Dec 15, 2011

Posted by in Zlatto's Bazaar | 12 Comments

Zlatto’s Bazaar: Doing Nothing Is Profitable

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…

When it comes to playing a merchant class style character, you face some grind like any average player. A player’s skill progression in most MMOs depends on the money, effort, time and skill. In most games, these dependencies have always created a feeling of toil and effort over being a hero. I was fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time testing out crafting mechanics in Star Wars: The Old Republic during beta. The numbers can always be adjusted but the concepts behind them should still be in play now that the game has launched.

Doing Nothing Is Profitable?

Ok, so I cannot state with certainty that the economics in the game will make all crafting professions profitable. Heck, the only guarantees right now might be Slicing and maybe certain Treasure Hunting selections. The mechanism of a truly profitable MMORPG economy are high-brow topics covered by Momus and all his crazy spreadsheets over at Blasters, Beggers & Credits. But there is more to profit than just credits my impatient  scrag-enders. Remember the famous Toydarian saying, “Time is Money.” In this regard I can clearly state that crafting, in its current iteration in TOR, is profitable.

 

We’ve all seen that we can continue to quest as our minions… er, ah I mean valued companions, craft for us. We also know of the ability to queue up to five items each so our companions can craft for us even when we are off-line. Both of these options leave the player free to either quest of go off-line while work is still getting done. That is saving time, and therefore profitable. But wait! There is a third option which is really the pivotal point of this diatribe.

Crafting while in a Cantina – otherwise know as gaining rested experience while still playing the game. I tested this out extensively. At level 10 my character was gaining one rest experience point for every 25 seconds of just standing in the cantina. I spent a relaxing hour working up my mats, sending out my companions to missions and talking in chat with my guild. In that hour, I leveled my Crew Skills at an impressive clip and earned a nice piece of rest experience in the process. Everything you need to craft can either be purchased ahead of time from Crew Skill vendors (Flux, Thread, etc), and in one case the Crew Skill vendor was even located right in the cantina.

All About The Credits

If you have the credits and looking to level up Mission skills, you can send your associates out on missions whose objective is to retrieve the same mats you would have to buy. Sure, it might cost a bit more to have your companion fetch something from an abandoned moon in the corner of the galaxy than it cost you to purchase it from the hot Twi’lek across the market, but remember a true merchant player is all about min/max. If it cost you 100 credits more for a stack of Flux gathered via mission I think it might be worth it. It’s like buying up your skill and one thing a merchant player always looks for are ways to maximize their leveling speed. That, my young merchant padawans, is a win in my book no matter how I look at it.

Creating a Crafting Presence

My last thought goes out to all of you role-players out there including our buddy Sa’Chi over at All the Galaxy’s a Stage. Star Wars: The Old Republic giving  rest xp bonuses while cantina crafting is a huge lift to the concept of a RP merchant class. Sitting in a Cantina booth, able to talk in /Trade, or eventually using a chat bubble will enable those RP merchants to create a fun and immersive experience where they can conduct business in a heroic fashion.

Behind the scenes, your serfs are able to craft items on command. With a simple wave of your hand your crew are off to do your bidding. To continue the heroic RP merchant vision, the most recent build allows players’ companions access to the ship’s cargo hold so you never need to run back to the bank for the rare materials, which in turn allows the player to keep their bags full of just gathering materials and not wasting space with crafting materials.

The heroic merchant player ‘feel’ is also there for when your prospective sucker walks up to you and hands you materials, but is perhaps short on one or two temporarily-expensive items. In my tests, the crew see no difference between what you have in your bags versus in the cargo hold. If your client has the specific materials needed for their purchase except for one item you have in the cargo hold it makes no difference. The moment you select an item to craft, your personal inventory and cargo hold are joined for the purpose of meeting the material requirements to craft.

These small but thoughtful changes will enable even a light RP style player like myself to enjoy merchant immersion. What are your thoughts? Will there be a heroic crafting experience to be found in TOR?

  1. how do you queue up crafting so it keeps going when your offline?

    • Just keep clicking on the make button and it will queue up to 5 items for crafting. It doesn’t work for mission skills though.

    • I am not 100% sure but I think if you click the craft button multiple times it puts them in a qeue and they will craft even when you go offline.

      Hope this works!

      – Marathons

  2. Lord Paladin says:

    Great article. I’ve started doing all my crafting form rest areas.

  3. Master_Allan says:

    I hope they make an iphone application so you can micromanage your crew skills even when you are NOT online. it would make playing a merchant MUCH easier, faster, and less hassle.

    • I’ve been thinking about this concept also for a long time, and I think if they will add this it will be a huuuge advantage for crafting and maybe even I will end up crafting alot :p On the other hand, the markt might be flooded with items when everyone starts crafting on their mobile phones when not online in the game..

  4. I wounder if you can haggle with the RP venders ?

  5. You can also send your crew on mission quests while you’re doing PvP. Send him out before you queue, when he comes back during the match just send him right back out again each time. You make about 1,000 credits per PvP match at level 10 (I’ve been as low as 750 per match and as high as 1,400 below level 15), so you’re making a solid amount of credits, getting mats or companion gifts, crafting items, and earning experience all at the same time. It’s a win, win, win, win, win scenario. Unless of course you lose the PvP match because you’re too busy paying attention to your skills to realize you just caught the Huttball.

  6. I liked this post.
    One of the things I’ve planned for my RP character is to play the markets. But I’ve thinking more along the lines of buying and selling (with a profit)on some form of auction house. Is there one/ will there be one? Haven’t checked it out yet. I’m focusing on leveling at the moment.
    So I will most likely only have my minions gather materials rather than crafting. Because there will always be a market for those who seek to craft but can’t be bothered to gather material…Even if it’s their companions who does the work for them.

    Any thoughts on my approach or helpful tips of any sort is most welcome.

    • Do you see yourself selected a cantina on a high traffic world and creating a ‘presence’ for in game RP merchant efforts?

      • I’m not sure what you mean. (English is only my second language). But I don’t think I’ll have any one place I’ll be located. My character will do more that merchant-stuff. And I don’t plan to do any face-to-face transactions. More of a stock market kind-of focus. So if there is some natural hub (in-game) for that sort of thing… I guess I’ll hang around that place a lot.
        And I sure would like to get some kind of networking going with other traders. Even if it’s the stereotypical false friendship that businessmen/women tend to have.

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