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Hardly a day goes by that I don’t hear someone in the SWTOR community say with the utmost conviction: “Crafting is broken. It’s just a huge money sink.”

And while I can certainly understand that the individual making this statement has apparently bankrupted their virtual selves through their pursuit of crafting, I know from my personal experience that statement isn’t a universal truth.

Those of you who listen to me on the TOR Reporter podcast already know that I’ve been able to finance my characters across 4 servers solely through my crafting. While most of them have yet to attain the dizzying heights of Galactic Trade Nexxi, who is so rich Chuck Norris comes to her for loans (thanks Silent!), they have all helped keep me from resorting to grinding dailies or bonus series quests to keep fiscally afloat.

Not surprisingly, I’m often asked what my secret is to having profitable crafting. And thus, I’ve compiled these 4 tips to help you attain a positive crafting cash flow.

Crafting Tip #1: Learn Complimentary Gathering and Mission Skills

I’ve frequently heard people say things to the effect of not wanting to take a gathering skill other than slicing so they can make lots of credits, or not wanting to level underworld trading as a mission skill yet taking synthweaving as their crafting profession. Unless you have landed on a busy server where supply for your crafting materials far outstrips the demand, it is unlikely you will be able to purchase your crafting materials from the GTN more cheaply than running missions on your companions for them.

Further, with an appropriate gathering skill, you will readily pick up a good amount of the base materials for your your profession as you go about your daily activities. Before you snatch up 6 rubat crystals in the GTN thinking you’ve gotten a great deal, remember that you could have gotten 2-3 crystals from a 95c mission, or better yet just from walking around. Not sure which professions go together? Check out this crew skills overview which explains them all in detail, and includes pairings at the end of the post.

Crafting Tip #2: Craft as You Go

I know many folks like to wait and slam through all their crafting en masse, after they hit 50. And these are most often the same people I hear complaining that they are broke and it’s all crafting’s fault. But here’s the thing: crafting didn’t smack you over the head and steal your wallet.

You can train up your crew skills on your first trip to the Fleet, in the level 7-10 range. You can start your gathering profession immediately thereafter.  And as soon as you obtain your first companion, they can be sent to craft for you, or to execute crew skills missions.

If you keep a sharp eye out on your mini map, you can make sure to travel from quest area to quest area via gathering nodes. Or if you are lucky enough to be able to recover materials from your slain foes, you can make sure to always kill an extra few silver mobs instead of sneaky past them to ensure you are keeping up your materials base.

Crafting Tip #3: Give Yourself a Set Crafting Budget per Day

It can be tempting to start sending your companion out immediately to level up your crew skills, but you are honestly better off in taking a look after an hour or two of play at what you’ve gathered, then filling in some missing crafting materials and sending your companions off to craft overnight while you’re safely logged off.

Alternatively, if you want to be sending your companions out on missions to obtain specialty crafting materials as you play, be sure to give yourself a set budget then do not exceed it. Once you get up into missions costing 1500c+, times 4 or 5 companions, you can easily blow through your savings if you are not disciplined about your budget.

Crafting Tip #4: As You Level Your Profession Make Either Cheap Items to R/E or Items That are Hard to Come by

And as you level your skills up, try to strike a balance between crafting inexpensive items you can R/E for mats while obtaining skill points, and the occasional leveling item to sell. I’ve previously covered my strategy for inexpensively leveling synthweaving, so be sure to check that out for ideas.

To identify the leveling items you should craft and sell, go to the GTN and do some searches for the crafted items you could, in theory, make. I bet if you make armor, you’re seeing a ton of items, frequently those for level 43+, in the under 5k range. Maybe even up for the cost of the mats or less. Put these items on the list of things you do not want to be making. Being in a price war on the GTN with someone who prices like Walmart is a great way to go broke fast.

Instead, look for gear that you can make, that players are asking for in general chat or on the forums, or that you don’t see up for sale very often. Now, if you make consumables of some sort, you’ll need to modify this strategy a bit, to be looking for items you see for sale pretty regularly but that sell out quickly.

Each server’s economy is different, and there will be many nights when you have all of your GTN sales returned to you in the mail. That is to be expected. So don’t give up! Learn over time what your personal best sellers are, and focus on making those items. You don’t need to have a discount superstore’s level of selection up for sale to be successful in your crafting!

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And please share your favorite crew skills tips, or ask your crafting Qs in the comments!