Interview: Daniel Erickson on Crew Skills Part 2
The second part of our interview with Star Wars: The Old Republic's Daniel Erickson on Crew Skills delves a bit deeper into companion integration and recipe mechanics. We also gained insight into how the system deals with avoiding intense grinding. We also include a video of Erickson's overview of the unique Crew Skills system after the jump.
Can the companions of two players from the opposite faction fight over a node?
Daniel Erickson: Your companions are actually controlled by your own aggro stuff. So if you weren't aggroed to another player, they would not. It would be first come, first serve... obviously, if you sent your companion to go grab something and then you saw that thing was no longer available.
One of the things you probably noticed about the companions is that they are directly controllable as well. You don't have to directly control them. You could say, "Attack their companion." You could get a pretty good drop on their companion if they were down scrabbling in the dirt and you used your companion's big nasty attack ability -- his big cooldown -- against them. You could assume that yeah, you could keep somebody busy, knock off their companion, and then go for the node if you're battle crafting.
Will players also have the option to gather materials from nodes without using their active companion?
Absolutely. You can always do it yourself. In fact, if there are multiple nodes you are trying to hit, then that could be a really disciplined way of doing it. Anything you have a gathering skill for, you can do yourself or you can send your companion to do it.
You referred to Treasure Hunting rewards as a "random number generator" result. What would you say to those that are discouraged by the random number generator usage?
There are lots of things in the game that are not that way, but our loot system is always working in that way. Drops are random by their very nature, and Treasure Hunting is an extension of that.
You mentioned Vette excels at Treasure Hunting. Are companions restricted in what they are able to do regardless of what they excel at, or will they be able to do everything?
All companions can do all skills that you know. You're the one who has the Crew Skills on your character, so you say, "I learned these Crew Skills." You can assign anyone to it. Companions have bonuses to them, but those bonuses aren't so large that they would ever restrict you. The balance is... we don't ever want you to say, "I don't want to take Vette out today" because that would be too much of a blow to my Crew Skills game.
We need to make sure the bonuses are enough to be impactful but not enough to make it nonviable to use somebody else for the same thing. Just because you have Vette on your team doing Treasure Hunting doesn't mean you will feel like "oh, I have to leave her home because I wouldn't want to send Companion B out to Treasure Hunt."
Is every passive companion at your disposal able to do crafting all at the same time or are restricted to a maximum number?
To be clear, you can have up to five companions working on a crafting table. You can have up to five companions working on different crafts, and have other companions out on mission skills or doing something else like missions for gathering. Crafting limits at five, but Crew Skills you could have everyone going at once because crafting for us is one third of Crew Skills. But you can have one companion out who will trail around and follow you in the world.
By including an offline component to crafting, will new players six plus months out be at a disadvantage or will there be a system in place to deflate the time values of old content like in other MMOs?
I don't think the parallels really make sense because it is the same thing for any crafting system you have in any game -- crafting takes time. In ours, crafting an individual item takes even more time than in most games so you can do it offline. At the same time, you can be online and ignoring it. But you have to remember your companion is doing it and you're not doing it. So there really is not a difference in the person who shows up day one as a new player, who obviously can't craft what you can craft because you were doing it for six months. You are going to know far more recipes and far more skills -- you are going to be way down the line. They are going to be at the very first beginning levels of it.
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