In principle, I love Vanguard’s crafting system. It’s deep and detailed, isn’t click-and-walk, takes actual planning and forethought and lets you essentially design your own item bonuses to a large extent. On top of that, crafting in Vanguard is its own sphere, with its own level progression, gear, quests and abilities. It is an immensely rich part of the game.
In practice, I have never gotten all that far with it. This may be a function of having been in and out of the game along with a system that by its very depth discourages that kind of dabbling. I seem to recall reaching about Outfitter level 12 on the old pre-scrub Mnembao, but I may be inflating that number in my head. With the new version having reached adventuring level 8, I’d like to be able to craft him some decent gear before he outlevels it, and most of the desirable stuff is toward the top of the tier.
I’ve already harvested bunches of Jute and Hide outside of Khal, enough to top out my harvesting skills for the tier, and I’ve been systematically refining these into useful materials. Between that and the introductory crafting quests I’ve gotten him up to level 6, and I have more mats to convert. This has been fraught with peril; the crafting process can be punishing at times, and losing mats seems inevitable. It’s possible that I’m just bad at it, but it also seems certain that on some operations you’ll need four or five crafting tools when your toolbelt only carries three, or additional utilities that won’t fit on your workbench. And then there’s the chance of getting a ton of complications that burn enough action points that you can’t complete the combine at all. I think I’ve lost about ten units of mats to these issues. Some of these issues should be alleviated now that I qualify for the next highest level of crafting tools, which will be nice.
In any event, although I don’t see myself making especially rapid progress, the activity of crafting itself is kind of fun, much more so than the click-and-forget of WoW or LotRO or the twitchy, attention-hogging system of EQ2. Sometimes it seems obvious to me why Vanguard is as (un)popular as it is, and at other times it amazes me that it hasn’t attracted more people, when so many claim to want a crafting system very much like this.