The tradeskill prestige ability of Experimentation can be quite impressive and/or quite frustrating. Since some of it can be tricky or confusing, and failure will destroy the item that you are working on, I decided a more in-depth look at it was called for. (If you need more information on the other tradeskill prestige abilities, check out the Tradeskill Abilities/Prestige page.
Experimentation allows you to improve the stats that are already on a crafted (handcrafted, mastercrafted, mastercrafted fabled) gear item (armor, weapon, jewelry), and/or add a proc to it, and/or possibly add a decoration to it. (Personally, I'd only waste an experiment on a particle effect decoration if it was an appearance item where I didn't mind the risk of loss.) Failure to finish the progress bar before the durability drops down to nothing will result in the item being destroyed.
If you have 1 rank in experimentation, you may experiment on any crafted item only once. If you have 5 ranks in experimentation, you may experiment on the crafted item 5 times, but realize that each additional experiment after the first one will be increasingly more difficult to complete. Taking the full 5 ranks in experimentation increases your skill, which also makes it (slightly) easier to experiment on the item.
Experimentation uses a separate skillset. Crafting abilities, crafting potions, and crafting gear that boost progress, success rate, etc. will NOT work on experimentation. The only thing other than your own button pushing abilities and luck that will impact your experiment is how many ranks you have in the skill.
You can put one proc on an experimented item. (You cannot stack both on the same item.) The actual stats will vary based on the level of the item being experimented upon. The below examples of the Augmented Smite and the Augmented Blessing are from level 90 handcrafted gear.
The first time that you experiment on a stat, it will give you the option to increase it by 10%, and will show in parentheses what that comes out to number-wise.
|First round of experimentation on an INT/STA dagger - |
Note the options all indicate 10%
If you choose to experiment on a different stat for your next experiment on the same item, you will also be able to change it by 10%. If, however, you choose to experiment on the same stat a second time, you will only be able to improve it by 5% on the second attempt. (A third attempt on the same stat will only boost it another 2.5%, a fourth would only give you another 1%, and a 5th would give 0.5%, so there are definitely diminishing returns if you try to focus on a single stat.)
|The same dagger after a round each of experimentation for STA and INT - |
Note the drop to 5% for another attempt on either stat
Once you have selected the item and chosen what you wish to do for the first experiment, you will note a green circular arrow in the bottom right corner of the experimentation window. Click it, acknowledge the warning that you run the risk of destroying the item, and be ready to click like mad ... and ignore all chat and tells for the next several minutes. :P
You will have 6 totally unique experimentation reaction arts that are on separate timers, and they have a variety of effects. Mashing all of them as fast as you can as often as power allows might not really be the way you want to go, especially since that likely means you're going to mis-key a lot of events that occur, which will destroy your durability quickly.
Start with a tier 1 handcrafted item, like a tin dagger or the like, and practice on that your first time or two. Find a reaction art rhythym that works for you, be ready to vary it as needed. I was using anywhere from two to four reaction arts a round, but four can get kind of dicey if you want to be sure to properly react to an event in the next crafting pulse.
If this talk of using reaction arts every round as buffs is total greek to you or is something that seriously stresses you out, I strongly recommend that you not select Experimentation as your prestige tree. (Remember, this is a game, it is supposed to be fun - if it isn't fun for you to do this type of crafting, then don't do it. :D)
The experimentation process is a cursor-hog. This is not one where you can change the focus to a chat window and chatter away while you're nursing along the experiment. Expect each experiment to take a couple minutes, and to require that you pay attention.
This can be a highly rewarding process, especially for higher-end crafted gear, reactant gear, advanced apprentice gear and the like. Along with those rewards, however, come the extra costs (it is time-consuming) and the extra risks. (The more you experiment on an item, the higher the chance you'll lose the durability and lose the item.) The more tired or distracted you are, the more fingerflubs you'll end up with while experimenting, which will also increase the risk of loss.
It definitely won't be a skill that everyone will enjoy. Nor will it be one that everyone will necessarily "get" how to do without blowing up their every-other experiment. Some folks, however, will find it a fun challenge and a worthwhile prestige skill to obtain.
You cannot experiment on crafted gear that has been reforged. You will have to visit the reforger, restore the item in question (remove the reforging from it), experiment on the item, then reforge the item once you have the desired number of experiments completed on the item.
If the item that you want to experiment on is to be imbued or blessed, do that first, then experiment. If you try to imbue an item that has been experimented on, you lose the results of all the experiments. (The item is not lost, it just ends up a "normal" imbued item, not a lovely experimented one with boosted stats.)