Shards Are Under-Valued. The Math Behind Shard Crafting.
Crafting with a Timeless Shard is better than vanilla crafting, but how much? Exactly how much value does a Shard provide? More than you think.
The latest New World update added Timeless Shards to the game, introducing a powerful new way to craft gear. These allow you to roll an item with guaranteed attributes while still leaving a crafting mod slot open to use. With a Timeless Shard, you can guarantee the attributes and one perk on an item, instead of attributes or perk that you would normally be allowed.
Obviously, crafting with a Timeless Shard is better than vanilla crafting, but how much better? Exactly how much value does a Timeless Shard provide? It turns out that we can make somewhat objective estimates and determine a rough "true value" that these items hold.
Let's compare the odds of crafting an item with versus without a Timeless Shard. I will pick an arbitrary example: the Ironwood Bow. We want to guarantee the very rare Vorpal perk, which normally only has a 2.56% chance of occurring, with a Chilled Fang. The attributes, however are random, so what is the chance of actually getting a good Bow? Going to it's NWDB page and selecting the "Perk Buckets" tab, then "Attributes", will show you the odds of getting any possible attribute combination.
Realistically, for a bow, the best roll is pure DEX followed by maybe DEX over CON. All other rolls are pretty much straight-misses. Pure DEX and DEX/CON have 30% and 5% chances, respectively, putting your odds of getting a usable bow at roughly one-out-of-three. For every three bows you craft, two will be more-or-less bricked and one will be good.
With a Timeless Shard, that same bow has a 100% chance to roll pure DEX. We are eliminating the need to craft two extra brick-statted bows and, thus, are saving all of those crafting materials. In this way, the Timeless Bow Shard can be thought of as having value equal to two-bows-worth of materials. When crafting at 600 gear score, this can be very valuable. Here are some material prices on my server:
|Glittering Ebony||200 Coins|
|Runic Leather||150 Coins|
A max GS Ironwood Bow costs 15 Glittering Ebony, 3 Runic Leather, and 2 Phoenixweave. The Frozen Fang to force Vorpal also costs roughly 400 coins, so adding it all up (15*200 + 3*150 + 2*110 + 400) is ~4,000 coins per craft attempt. A shard saves two crafting attempts worth of materials per use, meaning the theoretical "true" crafting value of a Timeless Bow Shard is 8,000 coins! That means you would need to spend, on average, 8,000 more coins per DEX Vorpal Bow without a Timeless Shard compared to with a Timeless Shard.
Which Shards Are The Most Valuable In Theory?
Valuing a Timeless Shard is not purely objective. Someone who doesn't mind selling good gear on the market to recoup value could value them differently than someone who is only interested in rolling their own, personal, specific piece of gear. My valuations assume that a player is interested in selling obviously good items back to the marketplace, but not the stranger niche items (like a full dex Ice Gauntlet, which could be useful as an offhand for a Musket or Bow player but is very off-meta.)
Jewelry Shards are, unintuitively, among the least valuable shards in the game. This is because of how generically good most jewelry perks are. A 600 Gear Score Keen ring or Health Amulet will be a very sought after item regardless of whether it's STR, DEX, INT, CON, or even FOC (with the Void Gauntlet added to the game.) The only thing you really don't want are totally nonsensical attribute combos like Str/Foc, Int/Str, Foc/Dex, and so on. For a Primeval Pristine Diamond Ring, these "meme" attribute combos total only around 40% of the pool at most, and good attributes are 60% or more of the pool. Because of this, you get good attributes every 1-out-of-1.66 crafts. Only 0.66 bad crafts for every one good craft. A timeless shard only gives you 0.66 crafts worth of value, which puts them at only around 3,000 coins.
There are some exceptions, as in the case of crafting a Sacred Focus ring. This is an incredibly specific pairing that also requires a very expensive crafting mod, and for this purpose a Ring Shard can save you up to 40,000 coins per craft! Now that's value (Good luck finding a Sliver of Consecrated Iron, though.)
But the true value comes from Armor Shards. The most sought-after perks on armor are weapon-specific perks like Insatiable Gravity Well, Fortifying Sacred Ground, or Empowering Shooter's Stance. These weapon-specific perks almost always have very specific attribute pairings attached to them. Empowering Shooters Stance has a little flexibility in that it can be INT or DEX, but Fortifying Sacred Ground pretty much only makes sense on FOC or CON armor. Similarly, Insatiable Gravity Well only makes sense on STR or CON armor (You can sort of get away with CON on most things.) Given the exorbitant crafting costs of making some high-end armor pieces like Orichalcum Heavy Breastplate (20 asmodeum!) and the huge, unweighted pool of attributes a piece of armor can roll, coupled with how specific many of the perk-attribute pairings must be to have any value, armor shards are insanely good.
The odds of rolling any particular weapon perk on a piece of armor is only 1.09%. The chances of rolling any particular attribute is 4%. If you're willing to accept MainStat, MainStat/CON, CON/MainStat, or CON, you are looking at odds of 16% to hit usable attributes or in other words one-out-of-six. So, for most armor-crafting purposes, a shard saves you five crafts worth of materials. In the case of an Orichalcum Breastplate this is 100 asmodeum, 40 Runic Leather, and 35 Phoenixweave, plus whatever crafting mod you are using. A value of upwards of 47,000 coins!
It's at this point we might consider other crafting options, like just spamming CON armor and selling the good stuff until you land on the perk you want, but this doesn't change that the raw value of shard-vs-nonshard crafting is incredible.
Right now, many shards are going for just a few hundred or a couple thousand coins. While other factors influence supply and demand other than the raw theoretical value of an item, that value becomes real once you are actually trying to craft something. Currently, shards are priced at absolutely amazing deals for anyone who wants to craft with them. Using the methods above and prices on my server, assuming on-meta crafts, here are what the calculations come out to for theoretical saved coin-value of many shards in the game per-craft:
|Generic Meta Ring||3k Coins|
|Generic Meta Amulet||2.5k Coins|
|Generic Meta Earing||2.5k Coins|
|Focus Sacred Ring||37k Coins|
|Void Gauntlet||6k Coins|
|Life Staff||16k Coins|
|Fire Staff||10k Coins|
Now is a great time to craft and gear up in preparation for the upcoming Expedition Mutation challenges. Thanks for reading and happy crafting!
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