denkyem: critical damage
  • Lu: critical rating
  • Trinity: penetration rating
  • Wheel: hit rating
  • Earth: block rating
  • Koru: physical protection
  • Pentagram: magical protection
  • Wedjat: defense rating
  • Yggdrasil: evade rating
Like most other crafting components, these drop from mobs, or you can grab some from the auction house or your fellow players.

The Secret World - crafting runes
Each glyph requires four rune materials, and you can combine different runes to achieve various glyph stat bonuses. As an example, if we wanted to make a DPS glyph to slot on our DPS head talisman that we made earlier, we could choose to go all out for critical damage and use four denkyem runes, or we could opt for a balanced mix of critical damage and hit rating by going with two denkyem runes and two wheel runes. Finally, we could do what I'm calling a major/minor glyph by using three identical runes and one black sheep.

For example, I might make a glyph using three earth runes and one koru rune, which would give me major block rating and minor physical protection. There are a large number of possibilities, and the only catch is that you can't combine offensive and defensive runes.

Whew. Now that we've wrapped our brains around why we need glyphs and what we need to consider before we make one, we can finally dive into the assembly process. It's very similar to the weapon and talisman assembly process in that it's pattern-based and it requires a toolkit of appropriate quality/rarity level for the glyph QL and rarity desired.

Ready? Place your runes in the assembly window. There's only one pattern for every glyph you'll ever make.

The Secret World - glyph crafting pattern
Add your toolkit to the appropriate slot; once the window lights up, roll your mouse over the preview result to be sure it's what you want. Then press assemble. To add your new glyph to a weapon or talisman, make sure the item in question has a glyph slot (and note that as mentioned above, adding a glyph to an item with an existing glyph will destroy the older glyph). Place the item and the glyph in the assembly window, check the mouseover result, and press assemble.

And with that, I've run out of both time and space for this week. I originally intended to wrap up this particular guide in two parts, but as you can see, The Secret World's crafting system requires a fair bit of explanation. Next week we'll finish off by making some potions and gadgets, and we'll also talk about signets.

The Secret World - good recipe
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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