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In Kingdoms of Amalur, my character found putting points in blacksmithing rapidly generated a hurricane of parts, pieces, bits, bobs, and odds n' ends. This sent my OCD into panic mode, and I immediately went on a selling binge, because having so many components was mindbogglingly overwhelming.

Selling components isn't very profitable. In fact, I'd much rather have the pre-salvaged items to sell. But that got me wondering - I'm a blacksmith. I can turn components into items... but are those crafted items worth more than the pieces I salvaged to make them in the first place?

So two questions: can I make a profit by salvaging items for their components, then using said components to smith my own items? Is there any advantage into salvaging items you've made? I can't imagine it could result in better components than what you used to make it... could it?

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To answer the first question:

can I make a profit by salvaging items for their components, then using said components to smith my own items?

You can. Early in the game, you can't really make enough profit doing this to make it worth the trouble (unless you are just super OCD about wringing every little bit of gold out of every transaction), but eventually--especially once you max out your Blacksmithing--it seems the items you can craft can be worth a fair bit more than the originals that you salvage. Here are the results of a quick and dirty test I just did comparing prices of a looted Fine Azurite Greatsword --> Mastercrafted Azurite Greatsword and a looted Crude Sylvanite Greatsword --> Mastercrafted Sylvanite Greatsword. Note that I'm level 22 with maxed Blacksmithing skill and 1 point in Mercantile.

First let's start with some base numbers--sale prices of the original items and the base components in play:

Fine Azurite GS:    810
Crude Sylvanite GS: 1272
Large Az Blade:     215
Large Sy Blade:     411
Crude Hilt:         59
Basic Grip:         59
Simple Bindings:    59

For the Fine Azurite Greatsword, I salvaged and reloaded until I got the Primary and Secondary components needed to craft a new sword--the blade and the hilt. It took 16 salvage attempts to get both, but 4 of those times I got the blade and an optional component (simple bindings or basic grip), and 1 time I got the blade plus both optional components.

For the Crude Sylvanite Greatsword, on my second salvage attempt I got the Large Sylvanite Blade, the hilt, and bindings. Good enough for me.

Because my Blacksmithing is maxed, all items I craft are "Mastercrafted" items, which means they get an additional effect that varies depending on the type of item. Azurite Greatswords seem to get +3% Damage, and Sylvanite Greatswords get +6% Damage. It appears that Mastercrafted items are always at least green, even if you just use two components (Primary and Secondary) to craft them.

I compared prices I could fetch for both types of swords when I used just 2 components, then 3 components, then all 4 (I never attempted adding a gem). All components except the blades were the most basic possible (crude hilt, simple bindings, and basic grip). Here are the results:

Mastercrafted Azurite GS (original sale price of Fine AGS: 810)
    2 components: 1034
    3 components: 1110
    4 components: 1186

Mastercrafted Sylvanite GS (original sale price of Crude SGS: 1272)
    2 components: 2407
    3 components: 2581
    4 components: 2755

What's interesting is that the effects of the additional components on the sale price seem to multiply it by a factor of ~1.07 with each addition rather than simply adding the value of the base components. So it seems like it might be worth it to salvage lots of the junk you get early in the game just to get the basic secondary/optional components to keep and use later on to pimp out stuff you craft for sale--especially considering that, e.g., the crappy iron gear is worth < 100 gold early in the game, but the parts you salvage can increase the worth of Sylvanite and Prismere gear (I'm guessing) by much more than that. Also, I should note that the 2 optional components for greatswords both have the same effect--+5 health. It's likely that value of the crafted item is calculated based on the stats of the crafted item rather than the value of the components that go into the item, so using different components will certainly give you different final values. I just used the basic components so as not to introduce too many variables.

Now--I wish, for this test, that I'd had a Crude Azurite Greatsword and a Fine Sylvanite Greatsword to compare as well just to see for sure how much difference in the original sale price Crude vs. Fine makes and if the difference becomes more, less, or equally pronounced with higher quality raw materials. Obviously salvaging Crude and Fine gives you a chance to salvage the exact same components--the only difference is the stats/price of the original items (so you make a bigger profit off salvaging Crude items as compared to Fine).

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+1 for the great answer and research! –  Vinay S Shenoy Mar 5 '12 at 5:17

After noticing that I occasionally got better components from decomposing junk weapons, I decided to try this as an experiment. I took a set of Fine Steel Chakrams:

Fine Steel Chakrams (22 durability)
12 physical damage
12 fire damage
24 burn damage over 3 seconds
Value: 218 gold

and broke it down. I received 2 parts, a "Steel Flame Disc" and a "Simple Handle."

I then went into the assembly screen and put the two items back together again. What resulted was:

Fine Steel Chakrams (22 durability)
15 physical damage
12 fire damage
24 burn damage over 3 seconds
Value: 238 gold

Weird, eh? So then I took this apart again and got both the "Steel Flame Disc" and the "Simple Handle," but also a "Basic Grip."

Assembling these three components made a similar set of Chakrams, but these had a +5 to health attached to them, which increased the value to 258 gold.

As a corollary to this, you could also say that the secondary parts you get are not related to the abilities on the base item - in this case, I got a +5 health part out of a weapon that had no such enchantment before I took it apart.

However, in every case I've found thus far, I've gotten the same primary part (in this case the "Steel Flame Disc") as the item that went in - assuming I got one at all.

The only downside is that there's a chance that you'll lose components when you disassemble, so trying to make money this way would probably be somewhat marred by the need to load repeatedly to get the results you want.

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