Star Wars: The Old Republic — GameFront Impressions (Part 2)
Crafting in TOR is performed by companion characters — an unheralded but brilliant move by the devs. Their decision has two important consequences: 1. You can improve your crafting without having to stand around looking at progress bars fill up 2. From a characterization standpoint, you don’t have to put your epic heroism on hold to perform some totally mundane task.
I wish the game worked a little harder to explain the system — to explain what skills produce what items, what they’re good for, and how the skills work together. I’m also curious — when I get my second companion character, can I train him/her in a brand-new set of three skills? I’m sure Google has the answers, but I’m not sure I should have to ask it.
TOR’s crafting system is available through its “crew skills” mechanic. You can select a total of three crew skills, one from the crafting category, one from the gathering category, and one from the mission category. These skills work best when synergized — your gathering skill should focus on acquiring resources for your crafting skill, and your mission skill should gather rarer resources and crafting recipes — although there’s much more leeway with this last one.
Although you can acquire resources and recipes yourself, you can deploy your slaves — err, companions — to the task, while you go about your business leveling up and “pwning n00bs.” The more you use a crew skill, the better you become at it, unlocking more recipes, gaining access to better missions, and acquiring rarer resources. Any crafted item can be reverse-engineered to regain half of the resources used in its creation and for the opportunity to unlock a recipe for a more powerful version of the item.
Of the couple dozen MMOs I’ve played, this is the first crafting system to ever really grab me. Some may say TOR makes crafting too easy, that players should truly have to work hard to craft an item. But I appreciate that TOR makes crafting accessible to new players while making it increasingly difficult at higher levels.