Sunday, December 11, 2011

Crafting and you!

As we slowly approach launch, you've probably found yourself asking "What crew skills would be best for ME to take?" Since only one out of our three crew skills can be a crafting skill and actually make us gear, it makes sense to pick the crafting skill first and then pick the other two skills to compliment it. BioWare has made clear their intent to have crafted gear remain competitive through the endgame, so don't immediately discount weapon or armor crafting skills thinking that they will soon be obsolete. While there are six crafting skills, only four of them are really useful for Shieldtechs: Armormech, Armstech, Biochem, and Cybertech.

Before we take a look at the crew skills, I feel a brief explanation of the item modification system in TOR is needed (mostly because I found it confusing myself when I began looking at crew skills). Every weapon and piece of armor can be thought of as a single item composed of a bunch of different components, as follows:

Blaster: [color crystal] - [barrel] - [enhancement] - [mod] - [augment]

Armor: [armoring] - [enhancement] - [mod] - [augment]

Barrels determine the damage that a blaster does. Likewise, armorings determine the armor rating of an item. Color crystals change the color of the blaster bolt and can have other stats on them as well. Mods are socketables with primary stats, while enhancements are socketables with secondary stats. Augments can have a single stat, primary or secondary, on them. Not all items will have all of these slots available for socketing. For example, you may find a blaster pistol without a barrel slot. This basically means that the barrel is an integral part of that blaster and cannot be removed or upgraded. Also, augment slots are for the most part only available on critically crafted items (i.e. Armormech crafts some boots, gets a critical on his crafting roll, ends up with an augment slot on those boots) or high end gear. With this in mind we can get on to the crafting skills:

Armormech: This skill will make us heavy armor for every armor slot. Helm, chest, boots, gloves, wrists, belts, all of it! For those of us out there who care about always having the best defensive items we possibly can. Typically paired with Scavenging and Underworld Trading.

Armstech: Guns, guns, GUNS! If all you want is to have a bigger and better blaster than the next guy, this is the skill for you. You can craft powerful guns along with barrels to upgrade your existing guns even further. Good skills with this one are Scavenging and Investigation.

Biochem: The typical potion-crafting-alchemy skill. Lets you craft short duration adrenals, long duration stimpacks, healing medpacks, and implant slot items. At high levels your consumables will not go away after use. This skill has good synergy with Bioanalysis and Diplomacy.

Cybertech: A skill for the technophile within all of us. Creates earpiece slot items, mods, and armorings. Also creates grenades that can be used in order to AoE damage and CC targets. The secondaries for Cybertech are Scavenging and Slicing/Underworld Trading.

The other two crafting skills are more aimed at the Sith classes. Artifice makes lightsabers, hilts (the lightsaber equivalent of barrels), relic slot items, color crystals, and enhancements. Synthweaving makes armor itemized for force-using classes. Needless to say, these are surpassed by the other crafting skills for our purposes.

While I only list a couple crew skills to go with each crafting one, the system is actually pretty flexible. Although each crafting skill really needs its corresponding gathering skill (Scavenging or Bioanalysis) to work well, your third skill could be anything you want. You could easily take another gathering profession to get mats to sell or take Slicing or a mission skill to earn more money. The crew skills I listed here are simply the ones to pick to maximize the amount of raw materials you have for crafting.

All of these crafting skills are perfectly viable and useful for Shieldtechs. You should choose the one that you feel suits you the best because they are pretty well balanced. For me, I will be going Cybertech with Scavenging and Slicing. Why? One, my guild has no one to make mods yet; and two, I think that CC grenades could turn out to be handy for raiding. Will that advantage outweigh raw stats I'd get from another crafting skill? Only time will tell.


  1. It's important to note both which schematics result in a bind on pickup item (which you will only be able to use yourself if crafted) and what other bind on equip or non-binding items are available for sale.

    e.g. blaster barrels will sell well in armstech as they can be put in many weapons but armormech makes no mods, only armor for 2 of the empire classes.

  2. Agreed. I tend to focus less on the moneymaking aspect of crew skills because I myself am more interested in the utility and the stat gains they can grant me.

    Moneywise, I would expect Biochem to be the biggest cash cow by far. People will be needing consumables for each operation they run. Cybertech will probably come in second because of the fact that most good items seem to have open mod slots.

    While you make a good point that the barrels will sell well, I am not sure that would be enough to put Armstech ahead of Armormech at the start of the game. In the first few months after release, basic level armor sets will be in high demand and Armormechs will probably be able to make a considerable amount if they can keep up with demand.

  3. I'm not so sure.

    When I played in the last 2 beta weekends I found a moddable armour which I liked the look of and updated the mod instead of the armour. That way I got to keep looking the way I wanted.

    By the end I had 3 pieces of armour which I was keeping & updating. And armormech can't make those mods.

    IMO they should, but they can't.

  4. It is true that Armormechs cannot make the mods to upgrade armor like that. However, they can make the "blank" fully-moddable custom armor so you can look how you want, as long as you buy or find the mods for to fill it. If you like customizing your look like that and aren't an Armormech you'd have to either buy fully-moddable armor or rely on luck to find it instead.

    I feel that the unmoddable armor will be a good seller during leveling. If other MMOs are any indication, there are a lot of players out there who aren't really interested in item modification and just want stats immediately. Armormech can give those people the simple and on-level gear they want.

  5. But if item modding and buying armour can get items of the same level, then when leveling I'd always go for the cheapest. And in my mind I already assume that to be a little mod rather than a big piece of armour, so I check them and find a better mod for a few hundred commendations or (and this is important) on all commendation vendors.

    And customisable chest pieces are easy to get - flashpoints, commendations, etc even on the lowest level planets. Other pieces come with time, again commendation (planet & PvP) are a good source for these. The fact that moddable armour and the mods themsevles are often offered as the prizes for commendations means that you are likely to have a high quality modded chest by level 15 at the latest, which gets you into the habit of looking at mods.

    But I agree that there's likely some good looking (and potentially popular) moddable armour pieces in Armortech, and if these aren't BoP then these could sell well once people get to the point of spending their credits purely on looks (which will certainly happen for many players).

  6. "Other pieces come with time, again commendation (planet & PvP) are a good source for these."

    To clarify, other slots will come with time (I had chest, legs & boots moddable in the last beta weekend).