Letters From Tamriel

An epistolary gaming blog

Crafting & Hirelings

@Zells - sepia stone - smallIf you’re a crafter you might have heard about building crafting skills on alts in order to get hirelings.  If you haven’t heard about setting that up, Deltia’s Gaming has an excellent vid on the system.  All the YouTube vids on hirelings are a bit out-of-date, though (including that one), so I thought I’d clarify some of the changes and report on how it’s worked for me.

Many will say hirelings have been nerfed and are no longer worth developing on alts.  It’s certainly not as easy as it was, and I absolutely agree with Deltia’s Gaming that not everyone has the time or inclination for all this, but for me it was well worth it.

Here’s some details:

One of the big differences between what most guides say and what is now true: the level of mats you’ll get in hireling mails is determined by the skill level of the character who has the hireling – NOT the level of the character opening the mail.  However, since OneTamriel scales all zones now, if your characters are all higher level, you will be unable to farm lower-level mats if you need them.  I was in the process of grinding all alts up to the highest rank in each skill, but I’m backing off on that plan now – I’m going to grind them up until the 8 characters skills stair-step through the ranks of each craft, with an emphasis on the higher levels.  That will ensure that I continue getting a steady trickle of lower level mats but still have a supply of high-end mats my mains will need for end-game gear.

The other big “nerf” is that it used to be the only real difference between a rank 2 hireling and a rank 3 was the frequency of deliveries, so unless you were logging on every 12 hours, there was no reason to go from rank 2 to 3.  Again, that has changed – rank 3 is now the only way to have a chance to get gold mats in the mail; rank 2 only gives you a chance at purple.  So if you’re going to buy hirelings, grind the skill up to 32 and get rank 3.

Probably this means you’ll need to play the alts for a while to get skill points – the guides say you can set it up on lvl 1 characters, and yeah… but not really.  Rank 3 in each of the hireling skills is 12 points, even if you don’t put a single point in the level of mats you can use, but you’ll want to put points into that, or the hirelings will only bring you maple, jute, and iron.

All the guides talk about hirelings as a way to make money, and yes – gold mats sell for a lot.  But if you like crafting, or want different sets for different uses (pvp, heists, off-tanking, etc.) then whether you make the set or have it made, you’ll need gold mats.

Is the hassle worth it? I deliberately did not acquire any wood-working hirelings in the beginning, as a “control group”, to see what the difference would be.  What I found is that even though the woodworker decon’d all wood items over six months – whereas the other crafters were splitting decon items between the main crafter and 7 alts in order to raise all those skill bases – after 6 months the woodworker’s skill was still lower than the dedicated clothier and blacksmith.  That’s because she didn’t have the constant stream of mats to grind with.  That really surprised me.

But the biggest difference is in the quantity of gold improvement mats available for end-game gear.  Because getting the gold mat delivered in the mail isn’t the only way you’re getting them – every time you refine, you have a chance at generating an improvement mat.  So even those deliveries of maple, or jute, are still a good thing.  (Note: ONLY refine on your main crafter, the one with skill points in refining.)  Over the course of six months, little by little my gold improvement mats stacked up for the clothier and blacksmith.  A couple of weeks ago I looked at crafting inventory and the benefits are obvious – I have ~50 dreugh wax (clothier), for example… and 7 rosin (wood-working).  Once I saw that, I started increasing wood-working on my alts and buying wood-working hirelings.

Takes time, yes.  Takes patience, yes.  But if you’re a crafter and are planning on playing long-term, hirelings are the way to go.

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