I had 2 big goals for my BETA time, in addition to just getting a feel for caster game play and gaining familiarity with companions as party members: 1) to see how far I could get with leveling my professions, and 2) to earn my spaceship. Happily, despite having to work for half the BETA weekend, I was able to make great progress against these goals.
As soon as you complete the first portion of your class quest, and get sent off to the Fleet, at level 10 or so, you are able to start training your professions. Special note: if you go ahead and talk to all the trainers as soon as you arrive at the fleet (only accepting those skills you actually want to train, mind you), you can earn a nice chunk of experience. There is a great visual that shows the best skills to pair with each other to maximize your leveling ability. You may only train a total of 3 crew skills per character, which may be any combination of gathering skills, a maximum of 1 crafting skill, and mission skills. I went with Synthweaving, Archaeology, and Underworld Trading.
Crafting Skill: Synthweaving
In other games, I’ve often taken up tailoring, so it was no surprise that I chose to go with Synthweaving for my cloth wearing caster. I like having the ability to craft gear upgrades for myself, and have typically found the rare or better crafted gear to sell pretty well, especially in the early days of a game/expansion.
I ended my BETA time with a skill of 160 or so in Synthweaving (I had an annoying keyboard not recognized problem as I was wrapping up my BETA time and neglected to write down my final #.) I was able to easily finance this leveling, at level 16, through selling a few world drop items, and making 6 blue quality belts and gloves, which I put on the auction house for 1200-1500 credits. Despite buying a few rare quality cloths from the auction house in order to do this crafting, I ended up with 8500 credits at the end of my professions leveling spree.
My primary tip is to reverse engineer every green quality item you make that you do not need for yourself or your companion. I found that I usually got 1-2 power crystals back for every item reverse engineered at the lower levels, which came in handy. I always made the most inexpensive item that was available to craft, but that had not yet been greyed out (once a pattern is in grey text in your skill window, it will no longer give you a skill point for crafting it.)
I also suggest making a blue quality item that will give you skill points whenever you have the special materials on hand that are required. You can obtain those special materials from some of your more expensive Archaeology and Underworld Trading missions, however, you will soon run into Fibrous Nylite Solution, which is an item you can purchase from any Crew Skill Trade Vendor, as is Thermoionic Gel Suspension.
Gathering Skill: Archaeology
One of the nice things about Archaeology, is once you get out into the world after level 10, you should be seeing crystal nodes as you go about your everyday questing. Although I did spend a good chunk of time sending my companions out on Archaeology missions to get up to 100 or so in skill, I also raked in a ton of power crystals as I walked around completing quests.
You are able to send your companion out to complete archaeology missions whenever you’d like. I personally kept my companion at my side for questing, so I could more effectively handle large packs and heroic quests by myself. But whenever I was zooming back to a capital city, I sent him off on an errand. Who knew bossing around my minions would be so much fun? Ahem. I mean, it was a very rewarding bonding experience to allow my companion to do my bidding. Oh nevermind– I think you are already seeing why I am going Sith.
There are two key factors that will help you decide which missions to send your companion out on — the cost and the potential end result. The cost to send my companion out on the mission started at 95 credits, and topped out at 295 credits. You receive new missions to send your companion on as you increase your character’s level, starting with 4 missions available to you at level 10. I found that I eventually had an archaeology skill level above the level of items available to me for completing the missions, but that was only due to some serious focus on profession leveling.
The third factor to influence what mission you send your companion on is what the potential reward will be. A few examples of how entry level quest yields are described:
- Moderate Yield: Grade 1 Color Crystals
- Moderate Yield: Grade 1 Power Crystals
- Bountiful Yield: Grade 1 Artifact Fragments
Moderate yield missions can result in a return of 1 or 2 items upon completion. Bountiful yield quests were often 3-4 items in total. But it is important to note that on occasion, my companion would come back empty handed, especially when sent out on a bountiful yield (and more expensive I might add) quest.
Mission Skill: Underworld Trading
Underworld Trading was the more vexing of all the crew skills for me. Mission times started out being relatively short (3 minutes) and increased to 6 minutes over my small leveling journey. Now before you say “Aw, Anexxia, you are just too impatient!” let me remind you that these quests can fail. And somehow, it seemed it was always the 275 credit 6 minute quest that would fail.
In the BETA stress test weekend, quests would note that they could result in either Underworld Metals or Grade 1 Luxury Fabrics. Under that design, I found I most often ended up with metals, and had to buy my cloth from the auction house. I believe the last minute professions fine tuning has broken the rewards down to separate them out, which will be helpful for maximizing your mission time and credits to enable you to obtain the raw materials you want for crafting your preferred items.
Due to the longer amount of time and greater credit cost per mission (starting at 95 but quickly headed into the 200s), this was the skill I got the least far (only mid 40s.) I have a feeling I’ll end up falling a little behind on this one as I level, but the upside is I think there will be a good auction house market for the cloth and metals if I don’t need to put them to use in my synthweaving.
Final Impressions on Professions
Overall, I found the professions to be easy enough to level, and without breaking the bank. I didn’t make my 10k credit goal (I wanted to buy a sandcrawler vanity pet from the lightside vendor), but I made a serious dent in my synthweaving leveling and made myself and my companion a few nice pieces. I think a lot of folks will be tempted to skip over the professions leveling in a mad rush to get to max level, but I would caution against that. You will not want to be sitting around in a capital city just sending your crew on missions, as a huge money sink, making items you can’t use at max level. In the long run, it’s a lot more efficient — and personally rewarding– to add the crew skills missions into your daily pace. And if you happen to be working from home and on a conference call, which prohibits you from actually being out and about completing quests with your character, crew skills leveling is a great multitasking activity. but don’t tell your boss I said so…
See you in the game soon!