One of the cool features of the Artisan NPCs in Diablo III is the ability of players to train them in quality levels. Training can raise Artisans up to level five, it costs gold and materials, and when the Blacksmith, Jeweler, or Mystic are trained, their crafting skills are upgraded. They learn more recipes to create crafted items, and presumably gain greater skill at making the recipes they already know. The appearance of their shops upgrade as well, providing a cool visual indication of their level of competency.
So far we’ve not seen anything of the Mystic or Jeweler, but the Blacksmith was profiled in the Artisan Video as well as the Caravan screenshots, and as a result we know what Haedrig’s store looks like at level 1, level 2, and level 5 (the max level). You can see a compilation of the three shots below; two from screenshots, one from the Artisan introduction movie.
The upgraded appearance is a nice touch, but it’s either a sign of madness or incredible artistic dedication. Why? Because the D3 team seems committed to doing as D2 did, and allowing players to experience all of the basic game features on normal difficulty. Jay Wilson said the highest level skills will be accessible around level 30, so it seems like Level 5 Artisans (though not the highest level found recipes) will be accessible by around the end of Normal. In other words, will players even have time to appreciate Artisan levels 2-4?
From what we know now, it seems like we’ll all be throwing in gold and materials to train our Artisans as quickly as possible. The cost to upgrade the Blacksmith from Level 1 to Level 2 in the Artisan Video was negligible. Presumably the higher levels will cost more, but if the benefits from upgrading are substantial, players will make it happen as quickly as possible. And that will be very quick indeed once we can start twinking gold and materials down through the shared stash. True, the upgraded shops are just background art; it’s not like the artists and modelers and story guys spent weeks to come up with a feature we’ll only see the three times we visit town between character level 4 and 6. But it does seem like the in-between Artisan level wagon graphics will be one of the least-seen visuals in the entire game.
Unless… there’s some reason you’d want to keep your Artisan at level 3 or 4? Perhaps the progression is much slower, or the costs increase astronomically? Perhaps there might be benefits to not upgrading so quickly? Better odds to roll a desired modifier on a given recipe, for instance. No one knows, but it’s fun to speculate about. After all, if you were Blizzard, wouldn’t you want players to have a chance to appreciate the different Artisan levels? Wouldn’t you include something that makes the lower levels useful, rather than just something every character rushes through?
While I’m pondering, here are a few other questions for discussion/speculation:
- Are there character level requirements to train up the Artisans? Perhaps a character can’t upgrade the Jeweler to level 3 until Clvl 15, for instance.
- Are there Clvl reqs on the items produced by Artisans, enabling a low level char get superb items using high level recipes?
- Or are there Clvl reqs (and/or Artisan level reqs) to create items and/or learn the found recipes?
- What determines the potential modifiers on a crafted item? Your Clvl, the Artisan’s level, or other? Will there be sweet spots, e.g. you want to make Recipe X between levels 20-26 for the best odds of Modifier Y.
- How expensive is training? Going from level 1 to level 2 was absurdly cheap, in the Artisan Movie
If you’ve got thoughts on any of these issues, hit them up in the comments below, or join the ongoing discussion in our.