EQ2 Crafting, Part III: The Crafting Process

Well, we made it here in the end. Here’s hoping this one won’t weigh enough to founder a camel. (African or Asian?) Previous parts of this guide:

Part I: Generalities

Part II: Getting Ready

They may end up with their own pages, but I haven’t got that far yet.

I’m Ready Already!

So you’ve got your resources and your fuel and you know what you want to make, and you’re even standing at the right crafting station (not a mistake I ever make, no no). Here’s what you see, stolen from the previous post in the series:


If you’re seeing this crafting window, you’ve already started making the item. Just so you know.

Crafting items in EQ2 is broken down into 4-second rounds, also called ticks. In each 4-second window you can a) do nothing or b) hit 1-3 crafting arts (aka reaction arts). At the end of the 4 seconds the RNG spits out a random result which will increase or decrease progress (the blue bar) and/or durability (the green bar). Progress goes from left to right (top to bottom) and durability decreases from right to left (bottom to top).

The basic idea is to make the blue progress bar go all the way from left to right in the summary area, or top left to bottom right in the detail area, without letting the green durability bar go down beyond that rightmost section marker (or the lowest detail-area bar). If that happens, you lose a level of durability and if you can’t claw that back before progress gets to 100%, chances are you won’t end up with a usable item. You’ll get some fuel back in most cases… big whoopee, right?

More Matter, Less Arts

I lie, but the title pleases me. In fact it’s all about the crafting arts. As mentioned above these are also called “reaction arts” but I don’t like the term because it implies you can only use them in reaction to events, which is utterly incorrect. And using them only in reaction to events is how people find they can’t craft to save their lives, shortly followed by the decision that crafting in EQ2 is awful and should never be touched again. The pic below shows the crafting arts as they appear for a weaponsmith, but they’re similar in function across all professions; the only thing that changes are the fine details (like specific modifier numbers) and the icon art.


For those with especially sharp eyes, yes the icons are partly greyed out: each art-pair has a cooldown timer and that’s what you’re seeing. More on which later.

Even the less sharp-eyed may have noticed that icons 1 and 4, 2 and 5 and 3 and 6 are identical. That’s because they perform similar functions and they share a cooldown timer, so you can use only one of each pair every crafting round — so if I click 1, I can’t click 4 in that same round. Actions 1-3 are durability-affecting arts, while actions 4-6 are progress-affecting arts. More specifically:

Action 1: durability boost with progress penalty

Action 2: durability boost with success chance penalty

Action 3: durability boost with power cost (from character’s power pool, which is more or less the same as a mana pool)

Action 4: progress boost with durability penalty

Action 5: progress boost with success chance penalty

Action 6: progress boost with power cost

You can use any combination of durabilty and/or progress boosts every round, but you cannot use both arts in a given pair in a single round. So, I could hit 1-2-3 or 5-4-6 or 6-1-2 but I could not hit 1-2-4 because of that shared cooldown timer for actions 1 and 4.

Here’s the most important thing any novice EQ2 crafter needs to know:

  • You can use all three available actions (one in each pair) every single crafting round.

Everything else you can figure out by yourself, but this one has stumped many, many people. If you EQ2-crafted before and didn’t know this, then your experience was probably unpleasant and not very successful, especially at the lower levels.

Each art has a duration of 4.1 seconds and a cooldown timer of 3.5 seconds, which is what enables crafters to button-mash all three arts every round. It may take a bit of practice to begin with, and the usual advice given is to get comfortable with hitting 2 arts each round before you try to get 3 in there. Lag can wreak merry hell with 3-art rounds, as you might expect, and small offsets in timing tend to add up so every now and then you may need to take a round where you hit less than 3 arts just to let the various abilities cool fully down.

Ah yes, that’s another tippish trick: you don’t have to wait for the icons to look “usable” again before you can click them (or hit the corresponding number or numpad keys). Remember: duration is 4.1 seconds but reuse is 3.5 seconds, even though it may not seem that way when you look at the icons themselves.

To be honest, compared to some of the button-mashing hoops MMO players jump through these days when it comes to combat, learning the 3-art per round technique for EQ2 crafting isn’t very difficult. And even if you’re terminally unco-ordinated, hitting 2 arts each round will get you through most recipes just fine, though they’ll tend to take a little longer to finish.

Crafting arts are granted as soon as a character becomes a crafter, and can be found in the knowledge book (K by default). However, since they’re updated automatically every 20 levels and automatically shown when you craft, you’ll probably never need to go check it out. This is a vast improvement over the old-style, “we don’t need to show you no stinkin’ crafting arts while you craft” system, believe me. When I reactivated my old account I still had 6 hotbars full of various different crafting arts. Bleah.

And yes, crafting arts improve as you level. This is another thing novice crafters need to know because it’ll help them get through the first 20 levels. When you first start out, your arts are — how do I put this delicately? — crap. You’ll be mashing durability for all you’re worth most of the time, because the arts you have are barely good enough to keep you from losing durability every round. At 20, however, these arts improve a little, and crafting gets a bit easier. At 40 they improve again, and at 60. And when you finally hit 80, an average all-durability round will net you somewhere between 60 and 100 durability (that’s a lot) with about 50 progress, while an all-progress round will net you 150-200 progress for the measly cost of -15 or so durability. Critical successes and fails will, of course, alter these numbers.


The screenshot above (which I’ve skillfully doctored) shows a pair of crafting arts and their specific effects. The numbers reflect the arts my weaponsmith had available at level 79 — when she reached 80, those were upgraded and became even more potent.


When each crafting round begins, it’s possible to get a crafting event. As mentioned earlier you can get good events and potentially bad events, but the good ones are much rarer than the bad. Not every crafting round has an event; in fact, I’d guesstimate that at least half the rounds on average will be event-less. (Again, just so nobody forgets: that doesn’t mean you can’t use your crafting arts! Mash away!)

Each possible event is associated with a crafting art, which is why they’re also known as reaction arts: when an event shows, you need to “react” with the correct action, also known as “countering” that event. The countering action can’t be in the middle of the sequence of 3 if you’re using 3-action rounds — you have to lead with that one. You also need to react within the 4-second round window, at the end of which the event will fire and you’ll see either a good result, not much of a result (some events are more or less neutral), a bad result, or a really bad result… and the event goes away. There’s a reason “death by forge” was a bigger killer than most mobs back in EQ2’s early days; these have been toned down in normal crafting (which is a shame in some ways), but they’re alive and well in the higher-level crafting instances.

The three screenshots below show:

  1. The appearance of an event at the start of a crafting round. No arts have been used yet to counter it. To correctly counter that event I would have to use arts 1 or 4 — and no, it doesn’t matter which of the two you use, as long as you use one of them.
  2. The middle screenshot shows a rare positive event “[Profession-name]’s Insight” which has been correctly countered, as shown by the icon’s green background.
  3. The rightmost screenie shows an incorrectly-countered event, which has a corresponding red icon background and may well be followed by the crafter saying “Owie”. Or maybe that’s just me.

craftwindow_event2 craftwindow_event1 craftwindow_event3

Crafting Round Results

The base unmodified result of any crafting round is -10 durability, +50 progress. Given that the last durability segment is around 200 durability (if memory serves) and that most recipes require 1000 progress to complete, it’s almost possible to finish a recipe without ever touching any keys, provided all you get are base results. As if! The RNG is never that kind.

Round results are shown numerically near the name of the crafting station you’re using — so usually somewhere above said station. A couple of stations have what I’d call “off-center” names so you may have to move yourself or the crafting window around if you want to see them. Seeing them isn’t essential; I’m a compulsive numbers-watcher, but my husband simply goes by whether the bars go up and down in the main crafting window. The screenshot below shows the numbers as they appear over the forge; the first number represents durability and the second represents progress. As you might expect, gains are shown in green with a + sign and losses are shown in red with a – sign.

crafting_roundresult crafting_roundresult_detail

If you go back to the arts-detail screenshot above, you’ll see that with the single application of the “Set” art, my weaponsmith could modify that base round result by +35 dur/-7 progress. On an average round and with no other arts used, then, the round result would be +25 dur / +43 progress. Or, she could use the “Harden” art and get a net result of -15 dur / +78 progress.

The RNG, however, likes to spit out non-base results quite often, and they can range from abysmally bad (crit fails) to amazingly good (crit successes) with a whole range of lesser good or bad results in between. So the arts you’re using every round will be munged in with whatever the RNG comes up with. Yes, that’s a technical term.

Say you use all your durability arts in a given round and the RNG-modified round result is -100 dur / -50 progress. If your arts added up to +50 dur / +25 progress, you’d have a final result of -50 dur / -25 progress. Which ain’t great, but it’s better than the unmodified version.

So why would anyone NOT want to use as many crafting arts as they can every round? They wouldn’t.

The Price of Good Results

As with any decent mechanic, however, success comes at a price. Remember that each pair of arts has some sort of cost associated with using their actions: either a durability or progress loss (for a corresponding progress or durability boost), or a decrease in the chance of success for that round, or a cost in power for the character using the action.

The first pair is an easy win/lose relationship. The second pair is a little more subtle, but there’s no doubt that the chance of getting a poor result in a given round is increased whenever you use that art; for the most part, however, the benefits outweigh the possibility of disaster. And the third pair can add up to a really hefty power cost if the item you’re making takes a long time (as can happen with non-spec recipes, e.g. in the crafting instances) or if you’re making a lot of items one after the other, as is the case when you’re doing crafting writs or even just making consumables for sale.

I’m Done! Now What?

Once an item is completed it’ll be placed in your inventory, at least most of the time. If it’s an item you’re making for a quest or for a writ, finishing the crafting process will trigger a quest update but won’t necessarily produce a physical item. (This wasn’t the case in the long-ago, so you could double-dip by making stuff for writs and then selling said stuff to a vendor. Then again, stuff sold to vendors for less than it cost to make, usually, so it wasn’t really a good way to become Rockefeller.)

Similarly, the new (to me) consignment crafting system enables a crafter to make an item for another player (who has to be in the same zone), using resources provided by the client (optional). The resulting item is automagically placed in the client’s inventory. This enables crafting no-trade items for other people, or heirloom items that can be shared within a given account but which are otherwise no trade.

But Where’s My Phat XP?

In this respect EQ2 crafting is like most other systems: the more difficult the recipe you make, relative to your level, the more xp you’ll get. Eventually recipes will “grey out” and stop giving you any experience at all when you make them. Like mobs, recipes are colour-coded from red (way hard!) through orange, yellow, white (even), blue and green (easy) and down to grey (trivial).

Making any non-trivial item will net you some experience, with a little xp bonus for the first time you ever make a recipe. We’ll get to that next time though, when I’ll cover levelling, crafting styles (defensive vs offensive), crafting gear, and whatever else you lovely commenters come up with that I’ve forgotten.

As far as I can tell that leaves two parts to go: the xp/levelling/crafting gear part and the part on harvesting. If there’s anything else you’d like to see covered, speak up!

Part IV: Tips and Tricks!

18 responses to “EQ2 Crafting, Part III: The Crafting Process

  1. Oh wow. I didn’t realise that you could use all three of the arts in every cycle, I thought you had to just use the one that matched the icon that came up.

    Thank you.


  2. A beautiful series of guides, Ysharros. I knew you’d do wonderful things with them. 🙂

    I wasn’t sure if you were planning a Part 4 wrap-up of the series, but a few thoughts struck me.

    a) You mention selling back to vendor, but just to clarify (there may be exceptions), the Vendor will only buy back for the cost of the fuel used on the recipe. Not too bad as long as you harvest your own raws, but considering the price of raws on the broker, if you buy, you’ll lose money… possibly a lot.

    b) Relating to ‘a’, this can be annoying for a Provisioner, especially a low-tier one, because as well as fuel, we also have to buy recipe ingredients (dough, salt/peeper, milk, water, etc). Once you are into T2 and beyond, the cost of these other ingredents tends to be negligible compared with the fuel (though Provi fuel is a lot cheaper than other fuels), but it can catch you out when starting.

    d) Reacting correctly to the arts that pop up will almost always give you a bonus to progress/durability, depending on which arts you us.

    c) There is a ‘buffer zone’ at the top of the maximum durability. If you start a recipe with 3-6 successful uses of all 3 durability arts, you’ll often get onto the bottom progress bar (or close) before durability starts to visibly go down. I state ‘3-6’ because that’s what i use – if I get reaction arts to react to, the number drops because of the benefits mentioned above.

    Hope these help,

    Love your blog,




    • Just to clarify, I mean 3-6 ticks, using the 3 arts each tick.

      Oh, and ‘pepper’, not ‘peeper’…lol.


    • Regarding c) — oh yes, I’m getting to that! 😀 I’m a defensive crafter, so that part is quite important to how I craft. Problem was, I hit 2000+ words and figured that since I’d covered the basics of actually making something, I’d save the various tips and tricks for the next post. 😀

      I’ve also been trying not to repeat too much of what I’ve said previously or elsewhere, but that’s probably not a smart move. My longer-term aim is to maybe concatenate the guide into a .pdf file or something once it’s done, and make the whole thing available for download. The separate posts work well for a blog but aren’t as useful for people in the long run.

      There’s a ways to go before I do that though. The harvesting section is likely to be huuuuuuge. I love harvesting. 😉


      • Good to meet another ‘defensive’ crafter. I sometimes wonder if the problems that some people run into are just because they are aggressive/offensive in their crafting, and try to run it like a fight against a mob.

        Also glad to meet another harvester – I harvest for all my alts on my current main, but I also get all the alts’ harvesting up gradually too (since the GM tradeskill quests, and the Mara aspects require it). Plus, since most of my chars have mainly low level adventuring skills, its fun to train their harvesting up in the midst of oranges, reds, and ‘too red to tell’.

        I know I keep offering help, but… if you want any help when converting it all to PDF, let me know – although most of my work is artwork and design, i do websites, web-graphics, and document work, so I have a pretty decent set of software and experience for making the most of the PDF format. As always, just given me a bell if I can help.




        • Heh, my own initial work experience was in page layout, proofing & editing, with a few sites thrown in for good measure. The only thing I can’t do is anything artistic — I can appreciate it but I certainly can’t create original art. Unless stick figures count. 😀

          All the same, if I do ever get to the pdf stage, it’ll be essential to run it past other people first. One should never proofread one’s own stuff, and the suggestions will in any case be invaluable.

          We’re not there yet, though. When I get to it, rest assured your name will be at the front of my mind… provided I don’t forget about the whole project in the meantime. 😛

          My more immediate goal is to actually finish the series!


  3. I actually move my arts on the toolbar a little. For me it goes:

    1 — +progress / – durability
    2 — + durability / – success chance
    3 — + progress / – power pool
    and then 4, 5, and 6 are the corresponding pairs.

    Makes it so that when I spam the 3 arts per tick that I am always (except in the 1st 20 levels) gaining durability on any success or higher result on the RNG. The +progress from the 2 other arts is still enough to easily finish any regular recipe in about 45 seconds.

    If I start running low on power then I’ll just use the 1st 2 and not the 3rd, but that’s rare that I need to since they reduced the power amount used by crafting a while back. On a successful counter, I’ll always hit all 3, though — the guaranteed success from a counter makes it worth the gain vs power lost, imo.

    Haven’t ever failed a rush order using this strategy.

    And to Ann-Marie: A successful counter will *always* give a successful result, but I’ve never seen any kind of bonus. Unless you refer to the power replenishment given?


    • As far as countering reactions, from personal experience some countered reactions seem to give more benefit that just the ‘successful result’.

      Domino has actually stated as much as well in the past (but I don’t have the reference to hand), but they tried to vary the benefits between the various crafts – different reactions will be bonused for different crafting skills.


    • Aye, some counters (especially the “major” events) give actual result bonuses rather than just guaranteeing a non-bad result, but not for all the professions. Most scholar professions seem to get very little bonus from correctly countering, other than not suffering the nasty effects. The outfitters get some, and the craftsmen seem to get the most.

      On the downside, provisioners get NO power returns from any event whatsoever (normal crafting, not instance-crafting, that uses different events & skills). I’m pretty sure Alchemists don’t either but I haven’t done quite enough watching of my alchemist to be 100% certain.

      I have my own thoughts regarding how the various professions stack up against each other in terms of arts, counters and crafting, but it would be pointless to express them since it’s clear the design team are happy with them as they are.


      • You know, I hadn’t ever thought about the idea of craft-specific effect profiles. As a high level jeweler with the appropriate tools (three tinkered plus the one from Mara, plus a cloak and tunic from earlier quests), it was very very hard for me to ever fail a combine, even if I just hit the same button sequence over and over again without regard to reaction arts. It would take longer, but it was hard to actually fail at using +dur/-prog and +prog.

        Saving time is great, but I’d really like a bit more incentive to actually pay attention to my gameplay than that.


        • Domino flirted with the idea of using the instance effects and events in normal crafting ( http://forums.station.sony.com/eq2/posts/list.m?topic_id=446125 ) — I’ll admit I haven’t read much of that thread yet, found it the other day and bookmarked it, though I imagine the reaction may have been mostly negative. Most people craft with 10% of their attention on the crafting and 90% of it elsewhere (TV, whatever), and I’m in the minority as far as that goes.

          Also, Dom has stated that crafting is supposed to be something you can do without your full attention, so that you can watch dinner / the cat / the kids while you’re making stuff. Being an RL person with an RL life, I can’t disagree with that, even if it “trivialises” crafting a little bit.

          Once you know about the 3-art round there’s almost no way to ever fail a combine. I’ve failed maybe 3 since I came back to EQ2 and those were all in the crafting instances, where inattention or mis-countering can really bite you in the ass. In normal crafting, you don’t need ANY gear to finish stuff — it’s nice to have, but it really makes little difference. In the instances, it makes a visible difference — and therefore might also in the Far Seas shard recipe books, which are artisan recipes. I haven’t actually made any of those yet so I’m not sure.


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  5. Pingback: EQ2 Crafting, Part I: Generalities | Stylish Corpse·

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  7. Your posts about crafting in Everqest II were exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!

    I have crafted in Star Wars Galaxies since 2003, but I never got around to playing EQ2 until this year. So sad, because it’s an awesome game. Anyhow, it’s crafting system is completely different from what I am used to and now, thanks to you, it actually makes sense to me!

    Thanks again!


  8. Pingback: EQ2 Crafting, Part IV: Tips and Tricks « Stylish Corpse·

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