In The Elder Scrolls Online, Alchemy lets you create various potions, which can be extremely useful in certain situations, but also very powerful so they give players a significant advantage in combat when used at the right time.
Just like for the other 5 crafting professions, Alchemy has its own skill line in which you have to invest skill points so you’ll be able to create more powerful potions. Although the crafting interface for Alchemy is straightforward, creating potions without knowing the basic rules could make the system look more intricate than it actually is.
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To begin with, you must understand exactly what the Alchemy skills do, so you know when it’s time to invest a precious skill point in either of them.
Solvent Proficiency – As you invest points in this skill you’ll be able to create higher level potions. Sure, your level 30 character could use a level 10 potion, but wouldn’t you rather use the most powerful potion you can for your level? As a result, invest a skill point in Solvent Proficiency as soon as you can use the next level potions.
Keen Eye: Reagents – In ESO, Reagents are all the flowers, herbs, plants and mushrooms you can gather from the world and use to create potions. This skill allows you to see them from a greater distance so it’s worth to invest in it at least 1 skill point from early game.
Medicinal Use – There’s nothing complicated about this skill. Because you are an Alchemist you get the advantage of potion effects lasting longer on yourself.
Chemistry – If you plan on making gold by selling your potions, this skill is mandatory. You’ll get a handful of extra potions every time you craft one and obviously you’ll have more to sell.
Laboratory Use – Without this skill you can only use two Reagents to create a potion. If you decide to invest the required skill point, you’ll be able to use 3 Reagents, which will result in potions with more and/or longer-lasting effects.
Snake Blood – As you combine various Reagents to create potions, some of them may end up having negative effects (more on that later). This skill reduces those negative effects by up to 100% at rank 3. You might not want to invest in this skill during early game when you need skill points to up your combat skills. However, in mid/late game, this skill will become very useful.
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A potion is made by combining 2 or 3 Reagents with a Solvent. The Reagents will give the potions effect(s) and the Solvent its level. In the above table you can see all the in-game Solvents. The skill Solvent Proficiency lets you use higher level Solvents. However, to create level 3 and 10 potions you won’t need to invest any skill points. The creation of a Potion is resumed in the simple formula below:
Solvent + Reagent + Reagent + Reagent (optional) = Potion
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The game will let you attempt to create a potion by combining any 3 Reagents with a Solvent, but it doesn’t always yield a satisfying result and some time no result at all.
That’s because each Reagent has 4 Traits (effects) and if you combine 2 or 3 Reagents that have no common Traits you will fail, meaning the Reagents will be lost in the process and you won’t produce any potion. Reagents need to have at least one common Trait for it to become an effect in the resulting potion. For example:
Natural Water + Columbine + Wormwood = Sip of Unstoppable
If you were to combine 3 Reagents that have the Unstopabble trait, instead of 2 (for example Columbine, Wormwood and Namira’s Rot) you will get a longer-lasting potion, with the same effect.
Some of the Traits are in fact negative effects; those we call Anti Traits. Anti Traits only affect you, the potion maker. You need to take Anti Traits into consideration when you try to create a potion. Just like for Traits, if you combine two Reagents with one or more common Anti Traits, the resulting potion will have those Anti Traits as effects. For example:
Natural Water + Luminous Russula + Wormwood = Sip of Slow (a.k.a useless potion)
Another important aspect is that an Anti Trait cancels a Trait and viceversa. So if you were to combine Cornflower (Restore Magicka, Ravage Health, Increase Spell Power, Detection) with Lady’s Smok (Lower Spell Resist, Increase Spell Power, Restore Magicka, Spell Crit))and Violet Coprinus (Lower Spell Resist, Increase Spell Power, Ravage Health, Ravage Magicka) you will have Restore Magicka x2 – Ravage Magicka x1 (this trait doesn’t make it into the final potion), Ravage Health x2 and Increase Spell Power x3, so the resulting potion will have 1 Trait (Increase Spell Power) and 2 Anti Traits (Ravage Health and Lower Spell Resist).
When you successfully create a potion, you will learn all the common Traits and Anti Traits that make it into the potion, and will be able to see them whenever you look at those Reagents, from that moment on. You can also eat a Reagent to discover its first Trait (by first I mean the first Trait in the Reagent’s Trait list). It works even if you have Traits 2,3 and 4 discovered.
Traits and Anti Traits
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You might wonder what’s the purpose of traits, besides making us work harder to get a decent potion. Because Anti Traits cancel Traits during potion creation, they prevent us from creating too powerful potions with too many positive effects, especially when combining 3 Reagents.
Although Anti Traits in potions only affect the crafter, this is why it’s recommended you invest those 3 needed skill points in the Snake Blood Alchemy skill, so even you as a crafter will be able to use your own potions, without experiencing negative effects caused by Anti Traits.