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I'd like suggestions as to the most efficient way to level up my Blacksmithing perk tree. By most efficient, I mean the best combination of speed vs expense (e.g. buying advanced items from merchants and deconstructing them may be fast, but not cheap).

In other Elder Scrolls games, there were tried-and-true strategies for leveling up certain skills (cast Detect Life in a crowded town, create 1000 iron daggers, etc). I'm looking for the most efficient way to farm Blacksmithing in particular, but eventually other crafting trees.

Things to consider:

  1. Is there a town that maybe has a lot of potential iron ore deposit locations nearby its blacksmithing station?
  2. Can you buy ore/ingots anywhere? If so, does the purchase value offset the scavenging time for ore?
  3. I remember the game saying you get more "inspiration" (skill XP i guess) from deconstructing items other people have made. Does anyone know what that means exactly? I'd assume it means I get low XP from deconstructing my items, regular XP from store/loot items, and extra XP from items created by other players, but I'm not sure.

It's totally fine to post answers or suggestions that are not specific to the Blacksmithing tree; for instance, if there's a general tip for leveling up crafting perk trees in general, feel free to post as a comment or answer.

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For the future, split your questions, one question per post. Don't worry about "spamming" serious and reasonable questions. :)

  1. Is there a town that maybe has a lot of potential iron ore deposit locations nearby its blacksmithing station?

Yes and no. You'll find different ores and other ressources based on the zone you're currently in. For example, the starter zones are always filled with iron ore. Basically it doesn't matter where you craft just for levelling up, especially considering travelling will be easier once you've got mulitple wayshrines.

  1. Can you buy ore/ingots anywhere? If so, does the purchase value offset the scavenging time for ore?

You can buy iron ingots (and other ressources) from players. The only crafting materials sold by NPCs are style materials and provisioner ingredients.

As an alternative source for metal (and thread and leather as well), you can try to steal clothing from shop owners. Don't get caught and you're able to deconstruct them (no need to find a fence).

To save you some time and trouble: Items that are free to take (without stealing; like weapons on tables in Cyrodiil) are almost worthless and won't net you much materials (if any). That does not apply to items you have to steal.

  1. I remember the game saying you get more "inspiration" (skill XP i guess) from deconstructing items other people have made.

That's correct. Basically there are a few things influencing your experience gain when deconstructing:

  • Level of the item.
  • Quality of the item.
  • Origin of the item (loot, stolen, crafted by you, crafted by another player).
  • Trait of the item. Intricate items will grant you more inspiration upon deconstruction.

To "grind" crafting, you'll indeed want to deconstruct another player's items. For Blacksmith I'd recommend using daggers, since they're cheapest to produce.

Just find someone who wants to train as well, you both craft 10, 20, or more daggers. Trade them, then deconstruct them. Use the material you gain back to trade and deconstruct them once again.

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  • I didn't think of stealing armor to level up crafting. Nice. – Ivo Coumans Jun 12 '15 at 6:42
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    Don't forget to also launder these stolen items to increase your Legerdemain rank. :) – Trollwut Jun 12 '15 at 10:34
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Find someone else to trade created items with, you get lots more XP from breaking down someone else's work, it tell's you that in the blacksmith tutorial quest.

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Some fighting areas give a lot of drops and then you can get better at fighting and then deconstruct what you get, but stealing, laundering, and fencing items is the best way, but you also need to upgrade the ledgermen skills to do it efficiently and in mass production.

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