Crafting & Economy in Age of Conan

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It's time to take a better look at the crafting system in Age of Conan, and how you can make a bit of money on something that does not involve killing people!

Ask any adventurer journeying through the lands of Hyboria for advice on how to survive the brutal realities of the world, and they'll tell you to get a good sword as soon as possible. If it's not demons haunting you at night, clawing at your back ready to rip out your eyes, it's the treachery of man you must defend yourself from. Unarmed you will not get further in Hyboria than the nearest graveyard.

But there is one thing that can be just as persuasive as the sharp end of the sword: cold cash. Tin, copper, silver and gold – they flow through the cities of civilization like blood flowing through the heart of man: the Stygian merchant, whose commodity is death, hiring assassins to slay his competitors for a few pieces of gold; the Aquilonian noble fuelling political conspiracies with the promise of silver; the Cimmerian chieftain trading his last copper pieces to feed his starving tribe.

For you, as the player, there are numerous ways in which you can acquire some currency. You can head out into the great unknown to perform quests for people in need. You can murder innocents and loot their bodies for valuables. Maybe you would prefer hunting for game and selling the skin?

Either that or you can pick up a trade – a craft – using your hands to make something others want!

Becoming a craftsmanEdit

In the world of Hyboria there are certain locations where craftsmen (and women!) congregate to form societies where they can practice their trade. These are commonly called resource and gathering regions as they are areas with a special abundance of resources needed for crafting, and here you will also find many who are more than willing to learn others how to practice their trade.

Upon reaching the required level needed to start crafting (which is currently set to level forty, but that might change during the beta process) you need to seek out a crafting trainer who can teach you his or her trade. This will be your mentor on the long road ahead, sending you out on various quests where you need to prove your worth as a crafter. The important thing to remember is that you can only have one crafting profession, so choose wisely before dedicating yourself to your mentor!

Here are the different crafting professions in Age of Conan:

  • Weaponsmithing: Picking up this trade allows you to craft various types of weaponry, from swords to staffs, from daggers to crossbows. Everything needed to kill your opponents!
  • Armorsmithing: If you wish to go the completely opposite route from the weaponsmith, try picking up the armorsmithing craft that allows you to craft various types of armor pieces.
  • Alchemy: Do you enjoy mixing things into vials and seeing how the result affects people? Then you should try your luck at alchemy, allowing you to make various types of potions.
  • Architecture: City-building is an integral part of Age of Conan, and you will need someone skilled in the arts of architecture to draw up the plans needed for the different buildings.
  • Gemcutting: Monsters tend to drop rough gems that the gemcutter can turn into powerful enchantments, and these can be placed into other crafted items to make them more potent.

We have tried making it so that crafting is as intuitive as possible, while still maintaining the level of challenge that makes progression so entertaining. When you’re ready to start crafting something, all you do is bring up your recipe book and click on what you want to create. If you have the required resources in your inventory, the item will be created for you. There are certain exceptions to this, as some of the top tier recipes will require that your guild is in possession of certain types of structures within the guild city. Some of the top tier alchemy recipes will, for instance, require your guild to have an alchemist’s workshop constructed within the guild city.

Once you have chosen a crafting profession you will start out small, with little knowledge of how to create anything at all, much less anything of real use! Now it’s time for you to prove your worth to your trainer, allowing you to craft more and more advanced items over time.

Collecting resources Edit

Integral to crafting is, of course, resources. It’s what you have to pour into anything you create, whether it is a basic sword or an entire tower structure for your guild city. In order to collect a specific type of resource you will need to learn how to master the resource gathering profession that is associated with that resource. Note that you can master all of these professions at the same time.

Here are the different resource gathering professions you can master:

  • Mining: This profession will allow you to gather resources such as copper, tin, iron and more. You can also find rare ones like aurichalcum and blue iron.
  • Prospecting: This profession will allow you to gather resources such as silver, electrum, gold and more. You can also find rare ones like illustrium and platinum.
  • Skinning: This profession will allow you to gather resources such as different types of leather, some of which are rare ones like the grained leather and the whorled leather.
  • Stonecutting: This profession will allow you to gather resources such as sandstone, granite, basalt and more. You can also find rare ones like adamant and obsidian.
  • Weaving: This profession will allow you to gather resources such as cotton, wool, flax and more. You can also find rare ones like bloodflax and cottonwisp.
  • Woodcutting: This profession will allow you to gather resources such as ash, yew, oak and more. You can also find rare ones like soulwood and amberwood.

The alchemist doesn’t actually go out and gather resources for his potions. Instead the different ingredients required will drop from defeated enemies, just as with the gems used by the gemcutter. One of the reasons why we are doing this is to create a certain level of dependency between crafters and adventurers, making it a bit more interesting for everyone involved! Another way we’re creating dependencies between the two is making it so that only crafted items can have gems embedded, so the adventurers will be running back to the crafters with the gems they just picked up in some dark dungeon, asking the weaponsmith to make a weapon for them and the gemcutter to put the gems in! Using gems you can customize items, while dropped items can’t be customized.

One central element of the resource gathering system is the rare resources. When gathering a resource there is a small chance that you may collect a rare version of it. Using rare resources when you are crafting will allow you to make a special version of an item. These items will have additional bonuses, such as allowing gemcutters to put more gems into them. This allows crafters to make some incredibly potent and unique items by using several special gems and rare resources!

The primary reason for us allowing you to master all resource gathering professions is because of how important resources is to so many different aspects of the gameplay in Age of Conan. As an example you will need to pour resources into your guild city in order to pay for its upkeep!

Progression Edit

In stark contrast to similar games out there, progression within your chosen craft is not done by simply producing items or gathering resources over and over again until your skill improves. In Age of Conan you do not have a numerical crafting skill listed somewhere – instead you progress through different quests whose rewards allows you to craft better items and gather more advanced resources. This means that progression is entirely tied up to quests that you do for your trainer.

Progression is split up into tiers. You start with the first tier, involving basic items/resources, and you will have to be a certain level before you can move onto the next tier. Each tier consists of various quests that will reward you with new recipes for items to make, and resources to gather.

As an example, when you first start out in the alchemy craft your trainer will teach you how to craft what we call crude remedies. One of the first quests requires you to make a set of crude remedies for your trainer, and in return he will show you how to make common remedies. Within the first tier, currently starting at level forty, you will learn how to make crude and common potions. As you reach level fifty you will be eligible for tier two quests, rewarding you with refined potion recipes. It’s the same with resource gathering: the stonecutter will start gathering sandstone while he’s in tier one, but will quickly move up to adamant and basalt when he complete quests in higher tiers.

One of the reasons why we have chosen to make progression quest-based is to eliminate the feel of going through a grind. Instead of producing one hundred basic potions just to learn how you make something a bit more interesting, you will actually progress through a storyline that will also reward you with a healthy amount of experience points which will count towards your next level!

Hard work pays off Edit

Sooner or later once you have started to master a crafting profession (and/or resource gathering profession) you will want to get paid for the hard work. There are several ways to flog your items (and resources collected). You can stand in front of Conan’s castle in Tarantia, screaming your lungs out for someone to please buy your wooden crossbow – or you can seek out the tradepost.

Tradeposts are Age of Conan’s equivalent to the auction house that you find in most other games of this genre. Tradeposts can be found in cities and player cities, and using them brings up an interface that combines your bank, your mail and a marketplace where you can buy and sell items. To sell something you have crafted you simply put it on your bank and tag it for sale with the appropriate price. Someone in need of it will eventually come along and buy it from you.

One important aspect of the tradepost is actually that it is not an auction house. There is no auctioning, there are no bids. You put something up for sale with a set price and either someone purchase it or not. It certainly makes things interesting and the market much more fast and furious!

At the end of the day you can finally head home with a few gold pieces in your pocket, proud of the fact that you once again managed to make a solid living – without cutting off someone’s head!

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