Crafting in D3 has its ups and downs – sometimes you’ll get a good roll and other times you’ll wonder why you bother. Thankfully, crafting in RoS is significantly improved, making it a more reliable way to get gear upgrades. Today, I’ll discuss how craftable set and legendary items serve as an intermediate class of gear in the beta, and how they might benefit self found players in the expansion.

    Unique Mat Examples

    Crafting Rares Isn’t Really That Important

    With Loot 2.0, rare items have gotten a helpful boost to their stats. They now have narrower stat ranges and cool new affixes. If that weren’t enough, enchanting in RoS knocks out one useless stat on each rare – so a slight tweak from the Mystic makes more of your items upgrades.

    But you really won’t need to craft rares, since they drop like candy in RoS. Instead, you’ll most likely salvage them to enchant items, or to create craftable legs and sets.

    Craftable Leg and Set Items Are Their Own Tier of Gear

    You can think of the new craftable leg and set items as falling between rare items and found legendary and set items, both in terms of power and difficulty to acquire. Though they cost a unique crafting material to create, they have special affixes not found on rares. Plus, unique mats are moderately farmable, so it takes less time to get them than to stumble across found-only legendary and set items.

    In the beta, the crafting plans for these fall mostly from Horadric Caches you get for completing all bounties in an act in Adventure Mode. For now, the unique stats on these items make them worth pouring mats into the crafting machine (see examples below).

    Without obvious special affixes, it's not clear what separates this legendary chest plate from a similar rare - though ideally it should be worth crafting.

    Without obvious special affixes, it’s not clear what separates this legendary chest armor from a similar rare (other than its appearance). Ideally, it should be worth gathering the resources together to craft it.

    A bit of a glorified stat stick - but still useful until you land a superior found legendary or set item.

    A bit of a glorified stat stick, yes – but useful until you land a superior found legendary or set item.

    How Hunting Unique Materials Works

    The special mats required to use legendary and set recipes drop mostly from unique monsters. In D3C, these purple-text monsters only appeared five to ten percent of the time in their respective spawn location, but in RoS they appear about five times as often or more. At the same time, they only drop their unique crafting material around a quarter of the time or less.

    This means in order to craft a legendary or set item, you must 1) find the crafting recipe, 2) go to the location where the monster spawns, 3) hope that it spawns and 4) hope it drops its unique crafting mat when you kill it. From what I’ve played, the drop rates on unique mats seem a tad low. A third chance of dropping sounds about right.

    Unique mats usually drop off unique enemies, but they can drop off common mobs...

    Special mats drop most often from specific enemies, but they can still drop from common trash mobs.

    ...or scrolls and books you find on the ground.

    Certain unique mats, like Griswold’s Scribblings and Born’s Key, have the best chance of dropping from scrolls and books you find on the ground.

    The Big Picture: Crafted Legendary and Set Items As An In-Between Gear Class

    One of the frustrations self found players have in the base game is with gear progression. When you max out your rare items, there’s little to do in the game except hope for a legendary or set item to drop. Crafted legendary and set items seem to be Blizzard’s answer to that problem.

    • Crafted legendary and set plans drop less often than rares, but more often than found-only legendaries and set items
    • The unique items required to craft them are somewhat farmable, even if you can’t always depend on a unique monster appearing, or the fact that they’ll drop their unique mat
    • The special affixes on crafted legs and sets are better than those on rares, but not quite as good as those on found-only legendary and set items

    Add it together and you can see why the devs took this approach. These items are better than rares, and give you something to work toward while waiting for the best stuff in the game to drop.

    I don’t know yet whether crafted legendary and set items will unlock new builds, or what plans you can find when playing on higher difficulties. But the idea behind them seems potentially very cool.

    Paired with the corresponding shield from this set, this mighty weapon could be a nice boost over rare gear.

    Paired with the corresponding shield from this set, this mighty weapon could be a nice boost over rare gear.

    Crafting For Every Player

    I hope the devs design crafting to work as well for the guy who pours his mats into one character, as the guy who distributes mats evenly across many characters. The former will hit a gear wall sooner, and he needs a crafting goal beyond just collecting a few unique mats.

    It’s possible the devs will create crafted legs and sets that rival their found-only counterparts in terms of power. These items may become long-term goals for people who invest lots of time in one character – but they may require multiple unique crafting mats.

    What do you all think of crafted items as a class of gear between rares and found-only legs and sets? Do these recipes sound boring or interesting? And does hunting them down sound like fun or a chore?

    Ironborn is a column exploring self-found play and related topics by Waterfiend, who will be crafting like a madman when RoS hits. Got an idea for a column? Share it in the comments!

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