Gear that you wear has seven properties:
- Heavy vs light vs medium
- dagger vs sword vs axe etc.
- Gear will always drop at your level
- You craft gear at a particular level by using the correct material (jute vs cotton) and more of the material for higher level (i.e. 8 jute = level 1 robe 9 jute = level 4 robe).
- To use higher level materials you have to increase your crafting rank with skill points.
- Appearance (Style)
- You learn to craft gear in different styles by learning motifs. More information on motifs can be found here.
- Crafting in a particular style requires the right style stone. The base 10 style stones can be purchased from the vendor right next to the crafting station.
- You cannot change the style of existing gear (whether crafted or dropped). You can only cover it up with an outfit or costume.
- You learn to craft gear in different traits by researching traits.
- Crafting in traits requires trait stones, which come from refining raw materials.
- You can only change traits of existing items through transmutation.
- Some sets are crafted, some are dropped. You cannot change the set. You cannot craft dropped sets, and crafted sets will not drop.
- To craft a set you must know traits. For example if you want to craft a set of Sabatons of the Hist Bark you must know four traits on heavy feet items. Knowing four traits across all of heavy armor doesn’t help you.
- You have to be at the correct station to craft sets. For example if you want to craft Hist Bark you have to be at the Hist Bark Crafting station in Rivenspire, Shadowfen, Greenshade, or someone’s house.
- Quality is upgraded with improvement materials, often called tempers.
- You can upgrade the quality of any item if you have enough tempers.
- If you upgrade the quality of a dropped item, the enchantment quality also goes up.
- Enchantments can be added or changed by re-enchanting the gear.
- Weapon enchants must be recharged with soul gems.
- If you change the enchant on the piece of gear, or if the item is crafted, the enchant quality will not be improved when you improve the gear.
- Enchant quality can be different than item quality i.e. you get the full value of a gold enchant even on a purple piece of gear.
Focusing on the gearcrafting skills allows you to craft gear of any type that has any of these properties.
When you are leveling gearcrafting you should do a few things.
Focus on research
Your top priority should be to research traits you do not know so that you can craft sets and gear in any trait. Try to research useful traits first such as divines, infused, and training, but if you don’t have items in useful traits it doesn’t really matter what you craft.
You should get enough items you can use for research from normal adventuring. If you cannot find an item with the trait you need for research check guild stores, or ask in your own guild, zone chat, or an active ESO discord. Except for nirnhoned items, research items are very cheap to make and most people are happy to do it for free.
The way research works is that the first item in any slot takes 6 hours, the next 12, etc. So to research sturdy sabatons takes 6 hours. If you want to then research impenetrable sabatons, it will take 12. If you want to research an impenetrable cuirass instead, it will still only take 6.
The last two traits on an item can take 30 days or more! So plan ahead and don’t leave the traits you really want to know for last.
There are several ways to improve research times:
- Passives improve research times and cap research at 30 days.
- You can buy scrolls from other players that take one day off your research timers. These scrolls cost around 3k gold and can be used once every 20 hours.
- ESO+ reduces research times by 10%.
It takes a few months to learn 6 traits on every item. 6 traits is all you need for the most common gear sets, however keep working towards 9 traits over time as some valuable gear sets do require 9 traits!
You should deconstruct every item you don’t want to wear, sell, or research. This is the most efficient way to level crafting and gives you a fair amount of mats to boot.
You can buy items to deconstruct but this shouldn’t be necessary. Normal adventuring should give you plenty of items to keep your crafting on par with your character level. I found that less than a week’s worth of questing and dungeons granted enough max level gear to level a character to 50 in each skill.
Higher level gear gives more exp, as does higher quality gear. There is also a special trait called “intricate” that increases the exp and mats granted from deconstruction.
The exp you get from deconstruction is capped. So for example at level 5 you won’t get more than ~6000 exp from deconstructing any item no matter how good it is. At level 6 you’ll get a bit more. For this reason you may want to deconstruct cheaper, low level items at low level crafting and save the high level items for when you are level 30+.
More information on the caps and how much exp you can expect from each item is here: http://www.sunshine-daydream.us/ESO/blacksmithing.html#Bleveling
If you want to level crafting fast you can purchase intricate items from other players. These typically go for about 200 gold and are commonly found on guild stores. You would need around 380-400 items to level this way and this would cost around 80k gold.