Welcome to Guild Wars 2!
Whether or not you’ve had experience with crafting systems in other games, it’s likely that you’ll need some trial and error to figure out how crafting works in GW2. This guide will help you shortcut some of that process.
Gathering & salvaging
Any player can gather from any resource node, without needing to specialize in a gathering profession. You will, however, need tools. After finishing your race’s tutorial, check your minimap for the stack-of-coins icon representing a merchant. Merchants can sell you pickaxes, axes, and sickles to gather minerals, wood, and plants, respectively; once equipped, these tools do not take up inventory space. You can also buy a salvaging kit that will allow you to break down many loot items into crafting components. It’s a good idea to stock up on these tools ASAP.
There are economic, leveling, and power benefits to gathering and salvaging. Gathering from a resource node gives you experience, generally more experience than a kill does. There are also daily and monthly achievements for gathering and salvaging that grant experience and potentially coin as well. Materials can be sold to other players at a profit, or used for crafting. And finally, the easiest way to get equipment upgrades at low levels comes from gathering; various gemstones can be gathered from ore veins and sometimes from “hidden stashes” in trees. There is also a chance to get a random dye from gathering plants.
As you level up, you’ll find that your initial gathering tools are no longer good enough. When you move to a level 15 or higher zone, your tools only mangle the better materials found there, so you need to buy new ones, again from a merchant near an entrance to the zone. Your salvaging kits, by contrast, will continue to work on more expensive salvage items, but you can get additional benefits at any time by using better salvage kits: better kits have a higher chance to recover equipment upgrades or to yield better materials.
If you know that a material is gathered or salvaged but you can’t find enough of it, consider buying it from other players at the Trading Post.
Some crafting materials cannot be gathered from the world, looted from monsters, or salvaged from other items. Most of these will cost you in-game coin; a few (chef materials, in particular) will have to be purchased with karma, a currency you will get for completing events and renown hearts.
The best way to find out about these materials is to talk to a master craftsman NPC for your chosen crafting profession. Most of them have not one but several tabs of goods for sale, each tab holding a different category of goods; check them all, as there are some interesting things hidden in there. If you don’t follow this advice, you’ll probably end up wondering why you haven’t found any tin ore veins yet, or why the drop rate on runes of holding is so low.
Collectibles and inventory space
You can save a lot of time and storage space by making use of the “collectibles” feature in GW2. There are several categories of items – primarily crafting materials and minipets – that get their own dedicated storage spaces in your account bank. Furthermore, you don’t need to visit the bank in person to deposit collectibles! To deposit an individual collectible item, right-click on it and choose “Deposit collectible”. To deposit all collectibles from your inventory at once, click the gear icon at the top of your inventory window and select “Deposit all collectibles”.
You can also save yourself a lot of trips to the bank by knowing that you can access your account bank fully from any crafting station.
There are three primary reasons to to craft in GW2: Equipment, economics, and experience.
Unlike some other games, you can get some very good equipment for your level through crafting (whether armor, weapons, jewelry, or bonus-granting items). You can also get several unique equipment appearances that only come from player-crafted items.
A clever player may be able to turn their crafting skills into an in-game economic advantage. Be warned, though, that crafting skills alone do not guarantee this; you must also be good at finding ways to profit based on the supply and demand created by other players. The crafting systems in games are almost universally designed to remove currency and materials from the game, leaving the average player more poor after crafting and selling something than when he started. The player that profits through crafting and trade usually does so by being more clever and observant than the average player, or by having something that few other players have. Playing the market is beyond the scope of this guide, but to those who wish to attempt it, I salute you.
Finally, increasing your character’s skill at crafting also gives them experience to increase their overall level. This can be helpful if you find yourself underleveled.
Choosing a crafting profession
You can start on the path of a crafting profession by speaking to a master craftsman NPC at any major city or at some lesser outposts. Any character can have up to two crafting professions active at any given time. You can change your choices later, but it can cost you, so make your choices deliberately.
Three professions primarily make armor. All three are also able to make bags or boxes that increase the amount of available inventory storage space, and runes that can be used to improve armor. These professions are a great choice for beginning craftsmen since their products are almost universally useful and relatively easy to make.
Tailor – Makes light armor that can be worn by elementalists, mesmers, and necromancers.
Leatherworker – Makes medium armor that can be worn by rangers, thieves, and engineers.
Armorsmith – Makes heavy armor that can be worn by warriors and guardians.
Three professions primarily make weapons. All three also make sigils that can be used to upgrade weapons. These are also a good choice for beginning crafters, as their products are mostly easy to make, but be careful to compare the weapons made by each craftsman to the weapons you can actually use. No one weapon-crafting profession perfectly matches the list of usable weapons for any player profession.
Weaponsmith – Makes weapons normally used in non-magical melee: axes, daggers, greatswords, hammers, maces, shields, spears, and swords.
Hunstman – Makes weapons normally used in non-magical ranged attacks: harpoon guns, longbows, pistols, rifles, shortbows, torches, and warhorns.
Artificer – Makes magical weapons: foci, staves, scepters, and tridents. Also makes potions that grant temporary bonuses, but often require several high-quality ingredients.
There are two miscellaneous professions. These are probably not the best choices for a newcomer to GW2 crafting for reasons I will explain in the next section.
Jeweler – Makes earrings, necklaces, and rings that can be worn by any profession and provide passive bonuses. Improves jewels to make them higher in quality.
Chef – Makes foods that provide temporary bonuses to characters. Also makes dyes.
Jeweling and cooking are more difficult
Jeweling is not more complicated than other professions, but the jewels used in jeweling are somewhat rarer, and jewels are likely to be expensive at release because they are useful even unmodified, unlike the materials used in other crafting professions. This profession may be best for a player who maintains several characters and can use all of them to supply a single jeweler character.
Cooking, however, can be monstrously complicated. NPCs will warn you that cooking tends to be more expensive than other professions, costing both coin and karma to maintain a steady supply of materials, and that you will also need more storage space. This is true, but almost as important is the fact that cooking is much more complicated.
In most professions, only a few basic materials are important at any time. A tailor, for instance, begins by working with jute, the lowest class of cloth materials. When the tailor has enough skill to work with wool, jute is no longer important; all wool armors are much better than jute armors. The same is true of woods, leathers, ores, and even the high quality crafting ingredients used to create magical elements of weapons and armors. Each set of items has distinct tiers, and as a craftsman rises in skill, lower tiers of materials are no longer necessary nor important.
This is not the case with cooking. A cook does begin with a limited set of ingredients, like any other craftsman; they can work with butter, flour and salt from the start, but are not skilled enough to handle most spices, for instance. Like other craftsmen, they gain access to more ingredients as they rise in the ranks; the secrets of garlic, cumin, and parsley slowly unfold as they learn. They way they differ from other professions is that butter, flour, and salt never stop being important. This makes the process of discovering new recipes ever more complicated as a chef increases in skill. At present, 102 basic ingredients are known for the chef profession; this number does not include “refined” ingredients made by combining basic ingredients. A master chef will need to work with all these items to reach his full potential.
Broadly speaking, there are three ways to learn how to craft a new item: Automatically, by recipe, and by discovery.
When you first choose a crafting profession, you automatically learn a few recipes. As you gain skill as a craftsman, there are several more you will learn automatically. Most of these items are fairly basic components of crafting. A leatherworker, for example, will begin with the knowledge of how to refine rawhide and jute, make inner and outer panels for various medium armors, how to make a few insignias, and how to make a very short list of actual armor items. As the leatherworker’s skill increases, they will automatically learn how to refine better materials and how to craft higher-quality armor components.
You can learn how to craft a number of items by buying recipes. Most of these come from karma vendors scattered throughout the map; you will generally need to help them in some way before they will sell to you. Items that are learned from recipes can only be learned from recipes; there is no other way to learn them.
The primary way you will learn to craft things, however, is by discovery. Discovering new recipes is done at a crafting station using the “Discovery” tab, where you can combine up to four components in an attempt to create a new item. Don’t worry, there isn’t any way to screw things up and waste components! Components that your profession can use and that you are carrying in your inventory will appear on the left; drag them to the slots at the right to put them together. Components that you can’t combine with the components you’ve already selected will have icons colored gray. Components that require too much skill for you to use will have icons colored red. If the components put together make something, the UI will inform you of this, and you will have the option to craft the item and save the recipe.
If you’ve read to this point and are still having trouble getting the discovery process to work at all, try reading this:
As a craftsman that makes a type of armor, refine some raw materials, make the inner and outer panels of a particular piece of armor, and make an insignia (all of these should appear as recipes that you know from the start under the “Production” tab). Flip over to the Discovery tab. Drag the inner panel, the outer panel, and the insignia to the slots at the right to combine them. The interface should inform you that “This looks like something!” Click on craft to create the item and save the recipe. Voila, you’ve discovered a recipe. It will now appear in your Production tab.
As a craftsman that makes a type of weapon, refine some raw materials, make two different components of a particular weapon, and make an inscription (all of these should appear as recipes that you know from the start under the “Production” tab). Flip over to the Discovery tab. Drag the two weapon components and the inscription to the slots at the right to combine them. The interface should inform you that “This looks like something!” Click on craft to create the item and save the recipe. Voila, you’ve discovered a recipe. It will now appear in your Production tab.
As a jeweler, refine some raw materials, make a setting and one other jewelry component, either a band or a hook (all of these should appear as recipes that you know from the start under the “Production” tab). Flip over to the Discovery tab. Drag the two jewelry components and a gem to the slots at the right to combine them. The interface should inform you that “This looks like something!” Click on craft to create the item and save the recipe. Voila, you’ve discovered a recipe. It will now appear in your Production tab.
As a chef, create a Pile of Cinnamon and Sugar and a Ball of Dough (both of these should appear as recipes that you know from the start under the “Production” tab). Flip over to the Discovery tab. Drag the two ingredients to the slots at the right to combine them. The interface should inform you that “This looks like something!” Click on craft to create the item and save the recipe. Voila, you’ve discovered a recipe. It will now appear in your Production tab.
It is possible to level up a crafting profession almost entirely by discovering new recipes.