From the interview that me and Serge had with Damion Schubert and the Developer Q&A we attended with him, I got wind of something that has my ears perked for sure. The mention or hinting at a new mechanic on the horizon for crew skills in SWTOR.
I was hit by the realization of what I think I understand them to be planning immediately. In the Q&A with Damion Schubert when the first question of the session was asked to him, he replied with a response that included this little gem about a mystery “research system”
(click play to hear audio clip)
Damion: “We try to make it so that hardcore crafters do bring something to the server that they’re on that casual crafters can’t. What we want is the casual crafter is mostly interested in crafting for himself and crafting for his companion characters, but other than that he is not really doing much other than that. And the dedicated crafters, they have access – through special means we haven’t talked about yet – in order to pursue recipes that are very rare on their entire server. We actually think it’s good and exciting and interesting to be the only guy on a shard that can make these kind of pants.”
So when I heard this my mind went racing as I was toying with different scenarios to try and figure out what they are planning. Later on in the day after I had a few hours of play time the interview schedule got around to us and it was time for me and Serge to get ready for our interview. I hated to give up my computer and the game but I must, you guys need this interview!
The Q&A had almost but destroyed my interview plan because a lot of the same questions that were asked in it was what I had planned to ask in a round about way during the interview. We plowed forward though and decided to wing it as best as possible, and I am glad we did too because we then got more hints at what they are working on, which gave me even more to speculate about.
In the video interview we got this from him,
From this section of the interview the door is opened just a bit wider as we get confirmation of him calling it the research system and then him going on to explain that through means like “scarcity” the player crafter still has a role and has a way to differentiate himself.
He says that they wanted to still allow the player to fill a role in the crafting system and this is their means to do it. Think of it this way, your companions will be your assembly line, but you will be the scholar that comes up with the plan to begin with. Effectively giving you a role in which you can take part, a place where you as the player can have a great impact.
Hopefully this will go a long way to help alleviate the fear that some people have that you actually aren’t doing anything using crew skills or crafting. Some people feel that their role in the crafting process has been diminished by the companion system and I understand their worries. A mechanic like this research system that actually puts some of the process of crafting back under the direct control of the player will help calm this fear for some I think. If it works out how I am imagining it, it could be a huge lift to the player and how they perceive their crew skills experience.
Then later in the interview I asked about the way we would expect to get elite and rare schematics and Damion talks about them dropping for the player through the mission branch of crew skills, but he then talks about the bulk of them coming from this research system.
He says that some will be drops in the normal sense from mobs, flashpoints and warzone type of situations. He says that in the normal way of thinking the crafter might sometimes go to a raid to find items of importance to him from a drop for crafting, but that they want to make a way so that the crafter doesn’t have to raid if they don’t want to. This lends support to the belief I have that this research system will be the primary and choicest way of acquiring the best of the best schematics for most serious crafters.
One of the problems I feel that is inherent in a system that forces the crafters to attend raids to get a chance at elite crafting drops is that they already have too much time vested in the crafting game to be able to spend the amount of time they would need to raid and be good enough at it to get invited and then do well at it. Lets face it, being good enough to raid and be wanted for raids is a serious time investment, something that someone fully invested in the crew skills game might not have. This sounds like a sure fire way for them to get around this problem.
I imagine they may require a substantial time investment to do the research via your crew skills countdown timer, combined with a credit cost and the acquisition of rare and powerful components to aid the research, but this is just speculation at this point on my part because we really don’t have any more info at this time other than it does exist in this latest build of the game in some form.
When asking him about the freedom the player will have in distributing these schematics out in the economy of the game he said that work you do via the research system will be bound to you, and that schematics will typically will be bound to you. So I guess for now at least, it seems that the ability to use research to come up with a special elite schematic will end up in a schematic that only you can use. Not allowing you the ability to put them up for sale on the auction house or possibly trade it to a friend via in game item transfer or mailing.
Personally I was sad at this at the time when I heard it because something I have derived much pleasure from in the past from other games, was my ability as a crafter to not only sell the item that the schematic might give you the ability to construct but also the recipe itself. It seems this way they will cut that market out altogether for those that like to shop for schematics or blueprints.
I can see the reasoning behind it though due to other things he talked on like “scarcity” being one of the primary ways to help a crafter differentiate himself and his goods from others on a server. I can understand it and actually tend to agree the more I think on it. Scarcity is something that I think will be key to a happy master craftsman and I want to see this train of thought protected and kept on the rails. I feel it is that important and I hope they continue on with this mechanic.
If I had the ability to research and create elite schematics and then I had the ability to sell them I would effectively begin chipping away at this “scarcity”. When multiplied by however many thousands of people on a single server are doing the same thing, I guess scarcity would be killed to the point of non-importance effectively nullifying this important and crucial mechanic.
What does this say to me?
These statements let me know that there is a big part of the crew skills system not yet revealed, something that will enhance the crafters individuality and importance within the server they call home. Which from my perspective is a great thing, a really great thing for crew skills and the crafter.
It tells me that the crew skills system at this time is very much still in flux and that the game testers are having their voice be heard as they work to find a balance, taking into account many different related mechanics.
It tells me that they have seen a possible potential problem with the feelings of the community of crafters that worry they will be taken too far out of the crafting experience via the companion system. That they are working to find a way to give them more reason to feel vested and take ownership of the crew skills system. To find a way to make them unique and needed in their communities, and I am all for that.
I am very excited about this mystery research system and I look forward to the day when we get to see it revealed more fully!
Please feel free to express your opinions or thoughts on these issues.
Thanks for reading!
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