After MoM, crafting was in a pretty grim state. Weaponsmith and Woodworker took a hit from the introduction of legendary items. The quality of crafted items in general was way behind anything that could be obtained running the various instances in Moria. The only crafts remaining truely useful were cook and scholar purely because food, potions and scrolls always come in handy.
Then, with book 8 they introduced the Galhadrim recipes for jewellery, armour and weapons. These produced some very nice stuff, in particular for characters who hadn’t been able to get items from radiance runs; my hunter is more-or-less fully kitted out in the armour set with a dagger thanks to kin generosity and now feels on a level with her radiance-equipped kinmates.
However, the flip-side is, the recipes can only be crafted by higher level crafters who can obtain sufficient Galhadrim reputation. This means that those low level crafting alts that many people have, have a bit of a problem. My level 30 supreme tailoring captain is a bit stuck.
Now, we hear that with SoM, only crafters will be able to make or have access to the top level greater relics; there is a rumour that cooks obtain their relics through making the relic master a tasty snack. And it is pretty obvious, I think, that creating/accessing these relics will only be possible by high level crafters.
To be honest, Turbine has always been consistent in it’s encouragement to level crafters. The craft quests increase in level for each tier and resources are found in progressively higher level areas. As a result, this is not a surprise.
In fact, despite the now increased pressure to level up my captain and to work on my other two higher level characters’ crafting, I like the idea of there being an alternative aspect to the game. People will now have an incentive to work on crafting. And finally to accept that those lower level crafting hobbits may have to leave the Shire (this may be more of an issue on a role-playing server).
Crafting can be a grind, as can grinding instances for radiance gear. At the end of the latter you get some nice shiny radiance armour. It’s nice that now, increasingly, you can get some nice shiny crafted gear at the end of the crafting grind.
There has been more talk about the proposed changes to legendary items in SoM and beyond (check the official forums). I know a lot of people dislike the random nature of the legendary item system at the moment. It is impossible to know which legacies will come up when an item is reforged, a particular problem for classes with must-have legacies. Now I don’t mind that so much, though I don’t like the random distribution of the initial legacies, especially when you’re talking about a harder to get 1st age item.
But, I think, random legacies allow variation between items, dramatic tension, can encourage experimentation in playstyles and skills and provide moments of great elation when good ones come up. I like that. What I’m not so fond of is the levelling; when I don’t know if it is going to be worth it. We have the bounty quests with their generous ixp rewards now, but often as not, I still end up lugging an LI about for ages hoping that, by 50, that one vital legacy will have come up. My guardian has a belt, around level 45ish now. It has good legacies, but not that guardian aggro-essential…skills threat up. I’m patiently waiting until it reaches 50. If this comes up, I’m laughing. If not, then it’s deconstruction time. And I’d have been carrying around a belt for goodness knows how long, taking up a slot that could have been used to level up something else more useful, for nothing.
Now, what’s being said seems to indicate that we’ll be getting more information about the legacies earlier on; we’ll know that a particular one won’t be coming up. Apart from that the randomness will stay, but we should be able to ditch an item sooner. Of course we don’t know how it will work, we’ll have to wait for more information and see it in action, but it sounds an improvement. And it might prevent the more optimistic from filling slots, levelling up eventually useless items.
Aside from that it looks like legandary items will be getting a fourth relic slot. Crafters will be able to craft runes to go into that slot, giving crafting another boost which will be great. I’m wondering which craft will be able to produce these runes…jeweller maybe, or weaponsmith. Maybe scholar which would be interesting. Anyhow, again, we’ll see.