[SWTOR] 10 things you need to know about consumables

There are four main types of consumable in SWTOR, and the reason it’s worth knowing about them is that they are all pretty good and can add a lot of survivability and power to your character. Bioware have been quite good about scattering medical droids who sell healing and buff potions all over the gameworld, and healing potions are also frequent drops from mobs. Vendors in cantinas will also sell buff food. And you will occasionally find stim vendors out in the world – I think this is just where Bioware decided that they needed extra vendors standing around for RP purposes because they just split off some of the goods that medical droids would otherwise sell.

I’ve been running Biochem, and it’s balanced oddly. The crafted consumables are better than bought ones, but also can be expensive to make at the top end, so I’m not sure that people have a good idea how to price them on the AH at the moment.

In any case, here’s ten things you’ll want to know about better living through chemistry in Star Wars: The Old Republic.

1. Store bought stims (buff potions) typically last for an hour and will buff one of your core character attributes (might, willpower, aim, cunning) – there are also Stims that boost presence (this buffs your companion) and endurance.

bluestim

2. Crafted stims will boost power or defence in addition to one of your core character attributes. Fortitude stims are the tank buffs which buff defence as well as endurance, the other stims all boost power as a secondary stat. Blue crafted stims will last for double the length (2 hours) and will not disappear after death – they’re the equivalent of WoW flasks. Purple crafted stims are for Biochem crafters only, are equivalent to green crafted stims and are reusable.

foodbuff

3. In Cantinas, there are vendors who will also sell you food buffs. The ones I have seen so far is a food buff that improves your out of combat regen for 30 mins (arguably not v useful since every class has an out of character regen ability, but this will probably save time if you’re speed levelling.) The other is a 30 min buff to presence (ie. boosts companion power), which does stack with stims. So if you’re struggling with solo content, the food presence buff might be one to keep in mind.

4. Green crafted healing potions will typically heal for more than vendor bought ones, and can come in at different level ranges also.

medpacs

5. There are also green crafted healing potions which heal your companion as well as your character. Potions which just heal your character will be called XXXX medpacs, potions which also heal your companion will be called XXXX med units. If your companion has died, one of these potions will res it in combat as well as healing – I don’t entirely know if that’s intended but it is what happens at the moment. I find these invaluable when I’m trying solo content that is a bit tough for my level.

6. Blue crafted healing potions will typically provide a HoT as well as the initial burst of healing. The HoT heals for half again of the initial healing burst over 15s. They’re good, but I’m not sure they’ll be worth the extra cost to craft.

adrenal

7. Adrenals are short term potions which provide a large kick to one of your secondary  stats for 15s (ie. power, surge, crit, et al). I haven’t seen any vendor adrenals, so these may only be available from Biochem crafters. Adrenals are all blue items, except for the purple reusable ones (Biochem only).

8. There are also triage adrenals which increase your tech/force power for 15s but reduce the amount of damage you do during that time by 50%. If it’s not obvious from the name, these are meant as healer buffs – if you’re not a healer use one of the other adrenals.

9. The cooldown on medpacs is 90s (ie. you can use one every 1.5 mins). The cooldown on adrenals is 3 mins. There is no cooldown on stims, but they are longterm buffs that you won’t need to spam unless you’re dying a lot. The reason Biochem is probably overpowered at the moment is that they can make reusable versions of any of the green crafted items for themselves. So as a Biochem crafter, you can if you want have access to a heal potion every 90s, an adrenal every 1.5 mins, and buff stims up all the time without having to rustle up the large number of materials or credits that it would cost anyone else to buy this.

10. You can use all of these consumables in PvP.

voss

This is a shot I took on Voss. There do seem to be rather more orange/ brown planets than strictly necessary ….

Phasing out the raid consumables

patisserie

Let’s face it, consumables in game are nowhere near as fun as consumables in real life.

Clicking on an icon doesn’t compare well to choosing from a menu or window display. Aside from the fact that you can’t taste it anyway, there’s no feast for the senses, no visual appeal. You can’t get excited about clicking a potion the same way you can from looking at a patisserie window.

Even aside from the pictures of cakes, consumables fill an odd function in MMOs. They provide some benefit to the consumer – maybe a short term buff, or faster healing. They are often player-created via a tradeskill, so a constant demand keeps the tradeskill viable. And they are usually optional for soloing, but considered important in any really challenging content. Like anything which provides stats in a game, consumables can be min-maxed. So if you end up in progression raids, part of the skill of raiding is knowing which consumables to bring and where to get them from.  Some may last different amounts of time, be easier to get, be defunct, or be buyable with tokens.

This is all very obscure if you are a new player. You could easily level to cap and have run many instances without anyone ever saying a thing about consumables and without really having them mentioned in quests either.

In LOTRO I’m terrible at remembering the raid consumables. I usually try to load up on them when I can, but some of them affect your whole group, others can be over-written, and yet others come in varying strengths and durations. So it’s guaranteed that the one time a raid leader asks you to use one, it’ll be the one you don’t have.

I am assuming that with more practice (read: more whining at Arb) I’ll know what to bring. But right now, it all seems so random. I keep wondering – would this be more fun if the consumables were just kind of … baked in to the game. It’s not as if there’s really much choice once you know which the optimal ones are. Turbine have made things easier. You can buy most of the potions with Mirkwood emblems (of which I have several hundred in my vault, and I can’t actually remember how or why).

Warcraft is going the same way. In Cataclysm, food buffs will be provided by feasts (only one person in the raid needs to bring them) and there are hints of cauldrons (only one person in the raid needs to bring the elixir), flasks will be very cheap and also last through death, and spell reagents get more optional also.

I know this is more grist to the mill of complaints about dumbing  down, but raid consumables were just an extra list of “stuff you have to do before you raid.” They represented a kind of secret raider knowledge that regular players didn’t need to know (in Vanilla WoW, most people would never have needed to use a flask, and might have no clue about where they came from or what they did.) The discipline of having to farm your own raid consumables did add something to the raiding experience. It was more than just turning up on raid night. But it was also time consuming, obscure, and doesn’t really fit in modern games.

I’d see the phasing out of raid consumables as a bell wether for where MMOs are drifting. Being pressured to look information up outside the game is the next big element which devs will attempt to optimise out of MMOs in future.

For all that, I have a soft spot for cooking as a trade skill. In WoW, it’s probably the best fun of any of them. It combines the fun of collecting ingredients with having lots of different recipes to make – and many of them do sell at end game (less now that feasts are available though.) It’s just that once stats are involved, any of the fun of window shopping at patisseries disappears. They’re just like any other boring old MMO stat item.