There’s a nice piece on Massively about SWTOR crafting, or Crew Skills. There are not a ton of details, but it does clarify a few things. Primarily, it establishes that, contrary to what some podcasters thought, each Player only has access to 3 crew skills, instead of each Companion. It makes much more sense this way, and while it means I can’t be a one man shop, it means there will actually be an economy.
From the sounds of the article, it looks like the companion gathering still needs some cleaning up, but this is beta. It appears missions can gain you unique things along with crafting materials, while gathering specifically gets crafting materials. Unlike many games, crafting an item will take awhile, but unlike other games you can make your crew do it, instead of you need to stand around doing it. What’s not mentioned at all is leveling up in crafting and gaining XP. It’s not even clear if you do level up crafting.
I always found leveling up in crafting a giant time and money sink. It’s never a matter of just not having access to certain goods, the stuff you can make is almost always not as good. In SWG you have more experimentation points, in LOTRO it’s the ability to crit on an item. The biggest problem with leveling crafting is the need to make SO much stuff in order to advance. So much stuff that you don’t need and can’t use, and no one else wants to buy. So you just sell it to a vendor or trash it. Here’s hoping SWTOR addresses that problem because, despite my complaint, I’ve always loved crafting.
Going out and finding the right resources, and right bonus items to make a truly awesome item is good fun. Now, it needs to require some effort, but not be near impossible. Like Crafting Guilds in LOTRO. The armor you can make are great, and it takes time and patience to master the guild and then make the required patterns over a few weeks. Or making a truly kick ass Krayt tissue enhanced gun in original SWG. Or a really fine tuned engine. But not like Mando armor in SWG. That was a pain.
While the article did not have much to say about what you could craft or how useful things were, one detail that it did have dealt with interdependence of resources.
- Armormech uses materials from Scavenging, Investigation, and Underworld Trading.
- Armstech uses materials from Scavenging and Treasure Hunting.
- Artifice uses materials from Archaeology, Treasure Hunting, and Underworld Trading.
- Biochem uses materials from Bioanalysis and Underworld Trading
- Cybertech uses materials from Scavenging, Slicing, Treasure Hunting, and Underworld Trading.
- Synthweaving uses materials from Archaeology, Diplomacy, Investigation, and Underworld Trading.
From the looks of things Armstech and Biochem are the simplest, requiring just two other categories, meaning one person can take all the necessary skills to make what they need. Where as the others require resources from more areas than a single person can take skills.
Now, obviously this is beta and not official information. It could be wrong. But assuming it’s mostly right and each crafting area will require multiple types of resources, this will be both annoying as hell and great for the economy. In other games, as a crafter, requiring components from another crafting skill set always annoyed me. They were never available for sale on the market for a reasonable price or in a high enough quantity. Finding a person could be difficult to impossible.
When it works, and there is a high amount of interdependence and demand for all products, it can make the game more fun. But based on this, Diplomacy will not produce much valuable crafting resources, and Investigation will only be slightly better. Scavenging, Treasure Hunting and Underworld Trading seem to be the must have skills, which means they will either be to plentiful so can’t make money, or in to high demand so can never find what you need for a reasonable price.
But overall the system does look very cool. Definitely different than anything else. Sort of a combination of STO’s new DOFF system and regular crafting.