Put on the hardhats people…

Lets build!

Okay, who wants to build stuff? Whether it is swords, guns, buildings, starfighters, capital class starships like Star Destroyers or space stations like the Death Star… Um, wait a sec… No, I don’t think I want to build a Death Star. People tend to blow them up before they can really be used. And it is just so insulting, it was always those pesky small fighters doing it too. And the Millennium Falcon – every time that ship shows up, Imperial insurance rates must hit the roof. Man, if I were an insurance agent in the Star Wars universe, you couldn’t pay me enough to insure that huge pile of junk. Sure it has a really, really big gun on it, one that can destroy planets, but come on! It’s a massive risk to build one. No insurance company in existence is going to take a chance on it. So if you build it and some pesky Rebel scum blows it up like they always seem to, you are out of luck. And out several hundred billion credits.

So… Let’s stay small. Many games these days have some kind of crafting component. It can be something as simple as slots for sockets on your equipment that items of some sort can be placed in to enhance it. Who here played Diablo II? *Raises hand* The socketable items in that game were just too cool. You could make your gear do everything but sit up and beg. Same for KOTOR I. But was it really crafting? It was more enhancing an already crafted item. Players wanted more.

MMORPGs have incorporated crafting almost since the first ones. Games like Dark Age of Camelot, Everquest, City of Heroes and World of Warcraft have incorporated or added in a crafting element to keep players happy. But for the Star Wars fan, the pivotal moment was when Star Wars Galaxies came out. I remember the harvesting, the searching, the planning and then the building. I had one character who was an artisan, he was supposed to go droid engineer eventually, but I got tired of the constant work involved. And yes, it was work. You needed a lot of resources and not trash either. Better resources made better products and I still remember the sticker shock when I looked at some of the best items for sale on the bazaar and elsewhere. But players could make virtually anything in the game that other players could use. Anything from bio-agents for combat medics to starfighters and space transports after Jump to Lightspeed came out was feasible for players to build, if not always easy. But that was the challenge.

It was something else to do in the game besides grind. Admittedly, you had to find the resources first. Either you had to go out and mine them, harvest them, whatever, yourself. Or you had to pay someone else to do it for you, which could get VERY expensive. A lot like real life in some respects. I remember my first suit of composite armor for my commando character. It cost more than all of my starfighters combined. But it was worth it! Players will buy almost anything if it is available in a game. But if it is decent, gives them an advantage, or just plain looks better than the regular gear, you better believe the virtual items will fly off the virtual shelves.

So, what kind of crafting do we want? Do we want something like the system in City of Heroes, where you crafted items to improve your abilities? I still recall fighting Hamidon a dozen times, trying for a specific drop to make a specific piece. Or do we want to be able to build anything like in Star Wars Galaxies? I have to say that, speaking for myself, the crafting in that game and others like it was more than a bit overwhelming.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic I and II also featured customization. Customize your lightsabers, your blasters, your armor, what have you, you could make it better. The developers have stated on several occasions that customization will be present, but what kind or how much, we don’t know. I don’t know about you but I want to trick out my blasters. KOTOR II in particular had crafting out the wazoo. You could make all kinds of things. Weapons, armor, grenades, mines, swords, guns, you could make it all. So it stands to reason that The Old Republic will as well. They have even hinted that you can customize your personal starship, but how or to what degree, they haven’t said yet. Annoying, isn’t it? I want to put the biggest weapons I can on mine. What can I say? I like big guns.

Many players gain enjoyment from building things. Hence the popularity of the LEGO series of games. But not every player has 1) the time, or 2) the inclination, to sit around for hours and hours watching things be built. For myself, I want to be out blowing things up. But there is a distinct subset of players in MMOs who live to do one thing and one thing only. Build. And their work is generally in high demand. They can charge whatever they want for their services, because lets face it. They provide a service. Usually a very good service for those of use who lack the patience to grind, grind, grind, build, build, build. We don’t mind paying them for the convenience. We want to play, not work.

Over to you. What would you want to be able to build or customize in Star Wars: The Old Republic? Is there anything you would NOT want to see able to be built by players? For me, I really don’t want to see player-built Star Destroyers and Death Stars!


  1. Idc as long as my jc shadow isn’t combing the galaxy for neutronium in order to make friendship bracelets then I’m up for just about anything.

  2. My guess is that crafting is going to be more ‘customization oriented’. We’ve seen several screenshots showing items that are broken, be it the ‘Dud Grenade’ or ‘Ruined Wookiee Disguise’. I would assume that these are items usable for crafting, which you would combine together to make a functional item. For instance you could take components from a broken blaster, add them to your blaster, and get a +1 bonus to damage or something. BioWare has said many times they’re drawing from the movies, and in the films the main characters always have a single weapon they use throughout. It’s not to say that they built them from the ground up, in the case of Han’s blaster, but rather they tweaked and customized them to fit their style. I could see BioWare going that route – having normal weapon and item drops, but giving us the option to upgrade our weapons and armor via crafting so that we can keep the items we really love instead of having to get rid of them because the DPS output is too low.

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