March 18, 2012
Yesterdays update on on crew skills has fueled a hefty debate about the games most important non-combat activity. With yesterdays new information about the system, comes many new questions. Luckily Damion Schubert took some time to answer some last night:
To be more precise, players can have up to three crew skills but only one of those can be a crafting skill. The fictional reason is that you only can have room for one crafting table on your ship, but the real reason is that we don't want all players to be self-sufficient.
We call the system Crew Skills because they are skills possessed by your amorphous crew as a whole. If your crew can go treasure hunting, you can order any of your crew members to run treasure hunting missions. Vette may have a bonus to treasure hunting (being a native treasure hunter and all), but to be honest we currently have these bonuses set to be relatively mild - we don't want people to choose NOT to take their favorite companion out on the field with them because the economic bonus to keeping them on the ship is that much greater
Glad to know they're paying attention to details like this.
You can unlearn skills. If you relearn it later, you must progress it up again. (You will not lose your schematics for crafting skills, but they are inaccesssible until you reach the proper skill level).
So just to throw a couple more stray thoughts about our philosophy.
- No, you the player cannot craft currently - which is to say you cannot choose to watch the progress bar fill up yourself. That being said, to us, watching a progress bar has always been the least interesting part of crafting in other MMOs. The part of being a crafter that is interesting to us is things like finding rare schematics, finding hard-to-find components, and the social game of finding customers and suppliers. We really wanted devoted crafters to be able to focus on these aspects of crafting, and not so much on the 'watch a progress bar go forward' part of things. Crafting should be a social thing - staring at a progress bar is not.
- No, you don't see companions running missions out 'in the real world''. While I laugh at the idea of a stream of companion characters filing into the palace on Alderaan, it's unfeasible for a lot of reasons.
- The real test of the value of crafting is less about whether companions or players are swinging the hammer and tongs, and more about how the itemization of crafting is balanced in a way that the gear is useful. Crafting is important to the systems team, and we're devoted to ensuring that crafted gear has a place in the economy, especially at the endgame, and doubly especially for the devoted crafters.
- It's worth noting that we really want the system to support the casual crafter (the guy who is taking crafting largely to outfit himself while levelling up) and the devoted crafter (the guy who wants to be known as the best Armormech in the galaxy). Supporting the former means making the system accessible and easy. Supporting the latter means ensuring that hard work can allow you to provide goods and services that almost no one in the galaxy can. The systems design team is striving to satisfy both groups of people.
- My own personal goal is that some crafters can get so good that players all over the server seek them out. My problem being a crafter in most other MMOs is that you tend to become a guild's pet at some point, and you're expected to do all of the work for free. We want those devoted crafters to be exceptional enough that they can actually demand a price, and that people will actually break out of the guild in order to pursue those goods and services. The system isn't there yet, but we have plans...
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