Materials No More

The Eternal Analysis

After offering little official news regarding Crew Skills and other economic aspects of the expansion, in a single Developer Blog post this week more was announced than cumulatively so far.  Therefore, this is the third and final analysis post specifically about that information after I’ve struggled for months to find topics with enough passion to write about them.  If you missed KotFE Crafting Changes Reaction or Thoughts on Elder Game Crafting there may be some points in this post that build on previous thoughts and analysis.

Hoarders: SWTOR Edition

There is a significant house cleaning underway in SWTOR. When game update 4.0 goes lives with Knights of the Fallen Empire early access on October 20, 2015 many crafting materials in the game today will cease to exist.  This is a great game design decision which removes clutter from many Legacy Storage tabs and confusion from the grade system of materials. The original Crew Skill materials included complexity that may have made sense in development that never translated well in the game in my opinion. Instead, it created transitions near the edges of crafting tiers that were neither intuitive nor elegant and created an RNG (random number generator) mini-game with Crew Skill Mission yields when multiple Premium (green) materials shared a type and grade classification.

The developers signaled the trend away from multiple materials within a single grade tier of a material type by including just one variety of all Gathering Skill and Mission Skill material types in both the Grade 9 (Rise of the Hutt Cartel) and Grade 11 (Shadow of Revan) expansion tiers with only one exception (Grade 9 Bioanalysis). The inclusion of multiple materials within a singe type and grade has provided no benefits that address the core issues with Crew Skills in my opinion, so there’s no harm in removing them.  Gathering Skills and Mission Skills are not the place for complexity, that’s what Crafting Skills should be providing more of through more complicated and costly schematics as well as more multi-stage crafting processes and the possibility of more unique outcomes.

The last section of the Developer Blog included the following announcement that the outgoing materials would be converted rather than rendered worthless:

Along with all of the other changes we are making, we are going to be removing many of the current crafting materials in the game. When Fallen Empire launches, any of these materials that you have will automatically convert to their equivalent counterpart.

For many of the items listed that is a thorough explanation, such as the example given of Plasteel converting to Plastoid.  They represent the two Grade 2 Scavenged Compounds in the game currently, so there is a clear conversion aligned there.  The same can be said for the 36 Gathering Skill and Mission Skill materials on the list of 61 outgoing materials:

Material Name Quality Grade Crew Skill Material Type Likely Conversion
Eralam Crystal Premium 2 Archaeology Power Crystals Nextor Crystal
Prehistoric Artifact Fragment Premium 3 Archaeology Artifact Fragment Ancient Artifact Fragment
Bondar Crystal Premium 3 Archaeology Power Crystals Opila Crystal
Alien Artifact Fragment Premium 5 Archaeology Artifact Fragment Hypertech Artifact Fragment
Phond Crystal Premium 5 Archaeology Power Crystals Damind Crystal
Bacterial Strain Premium 1 Bioanalysis Biochemical Sample Dielectric Cell Fiber
Luminescent Cell Culture Premium 2 Bioanalysis Biochemical Compounds Genetic Anomaly
Toxic Extract Premium 2 Bioanalysis Biochemical Sample Microscopic Symbiote
Blue Goo Premium 3 Bioanalysis Biochemical Compounds Hallucinogenic Compound
Medicinal Fluid Premium 3 Bioanalysis Biochemical Compounds Hallucinogenic Compound
Unknown Microorganism Premium 3 Bioanalysis Biochemical Sample Bio-Energy Cell Sample
Cosmic Trace Particle Premium 4 Bioanalysis Biochemical Compounds Nerve-Damaging Chemical
Inert Virus Premium 4 Bioanalysis Biochemical Sample Alien Bacteria
Psychoactive Compound Premium 5 Bioanalysis Biochemical Compounds Nutrient Gel
Quick-Growth Agent Premium 5 Bioanalysis Biochemical Sample Parasitic Microorganism
Red Goo Premium 6 Bioanalysis Biochemical Compounds Immunity Cell Culture
Neurochemical Extract Premium 6 Bioanalysis Biochemical Sample Mutagenic Paste
Viral Residue Premium 9 Bioanalysis Biochemical Compounds Artificial Microbe
Biological Compounding Chemical Premium 9 Bioanalysis Biochemical Sample Metabolic Enhancement Agent
Laminoid Premium 1 Scavenging Scavenged Compound Silica
Aluminium Premium 1 Scavenging Scavenged Metal Desh
Plasteel Premium 2 Scavenging Scavenged Compound Plastoid
Chanlon Premium 2 Scavenging Scavenged Metal Bronzium
Resinite Premium 4 Scavenging Scavenged Compound Fibermesh
Diatium Premium 4 Scavenging Scavenged Metal Bondite
Amorphous Carbonite Premium 5 Scavenging Scavenged Compound Polyplast
Neutronium Premium 5 Scavenging Scavenged Metal Electrum
Exquisite Yellow Crystal Prototype 1 Treasure Hunting Gemstone Fire Node
Precious Yellow Crystal Prototype 2 Treasure Hunting Gemstone Marilite
Immaculate Yellow Crystal Prototype 3 Treasure Hunting Gemstone Tatooine Flamegem
Pristine Yellow Crystal Prototype 4 Treasure Hunting Gemstone Sunblaze
Flawless Yellow Crystal Prototype 5 Treasure Hunting Gemstone Prismatic Crystal
Perfect Orange Crystal Prototype 6 Treasure Hunting Gemstone Lorrdian Gemstone
Perfect Yellow Crystal Prototype 6 Treasure Hunting Gemstone Lorrdian Gemstone
Impeccable Orange Crystal Prototype 9 Archaeology Gemstone
Impeccable Yellow Crystal Prototype 9 Archaeology Gemstone

Profit Opportunities

So why is this list important?  Typically, the two materials that share a type and grade have very different supply and demand dynamics and therefore very different GTN prices.  Using the final row, it is unlikely that Perfect Yellow Crystal and Lorrdian Gemstone have similar GTN prices, unless the market has already priced in this conversion.  If you can buy Perfect Yellow Crystal for less than Lorrdian Gemstone and you don’t need the Lorrdian Gemstone until at least next week, you can buy the cheaper material and just wait for it to convert to the remaining material of the same type and grade on October 20th.

For the sellers on the GTN though, the opposite scenario could bring excess profits.  If an outgoing material currently sells for more than the remaining material it is most likely to convert to next week, it’s fire sale time to move all of the outgoing material at the higher price if possible before Tuesday.  To be safe, be sure to only list for a duration that ends before the server go down next week to avoid any possibility of a glitch with materials that become obsolete while listed on the GTN (not saying this will happen, but don’t risk it if you don’t have to).  Both the buyers and sellers should benefit in the long-term though as the materials market simplification should create a more efficient market that aligns supply and demand more rapidly than the current system.

Now for the Challenging Ones…

The remaining 25 materials on the list are more difficult to project.  They are rare materials, supplemental materials, augmentation materials, etc. all mixed into this group, so I will break down each similar group to simplify the analysis, starting with the supplemental materials for Biochem crafting.

Material Name Quality Grade Crew Skill Material Type Likely Conversion
Single-Pulse Implant Processor Standard 1 Biochem Supplemental Hemosponge
D-Package Implant Processor Standard 2 Biochem Supplemental Hypnogazer
Double-Pulse Implant Processor Standard 4 Biochem Supplemental Memory-plastic
Advanced Power Implant Processor Standard 5 Biochem Supplemental Myostim
Rybcoarse Implant Processor Standard 9 Biochem Supplemental Stim Plug
Synth-net Implant Processor Standard 11 Biochem Supplemental Nervesplicer

There is more inference and analysis in this and the following sections, because there is not a simple, obvious conversion material.  In this case, I looked at the materials known to be present in the schematics for 4.0 crafting and assumed that Hypo-syringe and First Aid Kits would not be conversions for any outgoing Implant Processor because both currently exist and will continue to exist.  Then, each outgoing Implant Processor was paired with the level-appropriate supplemental medical supply beginning at the highest tier materials and just working backwards.  This could certainly turn out to have been a poor assumption, so use your own judgement before acting on this information!

Another easy group are the augment-related materials because the plan has been explicitly given for this group already:

Material Name Quality Grade Crew Skill Material Type Likely Conversion
Augmentation Kit MK-10 Prototype 11 Multiple Augment Kits Augmentation Kit MK-8
Augmentation Kit MK-9 Prototype 9 Multiple Augment Kits Augmentation Kit MK-8
Augmentation Slot Component MK-10 Premium 11 Multiple Augment Kits Augmentation Slot Component MK-8
Augmentation Slot Component MK-9 Premium 9 Multiple Augment Kits Augmentation Slot Component MK-8

We already know that the top tiers of the augmentation kit and component structure are being condensed into the new Best in Slot (BiS) MK-8 tier in 4.0, so not much else to discuss here.  The following group starts to get more difficult to project and interesting though.  All of the Grade 7 Rare and Grade 7 Exotic materials are on the outgoing list and in order to hypothesize their conversion destination I referenced the new recipe for Dark Project MK-1 since these four outgoing materials were previously combined with a lone Invasion Force to craft the item.  Based on the new recipe, here’s my projection:

Material Name Quality Grade Crew Skill Material Type Likely Conversion
Alien Data Cube Prototype 7 Multiple Exotic Exotic Isotope Stabilizer
Biometric Crystal Alloy Prototype 7 Multiple Exotic Exotic Isotope Stabilizer
Rakata Energy Node Artifact 7 Multiple Exotic Exotic Isotope Stabilizer
Self-Perpetuating Power Cell Artifact 7 Multiple Exotic Exotic Isotope Stabilizer

The Exotic Isotope Stabilizer is obtained in Hardmode Flashpoints going forward and is used in the crafting recipes for a vast array of new end-game gear and modifications too broad to discuss here.  This is a very valuable conversion if true because this Exotic Isotope Stabilizer has many, many more uses than any of these outgoing materials.  I will be buying up as much of these four materials as possible to hopefully benefit from the conversion, but only do so if you like risk because this is essentially similar to a stock tip based on a hunch, not any inside info.

That’s an inference from the recipe for Dark Matter MK-1, but the list becomes even less predictable now.  The remaining items are as follows:

Material Name Quality Grade Crew Skill Material Type Likely Conversion
Molecular Stabilizer Prototype 8 Multiple Exotic Exotic Isotope Stabilizer
Synthetic Energy Matrix Artifact 8 Multiple Exotic  Exotic Isotope Stabilizer
Exotic Element Equalizer Prototype 10 Multiple Exotic Exotic Isotope Stabilizer
Mass Manipulation Generator Artifact 10 Multiple Exotic  Exotic Isotope Stabilizer
Vial of Stabilized Isotope-5 Artifact 10 Multiple Exotic  Exotic Isotope Stabilizer
Exonium Prototype 11 Multiple Exotic Exotic Isotope Stabilizer
Matter Transubstantiator Artifact 11 Multiple Exotic Dark Matter Catalyst (optimistic)
Enriched Durasteel Prototype None Multiple Rare ?
Perfect Upari Crystal Prototype None Multiple Rare  ?
Universal Catalyst Artifact None Multiple Exotic  ?

It seems that there are essentially three end-game Exotic crafting materials in the new structure, Exotic Isotope Stabilizer (Hardmode Flashpoints), Dark Matter Catalyst (Operations), and Strategic Resource Matrix (Conquest).  My intuition is that either no materials will convert to Dark Matter Catalyst out of the gate next week, or at most Matter Transubstantiator might convert to its equivalent in the new crafting meta.  If that is the case, I suspect that all of the other existing Exotic materials will convert to Exotic Isotope Stabilizer because it appears to be quite plentiful in crafting recipes, so even with all of these conversions even the largest stockpile would not last very long for a serious crafter.  The more thought I give the topic the less likely it seems that Matter Transubstantiator will convert to Dark Matter Catalyst, if I had to bet I’d put my money on all current Exotic materials becoming Exotic Isotope Stabilizer in the conversion process.

I don’t believe that anything is likely to convert to the new Conquest-based material since it has no comparable material that becoming obsolete.  One observation from my research though is that Conquest is becoming a major profit opportunity in 4.0 because many recipes appear to require multiple Strategic Resource Matrix to craft a single end-game piece of gear or modification, so the demand for the material on the GTN for crafters is likely to be very high because it is likely the limiting ingredient more often than not, with Exotic Isotope Stabilizer a close second.  There is going to be much more profit than previously existed in running Hardmode Flashpoints and participating in Conquest as much as possible, both of which are exciting possibilities.

I have no idea what to predict for the last few materials and have run out of stamina for researching them further.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on possible conversion paths though, especially those last few groups.  Hopefully this has been both interesting and informative, if it turns out I’ve led anyone astray I apologize in advance.  As always, thanks for reading!

Andrew | SWTOR Economics

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One thought on “Materials No More

  1. Great job, I always appreciate and enjoy your work. Excellent contribution to the community. That said, I am hoping the MK-10’s get converted to the MK-8’s. I am a little nervous they will want us to RE, or learn and earn the new “top tier” of augments & kits. My fear is that the current MK-10’s will be converted to future MK-7’s.

    Like

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