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Tools for merchants, crafters, gardeners, tamers – Ultima Online

I Say “Crafter,” You Say “Mule”
Getting the Most Out of Your Craftsmen & Craftswomen
by Kitiara

What’s the difference between a crafter and a mule? While some players use the crafting skills as a necessary evil to supply their other characters, some players make an entire in-game living with these skills and base their UO livelihood on them. Why choose one over the other? It’s all in your style of gameplay, my friend!

If you simply want a character who can keep your other characters supplied with armor, clothing, weapons, and raw materials, you will probably get more use out of a “mule.” A mule is really just a supplier; he or she does not participate in any themed aspect of the game (such as PvM or PvP, or other character template roles such as treasure hunting). You will choose your mule’s skill set based on the needs of your other characters. If you have an archer, for example, your mule should be skilled in lumberjacking and bowcrafting.

Some mules are also used to gather raw materials, either to stock in preparation for training other characters on the account, or for selling to the public. If you plan to train carpentry, for example, it is best to stockpile boards prior to training. Lumberjacking would be an appropriate mule skill to train. Raw material sales are often very successful, as many people aren’t willing to invest the time in creating a mule and prefer to purchase raw materials for skill training. In some markets, sadly enough, it is even more profitable to sell raw materials than the goods crafted from them. You can make a nice dime selling raw materials, and if that is your goal, be sure to train lumberjacking and mining – especially the latter.

Now, a crafter – that is another story! While at first glance, a crafting character may resemble a mule, a bit more analysis goes into choosing the skills for a true crafter. The biggest difference between a mule and a crafter is that a craftsperson’s client base is primarily the general public, whereas a mule is making goods solely for use within the account. A carefully developed craftsperson can be a gold mine as a merchant, if that play style suits your tastes.

Since the advent of house addons, a popular crafting character is one who can create all of the house addons. While it is possible to house all necessary skills in one character template, this character will have no role but that of a crafter. The benefit of this type of character, aside from the ability to make and sell house addons, is that there is room to GM the major crafting skills, such as blacksmithy, tinkering, and tailoring. This opens up many merchantry possibilities, because you can now run vendors selling these GM wares. In-game economics allow entrepreneurship, giving you the freedom to run your own shop. Alternately, you can rent space at a vendor mall and run your vendors there. Either way, there is much gold to be made as a merchant.

There is also the option of creating non-dedicated crafters. If you aren’t concerned with making all of the addons, or don’t want to adopt the play style of a full time merchant, you can play a more limited crafting role and still enjoy the benefits of merchantry. If you’ve got a skill slot or two available on a character you’re currently using (such as a warrior or mage), you can easily insert a crafting skill and run a profitable vendor or supply your other characters with goods. Tailoring is a simple one-skill-slot choice that is great for supplying mage characters with armor. It also allows for some creativity – you can create all of the latest fashions, for example. Blacksmithy works best in conjunction with mining, not only because you can supply ingots for use in smithing, but because mining increases your efficiency in smelting items. Make sure you’ve got 2 skill slots available for GM’ing if you choose to go with the smithy/mining combo.

The crafting skills can be both useful and profitable, and can fit into most any play style. Whether you train a mule or a pure crafter, you’re sure to reap the rewards of your chosen skills.

Good Luck!