Younglings, Younglings Gather ‘Round! SWTOR Crafting and Warzones, Hrmm?

November 5, 2010

Okay, we can all let out that collective breath we’ve been holding. The hell you say?! Star Wars: The Old Republic is actually shaping up to be an actual MMORPG?!

Now you can strike Crafting mechanics and PvP info off of that list of things the community has been hounding Bioware to give out. People speculated that a big announcement would be made at an EA press event in Europe after @SWTOR tweeted this a couple days ago, so the hype was through the roof when the news came in early this morning. Darth Hater shares all the yummy deets.

I just want to say that I’m not a big time crafter by any means. More often than not, this is how things play out: I would grudgingly try to work on crafting in the beginning, only to go “Aww, screw it!” soon after when my gathering capabilities fail to keep up with my character’s leveling. In most games, crafting feels like a chore, something I tinker around with only after I’ve reached the level cap and finished all the other fun stuff, and I’d so rather be saving the world than chopping up some beans or working the bellows. Whatever, my point is, I’m no crafting connoisseur…but I can still recognize an attempt to break new ground when I see one. When people heard Rich Vogel say that SWTOR’s crafting system will be very similar to what WoW has but with some “twists”, I think many got worried. But in fact, outside the inherent characteristics of crafting, I don’t think it sounds much like WoW at all.

You mean with the Crew Skill system I get to order my companions around to do my crafting and gathering for me? Whoa, this is going to send me on an even bigger powertrip than abusing bridge officers in Star Trek Online. In my eyes, Bioware nailed several birds with one stone. It’s nice to know that I can be the “manager” and that crafting can continue behind the scenes when I’m out adventuring, or even when I’m offline. They’ve also solved the problem of preserving the “heroic” in your characters; so for example, the snooty Imperial Agent can get his crafting done and still wench and schmooze his way across the galaxy without once having to dirty those silken-gloved hands. Finally, this also means that the companion system has been given an even greater role.

I find that last point important because I do plan on utilizing my companions, but I don’t want them to simply feel like combat “pets” or be conversation fodder. But I’m even more curious about companion mechanics now than before. Would they determine or limit how many professions you can master? Can companions die, be dismissed, or abandon you? Considering how certain companions will be  better at some mission types than others, I wonder where that would leave you.

Moving on to PvP Warzones. PvP again is not something I’m personally into, but I’m not going to let that color my opinion on the new information, or on the following video featuring the Alderaan Warzone experience:

Sure, it has all the stylings of a staged fight, but it’s no less impressive.

Warzones are an option when it comes to PvP, particularly for those players who prefer battleground style combat, squad against squad vying to complete an objective. To be honest, I really didn’t expect Warzone objectives to be so specialized and so…integrated into the story? I admit, I had been expecting something more “game-y” with flags and points, since I wasn’t sure what kind of priority PvP had in development. I doubt I’ll be participating that much in Warzones, but I’m still happy to see that so much thought has been put into setting them up. When Bioware reminds us at every turn that story, story, story will be the focus of everything in SWTOR, they really mean it. Anyway, even with one Warzone detailed, open world PvP confirmed, plus hints of a possible arena system, the game still probably won’t satiate the most hardcore of PvP fiends, but I think for many players it will be okay.

Last but not least, the good people at Bioware have come to their senses and are giving us the chance to rename the “Jedi Wizard” advanced class for the Jedi Consular. I personally voted for “Seer” but the more popular choice of “Sage” doesn’t sound too bad either. One way or another, any of the new choices would be better than naming a class after a derogatory term for a Jedi Knight or a juvenile slang term for “cool”. As in, “Wow, it’s so “wizard” when companies heed their fans’ opinions, and even better when they give us a chance to get involved!” So go check it out!


  1. Needless to say, this Fan Friday ranks with the best. I can’t wait to play the Warzones and that video just makes the anticipation more painful! The crafting system doubts GREAT! Ughhh. Need TOR now.

    • I know, I feel like this game can’t release soon enough! Let’s hope we’ll be getting more information on other mechanics in the weeks to come.

  2. That trailer for the first warzone looked like a heck of a lot of fun. Kind of like a mission from one of the old PS2/ X-box Star Wars Starfighter games and a WAR scenario had a love child. I am looking forward to SWTOR more and more the more I read about it.

    • LOL I never thought about it that way. Like I said, I don’t participate much in PvP, at least not on my own. I can see this sort of thing being really fun with a premade group though.

  3. The idea for a crafting crew makes me rub my hands together like a megalomaniacal fiend.

    I’m not running no damn soup kitchen! You want on my ship, you better earn your keep!

    • They’ll be good little servants to my bounty hunter. “Yes, master, your anything you wish is my command.” Hell yeah!

  4. I was hoping for a Jedi Prophet. But failing that, I’m with you – Seer is the way to go.

    • I think it rolls nicely off the tongue 🙂

  5. Looks like they are more following the Shadowbane/EVE Online/Fallen Earth model. IE, the player directs crafting but isn’t the crafter. Crafting itself is done in a timed queue.

    Honestly, that’s a far better model than the player-as-a-crafter model, especially for games where the player is supposed to be heroic on an epic scale. From an economic standpoint it is also a far superior model since it incorporates some scarcity into the markets. A nominal pique of interest for TOR in that regard, at least.

    • I agree, and I think that was the main motivation behind that choice. The quote in the Darth Hater article about Darth Vader picking flowers on the side of the road just cracked me up when I pictured it. They’re right; not a very heroic image at all 😛

  6. I always try to read your swtor posts after i post my own, usually if i read yours first it just ends up being very similar, and i think thats what happened this time as well.

    anyway, i did differ with you on the whole crafting experience, i don’t want other people doing my crafting. it defeats the purpose doesn’t it? is managing going to be as fun as doing it yourself? sure it takes out the tedium, but it also takes out all the effort and accomplishment as well.

    beyond having companions do everything for you, it does look interesting and very star warsy. i’m very curious about the mission types of crafting though, i don’t think i’ve seen a good explanation of them. how is influence peddling a form of crafting? how is treasure hunting?

    • I’m intrigued by this too – the idea of diplomacy or faction standings being a function of crafting rather than grinding is novel. I think I like it. It ties crafters even closer to the rest of the player base if that’s the case.

      • Yeah, this is one of those semantical things that kept me from being a really hardcore EVE Online player. I guess, subconsciously, I tend to forget that the ship itself is the player character, except for in chat and a few other places where your “character” (your created avatar) is shown.

        Despite that though, I always did have a large amount of respect for EVE’s market structure. It is much more sophisticated than you see in a lot of games.

        One thing that has made me laugh ever since the EA Winter Showcase reveal of Crafting in SWTOR, is thinking back on how BioWare stated their crafting would be “similar to WoW”.

        Looking at it now, I find it hard to even picture WoW crafting when I think of SWTOR.XD

    • Tribute, my friend, tribute. At least that is the first thing I can think of off the top of my head.

      It wouldn’t surprise me at all if some of that treasure you sent Vette to hunt could be used to payoff a corrupt Senator who has a bounty on you, or as tribute to some Hutt kingpin on Nar Shaddaa. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if you could use some of that to put hits out on people that can drive up your DS points.

      There are so many possibilities.

      As for the sense of accomplishment of gathering the materials yourself, that is a tough one. One of my friends asked me the same question. However, I think it can be a rewarding system. EVE crafting is consistently praised, if complex and a little intimidating to jump into, and it also includes no gathering by a player character model. I think in the end, you’ll still have to do enough grunt work and gathering to make it feel like you are a contributor to your own corporation.

      If you are business-minded, this is going to seem like heaven, I’m sure. SWTOR is well past the industrial age, and in the era of corporations. Running businesses would seem more inline with Star Wars than being one lone craftsman crafting a pair of nerfherder boots.

      • I agree with everything you’ve said Jara, save one – there is a gathering by the player character model in EVE – both in the form of mining and planetary interactions.

        That said, the neat thing about it is that if you like to craft but not harvest – you can skip that side completely and by the raw products from the market. It eats into your profits, but the players have choice, and that is always good.

    • Beyond what I already wrote on your blog, I also wanted to add that in light of the mission type of crafting, a crew skill system also makes a lot more sense. Something like treasure hunting or diplomacy might be something I would prefer to let a companion do, if only to preserve the RP. A Jedi, for example, would have little need for treasures and wouldn’t be expected to have a skill to find them.

      I also like the points Harbinger and Jaramukhti brought up. I would love to see a rep system in SWTOR that didn’t involve an endless grind. And being able to present tributes would be amazing. Again, something suited for a more diplomatic companion, perhaps, and the idea of my BH sending a underling to curry favor for me is giving me a nerdgasm.

  7. This update is finally the kind of thing I’ve been looking forward to from SWTOR. I don’t have much to say either way, but I’m glad to be getting system info instead of just the lore. (I prefer to get my lore in-game anyway.)

    • I like a good mix as well. A big news dump involving system info every other month or so with lore tidbits in between is a good system for me.

  8. I just hope that all these items were in the initial design plan – and not tacked on from player demand. There are a few other games that come to mind where developers tried to ‘be all things MMO’ in their launch year, and systems were pushed through last minute – this took away important polish time off of core systems and always made the new items feel ‘tacked on’.

    Cautiously optimistic that they have been plugging away on these things for years and not weeks to say “see, we have THAT too!”

    Jedi Seer is an actual type of Jedi Consular subclass that exists in the current sw history – I hope they go with that. A 2011 video game rewriting SW lore is a scary thought for me 🙂

    • They’ve hinted at the crafting system for months, so it looks to be something they’ve been working on for a while now. I don’t doubt the system will be further polished from now until release, but I hope along with you that they’ll stick to their guns and continue with whatever they had initially planned. It does sound like it’s shaping up to be something integrated into multiple systems, so anything simply “tacked on” would stick out like a sore thumb.

      Hmm, no wonder the Seer just sounds so right to me. Though Sage is most likely going to win out “P

  9. That’s really neat that companions can gather and work on them. I really like the idea of companions more and more lately 😉

    • I like the fact they are giving more purpose to the companions. If they are going to be part of your character’s story, it’s beneficial for them to feel as integrated into the game as possible.

  10. I’m not a big crafter either and, personally, I find it a little jarring for the Star Wars IP. I mean did Jedi really spend countless hours crafting their own gear? Hmm… I’m not convinced. Anyway, it’s a minor quibble because I know how important it is to some players.

    For for the Warzones… yes please! I’m a happy bunny. I really enjoy easy access, sanitised PvP. Hopefully they have a decent enough reward system and cross server BGs to make it tempting enough to take part in.

    • Sometimes I wonder how well crafting fits in the Star Wars IP as well, but games liek SWG has shown that it can work and work beautifully. I can’t picture a Jedi crafting for hours either, so I guess the crew system will work really well in that sense!

  11. Jedi spending endless hours crafting things? I guess Anakin Skywalker never found a ship he didn’t want to refit, or a droid he didnt want to build 😛 .

    All jokes aside, crafting when done right is a big deal, when i flashback to SWG, it was almost essential, not for any credit making reason, to have an artisan alt. Everybody wants a droid/house/food for buffs/weapon/armor set, and someone has to craft itm and for people who simply want to do that all day, there’s the task of gathering materials, and making the best stuff…and smugglers to slice it to it’s maximum efficiency.

    In alot of ways SWG was ALOT of fun for that reason, it catered to non-combat minded people in alot of ways and for that, i can never look at crafting the same way.

    TOR is upping the anti to me because it seems like utilizing your companions makes it alot easier, so i an focus on leveling and questing and not whether i gathered enough materials to keep my crafting in line with my level.

    That pvp vid….man my boxers hit the floor XD it’s so hot….ugh!

    I think the ONLY thing i could ask for at this point….is some Star Wars: Rogue Squadron action, some X-Wing vs TIE Fighter type action, aaah how i’ve longed to be part of an elite wing squad…best in the galaxy….

    But TOR is shaping up to be an absolute beast, LONG LIVE THE JEDI SAGE!

    • Anakin was an oddball 😛

      The fact this system will make it easier for me to focus on leveling is a huge plus for me. I love questing much more than I like crafting, and these days I don’t even bother with the latter when I start a new alt anymore (eg. WoW horde alt is level 73 and is still profession-less). When I’m online I want to quest. Not craft, which feels more like a chore. A system where I can queue up my projects while offline is a dream come true.

  12. The best kind of oddball 🙂 mann i love that guy. And you’re right, i looooooooooooooooooooove the idea of my minions doing my evil bidding while i’m sleep or working, so i can just auto craft, and get it done and move on with my life.

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