Much of this guide is outdated due to the changes made with LU19 and the new character progression. We're leaving it in place for now, but be aware that things have changed now that new characters start in city-specific colonies instead of on the Isle Among other things, nodes are now clustered and named a bit differently, different harvests are found upon them, the Dreak tutorial is now gone, and there's a proper tradeskill instance behind the tower, canine saliva can no longer be used in place of distilled or aerated mineral water, etc. It does, however, give you a good basic idea of what folks went through in the past.
This is just my personal experience in leveling up 4 different characters to their 10+ Artisan classes (2 scholars, 2 outfitters, will eventually become Sage, Alchemist, Armorer, Weaponsmith). This can be done on the Isle of Refuge (IoR, aka newbie isle) until you hit the level 9 cap, then you have to head towards your city (Freeport or Qeynos) and get certified in your chosen Artisan Class to go beyond 9. As a side note, they recently stopped selling the Artisan Essentials vol. 9 book on the IoR. I /bugged it, but honestly I assume it's incentive to get you off the island.
And now, on to the strategy!
Tin clusters are your best friend. They are mainly used for Tin Bars which is one of the two recipes you first get when you do the tradeskill tutorial from Assistant Dreak on the IoR. These Tin Bars are used to make the primary component for nearly all of the tin weapons (tin edge) and for many of the interim pieces (crossguards, pommels, etc.) The Tin clusters are found from the harvestable rocks which on IoR seem to have 3 distinct spawn areas meaning that only rocks spawn here. There are a number of spots in the island that seem to spawn any of the Tier 1 nodes (rocks for tin/lead/salt, roots for roots, and felled trees for severed elm).
First area is on the outer part of the goblin invader area, next to a rock where you can leave your name if youíre the first one on the server to do so. (Mouse over it and you will see the name of the last person to do this... Soandso was here). There are 3 rocks that spawn in this area. To the north of this is the area with goblin runners, aggressors, and brutes. I have occasionally seen rocks in the aggressor area, but I think this area is a random spawn for any harvestable node. I have seen roots and logs here as well. The second distinct rock spawn area is by the merchant just outside of the brutes camp. There are normally 3 rocks that spawn here. The third area is the most dangerous to get to on the island as there is a group of 2 linked goblins that roam in this area and are aggressive. In other words, if they get close enough to you, they WILL attack. Also known as Kill On Sight or KOS to those new to the MMORPG world. From the merchant camp mentioned before, you should be able to see a lake and a waterfall. Beyond this, there is a second waterfall and a strip of land between the waterfall and the Chieftain's Tree. Roughly speaking, it's the far northeast part of the island. There is also a tombstone that triggers Captain Rockbelly, aka the pirate ghost in the area. There are 3 rocks that spawn here.
Be advised, there are 4 possible things you can get from the rocks on the Isle. Tin clusters (our friend), Lead clusters (used in jewelry), Salt (used in making dyes for ink and in baking) and a big handfull of nothing. At these levels, there seems to be a pretty even spread of all 4 outcomes. After several trips of harvesting rocks, my stacks of tin, lead, and salt are pretty close to even.
For the purpose of skillups, bank the lead and salt to make room in your inventory. Do what you want with the handful of nothing. Buy the level 3 and 4 Artisan Essentials if you haven't already and you can afford the books. Go ahead and scribe the level 3 book as you should be level 3 when you finish Dreak's tutorial. We'll worry about book 4 later. Also buy 2 fossil tempers and coals for each your tin clusters from the merchant. Ie. if you have one full stack of tin clusters, buy 2 stacks of fossil tempers and 2 stacks of coal.
NOTE: If youíre a thrifty (cheap) tradeskiller and are more interested in cost efficiency, you can make your own fossil tempers MUCH cheaper than you can buy them from the merchant. I took 5 lead clusters and 5 canine salivas (from killing wolves) and purchased 5 candles for fuel (chemistry table combine) for a total cost of 35 cp. If you donít want to bother killing wolves, you can buy liquid from the merchant for 7 cp each which would have brought my example to a total of 70 cp spent. Depending on the quality of the final product, the quantity of fossil tempers increase (1 crude, 2 shaped, 3 no-name, or 4 pristine). In my case, I had 2 make it to pristine (4x), and 3 make it to no-name (3x) (8 pristine + 9 no-name tempers) for a total of 17 tempers for a cost of 35 cp. If I would have purchased 17 tempers, I would have spent 1sp 19 cp, an 84 cp savings. And this was at Artisan level 4. As my skill increased, so did my pristine success rate which also increased my cost savings.
Once you have your tin, tempers (purchased or made), and coal, head to the basement and get to skilling. It is better to go out and harvest at least a stack or two of raw materials when youíre going to be grinding. If you run out of inventory space midstream, bank some of the materials you wonít need for a while or sell off finished pieces. I am going to assume for the purpose of this guide that you have already done the tradeskill tutorial and got Dreak's Tailored Bag (tutorial reward). As soon as you zone into the basement, you should see the forge right in front of you. Double click on the forge to bring up your recipes. If you haven't purchased any of the Artisan Essentials books, you will still have the recipe for the Tin bar. Click on that recipe and Create. The tin bar recipe and the tin spike recipe are the only 2 recipes you will come across that don't have any of the random events that pop up, so make tin bars until you run out of Tin clusters. If you started with enough clusters, you should be at level 4 so scribe that book as well. This has the recipe for the tin edge, the primary component of many of our next crafting items. Since the tin bars have no random events to worry about, you should be able to make pristine tin bars on almost every attempt.
Our next recipe is the Tin edge. This recipe WILL have random events that you will need to match with the appropriate response. I won't go into the 'match the picture' events other than to suggest making a tertiary hotbar just for the tradeskill abilities. The names of the weaponry responses at the time of this writing is Annealing, Tempering, and Hardening. Finish off your tin edges until you run out of materials. At this point scribe the books that you've earned up to this point. Once you hit Artisan 5, you can make backpacks, but I wouldn't recommend it yet. The interim components you will have to make from scratch which will take several combines from different stations (forge to make tin buckles, chemistry table for chloro wash/resin, and tailoring loom for leather plates, straps and for the final combine). At this point, stick with making tin bars/edges to bump you up to 6. At level 6, you can start making those other interim pieces and assembling them into weapons. I would recommend gathering twice as much tin clusters as you have tin edges crafted so far. Once all this is converted into bars, make half of the tin bars into tin pommels and half into tin crossguards. Since nearly all your tin bars are pristine, most of your edges, pommels and crossguards should be pristine as well.
NOTE: In the change from beta to retail, pommels now use chloro oil instead of fossil tempers. Chloro oils are made from roots, liquid, and candle as fuel for the chemistry table. Once again, if youíre looking for cost effectiveness, you can save 7 cp per combine by killing wolves for saliva instead of buying the water from the merchant.
At this point, if you can, make tin longswords (I think this is a level 7 recipe, maybe level 8) If you're not there yet, tin shortswords use the same recipe. Since most of the parts that we are using are all pristine, not only will the final product have a fair chance of being pristine, but you will get more xp from the final product since the interim pieces are pristine.
The main reasons I am suggesting this method of leveling up for artisan are there's only two crafting station required in the entire process, (chemistry table is only needed for chloro oils and tempers if you choose to make the tempers), and tin bars, the primary component for a vast majority of smithing recipes and interim pieces can be made without worrying about random events and can almost always be made into pristine tin bars, making all those other recipes potential pristine as well.
As a side note, with my latest character, once I hit level 6 artisan, I made my own Apprentice III scrolls. Making these on the Isle would appeal to those traders out there that are openly masochistic, like all those Blessed Coldain Prayer Shawl people (you know who you are). This method will level you up fairly quickly as well, but where the tin weapons were very simple (two stations, two forage items, two things to buy from merchant) App III scrolls on the Island are very complex. You will have to forage roots to make chloro oil and resin and to make the parchment, elm to make chloro wash and paper and refined elm which is needed to make the elm quill, and salts from the rocks to make refined isonoid which is made into the dye which in turn makes the ink. Most of the reason the scrolls are fairly decent for crafting xp on the isle is just the sheer volume of subcombines for all the interim products. Frog edit - paper, dye and quills cannot be bought on vendors since November or so
I may be incorrect in the placements of the Oils, Washes, and Resins as I am running from memory as Iím writing this, but the quantities should be correct to give you an idea what is needed for crafting scrolls on the Isle.
Combat Arts are a different story as they require Suspensions which at the moment donít appear to be in game either in recipe format or on the merchants. Hopefully this will change very soon and I can put Fighter/Scout Arts in here as well.
Some may ask why you would even WANT to go through the hassle of harvesting all these raw materials on the Isle when you can purchase the interim pieces from merchants once you leave. One reason is experience. When you harvest the interim pieces from scratch, you will get XP from making it and chances are you will be able to make a better quality piece than what you can buy from a merchant. The better quality interim pieces will provide you with more XP when you are crafting your final piece. I guess it's mostly a matter of preference, whether you would rather get to the final piece quickly (I buy components for spells since quality of the final product doesn't matter) or whether you are trying to get the most experience for the least copper spent. As of the 10/28/04 beta patch, buying spell components for Scout/Fighter Combat Arts instead of harvesting from scratch is exactly 2 sp. Iím not certain of the cost for making from scratch since at the time, the recipes called for a suspension which wasnít in my recipe books. I havenít checked this since retail release to see if suspension is in game yet or not. I will update when I get a cost comparison for purchasing parts for spells/arts vs. making from scratch. And when I say from scratch, I mean the ONLY thing I buy is the fuels from a merchant. I will harvest or kill to get other pieces.
Frog Edit: Suspensions are on the vendors for 36c each for Tier I essences. Other suspensios are more costly.
Also for the sake of completeness (and a heads up from Mum ) there are a couple other harvestables that should be mentioned for Tradeskilling on the island. First, there is one uncommon harvest on the island. From the Piperacea node (looks like some weeds to me) you can harvest pepper. I managed to get one of these on the Isle and sold it becasue food recipes weren't in at the time. I have seen two of these spawn on the island. One was between Malvonicusí Tower and the bank where the roots normally spawn and the second was near the Chieftainís tree where there are normally 3 or 4 root nodes in the area. It should be noted that these sightings are about 2 months apart, but I havenít been on the isle for the last 3 weeks of beta so I canít say for sure what the spawn rate of these are, but itís definitely longer than 1 per day unless theyíre getting picked up quicker than my mule can get to them.
Pepper + Salt + Coal (Stove & Keg station) = Packet of Spices which is used in MANY tradeskill recipes or if you're in need of cash sells back to the merchant for more than the cost of the coal. I don't have the exact profit amount since I haven't made this yet, but for an uncommon drop, I would expect it to be fairly decent.
The other mentionable harvest is sullied low quality pelts. There are pelts for all sorts of animals. There arenít any Badger Den nodes on the Isle (subject to change at the whim of the devs), but pelts also drop from killing furry creatures. On the Isle, these will come from beavers, wolves, deer, and bears. They all work the same, but the bear pelts sell back for about 11 cp where as the others only sell back for 1 or 2 cp. (My advice, craft the cheaper pelts, sell the bear pelts). The pelts can be used to craft the Tier1 bags once you hit Artisan level 5 (4 slot for crude/shaped, 6 slot for normal/pristine). Selling 6 slot bags to other players may provide an alternate means of income not to mention give you extra inventory space when you get off the isle. They can also be used to make Rawhide hilts for Tin Tulwars and Throwing Axes.
Iím not sure what the pricing points are on the Isle (from scratch) or at the wholesalers, but in beta, one could make tin edges, buy tin crossguards and rawhide pommels and come away with a small (11-14 cp) profit from selling finished tulwars back to the merchant.