Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
SWTOR slicing nerf

First patch, first big controversy, with over 1,000 posts on the crew skill forums: Slicing has been nerfed, by up to 71% if you believe the theorycrafters. So what is this about?

Slicing has always been a weird skill. In many of the gathering skills you can send out one of your companions on a mission, which costs money, and the companion is gone for some minutes and comes back with a random item. In the case of slicing there are missions to look for lockboxes, which contain money. So people with slicing could simply stand somewhere all day, send out all their companions on missions for lockboxes, and get more money out of the lockboxes than the mission did cost. It's like printing money, and that is never a good idea.

The good thing of having slicing in the game for the first week is that it "primed" the economy, and got a lot of money in. The people who sliced were able to buy crafted stuff from the other players. Otherwise money is tight in SWTOR in the first 25 levels: Other forms of crafting lose money, and the first mount at level 25 costs 40k credits for the skill, plus 8k for the speeder, which is a rather large sum at this stage.

But in the long run the slicing nerf is probably a good decision. Actually I would have preferred if they had completely removed the missions to gather lockboxes. Printing money is not "crafting" in the traditional sense. And I don't want to see an army of gold farmers flooding the economy with sliced credits.
Honestly I'm boggled people are up in arms about this - obviously if slicing missions averaged a net profit, they needed nerfed (again - Slicing returns were already lowered at least once in beta) to prevent completely wrecking the economy.

Nothing wrong with having the lockbox missions - it maintains consistency with the other crafting/gathering skills, and allows players to get their skill up so they can gather in the wild if they're too low for their current planet - as long as they average running at a slight loss. Treasure Hunting lockbox missions work this way - you'll get the odd lucky score, but mostly you just lose less money than you would running gem/gift missions to skill up.
do you understand that people with slicing are sacrificing the ability to craft things? In the whole leveling they must buy materials to raise a craft skill and buy gear/mods to have an updated gear for now what we have?an entire useless crew skill that no one will ever take as it is they must remove it now completely.

so many years of development and so many moths of beta testing and they come in 1 week to change it in favor of people who cry in forums? How to take them serious?and I though blizzard was the company to deliver to cry babies...

the attitude "I want to craft blue and purple gear daddy to make my character powerful and also sell those blue/purple gear I do to others to make money, but dady look at this...these people have more credits than I do!!"

if someone have a basic, very basic, knowledge of how economics work they would see slicing as a brilliant idea for a fresh starting game..besides everyone could get slicing right?why they didn't?because they didn't know?No they did know, but they are just **** who will now fill the forums with rivers of tears that they cannot sell anything in GTN (auction House)..

The worst thing in the whole story is that a company developed a game for 6+ years, tested it for months and in 1 week they change things to satisfy the whiners..I am so afraid of the future and I think that before Mist of pandaria is out, swtor will succeed to fail by its own
Oh well.

I hit 100,000 credits by level 19 so I did not find the 40,000 credits to be that tight (pre-nerf). The problem I now see is max level. I am level 23 with slicing at 400. Non-lockbox missions tend to cost about 1700 credits and return an augment that was down to selling for 100 credits. So if lockboxes were nerved, then I am not sure of the benefit of keeping slicing.

I would assume the goal is for the credits/hour for each of the gathering missions should be, very approximately, about the same.
As long as lock boxes return money I imagine they will have balancing issues either way.

One way of fixing it could be replacing the money with items. Items that have to be used or sold to get money. Is treasure hunting already like this? Surely they can find a different kind of item to put in the lock boxes for slicing.
So is it definite that Slicing was nerfed to the point where it doesn't make money any more?

I was watching a soccer match last night and sending my 2 companions out on Slicing missions at the same time (~210 skill level). I noticed after the match that my money was at about the same level as it was when I started. I thought I had just gotten unlucky (I had failed 2 missions).

If this is true, I guess there's not much reason to stay with Slicing.
Answering my own post as I just read the patch notes for 1.0.1. I guess there will still be a use for Slicing as you get some money from random lockboxes lying on the ground. Augments will still be needed. Schematics still proc occasionally. I just don't think that will be enough for me to keep Slicing (maybe on one character).

I knew that Slicing was unbalanced and would cause major problems in the economy (and so would eventually be nerfed). I know I felt compelled to get it on my characters so I could buy the best equipment available. All 4 of my characters had Slicing.

At least now I can make my crew skill choices with a little more freedom.
do you understand that people with slicing are sacrificing the ability to craft things?

That is an extreme exaggeration. You can still take a crafting and a gathering skill in addition to slicing, and then just buy the items the missing mission skill would have given you. I could totally do Biochem with Slicing instead of Diplomacy.
One concern I have going forward is that many people will drop Slicing to pick up the mission skill that they skipped before. I have a feeling the GTN (auction house) will explode with mission mats in the next few days and prices will plummet. It'll be hard to make money on mission crew skills for at least a few weeks I'm thinking.

I may end up taking a second gathering skill and my lower level characters so they can pick up free stuff off the ground and level the new skill without cost.
No wonder I was having issues...

I hit 100k with my main on slicing and was astounded by how easy it was to acquire credits. In the back of my mind I was thinking... this WILL be nerfed soon.

Sure enough first patch nerfed it to basically 1000-2000 per halfhour with 2 crew running at level 400.

A couple of points to realize it appears that you can only send TWO crew out on missions/craft at a time. (still allows for you to keep one with you to gather tho)

Also there is a hierarchy to slicing returns that still stays the same. Ordered from greatest to least: Wealthy (purp missions) -> Prosperous (blue missions) -> Rich -> Bountiful -> Abundant -> Moderate

"The good thing of having slicing in the game for the first week is that it "primed" the economy, and got a lot of money in."

I think this is partially correct but I believe the real reason for the week is to test if their beta fears about slicing inflation were well founded fears.

Interestingly enough they did not nerf the slicing leveling by requiring a toon level to get to skill 300 or 400 (like wow) so it's entirely possible that they have limited the slicing returns by toon level scaling in some non-obvious way.

FYI - word is it will be very profitable to keep slicing for Ilum due to the credit boxes there.
Giannis: It's not really a sacrifice if instead of crafting stuff personally, you end up rolling in cash and buying it off the AH instead.

I guess Slicing was thought up by someone on the dev team who hated crafting/ AH play but wanted something useful to do with their companions. Unfortunately galloping inflation turns out to be pretty miserable for any crafters who aren't able to constantly sell stuff.

I do think it would be cool to have some non-crafting type of crew skill for people who don't like crafting/ trading, but maybe that['s something Bioware will have to think again about.
First of all Slicing is NOT Crafting, it is a Gathering ability.

I fully expected Slicing to be nerfed as well because it is a concept that is hard for many to grasp. Here is the concept: Instead of gathering materials a slicer gathers credits which they then need to spend to buy the mats for their crafting.

To say that someone who uses any of the other gathering abilities loses money is ridiculous. Two Mullinine mats are equals to 2600 credits on the market as of yesterday. Did the mission to gather these equate to 2600? Nope.

The difference with slicing vs other gathering abilities is that a slicer got their credits right away, others can make much more but they have to do it through the market.

Slicing allowed those who either did not want to get too involved in crafting or those who were just plain lazy to have an alternative.

Fact: Through the market I have made more credits from Underworld than I did from Slicing.
I'm on the fence on the slicing change, mostly because I haven't had time to sit down and run a bunch of missions for the numbers yet. I was using part of the good money made from slicing to buy the materials to advance my crafting profession because taking slicing meant I gave up another mission skill (Diplomacy) and so I had no way to gather the materials I needed from those missions on my own (medical supplies).

If the slicing missions become more break-even after mission costs and factoring in failures, then slicing becomes basically a pure gathering profession. However, it seems quite profitable at that. In my time at Coruscant, I was regularly finding boxes to harvest, at 100 credits a pop for most with the occasional really lucky find. I was more off the boxes than off the loot from enemies.
Well you got more than just a lockbox with money in it back. And most of time the money I got back was just a few credits over what I spent.

The lockboxes come back with credits, rare missions, cybertech schemes, or some combo of the above. Typically, when getting an item, my credits would be lower than what I spent but I could make up the difference on the trade network.

The fact is that the mission skills such as diplomacy, investigation, etc are all the largest money sinks. Any blue items you can make with mats from this skill will be out leveled. I will go back to Underworld Trading when I get close to 50, but for now I will stick to slicing even if I do scale my missions back a bit.
Many of people with slicing are coming up with all kinds of defense for it. That's great, but you know what? I'm jealous. I wish I was a slicer too and had raised it to 400, sending 5 companions out at a time - then LOGGING OFF, and logging back in when the missions were complete. Players have LITERALLY gotten MILLIONS of credits already with slicing. Yeah. A skill that you can get to 400 at level 8 or whatever, sit around farming chests in the world that quickly respawn and give credits. Even latecomers to the skill are bragging about having 750k on the forums. This when gold-sellers are selling 10k for $4. Do the math.
actually mission lockboxes are not the source of the biggest profit, at least for me. especially post nerf. however. slicing in a wild? that still works and its pretty ridiculous, at least in my experience. I've been leveling my biochem and bioanalysis(through missions) and I still come out in a black, with only one companion running missions for me.

it really needed a nerf and as much as I'm enjoying the influx of credits and a peace of mind it provides.. I feel like they didn't nerf it enough, to be honest. better something rather then nothing I suppose. and yeah, that original influx of credits is probably the reason why I was able to sell as many items as i did on GTN...

P.S. people with slicing are sacrificing absolutely nothing. you get 3 skills, crafting, and 2 gathering. I sacrificed one of my gathering skills, diplomacy and I was still able to craft me 2 implants with no issue. and will craft more. slicing allowed me to do that without having to worry about training my skills, or how I'll be able to afford a driving license... plus its a skill that oges with couple of specific crafting professions, so if you chose those? you didn't have to sacrifice anything at all.
With the nerf to slicing I have started viewing it less as a money printing profession, and more as a gathering profession for my cybertech. Between schematic drops and the ability to RE the augments received from missions.

That being saidm I have been keeping a spreadsheet of every slicing mission I have run for lockboxes, just to see how good it really is, and while the percentages have gone down I can still make a profit with only lockbox missions while tracking only raw credits. If I added in profit from mission discovery sales and slicing nodes, I would still think it would be quite profitable.

I haven't tracked other gathering professions closely enough to know how comperable they are yet.
-This is going to be contentious either way. Personally, i *hated* how they represented slicing. At its core in the SW Universe prior to SWTOR, it was a representation of computer programming and hacking. Ya know, the type of thing you needed to program a hack to get into sensitive info (for extra missions or the location of a downed spacecraft to salvage i.e. treasure map) or to program an upgrade to shields. It was not, as iterated, a license to just make money. Lazy, lazy design.

It also affects the economy of the game, nerf or not. The money used in any economic system can *generally* only stave off inflation by usign a closed system. by this, on a very surface level, i mean no outside creation or insertion of money. goods, int he form of barter or importation, is fine. Those work due to giving value out of your closed system and having them replaced by the barter or purchase. But giving an economic system a tool wherein each individual participate can create the main mode of currency just flat out doesn't work.

At the end of the day, i wish they'd thought about this system mroe and actually engaged an economist for their design. But, this nerf, while harsh to some that have played since beta, is not 'game-breaking'. My guild (6 members strong) tested Slicing post nerf. each of use ran 30 slicing missions, and each of us made money on those missions. On average, the credit gain was (eliminating outrageous outliers) 7,000 credits overall. out of 30 missions, one of us lost money on 6 of those, the rest less than 4.

So, was it nerfed? sure. Was it needed? in my opinion, absolutely.

I've heard that you can also spend time killing a monster which you will pretty much not lose to, and earn money that way!

It just seems a crazy formula that time==more money!

I'm sure no other mmorpg is like this.
The problem is both in the "pretty much" (mobs dropping decent loot in SWTOR *can* kill you), and in the fact that you need to go out and do something to kill those mobs. Slicing you just stand motionless and wait for your companion to return.
slicing is nerfed, but at the same time its not... what i mean by this is i have slicing at 400 but i also have 3 companions with maxed affection. the more affection the better the return from crew skill missions. i have kept track of gain and loss threw slicing missions alone. and in a 24 hour time frame with companions with no to little affection i got about a 2% profit.
and after maxed affection i got about a 15% profit. you also need to consider as the economy grows the demand for schematics will increase with more ppl finding a need to craft the ship upgrades and such. slicing is still a great way to make a profit if you know how to use it. it also gives missions witch can turn out high end schematics for speeders. witch as ppl lvl will become more desired. you really have to think long term. and look at everything that comes back from this crew skill.
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