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News & Features Discussion  » Star Wars: The Old Republic: Crew Skills and the Endgame

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  MikeB

MMORPG.com Community Manager

Joined: 5/27/09
Posts: 5470

 
OP  1/09/12 8:38:07 PM#1

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.

Michael "MikeB" Bitton
Community Manager
Twitter: @eMikeB

  zhivik

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/23/10
Posts: 38

Violence is the last resort of the incompetent.

1/10/12 3:39:32 AM#2

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.


  vanitycorpse

Novice Member

Joined: 10/07/09
Posts: 12

1/10/12 4:25:10 AM#3

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.


  DarkPony

Steed of Tardcore

Joined: 8/29/08
Posts: 5637

Confident, cocky, lazy, dead.

1/10/12 4:43:24 AM#4

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.


  Master10K

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/18/10
Posts: 3086

1/10/12 4:50:39 AM#5

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.


  red_cruiser

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/07
Posts: 473

1/10/12 5:16:54 AM#6

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!


  UsulDaNeriak

Novice Member

Joined: 2/19/07
Posts: 642

1/10/12 6:22:32 AM#7

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

  lizardbones

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10953

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

1/10/12 6:40:01 AM#8

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.

  JeroKane

Elite Member

Joined: 2/21/06
Posts: 5352

1/10/12 6:41:37 AM#9

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!


 


  pauly6478

Novice Member

Joined: 8/18/05
Posts: 301

1/10/12 7:16:26 AM#10

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 


  marganculos

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/08/04
Posts: 205

1/10/12 7:31:33 AM#11

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.Magne

Novice Member

Joined: 3/02/07
Posts: 1432

1/10/12 7:59:20 AM#12

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).

  Dracill

Novice Member

Joined: 2/29/08
Posts: 161

1/10/12 8:11:08 AM#13
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.
  Illyssia

Novice Member

Joined: 8/10/09
Posts: 1525

1/10/12 8:24:08 AM#14
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. 

  zymurgeist

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/24/04
Posts: 5212

1/10/12 8:28:55 AM#15

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

  JeroKane

Elite Member

Joined: 2/21/06
Posts: 5352

1/10/12 8:46:49 AM#16
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!

  ukforze

Novice Member

Joined: 7/01/06
Posts: 367

1/10/12 8:51:35 AM#17
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

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

  Cravex14

Novice Member

Joined: 7/31/11
Posts: 5

1/10/12 9:44:48 AM#18
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.
  NaughtyP

Novice Member

Joined: 12/02/11
Posts: 795

1/10/12 10:03:28 AM#19

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.

  Moirae

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/19/06
Posts: 2606

1/10/12 10:29:57 AM#20

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. 

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