Crafting in the beginning was easy. Back at the start the big question was whether it was better to spam alterations and regal, or chaos spam. Nowadays those two methods are so far down the list, unless you’re looking for something specific. There are so many methods you can use, and a variety of things you might have to do to even get to that point. So, let’s cover some of the basics of Path of Exile crafting, and the ones you’ll be wanting to aim towards.
As I said, the original crafting methods were alteration spam or chaos spamming. They are very different methods of crafting, and oftentimes have different goals in mind. When you alteration spam you’re typically looking for one or two specific stats. If you find one of them and don’t have a second stat, you can use orbs of augmentation to add a second stat while keeping the item rare. Once you have two good stats, you use a regal orb and pray for a good third stat. If you don’t get it, you scour the item and start again. This method is relatively inexpensive for what it is, but you don’t get godly items at the end because you can only have a maximum of three stats without further investment.
Chaos spamming is far less complex and is quite literally what it sounds like: you use a chaos orb on a rare item to re-roll the stats. If the result is good, keep it. If it’s not, roll again. That’s it. This is a bit different from alteration spamming as you are rarely looking for one or two good stats, and instead are looking for an overall good item. You probably won’t get two or three tier one stats like you could with alterations, but you’ll potentially end with a better item overall because of how many stats it can have.
These methods are the basics. They are still possible and viable today (and even recommended for certain items), but there are many other ways to go about crafting as well.
Essences were added back in, well, Essence league. They were the first method of deterministically crafting a specific stat onto your gear. Essences will roll an item the same way using a chaos orb would, but it guarantees one of the resulting stat lines. Essences can be ranked up, and getting the highest tiers of them can be incredibly expensive. The most exclusive essences can sell for upwards of 50 chaos, and that’s just for a single roll. However, they can also provide stats you cannot find anywhere else.
Essence crafting was often looked at as the pinnacle of crafting (until very recently). You needed a lot of investment, but your potential outcome was as good as it could get. This is still true today, if you’re looking to blow a lot of money for a very good item, essence crafting is typically the way to go. However, there are a lot of middle of the road items for far cheaper nowadays. There are also extremely high-end items that are far more expensive than anything you can get from essences. Both of these possibilities come down to the same method, which we will discuss next.
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Fossil crafting was introduced in Delve league. While you’re delving down in the mine you will find fossils and resonators. The fossils can be placed inside the resonators, and when they are full the resonators are used to apply to an item the same way as a chaos orb or essence. Resonators can have between one and four sockets, which allows you to craft both mid-tier and extremely powerful items using this method.
Unlike essences, fossils don’t guarantee anything. However, they can be used to block off stats you don’t want, or weight rolls towards stats you do. For example, a Pristine Fossil weighs rolls on an item towards having a life roll, but it also guarantees that the item will not have an armor, energy shield, or evasion rating roll. By using multiple fossils at once you can effectively block entire sections of modifiers, and guarantee certain results to some extent.
There are also a few extremely rare and expensive fossils that roll the item with all new modifiers that can only found from fossils. This includes Hollow Fossil, which guarantees one abyssal socket on a rare item (but it is added as a modifier, which will be removed if the item is rolled again). Or Bloodstained Fossil, which adds all new vaal modifiers, effecting how vaal skills are used. These fossils are extremely expensive per try, but they can result in some of the strongest items in the game.
The last form of crafting is master crafting. Normally this is something I wouldn’t talk about in a crafting basics article, but in this league master crafting has become extremely common due to the power of crafted mods. In Betrayal they added the Syndicate, which provides very powerful crafted modifiers. It’s far more powerful than we’ve ever seen before, creating fully crafted items that would have previously sold for many exalts. Master crafting is simply adding the modifier “can have multiple crafted mods” to an item. The mod itself costs two exalteds, and does take up a slot on the item, as a suffix.
Because of this, many people now roll with alterations once more, trying to hit one or two mods that are very powerful, then master crafting on the rest. This also started the trend of hoping for just a single good roll, regaling without augmenting so you would have a two stat rare item, and going for the 50/50 annulment roll to remove the second stat if it wasn’t good. The result would be an item that has one really powerful modifier that you rolled, a ‘can roll multiple crafted modifiers’ mod, and four crafted mods. We’ve seen some incredibly powerful gear this league thanks to this method.
Not So Basics Conclusion
This is a lot to take in, but there’s actually quite a bit more to learn if you want to get to the really high end of crafting. The methods here can cost you anywhere from a few chaos to a few exalts, but if you want to go further you can easily be looking at a few mirrors to create the best items in the game. Path of Exile’s crafting is extremely deep, and it can be highly profitable, if you’re willing to look into it!