Etchings are consumable items that add stats to your gear. The stat addition can be permanent or temporary. The etching effect will also be removed when you upgrade your gear. Enchanting gear, where applicable, doesn't affect etchings. Etchings can be applied to all of your gear except for your mask and your circlet. They come in tiers as well as with different effects.
At a bare minimum, you should have etchings on your main 4 pieces of gear: your weapon, chest, footwear, and handwear. The impact of a lack of etchings is more pronounced on your gameplay when the effect is a cooldown reduction and attack speed bonus.
What Types of Etchings Are There?
Etching Tiers and Gear Groupings
First there's tiers 1 through 4. Depending on the gear type, the higher tiers will be easy or hard to acquire. Specifically
- Main Four (weapon, chest, hands, feet): Easy to acquire tier 3 and tier 4 is still accessible.
- Rings, Earrings, Belt, Necklace: Easy to acquire tier 1, gets more difficult to acquire higher tiers.
- Brooch: getting any will depend on random drops or what's available on the broker.
For the etching "token shops", the following items are grouped together:
- Weapon and Handwear
- Chest and Footwear
- Earrings and Necklace
- Rings and Belt
There's no token shop for brooch etchings.
The main ones you need to know about are Pumped, Keen, and Energetic for Weapon and Handwear, and Grounded for Chest and Footwear. All of the available options are listed below for reference.
For Weapon and Handwear
- Pumped (power boost)
- Keen (crit factor boost)
- Healing ("HP recovery rate,"... is this your own or your skills? dunno, and attack speed increase)
- Threatening (aggro generation increase and attack speed increase)
- Energetic (attack speed increase and skill cooldown reduction
For Chest and Footwear
- Grounded (endurance boost)
- Relentless (HP boost)
- Unyielding (crit resist boost)
For Necklace, Earring, Ring, Belt, and (looks like) Brooch
- Pumped (power boost)
- Keen (crit factor boost)
- Swift (combat movement speed boost)
Permanent and Ephemeral Etchings
There are also permanent and ephemeral (temporary) etchings. It looks like the ephemeral etchings are only available for the main 4 and they are kind of pointless... except to dismantle for Etching Dust and Etching Powder. More on this in a bit.
How Do You Apply Etchings?
After you get an etching you want to use, unequip the piece of gear it applies to, right click on the etching, then right click on the gear. Confirm on the pop up menu then you'll apply the etching. Keep in mind you can only have 1 etching on a given piece of gear and applying a new etching will overwrite the old one.
How Do You Get Etchings?
There are a few different token shops that you can use to get etchings. The first two token types are from IoD BAM vanguards and they are broken into two tiers. These will get you tier 2 and tier 3 etchings for your main four gear. The remaining tokens are obtainable from either crafting or from dismantling appropriate etchings. These can get you tier one through four etchings and cover everything except your brooch and circlet.
- Dawnfall Tokens (from IoD mid-level BAMs)
When you clear the vanguard request for the mid tier BAMs, you get 12 Dawnfall tokens. The token shop has permanent Tier 2 "Federation Supply" etchings. The federation supply part means they can't be dismantled for Etching Powder and Etching Dust. You can exchange 4 Dawnfall tokens for 1 Dawnstorm token.
The mid-level vanguard BAMs are the Brutal Searing Fangspawn, the Brutal Fimbrilisks, and the Brutal Bloodbound Teraliths.
- Dawnstorm Tokens (from IoD high-level BAMs)
The high tier BAM vanguard request will get you 12 Dawnstorm tokens. These can be used to get Tier 3 "Federation Supply" etchings. If you want to go this route for tier 3 main four gear etchings, try to farm BAMs during double vanguard request item reward week.
The high-level vanguard BAMs are the Brutal Onyx Hydraths, the Brutal Iron Giants, and the Brutal Naga Battlemasters.
- Etching Tokens (Powder, Dust, Sand, Grit)
You can either make the etching bits or get them by dismantling any existing etchings you have of the same gear type. The "token shop" items are broken up into 4 groups and each group has 4 tiers.
- Etching Powder - Weapons and Handwear
- Etching Dust - Armor and Footwear
- Etching Sand - Necklace and Earrings
- Etching Grit - Rings and Belts
The tiers have different requirements and each subsequent Tier will require the prior Tier's craft. Crits for Tier 1 through 3 will give you one tier higher instead of 2 of the tier you are crafting. Crits while making Tier 4 will give you 4 T4 bits instead of 2. The strategy for getting T4 etchings is to try to crit on T3s because the cost of materials for T4 is basically unobtainable because of the high mat requirements for Harmonious Imbalance. All of the etching bit designs are available from the etching NPCs.
As an alternative to crafting the etching tokens, you can dismantle an equal level etching to get tokens. The cost vs dismantle rate is 2:1. You can grab "burner" etchings off the broker for dismantle. Note that non-federation supply ephemeral etchings can be dismantled to get etching tokens of the same grouping.
- Pilot Tokens
This one can be harder to farm because there aren't as many people doing flight guardian missions throughout the day and it takes at least 2 competent players to clear it. You still get tokens from the vanguard but you miss out on the extra ones for clearing it. The Pilot token shop has tier 2 and tier 3 etchings for your main four gear. They are Federation Supply types so they can't be dismantled or traded, similar to the IoD token types.
Off The Broker
All of the etchings except for Federation Supply types are tradable. Check on the broker with a name search, because for some reason the "Etching" category doesn't seem to work.
You can also get Tier 4 Etchings by buying Superior Etching Boxes. They are pricey but consider how much it costs to make tier 4 etching bits otherwise. You'll get a random tier 4 etching but you can dismantle them and buy the ones you want from the token shop. Keep in mind it will take 2 fodder etchings to buy 1 etching you want, and the fodders have to be from the same group (weapon and handwear / armor and footwear / earrings and necklace / rings and belt.
From the Ace Dungeon "Ace Medal Shop"
The Ace Medal Shop has tier 2 etchings. They cost 8000 Ace Medals. Do NOT go this route. If you have 8000 Ace Medals, you're better off buying 160 Health Potions, selling them on the broker, and then buying the etchings you want, either for use or to dismantle for etching tokens.
At Random from Quests
Some of the story quest rewards include an etching for your accessories. If you have a bunch of alts then it might be an amusing way to "farm" some of the quest reward etchings.