PoE Master Crafting In a Nutshell
PoE Master Crafting can be difficult. The first step along the road is to understand what master crafting is, and which masters do what. There are important breakpoints you should be aiming for, and there are also points that you should probably just buy from someone else if you have the option. There are eight masters in Path of Exile, and all of them have different missions and provide different services. Without further ado, let’s take a closer look.
What do masters provide?
You will encounter the masters throughout your journey in Path of Exile. When you find them, they will ask you to do a mission. If you complete their mission you will gain favor with that master, bringing them closer to their next level. These masters can be invited to your hideout, and depending on their level, they provide a way to craft stats onto your gear. Each master specializes in different types of crafting, and almost all of them will be useful at some point or another. Their crafts won’t be as strong as the highest tier of stats you can get on an item otherwise, but it provides a way to target craft a particular stat, which is highly useful.
Which masters are the most important?
There are three masters that I believe are considerably more important than the others. Those masters are Haku, Elreon, and Zana.
Haku is the armor smith master. He is the one that you go to in order to craft most things onto your Helmet, Gloves, Boots, and Body Armour. His missions are a bit tedious if your build doesn’t support them, but they aren’t very difficult. For Haku’s missions, you are tasked with finding a spirit and carrying it to the exit with you. Once you have picked up the spirit, traps will activate throughout the area, making it slightly more difficult for you to escape. Only a few of the traps pose any real danger, most of them shouldn’t even be feared. However, his missions do have one aspect that makes them frustrating: Once you’ve picked up the spirit, you can no longer use movement abilities. For builds that make use of Leap Slam, Whirling Blades, or Shield Charge, this makes Haku’s missions extremely long and tedious.
Even still, Haku’s missions are very worth doing for two types of crafts in particular. Armour will be where you receive most of your defensive bonuses, and there are two stats that you will always be looking for – life and resistances. Because these two forms of defense are so important, you’ll nearly always want them on gear (life in particular). Haku provides a way to get fairly high tier defensive crafts and take your item from passable to amazing. He – and all the other masters – is especially useful in Solo Self Found where you cannot simply buy an armor piece with perfect rolls. I strongly suggest leveling Haku to at least seven in order to craft everything and remove crafts so that you can reroll your defensive crafts.
In terms of crafting, I believe Elreon is the most important master. He provides crafting services for Rings and Amulets. This service is important for pretty much the same reason that Haku is so important – crafting resistances and life onto your jewelry. So why do I think he’s the most important? For several reasons. First, jewelry is around ten times rarer than any other armor piece, so finding what you need through simply identifying items is highly unlikely. Second, the bases for rings, in particular, tend to, well, suck, so the odds you’ll find the ones you need are even less likely, meaning you’ll be forced to craft your own far more often. This is to contrast with armor pieces, where the bases don’t really matter unless you’re specifically trying to stack a stat. Lastly, many builds wear unique armor in several slots, which cannot be master crafted on. However, most builds use non-unique jewelry, providing many more opportunities to make use of Elreon.
Elreon’s missions are very easy as well, with you either defending or destroying totems that appear. Some of them can last quite a while and be very tedious, but none of them are difficult. I strongly suggest leveling Elreon to at least seven in order to craft everything and remove crafts so that you can roll those perfect resist numbers.
Zana is different from all the other masters in that she does not provide a crafting service. However, she is still extremely important – potentially the most important. Zana provides the ability to purchase maps, as well as adding modifiers to maps you are about to run. Both of these services are huge bonuses, to both Solo Self Found and normal playstyles. To make it even better, each of Zana’s levels adds a flat 1% quantity bonus to maps you don’t put a modifier on. She makes all of your returns better across the board, regardless of what you’re doing with her.
Zana’s missions will only appear in maps. Her missions are far more varied than the other masters. She opens an entirely new map that is within one level of the map you are currently in, and tasks you with a specific goal. This goal can be as easy as killing the boss, or as complicated as doing a mission for another master successfully. Most of these missions also have a timer of some sort, adding another layer of difficulty. However, as difficult as these missions can be, you’re provided an entire extra map worth of drops and experience to compensate, entirely free of charge. Just one more benefit to Zana!
Which masters should I skip?
There are three masters that I skip in nearly every instance, and simply buy their services from another player if I need them. The masters I always skip are Vorici, Catarina, and Leo. Vorici provides services manipulating the sockets on gear. Make sure you get him to level four (which is only three or four missions if you wait until maps) so that you can do very basic manipulation, but his higher prices are far too high to be worth aiming for. Also, his missions are absolutely horrible, which is the real reason I avoid him. Catarina also has terrible missions, requiring you to move slowly and lead monsters around the map. Additionally, she has very little of value unless you’re going for an energy shield build or need to craft spell power onto something.
Leo is on an entire other level from the other two masters though. Leo is the master of PvP. You’re probably reading this and thinking “there’s PvP in Path of Exile?!?” No. There isn’t. There’s a bastardization of PvP that you should avoid like the plague unless you absolutely cannot avoid it. In my 4500 hours playing Path of Exile I have only had to use a Leo craft once, and it was a miserable three days trying to grind out his dailies against the few sadists who troll PvP with builds specifically designed to beat other players. Just buy his service if you have to use it.
Vorici and Catarina both have crafts that can be very useful when they are level eight, but again I would strongly suggest buying the crafting service from another player. If you choose to do so, check out the official forums (the last post on this page, so that you choose the most current league in order to find trustworthy players.