Crafting in The Elder Scrolls Online should not be taken lightly. Not only do you use valuable skill points to level up the crafting classes, but crafting in general is a lengthy process. You can shorten the crafting process by leveling up your skills, but that takes away skill points you could use for other classes. If you decide to take a crafting class seriously, prepare to invest some time and remember that it will take focus away from other classes.
There are six crafting professions available in ESO: Alchemy, Blacksmithing, Clothing, Enchanting, Provisioning and Woodworking. Alchemists craft potions, Blacksmiths make heavy armor sets and metal-based weaponry, Clothiers create light and medium armor sets, Enchanters add stats to existing gear, Provisioners cook food items and Woodworkers craft wood-based weapons. Determine which profession you’d like to focus on and spend most of your time crafting in that profession. You can select more than one, and in some cases it’s beneficial, since certain aspects of crafting take a considerable amount of time. However, be mindful that you only have so many skill points to use.
To begin crafting, you first need the proper materials and access to a crafting station. There are crafting stations in every town, but there are also special crafting stations around the world that allow you to add special attributes to crafted items. Once you find a suitable crafting station, you need crafting materials required to make a specific item. You do not need to carry these materials around, since you can use items from your bank.
Crafting is more than making items. It’s also about breaking down existing items to obtain materials and perform research. While you can use Extraction to break down your own items, it’s best to use items that you did not craft yourself. You get far more Inspiration Points (IP) for breaking down other items compared to breaking down your own. From there, use these points to level up your crafting professions, so it’s important to obtain as many as you can. You also use Extraction to refine raw materials into items you can use for crafting. The higher the quality, the more materials and IP you can gain from using Extraction.
You can also perform Research on items, which is similar to using Extraction. Researching an item essentially allows you to learn new traits or attributes added to items during the crafting process. For example, if you want to learn a trait that reduces the Magicka cost of spells, you need to find an item that has the trait, then use Research to break it down. Doing Research takes a considerable amount of time, but leveling up your crafting skills can shorten that time. Performing Research can sometimes take several real-time days, but at the very least, you can perform Research in different professions at a time. If you want to do more than one item in the same profession, you’ll need to level up your crafting skills.
In addition to creating new items or breaking down existing items, you can also improve your current items and gear. There are five levels of quality: Normal (white) > Fine (green) > Superior (blue) > Epic (purple) > Legendary (gold). Each upgrade has a corresponding color to make it easier to tell what level of quality you’re at. For low-level gear, it’s best to only improve your items once or twice. To improve them any further almost always requires rare materials. Save the Epic and Legendary improvements for higher-level gear unless you have a large amount of rare materials to work with.
Crafting is an important part of The Elder Scrolls Online, not just to make or save money, but because some of the best gear in the game is only obtainable via crafting. You will be well rewarded if you put enough time and effort into crafting, but it’s not a profession for everyone. If you decide to take up crafting, start slow and work your way up to make sure you don’t waste time in a profession you either don’t enjoy, or won’t yield the desired rewards.