[SWTOR] More impressions, is crafting broken, locating screenshots

There’s a dilemma that hits every gaming blogger when a new release comes out and you have limited time. And that is how much time to spend playing vs how much time to spend blogging about it.

cammal

I’ve been playing a fair amount of SWTOR lately, and am unashamedly really enjoying the game. Particular high points so far have been:

  • Class quests. A storyline doesn’t have to be brilliantly original if it’s well told, and these generally are. Arb and I were up late the other night, reminding each other that we needed to go to bed … but just wanting to find out what the next twist in the story was. The storytelling is clever (or manipulative if you prefer) in encouraging you to relate emotionally to what is going on. For example, I found out my contact was under attack by my current enemy and stormed back across the city to let nothing stand in my way as I wiped them out – which is quite appropriately vengeful for a sith warrior really. One of my guildies  decided to switch from darkside to lightside because of lore and something that happened in his class storyline. Scott Jennings relates the point where he succumbed to the lure of the dark side. (I think he’s playing Sith Warrior and I think I know the part he means.) At the same time, no story is going to have this effect on a player unless the player is willing to immerse themselves and allow it to happen. If you hate reading, point out the plot flaws in horror films in the middle of the cinema, and think its lame to care about stories then you’re going to have a very different experience. I did also like the suggestion I read somewhere on rpg.net that if you are a Sith Warrior, any time someone gives you a quest you should have the conversation option to execute them for insubordination. (It would make for a short game, but a bloody one.)
  • Characterisation of NPCs. Not all of them, for sure, but the writing and voice acting means they don’t have to be just blobs giving out quests if you’re willing to go with it. I do also quite like my class companions, it might be different if you hated them. Grand Moff Kilran (in the Black Talon Flashpoint) also has the most punchable voice of anyone I’ve ever met. I so hope you get to beat him up at some point. We had more fun in that flashpoint when we agreed we all hated him and picked all the most belittling responses we could.
  • Companions. It’s funny how my responses to quests are affected by which companion is with me. Vette likes it when I tell quest givers they are idiots and give them lip. Quinn approves of being polite to quest givers, especially if they are empire military types. He really is a Young Conservative at heart so I doubt that romance is going anywhere – on the other hand he’s also really really useful and keen to help and offer advice and he gets amusingly tongue tied if you flirt with him. Plus he’s a healer.
  • Group quests: we’ve done some as guild runs, others with random people, but they’re a nice way to switch up the feel from solo questing if you feel like it. The rewards are also good, but optional.
  • Flashpoints: As above. The social conversation mechanic is fun in practice, and far less irritating than you might think from reading about it. I haven’t run all of the flashpoints so far, because the way they are laid out (you have to go back to the fleet etc) tends to break up the flow of questing. But it hasn’t been hard to find groups when I have wanted to, and it’s been fun to have content to run with guildies when we are feeling sociable.
  • Guild! It’s fun to be guilded with some fellow bloggers, some of whom I’ve never played with before. So I’m enjoying the socialising, hanging out on guild chat or voice chat.
  • The morality: This is bound to be vaguely controversial because the light side/ dark side choices don’t have much effect in terms of game mechanics and the general shape of the storyline won’t change much either. And yet, I think more about the stories and the choices I make. Some of them I see discussed more widely because players disagree with the writing. I hope at least one of the quests will be as discussion-priming as the demon possessed boy in DAO. And the fact that’s possible is why I love the morality meter. And because it makes me think more about my character and where she’s coming from (she’s a spoilt sith aristo who takes lightside choices because she /can/ rather than out of any deep affiliation. And yet, sparing people just because you can may be a step on the path to something better …)

Find the screenshot

If you are wondering where SWTOR puts its screenshots, check two things:

  • Under preferences, check what key is bound to the ‘take screenshot’ option, it may not be the one you are used to.
  • On WinXp, the screenshot directory is My Documents/ Star Wars – The Old Republic/ Screenshots

Is Crafting broken in SWTOR?

Here is the current issue with SWTOR crafting: there is one gathering skill that makes money as if it was going out of fashion, with no associated risk. It is Slicing. If you just want to make money and don’t care about making stuff, take Slicing as one of your crew skills and send all your companions off to find lockboxes all of the time. You will eventually make good bank.

It’s not that all the other craft skills are bad. Cybertech and Biochem in particular can make plenty of things that people will buy. I’ve made enough from Biochem (I can sell implants as fast as I can make them, nothing else really sells so far) to buy my speeder training et al so it’s not by any means bad, but you have to work at it. They just probably won’t make as much as you would from Slicing because you have to acquire materials and then take the risk that a) other people won’t buy your stuff from the auction house or b) competition will drive prices down so that you won’t make much of a profit.

Armormech, Synthweaving, Armsmech and Artificing all make plenty of nice gear that is at least as good as anything you will find elsewhere. But there is competition from quest rewards, PvP gear, and drops from flashpoints.

At the end of the day, it’s the lack of risk in Slicing – it’s guaranteed money – which makes it so unbalanced.

It will also be interesting to see the effects of Slicing on the market. There are fewer people crafting to sell on the AH at the moment because the game is new out, and lots of people take gathering skills (incl. Slicing) as they level. But the prices they sell at are set by the Slicers since they have most money to spend on the AH.

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12 thoughts on “[SWTOR] More impressions, is crafting broken, locating screenshots

  1. I think mostly the lack of people selling stuff on the AH is because it is such a horrible place to search for anything. You have to know what you want to buy, browsing or stumbling over things is really annoying. I sell stuff on it (gems mostly) but i’ve given up finding anything myself

  2. The AH is pretty crappy. I also think people are more worried about leveling up than they are about selling stuff either, so there’s just not a whole lot out there for sale either.

  3. Speaking as someone who took Slicing on his main character and has nearly maxed it out… it’s not as bad as some people are making it out to be. The returns from Slicing missions are pocket change for mid to high level characters – it costs me 1500-1700 credits to send a companion on a high tier mission, it takes 30 minutes to complete and at the end of most of them I break even or make a couple of hundred credits, occasionally I get nothing at all and sometimes it crits and I get a box with up to 5000 credits. At level 28, I’m making more of my money from quesating and looting than Slicing.

    However, because crew skills aren’t gated by level in TOR it means that low level characters have access to pocket change for high levels, which is rather more than pocket change from them. It’s having the same economic effect as people mailing cash from their max level characters to new alts, which is No Big Deal in most games – it’s just happening a bit earlier in TOR.

  4. Confuzzling Quinn with flirts is the most fun thing ever.

    I have to admit, I’m probably part of the crafting problem since I’m also a slicing taker. I have Synthweaving, Archaeology, and Slicing, and I use the profits from slicing to buy metals from Underworld Trading to keep Synthweaving. Because my guild has a fair number of people (and a dazzling number of alts), we’re hoping to be in-house self-sufficient and craft everything the guild needs, rather than relying on buying gear the auction house or random drops from flashpoints. (I’ve run Black Talon 6 times with guildies and I got ONE Juggernaut armor drop. Phoo.) But until the rest of them get crew skills at higher levels, I basically have to use slicing money to buy AH materials.

    • You’re not part of the problem, and good luck with the guild ;) Slicing would be an odd design even if no one took it. I guess if most people do take slicing then prices on the AH will rocket up, because the slicers will all be competing for the same small pool of materials. Or maybe by then people will have alts or something,

  5. yeah; slicing is the way to go for pure money; otherwise you’re just losing money via crafting (i guess which is what happens in any mmo)
    I think its important you have enough gatherers so you don’t need to spend money (like i do) in the AH

  6. Are the Maelstrom Prison/Taral V Flashpoints (mid-30s) shared or Republic-only? (Not sure, as I’ve not gotten very far yet Empire-side).

    I ask because Grand Moff Kilran – who also shows up on The Esseles, the Republic equivalent of The Black Talon – makes a second appearance in the second one.

    There was universal agreement in the PuG I was in that we’d all wanted to kill the guy since we were level 10. And if the opportunity to shoot everybody’s favourite Grand Moff in the face isn’t enough, there’s also some nice story/lore stuff in there for fans of the original KoTOR.

    • I think those are both Republic only (so I may need to level a Republic character to give Kilran a kicking!). Empire, otoh, get The Foundry which only just appeared on my quest list so maybe more on that in a few levels time.

      • The Foundry, eh? Iiiinterestink – one of the major NPCs in the Maelstrom mentioned the place. Time to start playing my Bounty Hunter more, methinks. (I was incredibly amused to discover that my Consular’s first companion used to work with the Bounty Hunter’s mentor when she first starts out).

  7. Even though there’s at least one companion I despise (currently “power-leveling” a Trooper to get past his first companion, which is the only companion I truly hate), I must agree with your characterization point. However, your point about Malavi Quinn could also apply (in part) to Elara Dorne. There are lots of duplicates (or at least similarities), as far as basic premises for companion personalities are concerned.

    I think the problem with crafting (if you want to call it that) is, aside from the obvious Biochem and Cybertech, none of the other skills have anything they can lord over the competition (PvP, quest rewards, FP rewards, etc). Most other games at least started with something each skill had that was in demand due to its uniqueness or some other factor (not necessarily better stats). None of the other skills have that. I mean, my Biochem characters have stims that not only last twice as long as the storebought stuff, they give bigger buffs (not that these buffs are really noticeable) and they persist through death. Cybertech has implants that (at least under 45 or so) are better than anything available elsewhere. None of the other skills have that (and if they do, someone please point it out).

    I actually LIKE Grand Moff Kilran, or at least his voiceover.

    • I think Kilran’s voice actor is amazing! (But he does have a voice I want to punch :) ).

      The thing with Biochem and Cybertech is that unlike all the other crafts, they make things that they can sell to any class. I took Biochem too and I’m selling implants as fast as I can make them, for example. Artifice, Synthweaving, Armortech and Weapontech are both limited to two classes. I think Synthweaving can make BoP relics … not sure about the others.

      • Add Artifice to that list – colour crystals and enhancements are useful to everybody, and off-hands (shields, generators, foci) to everybody but Smuggler/Agents. The BoP artifacts are in Artifice too.

        The real losers are Synthweaving and Armormech, since they pretty much only make belts, bracers, and the odd shell – if they moved the Strength/Willpower and Aim/Cunning armour mods, respectively, into those two professions they’d be a lot better balanced.

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