This short guide will help you understand how to get more smithing exp for less money and make your smithing journey easier and faster.
How to Get More Smithing Exp
Smithing is a nice skill to have mostly because of easy levels for your character and because at the moment town shops rarely sell great and expensive weapons, if at all. By the time I reached 100 skill I got parts to craft some mighty sick weapons. I have spent several days researching the smithing exp gains to come up with the most efficient method and debunk some of the ongoing speculations.
Some designations that might be used in this guide:
- T1…5 – tier 1…5 for parts or whole weapons.
- hw, c, ci, wi, i, s, fs, ts – hard wood, charcoal, crude iron, wrought iron, iron, steel, fine steel, thamaskene steel.
- 1h sword T3 T3 T4 T5 2s 1s 1fs 1fs – one handed sword made from tier 3 blade from 2 steel, T3 guard from 1 steel, T4 handle from 1 fine steel, T5 pommel from 1 fine steel.
- 1h mace T3 – T3 – 3i – 1hw – – one handed mace without second and fourth parts.
You will need tens of thousands of hardwood to max the skill. So you will need a large sum of money, 100k is ok for starters, you will still need some off-smithing play time to vent and you can easily get money if you follow One Classy Camel’s The Silk Road guide.
There are several villages that produce hardwood on the route Car Banseth – Dunglanys – Marunath – Seonon . Just buy all of it from these towns and villages once in a couple of days then stay at Car Banseth or Seonon and do the smithing.
First coal smelting perk is vital as it gives you 30% more charcoal, and hardwood is the most needed and the slowest replenishing resource. To be able to smith at all you will need all material refining perks as it is the only reliable source of steel, fine steel and thamaskene steel.
The best source of metals is the loot of course. Don’t ever sell anything from weapons tabs and throwing weapons from shields and ranged tab. You will still get more money from the materials of cheap weapons and you will get precious ingots, which you’d spend a lot of time and stamina to smelt, from expensive ones.
Stamina is the biggest obstacle: you will spent 80% of your real life time just waiting in towns and doing nothing. I strongly recommend installing smithing mod from nexus and get infinite stamina. You still sink a lot of money and need to find hardwood sellers, these factors are already good enough limiters. However you can still do it with stamina mechanic, but be ready to spend 2-3 days waiting instead of playing or grinding smithing. The stamina recovers in about 14 in-game hours.
- Only the number of resulting materials matters in refining. So if you have the perk and refine 3 wood into 2 charcoal you get the same amount of exp as refining 2 wood into 1 charcoal twice.
- Refining charcoal is more efficient for exp gain and economy than forging. Until you can forge 4 part weapons with 3 second tier parts you will be getting more exp for refining.
- Part’s tier is the only thing that matters, material and number of ingots don’t influence exp. You get more exp for crafting a part of higher tier from the same material.
- Each part adds to exp independently and equally. This means that exp-wise it does not matter which weapon you choose to craft as long as it has the same number and tiers of parts. And it is more profitable to make a sword T3 T1 T3 T1 than an axe T3 – T3 -. And maybe even T4 axe.
- In the end, size of parts does not matter. So does the final weapon difficulty.
At first, you should refine coal with the perk and simultaneously smelt all your weapons. Do this until you have at least T3 parts for each category for swords, bonus if you get parts which need less ingots (1 ingot for 2nd, 3rd, 4th slot parts and 2 ingots for blade). This will bump you up to 70-100 skill. At this stage smelting and refining won’t give you enough exp and you should move on to forging swords. Moreover, you will still do a lot of refining for materials there is just no point focusing on it. After smelting you should have a large stock of steel or even fine steel and some >= T3 parts.
Examine available parts starting from higher tiers. What you should be looking for is parts that need lower quality material or less ingots than others in the same tier. For example, in T4 almost all weapons are made from fine steel, however there is Pointed Falchion Blade that is made from 3 wrought iron! Also most blades require 3 ingots, but there are some that require only 2 ingots. Such blades are superior for exp as material and number of ingots don’t add to exp. The minimum for blades is 2 ingots, for guard, grip and pommel – 1 ingot.
Now you should consider the trade off in material usage and exp. I tend to not using T4 3fs blades if I have T3 2s blades. The same goes for T4 3s grips in contrast to T3 1i grips. However, when I unlock T4 2s blade or T4 1s grip, I use them for levelling. In my opinion, thamaskene steel is too expensive to ever use.
As I said above the most profitable way is to craft 4 part weapons, i.e. swords or polearms if you unlocked 2 and 4 slot parts. Choose the parts according to the info above and start forging. As you go you will unlock new parts. Sometimes they will not be shown right away, to see them you will have to exit and reenter smithing window. Check out these new parts, they can be more preferable, for example of higher tier and/or require less ingots. Choose them and repeat.
For a long time I have been forging 1h sword T3 T4 T4 T4 2s 1s 1s 1s, then I unlocked some good parts for polearms T3 T4 T4 T4 1i 1s 1hw 1s which was ways more advantageous, same exp but less expensive materials. After looking at locked parts I found that the best weapon to craft for levelling up is a T4 T4 T4 T4 3wi 1i 1wi 1wi sword. But I am yet to unlock those parts.
When you are able and get a wish to forge your own BFG, note that very frequently parts of lower tier (even the first one) can give your weapon way better stats or better balance of stats. A good combination would be a 2h sword with wooden guard and grip. This way you can greatly boost swing speed, while keeping a healthy >120 damage with the right blade. Also you can change the length of each component.
It might be too hard and unnecessary to max smithing skill. At level 120, providing you have good parts, you can craft pretty nice weapons, analogues of which are hard to find at the market. For example, 100 speed 130 cut damage 120 length 2h swords, or 100 speed 90 cut damage 90 length 1h swords. I haven’t unlocked the legendary smithing perk and most of my unlocked thamaskene blades are total garbage (yes, decorated long warsword blade, i’m talking about you), so I guess with enough luck you’ll be able to create damn good weapons.