Monday, October 15, 2012

[GW2] Basic Salvaging Mechanics

Many pants were lost in the creation of this post.
I love new MMOs.

Even the most basic systems have new mechanics to puzzle out.

Take salvaging (my current obsession): I've come to realize that there are so many features of salvaging I don't know a thing about. (And unfortunately the wiki isn't of much use.)

As a result, I've salvaged virtually everything I've looted, and recorded the results. This wasn't enough data, so I started buying hundreds of items from the trading post. This left me with a set of just over 4000 salvaged items (predominantly with Basic Kits).

Data can be found here.

How much swag can be salvaged?

The number of crafting materials I obtained from each item salvaged:
For everything except chests, light and medium armor give an average of two items when salvaged (chests give three). Heavy armor returns about half the items (one item for everything but chests, two from a chest). Two-handed weapons return more items than one handers, which give about the same as offhand weapons.

I don't find any evidence that the number of crafting items salvaged is influenced by
  • the level of the item (checked visually and via various stats-nerdsy negative binomial regressions)
  • the rarity of the item (only enough data to test white vs blue at the moment, checked visually and stats-nerdsy)

How good is the salvaged stuff?

Each tier of crafting material is salvageable from a range of just under 20 item levels.*
From the graph, its apparent that only some items have a chance to be salvaged into higher-tier crafting components. For example, while a level 18 item can be salvaged into either T1 or T2 crafting components, I've only ever seen lvl 20 items salvage into T2 crafting components.

The level ranges where I've noticed multiple possible tiers from salvaging are:
T1/T2: 13-19 
T2/T3: 27-33 
T3/T4: 43-49
T4/T5: 57-63
T5/T6: 73+   

Excluding T6 materials, I'm getting an approximately 17% chance of getting higher-tier crafting components from salvaging.** The T6 salvage rate seems closer to 10%. I need a bit more data to pin down the chance across tiers / within the level range for each tier.

Important note about salvaging kits: if the bonus percent chance of rarer components from salvaging kits refers to the tier of the crafting material, then using 'better' salvaging kits outside of these level ranges... is probably a waste. (Either the base chance of higher tiers is absurdly low, or it just isn't possible).

I don't find evidence that the tier of the crafting component salvaged is influenced by:
  • The rarity of the item salvaged. A level 24 item appears to salvage into T2 crafting materials regardless of whether it is blue or white quality. (The probability of salvaging a higher tier also appears approximately equal between the white / blue items.)
  • The slot of the item (armor / weapon / chest...). More data is needed before this is conclusive, though - I haven't observed some items salvage into the higher tier within some level ranges.

The Unprofitable Salvaging Blues.

As noted above, rarity doesn't change the number or tier of crafting items returned or give higher tier materials. As a result, it is often more cost effective to vendor blues and simply buy the desired crafting materials.

Overall, comparing the prices of crafting materials at 11 am on 10/14 to the value of vendoring the item, I lost an average of 7 copper per each blue salvaged, and gained just over 9 copper for each white salvaged (before the AH cut). Factoring in the AH cut, blues were a 12 copper loss to salvage, while whites were a 5 copper gain.
By item level, the level 70-80 blues were the biggest loss to salvage. Middle-level white items were the most profitable.

Next up:
With the basics sorted, the next step is to revisit looking at differences between types of salvaging kits.  Unfortunately, this post is getting a bit lengthy, so I'll save more on salvaging kits for a follow-up.

*This graph excludes items salvageable into iron ore, which is both a tier 2 component (as iron) and tier 3 component (refined into steel).
** This is using basic kits. If the chance is multiplicative, this suggests that the salvage rate without kit bonus is around 16%. But that is a topic for another post.


  1. Great stuff...

    Thoroughly enjoying the data and observations you've made.

    Wish I had a few hundred gold to throw at you so you could demystify the Mystic Forge :)

    Keep up the great work. Can't wait to read more. Subbed

  2. Very nice information, thank you.

    I salvage ALOT and there is no real new info here, but it's good to see confirmation of my business model :-)

  3. Thanks for writing this. Taking information from this site and doing some data-mining myself, I made a spreadsheet that helps you use some of this for profit.

    If you would like to take a look at it, here is the link:

    And once again thanks, this article is what spurred on the idea of salvaging for profit.