SWTOR Crafting

How to Get Better Gear in SWTOR

In this SWTOR guide post, I wanted to cover how you can get better gear in SWTOR. Let’s face it: gear and MMORPGs go hand-in-hand and the success or failure of most MMORPGs in the long-run is highly dependent upon the ability to garner new and exciting pieces of loot.

In this SWTOR guide, you will discover the methods for which players can earn new gear at end-game.

Crafting

Unlike many other recent MMORPGs, Star Wars: The Old Republic states that they plan to make crafting useful again. This is an exciting development for many players as this 1) makes crafting useful and 2) gives players other options for upgrading their gear.

In particular, the developers have stated that there will be a high-quality craft system. In other words, on occasion, you will craft a “high quality” version of an item which can make it very good. This is quite similar to the system used in FFXI and FFXIV.

Think about crafting a typical epic in WoW. Imagine that on occasion when you crafted that epic, a higher quality item was produced. Let’s say that instead of ilvl 350 it came out as ilvl 360 and had bonus stats. This system does not exist in WoW but is supposed to exist in SWTOR.

This means that crafters who manage to craft +1s or other high-quality high-end gear will be able to either outfit their characters very nicely or sell this gear on the auction house for a big profit.

PvP

Another method for acquiring gear is via PvP. While the exact systems have not yet been announced (will update this SWTOR guide when they are), the developers have stated that players can earn “tokens” from PvP which can be traded in for “PvP” gear.

We do not yet know if there will be PvP-only stats (ala resilience from WoW) or if this gear will be similar to PvE gear but just earned from PvP. Personally I think that PvP stats are a bad idea, and that gear separation should not be so distinct. Why limit players to PvP only with their gear earned via PvP? They earned it so let them explore the world with it – it helps prevent pigeon-holing players into certain roles.

Raiding

Recently, WoW has brought back raiding as the gold standard for getting gear in MMORPGs. In SWTOR this will be no different and the developers have already stated there will be raids at end-game.

What we do not know is if raids will provide better gear than everything else, how many players each raid will contain, or really any other details about them – just that they will exist.

Check back at this SWTOR guide for more details when the game comes closer to release and we should have more information about raids in SWTOR.

Posted by Admin - April 1, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Categories: SWTOR Crafting, SWTOR Gameplay   Tags:

Making Large Planets Meaningful in SWTOR

SWTOR has been one of the most criticized MMORPGs prior to release. The author of this SWTOR guide actually takes that as a good thing: the fervent interest of the community in SWTOR’s success just shows how big this game will be and how dedicated its supporters are.

In today’s SWTOR guide post, I will be addressing some of the criticisms of the size of the SWTOR world and arguing in favor of the large worlds which will become part of SWTOR.

While I know that this is another opinion piece and not really a true SWTOR guide entry, I feel that it is appropriate given that the game still has a few more months prior to release.

Regarding Planet Size

Planets in SWTOR are quite large. If you have not read about planets, each planet in game is larger a “zone” the size of The Barrens from WoW (or just about any other zone in another game) but is also significantly smaller than an entire game world.

So, you may be thinking that planets are like continents in WoW. Perhaps (demos show slightly smaller than that), but consider that there are over a dozen playable planets in SWTOR and you get a feel for just how massive the world is.

Many people have complained that this large world size will somehow ruin the game. For the rest of this SWTOR guide post, I will be defending the position that large worlds are great for MMOs and talk about a variety of reasons why.

Large Worlds Creates Meaningful Places in the World

As someone who has played a lot of MMOs (not just WoW unlike most people), I have experienced both the pros and cons of small, structured worlds, and large, open worlds.

Highly regulated, dense, small zones (like those in WoW), degrade the MMO experience and the world in general. There is no “replay” value to the world in WoW, nor do players regard any areas of the world with intrigue, reverence, or even fear.

It does not take long for players in WoW to come to the conclusion that there is no real dangerous areas in the world and ultimately they will be able to touch and explore everything without harm (unless of course there is a green portal to zone into).

Players can quickly fly over any area, teleport, or use a Wingrider to access any corner of the planet in just a few minutes. While convenient, to an extent, it comes at a cost: players in small worlds just do not care about the game world they play in.

Small, Contrived Worlds Create Dead Worlds

Where am I going with this? Most of the people on the official forums seem to think that big planets will spread the player base too thin and players will never run into each other and instead be out exploring the world.

I for one think that large planets actually incentivize people to go out in the world where small worlds force people out of the world.

There is no area of intrigue as Azeroth. Dungeons are mere mini-games (which players can teleport to) as is PvP. Players have no incentive to venture out into the world. Gathering is the equivalent of farming and is not a fun or exciting task. In short, the world is very boring. It is as if players are trapped in a padded cell and really no people leave town.

Why do people leave town in WoW? To bee-line for an instance zone-in or fly in repetitive paths gathering ore and herbs, or head to contrived quest camps for daily quests. That’s it!

What kind of world is that? The writer of this SWTOR guide thinks it is a boring, meaningless world and I for one am not interested in it.

Other Games Which Create Meaningful Worlds

One of the games that has best created a meaningful world is FFXI (a few years back – not sure what the game is like today). People would go to town to meet-up, craft, and use it as a staging point for venturing out in the world.

Note: Before you jump on me, I do not think FFXI was the “best MMO ever” and it definitely had a lot of problems. However, one of the things they did best was to create a meaningful world.

Going to Castle Zvahl for the first time, a site for one of the in-game missions, was one of the most exciting experienes I have ever had in an MMO, far greater than one that could ever be created in an instance.

Players had to navigate across a large, treacherous, unknown zone to get to a Castle full of baddies, which was difficult yet exciting to cross, and it culiminated in an epic boss fight.

The real part about it though was that returning to Castle Zvahl was not exactly easy. It was such a dangerous area to be in, and as a result, players really got a feeling that they were “far away” from home when they were in this zone.

You never experience this kind of feeling in WoW – you are always a few seconds away from town at any given time.

This can be a double-edged sword as well. In FFXI, travelling around the world in general was a pain; 15 minute chocobo rides were not a fun or necessary experience to access some end-game content. There needs to be a careful balance. Places which you return to multiple times need ease of transportation (i.e. dungeons, leveling spots, etc)., but certain places in the world need to feel remote as well for creating epic gameplay and an interesting world.

Ideal Methods for Maximizing Return on Large Planets and Game Worlds Without Inconveniencing Players

So on one hand, on one side of the fence, you have players who say that large worlds tend to be empty, spread the player-base too thin, and are incovenient. On the other hand, large worlds create places of meaning within the world and are necessary to create an interesting world for the player’s adventure to unfold in.

Really, both camps are right and there is a simple way to make large worlds work in a modern gaming society: use large planets for missions, storyline, and crafting and condense repeatable objectives (flashpoints and PvP mini-games) in easily accessible locations.

How Large Planets Make Crafting and Gathering Fun and Meaningful

While Star Wars: Galaxies overall was a terrible game, it had the best gathering system I have ever seen in an MMORPG.

Resources were never the same in SWG. Not only were there different types of metals, but the quality of an individual metal (i.e. copper) could vary. If you managed to collect really high quality ingredients of various types, it would make the armor and weapons you crafted more powerful.

Every few weeks, the galaxy’s resources were randomly generated. New batches of each material were spread out all over the large planets and gatherers could seek out these materials. If you found a particularly rich deposit of a good type of ore or power source, you could build an extractor there which would mine that source over time. You could come back in a few days and collect your resource.

Players could travel across all the planets and comb each planet sampling for the best materials for crafting. Sometimes you would stumble upon a field that was full of machinery already as some other player had already claimed that resource. Other times you would stumble upon a resource patch in a remote territory and be the only person on your server to claim that material.

It made gathering a real “profession” and it was very fun. A small world like WoW could never replicate this because the world is too small to ever be able to support “far off locations” to search for resources. As a result, players just right click and gather a bunch of plain ore and throw it up on the auction house. Boring and meaningless.

This type of content also creates powerful solo-options and a means of progression for solo players. Most players of MMOs cannot afford to block out the several hours of play needed to participate in traditional end-game raids, but would love to be able to progress their character once they hit the max level.

Of all the problems with FFXI, “farming” could actually be exciting thanks to large worlds. As a max level player and high-level goldsmith or alchemist, you could make the treaherous trip to Castle Zvahl and gather gold orc-masks to melt down into golden ingots (a valuable and rare material) or fight Ahriman for their wings (which alchemist turned into a valuable consumable).

These places were so far-out and required such specialized crafts to be useful that they were never occupied by gold-farmers. Goldfarmers simply did not have the time to dedicate to a craft to make this kind of farming useful.

Crafters and adventurers could actually strike out in the world, end up in far-off location to gather their crafting items.

By giving players the ability to search for good materials in a large world, soloers could scour the world to craft good items for themselves and barter with other players to trade for other crafter’s equipment.

Missions

Additionally, as mentioned previously, one-time missions can make use of this as well. Striking out across a planet as part of an exciting mission helps lead to a certain sense of excitement, danger, and accomplishment that simply cannot be replicated in an instance.

Since missions are one-time events, travelling 10 minutes across treacherous terrain does not have to a constant nuisance.

SWTOR Guide Wrap-up

In short, I would have faith that the developers can use these large worlds to their advantage.

Large worlds allow for the creation of an amazing gathering system which cannot be produced in a planned, small environment like WoW.

They also offer the options for developers to plant valuable crafting materials on rare and elusive creatures far out on small planets. Remote gathering areas requiring specialized crafts to take advantage of them really helps clamp down on gold-farming while giving players fun and meaningful ways to earn credits.

Soon we should be back to our regularly scheduled SWTOR guide programming which includes less commentary and more useful tips and information which will help define this site as a great SWTOR guide.

Posted by Admin - March 29, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Categories: SWTOR Crafting, SWTOR Gameplay   Tags:

SWTOR Guide Feature – The Crew System

In this SWTOR guide, I will be going over exactly what the crew system is in SWTOR guide and answering many frequently asked questions about Star Wars: The Old Republic’s crew feature and what it means to the player.

Take the time to read this SWTOR guide as if you have not heard about the crew system then you will not want to miss this article, as this feature is unlike anything seen in an MMO before.

What exactly is the “crew” in SWTOR?

In line with the developer’s mantra that players should feel like heroes rather than small players in the in-game universe (which I think is great), the crew system was born. After all, every hero needs his (or her) own crew. What kind of starship would operate without a crew anyway?

The crew consists of NPCs which you can give orders to to complete various tasks relevant to your goals. There are a variety of different skills you can train in and an even more wide variety of things you can assign your crew to do.

Next in this SWTOR guide, I will be going over exactly what the crew does for you.

What kind of tasks can your crew complete?

Your crew has three primary disciplines: gathering, crafting, and missions. Within each of these three disciplines there are various things you can specialize in. For example, you could specialize in artifice, which can help you make Jedi artifacts. This would be very useful to you if you were a Jedi.

You can pick as many or as little specializations as you like within gathering or missions, but you can only pick 1 craft for your three total slots. As a result, if you do not want to craft you can put all three specializations in gathering or all three in missions.

I cannot tell you in this SWTOR guide which specialization is best, as no two players are the same. However, I can say that missions appear to be the most “hands off” specialization whereas crafting is the most “hands on”. In this SWTOR guide I recommend grabbing missions if you do not feel like messing around too much with your crew and go for crafting if you are really digging the crew system.

SWTOR Crew Guide Conclusion

If you want to make some extra money or get into crafting in SWTOR, you will definitely want to take advantage of your crew. At the bare minimum, you will want to keep your crew members busy with missions and gathering. This way, you will end up with essentially free materials and items that you can use or sell for profit. That high-end starship is not cheap, so you will need to take advantage of all of these features to buy it!

Posted by Admin - March 24, 2011 at 3:36 pm

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