Some positive news about SWTOR’s crafting

Something worth talking about — finally! It feels like all I’ve come across in the past week is news about EVE or Champions Online. It’s been awful. Massively put up an interview with Daniel Erickson where he is hopefully –accurately– clarifying some of the gray areas of the crafting system in SWTOR.  If you’re unaware of my previous concerns with SWTOR’s Crafting system, I’m basically worried about it being too automated where the player is not as involved as he/she should be in order to validate the experience.  IF the player doesn’t actually have to do anything then what’s the point of being a crafter? I’m also worried that players who choose to make crafting their main vocation won’t have enough recognition for their choice which results in crafting being something that no one does or that everyone does if there are no barriers to entry.

In the interview, Erickson makes a few points:

  • Your companion characters are a ‘unit’ with you.  If you don’t want to watch the progress bar, they can.
  • Companions are indeed, as I thought they might be, like SWG factories.  The player knows how to make the item, has the schematic created, then puts the workers on task.
  • You can focus on crafting or “missions”.  I see this as a way to help isolate those who have chosen to specialize in crafting from the rest and validate their choice.
  • If you want, you can still do all the work yourself in what Erickson calls “the old-style crafting game”
  • There are rare schematics.
  • Crafters can have suppliers (this implies a similar system to SWG where things you get while hunting can improve crafting, unless I’ve read into this too far)

Lastly, here’s a point that always makes me raise an eyebrow thinking, “are you sure you want to say that?”

  • “The best stuff is always going to come from other players, and then be made by other players. There will be stuff that you can craft that is among the best stuff in the entire game. So very close to the top tier that you could get for anything.”

I’m going to hold them to that one.

Overall, this sounds good based on how it is being presented on paper.  Crafters get to specialize and set themselves apart, people can supply crafters with goods, crafters get rare schematics/recipes, it’s still possible to do it oldschool, it uses a similar system to SWG’s factories, and it sounds like they’re trying to make it less boring and more about running a business.

I get the impression that I’ll be able to choose skills for my companions (and myself?) that directly improve or favor crafting.  I can provide a schematic and materials to my companions and tell them that I want them to make 15 of the item and set them to work.  I can then go out and gather more materials or do some hunting and come back to check on their progress like I would workers in a store.

Update: See my comment below. I really don’t know what to think now after watching the crew skills video. I still like a lot of this but I’m worried it will just be something everyone does for themselves, thus diminishing the value of the social and economic benefits.

  • looks like crafting will take real time like fallen earth as well:

    So you can’t keep doing it constantly — it has a time cost. So instead of watching a progress bar for 30 seconds, you actually know, “OK, I put my companion on this, and this is going to take six hours.”

    in that interview.

    Six hours to craft something!

  • That’s pretty common in SWG for a big order. I’d often have things running overnight.

    @Pierre: I was laughing pretty hard the whole way through that.

  • Unfortunately, that video makes it look like crafting is something that EVERYONE can do on top of being able to go out and do missions. I’m hoping that crafting isn’t relegated entirely to companions. If it is, who wouldn’t have their companions craft for them while they’re out? If it truly makes the best stuff…

  • The crafting system sounds a lot more like WoW than UO/SWG, frankly. Also, while most Bioware games are amazing, crafting has always been a major weak point in them.

    Honestly, its to the point I almost wish MMOs would stop bothering with crafting.

  • @keen that video pretty much sounds to me like thats exactly what they want.. they dont want the player to craft at all you just have your one companion out with you and your other five is at the workshop crafting 24/7.

    Craftings passive it sounds like to me.

  • Keen: it all happens pretty much automatically. Crafting is more like a scavenger hunt really. Compare to say, Everquest 2’s crafting that is interactive.

  • @Pierre That video is awesome, thanks for the link.

    On topic. It may be nice if the best stuff comes from crafting, but if it’s something that everyone can do without specializing in it then it’s kind of just another grind you have to go through.

    I won’t hold my breath on the “best stuff comes from crafting” though. I’ve seen a lot of games say that but none really hold true to it.

  • I should clarify: most MMOs these days have crafting systems that are little more than obtaining recipes, gathering resources (by some manner), and then clicking a button to get your final result. That’s pretty basic.

    It sounds like SW:TOR has figured out a smart way to reach the same result without having silliness like Jedis running around snipping herbs or somesuch. So that is good.

    But in the end, it is the same kind of button press crafting as far as I can see. I give them serious points for figuring out a way to make WoW style crafting work in their license/idiom.

  • I’ll say this: the fact that they can work while you are offline is a nice step in the direction of helping people who don’t play 10 hours a day.

  • I also thought it was interesting how he mentioned crafting times of six and twenty hours. It sounds like a real time crafting queue like what Fallen Earth has. If that’s the case then it may work out well. It wouldn’t be much different, by the sounds of it, except for the fact that you’ll have to talk to your companion rather than just hit a button to pull up the crafting pane.

  • It all sounds very a nice idea but I’m not going to hold my breath on the notion that all of the best gear is going to come from crafting. Uh, what about raiding for instance? SW:TOR is a WoW-style game and there is no way BioWare are going to try and introduce a sandbox element to it. Unfortunately I think Erickson is just saying things to market and hype crafting somewhat.

  • @we fly spitfires

    They could hybrid it.. like you kill bosses and the bosses drop mats over epic loot.. then you can craft the super rare items from the mats the boss drops.

  • Keen says

    -“I still like a lot of this but I’m worried it will just be something everyone does for themselves, thus diminishing the value of the social and economic benefits.”

    Damian Shubert has clarified this point:

    “players can have up to three crew skills but only one of those can be a crafting skill. The fictional reason is that you only can have room for one crafting table on your ship, but the real reason is that we don’t want all players to be self-sufficient.”

  • Keen thanks for the updates. I love the comments here. Saves me having to trawl forums, one of my least favourite activities.

  • Well I think this is a horrible idea. Not just from a crafting being more or less completely automated.

    You have an entire crew to pick from to go with you on missions? This is just a normal BioWare RPG that they are making online.

    The more I hear the more I’m not willing to pay a monthly fee for this.

  • Sound more like SWG crafting system.
    Also looks like you can have up to 5 crew members (pets).
    I bet you can level them up also.
    Also it leaves the impression that crafting will be more real time. Say it takes 30 hours to craft a blaster. 40 hours to craft a speeder.