Crafting and professions

Instead of being able to focus on only one or two professions at a time like in many other MMOs, players can craft anything they want in the Elder Scrolls Online. The crafting system in ESO is very interesting and quite different from what many MMO gamers might be used to.

You don’t need any special skills or tools to start picking up herbs for alchemy or mining and refining iron for blacksmithing. Every character has the ability to gather, harvest, refine, produce and craft everything from the very first level. Leather scraps found on various beast corpses and gathering fibers  from all over Tamriel are required to advance further in clothing. Whilst exploring and adventuring in Tamriel, keen-eyed players will find mysterious runestones which they can use to craft glyphs in order to gain experience in enchanting. Branches of wood found on the ground can be utlized in woodworking to create staffs, bows and shields.  Provisioning allows players to cook food and brew drinks, which provide temporary buffs.

The Crafting Professions in Elder Scrolls Online

Blacksmithing, Clothing and Woodworking Overview

The reason blacksmithing, clothing and woodworking are specifically mentioned is because of the identical crafting process with these three professions. There’s five *activities*, which all show up as separate tabs in the crafting window every time a player interacts with the appopriate crafting station: Item Creation, Item Improvement, Deconstruction, Refinement and Research. Let’s use Blacksmithing as an example in this case.

Item Creation

Item Creation is chosen when you want to craft a new item. A player has to choose the correct item type, with blacksmithing this means first choosing between weapons and heavy armor. Then you choose between the type of weapon or armor slot, such as greatsword or one-handed sword, and  cuirass or helm.

After you’ve chosen your desired item type, you have to select how much Materials you are going to use. The units of materials, such as iron ingots, directly increases the level and stats of the item – the more iron ingots you select, the bigger the level requirement and the greater the stats for that piece of armor or weapon.

The next step involves selecting the Racial crafting style. Each race has their own crafting style, which purely affects the cosmetics of the armor and weapons. By default, you are only able to craft items using their own racial style, but as you progress in game, you will learn other racial styles as well. Each racial style requires their own special Style Material.

The last thing required to do in order to finally craft the item is selecting a Trait for the item. Applying a Trait on an item requires that you have researched the trait (more on Research below) and that you have the appropriate Trait Material.

Now you are ready to craft the item and gain experience with the relevant crafting profession!

Item Improvement

Item Improvement is also an option at a crafting station. You can choose the item which you want to improve.The first time you craft an item it will be Normal. Improving the item upgrades its rarity to Fine (green), Superior (blue), Epic (purple) and finally Legendary (orange) in that order. You can’t skip these steps, and each step requires their own specific Improvement material. In blacksmithing these are called Tempers, the clothing equivalent are Tannins, and woodworking ones are Resins.

Here’s the catch: the number of Tempers, Tannins or Resins directly increases your chance of successfully improving the item. The more Tempers you use, the greater the chance of upgrading the item’s stats. However, if you fail to improve the item, it will be lost. Keeping that in mind, it might be worth it to bump the item improvement success rate high enough with a good number of Tempers to make sure you don’t lose the item.


Deconstruction is the third option at a crafting station. Extracting an item will break it down, yielding you raw materials such as iron ingots. It will yield experience with the crafting profession.


Refinement is needed to turn your raw crafting materials into something you can craft items with. For example, you can refine iron ore into iron ingots. You always need 10 units of raw material to refine them.


Research is the final option at a crafing station. If you have any items in your inventory with Traits on them, you can choose to research that specific Trait. Items with Traits will show up as Researchable in the Research tab.

The Research process takes a very long time, and the item with the Trait will be destroyed as part of the process. There’s eight traits you can research for a single piece of gear. All traits are researched for a specific item type and item slot. If you research a trait for Light Armor Gloves, you will not learn the trait for Heavy Armor Gloves. Each item type and slot needs to be researched separately, which makes research a heavy time sink. On top of this, the research time increases exponentially for a single item. The research time for all eight traits on a single item shapes up like this:

Trait Number Research Time
First 6 hours
Second 12 hours
Third 1 day
Fourth 2 days
Fifth 4 days
Sixth 8 days
Seventh 16 days
Eighth 32 days
Total 63 days, 18 hours

You can reduce the research time slightly with crafting passives by 20% and increase the number of active researches to three, which is just one by default.

Researching traits is essential to be able to craft item sets in ESO.

Levelling your Smith Professions Fast – Leapfrog Levelling System

You can gain crafting inspiration for the Smith profession in three ways: Creating items, Deconstructing items and reading skill books.

Leapfrog Levelling System refers to the process of creating items on one character and deconstructing them on another to maximize the crafting experience / inspiration gain. It can be done with a friend or with your alt.

Leapfrog Levelling in a nutshell:

  • Two crafters create items.
  • The crafters trade the items to each other.
  • Each crafter deconstructs the other crafter’s items.

Why do this? Because you gain a significantly larger amount of crafting experience from deconstructed items which are not made by you.

It actually makes sense when you think about it – what would you learn by deconstructing the items you created? You already know how you crafted it. When you deconstruct someone else’s item, you can see how they have crafted the item, what kind of neat little tricks they have used, and thus gain more experience. This also applies to random world loot. Random world drops yields much more inspiration points than deconstructing the items you have crafted yourself.

Alchemy Overview

As a profession alchemy is a pretty simple one. To create potions, you go to a crafting station, select a Solvent, such as water, and two Reagents, which include herbs, flowers and mushrooms. Depending on the reagents and your alchemy skill, you’ll get different kinds of potions. They can be standard health, magicka or stamina potions, or other potions with interesting buffs.

A crafted potion’s effects are defined by the Alchemy Traits of the ingredients you use. Alchemy Traits are the properties of the ingredient, and every alchemy ingredient has four traits which will be revealed as you craft potions.

Our Alchemy Simulator is a fun tool to use if you want to see how the final effects of a potion are determined.

Enchanting Overview

Enchanting is a crafting profession which produces glyphs. Glyphs are enchantments of various different effects which can be applied on gear. There’s three types of glyphs: Armor Glyphs, Weapon Glyphs and Jewelry Glyphs. You can only apply Armor Glyphs on pieces of armor and so on.

Glyph Creation

Glyph Creation is the process of creating glyphs (who would have thought, I know!). In order to create glyphs, you have to be at an enchanting table and select one of each three types of runestones. There are Aspect Runestones, Essence Runestones and Potency Runestones. Crafting a glyph requires you to use one of each. As you might have guessed, there’s a lot of different runestones and combining them in different ways will produce glyphs with different enchantments.

Glyph Extraction

Glyph Extraction is used to break down any glyphs you might have in your inventory, giving you back some runestones.

Provisioning Overview

Provisioning gives you the option to either cook food or brew drinks, which will provide you with temporary buffs. In order to cook food or brew drinks, you have to be at a cooking fire, know the recipe and have the correct ingredients.

The recipes can be found as loot from enemies, but mostly in desks, cupboards, trunks and other interactible containers. Provisioning ingredients are very easy to come by. Some drop from monsters, but you’ll be able to fill your inventory with them very easily just by looking into barrels, crates and produce baskets. The ingredients also slightly differ based on what alliance you are playing. Some ingredients and recipes are more common in other alliance territories.