[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 ….

[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.