SWTOR’s Crafting sounds like…

SWTOR’s “crafting” (I’ll tell you why it’s in quotes in a second) was semi-revealed.  I’m getting my info on it from Darth Hater, so let’s hope the info is legit.

The gist of what we know about crafting comes down to this:

“Using their ship as a base of operations, players will be able to send their companions on crafting tasks, and particular companions excelling at specific duties.”

Essentially, you have companions that are AI controlled; you tell them what to do — like go out and gather you something or make you something; they do it.  When in your ship they can craft or be sent out to do missions, go out and gather, make something, and all of this can be done even when you’re offline.  When you’re online they can gather with you so that they are the ones picking the flowers while you watch them do it.

So why did I put crafting in quotes?  Because I think it’s closer to being a slave master than crafting.  It sounds very passive to me, but not all bad.

Different? Check.
Keeping with the feel that Darth Vader wouldn’t pick flowers? Check.
Dangerously close to automated? Check.
Additional reliance upon companion characters? Check.
Instanced and withdrawn feel? Maybe a Check.

I feel like it definitely needs to be fleshed out or explained better.  Right now it sounds like you sit in your ship and send your underlings out to gather things and they bring it back to you.  Then you tell them to make something and they do it.  That’s not actually ‘playing’ the game if you can just go afk.  Maybe if the companions weren’t doing it all, like if they brought you back metal after you found the location (like as steady supply after you survey and area) but then you had to experiment with it or refine it and create a schematic for it and -then- give it to your companions for them to manage the production.  It would be more like SWG, that way the companions would become factories that you insert your schematic into or harvesters you supply with energy, but you still went through the effort and had the hands-on role of creating something.

It’s different which is a good thing and I know what they’re trying to do by making you feel like you’re the important person and not the one doing menial tasks, but any time you remove the player participating in the game you’re asking for trouble.  Bioware is borderline making crafting sound like an afterthought.

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Howdy Doody - November 5, 2010

“Keeping with the feel that Darth Vader wouldn’t pick flowers? Check.”

Hahhaha. I got a chuckle out of that. Very nice.

silvertemplar - November 5, 2010

I feel if an MMO is not going to -all the way- with crafting, then they might as well do this. You either make crafting an afterthought, gimmicky side-activity or you do it properly like in EVE where the entire economy is run on it and players can do -just- that as their primary activity.

I feel the same way about Player housing, every MMO is just fluff. Only MMO that went all the way was Star Wars Galaxies with the houses right there in your face for all to see and enter. You either do housing the SWG way , or it’s an afterthought and gimmick. Simple.

So i rather have them automate this than make it some painful grind mechanism for the odd end game potion or enchant [which is not a fun nor exciting activity at all, i’m looking at you Blizzard] .

Epiny - November 5, 2010

I think we are going to have to wait and see on this one. My knee jerk reaction is that it will be mainly automated. It seems like Bioware is going out of their way to remove any potentially “unfun” activity from the game. The problem is that after a certain point you automate the entire game.

I don’t love WoW’s crafting but I don’t hate it either. Honestly my favorite to date is Aion’s.

Keen - November 5, 2010

@Silvertemplar: I agree with you. If they’re not going to do it right and go all the way then they might as well just automate it with their companion system and forget about it. Heck, might as well not have it at all.

If done poorly it could be nothing more than a “Crap I have to log in to reset my companions so that I don’t miss out on optimizing my resource gathering!” — that would be a tedious application and a downside of going this route.

Snafzg - November 5, 2010

Super rich and “important” people at Nike don’t make the shoes that make them rich… they have a chain of command and employee heirarchy that takes care of it for them!

This sounds less like slavemastering and more like Corporate America. 😛

Keen - November 5, 2010

@Snafzg: Synonymous.

Snafzg - November 5, 2010

Hehe, once I posted that, I was kind of like, “Hey! Wait a minute…” 😛

But yeah, you could argue this is kind of a more modern take on crafting. Rather than being the peon collecting the mats and making the goods, you’re the project manager or boss in charge of your crafting “business.”

It actually seems quite fitting for the SW universe. However, if I remember correctly, I think jedi are supposed to go out and find the crystals for their own lightsabers. And I guess you could say that young Ani did build C-3PO with his own hands. Beyond that, I think most of the manufacturing was done by slaves/robots/employees.

Renko - November 5, 2010

If crafting is sounding like borderline afterthought then it can join space combat and endgame in that category.

Keen - November 5, 2010

I think space combat is more of a tack-on than an afterthought. Crafting is something we expect to be there, whereas space combat is something added for them to say “we have space combat!”

Dril - November 5, 2010

Isn’t it dreadful that an “MMO” that’s focusing so heavily on story isn’t going to have full-on sandbox crafting? What with all their other announcements of a huge open world, player-controlled economy and player politics I’m absolutely shocked they haven’t got a full-featured crafting system.

Crafting an afterthought in a story-driven MMO? What next? PvE an afterthought in a sandbox PvP MMO?

Keen - November 5, 2010

I see what you tried to do there.

Sarnar - November 5, 2010

“[…]when they are adventuring with me and I see a gathering node in the world, I can right click on that. Rather than my character going over to that node and performing that gathering action, you’ll see what you saw in our screenshot today that the companion character performs that action.”

That quote makes me think that most of the gathering will be done in the open world outside of your ship, while the crafting will be a more passive process. In all honesty, it sounds similar to most systems out there, except for a few speculations:

1. An individual may be able to craft in different professions (different companions with different tradeskills)

2. You won’t have to sit at the craft screen watching the bar ever so slowly move as you grind your profession (DAOC anyone?)

3. Crafting an item may take longer than usual (Your passive companions are on the ship doing you **** work while you’re out being awesome.)

All in all I wouldn’t call it extremely innovative, but it is still fresh enough to perk my brow. Falling in suit with Bioware’s mantra of not reinventing the wheel, instead making it roll more smoothly.

Keen - November 5, 2010

What I understood from it was that you could find stuff to harvest while out exploring and you can have your companions grab it while you’re out AND/OR you can be in your ship and send them out to do it automatically.

I agree with your three assumptions. It’s different for sure, which is good. Hopefully not too automated (which is bad), is all I’m saying.

It’s worth noting that the “companions” are becoming more and more mandatory. At first they were going to be an optional sidekick to bring along in groups to help supplement what you were missing. Now they are the means by which you do things like harvesting/crafting.

Sarnar - November 5, 2010

Now that I think of it, it’ll probably be a mix of both. And yes, companions are going to be a big part of the game. You won’t have to bring them. But if you want to craft, min/max, your pvp, have a stunningly intimate romantic relationship with a an AI, you’re going to be forced to use them.

coppertopper - November 5, 2010

It’s hard to make a judgment call yet. Strangely enough, with all the great crafting systems in EQ2, SWG, and LOTRO, noone has mentioned Atlantica Online which, although basic, is the only system which is able to recycle dropped,crafted, and equipped items. It deserves a mention when examining successful and fun MMO crafting systems.

Intruder313 - November 5, 2010

I quite like the idea; I’m not a big fan of crafting (seems like a very easy time-sink for the Devs to setup) in any game and it absolutely does not fit in Star Wars beyond tweaking your Lightsabre or maintaining your ship.

People should be swashbuckling and fighting, not fecking about with bits of cloth and tin and then manipulating the AH.

Dblade - November 5, 2010

What’s funny is that this already has been done. Final Fantasy Tactics had the “dispatch” missions where you’d send off one of your clan members away like this. I think other games have done something like this too.

Not sure how it will work out, it’s not so much the method, as whether or not crafted gear is vital.

Chris - November 6, 2010

I think the more I hear about SWOTR, the more I think it is worth looking at Mass Effect and Dragon Age to find out what they are trying to pull. Crafting in Mass Effect was more about finding bits of data or files during adventuring and then bringing them back to your ship where you mated them up to resource you gathered in the ‘minigame’ (that part sucked) and then played another minigame the craft out the item. I would not at all be surprised if there was some enabling item that you needed to gather while adventuring or exploring and once mated up with resources gathered by your companions, you have to play a minigame aboard your ship to craft.

My point I think is that although the above is complete speculation, I think companies tend to stick with what they know and everything I hear about SWOTR makes me think Mass Effect(+).

p.s. I don’t think that is a bad thing. I loved Mass Effect 1 & 2..both were heavily story driven experiences with some forgettable minigame portions. If they can retain the combat feel and story and make the minigames more interesting (think of Space Combat as a ME/DA style minigame), than I am there.

Wren - November 6, 2010

This sounds kind of… well, let’s be blunt… Lame. While yes, it is tedious to sit and make tons and tons and tons of the same object. Yes, I played WoW, and yes, I bought tons of mats from the AH and churned out useless item after useless item in an effort to turn a profit. (I apologize for typos… I am, … mmm… semi-incapacitated atm) It is kind of nice to say, “Hey… peon #18.25 — go get me (useless item X) so I can make (semi-useless item B).” On the other hand it does take away somewhat from the hands-on-ness of most MMO’s, where it is you, yourself, making the items.

I hate to divulge in to collegiate historical jargon — but it reminds me somewhat of the proto-industrial systems of the pre-enlightenment, post-reformation period in Europe: where capitalists (the player) would get materials and the means of production (ie. tools), and then tell rural peons (companions) “hey, make (this) for me out of the materials I’m giving you, with the tools I’m supplying.” And they would, and you would pay them. In this case I guess feeding them and keeping them on your ship is enough payment.

But yeah… I don’t know… This seems severely automated and thus… mmm… marginalized, or… not unimportant — crafting is important… but it does seem subordinated to other modes of gameplay if your peons can do all the work for you, leaving you free to oppress people or do whatever you please.

TL;DR — there is none. Read it. 😛

Epiny - November 6, 2010


The problem is a healthy economy is a key factor in the success of any MMO, and crafted items are typically the most reliable way to ensure a stable and healthy economy.

Also some people DO like crafting and don’t view it as a time sink, by time sink I assume you mean something that eats up time that you DON’T enjoy doing. I love some crafting systems, and hate others. I don’t care for WoW’s but I love Aion’s.

For a game to truly flourish as a MMO is must be an Online World, not an Online Game. An economy is crucial to creating this world.

Scott - November 6, 2010

I’m ok with some automation for crafting, and possibly other systems as well. At no point playing MMORPGs do I forget that I’m playing an RPG, which means what happens is a result of my character’s abilities and skills, not my own. It’s my character who gets better at crafting, not me, so why *should* I have to sit there staring at progress bars instead of playing the game? *IF* I wanted to truly go up the crafting chain, why couldn’t I start off as a lonely peon gathering materials and building items, working my way up until I can eventually start my own business, which means a storefront in town (not in my house, unless I want it there) and hire some NPC employees to do the grunt work for me? In the case of Star Wars, that’s a high-tech setting so why wouldn’t I have droids or simply automated machinery (think Uncle Owen’s equipment on his moisture farm on Tatooine) to handle gathering and some assembly? It makes sense and it also opens up the possibility of moving from the gather/combine minigame into a “crafting end-game” so to speak.

But hey, I’m talking actual virtual world stuff here. SWTOR is “just a game.”

Salaryn - November 6, 2010

It sounds like Survey Droids in Galaxies. Except,you send them off to see if a resource is someplace, but then you get to go mine it.

I thought I had read someplace that crafting was to be more like World of Warcraft crafting than anything. Guess they trimmed that concept back a bit.

Zubon - November 6, 2010

I’m not sure the distinction is there to be made, except the perception. Perception matters, but it reads to me like:

– you click the node and your character harvests it: interactive, good
– you click the node and your companion harvests it: non-interactive, bad
– you click your crafting menu and your character makes a sword: interactive, good
– you click your crafting menu and your companion makes a sword: non-interactive, bad

I am just not that emotionally tied to which sprite on the screen moves the imaginary blacksmith hammer. It is not as if WoW or LotRO have anything more interactive in their crafting: menu, click, sword pops out.

Keen - November 6, 2010

I read it more as you sit in your ship, a little window comes up, you choose “go get me metal” and over the course of X amount of time you receive Y amount of metal from having told your companion to go get it.

The part where you’re actually out and telling them to gather and interacting is fine with me. I don’t really mind it.

I’m also not too worried if they make it like SWG which could be perceived as automated but far from it. It’s how they tie it all together.

The absolute bottom line is that we have way too little information. It sounds extremely automated right now, but it might just be poorly communicated.

MMORefugee - November 6, 2010

I didn’t really have any high expectations about crafting from TOR so Im not really upset by this news. It sounds like s slightly different spin on some common crafting mechanics.

What concerns me though is the companions, more specificaly pvp and companions. How many games struggle with severe lag issues in large scale pvp today? Now imagine all those people plus one companion running around too for each of them.

Keen - November 6, 2010

@MMOREfugee: You actually gave yourself the answer to your concern indirectly. There WON’T be any large-scale PvP.

Shadrah - November 6, 2010

This just in: SWTOR an MMORTS in disguise? With this level of information, that’s how it almost sounds. I expect to be sitting in this topdown view micro’ing my companions. I’m sure it won’t be that way, but that’s how this system sounds. Oddly enough.

MMORefugee - November 6, 2010

@Keen yeah, I’m kind of banking on no real pvp. So many peopel seem to think it’s going to be there though.

Shadrah - November 6, 2010

The way they’re describing the setting for this game I would be pretty heavily disappointed if there was no real PvP. It’s not Star Wars if the Rebels and The Empire aren’t killing each other. This is set in the past before that, I think, but still. You can’t have Sith and Jedi without there being a struggle between them. That would make the distinction of factions pointless.

Dblade - November 6, 2010

http://www.massively.com/2010/11/05/star-wars-the-old-republic-warzones-and-wizards-rename/ has the info or at least part of it about PvP. I didn’t watch the video but maybe that will help with how it plays.

Epiny - November 6, 2010

Shadrah I’m sure there will be instant pvp to queue for.

Joy-Energiser - November 7, 2010

This is great.I don’t know how anyone haver ever found the actual ACT of harvesting/Gathering materials for crafting fun…..EVER.Pve and Pvp is an actual activity with interaction and possible reactionary responses and meaning, so is the actual act of crafting the item.The gathering part is not, its mundane and pointless and it destroys any fun an MMO has to offer.

It really is beyond me how anyone has ever found the actual act of gathering/harvesting fun.The actual act of crafting on the other hand, is infinitely more bearable.

If from what I understand from this information is correct, then I am already much closer to jumping into this game that I previously was.

TheeNickster - November 7, 2010

The best examples of an automated vs an un-automated crafting example are EQ2 and WoW:

In WoW, you gathered a truckload of mats, told your toon to make 300 of said item, and watched some TV while he did that.

EQ2 had an involved crafting mini-game instead. It was fun at first, but by level 50 the mini-game was long mastered and had become a grind. Combine that with the fact that you had to craft for hours to gain a level and you grew to hate that mini-game.

So when you tell me SWTOR’s crafting is automated my first response is “good!”. As usual, the real 64,000 question with crafting is: Will it be useful enough to be worth bothering with?

Epiny - November 7, 2010

I don’t know how you can go on a 1 1/2 paragraph rant about how gathering isn’t fun and then go into how crafting is fun without realizing the entire thing is subjective.

Shadrah - November 7, 2010

@Epiny Instanced PvP is not REAL PvP. It’s a minigame. I’m talking about invasions. Colony wars. That kind of thing. Something you would expect from the Star Wars universe. Not “Oh, queue up for this random minigame PvP setting and then the rest of the time you’re friends with your most hated enemies”. If this game doesn’t offer the setting Star Wars always has, which is two factions brutally at war, it’s not going to be very good.

Freshmeat - November 7, 2010

I am in the ‘like’ category for this. I find gathering materials a waste of a very valuable resoure ‘time’. I get to develop my own NPC’s so they can be better and help me, rather than have to level 5 alts to do crafting – Check for me.

I would much rather have one fully developed character, than 5 also rans in a web of crafting. To me that would mean I would become far more immersed in that character. As soon as I have to level up another charcter in any MMO, they all start to lose some of that immersion.

Now to just work out which class to play 🙂

Balthazar - November 7, 2010

@ Joy

Some of the most fun I ever had in WoW was running around trying to find mining nodes and fighting over them with horde characters trying to do the same thing.

Requiring players to gather resources gives them an extra incentive to explore the world and go places besides the usual quest hubs and questing/grinding areas. It also can potentially give players a resource to fight over with other factions.

In my opinion, I prefer the virtual worlds that I play in to have more people running around doing things…not less.

Epiny - November 8, 2010

@Shadrah, that was sarcasm on my part. Sorry. I agree but I don’t believe SWTOR will have anything like what you describe.

Pierre - November 8, 2010

@Wren lolwut?

Just because crafting/gathering doesn’t work EXACTLY like Games A B or C, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun in itself.

UnSub - November 8, 2010

@Drill: how well do you think a player-controlled economy works with a flawed player crafting system?

In SWOR’s case it all depends on execution, but sitting the relevant companion down so they can roll on a RNG for rare loot sounds like a curious approach for something called ‘crafting’.

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