No Match For A Good Blaster At Your Side

December 3, 2010

Today’s Star Wars: The Old Republic update was a closer look at Crew Skills. I’m somewhat surprised at the heavy focus on crafting in these recent updates, but I can’t complain because I love developer blogs. It’s always such a pleasure to see a developer speak so passionately about designing their game.

And it’s almost like Mr. Mallot has been reading my mind. One of my questions about crafting, of course, is that with such a huge emphasis on companions and utilizing your crew skills in this system, is there even room for the players to do any of it?! The answer, apparently, is yes.

Good. Because much like Hunter, I have come to enjoy using crafting and gathering sessions in-game as social time with friends. We all have those lazy days where we log in only to find zero motivation to play, but there’s a party in guild chat and you just want to join in the fun and play without actually having to do anything that requires too much time or concentration. I usually use this time to gather. While I’m still a big fan of efficiency, sometimes a girl just needs some mindless ways to occupy her time. To me, it is a big plus that SWTOR crafting will offer you the option of either doing the dirty work yourself or delegating these tasks to your companions in the field or offline. Having a choice is always a good thing, and it shows that the devs do mean it when they say they want to accommodate a variety of playstyles.

It was also stated that there will be special pieces of equipment that the player can craft themselves. Like lightsabers (though, hopefully they’ll give non-force users “special” items to craft as well). I assumed this might be the case, but it’s still nice to have confirmation. Loyal companions or not, certain things are just too important to trust to them!

This being a dev blog, nothing else too earth-shattering was revealed, but they did show us a fourth crafting skill — Armstech, along with a description on quality vs. crafting requirements. Here’s where I started to see some of that “WoW with a twist.” Still. I may be wrong of course, but while there are some minor features that feel similar to different games, on the whole this crafting system seems to set itself apart from anything else out there.

You know, I’ve stated it more than once that I’m no crafting enthusiast, but I think I’m slowly being swayed…


  1. When it comes to crafting the gathering part is generally fun. It’s the sit-around-and-watch-a-progress-bar part which isn’t fun. I generally focus my crafting on gathering and eschew the actual crafting. Sell mats on AH, buy finished goods, skip the whole sit around in town waiting for the progress bar to finish step.

    I do craft in games which allow for crafting while doing other things. Fallen Earth being a great example. Sure it could take a couple of days to make a vehicle but at least during that time you could gather mats, go adventuring or even log off.

    There are exceptions, of course, especially when the gathering part is the sit-around-and-watch-a-progress-bar part (EVE Online… take the hint) but it looks like TOR is hitting that sweat spot of keeping the player active by adopting the active gather, passive craft model.

    • Yes, if crafting involves a progress bar that requires you to sit around and watch, I prefer to be more involved. I recall when I first tried crafting in Aion…I would start the process, go take a nice long shower, cook dinner, eat and come back and it still wouldn’t be done.

      Basically, if there weren’t any perks to crafting at all, I would have gone the gathering-mats-to-sell-on-the-AH route too.

  2. The crafting system for swtor has me swaying back and forth between “too automated!” and “man that would be convenient”.

    unfortunately I’m not sure if that’s enough for a post, on the subject, just like i found myself grasping for something to talk about last week.

    • I think the fact you are swaying actually speaks to the strengths of this system. I find myself in that boat too, but figure hey, if I want to do stuff myself, I will….and go automated mode only if I feel like it.

      • As much as I feel your intentions are pure, when I think about being given that option, I know in my heart that I won’t ever be gathering myself when there is a more convenient method to do so.

  3. I said it before, and i’ll say it again, I LOVE THIS SYSTEM. First most, i don’t think they’re taking the edge off of crafting, they’re just making it easier. I picture being in the middle of a quest, nailing off this monster. My Wookiee friend immediately loots the corpse for Materials, instead of it automatically sitting in my sack for 3 hours until i find time to craft it,

    It’s instead shipped to my crafter on the ship, BAM he starts making it and i go on my merry way blasting things. What if i really wanted to go in hammer and tongs? Simple, someone else somewhere in the galaxy is shipping me the bones, materials or whatever, and i can craft it my self, no matter what i choose personally, my companions have unique traits that make them better at something maybe i dont want to do personally myself?

    Either way, me and my crew are a one man gang. Someone to resupplies my Smuggler with blasters, armor, treasure hunts, and even does side gigs for me while i’m in the midst of storylining it and pvping.

    I think when it comes down to it, what they mean is that the convinience of it will help people who generally DONT get into crafting, and it will reward the hardcore people who STILL pick their own flowers, make their own flasks, and then sell them for profit. The difference is who’s handing you your extra materials for no cost at all………

    And depending on how much you irk your favorite little assassin friend, they may or may not take 1 hour to 3 days to make something for you. If that’s not deep, organic, and intrigue to go along with your “Crew fetish” Gamer chick, i’ll enjoy it for the both of us :). IT SOUNDS AWESOME!!!!! Want, want, this game already…

    • I like the fact they’re giving our companions purpose, and more of a reason to be there. The problem I have with a lot of games with henchmen-type features is that none of my companions ever feel much like actual…well, companions. These characters in the game are supposed to be your friends, your closest allies…and yet, they feel like nothing more than just another combat ability at your disposal. In fact, the other NPCs in the world start to feel more like people than them.

      Giving your companions more to do and more of a reason to engage them in MMO activities is one way to address this I think. Giving them a voice and the ability to have dialogue with them helps too. I don’t know whether or not SWTOR can pull off making my companions feel more “alive” to me, but it looks promising. My “crew fetish” is pleased with every new tidbit of info we get on this stuff 😛

  4. I fully intend to test the system of “I’ll handle this–you go analyze that dead Rancor, Vette.” *sends Vette to analyze while Jara reignites lightsaber*

    Honestly, the big draw for me is the same as it was before he crew skills review and elaboration: the rp aspect of companion relationships.

    I still have some love for the old school P&P D&D systems, and I honestly never thought I would see an MMO come along that really holds true to that style of storytelling. Of course, that was before I learned BioWare–arguably the last scion of meaningful rpg storytelling–was creating their own MMO. The more I see, and hear, about the systems that will be in place for SWTOR, the more I believe BioWare may just find the middle ground between MMO progression, and rpg storytelling.

    I’m fairly certain I’ll make good use of the crew skills delegation system (life slows down for nobody), but I like knowing that if I want a mindless grind, I can set myself to /afk and go gather the ish out of some material. But I also like knowing if I can’t be bothered, I don’t have to set productivity aside just because I’m doing something else.

    I will feel better knowing I can call up the ship and tell Skadge to get off his jelly rolls and go scavenge me some alloy.

    • After seeing what Blizzard has done with “storytelling” in Cataclysm, I am now more curious than ever to see how Bioware will handle it on their end. RPG storytelling seems to be the must-have feature for all big MMOs now, not that I’m complaining. I’m just interested to see how high the bar will be set. I am looking forward to see where companions can take this.

      So far, having a crew that is an actual part of the player’s character story is unique to SWTOR, I believe. I am thinking they can do all sorts of crazy interesting things with that.

  5. The one thing i know about bioware, not only can they weave a story, but they throw in so many characters, so many ways one conversation with them can gain you so much perspective on them, so much knowledge, So much Canderous Ordo and Jolee Bindo goodness to the point i’m telling my gf of the story of the kid in the village and the snake he followed bit Bindo told me.

    With that being said, i believe whole heartedly each class will have it’s own fleshed out story that runs into the level cap, complete with side excursions VIA these companions. They have shady, amazing, crazy pasts for a reason, and i have no doubt every little quip, opinion, and thing you do to them will decide how far you go with them and how willing they are to hench those alloys and craft those nifty pistols.

    In short, it’s so sexy, swagged out, and amazing to think about, that i wish the damn thing was here already 😦

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