The Bright Future of Crafting: The New Color Crystals

This is not a glowing endorsement of tri-color crystals as the undeniable future of SWTOR color crystal fashion, so I apologize in advance if that’s what you are looking for a blog about for some reason. However, there is an important aspect of the color crystal schematics that I hope we see more of in the future, which is the notion of high cost crafted gear that is either best in slot or a unique offering in a slot or desirable for another reason.  One of the best parts of crafting is the process of striving for a difficult item and finally getting the reverse engineering that you’ve tried for many times, but that system is undercut by a lack of worthwhile crafting items for current end-game content.

My vision for the improved approach would be to offer color crystals that are green 168 Rating and begin with only Endurance, Power, Critical, and Expertise stats like normal.  Even for the green crystals, set a high threshold for the green material inputs, with quantities of 10-20 each for the Ruusan Crystal, Enigmatic Artifact Fragment, and Luminous Color for the schematic.  This would be a significant loss-leader with a decreased reverse engineering chance of 5-10% (at least for the first few months, maybe a later update reverts it to the normal 20%) but in return for this significant investment the reverse engineered blue schematics would convert some of the stat budget from the normal four stats to a sought after stat like Accuracy, Surge, Alacrity, Shield, or Defense.  The blue version may retain most of its stat budget in the core four crystal stats (+25 original with +16 new), but for another round of heavy cost and difficult reverse engineering, it would open the door to a very expensive and difficult to craft group of Artifact-quality crystals with +16 original with +25 new stat or even +41 to the new stats.

The same system can be applied to just about every crafting skill to allow crafted items and gear to match or exceed the current Best-in-Slot (BiS) item available.  By requiring massive material investment and holding reverse engineering rates lower than the current norm, the process would be arduous.  The goal would be parity with the other BiS acquisition paths so that it is truly a player choice regarding relative preference rather than one obviously superior method that everyone takes.  The level of difficulty would reward crafters that invest their time into this expensive and time-consuming process by affording them the opportunity to sell BiS items on the GTN for large profits.

I could outline more specific ideas, but I think the general point is made.  I would like to see more difficult and material cost intensive schematics for unique, top tier crafting items. Give each player the option to invest 10+ rare mats, dozens of blue and green mats, and 24 hours or more into an item that’s BiS or rare and in demand for any reason.  There is a huge appetite for an improved crew skill experience and this is one of the best solutions for the type of player that I’ve interacted with the most.

What other solutions or ideas have you heard or developed yourself regarding improvement to the crew skill system?  I’d love to hear from you on Twitter or in the comments section!

– Andrew | SWTOR Economics

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5 thoughts on “The Bright Future of Crafting: The New Color Crystals

  1. Interesting idea, but for color crystals it doesn’t seem like there is any purpose unless you increase the stat budget of the crystal, which I doubt they will do given all of the cartel crystals out there. As an example for healers and DPS. Power is, for the most part, the all important stat so even if you could get a crystal with a 50/50 Power/Alacrity you would still opt for the +41 Power version as it is point for point better. Plus, all of the secondary stats are available as Augments.

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    • Good points, I will always defer to your knowledge when it comes to stat budgets and how to balance that side of the game! It would certainly need to balance across both the economic and gameplay mechanic portions of the game, which might be why they wouldn’t want to go there and risk an imbalance that cannot be corrected without creating an imbalance on the other side.

      I agree that there’s almost no chance that they out-stat the Cartel Market crystals though, unless the crafted ones required level 60 maybe so that the CM versions were still dominant while leveling. Most end-game players have CM crystals on legacy collection unlock anyway probably.

      And thanks for reading, it was exciting seeing your name pop up because I have a ton of admiration and respect for your work.

      – Andrew

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  2. Thanks for the compliment. I like seeing more analysis into other areas of the game so I am looking forward to seeing your future stuff.

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  3. To expand on the Cartel Market Crystal issue: Bioware have backed themselves into a corner with it. Many people have gone to great expense (including the spending of real money) to acquire rare crystals. I know of one person who made it a personal goal to acquire one of each crystal. The moment you made available a crystal that’s a single stat point better, you instantly devalue all the +41 crystals out there. That said, I like your idea, applied to armorings, mods and enhancements. We’ve already gone through a long period where 180 gear was effectively the best that 99% of the population could aspire to, and was craftable. That was a pretty good time for crew skills, and no one was suggesting that raiding was a waste of time.

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    • Good points, and if anything they should expand the notion of diverse gameplay to acquire crafting materials. Maybe integrating something like Galactic Star Fighter into the circle by adding rare material rewards like operations have already would incentivize people to explore all game modes more than current incentives!

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