Star Wars: The Old Republic Crafting Preview

Rather than go for a generalized preview, the editors over at Massively chose to focus entirely on the crafting system that we'll be utilizing in Star Wars: The Old Republic in their new detailed editorial. A generous sampling:
Both of my characters battled through the Esseles flashpoint to travel to Coruscant. I landed in the starport near the senate building. I stepped in the bright sun of the planet, watching speeders wiz by and bright lights shining off the towers in the distance. After I had walked a few paces past the taxi service, a stairway to my left and to my right descended into the senate marketplace. Vendors and trainers lined both corridors; an auction house helped fill the span between them. Each of the class trainers were found here, as were a mail box and bank. But most importantly, 14 different crafting trainers spread themselves through multiple different shops. These vendors represented each of the different Crew Skills. A single player is allowed to learn three out of the 14 different skills at a time.

The gathering categories divide into four different skill sets: Archaeology, Bioanalysis, Scavenging, and Slicing. Archaeology focuses on gathering from nodes of artifacts, or more importantly, crystals. Bioanalysis allows you or your companion to examine and extract biological agents from various plants and creatures. Scavenging gives you skills to sift through piles of junk or recently defeated droids to find useful materials. Star Wars defines slicing as hacking. In SWTOR, a player uses Slicing to access electronic safes and data stations.

Originally, I had learned Archaeology for my Jedi Consular. That made sense, right? I would be able to use the artifacts to create Jedi weapons and crystals. However, I was leveling my Smuggler at the same time, and I took Slicing on her. When I had more than triple the amount of money on my Slicer than on my Archaeologist at the same level, I quickly dropped Archaeology and picked up Slicing on both. I hope the devs adjust Slicing in the final build because it's more advantageous for a player to level up Slicing to earn money to buy materials than to gather materials personally.

Of course, I didn't have to gather all the materials myself. Unlike most MMOs, in which you have to take time out of your busy killing-spree to stop and mine some ore, in SWTOR you can send your companion over to the node to gather materials while you engage the enemy. However, I noticed with Slicing that if I was not out of combat before the short time it took for my companion to unlock the safe, I would have to later walk over to gather the contents myself. On more than one occasion, this allowed other players to ninja loot my sliced safe. Even if I had sliced open the box, anyone could come by and steal the contents. I guess it serves me right for stealing in the first place...