Fuel’s Gold

This weekend many tradeskillers noticed an interesting thing. They could now use the cheapest fuel for all combines regardless of the tier level of the combine.

This is a puzzling development, and might possibly be a bug. A quick search through SOE’s message boards showed very little discussion of it, and nothing mentioned in the patch announcements. However, I found these two items in the latests test server update announcement, dated February 25:

- Fuels used in tradeskill production will now display which tier they are best suited for in their examine text.
- Examining a recipe should now show exactly what type of fuel is required for that recipe.

This suggests another reason for the current fuel interchangeability. For those of us who read the patch notes assiduously, have a guild to disseminate this information, or even read blogs like this on the internet, we were able to figure out which kind of fuel was needed. Personally, it took me a while to remember which kind of coal was which, but I used the merchant window UI to sort by price and then was able to sort them out by their price. The cheapest form of coal was for tier 1 combines, second cheapest (at 14c) for tier 2, and so on.

But the recipes still all say “Generic Fuel” on them, even though they take quite a specific kind of fuel. Or at least they did until recently. So, it was very difficult to figure out what kind of fuel to use without going outside the game to special sources of information. The in-game information was misleading, and likely to create frustrated players and unhappy customers.

The update on the server addresses this problem directly. The fuel slots have been relabeled, and the fuel itself has information added. This is a big improvement, and helps clarify things to the more casual player, which is their intended audience. In the meantime, it may be that they have simply reverted to more or less the old system, with any kind of fuel working for any combine of any tier, avoiding the confusion.

Of course, I don’t think that they changed the sellback prices, so the opportunity to generate coin through selling back combines is going to be around for a bit longer until the latest update goes live on the servers.

There’s many more goodies in this latest update, more on that later.

Little Big Boy

Sometimes reality intrudes into EQ2 in undesirable ways. It doesn’t help that there are people who, when hiding behind an online avatar, will behave in ways they would never dream of in real life. But then again, some folks are just jerks regardless of whether they are online or off, I guess.

Something like this happened a while back. My RL wife’s half-elf monk and I were at the Steppes Station with a few other friends, trying to get organized for the evenings activities. Along comes a fellow who thinks its appropriate to tell my wife’s toon to bend over for him. I sent him a tell asking him to back off, since that was my wife. He ignored it. He went on the ignore list. Really, an unpleasant scene.

To me, this individual has a really warped sense of what it means to be a man. He is a little boy acting how he thinks a man acts, but he’s got it completely wrong. Is there a woman anywhere who actually likes behavior like that? Where do they get the idea that this is ok?

It’s at times like this that I wish the game had PvP. There were 4 of us there, we could have kicked his butt. But of course, that would open a whole new can of worms. After that, we couldn’t have gone out without our whole posse, or he’d come along looking for revenge with a whole new set of sexual and verbal abuse.

Maybe the thick-skinned response of just adding to the ignore list is the best we can do. But I’d like to build in some feedback, a message to the perpetrator that their behavior is not acceptable.

Thinking about this afterward, I came up with another possible response. What if I had said to this individual, “Hey, you’re kinda cute! Why don’t YOU bend over for ME?” A taste of their own medicine.

Now, I’m not gay in real life, but I have many friends and even relatives who are. I hope they wouldn’t be offended by my borrowing of their sexual identity for in-game purposes. Most of the ones I know would be more amused than offended, so I think I’m ok there.

However, I don’t think that’s the best approach. The best response is for the woman in question to set a clear limit. How do I know this? I’ve seen and participated in several women’s self defense classes in real life. The focus of the scenario training is to get the woman in question to confront the person in question and set a limit, saying things like

“I’m not interested.”
“Take a step back.”
“Get away from me.”

These are direct and to the point, but they don’t escalate the situation either. In the training sessions, we also cover what to do should the situation become physical, but that’s unnecessary in EQ2. And besides most of the women toons I know can handle themselves in-game.

Here are some things to say that I wouldn’t recommend.

“Please stop”
“F— off”
“Run along, little boy”, and
“Why don’t YOU bend over for ME?”

These are going to escalate the situation. Using “please” sounds weak, in this context, like it’s a request. It isn’t. Every woman has the right to not be harrassed, to enjoy the game. You do not need someone else’s forbearance. “Leave me alone,” seems kind of weak and whiny, too.

Simply using /ignore will work, but I suggest that setting a limit first, then using /ignore will help everyone else in the game that is no more interested in this behavior than you are. That includes me and a lot of other men, not just other women.

But I’ll bet there’s a lot of you out there with different experiences, and a fair bit of wisdom. I’d love to hear about what happened to you in an online game, and how you dealt with it, success or failure. We can learn a lot from both. Let the comments begin.

Tradeskill Weekend

Most of my weekend was spent doing Tradeskills, in no small part because of the double experience offered on the English-language servers. With doubled experience on top of full vitality, a single rune (an upgrade for the scout archetype) was netting me 10 percent of a level.

The other reason to tradeskill was the unscheduled patches on Saturday. Our server came down twice, within an hour and a half of each other. There was precious little explanation, too.

My first thought was that the target was a plat-generating loop or exploit, since the only change was to buyback prices. Sitting behind the pretty screen on our local computers, and even behind the front-line servers is a giant database that tracks everything about each of the worlds, including how much of each item is in the world, how much money, how many upgrades, kills, and so on.

That’s why we can see some basic stats for our characters on the web, and find out basic rankings. But this database allows SOE to manage the game using statistical tools. They don’t really say what they do to manage the game, but any programmer worth his salt would be able to write monitoring scripts that would give the game managers (oddly, the GM’s aren’t the overall managers of the game.) up-to-the-minute data on what’s going on, in a statistical sense.

So, I’ve got to wonder if they noticed money piling up at too rapid a rate, and jumped in with an emergency patch. But somehow, I think that this line in the update notes from 2/19 might be responsible, too.

Summoned items should no longer have any value to merchants.

Marr protect us! You could summon food and then sell it? Wow, this is an exploit, if ever there was. I can already envision the army of level 6 botted priests, summoning food and then selling it at a merchant. Yikes!

Between removing the achemist tradeskill monopoly, and making all items with stat increases attuneable, we should have seen some decline in prices. Yet we don’t seem to have, at least not on my server. Maybe the effects of these changes is slow to take effect? After all, attunability doesn’t affect me right now, the loss of wealth comes when I have to replace the item with a better one.

And as for the new tradeskills, in order to take advantage and make your own WORT, for example, you would have had to spend a fair amount of time training with Thaumaturgy. And if you are only making your own, there is less effect on the market price than if you were making it and selling it. Training on recipes that offer no experience. Which is my guess for why the double tradeskill experience was offered this weekend.

In My Recipe Book

Today, the day after the latest big patch, there is are 3 recipes for making iron bars in my recipe book. The first one is from the book scholar essentials 10, requires an ironcluster, eolith temper and a lump of brown coal, and uses the skill Artificing, which I happen to be quite good at, being a Jeweler. The second one is from craftsman essentials 10, which I purchased from another player, and has the same ingredients. It uses the skill Metalworking, which I’m not so good at, but I’ve been practicing it. The third one is from Geomancy Essentials 1, and has the same ingredients, and uses the skill Geomancy. After the patch, my Geomancy skill was 45.

Which one did I use? The Geomancy version. Why? Well, at tier 3 I have a Metalworking-based recipe for carbonite bars, but not an Artificing one. I have only one set of reaction arts for Metalworking, the ones you get when you first become an artisan. These arts give you no way to boost durability, only progress. But boosting durability is the key to making high-quality results.

In contrast, I currently have 3 tiers of Geomancy-based reaction arts, just as I do with Artificing. So, to fill in the gaps, I plan to skill up in Geomancy, and refine all my metal using it.

Also in my recipe books are two recipes for Carbonite Studs. One uses Artificing, and the other uses Geomancy. But the Geomancy-based one requires 2 units of fuel instead of the one unit required by the Artificing recipe. That means that a Jeweler is always going to have a competitive advantage price-wise on producing these items. As it turns out, several other tradeskills have need of these components and other subcombines that Jewelers can make.

With the introduction of the subcombine skills such as Geomancy (We’ll get to Thaumaturgy in a second.) those tradeskillers now have the option of making their own subcombines, at an extra cost. They must buy the appropriate Geomancy books, and skill up in Geomancy. And they must absorb higher costs. But they can do it.

What this means is that the price of these subcomponents will drop, but remain profitable for jewelers. For players that have developed stable supplier relationships, probably little will change, though the price may drop some. Should market prices reflect a shortage of components, or perhaps a cartel of producers, it is possible for the consumers to develop their own sources, and continue to level up, perhaps after a detour into skilling up. And nobody will need to create and alt just to make WORT (Wash, Oil, Resin, Temper).

That’s because Thaumaturgy works much the same. The base level recipes, including those for WORT, do not put the Thaumaturge at a disadvantage to the Chemist. But the intermediate recipes do. Of particular importance there are the combines for ink. Alchemists will always have a competitive advantage in producing ink. But it isn’t absolute, higher prices will allow sages and jewelers to compete effectively.

But Alchemists have no competetive advantage at all in producing WORT, other than starting out with high skill. The high price and shortages of these basic components, which are needed, either directly or indirectly by every other tradeskill, should abate quickly. It’s the end of the gravy train for alchemists, who were clearly hurt the most by this change. It’s even more clear when you look at the price structure for a basic WORT refine.

At tier 2, fuel now costs 14 copper, and liquid can be had for 6 copper. Using a tuber which you gathered yourself, you can then make 4 doses of Stroma Wash, if you are good at it, at a cost of 5 copper each. They sell back to the vendor for, guess what, 5 copper each.

It gets worse when you look at tier 3, because the fuel costs increase, but the buyback price does not. I’m not sure whether this is a mistake or not. But even if the buyback price were equal to fuel plus liquid, the message would still be clear. There will be no profits without interaction with other players. I think an alchemist can still perhaps sell at 2 or 3 times cost, and have happy customers, though.

But all this trashing of the profitability of WORT will allow alchemists to actually think about producing potions and poisons. These have been seriously boosted. Now most potions have multiple doses, and say what they do, in detail. They also have their own category on the broker, so that they can be searched for effectively. None of them I’ve seen seems “killer” but that’s in keeping with the spirit of the game design, which strives to eliminate any item or strategy that trivializes an encounter.

Instead the game puts a premium on using the right tool for the right job. I’ve read about groups that had a named raid mob deep into red when they ran out of power and then died horribly. Wouldn’t those groups have liked a potion that gave a little extra kick to in-combat power regeneration?

Just last night I participated in a raid on Antonica’s drakota. I died quickly to the dragon’s breath weapon which has a dot component, and the raid ultimately failed with the dragon in red. Before I do that again, I’m going to get some potions to buff my poison resistance and which remove poison effects. If I had stayed alive and managed to dot the drake, that could have easily made the difference in the fight.

But that’s a digression. The new tradeskill changes aren’t quite as heavy a nerf to interdependence as it first seemed, specialists will still have some competetive advantages. But their monopolies are gone.

Top 5 Lists

Here’s my list of the 5 biggest changes in todays update, Live Update #3:

  • Tradeskill interedependence removed. Unlike what was posted on the test server, the skills for making subcomponents, which are different than the current skills, improve with practice not with leveling. so there will still be an opportunity for specialization.
  • Strength damage bonus reduced. Fighters are not the best damage dealers. As it should be.
  • Warriors, especially Brawlers, have improved mitigation. Monks are tanks, make no mistake
  • Sorceror damage dealing boosted. They will be true glass cannons.
  • Travel speed for most mounts has been reduced. There are also vendors which will buy back mounts now available
  • Here’s my top 5 favorite “little” changes:

  • Alacrity and Breeze now last 15 minutes. Enchanters all over Norrath rejoice at this one! All personal buffs are affected.
  • Pets inside residences can be named. That alley cat in my room can now get the respect he deserves.
  • Empty bags can be stored within other bags. It’s much easier to buy and sell them this way. Does this apply to strongboxes, too?
  • Guild level ups now come with a “ding” an a message. Gives the patrons a few strokes, reinforces the guild identity. Good stuff!
  • Language quest items will now drop as corpse loot. I can learn Gnollish! and Orcish! and…
  • And my top 5 most intriguing changes:

  • City sabotage quests available. I don’t know anything about these, but I have GOT to check this one out.
  • Solo versions of instanced zones available in Thundering Steppes, Enchanted Lands, Orcish Wastes. One’s called a Pirate’s Hidden Stash, need I say more?
  • New level 50 raids Someday I’ll be able to do these.
  • Enemies using charm skills will temporarily use other skills while an issue with charm is worked out I wonder what issue that is?
  • Keys that allow deeper progress in Wailing Caves will now drop in corpses What IS behind that tapestry?
  • Attune Your Gear!

    Live Update #3 is on the servers this morning. There are many changes, some of which I’ve been blogging about. But here’s something that requires your immediate attention. Many items have now become attuneable which were not attuneable before. A quick check this morning gives me the impression that any armor, weapon or jewelry item that gives a stat buff is now attuneable. This implies that crafted and quested items have all become attuneable.

    Before you start to hyperventilate about losing the resale value of these items, the patch notes also state that any NOTRADE item can now be sold to a vendor. So you can recover cash from the item, but you can’t sell it to another player (or pass it on.) Twinking is dead.

    But for your immediate attention, be aware that some of the items you are wearing are not giving you any benefit. If they just became attuneable, they will be in the equipment slot, but do nothing for you until attuned. That should be the first order of business for all of your characters when they log in.

    ***

    I predict that this change to quest and crafted items will create a better market for them. One of the things that happened in Everquest 1 was that once the bazaar was implemented, the price of the lower level items dropped considerably. Since these items rarely leave the game, merchants were soon awash in them, and it was easy to equip a lower level character with very nice stuff. Too easy, probably, which meant that the low-level game became too easy, even ignoring the effect of powerleveling. An attuneable item will never be used by more than one player, eliminating this problem.

    This seems like a fairly radical solution, however. I earlier speculated that before SOE did this, they could increase repair costs, to encourage folks to vendor stuff that’s green or gray rather than repairing it. But it may be that this would be too much of a penalty to folks who die a lot, making players a lot more risk-averse. This is a fantasy game, after all; the players are supposed to be heroes.

    It’s also true that an attuneable item has less value than a non-attuneable item, because its resale potential is lower. Not zero, since they can be sold to vendors. So it’s hard to say whether the price of crafted items will go down or up in the long run.

    How About a Nice Antonica Punch?

    The hallmark of the fighter archetype in Everquest 2 is its ability to to take a punch. Nobody else can go toe-to-toe with a mob like a fighter can. At least, that’s the way it was supposed to work.

    However, until recently, the game was not working that way. Any character that could acheive a high enough Agility score could become unhittable, and scouts were regularly managing to do this with stacked buffs. Here’s what Moorgard, SOE community guy, said recently:

    For example, if a monk or bruiser could be buffed such that his agility was 200 points higher than the opponent’s to-hit stats, they would avoid all but 4% of the enemy’s damage output. A plate tank with a shield also had 96% avoidance, and a scout with no shield had 90% avoidance.

    Even an AGI advantage of 100 points allowed light and heavy armor tanks to avoid all but 14% and 15% of enemy damage output, while scouts avoided 77% of the damage. Since this stat advantage was easily reachable with typical buffs and debuffs, tanking was trivialized in many encounters.

    The change we implemented was to raise the stats of NPCs that are level 30 and higher while decreasing the bonus given by agility. Higher-level encounters were no longer as trivial to tank, especially for scouts (who are not meant to be tanking heroic and epic content anyway).

    As an aside, I think this implies that having a shield cut down the number of attacks that hit by more than half at this level. That’s impressive.

    One of the questions that might be asked at this point is why not reduce the strength of the buffs in some way, instead of reducing the effect of Agility? It’s a pretty good question, and wasn’t addressed by Moorgard’s remarks. We can only speculate, which is what I’m about to do.

    There are lots of ways that Agility can be increased besides the buffs in question. Items, potions, debuffs on mobs, and so on. I expect that in some future expansion will introduce higher levels for characters with bigger buffs and better gear. How often one entity hits another and how much damage it does is a core piece of the game, which I would want to get right if I were designing the game.

    Also, I would want to have rough parity in the value of each of the stats. For example, Strength isn’t as valuable to a mage as Intelligence is. However I would like Strength to mean about as much with regard to the combat effectiveness of fighters as Intelligence does to mages. Likewise, I’d like a point of Strength increase be worth about as much to the party as a point of strength increase. This was not the case, since high-level buffs of other stats were being replaced with the low-level versions of AGI buffs.

    The changes to Agility produced another problem, though, which is being addressed soon. The problem in a nutshell is that brawlers and their subclasses, monk and bruiser, depend on avoidance to tank, but guardians and warriors do not. Instead, guardians and warriors wear heavy armor which mitigates or reduces the amount of damage done by a hit that finds its target. Which means that brawlers were somewhat compromised in their ability to tank by the recent Agility changes.

    After further parsing and analysis, we have decided that further delineation is needed between a fighter’s ability to tank versus a scout’s ability. As part of Live Update #3, we are improving heavy armor to mitigate 11% more damage and light armor to mitigate 35% more damage. In addition to making fighters tank better overall, this should address concerns raised by bruisers and monks. Light armor tanks still depend on deflection, but with increased mitigation their tanking ability should be less prone to streaks of damage.

    This is really good news for brawlers, who have been having a hard time. Most of these changes aren’t going to be highly visible for characters in their low 20′s or below, but are going to be pretty noticeable by level 30.

    ***

    As long as I’m talking about mitigation, I’d like to point out a few other things. Shaman wards prevent damage from occuring. A ward contains a certain number of points of damage absorption. This absorption is calculated before mitigation. Let me explain. Suppose the shaman’s ward is worth 1000 points of damage. The tank gets hit by a mob for a nominal 600 points. A big hit. A guardian wearing plate without a ward would mitigate this damage, perhaps by half, to 300 points. But with a ward on him, the full 600 points is subtracted from the ward, with none left to be mitigated. That’s kind of annoying, since the ward, in some sense, is only operating at 50 percent efficiency.

    Which means it doesn’t interact well with heavy tanks, and the best tank to combine with a shaman is an avoidance-based tank. Clerics feature reactive healing, which heals with each hit, and regeneration, along with the best instant heals, and druids use regeneration, which heals at periodic intervals, as long as you are hurt. These don’t match up with the other two fighter subclasses particularly well, they have more of a correspondence with different kinds of attackers.

    Encounters which land lots of hits for smallish amounts of damage are best dealt with by reactive healing, which heals on every hit. In contrast, encounters which land relatively few, but big, punches will do better with regeneration. But the form in which the damage comes doesn’t matter to the shaman in the slightest.

    But don’t worry, you can be effective in most situations regardless of your combination. The most effective part of any character is the fingers at the keyboard. Maybe your shaman/zerker/rogue trio can’t take on a single orange++ the way a cleric/guardian/rogue could, but knowing that means you’ll avoid the encounter, and handle the blues and whites just fine.

    Doing some Damage

    Another upcoming change in the Next Big Patch will be a revision in the damage-doing potential. SOE has been extremely aggressive in addressing situations where their concept of the game has not matched reality. This is no exception.

    SOE’s vision is that when it comes to dealing damage, the archetypes should rank, from highest potential to least, in the order mages, scouts, fighters, priests. This is not currently the case.

    Currently, beginning at perhaps level 30 and higher, fighters do the most damage. SOE’s community guy Moorgard said this:

    The greatest imbalance currently in the game relates to fighters. Tanks are supposed to absorb damage, but they’re also currently the best at dishing it out. This is due to the way our strength bonus works. Currently in the live game, a strength of 400 (achievable at the higher levels with buffs and gear) results in a 200% damage bonus. This results in fighters being the premier melee damage dealers, since they typically have the highest STR values.

    Here is a table showing the changes to STR damage bonus:


    STR Old Bonus New Bonus
    100 125% 125%
    200 150% 135%
    300 175% 145%
    400 200% 155%

    I don’t know whether this table represents a threshold or not. Is there a big benefit for going from 199 STR to 200? I’d guess not, that doesn’t seem consistent with the design philosophy. But I don’t really know. Any commenters?

    Characters below level 25, and characters that play in small groups or solo can’t really get their strength up to the level of 3-400, so they shouldn’t see much change.

    In addition, damage output of mages in general and wizards and warlocks in particular has been poor. So the damage output for sorcerors has been increased, by as much as 300% for some spells. Not much along this line has been done for enchanters and conjurors, though a couple of changes have been introduced that are related.

    First, summoning a construct will not make all dots and debuffs on a target go away, like it did. Second, all single target buffs will have a duration of 15 minutes, instead of the 3 min grind that it currently is. That will allow Enchanters (such as yours truly) to keep the whole party Breezed and Hasted. This will result in increased damage potential for the group.

    But no other changes are in store for damage potential of conjurors and enchanters in the short term. I suspect that SOE feels the changes to STR and to sorceror damage are big enough that they want to look at the other classes in the new context before making further changes.

    The main focus of complaints so far has been, “Now groups will never want more than one tank in their group.” This change will reduce the attractiveness of that second tank, make no mistake. But smart tanks (hmm, “military intelligence”, anyone?) will figure out how to use combinations with another tank to be more effective. I group quite a lot with another enchanter. This is far from ideal, but she’s a good player, and so am I. So we figure out how to coordinate, how to be successful. That’s fun. Isn’t that what playing a game is supposed to be?

    Talk QWERTY to Me

    Fights in Everquest 2 are fast-paced. Things can happen very quickly, and the level of coordination of the group can make a big difference. But most people’s skill with the
    computer keyboard (also known as the QWERTY keyboard, because those are the first 5 letters on one of the rows of keys) are not good enough to keep up with this pace.

    What to do? In a word, macros. In two words, custom hotkeys. Don’t know how to use them? Read on.

    On the EQ2 menu is a selection called “Socials”. The Socials window can be invoked by using the keyboard shortcut ‘o’, under the key bindings that the game comes with. There are two tabs under socials, one is for emotes, all the fun animations that can make your character dance, smile, and give thumbs up. The other tab is labeled “Macros”; that’s the one we want.

    Initially, the Macro window will contain a bunch of empty boxes with a spot for a name next to them. Left click on the name area to begin editing the macro. We now get a device for choosing the icon for our macro, and three text boxes, where we will type commands. These commands can be any command that you might type directly into a chat box, such as /smile, /gsay, /say, /raidsay, or /dance.

    A lot can be done with just a /gsay. I recommend that any puller make a macro to alert his group that he is initiating a combat, and to alert them to what his target is. Even with EQ2′s implied targeting this is still important, in the heat of battle, redundancy in communication is a very good thing. How to do it? In the text box, type the text

    gsay Prepare to battle %t!

    In the macro text box, the slash character is unnecessary. Leave it out. Now put the macro on your hotbar. When you left click or use a keystroke to use the macro, the %t will be replaced with the name of your target. A pretty cool enchantment, if you ask me. So everyone will know to get ready to fight, and versus whom.

    If you aren’t the puller or main tank, you might very well want one like this, especially if you are a caster type, and don’t do well if you have aggro.

    gsay Help, %t is attacking me!

    Of course, some players like to exercise their creativity in writing such messages, but the function remains the same.

    As an Illusionist, I often need to mesmerize mobs. When I do this the mob will stand there fascinated by the pretty lights. Any damage will wake it up, so it’s important that the rest of my group know what I’m doing. I use the following commands, in the first and second text boxes:


    gsay You're feeling sleepy, >>%t<<
    useability Fascinate

    The useability command will invoke the ability named. In this case it’s the 10th level Enchanter spell Fascinate. This is very handy, and easy to use. You have to copy down the name exactly, but there are no other requirements, like quotation marks and such.

    I would be tempted to replace all of the spell icons on my hotbar with macros like this, but there’s a couple problems with that. If everyone did a gsay on every ability they used, it would be hard to track all of them. Macros which use abilities do not gray out and show recast time elapsing the way the ability icon does. I wish that they did, but it means that sometimes, I will have both the macro and the underlying skill on my hotbar, just to see the recast timer.

    There is a variety of icons that one can choose from for a macro, but there are fewer of them and they aren’t the same as the ability icons. So that makes things a little more tricky, too.

    What I’d really like to see is an enhancement to the user interface where you could right click on an ability icon, and directly add a say command or two to that icon. This would allow good group communication, reduce clutter, and preserve the icon and recast timer for the ability.

    More on Tradeskill Changes

    It looks like the changes are more sweeping than I originally thought. For example, the Geomancy book from Tier 2, which everyone can buy and use, contains recipes not only for Stroma Wash, Stroma Oil, Stroma Resin and Eolith Temper, but also for Trinoid Reagent, Iron Gual Dye, and Iron Gual Ink. Wow.

    As a Jeweler, I can now buy the Geomancy book and make my own Iron Spike to use in making Runes. I am not dependent on any other class to make Runes. That’s kind of a shame, I liked that aspect of it.

    Sages are now highly viable, since Timbercraft Essentials 1 contains recipes for Cailun Paper, and Maple Quills. Remember that all artisans have the Timbercraft skill and it increases automatically with level.

    Personally, I’d recommend giving all artisans the skills but not making them advance automatically. So you could allow specialization, but not require it. If they start gouging you too much for your supplies, then you’d do it yourself.

    Here’s some screenshots of the books, and the new reaction arts that go with them, thanks to Anya Foodcrafter.