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Star Wars: The Old Republic: Crew Skills and the Endgame

MikeBMikeB MMORPG.com Community ManagerQueens, NYPosts: 5,719Administrator Uncommon

Crew Skills are a pretty interesting implementation of crafting in Star Wars: The Old Republic, but do they hold up in usefulness once you reach endgame? Read on to find out!

It’s no secret that I’ve been a fan of BioWare’s implementation of crafting in Star Wars: The Old Republic for some time now. Crew Skills and the item modification system allow for some fun possibilities in mixing and matching, as well as creating and customizing gear. Well, up to a point.

Spending time reverse engineering basic quality recipes for their higher quality versions takes considerable time and credits, but the end result is often fairly rewarding. This makes for a compelling system, but there are some flaws, and these flaws become more noticeable as you approach, and eventually reach, level cap.

Read more of Michael Bitton's Star Wars: The Old Republic: Crew Skills and the Endgame.

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Michael "MikeB" Bitton
Community Manager
Twitter: @eMikeB

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Comments

  • zhivikzhivik SofiaPosts: 38Member

    Michael, I think it's quite obvious you haven't done much crafting in MMOs so far, because you have just been faced with the sad reality about crafting - no developer really cares about it much. Of course, there are exceptions, but they only confirm the rule. I've been following the topic in other games, as I generally like crafting, but the sad reality is that you usually don't have an incentive to craft anything but consumables. This a quite clear trend - crafting is just put there for the idea of having one, not making it actually worth your while. I guess the worst part is tying crafting to doing some other content. Even though some might argue this is not that bad, as it forces you out of your comfort zone, the problem is that by doing said content, it is much easier to get the gear you need without having to deal with crafting at all.

    What I see crafting is for in SWTOR, is mostly to save you some of the grind (like doing daily heroics and flashpoints) once all of your gear is customizable. The game is built in such a way that you can't expect to get enough commendations without redoing at least some content. In fact, it is worse at top level, because redoing lower-level content is practically useless, as the rewards you get are not worth it, so you are stuck only with the (still limited) top-level content.

    As far as PvP gear is concerned, I disagree with you, as normally you should be expected to play PvP in order to get PvP gear. The same should be applied to Operations gear - you should actually play Operations before getting that gear, though in SWTOR the distinction is somewhat weak. All you other concerns are valid though. Ideally, a game would rank gear this way:

    loot boxes/mob drops < quest rewards < crafted gear < raid/PvP gear

    but I am yet to see this fully implemented. To put it simply, I'd prefer if crafted gear is enough to let you start on Operations or PvP, but you would still need to play both for a while, in order to get gear that would put you at top level.

  • vanitycorpsevanitycorpse bergenPosts: 13Member Uncommon

    one of the only games i know crafting really was at its peak and was really worth your time was Star Wars Galaxies, but i have no hope whatsoever that crafting will ever be as awesome as it was there.

  • DarkPonyDarkPony RotterdamPosts: 5,566Member

    Fully agree on your stance Mike. Only yesterday when I checked out the daily commendation vendors did this occur to me too. Supposedly the "#23" mod schematics are drops, probably in hard modes and operations though. But a quick compare for damage and armor ratings on my flatmates pvp and hard mode gear showed that even #23 mods and armoring aren't up to par, endgame wise.

    So yeah, your conclusion is sound and I really hope they'll address this. Right now crafting isn't worth it other than to support and make some credits off of the non-50 part of the playerbase. Except for biochem ... I will probably drop my maxed out armstech for it if it won't change.

    One of my main gripes this. Hope it will be addressed. Good suggestion to have pvp crafting schematics, by the way.

    important disclaimer: I have yet to see what endgame schematic drops will bring to the table though. That the crewskill trainer doesn't simply have easy endgame recipes for you to pick up at level 50 also stands to reason.

  • Master10KMaster10K LondonPosts: 3,065Member

    First off, there's a slight typo in the 4th paragraph...

    "ADd to tIn fact..." I think it should read "Add to the fact..."

    As for the whole crafting issue, this really doesn't surprise me because this is usually how it is in most themepark MMOs. That it's easy to just outlevel the items ytou can craft, as you level and at level cap you can just get better items. It's how it was when I played Rift and why people only did Apocrafthy (potions & 1hr buffs), Artificar (Jewelry & 4hr buffs) and Runcrafting (Gear mods). Though I do find it baffling that in SW:TOR, a lot of the things you can craft are Bind on Pickup.

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  • red_cruiserred_cruiser Milwaukee, WIPosts: 472Member Uncommon

    Good to hear this from the guy who posted such glowing comments about the crafting system. 

    You missed something though.  I was in an instance and a Synthweaving schematic dropped.  There were two of us that rolled on it.  A Jedi guardian tank and me, the Sage healer. 

    Here's the kicker though.  Both the schematic itself AND the item itself that you make with it were bind on pickup!  The stats were clearly healer based with alacrity and willpower and without even looking, the Jedi guardian rolled on it. 

    Thankfully I won the roll, but the results could have been pretty catastrophic.  As far as the quality of the item I could build- it was a copy of what you could buy from the hard mode dungeon runs... i.e. the most common end game token, so all it did was save me some heroic runs... like there's a ton of other stuff to keep you busy. :/

    You basically need to write an article and post it and call it "Five Reasons Why You Need To Go BioChemistry To Be Competitive in Star Wars."  And if you can't come up with five reasons, let me know and I'll help you out, because I have them sitting on the top of my head.

    Yeah, I'll admit it, the ability to craft and reverse items to unlock new recipes were cool.  And then you build the same item over and over again hoping for that key augment unlock... AND SUCCESS

    ...and then you get a lucky RNG from a PvP bag or run an end game instance and it's "Whops!" into the bank with your hard earned crafted gear! A momento of what could have been, and then you get smart, untrain Synthweaving and learn BioChemistry because in all likelihood by the time BioWare gets around to fixing it, you'll have already moved on to another game.

    But if there's any game that you can exploit multiple crafting skills in, it's SWTOR.  BioChemistry, HO!

  • UsulDaNeriakUsulDaNeriak SindelfingenPosts: 640Member

    it is hard to implement a useful crafting without a player-driven economy. there are just a few attempts to implement a player-driven economy in a theme-park. unfortunately such an economy is in confict with one of the holy-cows of the theme-park: "Refining" aka full dev control about the players status at every given point and time. but neverteheless, some theme-parks tried it. so it seems to be possible.

    however, player driven economy or not: one eternal rule should be: loot-drop should never be better than crafted items. just some uber ressources are allowed to drop in endgame. but you need a top-crafter in order to make an uber item from it. but this would violate another holy cow of the theme-park: instant reward.

    so i am not astonished, that the most linear and refined theme-park, we ever saw, failed to implement a senseful crafting. i have choosen biochemy, because i expected this desaster and so i went with crafting consumables to support at least myself accordingly.

    played: Everquest I (6 years), EVE (3 years)
    months: EQII, Vanguard, Siedler Online, SWTOR, Guild Wars 2
    weeks: WoW, Shaiya, Darkfall, Florensia, Entropia, Aion, Lotro, Fallen Earth, Uncharted Waters
    days: DDO, RoM, FFXIV, STO, Atlantica, PotBS, Maestia, WAR, AoC, Gods&Heroes, Cultures, RIFT, Forsaken World, Allodds

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

    This seems to be a pretty common issue with MMORPG in general. Crafting does not exist to be an end in itself. It exists to give the people who are doing it something to do in their 'off time'. Even that seems to be lacking a bit.

    Synthweaving doesn't seem terribly useful while leveling my Jedi, and Artificing seems only marginally useful. I've chosen the one where you make mods and ear pieces in the hopes that it will be useful with Orange quality gear that I plan on getting. If that doesn't pan out, I'll probably go full up Biochem or just skip it and go with Slicing to make money.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • JeroKaneJeroKane OsloPosts: 5,353Member Uncommon

    There are two ways into fixing this:

    1. Appearance TAB, so people can use cool looking crafted gear in their appearance TAB's when reaching the level cap.

    2. Have crafting schematics drop in RAID's that produce unique looking gear on par with RAID gear, so max crafters have some incentive to craft something for themselves. So these schematics can produce items BoP, so only crafters can use it. No problem, at least it creates some diversities in endgame gear looks and rewards people for skilling up their crafting!

    They even can go as far as to make this gear BoE, if they make the recipes in such way that it requires a rare item that only drops from RAID bosses. This will help create a more player driven economy, even at level cap!

     

  • pauly6478pauly6478 binghamton, NYPosts: 276Member

    Anarchy Online - You raid for the alien clump to make the best armor in game but you need a crafter to make it. Only game to ever do it right 

  • marganculosmarganculos BrnoPosts: 189Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by pauly6478

    Anarchy Online - You raid for the alien clump to make the best armor in game but you need a crafter to make it. Only game to ever do it right 




     

    hold on....only game? i think you forgot about Ultima Online.... they had best crafting system ever :P

  • Mors.MagneMors.Magne LondonPosts: 1,420Member

    The more I play SWTOR, the more I appreciate Eve Online because of the crafting, PvP, and variety of 'end-game' fighting (that SWTOR doesn't quite have).

  • DracillDracill Miami, FLPosts: 158Member
    Since right now big part of the market is based in the mod system and buy and sell different mods to keep your orange gear.

    An a-tab will kill all the crafting and make it nearly useless during the leveling process also.
  • IllyssiaIllyssia LondonPosts: 1,524Member

    Originally posted by lizardbones

    This seems to be a pretty common issue with MMORPG in general. Crafting does not exist to be an end in itself. It exists to give the people who are doing it something to do in their 'off time'. Even that seems to be lacking a bit.



    Synthweaving doesn't seem terribly useful while leveling my Jedi, and Artificing seems only marginally useful. I've chosen the one where you make mods and ear pieces in the hopes that it will be useful with Orange quality gear that I plan on getting. If that doesn't pan out, I'll probably go full up Biochem or just skip it and go with Slicing to make money.

    Crafting really seems to be aimed as something to do apart from the story at the moment. There is no real point to it yet, but as the game develops careful increments and improvements could make the crafting system more competitive. Since the games economy will take months to develop there is no real point to it as of yet apart from it being another thing to do. 

  • zymurgeistzymurgeist Pittsville, VAPosts: 5,212Member Uncommon

    I don't think they finished crafting before launch. I think they decided to change what they were trying to do at the end of Beta and just went with what they had for now. Of course now we have to wait to see if they ever really implement anything else.

    "Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause" ~Victor Hugo

  • JeroKaneJeroKane OsloPosts: 5,353Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by zymurgeist

    I don't think they finished crafting before launch. I think they decided to change what they were trying to do at the end of Beta and just went with what they had for now. Of course now we have to wait to see if they ever really implement anything else.

     

    The sad thing is that I am starting to lose faith in Bioware and how they are handling this MMO.

    Just food for thought: http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=151787

    The missing HighRes textures is a known problem for a good long time since end of closed beta. It took hundreds of posts to finally get a response from the Community Manager.

    Currently on PTS the devs now simply try to cover up this problem, by deleting the medium option and renaming the current Medium textures to High. So as of today with patch 1.1 you will only have Low and High textures option, with the current medium textures as the new high!

    We all know the HighRes textures are there! It's in all the official screenshots and videos and from Closed beta testers with earlier Beta clients. You yourself can see the HighRes textures by previewing your gear in the Companion window! The difference between current Medium and the missing HighRes is very noticable!

    The Orange moddable gear system is another example! Instead of fixing the issue by making mods slot dependend (hands, wrists, waste, chest, head, legs, feet), they went for the quick bandaid fix end of beta and just locked all the 50 epic gear! Rendering the whole modification system useless the moment you reach level50 !

     

    If this is going to be the way how Bioware is going to handle this game, then I don't want to be part of it!

    The kind response Stephen Reid is coming with Today regarding the missing HighRes textures issue will be the decision factor for me if I am gonna cancel my sub or not. As it will be for many other dissapointed people.

    As right now I feel I am missing out on the game and not able to experience it in it's full glory! You can even go as far as calling it false advertisement, as all official screenshots and videos show the game in HighRes textures! While we are not able to experience it in that quality setting!

  • ukforzeukforze LiverpoolPosts: 331Member

    Originally posted by vanitycorpse

    one of the only games i know crafting really was at its peak and was really worth your time was Star Wars Galaxies, but i have no hope whatsoever that crafting will ever be as awesome as it was there.

    This is true my friend, yet so sad at the same time, so many ppl slag off $OE (im one of them)

    so many ppl say SWG was buggy & blah but nevertheless the MADE SWG & it was a first class

    game with a complex crafting system, pity Lucas screwed it.

    The Deathstar destroyed planets...Lucas Arts destroyed Galaxies

    ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
    Played:
    SWG | EVE | WOW | VG | LOTRO | WAR | FML | STO | APB | AOC | MORTAL | WOT | BP | SW:TOR

  • Cravex14Cravex14 Lowell, MAPosts: 5Member
    That's why I'm intrigued by the forthcoming game Dominus. On paper, it looks to put crafting to the forefront of gameplay. In fact, it will be the best gear one can attain.

    A good crafting system really strengthens the community. A lot of games miss the mark on this topic while aiming for solo ability and casual ease of play.
  • NaughtyPNaughtyP Edmonton, ABPosts: 793Member

    Many of the issues you bring to light were discussed at length during the time I was in beta (and likely before I got there as well) on the beta forums. To me, that means the current situation might be what they want. Or just not a high priority at the moment. Either way, they missed the mark on some things.

    Enter a whole new realm of challenge and adventure.

  • MoiraeMoirae New Orleans, LAPosts: 2,746Member Uncommon

    In PvP you aren't fighting npc's. Its conceivable that npc's would have higher end crafting recipe's on them. Why would a PvP'r have those on them? 

    Sorry, but I agree with Biowares stance on this one. 

  • AluviusAluvius New York, NYPosts: 288Member

    The economy/crafting in every mmo without breakage is screwed from day 1.

    That being said, the crafting in SWTOR at least takes a little longer to become pointless than most other AAA themepark mmo's.  The reason is Reverse Engineering.  Its also what gives crafting an advantage over the identical/similar blue items you can get via commendations.

    Once you get the schematics for those blue items you can then RE them into the various customized purple level items.  Many of them will let you RE up 2 levels from the base blue item, both levels add more stats.

    So yeah, crafting is screwed in general because its a non breakage themepark mmo, but the system actually already addresses and has an answer to the main concern of this article.  You can buy the base blue items, but only crafters will be able to make the various artifact level items with customized stats.

  • 77lolmac7777lolmac77 Herp Derp, PAPosts: 496Member

    Originally posted by lizardbones

    This seems to be a pretty common issue with MMORPG in general. Crafting does not exist to be an end in itself. It exists to give the people who are doing it something to do in their 'off time'. Even that seems to be lacking a bit.



    Synthweaving doesn't seem terribly useful while leveling my Jedi, and Artificing seems only marginally useful. I've chosen the one where you make mods and ear pieces in the hopes that it will be useful with Orange quality gear that I plan on getting. If that doesn't pan out, I'll probably go full up Biochem or just skip it and go with Slicing to make money.


     

    that ship has sailed my friend, they severly reduced the amount of credits you get from slicing.

  • PonicoPonico Montreal, QCPosts: 650Member

    I'm hitting level 40 and so far, Biochem has been great for me. It aint SWG crafting but I cannot complain just yet. Biochem seems to be the one crafting solution that will allow you to have an edge on the end game. Already in PVP, just having those +42 aim reussable stims, area stims and emergency buffs has allowed me beat the odds. A suddent jump of armor by 800 will make a huge difference in certain situation. 

    So far, crafting implants for my guildies has been quite good and only a few managed to find better implants or to the least afford them. Sure, you can spend 25K on some blue implant on Quesh but at the same time, I can craft similar implants for not even half the price.

    I'm sure it will get better in the future but so far, Biochem has been the way to go for me. 

     

    Also... Slicing might have been toned down but it's no way near a nerf. Anyone in my guild or friends that have Slicing are well beyond the million credits at Level 40. Most took the skill after the "Nerf"

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  • VorthanionVorthanion Laguna Vista, TXPosts: 2,119Member Uncommon

    You can always bank on crafters pushing for crafting to have the best gear / rewards in an adventuring game.  You want a crafting simulator, then play one, there are several out there:  Horizons, Eve, FFXIV, A Tale in the Desert and Ryzom. 

    I get really irritated when crafters start whining about inequality in games that are and never were meant to be crafting simulators, always pushing for superior crafted items at great expense to the reward systems for the adventuring game.

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  • maskedweaselmaskedweasel houston, TXPosts: 7,277Member Uncommon

    I've made a ton of characters and every character has had a different crafting prof. 

     

    With that said the most helpful and enjoyable are.. in order:

     

    1) Biochem

    2) Cybertech

    3) Artifice

    4) Armormech / Synthweaving

    5) Armstech

     

    I've decided to go mainly the first 3 on any new character I create...   I'll have most go Biochem,  as I already have max cybertech and artifice crafters.

     

    The WORST part of the game is simply Bind on Pick Up items that crafters can make.  I mean whats the point of being able to craft a speeder if I can't make more and sell them?    

     

    The crafting system as a whole is pretty good,  if you want to be a dedicated crafter, it takes time.. and .. well.. dedication,  and a buddy in one of my guilds has a ton of recipes for armor, and gives everyone gear that has crit'ed and so on,  but, again, for the most part, at the end of the day, you can get similar gear by other means.  Sure the crafted gear might be better due to an augment slot, or you can tailor it depending on the mods you slot....   but its better to go with Biochem or Cybertech which gives you access to awesome consumables as you can always use those.

     

    "Loan me a Dragon I wanna see space"


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  • SamhaelSamhael Huntsville, ALPosts: 697Member Uncommon

    With a couple of minor exceptions, TOR crafting is largely a money & time sink. Pretty much any drops at 50 (and quite a few in the 47-49) range are better than the orange gear that can be put together.

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