Saturday, January 19, 2019

Elder Scrolls Online - Tips for Writs (v4.2.12)

In the Elder Scrolls Online, you can have your characters of level 6 or higher certified to do daily writs -- easy crafting in exchange for Gold, Experience, and a Inspiration (the crafting skill line equivalent of experience). Here are some lesser know tips and synergies:

Setting Up Your Alts

  • To save you some headache, I recommend focussing only two crafters on advancement and the rest can stay at the lowest tier. The basic setup is here. More detailed reasons will be provided in the topics that follow this section.
  • Primary Crafter: This is the one that you will try to develop the fastest
    • Maximum Rank for working materials for Tiered Crafts.
    • Uses your material Surveys. As the highest ranked crafter they will get the best materials.
    • Save all Intricate items from writ rewards to give to this character for Deconstruction.
    • Does most of the crafting where possible -- including the other characters' writs. For items that stack, such as potions, food, and drink, the game does not distinguish who made the item.
    • Focus this character for research. Set item construction depends on how many traits you have researched for a particular type of gear so it's important to have at least one character complete all research.
    • Be cautious about increasing the Ranks for Enchanting if you are not confident of your ability to reliably get the required runes for the writs. Many runes can be purchased from the Enchanted NPC but for the rest, until you have acquired a good supply, you are subject to random factors.
  • Secondary Crafter: This alt will support the growth of the Primary Crafter.
    • Crafts items with excess materials for Primary Crafter to Deconstruct. Deconstructing something made by another character (even an alt) gives Inspiration roughly equal to twice the amount gained from Constructing it.
    • For Tiered Crafts, the rank should be based on the Primary Crafter's LEVEL. So if the Primary Crafter is level 40, they should be Rank IV as a Blacksmith to use Dwarven Ingots.
    • Keep this character's Research slots free initially. Later, when your research times become unbearable on your Primary Crafter but you need a particular trait more quickly, you can get them to research that one trait in less than a day.
  • Other Crafters:
    • To save yourself headache, just leave them all at Rank I to use the lowest ranked materials. You will quickly start to have an excess of those materials so you won't have to worry about not being able to complete your writs on them. Eventually you may have accumulated enough through purchase or Surveys that you might want to improve their ranks but since you already have a Primary Crafter that is unimportant.
    • Spend points on the Hirelings when you can. If you are willing to sacrifice the time to log in twice a day, go for the third rank for the Hirelings. Otherwise 2 ranks is fine.
    • It is not terribly hard to run around looking for Skyshards to get skill points without levelling -- it's really a matter of how much time you want to spend grinding each alt. I recommend instead doing the easy event quests that are typically fast, and with Experience point bonuses and extra rewards.
  • Main Adventuring Character and Main Thieving Character
    • Just do your writs but leave all your skill point for adventuring skills.
    • Get all the recipes required for the rank 1 Provisioning writs so that any Stolen provisioning ingredients can be crafted into items for writs instead of being Fenced, Laundered, or Destroyed.

Blacksmithing, Clothier, Woodworking, Jewelry

  • The Jewelry skill is similar to Blacksmithing, Clothier, and Woodworking except their Ranks are more spread out in terms of what levels of items a material can craft, but the basic ideas are the same.
  • You will probably find that Rank 1 materials will start to accumulate very quickly for various reasons, one of which being that as a writ reward you often get a stack of 25 (or 5 for Jewelry) in the writ reward bag.
    • When you have an excessive amount of those materials, have your Secondary Crafter make something and your Primary Crafter Deconstruct it.
  • For convenience, especially if you use Dolgubon's Lazy Writ Crafter, have all your characters eventually learn all the basic race Motifs so you can stock whatever you can in the Bank or Crafting Bag and won't be suddenly stuck for a particular Style Material. Sometimes Guild Stores will have someone selling Style Materials at less than the vendor price of 15 gold, so when you see that, snap it up.
  • When choosing what Rank to be at for what materials you can use, it is useful to first understand how you get materials.
    • For nodes you encounter, the random distribution gives you roughly half based on your character level and half based on what Rank you can use.
      • So, if you are level 40 (Rank IV) but have your Blacksmithing at Rank V, you will encounter only Dwarven Ore and Ebony Ore nodes.
    • For Surveys, there are always six nodes and the distribution will be three based on the level of the character using the Survey, and three based on what Rank material that character can use for crafting.
      • So, if you are level 40 (Rank IV) but have your Blacksmithing at Rank V, each survey will give you exactly three nodes of Ebony Ore and three nodes of Dwarven Ore.
    • Gear you find from any source is always tied to your level so the material will be based on that.
    • Writ rewards often give you materials instead of Surveys. You get one stack of any material you can work based on your Metalworking passive.
    • Hirelings give you a chance of getting a small amount of material based on the Rank you can use. Do not rely on them for raw basic materials. Instead, you are basically using them to steadily accumulate materials that will let you improve gear Quality, with the aim of eventually having a good supply to do Master Writs.
  • Because of how you get materials, if you are too spread out in your crafters in terms of what materials they need for writs, you may find you are using up too much time buying, gathering, or using Surveys to acquire the materials you need. For this reason, we recommend:
    • Primary Crafter can be any rank, preferably the highest rank they can work. Over time you will hopefully accumulate the various materials of lower ranks.
      • Save your Surveys to get materials for the Primary Crafter where possible. As material Rank goes up, the units of material required to craft something also increases.
    • Secondary Crafter uses either Rank I materials or preferably materials of the same Rank as the Primary Crafter's LEVEL.
      • Because roughly half the materials the Primary Crafter gets will be based on their level, you can quite safely assume the Secondary Crafter will in this way have enough materials for their writs.
    • All other Crafters stay at Rank I.
      • This does mean that their Hirelings will only get you Rank I raw materials, but you will also not have to worry about whether they have enough materials or not.
      • Also, it means you don't need to really worry about playing them at all to get skill points. They are just there to supply you with Gold from doing writs daily, and materials from their Hirelings.
      • If you later get a lot of materials of various Ranks, you can start to stagger their Ranks so that you have access (via Survey or Gathering) to materials of all Ranks.

Alchemy

  • Initially you may be stuck for the materials for the writs so you might want to just do the writs on your Primary and Secondary Crafters until you can acquire a good stack, probably from Guild Stores. Once you have a sizable stack of around 50+ you will find that over time you won't use up quite as many as you think because each writ reward give you some materials, sometimes of the type you need for your writs.
  • Get the Chemistry Passive for the Primary Crafter so they can craft extra potions. Then have them do all the writ crafting for Alchemy because the game does not distinguish who crafted the potion.
  • Looting containers is a very poor way of getting Alchemical ingredients so you won't have the same excess of supplies you do with Provisioning.
    • A very useful add-on to remember where you found a good density of gathering nodes is Harvest Map.
    • You do not actually have to go to different locations to get a chance of a particular ingredient -- land nodes are typically based on type.
    • Waterfront ingredient nodes are either Nirnroot or Water Hyacinth and do not vary.
  • Do not rely on Surveys to get the exact ingredient you need because there is a wide range and not the same based-on-level-or-rank predictability as Blacksmithing, Clothier, and Woodworking.

Enchanting

  • Enchanting roughly shares the same supply issues as Alchemy except you can also Deconstruct glyphs to hopefully get some runes.
  • Like Alchemy, Surveys won't always get you what you need so be cautious about advancing your Potency Improvement beyond Rank I. At low ranks the required materials for turning in are typically easy to stock in large quantities but it's trickier at higher ranks, so you might need to be prepared to spend on Guild Stores.

Provisioning

  • Initially you may be stuck for the materials for the writs so you might want to just do the writs on your Primary and Secondary Crafters and spend some time farming or shopping to get your stores up, at least for the items that you need to turn in. For the potions you need to make, you can use whatever ingredients will produce the potion you need so it's more relaxed.
  • Make note of where there are a lot of containers and no enemies, and repeatedly loot that area.
    • For example, inside The Windstorm at Seyda Neen, where you also get some weapons and have a good chance of an empty soulstone.
    • If you are Stealing, a good location is upstairs in the Lerano home at Balmora, which remains open after The Memory Stone. The one servant in the home does not go upstairs so you can repeatedly relog up there and loot all the containers over and over.
    • If you haven't finished the Balmora quest, then Captain Brivan's quarters in the Redoran Kinhouse is a good location as it is completely isolated with no character inside to hide from while you steal from the mix of containers.
  • If you are just trying to level the skill, it is not necessary to get higher Ranks of Recipe Qualit or Improvement to get the more complex recipes. Complex recipes do give more Inspiration when you craft them but if you regularly loot containers you will have an excessive amount of materials and crafting 200 Tarragon Chickens will level you just fine without using up valuable skill points in the early levels.
  • For the same reason, unlike Alchemy, it is not necessary to get the Chef or Brewer passive skills to make extra servings just to complete writs.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

FFXIV - How to choose quest rewards and Tradecraft Leves

If you're crafting in Final Fantasy XIV and don't have all the time in the world each week to craft literally scores, if not hundreds, of items to do your leves to level your Disciples of the Hand crafts, here are some tips you may want to consider.

Choosing Quest Rewards
Once you start Heavensward, quest rewards start to give HQ (High Quality) gear. As you know, turning in HQ items for leves and Grand Company Supply and Provisioning Missions doubles the XP and gil rewards. This can literally give you multiple millions of XP -- and once you reach the level 60's for your crafting classes, it still won't even be a full level, so it's helpful to get them when you can, and easily.

Starting with Heavensward, crafting High Quality also becomes harder -- hard enough that they apparently have easy crafting missions through Moogle Beast Tribe quests and Custom Deliveries for Zhloe Aliapoh in Idyllshire to help you learn in a low-cost way. The new tutorial entry for Custom Deliveries gives you the basics of using the Byregot's skills as a finishing move for a burst of quality.
Furthermore, as you go further into Heavensward and all the way through Stormblood, most items require crafted items from other crafts, further making crafting a chore without already having a wide stock of materials.

So when you come across quest rewards you might not care about because you've already outlevelled them and bought normal quality gear or Tomestone of Poetics gear, you can check each item on Garland Tools Database to see if they are used for a levequest, and turn it in later, instead of trying to sell it on the market board or vendor.

You could also do this for A Realm Reborn, but the crafting there is comparatively easy and the materials easy to harvest to make multiple attempts if necessary.

Of course you need not choose quest rewards solely as crafting leve turn-ins. With all your gear that you are using, before you sell it or convert it into materia (frequently an inferior choice to selling it as it is unlikely you will get what materia you want, and the materia will sometimes vendor for less than the item) check to see if it can be turned in as a crafting leve instead.

Choosing Leves
If you are rich in gil you can of course buy your way through leves to save time. Getting HQ items for turn-ins on the marketboard is generally prohibitively expensive but if you have access to the appropriate vendors, NQ items are a way to basically exchange gil for experience points.
But if you are short on time and gil, here are some tips to consider:

Easily Obtained Materials
Example:
  • CRP 48 "Birch, Please" in Foundation requires 3 Birch Lumber
  • CUL 58 "Let's Not Get Sappy" in Foundation requires 7 Birch Syrup
Normally Culinarian leves require recipes that have a half dozen materials and you'd have to run around quite a bit to gather them all, or spend quite a lot on the market board. In comparison, Birch Sap is easily obtained in one place (The Sea of Clouds, Voor Sian Siran) where you can also gather Birch Logs for your Carpenter Leve -- which also requires a one-material crafted item, Birch Lumber.

Furthermore, both items are potential turn-ins for Rowena's House of Splendors. The scrip payout is low, but the materials are easy and cheap to get and you don't have to aim for a very high score to maximize the payout because the higher tiers won't pay out much more than one additional red scrip anyway.

If you are short on time and have more leves than you can handle, then you may want to go with a macro for the crafting after gathering (and levelling your Botanist class) an obscene about of both materials.
There are three scenarios:
  • If you are unlikely to manage a HQ item, just run the macro and hope you luck out. You'll of course be turning in NQ items for the basic leve reward but saving time with the macro.
  • If you can manage a good score for Rowena's House of Splendors, you might want to turn on Collectibles Crafting and make the decision once you are ready to complete the craft, assuming you are grinding Crafter's Scrips. Remember that at any time you can toggle Collectibles Crafting before you finish your craft.
  • If you can consistently get a very high chance of HQ, then just run the macro and do your HQ turn-ins, maximizing your leve output.
Leves that Reward Materials
Example:
  • LTW 64 "Tiger in the Sack" in Kugane requires 1 x 3 Tiger Leather
Even before you have access to getting Tiger Skins in Yanxia or The Azim Steppe (level 64-67 areas) you can get Tiger Leather from the LTW 62 leve "Weathering Heights", which requires Gyuki Leather Highboots of Striking, which you can buy in Kugane or The Ruby Sea (and you can get one HQ from the level 62 main story quest Boys with Boats).

Once you turn in that leve and get your Tiger Leathers, you can turn in this leve and possibly get Tiger Skins with which to attempt to make your own HQ Tiger Leathers.

Cheap Turn-Ins
If you are very short on time to complete the weekly levemete challenges, you could look on the market board and buy Potions or Ether. Typically these can be purchased very cheaply, sometimes at less than the amount you would get selling to a vendor. You are unlikely to get a lot of HQ items but that will not be necessary as your aim is to complete the weekly challenge before the timer runs out.

For these challenges, remember that the XP awarded for the challenge goes to whichever class you have active currently. So even though these easy and cheap turn-ins would be for Alchemist leves, if you are currently an Astrologian, you'd get the challenge completion XP reward in Astrologian XP.

Once you are at maximum level for your crafters, you may find doing this a fast and cheap way to get the weekly Challenges done as well. Also, if you actually have more leves than you know what to do with them, this is a quick way to trim them down from the cap of 100, make a profit in gil, and get crafting crystals.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Elder Scrolls Online - New Life Festival travel for Roleplayers

The Elder Scrolls Online New Life Festival 2018 is well underway now. It starts in Eastmarch and takes you pretty much all over Tamriel.
Most players will probably find a guildmate who's at the starting point or where they need to go, and use the Travel to Player function to shortcut all that travel. However, hardcore roleplayers will want to hoof it or use other non-teleportation shortcuts, and if you're one of them, you'll quickly discover the map marker to take you on a long roundabout route through extremely dangerous territory. It really doesn't use their existing travel network of boats and caravans very well at all.

This article can really help you understand the characters with the game title "<Navigator>", and if you try it out, you'll discover that from Seyda Neen to Windhelm is just a few fast and safe ship passages out of Vivec!

For example, to get to Breda in Eastmarch, you can first go to the pier north of the Vivec City Wayshrine. There, have the <Navigator> take you to Mournhold in Deshaan. At Mournhold, there's no need to run around too much: Talk to the <Navigator> again an go to Stormhold in Shadowfen next. Finally, at Stormhold, take the final leg of the trip to Windhelm and you're in Eastmarch. Exit the city and head south a short distance to find Breda.