Dec 27, 2011

Posted by in Breakdown | 13 Comments

Breakdown: Crew Skills 101 – Gettin’ Your Craft On!

Breakdown is designed to to fill that stressful void while Star Wars: The Old Republic is down for maintenance. Each Tuesday morning, we’ll look at a topic and try to break it down to the basics. In the end, we hope to educate, entertain, and prevent you from having your own Breakdown!

This is the first edition of Breakdown since Star Wars: The Old Republic officially launched. So while many of you now have hands-on experience with some of the game systems and how they work, we still get many questions. In particular, the Crew Skills system seems to solicit the most, possibly because it’s one of the more innovative features in the game. So, In this edition of Breakdown, we thought we’d take the opportunity to cover the crafting system! This article is actually part 1 of this 2 part Breakdown, there’s just so much to cover! Oh, and if you’re already a crafting guru, you might want to spend some time over at Zlatto’s Bazaar – that Toydarian will show you what it really means to be a merchant!

Basic Training!

First off let’s start with defining some terms. Some of these may be familiar to you or similar to other games, and some are unique to TOR.

Resource Node: A resource node is an object in the game world (which varies by the type of gathering skill you have) that you or your companion can interact with to get extract materials used in the crafting process.

Schematics: This is the general term for the instructions on how to craft a specific item. You buy schematics from your chosen crafting skill trainer. There are also other ways to obtain schematics, such as rewards for missions, purchased on the GTN or through reverse engineering, explained below. Once you know a schematic, you never need to buy it again.

Crew Skills

Crew Skills Management

Crew Skills Management

In TOR, this is what the crafting system is called. Why? Because you won’t be the one doing the work! Your companions create all of your items back in the workshop on your starship (even before you have it, somehow!) By default when you right click on a resource node in the world, your companion will mine it. You can shift-right click and you will harvest it yourself. You can have up to 3 Crew Skills on a single character, only one of which can be a crafting skill. You can access your Crew Skills interface by pressing the ‘N’ key, or clicking the icon that looks like a diamond in the upper center menu.

Crafting Skills: This one of the three subsets of Crew Skills. There are 6 total crafting skills in the game, and these are the skills you will need to produce items. You are only allowed to have 1 crafting skill per character. The six skills are: Armormech, Armstech, Artifice, Biochem, Cybertech, and Synthweaving.

Gathering Skills: The second type of Crew Skills are the gathering skills and there are four of them in-game. These skills give you the ability to gather materials from a resource node of the appropriate type, and also to send your companions off on a gathering missions for the chance to return a certain type of material.  You can have anywhere between 0 and 3 gathering skills per character. The four skills are: Archaeology, Bioanalysis, Scavenging, and Slicing.

Mission Skills: These are a fairly unique addition to the TOR crafting system. There are four of these in game, and like gathering skills, you can have anywhere between 0 and 3 of them per character. These are special missions you send your companions on and can return crafting resources, adjust your light side/dark side standing and more. The various mission skills are Investigation, Diplomacy, Underworld Trading and Treasure Hunting.

Reverse Engineering: “RE” is the ability to take an item you have crafted (or of a similar type that was dropped as loot in the world) and to disassemble it into one of the components you used to make it. This button is located in your inventory, and when toggled, items that can be reverse engineered will be highlighted, and the other items in your inventory will be greyed out.

To Recap!

So just to clarify, you can have 3 crew skills per character, but only one of them can be a crafting skill. But, if you wanted, you could have any other combination, such as 3 gathering skills or 3 mission skills. For my Jedi Knight with which I wanted to craft lightsaber parts, I took Artifice, Archaeology, and Treasure Hunting. This allowed me to create anything my crafting skill threw at me.

You can find out more general information from the official website for Star Wars: The Old Republic under the Game Info -> Game Systems -> Crew Skills tab, or click [HERE].

In the next Breakdown article, we’re going to go into Crew Skills 102 – Synergy! We will talk specifically about what each craftingskill produces, which gathering and mission skills work well with them, and which ones benefit which class; and it will all be formatted in a handy-dandy laminated reference sheet!*

*Lamination not included.

Hopefully this helped those of you who are new to Star Wars: The Old Republic to become acclimated to how the crafting system here is different from other games. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below, or if you feel we got something wrong, please let us know! And remember, join us here next week at Ask A Jedi for another Breakdown!.


  1. Nice setup and ready to go for part 2.
    Although a question keeps popping up when i’m trying to RE a weapon of any kind.

    I’ve got Armstech and somehow not every weapon can be RE’ed…?
    Care to explain? (again? :P )

    • Generally speaking mostly items that you create can be RE’d. Now sometimes other items can be RE’d but i’m not sure of how it figures what non crafted items you can RE.
      It looks to me like it’s items of the same type that you can create at about the same level as your skill but I can’t prove that.

      • I’ve forgotten to state that I can RE every selfmade weapon, but can’t RE every world drop (green/blue/purple/orange). :)

        • Lord Paladin says:

          From what I can guess based on the design of the game, what makes sense is that you can RE items that have schematics in game. Now not all schematics can be purchased from your trade skill vendor. Underworld Trading/Slicing/etc… can net you schematics. REing world drops is just another way to get these same schematics.

  2. I’m allready available 2 click the play button by now :p

  3. Servers are still offline though..

  4. Can you get recipes by RE’ing looted items? Or is it just from crafted?

    • Yes! When you reverse engineer at item, you have a chance to learn how to make a better version of that item! See this for a few more details: http://www.askajedi.com/2011/12/01/zlattos-bazaar-reverse-engineering-theorycrafting

      • Thanks! I had been thinking only crafted items could be RE’d to reveal a new recipe. Now choosing to sell loot will be a more difficult decision.

        Can Armortech RE to learn Custom gear? Same question for Armstech, although I think the answer is no.

        • Lord Paladin says:

          The part that makes the decision really difficult is that if you want to USE what you’re REing, or a component of it, then you risk just losing it. You have a certain % chance of learning, or else just getting mats for it.

      • I believe you can only learn new schematics when you RE items that are crafted. I’m not sure how you could learn something from a random world drop, since it is not a schematic you already have. I could be wrong, of course.

        From my experience, REing items that are crafted has a chance for you to learn a better version. REing items that drop, simply gives you another way to get mats.

        • Lord Paladin says:

          I’ve done this several times with lightsaber components, specifically crystals. But see my other comment above about schematics, and of course Zlatto’s article that Lethality linked.

    • I have actually looted a blue item schematic. It was a drop from a hard mob with the silver symbol. At first I thought it was a mod drop but it ended up being a schematic and not a profesion that I have.

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