SWTOR Crew Skills - gathering, crafting, and mission skills explained
After a couple of years of experience with BioWare products, we can clearly tell that the studio has a particular sentiment for teammates. Baldur’s Gate was a team game. Mass Effect franchise allowed us to take companions with us. Dragon Age game series had this system as well. No wonder that Star Wars: The Old Republic has the “ally mechanic” implemented.
In this guide, we’re talking about the crew skills. What abilities can we teach our friends, what’s the use of it, and how to make the most out of it.
Crew Skills system in Star Wars: The Old Republic
In Star Wars: The Old Republic, you don’t have to do everything on your own. Even if you wanted to, you can’t. Your character doesn't have the ability to learn everything, so it’s the main purpose of your companion to fill the gap, and complete the crew skill tasks.
Crew Skills in SWTOR divided into three main categories:
Each one of them results in obtaining different items or pieces of equipment. It is crucial in terms of vertical progress and obtaining the useful, endgame gear.
You can use up to three crew skill slots at a time, including a maximum of three gathering skills, three mission skills, and one crafting skill at the same time. The three crew skills are not bound forever. You can unlearn them, if you want, and learn something else. However, if one day you'd dream about returning to the unlearned skill, you'll have to level it up from scratch. Unlearning a certain skill makes you lose any rare schematics and recipes, so think twice.
Crew skills are not class-bound. It means, that any class can use any crew skill. Also, there are no species bonus to crew skills like in WoW or ESO, so don't bother.
The bread and butter of Star Wars: The Old Republic is sending your companions on the missions. Your crew members can't die during the mission, but they may not succeed.
The number of companions you can send on a mission depends on your level. At level 10 it's 1, lvl 15 it's 2, level 25 gives you 3, level 41 allows you to send 4 of them, and at level 48 you have five companions available to send on a mission. Remember that crew skills don't belong to your companion, but to you. However, a particular companion can have a bonus to certain skill. What also affects the mission effectiveness are "affection" and "efficiency". High Affection level results in a prolonged completion time, while high Efficiency is the opposite.
In MMORPG genre, gathering skills, professions, jobs, or whatever else they’re called, are well-known to the player base. These are the basic skills, allowing the player to simply pick something up and sell it, or use it in crafting.
Usually, it’s the gathering skills that are used most for farming the in-game currency. They have a relatively low entry level, no initial capital needed (maybe sometimes you need a pickaxe), which makes it so that you can start gather resources right away.
It's hard to tell how ahead timewise the SWTOR Galaxy is from our world, but we are certain that they have their own branches of archeology. In Star Wars: The Old Republic, however, it's less about digging in the past to find some dinosaur bones or broken bowl, but rather crystals and Artifact Fragments. Crystals are used mostly in the production and modification of lightsabers. Ancient artifacts can contain some technology Force imbued items. Inherently, these findings are the most valuable for the Force users, namely Jedi Consular, Jedi Knight, Sith Warrior, and Sith Inquisitor with their respective advanced classes later on. For the crafting skills, you may want to take Artifice or Synthweaving for simple synergy. Other crafting skills do not benefit much from stones and artifacts.
This skill revolves around analysing the biosphere. Unlike Archaeology, Bioanalysis works on organic, but still non-artificial, findings. Developing Bioanalysis allows the player to collect materials from plants and corpses of creatures. Naturally, this skill synergizes exceptionally well in combination with Biochem.
Whoever played the legendary Need for Speed: Underground 2, must know what scavenger is. Scavenger is someone who’s retrieving valuable junk from the overall junk, namely ship wrecks, or other damaged technology. However, in SWTOR the trash you can find across the Galaxy is slightly more valuable than, let’s say, cans or copper cables. Scavenging is the main source of metal goods for players.
Although other skills’ names may have been a little bit suggestive, Slicing is not. The skill does not revolve around cutting something, unless you mean cutting money from someone. Slicing is an SWTOR counterpart of what we commonly know as thieving or lockpicking. The skill is all about bypassing the security, and getting into the computers and lockboxes. Once you slice computer systems it can yield items, credits, schematics, and other useful materials. Safes, data stations, mainframes, and biometric footlockers will be your target. On top of that, you can find objects, that will allow you to start a challenging mission. These quests are accessible only through Slicing. Obviously, as you send your companion, they can retrieve these objects as well as, for example, Sliced Tech Parts useful for Armstech, Armormech, Synthweaving, or for Augments. If you manage to score a critical success, there is a chance of you to be rewarded with rare Augment schematics.
Slicing is so useful, that there is no particular synergy with any of the crafting professions, as most of the time you will not allow yourself to sneeze on it. The chance to land a couple of valuable items without breaking a sweat is way too much.
Now we’ve got to the point, where you have a lot of raw materials, but you are still to decide what to do with them. Thanks to the crafting skills, your crew will be able to craft useful items. If you are a newbie, it doesn’t matter which crafting skill you choose. It will have minor impact on your overall gameplay, as you are still learning. However, if you aim to be any good at the game, you should have a glance on what’s at the table before you choose your class. Different classes will benefit from different skills. Artifice, which is responsible for creating and upgrading the lightsabers will have little to no use for a Smuggler, who can’t use the Force. Likewise, the Jedi Knight will not benefit much from Armstech.
The downside to the Crafting Skills is that you can have a maximum of one at any time. In some cases it'll be a clear cut what you want to do, but in others it may be not that simple. Remember, that unlearning a certain skill is not always worth it.
We'll try to keep it tight in this paragraph, and talk about crafting crew skills in our SWTOR Crafting Guide. Let’s have a look at the Crafting Skills then for you to decide, which one do you want to go.
This crafting crew skill lets you work on metals, alloys, synthetics in order to create armor and augments designated for non-Force users. While creating armor, you can use fluxes purchased from vendors to refine the materials. This skill also lets you reverse engineer the armor you've crafted, which opens up a possibility to find new ways of improving armor creation and enhance qualities.
Since you will need lots of hard metals and electronic shielding to construct and acquire valuable armor, Scavenging becomes your go-to option for gathering skills to pair up with. Armormech is especially recommended for someone who intends to play the tank in the future, because of the best possible quality armor that you can have at a relative low price. Also, as a tank you will be using these armor, which will make leveling the skill much more easier. The augments you can craft are Absorb, Aim, Cunning, and Shield.
Just like Armormech, Armstech works on alloys, hard metals, and synthetics. However, the products of it are not armors, but weapons - blasters - including blaster rifles, sniper rifles, pistols, assault cannons, and shotguns. It also unlocks their modifications (blaster barrels), and augments. Same as previously, you can purchase fluxes from vendors to refine materials and ensure stability. On top of that, you can craft melee weapons like vibroblades and electrostaves. The reverse engineering option is possible here too.
We know from the movies, games, and the canon as a whole, that Force users are not much into shooting at people. They prefer to chop them with an iconic, buzzing blade, so Armstech is a profession for those classes that don't use Force - Smugglers, Troopers, Imperial Agents, and Bounty Hunters. The need for hard metal pieces and scraps makes Scavenging an optimal co-skill here as well.
Now we're getting to the bread and butter of the Star Wars - the lightsabers. Artifice is the profession that revolves around the epic, noisy, limbs-chopping cosmic swords, that made the whole franchise famous. Artifice is about making and improving the lightsabers, as well as augmenting the beams and bolts in blasters. Naturally, since the creation is tied to lightsaber crystals, Archaeology is the best gathering skill for Artificers.
Both Sith and Jedi classes are Force users and they wield lightsabers. It is the reason, why Artifice may be recommended crew skill for these.
This crew skill revolves around producing medical supplies, serums that enhance performance, bioimplants, etc. Also, if you have Biochem as your chosen skill, you can craft health-restoring medpacs, single-use injections boosting the physical abilities, as well as biological implants enhancing combat efficiency.
Since Biochem works well with Bioanalysis, it’s natural that it will be the two must-have, or at least recommended, skills for supportive classes that focus on buffs, survival, and helping others out, namely the Sorcerer. However, Biochem is a kind of skill that can be useful for all classes.
This skill allows you to put together armor for droid, earpieces, grenades, armoring, mods, and various gadgets. This equipment vastly enhances your combat strength thanks to numerous modifications and augments. The item that deserves a special attention is the earpiece. It's a movie-like gadget worn near the ear, that provides you with an audio-visual feedback of your surroundings. Its utility is invaluable.
Cybertech goes well for all classes, and each character can benefit from it. The best gathering profession to take with it will be the Scavenging. For your cybergadgets you will need lots of metal and synthetic materials.
If you expect to see here your granny with an awl, you may be disappointed. In SWTOR Synthweaving is a different type of weaving, which involves creating light armors and augments from crystals, chemicals, and artifact fragments. This is the Force-users counterpart of the Armormech. You can purchase premade solutions and materials from vendors, but most of the time you should make effort to be self-sufficient.
Naturally, the best gathering skill to pair up with Synthweaving is Archaeology. You will need crystals and artifact pieces for weaving, and if you don’t want to spend too many credits on them, you’ll need to dig them with your own hands. Or the hands of your companion. As for the class, non-Force users will not get much from it, so if you’re Smuggler, Trooper, Imperial Agent, or Bounty Hunter, you may want to choose something else.
SWTOR Mission skills
These crew skills involve sending your companions into certain regions of the Galaxy to interact with natives, and be it solve situations or come back with a profit.
Diplomacy in SWTOR is pretty much what it is in the real life. It's an activity revolving around diplomatic missions - deescalating conflicts, solving problems, and conducting negotiations. Sending your crew members on diplomatic mission can get you light side or dark side points. Also, on top of that, you are eligible to receive medical supplies, medpacs, adrenals, stimulants, and companion gifts. Due to potential materials obtained from these missions, Biochem can be a useful crafting skill to go with Diplomacy.
Ah, who wouldn't want to be a spy, even if it was only a video game? Investigation is all about discovering, researching, analyzing, and decoding the intel. As you send your companions on investigation missions, you can get researched compounds, artifact weapons, blaster barrels, schematics, and companion gifts in return. Armstech is probably the skill that benefits the most from the Investigation, so it's wise to pair them up. Although all crafting crew skills have opportunities to make something out of various schematics.
This mission skill is pretty much self-explanatory. This crew skill gives your crew members the ability to follow the clues for them to recover precious items. These missions can yield Custom lightsaber schematics, rare gemstones that are used to build prototype and artifact enhancement, color crystals, hilts, and generators. On top of that, you can receive lockboxes that contain items, credits, or companion gifts. The best rewards for Treasure Hunting are tied to lightsabers, which makes Artifice the best crafting skill to match it with.
Smuggler class is what comes up to mind right here, but this crew skill is not class-bound. Actually, it's quite useful for all classes, as companions sent on the Underworld Trading mission can bring back luxury fabrics, underworld metals useful for prototype and artifact armory, earpieces, grenades, upgrades, and modifications. Just like in the rest of mission skills, you can obtain a crew companion gift. Armormech, Cybertech, and Synthweaving crafters will benefit the most from this one.
Which crew skills should I choose in SWTOR?
It all depends on few factors, like your advancement into the storyline, purpose of playing, and personal preferences.
In the beginning as a complete newbie, you don’t need the endgame gear-crafting skills. The first reason is that you will not be able to create the equipment worth enough, and whatever you make with Biochem, Armormech, Artifice, or others, you will have replaced soon enough. Investing time, crew skill slot, and materials into it is pointless. The second reason is that crafting skills are generally credits-hungry, so if you’re not rich already or you are not planning to buy SWTOR Credits, you can pass on it. Once you replace one of your gathering, thus money-making, skills with a crafting skill, you lose income and you gain a money sink. If you are not nearing the endgame, stick to the gathering ones.
The table turns in the endgame, where you need all the power you can get. Here is where your choice depends solely on your purpose. SWTOR sort of fits in the general MMORPG scheme with tanks, DPS, and healers, and you should select skills accordingly. Armormech gives you access to the best armor for non-Force users, Artifice is the lightsaber manufacturing skill, Biochem gives medpacs and injectors, etc. Since you already know which skill does what, it’s easier for you to choose accordingly.
Also, if you are planning to remain a farmer, there is no force in the Galaxy to make you pick an unwanted crew skill. It’s always a conscious choice. After all, there are several reasons people play MMORPG games, and earning tons of in-game currency is one of it. It’s all for people focused on the endgame content and PvP too much to collect enough credits to cover their expenditures. It’s been the name of the game for over 20 years now, and we doubt anything changes anytime soon. Thus, if you want to become a provider without having to look for commercial outlet, you can provide for us at Sellers and Friends.
All in all, your selection should be well-thought. You can’t go into the game, pick random skills, and hope to work it out one day. “What do I want in the future?” should be your primary concern. If you pick wrong, and you’ll suddenly wish to change it, you may be too far ahead to call it worth, or you will need power-leveling of this particular skill.
You can unlearn a crew skill, but you will have to level up the new one from scratch.
There you go. All you need to know about SWTOR crew skills - which one should you choose, which not, and which one will the most useful in the endgame. Remember, that crafted gear comes with slightly lower price than the one bought on GTN, and way less effort if you take grinding into account.
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What are crew skills in Star Wars: The Old Republic?
Crew skills are a kind of perks, that your character can use during your adventure in SWTOR. Crew skills allow you to gather materials, and use them for crafting items.
Which crew skills can I have?
There are three main categories of crew skills - Gathering, Crafting, and Mission. Gathering skills are Bioanalysis, Archaeology, Scavenging, and Slicing. Crafting skills are Armormech, Artifice, Armstech, Biochem, Cybertech, and Synthweaving. Lastly, Mission skills are Diplomacy, Investigation, Treasure Hunting, and Underworld trading.
How do I choose the best crew skill for my character?
First, you need to pick a class, along with its advanced variation. It is what will determine your game path. If you are planning on playing a tank, go for a skill that allows you to craft heavy armor. For the Force user, you probably want the Artifice. Biochem is something that a healer could use, etc.