I’ve found that specific aspects of the crafting systems in Wildstar to be a merger of batshit crazy and a masochists wet dream. You might laugh at that but Wildstar’s crafting can at times be infuriating; especially so since the game basically dumps you into it with little if any explanation. While lesser men might shy away from the challenge, I typically enjoy hoarding resources and turning them into money in any game that I play. So I took up the challenge.
Unlike The Elder Scrolls Online; which had a tradeskill system that relied mostly upon a brute force grinding system of leveling (trading thousands of daggers to other blacksmiths to level blacksmithing is fun for about zero seconds), Wildstar took a different approach. I’d like to term it “hardcore crafting” because I honestly can’t think of a better term for it. Everquest 2′s crafting system comes very close to this one in that a significant element of randomness is involved when crafting.
Similar to how food is crafted in Wildstar, Architect uses the bullseye approach. What is that? Basically you have to understand that every item that can be crafted is either a Root item or a Variant item. Roots are crafted by merely placing the materials, clicking craft, and out a finished product pops. Variant items, however, are the truly difficult/maddening part. Unlocking the various Variant items requires discovery (Journeyman and above basically) later on, which is a whole other game in itself.
Crafting a Variant item is sort of like hunting buried treasure. You know on your map where X marks the spot you need to get to. The difficult part is navigating over to the X. Each “additive” moves you closer to the X. Each type of additive moves you in a specific direction, but the element of randomness is introduced at this point. How far, and to what angle you move is where the random part plays in. You might select an item and get 60% as far as you wanted, or be off angle by 20 degrees. Each of these random movements requires you to adjust your additives or risk crafting (at worst) the Root item.
As you can see by the above image, if the angle is off just a little, it can be impossible to compensate and get back to that circled target. Meanwhile, each additive is draining your cash.
Therein lies one of the tougher aspects to Architect. Its really really expensive. The fact that Architect requires materials from ALL of the gathering skills means that executing this tradeskill is not for the feint of heart. Thinking you just pick up one gathering skill and make do… well … you’d be wrong.
Progression through the Architect crafting “skill tree” awards you with bonus experience and also Skill Points. These skill points can help make reaching those bullseye targets easier, or reduce the cost of additives, or even refund raw materials back to you. All of these are fantastic and necessary to reducing the difficulty and cost of this profession. Failing to unlock them and ignoring the skill tree altogether is a costly early mistake I see people advocating for. While you aren’t REQUIRED to unlock the skill trees to progress, I will just reiterate that it is in your best interest to do so.
Architect is one of those tradeskills that really pissed me off with the randomness. I would use the same three ingredients (the only logical approach to moving towards the bullseye) but I would only be successful about 1 in 10 times. Combined with the fact that the item I was unlocking was required to progress through the skill tree really made me question pursuing the profession. Thankfully I stuck with it.
In the end, what I loved most about tackling this tradeskill (I knew it was one of the harder/more expensive ones), is the fact that it is hard. Wildstar has long touted “hardcore” raids as its primary end game activity. It was nice to see the same approach brought over to at least one of the tradeskills.
Kudos to the Architect designer.
I’ll type up a specific more detailed walkthrough guide later, but heres some of the “moves” I found while progressing through Apprentice/Novice:
(Sometimes Necessary). Remember that these moves aren’t always going to work; merely they were what worked for me given that my luck held out.
P.S Developers: The introduction to the “bullseye” crafting system is nonexistent (or did I miss something?). A small in-game tutorial would be a huge help to getting started with this system.