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After deciding I don't need the money from selling all my loot any more, I've started salvaging all the things. Unfortunately, this has left me with a surplus of junk odds and ends I'm never going to use - after all, I would never stoop so low as to wield a staff crafted with novice bindings. Crafting it into vendor trash isn't really useful since I don't need money, but I would like to have better equipment.

Is there any way to do something like with shards, and somehow refine or reinforce or reforge or re-something my components into better-quality ones?

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As it happens, by *ahem* leveraging some systems in the game, you can in fact turn a high-quality gem plus some low-quality components into a high-quality component that shares the attributes of the gem.

The TL;DR version is:

  • Craft a junk item, but include a gem whose effect you want
  • Salvage the junk item, and hope you get the effect in the salvage

The linked guide has a bunch of essential tables that describe how this works in greater detail, but here's the theory behind it and an idea of what you can accomplish with a bit of effort.

The method itself relies on two game mechanics: first, when you salvage an item, the game tries to give you pieces that could have been used to craft that item - and for whatever reason, it prefers to put enchantments on the item in the second crafting slot on the Blacksmithing menu. For instance: if you salvage a sword with a poison DOT effect, the game will prefer to give you a hilt with the poison effect over, say, poisonous rivets or grip.

The second mechanic is that by crafting a gem into an item - that is, by using the Blacksmithing rank 7 milestone, not via socketing - you imbue the resulting item with all the properties of that gem. This means, for instance, that if you craft a Gem of Winter into a dagger with a junk blade and a junk hilt, you'll get a junk dagger that nonetheless has the Gem of Winter effect.

lead into gold, ice gold

Now, what happens when you salvage the dagger you just crafted? The game will try to give you components that could be used to re-create the dagger - but you'll never get a gem back from salvage, and the game vastly prefers to give you an enchanted version of the item used in the second crafting slot. That means the game will frequently provide one component: a Flawless Frosted Hilt.

a very merry soul

Thus, theoretically, you should be able to create many kinds of Flawless components by gem-forging junk components and then salvaging the resulting item.

To test this theory, I crafted a total of six Azurite Daggers out of six small Azurite blades, six junk hilts, and six Gems of Winter. Their stats were nearly identical, differing only by 2 points of physical damage (I used some crude hilts and some basic hilts)

welcome to the aperture science cryoweapons manufactury (the +5% damage is because of the Mastercrafting blacksmithing milestone)

Then, using the scientific miracle of quicksaves, I salvaged all six of them six times and recorded the results.

SCIANCE

Those are pretty good odds, huh? It seems like if you get a hilt, it's going to be a Flawless Frosted Hilt - and there's a 50% chance of getting one.

Now, this method isn't quite as flawless as its results - there's all sorts of restrictions and rules that make things complicated (e.g, mage weapons and all three classes of shield can only be crafted with utility gems, certain enchantments don't apply to certain components so you can never generate them, and a bunch of other things).

However, with a bit of foresight, you can make something basically obscene. These guys took me about fifteen minutes and one quick load, and were crafted out of purely Flawless components (I got lucky with the Flawless Sustaining Binding). Keep in mind that the base damage is nowhere as high as it could be, since I only have access to Azurite blades.

I call them Flamey Stabby Freezy

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Plus, if you're willing to savescum, you can increase your chances of getting that flawless hilt to 100% –  SaintWacko Mar 15 '12 at 16:12
    
@SaintWacko the neat thing is that as long as it's possible for the component to exist, it doesn't take much save scumming at all - if my data is reasonable, there's an 87% (ish) chance you'll have gotten it within three tries. –  Tacroy Mar 15 '12 at 17:16
    
Yeah, Reckoning is pretty good about giving you back the useful components when you break something down. –  SaintWacko Mar 15 '12 at 20:37
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To directly answer your question: No. You cannot reforge lousy components into better ones as you can shards. Good quality stuff like Master and Flawless level stuff has to be salvaged, found or bought. In the case of Flawless I don't think I've ever seen a shop that sold flawless components, so that will have to be salvaged or found towards the end of your journey.

But there are some tips and tricks you can use to maximize your salvages and your builds:

Maximize your blacksmithing skills. That will let you find and use more components. Level 7 lets you incorporate gems. Level 10 will give you a free but random improvement on each thing you make.

Maximize your sagecrafting skills. Once you have at least level 7 Blacksmithing you can incorporate gems: If you're a rogue or a warrior then you can incorporate armor and weapon gems. If you're a mage, then you can only use utility gems in your weapons and armor. Epic gems are nice but they can only be incorporated into your chestplate/robe.

Save before you dismantle. Salvages are random. If you've got a cool goody and it doesn't break down the way you want, reload and try again. Just be aware that some components can't be salvaged, especially on purple items. White items may seem useless but they're a great way to get basic components like blades, hilts and staffs.

The best stuff is often found. Many of my best goodies weren't from salvages but were found or even bought. Check ALL the shops, especially in the cities: Ysa, Rathir and Adessa are all great places depending on where you're questing. Also, kill some NPC critters. They randomly drop some very interesting and unique components.

One other thing is this: At some point at around the bottom third of the game I just got tired of looking at all of my lousy components so I just junked them and ditched them. I certainly didn't need the cash. But I got tired of looking at the stuff every time I went to forge something. Unless it said Master, Flawless, Prismere or Ebony it got sold or destroyed and I never looked back.

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Yes: you can if you take a basic sword with a socket in it and socket a gem. Then when you salvage it you will get 50+ chance to slavage a decent hilt (not the original bad one).

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Nope, you're stuck with what you've got. I'm constantly running into the same issue, with piles of crude hilts getting in my way. The only way to 'upgrade' is to sell them and use the money to buy better components.

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Actually it looks like people on the internets claim there is a way to make all those crude things useful, involving high level sagecrafting + blacksmithing. I'm going to test it out when I get home and write up an answer if it works. –  Tacroy Mar 14 '12 at 19:16
    
@Tacroy Really? If you craft gems into items, then break them down, can the gem qualities transfer into the components? Also, did you take your name from the character in the Chrestomanci novels? –  SaintWacko Mar 14 '12 at 19:20
    
That's pretty close to the method I've found on the Internet, but I want to test it (and I wanted to see if anyone else had come up with something). Also yes. –  Tacroy Mar 14 '12 at 20:52
    
I've never really looked into this, but as soon as you said there was a way I started thinking about it :D Can you link to what you found? –  SaintWacko Mar 14 '12 at 21:20
    
There's a link in my answer :) –  Tacroy Mar 15 '12 at 5:57
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