Yesterday, BioWare‘s very own lead combat designer — and admitted fan of our Star Wars: The Old Republic show The Republic — Georg Zoeller hopped onto the official web site to give us more insight into the seven pages of changes coming to crew skills for TOR.
For those keeping score at home, “augment” was mentioned no less than 11 times during the course of the post. And for those who do not know: Augments are an additional stat slot given to high end gear. Standard modable gear contains three slots: crystal or armor, modification, and enhancement.
Now in update 1.2, when an Armormech, Armstech, or Synthweaver crafts a custom (orange) piece of gear, he has the opportunity crit, granting the item an augment slot. Hopefully, BioWare keeps the crit chance pretty high so the Galactic Trade Network doesn’t explode with over-inflated costs.
In addition, the augment schematics have been equally divided among the three previously mentioned crew skills. Assuming the demand for the augment pieces are equal, then it should create considerable interdependence between the different professions. What this ultimately will do for the SWTOR economy is up in the air, but we have our fingers crossed.
Originally Posted by Bioware
Since the launch of Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, the Crew Skill system has been incredibly popular. Every week in-game, 52 million items are produced or harvested, 4.5 million item mods are installed and more than 35 million items change hands. Players actively participating in the Crew Skill system are generally better geared and have more credits in the bank than pure consumers.
That said, we still believe the Crew Skills can be made better. Without further ado, here are some of the things you can expect for your profession when Game Update 1.2: Legacy goes live.
Characters with the Armormech profession will now be able to learn Aim, Cunning, Shield and Absorb augments schematics, which may be reverse engineered for a chance to research their prototype and artifact variants.
Armormech crafters may now reverse engineer almost any modifiable outfit into an empty custom (orange) shell of the same name and appearance, which may now gain an augment slot when crafted with critical success.
Characters with the Armstech profession will now be able to learn Endurance, Surge, Critical, Accuracy and Power augment schematics, which may be reverse engineered for a chance to research their prototype and artifact variants.
We have also added new schematics to create custom (orange) ranged weapons to the profession and enabled the reverse engineering and researching of vibroknife and shotgun variations. As with Armormech, a critical success while creating a custom weapon may yield an additional augment slot.
As alluded to in a previous blog post, color crystals are seeing some change in Game Update 1.2. We want players to be able to choose their weapon color without having to worry about stats. To this end, we are introducing top-end crystals for all available colors to the game.
Lack of schematics is one of the major concerns we’ve heard from the community. To address this, we are adding a large number of schematics to the game. This includes elder game crystals as powerful as those found currently found through the highest level of Operations, as well as +Power crystals of various colors.
We have also added mid-level and end game schematics for the creation of the prestigious magenta crystal to the game along with a new exploration activity chain for obtaining them. All magenta crystal schematics have been changed so they can be freely traded via the Galactic Trade Network.
Artifice is also the first profession to gain some dedicated PvP crafting. Players may earn crystal schematics of various colors via PvP, making it the only profession able to create items that offer a permanent expertise bonus at this time. The required materials for these crystals will also be obtained through PvP, creating a closed loop for those players that prefer to only engage in Player versus Player conflict.
Finally, Artificers are now able to create willpower based shields for Sith Assassin and Jedi Shadow tanks and, while crafting Enhancements, gain a bonus item on a successful critical.
With BioChem being in a fairly good spot already, we are not making any major changes to the profession at this time. Some minor changes include producing an additional implant on a crafting critical, reclassifying ‘Red Goo’ as a Grade 6 Biochemical compound via Bioanalysis Missions and a new, special recipe for the creation of delicious Ice-Scrabbler Jerky…
If your character has the Cybertech profession, you will now be able to sell any of the vehicles you create on the Galactic Trade Network, as we have removed their binding restrictions from the game.
A critical success while crafting grenades now results in double the number of grenades (which also had their cooldown reduced to 3 minutes to allow more frequent use), and a critical success when creating item modifications now yields an additional mod for your efforts.
Players with the Synthweaving profession can now learn schematics allowing the creation of Strength, Willpower, Defense, Alacrity and Presence augments, which may be reverse engineered and researched into their prototype and artifact level variants. As with Armormech, a critical success crafting custom (orange) outfits will add an additional augment slot to the resulting item.
We have also added a number of additional light armor schematics and tweaked the material requirements for some custom (orange) outfits for better balance.
After reading about augment crafting above, you are probably wondering where these changes leave the Slicing gathering profession, which previously was the only (and very random) source of augments for the game.
With Game Update 1.2, we are changing Augment Slicing missions to become the source of Sliced Tech Parts – the main material component used in the creation of Augments by Synthweaving, Armstech and Armormech crafters. We anticipate these components to be in extremely high demand once the update goes live, and enterprising Slicers should see considerable windfall from selling their wares on the Galactic Trade Network.
Slicing missions completed with a critical success may now occasionally yield premium quality augment schematics.
A large number of additional tweaks have been made to all other gathering professions, including new mission rewards, addition of high end material nodes in end game daily areas and the removal of mission failure from one-time mission discoveries. For a full list of our changes in this area, please look forward to the detailed patch notes that will accompany Game Update 1.2 when it arrives on the Public Test Server.
Reverse engineering and Research
Reverse engineering has shown to be a surprisingly popular mechanic practiced by a large number of our players. With this update, the team has not only significantly increased the chances of successfully researching a new schematic through reverse engineering, but also improved the overall functionality of the reverse engineering system.
For example, you will now see a ‘Research Available’ indicator in item tooltips while in reverse engineering mode, indicating if a schematic can be researched from an item. The dreaded ‘You already know this schematic’ message when discovering an already known schematic is also a thing of the past. Instead, players now discover another available schematic in that case, leading to less frustrating and more predictable research advancement.
We have also added new content for both the leveling and end game:
Players with the appropriate professions are now able to reverse engineer random loot items and acquire materials from them – including Operations materials from end game items.
Reverse engineering and research is now available for tier 2 end game items (and will automatically happen if the player wins a ‘disassemble’ loot in a group).
Mods from tier 2 end game items may now be extracted and researched. However, Armorings that provide a set bonus can only be extracted. They do not yield research schematics.
Modifiable weapons and armor can now be reverse engineered and researched into empty, custom (orange) shells with the same name and appearance, adding a wide variety of new outfits to the game.
Finally, on the topic of everyone’s favorite character, the C2-N2 Droid and its Imperial counterpart, the equally charming 2V-R8 Ship Maintenance Droid, I am pleased to publish the following statement from the Republic News Wire:
“The C2 Droid Corporation is proud to announce the development of a new series of Droid sensors for their most popular product, the C2-N2. These sensors may significantly improve the crew skill efficiency and critical success chances of this unit when operated under normal, non combat conditions.
Not the be outdone by their Republic competition, the 2V Droid Corporation has announced a series of sensor updates for their popular 2V-R8 line of Droids. The corporation categorically denies reports that these new sensors may cause increase vocal frequency in the upgraded units!
Both lines of Droids reportedly had their personality matrix updated with an experimental emotion response chip, allowing them to accept gifts and tokens as a show of appreciation from their currently selected master. Crew skill performance of these units will increase upon acceptance of these objects in a way carefully created to simulate the response often associated with the transfer of goods between organics.
In related news, Balmorra Microprocessor Corporation has announced the discovery of a critical engineering flaw in the ‘appreciation’ subroutine of their bestselling ‘Droid Vocal Response Chip’ used on almost all ship maintenance droids currently available. The flaw is said to cause excessive expression of appreciation towards owners entering the proximity sensors of their Droids and is likely to blame for the sharp increase in escape pod related incidents around the galaxy over the last two months. A repair and replacement plan for the affected units has been devised and is said to take effect in the immediate future.”
The road ahead
The above should give a good idea of what to expect from Game Update 1.2 in regards to Crew Skills and the economy. This is definitely not a complete list of changes and it is by no means the end to our improvement efforts. Game Update 1.2. is just one more step on our continuing journey.
May the Force be with you!
Principal Lead Combat Designer