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I’m Still Not Sold On Crew Skills

Published by under Crafting,Game Mechanics,Skills on May. 25. 2011.

With the hands on time in Austin it went a long way to settle many of the nagging concerns that I have about TOR. I’ve also got to the point that I no longer threat about space combat. Sure it’s not what I was hoping for, but I do not see with the utter contempt that I once used to view it with.


Though the crafting system still has me very worried. This may be due to the fact that I’m somewhat of a traditionalist when it comes to crafting. I cut my teeth in Ulitima, then continued on in SWG and Eve.

Think what you will of these games, but I’m sure everyone will agree that these had and continue to have the best crafting you can still find out there atm.


TOR is heading from taking the player out of the crafting. You get to have a say at what you want then pass it on to your minions.

Many will see this as a great leap forward. Crafting after all is not for everyone. It takes real-time to gain your skills, and as such you forgo some of the other activities. You will have to cut back on raids and scale down on PvP when you want to be the best crafters.

This in turn sees many a player having to choose what they like to do more.

The crafters out there do it because it’s in there blood. Just like those who want to PvP and do those high-end raids.

We view them with equal importance and as such we can spend the vast amount of our in-game time trying to reach the very top. Just as any PvP ladder being the best crafter is a target many with strive for.


The crew skills as they stand now will see anyone who logs on at the right time and have credits to cover cost, the chance to become the best crafters.

Take this from what we know now. Time spent in-game + countless hours doing nothing more than gathering and crafting swept aside for anyone who put times into raid and/or PvP they now have the ability to craft at will.


If you happen to stumble of a rare item then sell it on, this should give you the credits to cover you and your expenses for some time. All you need to do after this point is log on when your crew are about to return from a mission then send them back out. Hey presto you now well on your way to becoming that crafter you always wanted to be.

This for me takes all the dedication out of the game when it comes to crafting.


As crafters we do what others do not care for. We spend time away from raids and PvP to home skills in our chosen profession. Don’t get me wrong this is a labour of love for us that choose this path. We want to put the time in, we accept the fact we will have to be away from the raids for a time until we have reached the highest point in the crafting trees.


To sweep this aside and say well the hero does not craft. Is a very hard pill to swallow.


Now what I would like to see in-game is this. Crew skills and the quests that they take be not way as effective as a player gathering for themselves. What I mean by this is, a player gathering in real play time gain X amount of items and the crew skills be somewhere around 40% as effective.

If I send out my minions for an hour they come back with 40 iron and I could gather 100 iron  in that same allotted time.


This would not only work for those bit part crafters to make their own items, but also serve to give those real crafters out there something they love doing. This would serve us very well. Like any mmo if you want to be the best at something you have to put the time in.

Every crafter out there wants to put time into crafting. They don’t want to go raiding or do PvP just so they can get better at something that is totally unrelated.


Let me put it this way. If BioWare said that the only way to gain added attack power across all the classes was to complete every mission in space combat. You would feel freaking cheated right ?


Well this is the way I now see crew skills as they stand in-game now.

FarmVille and other games like this have the very same thing going on. You log in when your crops are done then replant and move onto something else. Crew skills has been reduced to something akin to that.


Normally if you spend more time dedicated to crafting than your fellow gamers you would end up on top. This has now been thrown out the window. Anyone and I mean anyone now has the opportunity to become the best crafter. Even if they happen to spend 90% of that time doing nothing more than PvP.

This has not only belittled crafting to a side mini game to dabble in at will, but also taking away something that many of us regard as one of the most important aspects that we find in mmo’s.


I really hope this is not the case and as a player we can make a difference. If I want to put most of my time into crafting, and another player doing raids I should wind up being the better crafter or is that just making too much sense to everyone out there ?


Yes the story is great and all (well really great) this does not make crafting any less great for those that want to follow that path. I am really trying to wrap my head around what is going to set me as a dedicated crafter from anyone one else that just clicks their crew send them packing then kills another 10 players in some random warzone they happen to be in at the time.


If there is no difference then why the hell do we need crafting at all ?


If it’s at the end of the day its been reduced to little more than a money-sink. That anyone with half a mind can have the same skill as the next player that spends 20 mins a day doing ?


I’m going to leave it there before my head turn inside-out. I hope that these concerns will be addressed at E3 and we get some answers that those dedicated crafters have longed for.


So until next time, MrWarlock signing off.

11 responses so far

11 Responses to “I’m Still Not Sold On Crew Skills”

  1. Rammion 25 May 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Great Read.

    I tend to agree with you but also still have little to no context around what we actually will or will not be able to do. However based on what we do know a lot of your conclusions are spot on.

    I also feel like we never talk about the challenge and fun aspect to the crafting systems in place on EVE, SWG and UO. The debates always result in people talking about the items and not the actual systems. I want the system to be deep and engaging with personalization available not simple mindless time syncs. I’m not a raid cracked loot whore who only cares about the end result. Yes i want the end result to be good but if the journey was boring like most MMO crafting has become, then im just not engaged and interested even if the result was the best gear ever.

    The reason people engrossed themselves in crafting at End Game in SWG was because it was fun and engaging. I do not care what you say but collecting some resources and then making the object and hoping for a critical is boring. I want to be able to influence my results.

  2. grenithon 25 May 2011 at 8:55 pm

    5 companions crafting and x number out on missions + the 1 companion at your side while you both harvest/scavenging = a dedicated crafter will remain ahead of the raider that sends his companions out once per day.

    I think crafters in sw:tor should view them selves as more of the owner/supervisor of a smithy, than the blacksmith pounding away at the anvil 🙂

  3. Daeldaon 25 May 2011 at 9:27 pm

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    We have yet to see how this “Research System” works, as well as other details. I am optimistic, but with some concern. I expect that one of E3’s big announcements will be details of the Crafting System. Then we can pick it apart thoroughly.

  4. swtorcrafteron 26 May 2011 at 6:30 pm

    excellent thoughts here mrwarlock, i too am worried about a lot of these same issues. One thing i am hoping for like daelda is that this mystery research mechanic is going to be something that puts the player back in more of an involved and crucial role in the whole crafting process.

    While i do like the idea of the companions and the offline queue system i want to see certain things in the crafting process that only the player can do.

    I also really like your idea about effectivenes of the player vrs the companions. I really wish they would think about implementing something like that. Give the player that wants to take thereigns thereself a bonus for doing so, i hope they see this article and think on this. Great read bud as always!

  5. vecna00on 26 May 2011 at 9:13 pm

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    With the details that we have, my assumption is the main reason the companions do the actual crafting is the time involved in doing so. It’s not like other MMOs where you click the button, you hear a few sound effects, and the item is placed in your bag. from what I gathered, it actually takes time to do the crafting, either a few minutes or even up to a day from what I’ve heard in one of the interviews. As cool as that is to actually put a time factor into crafting, a la table top RPGs, I don’t know how fun it would be to lock my character into crafting an item for an entire day. As sure as I am to find a way around that (starting the long recipe before I leave for a double-shift at work), I wouldn’t want to be forced to do that. This is all speculation of course, things could be very different upon release.

    I am super excited that crafting will matter, though a bit weirded-out that companions will take care of most of it. But, I am intrigued by Grenith’s idea of owning/supervising the smithy instead of actually doing the work yourself. I almost feel as if I’m being pulled in a few different directions, but it’s a good thing. BioWare has us talking about it, generating more excitement to see how it turns out.

    Your article gives us a lot to think about. It’s a great read and I thank you for posting it!

  6. Dalqakon 26 May 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Mikro and SWTROCrafter had that great sit-down with Damion Schubert back during the SWTour that I’ll bring up again here, because a couple lines in there really made me happy:

    He talks about the research system at around 04:21 or so. Schubert says that he wants some of these recipes gotten through Research to be, “powerful enough that they end up being [sought after] by the whole server.” The way, he says, that you have “that kind of craftsman is through scarcity.” I really get the impression from that at least, that they intend for the Crafters to be able to play a strong, if not pivotal role in the economy of each server.

    So I think in the end, there will be a real difference between crafters who actively pursue their trade versus those who are doing it more casually. Here’s hoping!

  7. jason hoehnon 26 May 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Great article. I played SWG back in the day and enjoyed the crafting system even though it wasn’t my thing. I appreciated the effort the server’s best crafters spent mining the premium mats, hunting down schematics ect. I like your suggestion of a decreased rate of effeciency when using your crew to accomplish tasks. Here’s to hoping suggestions like this make it to the devs’ ears.

  8. Merkeron 27 May 2011 at 12:18 am

    The good news is, if you choose to gather materials you can do so, as well as have your crew do it. Given that, as a dedicated crafter you will be able to gather significantly more resources than the part-time crafter.

  9. waaghon 27 May 2011 at 10:10 am

    First of all we don’t know how the crew crafting will feel in the live game. What the hidden mechanics behind the scene will take place: new crafts discoveries, rare pattern drops, crit crafting, research, gathering mats, salvaging crafted items for resources, etc etc.

    But even with the information we have now I like the crew crafting more than the classic crafting model.

    What does classic model require: gather mats, click to craft, get a chance to profession level up, repeat.
    Yeah, very fun.
    For most people out there the reason to be involved into crafting process is to get the unique benefits only the specific profession might provide. So it’s just a money sink to get the bonus(es).

    I admit, there are few people out there who enjoy crafting. Usually they are dedicated guild craftsmen and receive unique rare recipes and materials from their guild mates to be successful. I personally don’t know any loner who become server known craftsman, because it is much much easier for a guild craftsman to get the same (or even better) results.

    My guesstimates:
    If the SWTOR professions provide the endgame PvE/PvP bonuses, all hardcore gamers will have the corresponding profession(s) maxed out. And honestly those people will most likely enjoy the background leveling of their profession through crew crafting.

    If there is no profession bonus/perk, why would a player spend time and credits if a friend/guild craftsman will do this shiny lightsaber crystal just for mats and will say “thx” for the opportunity to level up profession/discover new pattern. Again in this case (no bonuses), if you are kind of a gamer who wants everything possible maxed out, then you would probably enjoy getting there with background crew crafting allowing you to max out other things simultaneously.

  10. VorAbaddonon 28 May 2011 at 4:45 pm

    I think the system has promise if implemented correctly. It actually reminds me of the planned crafting system for the, now cancelled, Agency MMO.

    Think of the EVE crafting system, you don’t actually sit there and make anything. You merely obtain the materials, and set the orders. Where the true skill, and enjoyment, comes in is the planning and progression of skills. It’s being able to do more complex systems, utilize more structures for creating items, and then sketching out “I want this result at a low cost, so if I make X, Y, and Z myself, it’ll take 3 systems and 2 weeks. Then I can put those three things in a 4 week cooker and, boom, battleship (or whatever, just an example).”

    This has the possibility to be a similar system. You still need to “progress” through profession skills. I get the feeling that crew get more powerful as they go along, and part of that will be crafting. You probably have to work through it with them and build the crew members skills.

    I’d like to see something similar, but more expanded, with what is done in the LotRO MMO, where you have to periodically quest to access higher and higher level materials.

  11. Croakon 30 May 2011 at 8:16 pm

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    I feel that it’s too early to bemoan crew skills, because no one posting here has actually had a chance to experience the crafting mechanics of SWTOR.

    Once we have some facts, moan away.

    One interview I saw stated quite the opposite of your article, indicating that crafters who were extremely dedicated could gain access to schematics that might be of such rarity that only one crafter on the server might have it.

    The trick to this is creating a crafting system that rewards dedication and time in rather than simple “luck of the draw”, where a novice crafter gets lucky and “earns” a schematic that the hardcore 50 hour a week crafting player could not get because he was unlucky.

    Rift had issues with this, where the crafting quest rewards had a chance to drop special tokens, and some crafters who had been grinding away from day one of the pre-release (headstart) had no tokens after 90 days, while some new crafters who had done 4 dailies had received 4 for 4. Needless to say, there were some upset crafters.

    Since there are a lot of dedicated crafters out there, how do you create a scarcity in patterns? Once possible answer is to distribute the extremely rare schematics in a random order, but not allow more than 1 of each schematic per server faction until the entire list has been distributed. Then do it a second time, again only granting one of each schematic until there are two of every schematic on the server. Etc Etc.

    This ensures that crafters have one pattern that is truly unique on the server for a good portion of “current” content.

    Something else I would like to see in SWTOR crafting is the ability to modify the appearance of a piece of armour or weapon during the crafting process. Specific “Design Templates” could be added to a piece of armour to change its look (and possibly add a very small stat bonus).

    These design templates could only be earned by crafters who are exceptionally dedicated, thus increasing the likelihood that people will purchase their crafted equipment over someone less crafting oriented.

    Personally, I don’t see any reason why crew skills will interfere with the crafting content… did manufacturing plants interfere with crafting in SWG? Some of these crew members will probably even have special crafting oriented quests and storylines for you to get involved in. If done well, the SWTOR crafting system could very well be the one aspect of SWTOR (aside from voice overs) that ends up redefining the modern MMO. It’s impossible to say until we get some hands on time.