Why Don’t You Handle This?

November 12, 2010

Today’s Star Wars: The Old Republic update is a closer look at the inner workings of the crew skill system. After last week’s announcement about crafting, I have to say I was anticipating an update like this. But what I didn’t expect was how informative this update is. Pardon me, I’m too used to SWTOR information trickling out to us week-by-week at a slug-like pace, so it came at a bit of a shock when almost all of my questions about the crafting system were answered in a single update.

What I understand is that we have 3 main categories of crafting skills: Gathering Skills, Crafting Skills, and Mission Skills. 3 Crew Skills slots are also available to your team to train in from among these categories. You can fill all three up with Gathering Skills if you wish, but that would also mean no more slots available for anything else from the other categories. Crafting Skills, on the other hand, are very specialized so you’ll be able to devote only one slot to crafting. Finally, any number of your Crew Skills can be a Mission skill.

First time playing, the most reasonable choice would probably be to go 1 Gathering Skill, 1 Crafting Skill, and 1 Mission Skill. But if making a ton of credits is your desire, the choice of taking three gathering skills and making a “raw materials mule” is there. If you wish to master all the crafting skills available, however, just be prepared to make as many alts.

Elegantly simple, yet I can appreciate its little intricacies as well. Describing this system as “World of Warcraft with a twist” doesn’t even begin to do it justice.

Companion’s backgrounds will also determine how effective they are with certain skills, as will their opinions of you (so I guess whipping my crew into submission is out then?) As for the concerns about whether or not your own character can participate in crafting, we now know you can gather or scavenge yourself if you wish. Participating in crafting or missions, however, I’m not so clear on. But if crafting ends up taking up real time…mayhaps you won’t want to stand around waiting 6 hours for something to finish. By the way, who else smells that mobile app coming a mile away?

Anyway, I know I’m going to sound like a raving fangirl here, but the crew skill system is the best crafting system I could ever ask for. It’s true. It’s perfect…for me.

Just this morning, I was writing a comment to someone explaining how crafting feels like a chore to me, and how much I’d rather focus on leveling instead. The truth is, when I’m online, I want to quest. Not craft. So when I heard Dallas Dickinson say in the video “We want you to be able to enjoy crafting, without having to take time out from your adventures”, it was like the clouds separated in the heavens and the birds started singing sweet songs in the trees. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again — I’m not big on crafting. So that’s why I’m excited. Oh, the irony.


  1. It’s more than perfect! A companion to lotk while you continue to kill is exactly what I want. Biochem sounds really neat too.
    PS. I’m really liking the handsome male toons. The guy in the video has really great sideburns. ^^

    • Is it sad that the first thing I thought when I saw the companion-can-loot-while-you-kill-or-vice-versa was, “YES! No more node ninjaing from other jerk players!” šŸ˜›

      • Nope. I thought the exact same thing, GC.

  2. The more info that is released on crafting, the more excited I get for TOR. I did not expect a very deep crafting system but it sure seems like Bioware is going to have a fairly robust system in place at launch. Massively.com has a nice interview today with a few quips on rare recipes and the like. I am dying for this game!

    • Yeah, I had a look at the massively article earlier. I do agree the crafting is more robust than I expected. I expected at least a tier for gathering and a tier for crafting, but the missions skills were a pleasant surprise.

  3. I love it all….except the limited number of skills. Seriously, every other game that has crafting as an offline/”bake it in the oven”/hands off approach does not limit what categories you can gather or craft in.

    • Yes, they certainly make you specialize, especially when it comes to the crafting category. Maybe that’s what they mean by WoW with a twist. I think it’s a little disappointing that they only allow you one crafting slot. Ultimately, I like to have all the crafting covered between my characters, so I’ll have to make plenty of alts.

      • Hehe, weren’t you planning on several alts anyway? I know I am. This game may push WoW off my RADAR.

  4. In a different blog post, I said I couldn’t imagine WoW crafting anymore when I think of what has been told to me about SWTOR’s crafting system. I stand by that statement. In fact, “WoW with a twist” is almost laughable. I would be more inclined to believe “EVE, simplified, with a twist” right now.

    I find it kind of funny how one of the most prominent worries about this system was addressed fairly early in the video. That being the fact that you–the player–would be able to gather the materials, if you so chose. I’m sure this was probably a part of the presentation well before the concerns were raised this past week, but deep down I like to think BioWare just wanted to silence the critics.

    Mission accomplished.

    I love how treatment of the companions will factor into their productivity as part of the crafting crew. It only makes sense that if you treat your employees like garbage, they will eventually revolt or quit. Boss/employee paradigms are always going to exist, but the boss who treats his employees better are usually the ones with the more efficient business output.

    As I see and hear more details of the crafting system in SWTOR, I feel less like calling it “crafting” and more like calling it a “crafting enterprise”, or a corporation. Just going by what we have seen, I already feel like I will be headed for a CEO position when I enter SWTOR, and I like that feeling.

    Now all I need is a server list and I’ll be ready to plot my rise to power like Tony Montana…though I hope for a more glorious, less bloody end.

    • “EVE simplified, with a twist” sounds about right. I didn’t play EVE for very long, and it was a long time ago, but reading the overview did bring it to mind, more so than WoW.

      As for the companions, I still wonder what would happen if one decides to leave you. I assume whatever crew skills talents he or she has will go away along with them, so that’s definitely motivation to keep your crew happy!

      And I know exactly what you mean. I haven’t thought of the system as a corporation or enterprise (that’s just too EVE!) but like I alluded to in my last post, it may be more appropriate to call it “managing” rather than crafting!

  5. In a string of “mehs” this is one of the first bits of news about TOR that’s gotten me interested. It looks like it is closest to Fallen Earth in terms of crafting and I absolutely loved that game’s crafting. Also glad to see that there is going to be some time commitment to creating items. It’ll help keep the economy robust.

    • Yeah, I like lore updates and stuff, but these kinds of updates definitely make me happy too. Unfortunately, I’ve never played FE so I can’t compare, but I like the time commitment aspect as well. It adds a realistic element, and crafting can feel so trivial when you can make a pair of boots or stitch a cloak in like 2 seconds flat or something.

  6. For me crafting is what I do when I want to play but not necessarily go kill stuff. When I want to chat but still have something to mindlessly work at. This sort of takes the option away.

    • True, I’ve been known to do that as well. There will probably be other “grindy” stuff to do though. Or sometimes I use farming time or auction house time to chat.

    • It only takes it away if you delegate the tasks to your companions. If you want a timesink, you can gather the materials yourself; the video shows that players can gather themselves if they so choose.

      The “actual” crafting takes, what, fifteen seconds while your toon wrings his/her hands together like Lex Luthor?

      The gathering aspect has always been the timesink aspect of crafting.

      You’ll still have access to that timesink in this game if you choose to do it that way.

      • That may be the case in most MMOs, but in games like Everquest II and Vanguard, the crafting itself is more involved than that and require a bit more attentiveness and involvement instead of progress bar watching.

        Even if crafting in SW:TOR were nothing more demanding than probing in ME2, I would have liked that.

  7. Well, I must say, this is a pleasant developement. Just like you, GC, I always found crafting in WoW to be tiresome. Usually it was very difficult to maintain my skills at my experience level, because of scarcity of resources, which meant certain skills either languished or I had to stop leveling and farm. This is why my Death Knight never made it past 61 or so, I felt had to level her professions. This system should take the tedium out of crafting. Hopefully, the items produced will be level appropriate, as well; something WoW never seemed to achieve.

    Beyond that, it’s nice to see the level of interaction between the PC and his companions in the video. They seem much more like a crew. Maybe Cryptic will figure this one out with STO. BioWare has upped the ante.

    • That’s exactly the problem with me, which is why on my latest alt I didn’t even bother taking up a profession. I really dislike taking the time to catch up with my gathering skills when all I want to do is press on to the next zone to see what else awaits me and actually PLAY the damn game. Thus my Tauren warrior is now level 74 and is still profession-less. šŸ˜›

  8. WOOOT WOOOT looks like for the first time in about 2 years I will bother taking a profession.

    Seeing as I despise crafting and just view it all as one giant chore I normally just play the auction house and buy what I want but this literally looks like they read my mind ….

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