Rift vs. LotRO vs. World of Warcraft – a closer look at all three MMOs (Part 6)

Part 1: How much do the games cost and which extra security against hacked accounts do they offer?
Part 2: What can I play (races and classes?)
Part 3: What do the games look like?
Part 4: What’s there to fight against (PvE)?
Part 5: Who’s there to fight (PvP)?

Today’s topic: Crafting (and secondary professions/hobbies). Crafting gets its own topic because I realised that I have a lot to write about here. I still wish MMO developers would make crafting more “important” or “meaningful” and not a hobby that you do when you don’t raid or otherwise kill mobs or other players. Still, all three games offer crafting, fortunately. :)

If you want to make money with crafting, have a look at the auction house first! This goes for all three games. In a lot of cases, the raw crafting materials (e.g. the cloth, iron ore/iron bars, herbs, leather,…) are worth more in the AH than the end result. So if your game of choice offers a gathering profession with which you can collect those raw materials, it might be smart to take that one.

World of Warcraft offers 11 primary professions of which your character can learn 2. It also has 4 secondary professions of which your character can have all four(those are “archaeology”, “first aid”, “cooking” and “fishing”). I will get back to the secondary professions later. I am not going to list all 11 professions. But they do have the standards like tailoring or weaponsmith. The system is rather easy to understand. You buy the profession and then get your first recipes. For example, as a tailor, you start by turning linen cloth (which drops from low level humanoid mobs) into bolts of linen. Then you create linen cloaks – all of that gives you skill points. If you get higher, you can buy new recipes from the trainer which then allows you to create higher level items. If you can keep up with your crafting profession while levelling (which is not that easy after they have made levelling faster), you can make a few items that are actually useful for you. Depending on your profession, there will be more or less useful items you can use. And, of course, more or less items that you can put in the auction house to make some profit. The best recipes are usually from reputation grinds at end level. So your character needs to reach the max level and you need to grind for reputation. You can even craft epic items (“epic” is the best quality). Sooner or later, Blizzard usually adds even better items to their raids and sometimes even to their heroic instances. Still, some of those items are pretty nice and some of the best you can get!

In order to make professions more useful at endgame, every profession can craft something special. For example: tailors can enchant their own cloaks which then give the wearer e.g. more spellpower. Others can also enchant their cloaks but those standard enchantments are less powerful. A scribe can do the same with their shoulder pieces. So, depending on your crafting profession, you can make one kind of item more powerful for yourself (compared to what players without this profession can do).

Herbs, leather and ore can only be gathered if you have a gathering profession (herbalism, skinning and mining respectively). Those also belong to the 11 primary professions.

And to give you another example about a WoW profession: Engineering. This is a fun profession because it gives you gimmicks like bombs to throw. There are also very stylish glasses and you can craft your own flying machine. Tailors can craft their own flying carpet, by the way. :)

Rift has 9 professions. You can choose three of them. It also comes with pretty standard professions (“standard” being gathering professions, professions to craft armor, weapons, consumable and items that enhance your armor/weapon to make them stronger). “Outfitter” is the profession that comes closest to WoW’s tailoring. While the tailor in WoW can only make cloth items, the outfitter in Rift makes cloth and leather armour. While levelling my character, I always made sure that my crafting skill was on par. That way, I always had nice items to wear that were usually better than the quest items I had gotten (although the crafted items were not as good as some items that I could trade in for having participated in rifts!). In general, the system works like in WoW: You learn the profession from a trainer and also buy new, higher level, recipes from the trainer. The difference is that in Rift, I hardly ever had to craft an item that was not useful to somebody. So no creating items with no stats on them just to get your skill higher. Also a nice thing about crafting in Rift: You can add an augment to the item while crafting it. Augments can give a bonus to a certain stat (intelligence, for example). There is a guide about augmentation in case you are interested.

LotRO handles the decision about which crafting professions you want a bit differently. LotRO has 10 different professions and you always have 3 of those. However, they are sorted into vocations. That means that you can’t just take cook, farmer and forester, for example. You can take the “Yeoman” vocation which has cook and farmer but tailor as the third profession. Or you can decide for woodsman which has farmer and forester but no cook. If you want those first three professions, you need two characters who choose fitting vocations. In LotRO you automatically get the most important recipes when your skill level reaches a certain threshold. Your crafting can also “crit” and then either produce more of an item (instead of one dye pot, you make 3 in one go) or produce a better item. There are also items that increase this crit chance.

As in Rift and WoW, there are gathering professions. And just as in Rift and WoW, you do not need to have one in order to produce items with a crafting profession. In all three games, you can use the auction house and buy the materials you need. This can get quite expensive, though. So it is usually a good choice to have a gathering profession. In the screenshot on the right, you can see an elf smelting ore she’s found on her adventures.

“Farming” counts as a gathering profession even though in this case, you do not wander through the world but instead, you stand on a farming field. Pretty nice to see, actually. And quite fitting to see the best farming fields in Hobbit-land. ;) What LotRO does differently is that your character does not just stand there idling around while you are crafting. In the case of farming, the character stands there and you can see him throw the seeds onto the earth. When you harvest, the character kneels down and picks up something. Every crafting activity has its own animation! In the screenshot on the right, you can see a hobbit collecting apples from the tree she’d planted before (don’t worry, you will not have to wait for 4 hours before you can harvest the apple tree. This isn’t Farmville! ^^).

LotRO has something called “legendary items”. You will get the first one with a quest tied to Moria (which is a zone for level 50+ but you can do the quest a few levels before that). Those items are usually 1) your main weapon and 2) one other slot (in the case of my warden, it’s her main hand spear and her ranged weapon, a javelin). Legendary items are superior to all other weapons in the game. So you won’t want to have a regular weapon anymore. Unfortunately, this makes crafting weapons a bit obsolete. On the other hand, my warden is a woodworker and while her regular weapon recipes are obsolete for the most time (for high level characters, at least), she can craft herself a legendary spear and a legendary javelin.

Secondary professions/Hobbies: As mentioned above, WoW has a few secondary professions. Those can all be learned by each character. Fishing is also possible in LotRO and the only hobby you can do. Sometimes, or quite often actually, you pull out a fish that you can turn in to a taxidermist who then gives you a fish to put on your wall of your house as a trophy. Fishing in WoW also gives you nice items like a non-combat pet, for example. Fish in WoW can also be used for cooking, another of their secondary professions. Other than that, I find fishing quite relaxing. Especially when you are looking for a place where the ambience sounds are fun to listen to (I suggest an oasis in the Northern Barrens in WoW). Not everybody gets this nice fishing chair, though. I was very lucky and got the code for this item from a booster pack for the trading card game (which I’ve stopped playing in the meantime. I just prefer Magic the Gathering – I know, it has nothing to do with the topic of this posting but I still felt like mentioning it).

WoW also introduced archaeology with their latest addon. You basically travel through the world to different places (marked on your map) and search for artifacts. This search is done by planting a survey device (shown in the screenshot) in the marked area. It glows either red, yellow or green and points into a certain direction. This tells you where to go and approximately how far away you are from the spot that hides an artifact. You can randomly find nice and fun items (like a mount, non-combat pets, other “useless” fluff items or even epic items that aren’t bad at all. Those epic items are “bound to account” which means that you can find them on your mage and send the item to your new level 85 warrior. I found this profession to be quite fun. Kind of like an Überraschungsei/Kinder Surprise. You never know what you will get next and if it is junk or one of the little figures! Unfortunately, once you have gotten all or almost all the rare items, it gets boring because there is nothing left to find. Until then, it is a nice passtime, though. Especially when you are watching TV or just want to chat with a few friends at the same time. Actually, parts of this entry were written while my character was flying to the next survey area. ;)

Rift has artifacts. It is not so much a profession as it is actually just artifacts standing around in the world. They’re shiiiiiny (spot the shiny in the screenshot. There are apparently lots of weird positions, so this one isn’t even that strange). There are lots of collections which consist of different artifacts found in the different zones of Rift. Once you finish a collection, you can hand them in at an NPC in the capital city. Artifacts can be sold in the auction house. I have used them to earn quite some money in the game! As a reward for turning a collection in to the NPC, you get lucky coins. Once you have a certain amount, you can buy stuff like a non-combat pet or even a mount!

I’m not sure I’ll get to post tomorrow. The next topic – posted on Saturday or Sunday – will be about stuff you can do solo (apart from crafting, of course!).

Do you have any questions or found a mistake in this posting? Don’t hesitate to comment! :)