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