As I have received quite a few emails from players asking how best to increase their skills at the forge in Rune Factory 2, I decided to write a little post about that.
When you begin to work at the Forge, you cannot think as much in terms of making the items you really want as making the items that are within reach of your poor Skills.
Fortunately, the lowest level of project is that of upgrading your basic old Rusty Tools. These all require no more than Level 5 Skill and although your chances of success are not guaranteed, each time you attempt a project at the Forge, your Skill Level will increase a little, even if not by an entire Level.
As with any Skill Levels, whether in farming, combat, cooking or forging, actual Levels will increase more slowly as you reach higher Levels. In other words, to raise your Level from 1 to 2 requires little effort, but to raise it from 10 to 11 will take far longer.
Success in terms of any project is NOT what determines a Skill Level increase, happily. It is practice that increases Levels, whether or not you actually succeed or fail! You therefore will benefit each time you attempt a project at the forge, even if the result is a Failure again and again. Your Skill Level ultimately will increase, giving you a better chance of success with the project at hand as you continue to attempt it.
As soon as you have upgraded your Basic tools to the next level, you should upgrade them once more, as the second upgrade requires only Level 9 Skill at the Forge and you will find those Tools far superior to the basic Tools.
After these projects have been completed, you will struggle a little as you attempt to raise your Forging Skill from Level 10 to Level 20. There are few new projects that can be completed with guaranteed success initially at Level 10. You will be obliged to fail again and again unless you are extremely lucky, and indeed, luck will determine success at this stage!
This is where you may wish to upgrade the Steel Sword, as it requires only Level 14 Skill and uses only a single piece of Iron for each upgrade.
Useful items and upgrades between Level 10 Skill and Level 20 Skill include:
Steel Sword Upgrade, Level 14
Ingredients: Steel Sword, Iron
Staff Upgrade, Level 17
Ingredients: Staff, Bronze, Emerald
Silver Staff Recipe, Level 18
Ingredients: Rod, Rock, Silver, Apple, Cheap Cloth, Sparkle String
Defender Upgrade, Level 19
Ingredients: Defender, Iron, Bronze, Silver
Bronze Shield Upgrade, Level 20
Ingredients: Bronze Shield, Bronze x 2
Needle Spear Recipe, Level 20
Ingredients: Spear, Spore, Strong String, Plant Stem, Iron, Bronze
There are other Recipes as well between Level 10 and Level 20, but the ones I have listed do not require any ingredients that are difficult to procure.
There are some Recipes for two-handed Weapons at these Levels as well, but I personally would advise players to use one-handed Weapons with a Shield in the early stages of the 2nd Generation to improve your chance of survival in combat with powerful Monsters.
Although you have two Accessory Slots that can be equipped with defensive items, a Shield can add a few Defence points as well. Even with ‘Cure’ and ‘Medication’ to restore your HP during combat, you give yourself more protection if you equip a Shield. That effectively means that two-handed Swords, combat Axes and Hammers are to be avoided until your character acquires higher Statistics in terms of his/her personal Level as opposed to Weapons Level.
Although making the Basic Weapons that Tanya sells at her Smithy will increase your Skill Levels, most of those require quite a few ingredients. The items needed are not difficult to obtain, but the quantity of ore needed to produce one Basic Weapon can equal that required for three upgrades of the same Weapon. Whether you choose to use your ore to forge the Basic Weapon yourself or whether you choose to buy the Basic Weapon from Tanya, then perform many upgrades with the ore you have collected is a matter of personal preference in the end.
Incidentally, although you need to have the 'Recipe' in order to create a Weapon or item successfully at the Forge, you do not have to highlight it in the Menu. As long as you place the correct ingredients in the 'Forging Box', you can attempt the project. The success rate will be diaplayed as zero simply because you have not highlighted the Recipe, but the actual success rate will be determined as always by your Skill Level.
An important limitation to 'Upgrades' should be noted here. The highest upgrade to an item that you can make is Level 10. After that, the Weapon or Accessory no longer will increase in capacity. Performing upgrades after an item has reached the maximum Level 10 WILL continue to increase your Skill Level but it will not improve the actual item.
Nonetheless, at a very early stage in the 2nd Generation, you can perform the following upgrades to make it possible for rather low quallity weapons to operate at a far higher capacity:
Windsword: Level 10, Attack 47
Leather Boots: Level 10, Defence 11
These are only two examples of items I particularly like but the principle applies to any Weapon and Accessory.
By the way, if you are wondering whether you 'waste' upgraded weapons or accessories by using them as ingredients to create a new item rather than using a Level 1 weapon or accessory, the upgraded item is NOT wasted by any means.
Using a Level 1 Windsword as an ingredient in creating an Aerial Blade will result in a Level 1 Aerial Blade. Using a Level 10 Windsword, on the other hand, results in a Level 3 Aerial Blade.
Unfortunately, the upgraded item only 'counts' towards the result when it is a Weapon or Accessory in its own right. In other words, using a Level 5 Wind Crystal or Level 5 Quality Cloth in any Recipe will not have any more value than a Level 1 Wind Crystal or Quality Cloth. Where it is an item that you have upgraded yourself, however, it will improve the Levels of the resulting item.
Finally, to answer a player's question, you CAN trade items with other players using the Wi-Fi link at the Mirror on the upper floor of the Farmhouse. There is nothing wrong with this approach, but remember that one of the major goals in Rune Factory and Rune Factory 2 is to increase your own Skill Levels so that you can create the BEST items in the game. As I explained earlier in this post, upgrading your own items at the Forge or Workbench is one of the few ways by which you can increase your skill levels early in the 2nd Generation. There is a good reason for EVERYTHING usually in any Harvest Moon game. Yes, you could trade your Level 1 Windsword back and forth with another player to upgrade it, but that would keep your own Forging Skill at its existing level. It would be better to upgrade your own items in the early stages of the 2nd Generation and use the trading option LATER, once you have achieved the Skill Levels that allow you to create the best items in the game!