What is an effective way to level smithing?
Value Matters now. It used to take about 400 iron daggers to level up to 100. Now it takes about 2400 iron daggers.
From UESP: http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Leveling
- 25 + (3 * [item value]^0.65) base XP for constructing an item.
- 25 + (8 * [item value delta]^0.6) base XP for improving an item.
So, making more expensive things and adding more value is a good thing. But making something twice as expensive does not give you twice as much experience.
First, try to stack as many XP boosts as possible. Make sure you activate the Warrior's Stone for a 20% XP boost, and get a good night's sleep for a 5% - 15% XP boost. If you're further along in the game, completing a certain quest will add another 15% bonus to your Smithing XP gain.
Making iron daggers and leather bracers is still good way of leveling up in early stages. It's quite useful when your level is low.
Jewelry is another good way to level up in early stages. You can obtain large amounts of gold and silver ingots by buying or mining iron ores, which are cheap and plentiful, and turn them into silver and gold ores with the Transmute Mineral Ore spell. Don't sell the gemstones you get from mining and adventuring; use them to craft even more valuable jewelry.
Training is very inexpensive under Level 50, especially if you sell off all that jewelry you're crafting.
Dwarven Smithing (Level 30): Useful if you're going up the right side of the tree. Dwarven ingots are plentiful in this game. You can get scrap metals from Dwemer ruins and turn them into dwarven ingots. If you have Dwarven perk on the right side of the Smithing tree, you can take advantage of this. Once you reach Level 30 in Smithing, you can start making Dwarven Bows (2 dwarven ingots + 1 iron ingot) and upgrade (1 dwarven ingot).
Advanced Armors (Level 50): Useful if you are going up the left side of the tree. With this perk, you can start making Steel Plate Armor. It has the highest value added ratio, so very likely you will make profit even if you buy Steel and Corundum ingots, make Steel Plate Armor, upgrade it, and sell it back to the blacksmith. Speech skill and being able to get good deals is somewhat important for this strategy.
Upgrading an expensive armor adds a lot of value as your level gets high in smithing. You increase the value by 50% for upgrading to Exquisite (Level 40 with perk). You double the value if you upgrade the armor to legendary. This effect is amplified if you use Fortify Smithing enchanted gear and have Fortify Smithing potions.
One way you can take advantage of your high smithing level is to buy expensive armors and weapons at the blacksmith, upgrading them, and selling them back. If you have items that enhance prices (Volsung, Masque of Clavicus, Necklace of Haggling, Potion of Fortify Barter), you can make profit doing this.
Looks good, but it might be helpful to add a note about Transmute Metal Ores - it's an easy way to get a bunch of gold and silver ore, which can be turned into high value jewelry (especially with gems, as you suggest). If you add something about that (and also the usual recommendations about activating the Warrior's Stone) I'll give you the bounty :)
I mined and bought every iron ore I could find and saved them up for transmute. I then crafted some really good fortify alteration equipment and transmuted like a mofo, refilling my magika with potions. I had like 60 gold ingots and pumped out expensive gold jewelry like a champ. Got my smithing up real good that way.
if the formula is correct then you missed a couple things: the more ingots the item cost the more it reduces the ingot / exp correlation which is what you need for leveling here: http://bit.ly/V1esGU. So for example at low levels arrows gives 24 per ingot vs dagger only 10, so if your formula is correct arrows are the best at all levels.
Additions I might add are Prowler's Profit, The Forgemaster's Fingers, Silver-Blood Family Ring, and The Lover Stone (via Aetherial Crown). Then, we're cook-smelting with gas-metaphorical-magic!
Oh okay I did a quest when you return a lexicon and I got an effect which increase blacksmithing. I made lots of gold rings which helped me a lot.
I estimated the rarity of different materials (from the Whiterun blacksmith, where you can buy materials both inside and outside). Based on this, to maximise your XP while still making a profit and using all available materials, you'll want to make and then improve, from highest priority to lowest: Nordic Mace, Orcish Helmet, Steel Plate Armor, Ebony Bow, Dwarven Bow, Iron Dagger (you make a slight loss on the last two). Also buy and transmute iron ore to make gold rings. Not all will be available depending on your perks, but you can use this as a guide. I got to 100 and rich very quickly.