Nov 6, 2011

Posted by in Zlatto's Bazaar | 6 Comments

Zlatto’s Bazaar: Looking For 1M DPS… with Crew Skill X!

Zlatto’s Bazaar is the one-third Wall Street, one-third criminal empire and one-half gossip rag. You need to keep up on the Bazaar if for no other reason than to keep an eye on your competitors. Don’t be a Ho-tah and visit often.  Your comments are encouraged, especially if they make me credits…

I swear the info coming out about the game has me spinning around like a Stim-pickled SW:TOR kid.  As I sort through all the of the press articles and wait impatiently upon the Fan Site Summit to happen, I figured I would circle back to an item I read recently that really caught my eye.

From a recent article on MMORPG’s Michael Bitton (potential spoilers – beware!)

The Hammer is one of the new Flashpoints that appears to be more focused on gameplay and puzzles than the cinematic flair present in the previously revealed Black Talon and Esseles. Some bits of group dialogue precede the actual Flashpoint, but once you arrive, it plays more like a typical dungeon run. However, what really stood out about the Hammer was the way Crew Skills were used throughout the experience. Players proficient enough in certain Crew Skills could, for example, re-activate a mining drill in order to break through a wall, circumventing a good deal of the Flashpoint’s trash mobs and allowing the group to beeline for the first boss. Later on, an elevator could be sliced, though no one in the group had high enough Slicing to figure out what that would have entailed.

What I get out of that is, that in some cases, players could be leveraging their Crew Skills within the Operations or Flashpoints for value beyond just gathering resources. 

We all wondered when we saw an Imperial Agent messing with a computer terminal instead of dealing damage during the Eternity Vault video, what mechanic was really being used by the player. Anyone who isn’t an umron has to be wondering whether leveraging Cybertech on a damaged droid could also potentially create a ‘pet’ for a player. Or using your Biochem skill to create special adrenals needed to get the group down a different path and save some time.  Just think, instead of being a liability by putting the group at risk when distracted by harvesting a node, you could be sought after for the combination of your combat and non-combat skills.  So in the nicest way possible, elitists can go suck a flaming flarg nugget. They might be needing us crafting-focused players more than you think!

So what does it mean for ‘Looking For’ chat spamming?  Well, besides looking for just the right class, we could see players trying to find the right class with the right Crew Skills to either gain more value  or complete the mission with less effort.

In many previous MMOs the crafter was brought along to generate extra loot (can I get an AMEN from anyone who skinned the Beast in Blackrock Spire?) and whenever Finkle’s Skinner dropped, everyone with skinning was looking around hoping they were the only skinner.   So it’s not ground breaking for gatherers to be seen as value-adds for instance runs.  In many a run through Molten Core, there were plenty of side loot rolls for those who would skin the Core Hounds.  High-end materials that can be gathered from mobs or nodes within the end-game locations has always been one way MMO designers have tried to limit the amount of certain materials to the masses, I am just extra excited about the leveraging of the actual ‘crafting’ side at the end game.

So what are you ideas or guesses related to the way BioWare can add true utilization of our Crew Skills to bring value to the ‘raid’?

It's not about luck...

  1. Optional class skills have long been a staple in raid makeup, rogues for finding traps, rogues for distract, rogues for sap rogue rogue rouges… If they don’t spread out the ancillary skills among many classes it can make other classes less desirable especially if they fill the exact same role.

    On the other extreme required class skills such as Shadow Priest Mind Control in Naxx led to how many raids falling apart when they couldn’t find two of a specific class to finish a raid.

    Optional crew skills as a way to bypass or speed things up would be a really cool way to do it but if it comes to the expense of a bad group makeup I think you could end up seeing some very very selective groups who only want a specific class + skill. This could in turn lead less variety as people who want to play will be forced into a certain path that they might not have chosen themselves.

    Only time will tell how this could play out.

  2. @Ventu Solid point
    Just like certain crew having certain bonuses might lead to certain classes being leveraged for only certain crew skills, having a certain Flashpoint/Operation mechanic tied to a Crew Skill that works best for only ranged classes and BAM …. another limiting factor in crew skills to classes could be created.

  3. Grinstone says:

    As Ventu said, the key is that they are optional.

    I have no doubt that there will be people doing the LFG dance for someone who has a particular skill. I’ve always seen it as a bonus if someone in the group has a useful skill, without every worrying about it or planning for it.

    It’s a nice touch. I hope BioWare won’t overdo it so that one skill will become a must-have item for doing flashpoints or even operations.

  4. I am very pleased by the inclusion of these mechanics. I look forward to the day when I am running a flashpoint or operation and my crew skill that I have chosen and worked so hard on gives me the ability to do something cool for the group and make me a more valuable member of the group based on the effort I have put forth into my crew skills development.

  5. First off, I like the idea; its original and clever.
    I think Ventu has a point about min/maxers going nuts, but they always will. I recall Sunwell raiders demanding ppl get leatherworking for the drums, and pugs only taking mage/rogue/hunter for dps because of their CC. Snobs will always be snobs, but people willing to experiment will enjoy the game and mechanics, and the experimenters tend to make up the bulk of the community. This question ties in with the other blue milk Q about your opinion toward pugs; ppl willing to pug aren’t so worried about time constraints or min/maxing.

  6. I love the idea of different Crew Skills being useful in dungeon content. As Ventu said it’s an old idea at its core, though the implementation in other games was very limited; usually to one particular class rather than an optional profession. I’m really happy to see SWTOR taking something like this to the next level and giving us something new to play with.

    The inclusion of this mechanic was the final deciding factor in my decision to go with only Gathering skills on my main character (esp. Archaeology and Slicing, as they have both been mentioned as being useful in this way) to maximize my utility in this type of content. Ironically enough, it’ll be a rogue-ish Shadow-Tank. ;)

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