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For an alphabetic listing of the universal tradeskills, see the category entry.
Little used in standard crafting, universal tradeskills are a remnant of earlier tradeskilling mechanics that have been adapted to serve in a subcombineless world. They are common to all primary tradeskill classes and are automatically set to the maximum skill of the crafter's level. This allows them to be used in circumstances where some crafting is required without having separate recipes for each class; instead one recipe using a universal tradeskill ability is used. A good example of this is A Thorn of Old leading to The Wurmslayer, where multiple stages require profession-independent crafting achieved using universal tradeskills, or Advanced Journeyman Tasks, a tradeskilling quest that requires you to create items from several crafting stations not normally used by your crafting profession.
Universal tradeskils were an optional part of sub-component crafting introduced in LU03. After LU03, every profession was able to use universal tradeskills (and their associated recipes) for sub-component crafting. Components included items such as WORTS (or washes, oils, resins, tempers, and oils), which were required by most professions at some stage in the crafting process (but were not themselves final items). Prior to LU03 these components could *not* be made by the crafter requiring them, for example an alchemist needing a supply of poison vials had to find a jeweler to make them for him. After LU03, the alchemist could make the vials himself, but only by using a universal tradeskill recipe.
As an example of how this worked - and where universal tradeskills came into play - consider the alchemist above. Alchemists were required to have glass bottles for poisons, though glass bottles could not be purchased from a vendor. They had to be created via tradeskilling. However, bottles could not be crafted on a Chemistry Table but instead required a work bench. Alchemists could not advance far enough in artificing to make high level bottles so a new tradeskill set was needed to allow them to use a work bench. As a result, alchemists used the universal tradeskill of thaumaturgy to fashion the bottles.
Four universal tradeskills were created to cover the various types of components:
- Thaumaturgy -- chemistry-type components (ie WORTs)
- Binding -- tailoring-type components (root and leather based components)
- Woodcraft -- woodworker/carpenter-type components (primarily wood-based)
- Geocraft -- metalworker/armorsmith-type components (metal-based)
These skills were also required to be practiced, and recipes were also dependent on their knowledge. For example "Thaumaturgy volume 1" would have been required for alchemists to learn how to craft vials using a workbench. Eventually, these universal skills all but disappeared as a major tradeskill revamp removed all of the subcomponent crafting requirements. Fuel requirements for subcomponents were rolled up into the finished items and the universal tradeskills were no longer required during the process
Today universal trade skills are rarely seen, and typically only used when quests require crafting steps without a profession-specific requirement.