Moving! To swtor-life.com goes swtorcrafter blog.

I wanted to take a minute to let all my readers know that I have decided to join in a partnership with

http://www.swtor-life.com

I am still planning on preaching the word about the “Crew Skills” system and crafting in Star Wars The Old Republic MMO by Bioware.  So don’t fear the crafting discussions will continue as long as I draw breath!

The affiliation with swtor-life will give me greater access to resources and expertise I have lacked on my own, in turn allowing me to serve the crafting community that much better.

(Plus we have many surprises for the community up our sleeve, stay tuned for more on this!)

In the next few days I will be migrating this content to that site and I will have a section set up for the “Swtorcrafter Blog” where I will again begin posting my latest articles that I have ready.

I hope that you will follow me there and help me to enhance what is already a great site built solely for the purpose of enriching the community!

Thank you to all who followed and read and commented with me here, I hope to see you at my new home soon!

http://www.swtor-life.com

follow me on twitter @SWTORCRAFTER

 

How can a guild best support their crafters, part two

How can a guild best support their crafters in SWTOR, part 2

With the small amount of material available on the crew skills system it is really hard to speculate on what I think will be important for a guild to focus on when trying to support their crafting efforts.  I am going to speculate anyway though because it can’t hurt to guess at this stage.

Protection and backup- One of the ways that is SWTOR focused that might present itself in-game is the possibility that  (or at least I hope so)  certain zones that crafters will need to gather from, might be contested.  Meaning that to gather specific resources, they might just need back up, maybe even a lot of it.

The way they have presented the planets of Ilum and Quesh make me think this might be possible.  It’s almost as if when they talk about the force crystals and the stim components, the exclusivity of the resources, and the contested nature of Quesh, that they are foreshadowing a system where we might actually see some PVP action at these sites.  Will we have to go in with a strike team and have to secure the site to be able to gather those components?

I sure hope so, that would be a breath of fresh air to me to have contested resource locations.  What that also does is give the guild a sure-fire way that they can contribute to the overall crafting effort for the guild, and have fun doing it.  How much fun would it be for the guild as a whole to have a certain night of the week where they assembled a strike team to go and extricate certain stim components to be made into stims or adrenals for the guild, it would be awesome in my opinion.  Of course you could probably just buy them off of the auction house but the guild outing sounds way more fun and involving.

Give the guild crafters “dibs”- Another crucial way that I foresee the guild members being able to support their crafters is by saving all their unwanted schematic drops that they might get as loot for the crafters to have first shot at buying from them.

If they are just going to sell them on the auction house because they either don’t have a crafter character specialized in that schematics field (biochem, armsman, artifice, etc) or because they do not personally participate in crafting, then why not pass the ability to make items for the guild from that schematic to a guild crafter that specializes in that crafting skill?  Why wouldn’t you do this first before an item of true value is sold to just who ever?

The need to make coin in a MMO is an ever-present and real necessity for a character to be successful in a MMO, but why kill the potential of a particular schematic to profit the guild as a whole just to make a quick sale?  Isn’t it better to communicate with the guild crafters and find out if anyone needs it, then offer it to the crafter for a reasonable price?

This in the long run helps all the guild members be able to have more top-tier items when the crafters have more options open to them.  If the person just looking to make a quick sale gets rid of it before the crafters have had a chance to buy it then he has effectively cheated all his guild mates of the chance of owning that item.  If some of the schematics are truly as rare as they are saying, then that may be the only time a particular group of people even see a certain schematic, and then when it is sold to an outsider, that is too late.

Of course this idea assumes that we will even be able to sell or trade schematics from one character to another, heaven forbid they would be bind on pickup, that would suck and suck hard, lets hope Bioware is smart enough not to go that route.  The way that I think Bioware is designing the crafting schematic system with the chance that you could be able to produce an item that only few people know how to make really drives home the point of just how important this idea of “crafter dibs” could truly be.

There are many other systems that we could speculate on how a guild can support its crafters, the companion system, the offline skill queue usage, the auction house features, companion affection ratings, and many others.  There should be many ways that a guild can support its crafters with features like these to choose from.  If a guild will explore the games mechanics and see what is available they will come up with what I hope to see is, many creative ways to maximize the efficiency of its crafters for a more successful and equipment optimized guild.

Thanks for reading, and thank you to Daelda for giving me the idea for this blog entry!

(if anyone has good topic ideas that they would like to suggest for me to blog about that are SWTOR crafting focused please don’t be shy I will take all suggestions!)

How can a guild best support their crafters in Star Wars The Old Republic MMO?

(A topic suggested by my loyal blog reader Daelda, thanks!)

The question I want to pose to you today is:

How can a guild best support their crafters in SWTOR?

One of the things I absolutely hate to see in a guild group is a lack of optimization of equipment.  When I see guild groups in game and I mouse over their equipment and they are wearing shoddy, mismatched gear that is tiers below the optimization that I as a crafter know is available, it makes me sad.

It could be this way for many reasons, either they don’t know any better, or possibly their guild crafters are failing in gearing up the guild.  If it is the latter then possibly it stems from a lack of support from the people they need to be gearing up.

If this is the case, then how can a guild come together to make sure they provide the crafters for their guild the support they need to be able to effectively equip them to the fullest?  How can a guild help to ensure themselves victory in the cold cruel world of MMO’s by being equipment optimized?

Some of the usual old standbys come to mind immediately,

Supply the crafters- When a guild crafter has a tall order at hand of suiting up the members, there is one thing he will always need to produce gear and that’s resources or materials commonly refered to as “mats”.  The crafter not only usually needs the mats to make items but must also (usually) use the mats to level up his skill ranks in the crafting branch he has chosen to master.

All the mats in the realm don’t do him any good if he doesn’t have the required skill level to make really good gear.  Wooden clubs and leather shoulder pads wont work here, a guild that is depending on him needs better quality gear.  So when trying to level the crafter quickly, to get him to the highest tier that the guild needs him to be at,  a guild needs to provide a steady flow of raw resources to allow him to do just that.

Then when the crafter is able to produce high tier gear suited to the guilds level, the focus can then shift to producing gear and equipment.  This can be done in stages to make sure that the crafter stays with the guild and doesn’t out level them being able to produce gear of such a high level that no one can wear it yet.

Communicate with the crafters- When a crafter doesn’t know ahead of time the kinds of things you will be needing, he can not plan his resources and time wisely.  Take this example for instance:

When he has a stack of 1000 hardwood logs, and he needs to make some credits to fund some crew skills missions, thinking he hasn’t needed those for at least a week they would probably be a safe bet to sell.  So he does so and either vendors them or sells them through the Auction House.  Then that same night the guild members decide they need 25 blaster rifles which have as a main component a wooden stock which requires as raw resources some of the same logs he just sold.

If the crafter would have known ahead of time via vent discussion or forum post or email or in-game message or something  (just what ever means the guild uses to communicate) he could have planned ahead of time and prepared his stockpile better eliminating the need to re-buy mats from the AH or vendor, or worse yet have to have them gathered again.

Do some research for the crafters- Don’t just expect the crafter to always know what the optimum gear is for your level.  In some games there is an immense amount of items that a crafter has to keep track of.  Not to mention resource specifics, crafting skilling tips and tricks, needs other guildmates have, the list can go on and on in a really deep system.  I expect no less from SWTOR, as I see it right now it will be challenging.

Do a little research ahead of time and come to the crafter with a clear idea of which direction you want to go.  That will allow the crafter the ability to know what is the most efficient way to help you towards your goals. 

Those are some of the old normal ways that a guild can fully support a guild crafter, now let’s think on specifically, some of the new ways a guild can do this in the realm of Star Wars the Old Republic MMO.

With the new mechanics presented with the up and coming “crew skills system” how can a guild find new interesting ways to support their crafters?

Come back on the next installment to find out in part two.

Thanks for reading!

What if your class choice affected your crew skills ability in SWTOR?

My question to you today is:

What if the class you choose affects your crew skills ability?

In past games that I have played I have found that sometimes the class I choose to play affects the potential I have to use the crafting system to its fullest amount.  By using certain mechanics of a class system sometimes you can gain advantage over other aspiring master craftsmen looking to advance to grandmaster craftsman status.

Some examples of this to let you know what I mean would be like one of the characters I used to have in Ultima Online.  He was a focused miner/prospector and two things I needed to be able to achieve was to be able to get to thousands of locations at a moments notice to hit a respawning node for ore, and then to defend myself once I was in the process of mining.  Resource nodes for ore in that game had a nasty habit of spawning elementals when you attempted to mine them and they would immediately aggro you.

So what I found to be highly effective for that character was a build that consisted of 1/2 mage skills for the marking of travel runes and the travelling to and from the runes, and 1/2 melee skills to be able to fight and kill elementals.  So with that class build I was able to solve my two most pressing problems as a miner/prospector.  The need for travel and the ability to survive.

Another example would be for a prospector/forester in LOTRO.  In that game I had a character that had similar needs.  He needed to be able to gather from many areas most of which were dangerous.  He needed to be able to travel and fight off the mobs from resource spawn areas.

The best solution I could come up for that character was an elven hunter.  As a class only ability, the hunter could fast travel to any location in the game I needed to get to.  No other class could do that.  He then at the resource gather site could use his ability to deal massive damage from range and the ability to pull mobs singly allowing him to brave even more challenging areas than other classes could do solo.

So now that you see where I am coming from with this question, how do we think it will relate to SWTOR?
I am not for sure about this because I do not know what most of the game mechanics are like, not being a tester makes this merely speculation on my part.  Based on what I have observed from all the released information though I can make a couple of guesses.

One of the class abilities that begs me to use it for crew skills supremacy is the force jump.  Jedi or Sith, your choice. (me personally it is Darkside)  I can see this skill being highly useful in attempts to get at places that are hard to reach for gathering, plus the ability to kick some ass once you get there doesn’t hurt either.  This mechanic seems like it might have the ability to aid travel in general as well if it is not on some sort of cooldown.

Another type of area to consider might be gathering resources from a planet like Quesh where the resource collection might possibly be contested.  Such areas like this planet with its focused resources like the mats  needed for bio chemistry are interesting indeed.  If you were choosing to have your main crafter character focus on bio chemistry, if this planet ends up being key to your needs and if this planet is contested maybe you ought to consider a character that has the potential to kill opposers and survive in a pvp situation so hat uninterrupted gathering or crafting can continue?

Possibly a Bounty Hunter or Sith Warrior on the Empire side or a Smuggler or Jedi Knight from the Republic might be a good choice to solve this problem?  Situations like these are the ones I watch when trying to decide if my class choice will aid my crew skills abilities.  There are many other areas to consider as well like will this type of choice have any benefit to any of the other areas of the crew skills system?

The added mechanic of the companion system still leaves us with a lot of unanswered questions at this point.  I can see the companion system causing some of these types of concerns to be less than in other games due to the fact that you can just send your companion out to gather for you.  Or that they will be crafting the majority of the items for you.  This mechanic is going to change the way we look at crafting in MMO’s, it is going to change the usual options we are used to in other MMO’s when trying to make the best class choice

Hopefully though there will still be certain places that you as a character have to physically go to get a certain drop or personally fight for the ability to gather a resource that you will need in order to craft certain items.  The ability for your companions to craft will still be based off of the schematics and skill level you as the boss knows so hopefully there’s still the ability in those regards to make a best class choice.

As we see more and more information released we can start to form ideas where certain class mechanics may be beneficial to us as crafters.  I will be watching these areas with much interest because as  min-maxer I look for advantage in any way I can squeeze it out.

If you have any other ideas as to mechanics that you have seen that might be beneficial to crafters from a class selection standpoint I would love to hear them.

Thanks for reading!

Making crafting more fun in SWTOR, Star Wars The Old Republic MMO

My question to you today,

What can we do to make crafting more fun in SWTOR?

For some people in MMO’s today crafting can sometimes be looked at as simply more than a utilitarian function, a means to help the overall leveling process.  As something you do as merely a side thought when you need some type of item in-game.  Some people would go so far as to call crafting “boring”, or something they do out of boredom.

To us that thoroughly enjoy these types of systems in MMO’s, we know them to be capable of so much more.

So what can we do to make crafting more fun in SWTOR?

What can we do to give other people more enjoyment in their MMO experience using the crafting mechanics?

Rewind a decade or so, into a realm called Ultima Online….a few years after release of that game me and my guilds top crafters had come to the bright idea to use the crafting and housing mechanics to our advantage and create a player driven in-game event to showcase our crafting ability as a guild.

We decided to host a weekly auction of player created or enhanced weapons, armors, items, etc…no lowbie stuff here, this was the primo, using charges from your grandmaster sewing kit kind of gear.

We talked among ourselves to determine who had the perfect house and perfect location for the auction to be located at.  We settled on my plot that was a 16×16 – 3 story plot, that was right next to the Britannia moongate.  We deconstructed my house that I had built already so that I could customize it to be the most efficient set up for the auction.

The first time we got ready to do the auction we sent runners to all the cities with a 10 minute time limit to get to the bank area or where ever people were gathered and start announcing the auctions and the time/place over the in-game chat to groups of people in their areas.  They each then timed out 30 minutes that they made this announcement.  After this time they were to come back to assist with the auction or to just mill around the area to make the place look happening and lively.

After about 30 minutes the auction would start giving people time to bank and store gear and bring their gold, and travel to the auction site.  The appointed auctioneer would take his place on the podium and welcome the guests and begin the auction.

As the items were being auctioned the owner of the home plot that had all the permission settings for the home would take the items out of his bag or nearby chest and lock them down on the counter next to the auctioneer so that the attendees could mouse over the items and see what they were and their stats to help them decide if they wanted to bid on the item or not.

In true auction form via the in-game speech bubbles the auctions were done one by one until all 15 items we had chosen to auction were sold.  The buyers could then go to the house owner after the auction and via the in-game trade window make the swap, gold for item.

The player doing the buying got the fun of attending an in-game event, they got a very nice item for what ever deal they might have gotten, in the end crafting helped that person to have a fun time using the mechanics available.

Me as a crafter I got the pleasure of interacting with others, showing off my skill as a tailor, meeting people who later came to be guildmates, feeling like I was needed for my skills, and also I got to make quite a bit of coin in a way that was way more fun than standing at a town bank area and spamming….

“LRC chest piece, 25% LRC bonus—-> 25k gold”

My suggestion is to use your skill as a crafter and the available in-game mechanics to come up with ways that you can turn crafting into an event for other people, creating more fun for you and others in SWTOR.

Some other ideas of things that could be turned into a crafting event for guildmates or people in the game space:

“free repairs night” where crafters of a guild would gather and offer free repairs for others of their items if the in-game mechanics caused item degradation, and if the crafter had the ability via the crafting skill to make repairs on items.

“group harvesting night” if there is a resource in-game that is hard to come by and is desperately needed by the guild crafters then gather your guildmates and make an outing of a group gather for that particular resource.

“guildmate lotto” if the armor in the game can be made in “sets” pick a guildmate via lotto of some sort to be geared up.  Have crafters of respective crafting skills, make that certain guildmate the best gear they can make all at once in a group effort to provide that guildmate with a “set” or the best the guild crafters can provide for armor and weapons or other items.

I am sure that with some thought you could come up with many more ideas, these are just some of the options we have when trying to make crafting in SWTOR more fun!

Thanks for reading!

What will your worth be as a crafter in Star Wars The Old Republic MMO?

The question I want to pose to you today is;

What will your worth be as a crafter in Star Wars The Old Republic MMO?

I think on this subject a lot because to me it is very important.  I derive great pleasure from being able to learn all the details about a crafting system in a massively multiplayer online game that I call home away from home.

I then achieve even more pleasure when I am able to take that knowledge and produce the finest items available to me as a master of that craft, in the most efficient manner.  Provided that the game system I am in will allow the crafters to produce top-tier items.  When I do however find a game that allows this, it is a joy to be a crafter because I know the fame that awaits the diligent, the methodical.

I have been called a “min-maxer” before and that’s ok.  To achieve greatness and fame in a crafting arena one must be efficient, and creative.  One must use a crafting and in-game economy to maximum effectiveness to be considered a true master.

I love being able to take my skill in that system and outfitting my guildmates in the finest gear.  To know that as we as a group ride to battle in a raid or war zone they will be dealing death and be defended from it because of the items I have created for them.  That gives me a great sense of accomplishment and pride.  To know that it isn’t always just about the “drops” and that I as a crafter have a significant impact towards the quality of gear my guildmates carry to battle.

To know that I as an individual can have an impact on a in-game economy through an auction house style system.  To know that through using an auction house mechanic or by in-game transfer of items to other players for in-game currency, that I can fully fund all my wildest dreams through my crafting ability.  To be able to use these mechanics to allow me to be self-sufficient even if I do not have the backing of a guild.

To be sought out on a server by individual players because of the famed and legendary items I can create.  To have the ability to significantly enhance the gameplay of another person through equipping them with superior gear for their level range.  To allow them to enjoy their experience in the game all the more, to allow them to take on tougher foes and brave wild new areas to explore.

I think those are some of the most prevalent methods or situations by which I gauge my success or my “worth” as a crafter in a MMO.

How do I feel it will pertain to the role we will play in SWTOR you ask?

All throughout the developer interviews, I find common sounding themes that hopefully show me that  (I personally feel)  they are on the right track to making my methods of gauging my success as a crafter a reality.  Starting back in first half of October when information on the “crew skills” system was first released by an interview Darthater had with Damian Schubert at GDC we heard this statement when asked to elaborate on his and his teams duties in regards to crafting:

“The itemization speaks to the balance, and we want to be sure that crafting is important in the game. It is really important to us that crafters are a viable and important part of the economy so we need to make sure they fit into the balance there.”

Then as the next two months went on we find ourselves now in the last part of January hearing statements such as these from various interviews like this from the dev tracker of the week of November 15th Damian Schubert said:

“The real test of the value of crafting is less about whether companions or players are swinging the hammer and tongs, and more about how the itemization of crafting is balanced in a way that the gear is useful. Crafting is important to the systems team, and we’re devoted to ensuring that crafted gear has a place in the economy, especially at the endgame, and doubly especially for the devoted crafters.

It’s worth noting that we really want the system to support the casual crafter (the guy who is taking crafting largely to outfit himself while leveling up) and the devoted crafter (the guy who wants to be known as the best Armormech in the galaxy). Supporting the former means making the system accessible and easy. Supporting the latter means ensuring that hard work can allow you to provide goods and services that almost no one in the galaxy can. The systems design team is striving to satisfy both groups of people.

My own personal goal is that some crafters can get so good that players all over the server seek them out. My problem being a crafter in most other MMOs is that you tend to become a guild’s pet at some point, and you’re expected to do all of the work for free. We want those devoted crafters to be exceptional enough that they can actually demand a price, and that people will actually break out of the guild in order to pursue those goods and services. The system isn’t there yet, but we have plans…”

then in the developer blog  “closer look at crew skills”  in the first week of December,  Patrick Mallot had this to say when talking about the “prototype and artifact” quality level of blasters:

“In The Old Republic, we want the crafting of such items – especially at the end game levels – to be a significant accomplishment. Our goal is for players to want to seek out renowned crafters who have learned the rarest schematics. Prototype and Artifact quality blasters will be exceptional, and their appearance and effectiveness will speak to their rarity and power.

Players progressing through The Old Republic will always desire better quality items, and crafters certainly want to provide those items to make a profit. We’ve worked hard to ensure that crafted items have an important place in The Old Republic’s economy, and that crafters will be well-rewarded for the effort they put into the Crew Skills system. In future updates, we’ll go further into detail about how we plan to address crafted items in the economy!”

then in Darthater’s interview with Daniel Erickson part 2, we heard this:

“People who want to be a master at crafting — and really want to be those who are the go to people on the servers — they are going to put a ton of work into it they will be in demand as crafters and it will not be something you can casually do.”

then at massively they also had an interview with Daniel Erickson and we heard these statements:

“I was always a huge crafting fan in all the different games. There were games that I was just a full-time crafter in; that was all I did. And what’s great about crafting? The prestige is great, saying like, “Look, I can make these amazing things.” The social aspect is amazing. I want people coming to me and saying, “Hey I heard you’re the guy to do this.” I want to be able to support my friends; I want to be able to do all this. The exploration and the complexity and learning the system is really fun — I want to get deep into crafting, I want to learn how to do recipes that nobody else can do, I want to sort of master my system. The financial output, if it works well, is nice, right? Saying, “Hey, I’m actually good enough that I can make some money at this.  I can do this piece.”

and then:

“[I] can’t talk too much about it, but you are going to be able to make stuff that is among the top stuff on the entire servers. And there are going to be people who know things that almost nobody else on the server knows how to do.”

and then:

“People who are really into crafting have a huge, complex system that they’re going to be able to go into and become masters at.”

and then:

“The best stuff is always going to come from other players, and then be made by other players. There will be stuff that you can craft that is among the best stuff in the entire game. So very close to the top-tier that you could get for anything.”

These statements assure me that in this stage of development, my methods by which I usually gauge my worth as a crafter in a MMO are being addressed.  That I will get the opportunity to be “the go to guy” and that I can  “make stuff that is among the top stuff on the entire server” and that I will have the ability to “support my friends” and fund myself through my abilities.

These are the things that make me smile, these are the things I look forward to when thinking on  my worth as a crafter in SWTOR!

Thanks for reading!

Rare Schematics in SWTOR, Woot!

From the last blog post I did we looked at the developer blog “closer look at crew skills” by Patrick Mallot.  It was this piece of it that inspired this blog post and a lot of personal joy from me.

These are my personal opinions anyway.    :)

“It’s worth noting that players will definitely need to be directly involved in the process when learning rare schematics”

That tells us that there will be such a thing as rare schematics, and that we as a player will have to be directly involved in the learning process.  Learning the schematic won’t be something that the player can pass on to the companion because the schematic will need to inscribe itself into the players learned items database so that the player can access the recipe later when he wants to craft that item from that certain crafting skill.

After the player has acquired the schematic and learned it he can then however set his companions on a crafting task of making what ever item the schematic taught the player as seen by this quote from an interview massively had with Daniel Erickson:

Daniel Erickson:  “So [in SWTOR], I’m the crew boss. I decide what we make. I’m the guy that knows all the recipes. I’m the guy that knows how to do everything. And then I’m putting all of these people to work as my whole crew, into one unit — your companion characters are all a unit with you.”

So your crafting skill will determine what types of items your crew can work on, and the schematics you currently have in your arsenal will determine what specific items you can make.

What types of items might we be able to find rare or elite schematics for you say?

From the article that Darthhater did on the Jedi immersion day we learned the following:

Darthhater  “The inventory slots are as follows:

Ear, Implant, two Relic slots, Waist, Wrists, Head, Chest, Legs, Feet, Main Weapon, and Secondary Weapon.”

Now factor in items like stims, possibly ammo, weapon enhancement mods, droid parts, droid enhancements, etc.  The list could be huge!

then going into details about the exclusivity of some schematics he had this to say:

Daniel Erickson:   “can’t talk too much about it, but you are going to be able to make stuff that is among the top stuff on the entire servers. And there are going to be people who know things that almost nobody else on the server knows how to do.”

When I hear statements about how we might have the opportunity to have schematics that very few people on the server know how to do, that excites me.  Not since the early days of UO have I felt truly needed as a crafter.

There was a time in that game when people would hunt my crafter main character down and beg me to make them items because word had got out that I was the best at maxing the stats on Valorite plate mail, or that my LRC suits or “lower reagent cost leather” suits were some of the best finds around in the armor game.

Those days have escaped me since and the last MMO that even came close to the fame and notoriety that I felt in those early days of UO was in Star Wars Galaxies.  My “leet” blasters were a hot item and before the dreaded NGE,  I enjoyed the fame I was garnering from them.

Alas, my joy did not last long before that dream was crushed, but that’s a topic for another blog as I have already hated on that in the past enough for one lifetime.

A question or two later they ask the question:

Massively:  “So we would get recipes that are super rare”

Daniel Erickson:  “Yes. There are elite, rare recipes.”

Then from an interview Darthhater had with Daniel Erickson he had this to say when asked:

Darthhater:  “How do you the player craft in Star Wars: The Old Republic? Are there recipes you loot or you learn from other people in the galaxy?”

Daniel Erickson:  “The beginning stuff you do when you learn a crafting skill… you get a number of recipes. There are also recipes that you can discover out in the world. There are recipes that are very rare. One of the important overall goals that we haven’t talked about Crew Skills is that there will be “go to” people. You will be able to craft items that are the top tier of things in the game. It is going to be very possible that there are only one or two people on the server who know how to craft specific things. There is a whole lot of discovery involved.

People who want to be a master at crafting — and really want to be those who are the go to people on the servers — they are going to put a ton of work into it. We’re not going to talk quite yet about how you get some of these recipes but suffice to say, they will be in demand as crafters and it will not be something you can casually do.”

All around these interviews that I have been reading I see terms like “put a ton of work into it” or “our crafting system is very deep”.  This also excites me because when it comes to absorbing a crafting system there is nothing more I like than a challenge!  I say bring it on!

I want the system to be deep, I want the system to be challenging I am tired of click and craft as seen in most games these days.  I want something so deep that I have to develop a spreadsheet for it so that I can squeeze the last bit of juice from it’s smoldering husk!

a question or two later he said:

Darthhater:  “Does your character learn recipes for multiple uses, or do you consume them each time?”

Daniel Erickson:   “The general approach is that once you learn a recipe, you know it. There may be exceptions.”

So it seems that there will be rare, “elite” recipes and possibly one-time-use, sort of mechanics as seen in other games.  Not sure if  in that last quote he was hinting at a one time use and then the schematic is consumed or possibly a one-per-day use schematic on a 24 hour cool down or something to that effect.

Or possibly it refers to what was stated somewhere else that if you choose to master another crafting skill than the one you currently have selected on your character at the moment you cannot access your schematics you had in the first skill until such a time as you re-learn it, back up to that schematics level.

All in all, I can say that thinking on the glory that awaits me in Star Wars the Old Republic MMO as a “go to guy” gives me the giggles like a little school girl.

Long have I waited to feel that kind of accomplishment in my MMO of choice as a top-tier crafter, a craft master, long indeed.

Thanks for reading  :)

Crafting by design the Star Wars The Old Republic MMO approach

With the first blog that I will post about the crew skills system in SWTOR I wanted to reach back into a dev blog from the main site and show you why it was that I decided I was going to partake in this crafting system they are creating.

from the dev blog entitled  ” closer look at crew skills” written by Patrick Malott located at

http://www.swtor.com/news/blog/20101203

You can find what I am referring to there.   I wanted to take just the first part because to me it says enough to let me know I like where this is heading…

“I’m Patrick Malott. I’ve worked as a Game Systems Designer on various titles over the years, but what we’re working on here at BioWare Austin is my dream project: Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. In my current role, designing and building out the Crew Skills system is one of the biggest projects I’m involved in. As a passionate multiplayer online gamer myself, I know that crafting is a critical part of the experience for many of you, and I’m dedicated to making sure you enjoy the way it works in The Old Republic. In this blog, I want to shed some light on the design decisions we’re making with Crew Skills… and I might just drop a few new specifics on the Armstech crafting skill.

The Design Approach

As the System Design Team prepared to create the Crew Skills system, we spent a lot of time examining crafting systems in other games, noting the pros and cons of as many systems as we could find. Our primary goal was to create a system that’s fun and rewarding, so we gathered inspiration from the pros and scrapped the cons. During the process, we also kept our minds on innovation, making note of crafting features we’d always wanted to see. In the end, it took many long hours and lots of careful consideration to decide exactly what features would make Crew Skills into a truly exceptional crafting system.

The system has shaped up well, and we’re excited about the results. The Crew Skills system offers crafting features that players expect along with surprising innovations that make our crafting experience stand out. For example, in The Old Republic there are multiple ways to gather resources. Not only can you gather resources yourself, but companion characters in the field can be ordered to take care of the task. Companions stationed on your ship can also be sent on gathering missions, freeing you and your active companion up for action. Gathering missions will even continue while you’re offline – the ultimate in efficiency! Allowing several gathering options enhances the crafting experience by accommodating a variety of play styles, making crafting interesting and useful for everyone.

Companions and Crafting

Companion characters are a key part of The Old Republic, so one of our goals for Crew Skills is to fully incorporate them into the system. Having companions perform crafting tasks and missions encapsulates the approach we desired for crafting, and adds to the story and detail of the game world.

Players can issue crafting orders to up to five companions at a time, and each companion can add up to five crafting tasks to their queue. You can cancel crafting progress from anywhere if you need to, and the resources your companions were using will be returned to you. Your crafting queues will even continue to progress if you have to go offline – when you log back on, you’ll receive any items that were completed while you were gone.

Your companions all have different skills and personalities, and their strengths carry over into the Crew Skills system. Some companions are better suited to particular Crew Skills than others. We revealed recently that Vette is an excellent Treasure Hunter; that means she’ll have a bonus when performing Treasure Hunting missions. Companion traits in Crew Skills are designed to be story-appropriate and meaningful, but the bonuses aren’t designed to be so extreme that you’ll feel you only have one companion choice for a given task.

Companions are much more than just a block of stats to be ordered around, of course. In true role-playing fashion, what your companions think about you will affect how motivated they are to work for you. Companions with high affection will have their ability to perform crafting tasks greatly improved. For example, a companion with high affection can craft items faster – this becomes really significant when crafting tasks can take hours or even up to a day to complete!

Though companions are vital to The Old Republic and the Crew Skills system, we do know that some players want to be the primary crafter for all their crafted items, or for particularly special pieces of equipment. It’s worth noting that players will definitely need to be directly involved in the process when learning rare schematics, and that Lightsabers aren’t acquired or assembled via the Crew Skills system. We’ll have more details on this later.

The obvious care and planning that has went into this system gets me very excited.  There are many items I see that I like.  The more I think on this design they have concocted, the more I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

One of the proposed mechanics that jumps out and grabs me right away is the EVE style offline skill queue sort of feel.  That was something that kept me in that realm longer than I should have and was something that fed my completionist mentality.  A very addictive mechanic to be sure.

I remember times when I was subbed to that game that I would go weeks just logging on everyday to check my skill queue totals and then log out.  If I was willing to pay to just do that in EVE, how much more will I be willing to do in this vibrant system?

Especially when I see things like this:

“Your crafting queues will even continue to progress if you have to go offline – when you log back on, you’ll receive any items that were completed while you were gone.”

That makes the min-maxer in me smile as I know this is something I will certainly be interested in.  Spreadsheets galore!

When you combine this with the possibilities that the companion system will add to the mix you begin to see a whole new batch of options arise.  As a Bioware fan from the past, I know what the companion system could become.  I can’t wait to engage in a sidequest geared towards garnering me affection with my slaves…err compainions.  :)

Another thing that gets me excited is this:

“It’s worth noting that players will definitely need to be directly involved in the process when learning rare schematics”

The ability to acquire “rare schematics” thrills me as a crafter at heart.  Long have I dreamed of being in this game and being able to get those kinds of drops in the SWTOR MMO universe.  Hopefully there will be the ability to acquire truly unique to one player account, rare schematics allowing you as the crafter to be the only one that can craft a certain item on a server.

luckily, I have information from a developer interview that answers that same question.  I will however save it for the next installment of swtorcrafter!

Swtorcrafter, about the author

About the author (using the term loosely)

swtorcrafter is a crafter at heart, dating back to the start of the Ultima Online beta.  It was there that he developed his love of massively multiplayer online game crafting systems and economies in online games.  It was there that he was first introduced to what it was like to actually play online with other people.

It was a grand six years.  The longest he has been in any one MMO since.

He has searched countless realms since trying to recapture that feeling, sometimes finding satisfaction, sometimes not.

Now as he grows older he decides it is time to go all in, one last bold attempt at finding that perfect anvil, the crafting system of his dreams.

Enter stage right…..    Star Wars The Old Republic MMO by Bioware

*Fingers crossed*

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