Oct 30, 2011

Posted by in Blasters, Beggars & Credits | 12 Comments

Blasters, Beggars & Credits: A Deeper Shade Of Craft

Some players do it for glory. Some do it for infamy. Some like to accumulate the most points, or explore the far reaches of the worlds they inhabit. This, however, is not a column for those people. This is a column for those people who, quietly or not, enjoy making money so that their digital avatar can sleep on large piles of cash.

Some of the info from the press embargo was more or less known to us already, but perhaps a big change: reverse engineering has been confirmed to teach rare patterns! This may alter some plans, so make sure you check out the article on Massively. This of course, raises numerous questions, and offers some tantalizing glimpses at a crafting system much deeper than we had been led to believe.
While reverse engineering had always been present, this presents de facto confirmation that it is the main way outside of training to learn new recipes. Considering the variables set forth, the things that I wonder about are: what is the frequency of learning new patterns? What are the chances of creating an “exceptional” version of the item?

This might, for the most dedicated crafters, create a whole subset of activity. Obviously, crafting a green item countless times will not be tremendously difficult; but depending on how often you get an enhanced recipe, people might go over the top in creating lower-tier items. Also, IGN termed it “break down,” so I’m also going to assume that you get a small return on the original materials invested. For completion-oriented players, this might prove to be a great challenge – learning every version of each item that can be reverse engineered. While not necessarily lucrative (certainly not in the short-term, at any rate), I could see some people churning out items in hopes of learning the finer recipes.

Coruscant - future playground.

The question then becomes, how can we profit from it? I would argue that leveling gear might have a high value initially. A savvy crafter might get a version of the item that is best in its item range; for people looking to level their characters quickly, they might be willing to sacrifice cash for speed. There’s some up-front incentive to doing it this way. Also, don’t count out the non-preorder folks; if you pre-ordered and already can craft low- to mid-level items that are superior to anything, why not put a few up for auction? Keeping those up for a few weeks, when you’re likely one of the few people who actually have that pattern, might do well for making a good amount of money initially.

Obviously, though, this has major implications for max level crafting. I have a lot of questions, but the one I’d start with is, does the system hold true for end-game? Do we learn blue patterns from green, and epic patterns from blue? If those two are in the affirmative, then we have a very robust system in place. The material cost just to learn the epic patterns will probably be fairly high (given that it’s a Russian doll-type system), thus creating a high demand for the pieces just to create them.

What becomes even more impressive is if the system applies to raiding. If you don’t just get the pattern, but instead get a recipe for a green item that you have to craft, break down, and repeat, that offers (in addition to tedium) an even higher demand for materials. While I myself would not enjoy that as a raiding crafter, I see enough value in it for non-raiding crafters and resource farmers that it might just work. It would create an intriguing end-game, especially if you could learn all the different version of the item (i.e. dps, tank, healing) just from reverse engineering it. This would also create some level of scarcity amongst the highest echelons of crafters, allowing the most dedicated to have access to items few others have.

Look here, holo guy. You're smart. Why don't you tell me how to build a better lightsaber component?

Concerning the companions: as they do the crafting, does affection have an influence on their ability to get exceptional versions of the crafted items? This would really institute (for crafters, at any rate) a reason to really know your companions. I could see some problems as well; we know that you get some companions later in your story and therefore might have less time to build affection with them, thus putting more focus on the mission skills that get companion gifts (remember that caveat?) as a means to getting higher level patterns. It would be very interesting to know these details ahead of time – making decisions becomes even more interesting when you factor in your future ability to craft items, in addition to morality and your own personal desires.

Now, some people aren’t going to like these random systems as much – and on some level I agree with them. In addition, we still haven’t seen what the modification crafting system is (the IGN article is devoid of mentioning it, aside from getting the slots with exceptional versions of the items) or what we can do with it, nor did they indicate the, “Everything can be modded,” line we’ve heard in the past. Hopefully, in the coming days, we can get a few of these questions answered. However, I think the news is decidedly favoring crafters who prefer to get a lot of mileage out of their recipes.

Beggar’s Tip: I’m going to run a tip counter to my own interests: don’t buy low level gear. Yes, I know, you like to PVP, and yes, I know, you almost killed that dastardly player from the other side. Buying a piece of gear and sacrificing the thousands (or tens of thousands) of credits to get that one item is not really advisable, for the simple reason that you will replace that gear, frequently. Whether from getting lucky in a flashpoint, a lucky drop from mobs in the worlds, or a quest reward, it isn’t really needed. It can help; if you have the spare cash, feel free. But I can tell you (and if you read Zlatto’s piece this week, you’d know my opinion) that you will be hurting for money if you are replacing your gear on the Auction House. Now, I just need to hope no one who plays on my server reads this last paragraph.

  1. Ha! I love the last paragraph. Very good article, I am really liking your work. :)

  2. I couldn’t tell you how much gold I wasted leveling my first character on WoW 3 years ago. I didn’t know what professions were back then… but that’s the great thing with starting this MMO. We learn from past experiences to improve our gameplay, and I intend to make a profit on those unfortunate nubs that don’t read this article.

  3. Always a solid read
    It really will be an initial push by many in the servers to reverse engineer anything and everything. Learning how to determine which mods to stock pile will be the key.
    I am not a min max-er on dps/healing but I sure follow their works to help decide which items will be in demand

  4. One of your main points is the one I find most interesting to see how Bioware will implement. Will reverse engineering be able to teach one-up patterns (i.e. reversing a green item teaching a blue version of it).

    Even more interesting though is if even the high end “raid” crafted gear will have better versions that can be learned through reverse engineering. If it can this will create an incredible degree of scarcity among crafters that have the best OF the best (which will meet the interview criteria mentioned by schubert was it? swtorcrafter would know off the top of his head). More importantly, if done with great care it will create crafting gear that could potentially scale with raid gear.

    Also, have to add. Can I buy an item on the ah and reverse it to potentially get a better recipe for it? This would have interesting potential for schematics that only drop in raids.

    • All good questions. My understanding of the term “rare” is that they are going by the WoW scale, where rare = blue. I don’t remember off-hand what they are called in TOR, but I’m sure it’s something different. So yes, you learn “blue” patterns from “green” patterns by means of RE.

      As for the rest, any thing regarding end-game is pure speculation at this point. However, it would be super-cool if the answers to some of your questions were “yes!”

      As far as RE from the auction house, I would guess that’s in the affirmative. Not sure if RE applies only to crafted goods or all things (a la disenchanting). If it’s just crafted items, that would actually add some more value to low level items if they can be RE’d by someone else of the same profession.

  5. Can we get an advanced advanced schematic of an advanced schematic? Can we get a chance to add mod slots to it? Can we “learn” raid drops? So many questions, so little information. Come on BioWare just a little more xD

    I wonder if there will be legendary items in-game… they could have legendary mods that drop from any end game area (50 flashpoints, operations, level 50 planet) Of course it would be really rare. If there were legendary items… I wonder if anyone would be crazy enough to try to learn it xD

    Just a thought I wanted to get out there. Good read btw, really got me thinking about the crafting system.

  6. Grinstone says:

    Do we know if it’s only items we craft that we can reverse engineer, or is that possible for any crafted item? What about items found while doing missions or mission rewards?

    I wonder about that because, if you can reverse engineer items made by other crafters, it could create a fairly solid market for low- to mid-level items akin to disenchanting in WoW. Doubly so if reverse engineering also allows us to improve our crafting skill. Of course, if that is the case it’d also create competition for the components market.

    • In short, we don’t know. We just know you can, but the application of it are somewhat unclear. Hopefully we can get this answered soon! As always, answers simply lead to more questions.

  7. From what I recall, there is one interview at swtor.com site where one of the programmers actually state that his vision and what they are trying to do in the game is to make it so some players will be famous on each server for spesific items that they can craft.

    For me, this sounds like end game craft schematics will be EXTREMLY rare, and reserved for those lucky ones.

  8. Good read Momus.

    Curious to see if certain items that you reverse engineer will be the only things that you have potential to learn something from. Or if say items that are created from 1-50 will have a chance to teach you certain recipes. The higher, and better, your skill, the better item you can learn.

    I also want to see, and find out, if rare items you can reverse engineer have a better chance of teaching something to you, compared to the average skill up item. Because you’d think, people would just continually churn out one item to find recipes.

  9. @ownsyou’s comment. I sincerely hope they don’t make the scarcity of rare schematics based on drop rate. That has a really good chance of shafting the people who actually care about crafting. A better idea is to let reverse engineering have its random fun, but reserve long, difficult crafting questlines to gain access to the rarest schematics. That way the people who care about deep crafting not only get it, but they are rewarded for it, and everyone has an equal chance so if they don’t like the market equilibrium on an item at the GTN (auction house) they can spend time to craft their way to it.

  10. Referring to the Beggars tip:

    If you are not a crafter, why not make deals with them assuming you are willing to take up mission skills? Since the mission skills provide (among other things) rare resources for rare crafting (according to one of the media blitz, cant remember which one to cite) then trading newer greens for mats for blues (example only) will keep you up to date on gear, and your friendly crafter happy.

    Imho I think the big bottle neck will be the mission skills materials for getting really nice items crafted.

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  1. Reverse Engineering for Fun and Profit | TORWars - [...] Is this something that will interest the average crafter? My guess is that it’s going to be a necessary …

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