Star Wars: The Old Republic Interview

Massively recently had the chance to head over to the LucasArts HQ in San Francisco, where they checked out the latest build of The Old Republic and interviewed lead writer Daniel Erickson and lead PvP designer Gabe Amatangelo about crafting and PvP.
Massively: We're curious about how crafting will work in SWTOR -- how will the player participate? What will the player be doing in terms of crafting compared to his companions?

Daniel Erickson: I was always a huge crafting fan in all the different games. There were games that I was just a full-time crafter in; that was all I did. And what's great about crafting? The prestige is great, saying like, "Look, I can make these amazing things." The social aspect is amazing. I want people coming to me and saying, "Hey I heard you're the guy to do this." I want to be able to support my friends; I want to be able to do all this. The exploration and the complexity and learning the system is really fun -- I want to get deep into crafting, I want to learn how to do recipes that nobody else can do, I want to sort of master my system. The financial output, if it works well, is nice, right? Saying, "Hey, I'm actually good enough that I can make some money at this. I can do this piece."

The part that is not terribly exciting is standing in one spot and watching a progress bar over and over and over again. And that's literally all that we removed. By taking [crafting] and putting it onto the crew, what we said is, OK, crafting has a real cost. So you can't keep doing it constantly -- it has a time cost. So instead of watching a progress bar for 30 seconds, you actually know, "OK, I put my companion on this, and this is going to take six hours."

So kind of like a factory in Star Wars Galaxies, only it's a character?

Yes. If you wanted to play the old-style crafting game, and you wanted to watch that progress bar for 20 hours, I mean, you could. You could just stand there. But this is always the part that seems monotonous. So [in SWTOR], I'm the crew boss. I decide what we make. I'm the guy that knows all the recipes. I'm the guy that knows how to do everything. And then I'm putting all of these people to work as my whole crew, into one unit -- your companion characters are all a unit with you. And so, one, it makes all of your companion characters useful, which is nice. Two, it puts in skills for people who aren't ever going to be real crafters. People who are not really into crafting are going to take mission skills, so their people are still going to be useful, but they're going to run them on missions all the time. But serious crafters say that it's a super deep system.

[I] can't talk too much about it, but you are going to be able to make stuff that is among the top stuff on the entire servers. And there are going to be people who know things that almost nobody else on the server knows how to do.