EQ Traders Corner
Guide to Smithing for High Level Characters

by Richard Lawson (aka Monual Lifegiver on Drinal)

Here's how my 60th-level Human Cleric became a GM Smith. During the course of his blacksmithing he went up to 63, which made a couple of things easier (hunting shadows in Twilight Sea, for instance). Here is the underlying philosophy:

  • I was not interested in making money. I simply wanted to become a GM smith as quickly as possible. That meant I was willing to attempt combines I'd surely fizzle on just so I could try and get a skill-up. Everything I made I immediately sold to a vendor.
  • I didn't want to spend a lot of money. When I started my smithing quest, I had 50,000 plat. During the course of my smithing my account balance fluctuated as I sold outdated equipment and bought peridots for grouping. 50,000 seemed a reasonable starting point.
  • I was willing to spend some time farming. That meant that I had to turn down requests for groups as I farmed stuff for Shadowscream armor. I'm in a raiding guild, so I always showed up for raids, but afterwards, I'd disappear from sight as I farmed and farmed. I could have dinged 65 and accumulated quite a few AA points if I'd stopped. I sacrificed that to become a GM smith - you'll have to be prepared to do the same. Normally if you explain to your guild that you're working on smithing, they'll understand. Occasionally I'd take a break to help with a shard camp or help get someone through a Plane of Justice trial, just so I wouldn't fall completely out of touch with my guildmates.
  • I wanted to be self-reliant. That meant no chanters to enchant my ore or summon vials of mana for me. As you'll see below, that also meant not needing to find a grandmaster brewer. I wanted to do everything myself and not have to waste someone else's time.

Some general notes:

Whenever a recipe calls for two items - two metal bits, two swirling shadows - you must but them into the forge unstacked. At best, the combine will fail. At worst, the combine will eat your entire stack when you only needed one. The latter happened to me once; the forge ate an entire stack of ethereal energy bricks and I was very sad.

Get a Geerlok Automated Hammer. These player-made items cost 100pp or less in the Bazaar. They add 5% to your smithing skill. Since 252 is the highest your adjusted smithing can go, that means you'll only need to get to 240 in smithing to have the maximum allowable skill.

Always have your WIS or INT or STR maxed out when you attempt a combine. This will maximize your chances of getting a skill-up. Since I was a cleric, my WIS was near-maxed. Still, I made sure I always had KEI cast on me before I attempted a combine. I preferred KEI over other WIS/INT buffs because KEI lasts two and a half hours - longer if the chanter has some focus items or AA abilities. That's far longer than any other WIS/INT buff you can get. If you don't have access to a friendly chanter that will cast this on you, you can usually buy a casting of KEI from a chanter in the Nexus or in the Bazaar for 100pp or less.

Get Planes of Power. The Plane of Knowledge is a tradeskiller's paradise - everything you need is right there. This guide was written under the assumption that you have PoP installed. If not, you may want to consult one of the other guides for alternatives to some of the recommendations I make below.

And, finally... do what you can to get your guild to raid and kill Xerkizh the Creator in the Temple of Ssra. He sometimes drops the Hammer of the Ironfrost which adds 15% to your smithing skill. With that, you only need to get up to 220 in smithing which is a tremendous savings in time spent getting skill-ups. Plus, with this hammer you can take a shortcut from 192 to 212 (see below). I realize this may not be an option for many folks, but if XtC is within your reach, do what you can to try and get this nice Hammer. Another option, if you can raid in Vex Thal, is to get the Gauntlets of Dark Embers from Kaas Thox Xi Ans Dyex; they also add 15%.

Before I begin, I'd like to thank everyone at the EQTraders web site and message boards, who provided me with the information I used to create this guide and provided very helpful commentary on this guide. Without their info, it would have taken me much longer to become a GM smith. My sincere appreciation goes out to all those folks who did the legwork that made smithing much easier for the rest of us.

OK, on with the show:

Step 1: Equipment

Make sure to get a smithy hammer and a smithy chisel, both of which can be bought in the Plane of Knowledge (PoK). You'll also need a file, which you'll have to make. Start by making a few metal bits. Combine two small pieces of ore (which can be bought in PoK) in a forge with a flask of water. Buy a file mold and put it in a forge with 1 metal bits and a flask of water. It may take you several attempts, but eventually you'll make a file. Keep this file; you'll always find a need for it.

Step 2: Banded Armor

What... no metal bits or pots or needles as an intermediary step? Nope... I started out by making Banded Armor. Some folks have maintained that you're more likely to get skill-ups on items that you are close to being trivial for you, but I didn't find that to be the case. Sure, I failed the combines forty-nine times out of fifty at first, but I still got skill-ups. And banded requires few ingredients that are relatively cheap.

Sheet metal can be bought in quantity in PoK for about 1pp each. Buy lots. Also, buy lots of flasks of water. Then buy as many banded boot molds (1.7pp each) as your inventory can hold. Go to a forge and combine one sheet metal, one boot mold, and one flask of water. This will produce banded boots. Repeat until your smithing skill is 95. Then buy helm molds (0.6pp each) and combine those with two sheets of metal and a flask of water. This will take you to 106. Then you move on to mail tunics - combine a tunic mold (1.3pp) with three sheets of metal and a flask of water. This will take you to 115.

Gosh, you're halfway there already? Yup, and it will go quicker than you might think. With everything within easy reach in PoK, it's simply a matter of devoting time to clicking "combine" over and over again.

Step 3: Fine Plate

For this you'll need "medium quality folded sheets of metal", lots of 'em. To make these, you'll need to combine one block of medium quality ore (20.5 pp each), a flask of water, and your smithy hammer in a forge. (Note that on success or failure, your smithy hammer will be returned to you.) Medium quality ore can be found on a vendor in the PoK. Make stacks and stacks of them.

You'll also need leather padding. I had no trouble finding lots of leather padding available for sale in the Bazaar off of player traders, usually selling for 20-25pp each. I preferred buying these off traders rather than farming pelts and making leather padding myself. Yes, it can get a bit expensive, but you can also sell your successful plate combines back to vendors and get some plat in return, helping to offset your cost a bit.

Combine a plate bracer mold (6.3pp), one medium quality folded sheet, a flask of water, a leather padding, and your smithy hammer in a forge to make a plate bracer. Continue making these until your skill hits 168. Then move on to plate helms - a plate helm mold (10.5pp), two medium quality folded sheets, a flask of water, a leather padding, and a smithy hammer. When you hit 179, move on to Fine Steel Breastplates: a plate breastplate mold (21pp), three medium quality folding sheets, a flask of water, a leather padding, and a smithy hammer. This will take you to 188.

Your hand cramped yet? Well, take no comfort in the following fact: the *easy* part is done now. After 188 it gets... complicated. However, it gets much cheaper on the pocketbook, so you won't have to make any more large investments.

Step 4: Shadowscream Armor

I spent a lot of time evaluating different methods for getting my skill above 188. No matter what you do, you'll need to do a lot of farming. I simply didn't have the resources to buy lots of stuff from the bazaar or make mistletoe sickles. Shadowscream Armor requires lots of farming of no-drop stuff, but once you know how and where, it isn't so bad. And it's relatively cheap.

First, you'll need to do the Shar Vahl smithing quest. Follow this quest until you have a humming luclinite hammer and a Vah Shir anvil. This took me three hours, most of which was spent farming the newbie area around Shar Vahl.

Once you have those things, it's time to begin farming. I'll discuss a few methods for farming wailing and shrieking substances:

Shrieking Substances, the Slow Way
Go to Tenebrous Mountains. Kill sonic wolves. They wander all over the zone and are plentiful. The annoying thing are the bats and grimlings which may add. Still, you should be able to get a decent drop rate, 15 or 20 shrieking substances an hour if you're a good soloer.

Wailing Substances, the Slow Way
Go to Paludial Caverns. Yelloweyes, near the Shadowhaven zone line, drops a wailing substance upon occasion, but he is usually camped. There's a camp of four grimy owlbear cubs deep, deep within Paludial Caverns, at about -2000, -500. Kill them all. You'll average about one wailing substance out of every four owlbears. Sometimes you'll get two, sometimes you'll get zero out of the four owlbears. I averaged about six wailing substances an hour here, which is a definite bottleneck. I would definitely recommend the Fast Way.

Shrieking and Wailing Substances, the Fast Way: The Hollowshade Moor War.

Basically, you have three camps whenever the zone is reset. Grimlings to the south, Owlbears to the east, Sonic Wolves to the north. After a server reset, every so often one camp will attack another and try to take it over. These random, automated attacks will stop after one race has successfully taken over the camp of another race, at which point attacks will only be triggered when you kill a named. You want to manipulate all of this to your advantage.

What you're trying to accomplish is to get the owlbears or sonic wolves to take over the four islands in the southern part of the zone. The sonic wolves and owlbears that spawn on these islands will comonly drop shrieking and wailing substances, respectively.

First, learn where the named owlbears and sonic wolves pop. There are two named owlbears in the owlbear caves: Skrieta'Cha pops at 3027, 2002. Skrieta'Chu pops at 3537, 1983. Their placeholders are owlbear fleshrenders, and they are on a 12 minute cycle. The sonic wolf named is Ghowik, in the caves at 450, -2975. Its placeholder is a sonic packleader and they are also on a 12 minute spawn cycle.

Pay attention to the next sentence, as it took me far too long to figure out:

Killing a named will spur its race to attack another camp.

In other words, if you want the owlbears to attack another camp, you have to kill one of the owlbear nameds. (It should be noted that others have found this not to be the case, and that killing a named will trigger a random attack from any camp to any other camp. That may very well be. I'm just sharing my observation, which is that once the automated attacks have stopped, I could only trigger an owlbear attack by killing an owlbear named.)

What you want is for the owlbears or the sonic wolves (depending on which substance you wish to farm) to attack the grimling camp to the south. Listen for the zone-wide message that says who is attacking and who is defending. When you hear that the owlbears (for example) are attacking the grimlings, run to the grimling chieftan at -2800, -600. In front of him are a couple of grimling bodyguards. The attack of the owlbears will spawn four grimling defenders. These mobs are perma-rooted and summon, so be careful. Do what you must to kill all these guys - defenders, bodyguards, and chieftan. You have about ten minutes from the zonewide announcement to do this. Then the owlbear attackers show up. If they can get into the chieftan's hut, the owlbears will have won the battle, the grimlings in the area will despawn, and owlbears will spawn in their place. Follow this same sequence if it's the sonic wolves you want to win.

If, when you kill a owlbear named, you see a message that the owlbears are killing the sonic wolves to the east (even though the sonic wolves are really more north than east, the zonewide message talks about their camp being in the east), I'd recommend going to the sonic wolf cave and helping the defenders defeat the owlbears. You don't want the owlbears and sonic wolves to kill each other in the north and east camps, and if one race is completely defeated, you won't see it again until the zone is reset. There's supposed to be a way for you to get the war to reset on your own, but it is hopelessly bugged. So it's up to you to micro-manage the war and make sure the owlbears and sonic wolves defend their own realms successfully.

UPDATE 3/31/05: The event is no longer bugged. If one faction controls all the camps in the zone, the event can be reset by killing the controlling race's "boss" (Prince Garzemort (grimling), Gnarlik (sonicwolf), or Skriat' Chakku (owlbear)) who spawns in the northwest camp by Shar Vahl. Since the event has been fixed, the war does not respond exactly as stated in the rest of this guide, but is close enough to make sense when you see it.

Also, let's say owlbears have taken over the southern grimling camp and you've got all the wailing substances you need for now. Go to the sonic wolf cave and kill Ghowik until you see a message that the sonic wolves are attacking the owlbears in the south. Then run to the same place the grimling chieftan used to be (-2800, -600) and kill all the owlbears you see there, including the perma-rooted summoning owlbear defenders. Then the sonic wolf attackers will waltz in and take over the camp.

Properly managed, this war can make farming wailing and shrieking substances trivial. It frequently becomes bugged, and you'll often have to run from place to place defending one race against an unwanted attack. Still, the benefits are worth it.

Okay, you've gotten the sonic wolves or owlbears to take over the southern camp. Start killing the mobs that spawn on the four islands. As a 62 cleric I was able to be a one-man AE group: I aggro'd about eight or ten sonic wolves, then cast Upheaval and wasted them all. Doing this with KEI, I averaged 30 drops an hour. What's best, though, is if you can get an honest-to-goodness AE group together, with a tank puller and a wizard to AE nuke. Then you can get 50 drops an hour.

This will be your best source of wailing / shrieking substances if you can manage it properly.

Swirling Shadows
Once you've got a good supply of wailing and shrieking substances, it's time to begin farming swirling shadows. These items are no-rent, which means they'll poof if you log off, so do these last. (As an alternative, you can get someone to duel you and then die, then loot your corpse of everything but the swirling shadows. As long as your corpse doesn't rot, the swirling shadows will remain for you to loot at your convenience.) You can get swirling shadows from lesser shades in Shadeweaver's Thicket, but they are uncommon drops (about one in five lesser shades drops a swirling shadow) and it's a real pain chasing down the lesser shades all over the zone, so I recommend farming lesser and greater shadows in the Twilight Sea.

There's an island in the Twilight Sea at about -200, -1000 where the shadows roam. It's a relatively small island that's relatively close to Katta Castellum, so it's convenient to farm. Be warned, these mobs are not necessarily pushovers. They are level 40 and they lifetap frequently. I definitely needed KEI to farm there, since I had to heal myself often. Also, because the island is small, it is not difficult to get two or three adds during a battle. If that proves to be a problem for you, I'd recommend pulling the shadows to one of the nearby islands, where you won't get adds. Soloing, I got about 20 swirling shadows an hour. I'm certain my drop rate would have gone up with some help; this would be another decent place to AE, I think.

I should also mention that it was easier for me, a cleric, to farm the mobs in Twilight Sea since I could heal myself after getting lifetapped constantly. If you're a class that can't heal themselves effectively, you may want to consider getting help, or just go back to Shadeweaver's Thicket and farm the lesser shades.

You need at least twice as many swirling shadows as wailing or shrieking substances for Shadowscream armor, so plan accordingly. When I did my smithing, I'd farm 40 swirling shadows, then go do 20 Shadowscream combines, then farm 40 more swirling shadows, etc.

At Last: Combining Everything into Shadowscream Armor
OK! You've got your swirling shadows and your shrieking substances and your wailing substances. Time to actually make some armor. Go to the Plane of Knowledge and find the vendor that sells large bricks of ore. (Plain ore, not high-quality or medium-quality.) Combine one large brick of ore (1.5pp) with a flask of water and your file in a forge. You'll get your file back and two metal rings. Then combine one metal ring with one wailing substance, one shrieking substances, your humming luclinite hammer, and your Vah Shir anvil in a forge. This will produce a humming orb.

Now place two swirling shadows, one humming orb, one banded boot mold (1.7pp), a water flask, your humming luclinite hammer, and your Vah Shir anvil in a forge. Hit combine. On success you'll get Shadowscream Boots.

Keeping making Shadowscream Boots. They become trivial at 248, but remember you only need to get to 240 if you've purchased a Geerlock Automated Hammer. As a guildeline, I found that I averaged one skill-up per twenty combines. That means that to get from 188 to 240, you'll need approximately 1040 Wailing Substances, 1040 Shrieking Substances, and 2080 Swirling Shadows.

Congratulations Grandmaster

Addendum: For those with 15% Modifiying Items

So you've helped kill the Creator in Ssra and have been awarded the Hammer of the Ironfrost. Or you've hunted in Vex Thal and got the Gauntlets of Dark Embers. That's great. That means that you only need to get your smithing skill up to 220 to become a grandmaster. Plus there's a small shortcut you can take: Ethereal Energy Rings.

The minimum required skill for EE Rings is 220, which means you'll need to use Shadowscream to get your skill up to 192. 192 + 15% > 220, so you'll be good to go then.

In order to make those, however, you need Ethereal Temper, lots and lots of it. This requires a Grandmaster Brewer to make. Rather than try to find one willing to make hundreds of Ethereal Tempers for me, I decdied to become a Grandmaster Brewer myself. This is much easier to do than you might think. That also meant I was willing to spend 3 AA points in New Tanaan Crafting Mastery to allow a second skill to rise above 200. If this seems excessive just to get 20 skill-ups in smithing, keep in mind that this will still be a useful skill after you've maxed your smithing, since you'll need these tempers to make some of those ultra-uber PoP armors.

You need a brewing skill of 220 to make Ethereal Temper - or a skill of 210 plus a Geerlock Fermentation Device. The Geerlock Fermentation Device is another player-made item that adds 5% to your brewing skill. I found one for sale in the Bazaar for 50pp.

Everything you need to become a GM Brewer can be found in Shadowhaven. Combine barley, hops, malt, yeast, and a cask in a brewing barrel. Repeat until your skill hits 135. Then (ready for it?) do a nice little nine-item combine: Two flasks of water, two short beers, three malts, yeast, and a cask. Repeat until your skill is 210. Overall, it cost me two days, 500pp, and an extremely cramped hand to get to 210 in brewing. Still, this is one of the easiest and fastest tradeskills to master - if only smithing was this easy.

Now for Ethereal Tempers. Everything you need is in the Plane of Knowledge. First get a mortar and pestle, then combine a Scent of Marr and a Celestial Solvent to get a Celestial Essence. Then, in a brewing barrel in the Plane of Knowledge, combine two Celetstial Essences, a soda, and a emerald tea leaf to make Ethereal Temper. Make lots. Lots and lots. What I would often do is buy a bunch of Celestial Solvents and Scents of Marrs and take them with me while we were raiding. During downtime, I'd combine them into Celestial Essences. I discovered that you can even do this while auto-following someone. If you want to save time making Celestial Essences, you can usually find them for sale in quantity from player vendors in the bazaar. When I was in a hurry, I could find them for 5 or 8pp each, which is not entirely unreasonable.

Now all you need is a lot of Ethereal Energy Bricks. If you group in one of the PoP planes you'll find that these drop in quantity. I also would buy them from traders in the Bazaar if the prices were reasonable, although that could add up in a hurry.

Making EE Rings is easy: Combine one Brick of Ethereal Energy, one Ethereal Temper, and your file in a forge in the Plane of Knowledge. These become trivial at 212.

From 212 to 220, revert back to Shadowscream armor. If you're uber-rich and have access to a willing cleric of Tunare, you might consider moving on to Mistletoe Sickles to avoid farming. Or you can start making Heraldic armor, which has the potential to make you lots of plat while you're getting skill-ups. I won't go into detail on those recipes here; check elsewhere on EQ Traders Site for details on what you can make and how you can make it.

That's it! You're a Grandmaster Blacksmith.

Created: 2003-06-07 03:03:56          
Last Modified By: Verdandi Board Goddess          
Last Modified on: 2006-02-07 01:16:35          

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