Tobold’s Guide to Salvaging and Talisman Making in WAR
In economic speak an inefficient market is one where the people buying and selling goods do not all have all of the information, leading to price distortions. As in Warhammer Online I made a huge bundle of money by buying something for 3 silver 60, and after a trivial salvaging transformation selling it for 20 silver, I'm pretty certain that this market is inefficient. Many people appear not to be well informed about how the "gathering" crafting skill salvaging works, and how it relates to the talisman making crafting skill. So although it will hurt my virtual earnings, I decided to write this salvaging guide.
Salvaging is the act of disenchanting a magic (that is green name or better) item into fragments and essences. Both of these are used for talisman making, and salvaging is in fact the only source of fragments in the game. The most basic type of essences can also be bought from vendors, but for the higher types again the salvaging skill is the only source. Thus, as in WAR you can only take one gathering and one production crafting skill, salvaging is a natural fit with talisman making. But the other three ingredients to make talismans come from other crafting skills, e.g. gold essences from the apothecary skill, so unless you only work with the basic vendor materials, you will have to buy materials from other players with other tradeskills. There is no combination of skills that will give you all the ingredients, unless you work with alts.
The basic difficulty of salvaging is where to get the magic items to disenchant from. The economy of WAR has generally an excess of money, people earn more money by whatever they do, questing or RvR, than they need for training and buying the occasional siege engine. Due to that, magic items that aren't bound to a player can generally be sold for relatively high sums. Disenchanting your bind-on-equip items, or buying them on the auction house is just plain too expensive. So most players just salvage the items bound to them, that is old gear, or quest rewards they don't need. This very much limits the progress of your salvaging and consequently talisman making skill. With the first talismans you can make being rather weak, many people quickly lose interest.
But unlike World of Warcraft, in Warhammer Online you can buy unlimited numbers of magic items from renown gear vendors. And you can buy all renown gear and salvage it, even if you don't have the class or the rank or renown to actually wear these items. So the solution to the salvaging sourcing problem is to salvage bought renown gear. The cheapest green renown item I could find were the Squigkickas of Vengeance for 3 silver 60. I think that is a bug, and I put in a bug report, because the other rank 6 / renown rank 4 boots for other classes cost 8 silver 40. But even if I buy the more expensive other renown boots I make a lot of money by simply selling the fragments I get from salvaging, because on my server there aren't many people selling fragments, so people are willing to pay 20 silver for even the basic ones.
When you salvage a magic item, your success is determined based on your salvaging skill and the level of the magic item. Some items can't be salvaged at all, for example jewelry. You click on your salvage icon, which transforms your mouse cursor into a little hammer, and then click on the item you want to salvage. At this point, a window pops up, asking you what type of fragment you want to make. If you salvage a magic item with let's say a bonus to intelligence and willpower, you can make either an intelligence or a willpower fragment out of it. How high the magic bonus of the item is plays no role at all, the quality of the fragment is only dependant of your skill and the level of the magic item. Besides the fragment you will produce some echoes and whispers. If you right-click on a stack of 10 echoes, they will transform into one whisper; 5 whispers will transform into one essence. On average the number of echoes and whispers you get from salvaging one item is about enough to make one essence. If you fail your salvage, you will not make a fragment, but only whispers.
A low level item, like the level 6 boots I mentioned, will produce Silent Echoes and Silent Whispers, leading to Silent Essences, plus a fragment for talisman making requiring a minimum skill of 1. The next level of magic items produces Dormant Echoes and Dormant Whispers, leading to Dormant Essences, plus a fragment for talisman making requiring a minimum skill of 25. You can buy Silent Essences for 2 silver from a crafting vendor, but you can't buy Dormant Essences and above. So while the renown items you have to buy and disenchant for the "dormant" level cost around 15 silver, you can still make good profit from salvaging, because you can sell both the fragment and the essence. For every level of magic item and every possible bonus there are three different quality levels of fragment. For example if you make elemental resistance fragments of the lowest level, you're most likely to get Nascent Beryl Dust. Sometimes you will get a Nascent Beryl Stone, which is of better quality, although that isn't immediately obvious, as the name is white as well. In very rare cases you can get a green name Animated Beryl Stone of the highest quality. The quality of the fragment affects the quality of the talisman you make from it.
Once you have a fragment, you can start making talismans. You will also need a container, a gold essence, a curio, and an essence. The essence you got from salvaging or buy the lowest kind. The other ingredients you can buy the lowest version at a crafting vendor or higher versions from players with other gathering and production skills. When you open the talisman making window from your hotbar or ability window, you get a window with 5 spots. You need to first fill in the spot for the container in the upper left corner, then the fragment spot in the upper middle. When you fill in the other three ingredients, a power meter in the upper right corner shows you the power of the talisman. Higher quality ingredients increase the power level.
Many people dismissed talisman making when they made their first talisman and found out it gave a bonus only for some hours. But those are /played hours, and given the frequency at which you replace your gear at the lower levels, these hours might be all you need. Higher level talismans not only have higher bonuses, but also have longer durations or even are permanent. If you combine salvaging with talisman making, and thus get the fragments and essences at the cheapest possible rate, you can make good talismans at reasonable cost. And in WAR even low level items often have talisman slots, allowing you to boost your stats significantly. Of course the alternative, learning either butchering or scavenging as gathering skill, and apothecary as production skill, also can give some good advantages in terms of buffs from potions, or the use of healing or action point potions. But that apothecary chain has two annoying disadvantages: The extra time you need to spend to butcher / scavenge mobs after looting them, and the items gathered that way quickly filling up your inventory. The salvage / talisman making route only takes time when you have it available, and as you can do it when in a city, you can keep all the materials in the bank. So I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss talisman making as the "useless" one of the two WAR production skills.