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Reverse Engineering: SWTOR’s Ace in the Sleeve for Crafting

Published by under Beta,Crafting,Game Mechanics on Nov. 22. 2011.

Like in other games, once you hit a certain level of crafting in SWTOR, you’ll go to your nearest Crew Skill Trainer and learn a number of new recipes.  In this regard, crafting in SWTOR hasn’t broken any new ground, but BioWare has an ace up their sleeve in this department.  Crafting has undergone a number of iterations throughout Beta, but one aspect that has crafters excited is the ability to reverse engineer our goods. There have been changes made to this mechanic as well, to expand its role in how crafters will approach their trades.

Do we have your attention yet?  Excellent.  Now here comes the fun part.

Reverse Engineering gives the crafter a chance to regain a portion of the materials used to create a given item, akin to how Disenchanting gear works in WoW.  The beauty of Reverse Engineering, however, is that you also have a chance to learn a better quality version of a given item.  Let’s look at one of the staple schematics for a [Compact Medpac], a recipe every Biochem crafter will have from scratch.

Compact Medpac - Premium


The crafter will crank out a number of these, and Reverse Engineer them, hoping to get lucky and learn a new schematic or recipe based on this item.  Eventually, the player is informed that this has indeed occurred, and they go back into their Schematics List to see what the new version holds in store.

Compact Medpac - Prototype


The Prototype version, [Prototype Compact Medpac], now adds an additional HoT (heal over time) component to the same recipe, and requires a Prototype bonding agent in the process.  In the current builds, these additional materials are gotten via sending your companions out on Diplomacy Missions for Medical Supplies.  Far be it from us to rest on our laurels though, we’re naturally curious to see what comes after this.  Thus, we crank a number of these out, Reverse Engineering each one until greeted by the lovely system message alerting us to the addition of a new schematic.

Compact Medpac - Reusable


The resulting recipe now requires an Artifact-quality item to produce.  These are much rarer, and are also obtained from Diplomacy missions.  Where the Prototype recipe added an HoT component, the Artifact-level [Reusable Compact Medpac] can actually be used over and over again.  Now, here’s where things get interesting.  The resulting reusable item?  Look at how it actually requires Biochem (at skill level 1) to use.  This is essentially a bonus for the crafter, as no one else (other than Biochemists with the appropriate skill level) would be able to utilize them.

I for one, will probably end up being pretty obsessive about obtaining the highest-quality recipes that I possibly can.  Keep an eye on SWTOR-Spy’s Crew Skill Database for a list of such items as they are discovered!

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Reverse Engineering: SWTOR’s Ace in the Sleeve for Crafting”

  1. Gechoon 22 Nov 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Thanks for this breakdown it does explain a lot better how the system works and I also like the way you’ve explained how you get the rarer items needed for that profession. Is there any chance we could get a breakdown of what professions are best paired together. I plan on making a tanking BH at launch and decided to go scavenging and armormech but cant decide on what is best as the third profession. I was thinking of slicing as its a chance of more patterns and ive heard its a little OP in terms of credit making unless they have nerfed it already. any help would be great thanks

  2. Dalqakon 23 Nov 2011 at 1:41 am

    Sure Gecho, I see no reason why we wouldn’t be able to put a bit more up regarding the pairings of these skills. Look for an update in the coming days!

  3. Werneron 24 Nov 2011 at 11:59 am

    Crafting from a min/max player point of view.
    If you want to be an end game crafter then dont craft while leveling up!
    Why? There is absolutely no reason to spend time and gold on low level items.
    1. The game will provide you with good enough gear all the way up to 50.
    2. Reversed engineer recipes require mission “rare” materials (item you only get from missions)
    3. Mission cost to get “rare” materials are really high
    (since a mission for “rare” material can yield 2 or 3 different materials, and you would need, let say 4x of a special material, you average 2 – 3 missions to get 1x of the material you need. So for a 4x recipes, on average, you will need to go on 8 – 12 missions. With a mission cost of 300 – 500 (or even more) gold- Your crafted item will in the end have costed from 5000g and upwards. Usually around 8000g)
    4. There is not a player in the world that would pay that much for your item!
    So you end up with an item that no one wants to the price of the production cost. It is a little bit better than your quest reward items, but you dont really need it, as the quest reward items is more than enough to get you up to 50.
    5. Reverse Engineering produce a new recipe on average every 10th (8th) hit
    So in order to reverse engineer a blue product up to a purple it will cost you on average around 50k – 100k. That is a lot of gold. Considering you will have go on missions with even rarer materials for your purple (it uses purple material). Your purple item average production cost will be sky high – and again there is not a player in the world that would pay your production cost for that item.

    To sum up a little:
    BW dont want you to have twink toons
    The cost of your blue and purple items is sky high
    The game gives you quest rewards that will take you without a problem to 50
    In a nut shell, sub level 50 crafted items is more or less useless.

    Then why craft at all?
    You craft to min/max your end game char and hopefully make some gold at that level as a lot of players would want to min/max their end game char. There is no use to min/max while leveling.

    How to level crafting:
    1. Decide what you want to craft at level 50
    (consider making 2 toons that can craft two different things for your “main” toon)
    2. Select gathering skills on these two toons that fits what you want to craft at level 50
    3. Put sliceing on one of them no matter what, as sliceing will reward you with a lot of gold during your way up to 50.
    3a, Put the biochem gathering skill on one of them so you can skin animals and collect plant samples. This you will sell directly on GTN (ah) for a nice profit (considering you dont want to use biochem as your main crafting skill at 50 – then bank your materials)
    4. Level up your two toons while gathering all you can up to 50 and bank all items! You will have to level up a mission skill so dont forget to send your companions on missions for those “rare” materials. Just level up the mission skills hand in hand with your toon levels.

    At level 50:
    1. Power level your crafting skill with your banked materials. All the time only craft the lowest cost items until they go grey (no more skill points) – then craft your next lowest cost item until it goes gray and so on.
    2. Reverse engineer your crafted items in order to get back some materials
    3. Do this all the way up to max level for your crafting profession.
    4. Now at max level start to reverse engineer items you want in order to max/min your toon. Your crafted items now will sell on GTN.

    However, as someone pointed out to me, not everyone craft for min/max. Some do it just for the sake they love crafting. Then craft as you level and have fun. It will cost you a LOT of gold and time, but i guess that is not an issue then.

    my 2 cent.
    I will level up 2 toon’s. Switching every 10th level and go all gathering skills on them both.
    Maxing out 2 mission skills (one on each toon) and collecting all gathering materials i need.
    Then at 50 i will power level up 2 crafting professions and min/max my main char from there.

  4. Dalqakon 24 Nov 2011 at 1:10 pm

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    @Werner You bring up some fantastic points. Here are a couple more points to go along with yours too:

    1.) Eventually, the plan is to have certain Crew Skills have an impact in Flashpoints. I have yet to see this implemented myself in game, but the closest analogy I could give would be that of WoW’s Dire Maul instance. Depending on your profession, you may be able to open up a passage (via Slicing a terminal), etc. You may have seen information about the Flashpoint, “The Hammer.” There are a couple of spots in there where this is true.

    Via IGN ( )

    “…The Hammer introduces the idea of using player’s crafting abilities to create quicker, less dangerous paths through the Flashpoint. Towards the start of the instance, we came across a drill pointed at a wall and a control panel that could only be operated by someone with a certain level of salvaging ability. One of our party members just happened to be able to salvage the drill. It switched on, drilled a hole through the adjacent wall, and made a path directly to the first boss.”

    2.) In this build, they added a delightful option to craft directly from our Ship Holds (i.e., the bank). This has saved a great deal of time so far. Every time you’re near a terminal, you just dump your mats in and forget about them.

    3.) As mentioned, all Prototype (blue) and above materials are Mission Skill-acquired only now. You will be well compensated financially even if you decided to forgo the crafting yourself. The GTN will be a great place to offload these mats.

    4.) Biochem is the first Crew Skill I’ve seen with Crafter-specific item requirements (e.g., the Reusable Medpacs that require a certain Biochem skill to use), but it won’t necessarily be the last. I have a feeling a lot of PvP’ers will take Biochem, for example, due to the Reusable Stims, Medpacs, etc.

    Crafting-wise, it *seems* like aside from Biochem, there won’t be many items that you wouldn’t be able to just snag from the GTN. If you so desired, you’d never need to craft a single thing, but I suggest giving it a try. I’ve enjoyed the changes they’ve made so far.

    5.) Planning on doing group activities or PvPing constantly? Always remember to send your companions out the gather/run missions in the meantime!

  5. Jasteron 17 Dec 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Really good points …. fantastic thread and some great comments….

    One thing that is missed and should be addressed is that even though crafting does not yield items of much use for your charachter … they actually do produce reasonable equipment upgrades for your companions … I have found armstech to be useful in providing my companion with upgrades whilst leveling my BH … I’m just wondering if this was intentional from BW after beta to make crafting more relevant …