In the final days before Knights of the Fallen Empire, the upcoming expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR), an avalanche of developer blog posts has begun to explain some of the mechanics we will see in game update 4.0 on October 20, 2015. In my last blog, KotFE Crafting Changes Reaction, I covered the first two sections of the Crafting Changes in Fallen Empire developer blog released this week. This time it’s time to break down the third section which focuses on Elder Game Crafting.
There are still many question that remain, especially in the details of the elder game (or end-game) content. For instance, we still don’t know how the gear progression will look with all 9 Operations being scaled to the level cap, including 5 Nightmare Mode (NiM) Operations. I think it would have been much less confusing if that information had been released before (or concurrent with) this developer blog. However, no one asked me so I’ll do the best I can to work through what we know now…
- All Modifications acquired from Operations can be Reverse Engineered for their Schematics.
- Operation Gear can no longer be Reverse Engineered.
It was news to me that the shells of Operations Gear were apparently able to be Reverse Engineered (RE) until now? The thought never crossed my mind to reverse engineer the gear for cosmetic use or sale, I’m going to try next time I’m able to just to see how it works, but I certainly won’t miss it in the future.
The reverse engineering of modifications from Operations should be central to any raiding guild, but the scarcity of Matter Transubstantiator in the 3.x content cycle severely limited the crafting of reverse engineered 192 rating gear until well into the content cycle. It’s difficult to comment much on the outlook for reverse engineered Operations modifications until the loot tables and schematic recipes are known, but if completing re-scaled HM Operations from prior tiers drops the material it should be more plentiful than Matter Transubstantiator was in 3.x with “Hardmare” Operations with low clear rates on all servers.
- Crafters can now make gear equivalent to Story and Hard Mode Operations gear:
- This gear can be acquired from their respective Trainer.
- This crafted gear, when Reverse Engineered is equivalent to Story Mode Operations gear.
- When this Story Mode equivalent gear is Reverse Engineered, a player can acquire the schematic to craft Hard Mode Operations equivalent gear.
- This new gear has a guaranteed Reverse Engineer chance.
- This new gear is sellable & tradable.
- This new gear requires a new Crafting material that can only be acquired by completing your personal Conquest goals.
- This gear does not have set bonuses.
- Relics cannot be crafted in this method.
Here’s where it starts to deviate from my expectations. We will be able to craft gear, which I understand to mean non-custom gear with fixed stats, with ratings equal to SM and HM Operations gear. The gear will have no place in progression with min/max limitations and no set bonuses, but it could help casual players clear SM Operations content at a higher rate than the top commendation gear would yield. We won’t know until well into the 4.x content cycle how profitable this gear will be from the crafter’s perspective though. The biggest unknown is the crafting recipe for this gear, but if the Reverse Engineering is guaranteed, the logical implication is that even the SM equivalent gear has a steep material cost to craft.
The most intriguing information is that a new material will be required in this recipe that will be exclusively obtained through completing your personal Conquest goal. There has been an assumption in many conversations I’ve had that this intrinsically means that you will receive one of this material each week on each alt that meets their goal, but there has been no information provided on the crafting recipe still. It could turn out that 10 or more of the material are required in additional to significant quantities of various Mission Skill materials and/or many of the new intermediate components crafted from Gathering Skill materials. I hope that is the case and that the gear is relatively rare and profitable to craft and sell on the GTN.
The additional factor in the crafting of this gear is that Conquest will be on at least a month-long hiatus with the launch of Knights of the Fallen Empire early access. While there is no indication that this was intentional, it does create a barrier to crafting this gear immediately which could have had negative consequences by negating the value of clearing SM Operations to obtain the drop gear of that tier before heading into HM Operations content. As a member of a progression raid team, I am happy to see that for at least a month we will have a head start into HM Operations over teams that are not able to clear SM content reliably. Since the tier is already hampered by not having a new Operation, any mechanic invalidating gear progression would have caused additional damage to the already fragile nature of raiding in SWTOR today.
There is a lot of missing information that will need to come to light before this all adds up, but there’s nothing that’s been announced regarding Elder Game Crafting here that’s intrinsically bad. The initial reaction was negative, but I think that was prior to the realization that the gear was not custom gear that could be min/max’ed for progression raiding. There was also a lot of negativity regarding the inclusion of Conquest rewards in the crafting process, but I am a huge fan of this decision. I think Conquest is a great mechanic to create incentives for guilds to run content and remain active every week in the game, so anything that encourages it can only be a positive for the game going forward.
I’ve begun increasing my content queue and will continue to publish new content as frequently as possible through the end of the year. As always, thank you for reading!
Andrew | SWTOR Economics