Vanguard Crafting Guide

Vanguard Crafting Guide by Ixiola

Note:  I originally wrote this guide to help out the new crafters in our guild about 3 years ago.  Since then I’ve periodically updated the information to try to keep the post somewhat current.  Although a few of the comments (about crafting resources) are specifically oriented to our guild, the rest is just general information that I had wished I had known when I first started to craft.  I think this is still a useful read if you’re a relatively new crafter.  Enjoy!

Up to now I’ve avoided posting a general crafting guide, because there’s been so many people before me who’ve already done it just as well as I can.  Most of this information used to be found on, and has been preserved on the other threads in this forum.  But I am not sure how many crafters even know where to go to find the data they need.

So I’ve decided to post a mini guide myself, for all you new crafters out there who may be overwhelmed by the process and want some tips / advice.  I’ve tried to cover the highlights of what every crafter should know.  If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Choice of class:

I often get asked by a person who wants to craft, what should I make?  My answer is always the same:  make what interests you.  We have high level crafters of every type in the guild, so don’t try to fill a niche just to fill a niche.  Instead, pick a class you will enjoy.

All classes can make diplomacy cards.

Armor smiths make heavy armor.

Weapon smiths make metal weapons

All blacksmiths make harvesting tools, horseshoes, metal housing decorations and sub combines used in boats/houses, hand held items for diplomacy, and runes (consumable items with buffs like + hps).  All 45+ smiths with sufficient faction can make plate swamp armor combines (this includes cleric only healer plate).  All 51+ blacksmiths can make 51+ spell combines for melee dps.

Tailors make light armor, bags, soft goods specialty bags (like reaping bags), and crafting upgrades for legs/chest/head.

Leatherworkers make medium armor, leather weapons, saddlebags, hard good specialty bags (like quarrying bags), ammo cases, and crafting upgrades for apron, gloves, and boots.

All outfitters make bandages (self heal clicky), talismans (clicky that gives buffs like levitation), clothing for diplomacy, harvesting gear, subcombines used in boats/houses, and cloth housing decorations.  All 45+ outfitters with sufficient faction can make light & med melee swamp armor combines.  All 51+ outfitters can make 51+ spell combines for tanks.

Carpenters make boats, wood weapons, wood foci (for healers), and wood housing decorations.

Mineralogists make houses/guildhalls, jewelry, stone weapons, stone foci (for nukers) and stone housing decorations.

All artificers make carvings (consumables with buffs like + mana regen, invis, invis to undead, etc.) and jewelry for diplomacy.  All 45+ artificers with sufficient faction can make medium healer swamp armor combines.  All 51+ artificers can make 51+ spell combines for healers/nukers.

At high levels, smiths can socket runes, artificers can socket etherences, primals and gems, and outfitters can socket infuses.  All crafting classes can do the POTA armor/weapon combines, although the Rare/Ultra rare used in the combine will vary.

General rules of the road:

Balance is key.  I can’t stress this enough.  Balance is key regardless of what class you choose.  Those who maintain balance in their crafting build will go far, while those who tweak their builds will often run into frustration.

So what do I mean by your “build”?  If you open up your character sheet and click on the crafting tab, you’ll see a “skills” tab and an “attributes” tab.  There are three types of skills:  Station, Utilities, and Tools.  (Station refers to the ones that don’t say “utilities or skills” in the description.)  There are 4 types of attributes:  Problem solving, Reasoning, Ingenuity and Finesse.  General rule of thumb is you want all of these skills/attributes to be in balance, and at LEAST 10 times your current level.  This will tell you whether your gear is up to snuff.  Some people like to play with pushing more on Station, some less, but at the end of the day, if you can’t get at least 10 times your level in all of those, you’ll likely run into problems when attempting to craft an item.
So how do you achieve balance if you’re out of whack?  Well, first of all you can adjust your skills by putting a +, -, or lock next to each one.  As you craft blue or better items and you use the skill in question, your points will adjust.  Secondly, you can make gear choices that can fill in your gaps.
There is one caveat of which you should be aware.  For skills, the number of actions you have (that’s the options you get to choose from for each step of a combine) is based on your RAW (unmodified) skills.  Total skill (modified by gear) impacts how effective each of those actions will be when you take them.  But having lots of options is always good, so you want to be careful to not choose gear that’s all the same.  For example, if everything you have has + Station on it, you will have been forced to put all your skillups in tools/utilities and your base station skill will be very low.  As a result, your available options when doing a station action will be relatively few, and your crafting will likely suffer as a result.

Only put specialization points into your class
:  On the skills tab, under the finishing section, you will find 3 skills.  Your parent class, and the two subclasses.  For Blacksmith, this is weaponsmith and armorsmith.  For Artificer this is Minerologist and Carpenter.  For Outfitter this is Tailor and Leatherworker.  Whatever class you pick, make sure you put a + next to that class AND your parent class, and a – next to the other subclass.  When you do a general finishing combine for your class, it will use your parent class skill.  When you do a specialized combine, it will use the other skill.  Since you cannot do any combines outside of your class (other than T1) there’s no reason to put points in the other class.

By the way, since this is a finishing skill, the only way to adjust these points is by doing a blue finishing combine/workorder of the correct type.  At very low levels, you will be offered all three types of workorders, since you don’t choose a specialization until you hit T2 (Amateur) at level 11, and novice level workorders will offer you all three.  If you know you want to choose Armorsmith, for instance, avoid the weaponsmith workorders as these won’t help you.

My tool bags are tiny and I can’t put all I need in one bag:  I got a question on this one just the other day.  I thought it was covered in the crafting tutorials but just in case it’s not, I’ll bring it up.  You have up to 3 tool bags.  The starting size of each is 3 slots.  As you get higher in level you can get larger bags that allow you to put more tools in them, some of which also include some nice skill/attribute bonuses.  When you’re in the middle of a combine and you run across a problem that requires tool XYZ to fix (but that’s not in your current bag) for 5 Action Points you can click a button to allow you to switch to another bag.  I recommend that you buy 1 of EVERY tool your class can use because you will eventually need them all.  Pay attention to what tools you seem to use most often and put those in your primary bag to minimize how much bag switching you need to do during a combine.  As your bags start to get bigger and bigger, you might consider in investing in a duplicate of that one tool you seem to use all the time and putting that in both your primary and secondary bags (again to minimize how much switching back and forth you’ll have to do).  At no time will you be able to put all tools in just one bag.  The best bags I’ve seen so far (APW drop) are only 6 slots.

What are Tier’s?  Tier’s refers to the level of crafter you are and the level of gear that you make.  Once you hit the next tier level, you can then do the tier quest.  This will get you access to recipes of that level.  Regardless of the recipe level listed, you cannot learn this recipe from your trainer if it’s of a higher tier.  So for instance, you might see a recipe that says level 18 but is Apprentice.  This means that you can’t learn until you hit 21 and do the T3 quest.  Yes, I know that seems weird that there would be situations like that, but the reason they exist is the level of the recipe v. your level gives you an idea of the difficulty of the combine.  Typically at low levels you cannot make an item to any degree of quality unless it’s at least 2-3 levels below you, due to your gear.  By making the recipe level lower than the level you are when you get the recipe, this increases the chance you can actually do the combine when you ding.

T1 (Novice) – Level 1 to 10
T2 (Amateur) – Level 11 to 20
T3 (Apprentice) – Level 21 to 30
T4 (Initiate) – Level 31 to 40
T5 (Journeyman) – Level 41+

T6 (Artisan) – Technically NOT in game.  There are a few combines that are T6 that require level 50+.  These are usually guildhall or quest related, some spells combines, etc..

For detailed walkthroughs on the Tier quests, please refer to the Continental and Tier Quest Guide.

Do every quest that gives you a gear upgrade and/or continental faction
:  There are tons of low level quests out there.  Not only are they fun to do, but it’s the best way to gear up at low levels.  In addition, continental faction is very time consuming to get.  With quests you can usually hit over 1K faction on every continent without much difficulty.  After that, factioning slows way down.  Other than quests, the only way to faction is by doing workorders at the correct outpost.  Workorders to grade A at an outpost will now give you a whopping 36 faction per; in cities it’s 30 faction per.  If you are shooting for 5K faction on a continent (to be able to do T5 house/boat combines) it will take you a long time to faction, especially if you mostly do batch workorders (sets of 5).  So do those quests.  <Edit:  With the tripling of faction a while back, this is not as important as it used to be; however I still believe it’s worthwhile to do the other quests for faction.>
In addition, you need a certain amount of faction on a continent to learn recipes/be able to get the tier quests.  To learn recipes it’s 100 X tier to learn.  So T5 recipes require 500+ continental faction.  To do a tier quest it’s (Tier – 1)X100 to learn.  So T2 quest requires you have 100+ faction to get.  When doing a tier quest for your HOME continent, you’ll get 100 faction upon completion, so factioning isn’t really an issue for your recipes on your home turf.  However, other continental styles will only give you 50 faction for the tier quests.  So if you learn another style but aren’t being offered any recipes, be sure to double check your faction.  For more information on where to go, refer to this Continental & Tier Quest List.

There are wonderful quest write-ups already available, so I won’t repeat the information here.  Go to the sticky threads and print out the list of all the quests that are sorted by continent.  Highlight everything that gives continental faction (i.e. Thestra, Qalian or Kojani Artisan’s), and make it a point to get them all done.  You may need the assistance of another class of crafter to finish the quest, and that’s okay.  Just ask in guild and we’ll help you out.  In addition to the general list, make it a point to do the banisher’s quest line (which starts in NT).  This is relatively new so isn’t in the main list, but you can do it in your low teens and the experience / gear is frankly far better than it should be for that level.  However, given that statement, it really is a must do quest these days.  When you hit 25, make sure you do the society quests in New Targoner and Ahgram.  Finally, when you hit level 50, you can do the Genesis quest line and learn the recipes to make 51+ spells and upgrade (socket) augments.  In addition, magi hold has some crafting quests that start at level 47, but if you’re a lower level adventurer, you’ll have some difficulty doing it.  The quests yield a nice end game crafting mask among other things.  Lastly, if you have Pantheon of the Ancients access (50+ zone) there are questlines there which will give you additional gear as well as the ability to make POTA gear combines.

Learn all continental styles:
 Even though many of the newer players all start on IoD, the classic game has different races on each continent.  So despite where you start now, by default you will only know the style for the continent in which your home race starts.  You will be unable to craft items in different styles unless you learn that style.

Continental style impacts more than just the look of a piece.  It also impacts the continental style effect, as well as (in some cases) what type of item can even be made.  In general, thestran style is + accuracy, kojani is + damage, and qalian is a self heal proc.  But some items can only be made with a specific style.  For instance, the cut of a gem is continental style based, and determines what stat will go on the item.  So if you want an int necklace, it can ONLY be qalian.  The elemental effect on a bow is continental style based, so to get that earth bow (with the snare proc) you MUST be able to make Kojani.  If you want to be able to make a hand wrap, you need to know either kojani or qalian style, because those thestran barbarians have never heard of a monk or disciple and have no clue how to make that item.  The list goes on.  My point is, to be a well rounded crafter, you need to learn to do it all.

Again, there are well written guides on the continental style quests that originally came from vanguardcrafters (hear a theme here?) but really quickly, to learn Thestran, go to New Targoner, to learn Qalian go to Ahgram, and to learn Kojani go to Ca’ial Brael if you’re an artificer, Tanvu if you’re an outfitter or Martok if you’re a blacksmith.

How do I know if gear item A is better than B?
  First of all, if it has + finishing/+refining skill on that, it’s not worth much.  Any skill or attribute is better.  Only keep your +finishing/refining pieces if it’s got other stuff (say a worn effect) that makes it worthwhile, or you have no better alternatives.  After that, I recommend that you put a 1.5 weight on any attribute, and 1.0 weight on any skill, then add up all the points to compare.  So for instance, if you have a 20 problem solving shirt and a 25 station shirt, which is better?  I would say the problem solving shirt, because 20 X 1.5 = 30 which is higher than 25 X 1.0 = 25.  However, I refer you to rule number 1.  Balance is always key.  I don’t care how much PS that shirt of problem solving uberness has on it.  If you already have tons of PS and can’t swap out any other gear, pass it up; it’s not for you.  You will find that the Problem solving attribute is the most prevalent at high levels, reasoning the next with ingenuity and finesse typically being difficult to obtain in quantity.  Stats are usually easier to get than attributes which is why they get a heaver weight when you make your gear choices.  But again, if all you have is attribute gear, you might want to actually pick up a few pieces with some skills instead.

By the way, since it’s not clear from the descriptions, the worn effect from the Rindol Field Medal (lvl 15), The banisher earring (approx level 15) and Shandrel’s earring (lvl 45) do not stack. Accordingly, just wear the best one you have. Essentially, this means you’ll wear the banisher earring until you hit 45 and upgrade it to shandrel’s.

How do I get better gear
?  Quests are a terrific way to get gear/tools.  In addition, batch workorders (and to a lesser extent sets of 3) to grade A will give you rewards which will occasionally include gear upgrades.  Your fellow guild crafters donate what they don’t need themselves to the guild bank and we try to keep an assortment in the guildhall.  Go into the crafting hall and check the 3 chests against the wall on the right.  Gear is sorted by tier and type/alpha, so be sure to check out all three chests.  Yes, if it’s there you may take it for your use, even if you’re only an applicant in our guild.  That’s why we have the stuff there, so don’t be shy about grabbing yourself an upgrade. When you get a drop, be sure to double check whether the gear says “Can be upgraded” on it.  These are fairly rare drops, but if you find one, DO NOT EQUIP it yet.  Once you equip, the gear is soul bound and only YOU can upgrade it at that point.  If you’re not of the appropriate class and/or don’t have the recipe, you’ll be SOL.  So before you equip, check the label and if applicable, be sure you get it upgraded first.  Upgrading will take the gear to yellow con and add additional effects.  Tailor combines are shirt/pants/head slot; leatherworker combines are gloves, boots and aprons.  Tools are not upgradeable.

If you feel you are in a serious need of a gear upgrade, your quest gear isn’t cutting it, and you haven’t been lucky on the upgradeable drops, you can search the exchange for “exquisite” and the level you’re looking for.  This is what the upgradeable pieces which haven’t been improved are called.  Sort by cost to look for some deals and then snag something for an upgrade by a fellow guild outfitter.  But make sure you pay attention to your stat balance when filling out your kit.  Also, when looking for gear, don’t neglect your tool set.  Every 5 levels there will be better options available for tools.  Again, these can drop from batch work orders as rewards, and we keep donations in the guild bank.  But if you are in need of some upgrades and we have none on hand, go ahead and check the exchange because tools tend to not be that expensive to get.

What are “dusts”?
  Dusts are what we use to put effects on the gear we make.  It’s not all about workorders.  After all, the reason you craft is to be able to create something neat, not just do the grind.  Dusts are for T1/T2 combines, Powders for T3 (T3/T4 for attuning), Shards are for T4, and Crystals are for T5.  Ancient crystals are rare drops in very high level areas (APW, some chest rewards in SOD) which create Red gear via a T5 combine.

There are three types of dusts.  In all cases the dusts will indicate how they can be used.  For instance, an Attuning dust may say slab, which indicates it can be used to refine a quarried stone; the resonating dust may say “Segment chest” which means it can be used for medium armor in the chest slot, and so on.

When you craft an item, if you use no dusts, the item will be green con.  If you use any dusts, it will be blue con.  This is important, because only blue con crafted items can be upgraded later to yellow or orange.  You may use none or in some cases all three types on a single piece.  The more types you use, the lower the overall stats will be, but the more effects you will get.  (You make a tradeoff of stats for effects.)  There are thousands of permutations of different items, which is why you really will not find a database of all the finished products for Vanguard.  Instead, you need to understand how the dusts work and before long, you’ll have a fair idea of what you’ll end up with by your dust choices before you even craft the item.

We store T4-T5 resonating/focusing dusts in the guildhall for our crafters.  I also store all types of T1 – T3 dusts at my house, which is open to guildies to access.  My house is on the guildhall island, immediately to the right of the crafting gazebo as you face the ocean.

  These are used when refining an item.  They typically put a stat (like dex) on the gear, but in some cases will add HPs, Energy or Healing or Nuke focus.  Higher tier of attuning dusts will give multiple effects.  T5 for instance will give 3 stats (Prophet is wis/vit/con combo).  Certain crafted items can only be made with certain options, so be sure to read your recipe for what is allowed.  All attuning dusts can be purchased from an exotic vendor, or obtained via decons/work order rewards.  Since these are purchasable from a vendor be careful what you pay for these from the exchange.  General rule of thumb is always use an attuning powder if it’s allowed.

  These are used to make a finished piece, and will put an effect on an item.  Examples include + dmg, range crit, nuke crit, healing focus, + melee avoidance, etc.  There are tons of options.  Again, the higher the tier, the more options there are.  These dusts are optional.  If you want a piece that’s all about con and hps, you probably want to leave the resonating dust off.  However, if you also want some mitigation, you probably should include this.  You cannot get these dusts from a vendor.  You can get these dusts from depletion bonuses from harvesting, as well as decons and work order rewards.  The dust you get from decons will relate to the item you decon.  For instance, if you decon a piece of jewelry, the dust you get should be able to be used on jewelry.  If you are looking for a dust of striking (for your uber weapon), then decon weapons to try to find one.

Focusing powders are T3+ only.  These are used on the attachments.  Attachments are used in the final stage of the combine.  They are things like a support for jewelry, lining for the armor, a handle for that weapon, and so on.  The focusing powder will add an additional effect which may be desirable.  Things like + resists, HP regen, Mana regen, General Crit bonus, Spell ID, + Healing, etc are all options.  Again, what the powder can be used on will vary so read the description carefully.  This is optional, like the resonating dusts.  You cannot get these powders from a vendor.  You can get these powders from depletion bonuses from harvesting, as well as decons and work order rewards.

How do I make an item yellow or orange?
  In general, to craft a yellow or orange item, you first make a blue item THAT USES A DUST, then use your upgrade recipe (finishing/special section) to upgrade it.  Note, it used to be that combines using no dusts would be green con; now no dust combines are blue con so this can be somewhat confusing.  So I will repete:  if you use no dusts to make the item, YOU CAN NOT UPGRADE IT.  The upgrade will take a Rare (to make yellow gear) or Ultra Rare (to make orange gear) resource, the blue item, and a secondary attach.  The secondary attach is a refined item from another class.  For instance, cloth armor takes a cut gem, stone weapons take a refined leather, and so on.  For T2-T3 combines, the secondary attach uses a common material.  For T4/T5 combines, the secondary attach uses a rare.  So to make a T4/T5 upgraded piece you will need 2 rares.  There are no upgrades for T1 gear.  T2 gear can be upgraded to yellow only (since there are no T2 UR resources).  T3+ can be upgraded to either yellow or orange.  A word of caution:  make sure you only use A quality secondary attaches when upgrading an item.  The reason for this is that the attachment is the last thing you do, and the quality of the finished product will be an average of your item up to that point and the attachment.  If you have a 100 percent quality and a B grade attach, you’re probably okay, but if you have a low A quality item and a B attach, you’ll likely get a B grade finished product.

The alternative way to get yellow crafted items is for a free upgrade.  With a few exceptions, if you make a piece to 100 percent quality when you craft it, you have a 1 percent chance to get a yellow piece of gear (instead of blue).  In fact, in the case of Tox Ammo Cases, the free upgrade is the ONLY way to get a pristine (yellow) case since there’s no such thing as an ammo case upgrade recipe.  (This is why these cases run 5+ plat on the exchange, in case you were wondering.)

The possibility for a free upgrade has two implications.  First of all, if you planned on making that gear yellow, by all means go to 100 percent quality when you craft it, because you might get lucky.  Secondly, if you don’t want superior (yellow) quality but instead were planning to upgrade to orange, do NOT run to 100 percent quality.  Murphy’s Law says that you typically only get the free upgrade when you don’t want it.  There are some pieces that don’t work this way, such as bags, horseshoes, harvesting clothes/tools, etc.  However, even they will benefit by taking the recipe to 100 percent as you will make the item “pristine” which means it has better stats.

So again, always make the quality of the item as high as you can.  If for some reason you don’t want 100 percent quality, then choose a finishing action that lowers quality slightly.

How do I get upgrade recipes? 
You’ll be able to get all your T2 upgrade recipes for your class from your trainer.  (T1 cannot be upgraded.)  In general, T3+ upgrade recipes are only obtained from Sigils.  Sigils are rare drop/reward from doing T3+ Batch Workorders to grade A.  It takes 8 silver sigils to buy a recipe equal to your current tier, 6 to buy a recipe 1 tier below you and 4 to buy a recipe 2 tiers below you.  It takes 1 gold sigil to buy any recipe you want.  There is a subset of recipes, however, that are obtained from other spheres.  Stone focus upgrades are drops from diplomacy and are extremely easy to get; we’ve got a ton in the guild bank.  Leather weapon upgrades are only dropped from specific named mobs and are extremely rare.  Every class will have 1 recipe that is obtained from another sphere besides crafting (via sigils) so you might have to work at obtaining these.  Recipes dropped from other spheres are tradable.  Recipes obtained from sigils are no drop.  Sigils are also no drop.

Since you mostly get your recipes from sigils, I strongly recommend that once you hit your mid 20s, you do only batch workorders to grade A until you have all the sigils you need.  If you can only do dark blue workorders to be able to get A quality, then avoid the whites.  It’s better to get what you need to do the upgrades rather than rushing to 50 by doing only yellows, and not being able to make anything decent.

What about making boats or houses?
 Boats are made by carpenters.  Houses are made by Mineralogists.  There are a few combines made by other classes to assist in the manufacture (such as fasteners from a smith, thatch from an outfitter, or sails/rigging from an outfitter).  In most cases, you have to do a quest to get the recipes for these combine (fasteners being one exception).  To get the quest, you have to have sufficient continental faction.  T3 requires 500 faction, T4 2K faction, and T5 5K faction.  (Note, the one exception is that T5 boats, aka Galleons, require 2K faction on all 3 continents rather than 5K on the continent in question…yes the devs decided to confuse us when they released galleons in the game.)  This is why I said earlier that you want to do all your quests to get as much easy faction as possible, because factioning can definitely be a grind.

What are manuals?
  Production Manuals are dropped books that you can read which will teach you how to mass produce some items used in crafting boats and houses.  T3 manuals allow you to refine 10 at a time (v. 5), T4 is 15 at a time, T5 is 20 at a time, and T6/artisan is 25 at a time.  Since the most you can refine without a manual is 5 this is critical to have when producing houses and boats.  Note these manuals are not for generic refinement (such as just making a standard slab into a brick).  Instead these are for the specialized items used in boats and houses.  Items include Thestran style housing bricks, planks, panels, beams, etc.  If you’re looking for a specific manual, see which named mob drops what item. Since these manuals are tradable, you can also look on the exchange.

Other misc catalysts to make things are dropped or sometimes purchased from exotic vendors.
  For instance, bows require an artificer item that looks like blue kanji writing in the middle of a purple ball.  These are dropped from harvesting but also purchasable from a vendor.  We try to keep an assortment of dropped crafting usable items in the Arlen’s house (directly behind mine near the crafting gazebo), but keep the ones you can also purchase from the exotic vendor to a minimum due to space considerations.  If you have specific questions about what something is used for or where to get it, please ask.

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