Wednesday, April 5, 2017

New Player Guide - How to make credits in SWTOR

A lot of people ask how to make a lot of in-game money (credits) in SWTOR (Star Wars: The Old Republic). Usually they provide a useless question like "how do I make a lot of credits" and get a lot of useless answers like "sell item mods". The problem is these questions and answers lack context, the key one being what assets the player has to execute a strategy.

This guide is aimed at new players who are basically starting a new account and have no one to give them a handout. I'll assume that somewhere in between making money you will actually be playing the game. How much time and resource you devote to playing the game is basically up to you and you'll have to adapt this guide to account for it. For example, I pretty much always list for 2 days because I don't want to spend my entire day refreshing GTN sales over all my alts and actually want to play the game!

Further, I'm going to assume you are either Free-to-Play or Preferred and you know how to bank credits in SWTOR until you have enough that the rest can go into escrow. This means we won't talk about making massive-credit moves like buying packs off the Galactic Trade Network (GTN) or trying to control a really pricey item on GTN like Grand Chance Cubes. We also won't talk about investing Cartel Coins into product since that is a limited resource that new players typically don't have much of. Nevertheless you can still literally make millions per day using the techniques outlined here.
  1. When you first start an account, you can make 10 characters as a Free-to-Play account (as of SWTOR version 5.0).
    • You want to make 10 characters and get them all in a guild that can get you access to a GTN kiosk (usually in the guild stronghold or guild ship), Cargo Hold, and Legacy Storage.
    • Make sure you know which characters you're going to keep and which you are planning to or are willing to delete later -- the expendable ones don't need upgrades and must not have credits locked in escrow.
    • You are making the maximum number of characters allowed because as Free-to-Play you are only given 5 GTN slots per character. The more characters you have, the more GTN slots you get, the more credits you can make.
      • For making credits, a very good investment of Cartel Market Coins is in buying more GTN slots. Not really necessary if you are a subscriber since you get 50 slots per character (and a lot more characters available) but getting up to 15-35 slots will help you make a lot of credits daily.
      • 10 characters x 5 slots = 50 slots. This might sound like a lot, but it is actually not, especially when you can't count on every item selling. Also, you will rapidly get more things to sell than you have GTN slots or storage space. When you start regularly getting a large number of items to sell for a good price, you'll want to start investing in GTN slots. However, you should also balance this with how frequently you want to subscribe since credits in escrow are basically just waiting for you to subscribe so you can access them.
        • There are of course Escrow Transfer passes in the Cartel Market, but those are worthless considering how little you can transfer out compared to what you can buy with them.
  2. Start getting your characters to level 10. At level 10 you will receive the Emergency Fleet Pass, signalling your ability to travel to Fleet regardless of where you are in your character's story.
    • Get one character to Fleet as soon as possible to get your Stronghold and to learn Crew Skills.
    • Once you're on Fleet you'll also have access to Heroic Mission terminals which can let you travel to other planets even if you don't have your personal ship from the character story.
  3. Crew Skills
    • For all characters, get Slicing. Once you start getting Lockbox missions, you can start generating credits.
      • Lockbox missions always result in a lockbox that gives you more credits than you spent on the mission. It's random, so theoretically you might only do slightly better than break even -- BUT it is still important because they will provide a basic income from which you will fund all your initial credit-making. With Slicing, you really can't run out of credits to manufacture goods to make you more credits.
    • For your remaining Crew Skills, it is generally a good idea to have some harvesting skills on characters who can get to many planets.
      • The starting planets typically have very little you can harvest except with Bioanalysis and Scavenging to process some enemy corpses. Once you get to Coruscant and Dromund Kaas, you can really start harvesting.
      • If you level a character enough, they can pick up a Heroic Mission from a mission terminal and use the associated Heroic Transport to travel to the required planet -- even without having obtained your personal starship through progress in the character's story. In this way you can position characters to harvest on planets you can't normally get to.
      • Flashpoints can also have enemies you can process, but that's trickier since you have to kill said enemies and unless you enter them solo, groups typically want to move along in the flashpoint than stop to kill everything for materials.
    • For characters who you don't play much and therefore won't be in a position to harvest, assign then Crafting Skills as necessary. For the remaining slots, choose one of Diplomacy, Investigation, Treasure Hunting, or Underworld Trading for each character.
      • Slicing + one other skill = two skills, which is the limit for free-to-play characters unless they purchase a third Crew Skill slot from the Cartel Market. With a 10 character limit, you should still be fine.
  4. Spend some time working on Companion Influence by farming Esseles / Black Talon flashpoints.
    • In the early game with limited resources, this will be expensive. If you are willing to grind, however, you can get your first story companion's Influence up quite quickly by doing Esseles / Black Talon flashpoints solo.
    • Doing these flashpoints will not only get that one companion's Influence up (resulting in better Crew Skill Mission outcomes), but you will typically get good loot to sell right away.
    • Since SWTOR 5.0, the Esseles and Black Talon flashpoints are synced to level 10, even for Veteran Mode so you can run it at Veteran Mode pretty much right away.
  5. While you are levelling your characters / playing the game / doing missions, you will come across various items that are not classified as grey "junk". The easiest thing to do is to sell them to a vendor for quick credits, but if you don't need the credits right away, try selling them on GTN first.
    • This is your initial sales inventory. We'll look into how to manufacture your own inventory, but when you're starting out, that's what you're working with to get you into trying to make credits right away.
      • Transfer items between characters using Legacy Storage in your Stronghold.
    • The price suggested by GTN will be 5x the price you would get from selling it to a vendor. If you don't know what to sell for, try that. But search GTN first to get an idea of the market.
    • There's a lot of guesswork involved in pricing until you get a feel for what will sell for how much, but here are the key things to keep in mind:
      • What you think of as "useless" might still sell. Don't bother trying to discover why, just try to sell at what the market will bear.
      • What you think of as a ludicrous amount might still sell at that price. A good way to tell is to see if a lot of people are listing at that price range every day -- they are probably making some sales at that price. Otherwise they wouldn't bother.
      • Mass-posting and undercutting doesn't always work well. Don't get drawn into a race to the bottom price, especially when you don't yet have the inventory or GTN slots to do it.
      • If you "make a mistake" and under-price it by using the GTN-suggested price, you at least made more credits than selling to a vendor. It's better to do this to clear your inventory of low-priced items on GTN than be forced to sell to a vendor at an even lower price to free up storage space.
  6. Find things to sell
    • Instead of grinding for things to sell, start manufacturing things so you have a reasonable inventory of things that will reliably sell.
      • You can also devote time to grinding/harvesting with whatever toon you are playing, but I am NOT going to assume that you are going to do so. Ultimately you are on SWTOR to play the game, not grind or harvest like a bot. You CAN spend hours harvesting like a bot and hopefully make millions despite being undercut.
      • Or, as you are playing you can run Crew Skill Missions to build an inventory of stuff to sell.
        • It's easy to underestimate this when your Companion Influence is low. But once you get even three companions to 25+ you'll really start to see the difference, especially in Slicing. You can end up with more Schematics than you can sell or store if you aren't careful.
    • Many people have suggestions for what to make that will either reliably sell, or sell for gobs of money. I personally like to run Companion Gift missions from Diplomacy, Investigation, Treasure Hunting, or Underworld Trading. The main reasons are:
      • They are useful items. Considering how many gifts are needed to level up Companion Influence, it is unlikely that the market for these will completely dry up. Unless the Companion Influence system is completely changed, Gifts aren't going to be obsolete.
      • You can use them yourself.
        • It's fine for your production to exceed your ability to sell them because you can definitely use them on your own Companions to get their Influence up. Free-to-play players need only three Companions to maximum level because they can only send a maximum of three on Crew Skills (as of 5.0, subscribers can send 8). Even so, that will require a LOT of Companion Gifts.
          • If you already have three Companions to max, it's still worthwhile to have a fourth in case you need a high-Influence Companion to help fight, so you still have three on Crew Skill Missions.
        • You're not going to get saddled with a huge stack of dead inventory that cost you a lot to manufacture.
      • Your cost to make them is a fraction of what people buy them at from in-game vendors.
      • It's likely that other people have spares. You can try trading for the types you need on a 1:1 ratio.
    • Once your Companion Influence is quite high, around 20+ or 30+, consider switching to Slicing Lockbox missions with the aim of getting schematics now that you have a decent chance of a critical result.
      • You'll likely get a lot for Diplomacy, Investigation, Treasure Hunting, or Underworld Trading. Run them for materials to sell; and for Companion Gifts to use or sell. Inch your Companion Influence higher toward the maximum.
      • If you really have no time for harvesting, then run the Archaeology, Bioanalysis, or Scavenging missions as well. Otherwise try to sell those.
      • Be careful not to focus on only the highest-level Lockboxes (Grade 9) because you may end up with a huge inventory of Grade 9 materials. Instead, start spreading missions around to do some of the lower grades, thus expanding your inventory.
      • In the unlikely case that even the pink/artifact grades don't sell reasonably, you can still use them yourself making something else you can use or can sell, such as Univeral Prefabs to get utility decorations.
    • Buy under-priced things
      • Once you have a handle on how much things sell for, you can start to spot when someone has a severely underpriced listing, and buy that for resale.
  7. Manage your sales
    • If you invest in extra GTN slots, it's helpful to have 15 or 25 per character. This way you can group things to sell on that one character, and just refresh the listing on GTN whenever an item sells or is returned to you Expired.
      • For example, one character with 15 slots could sell 1 stack of each type of Grade 5 prototype/blue Companion Gift. That takes 10 slots, leaving you 5 slots to sell anything on an as-needed or opportunity basis. When you sell one stack of gifts, you don't need to check what you need to re-list since you will just re-list that same type of gift and you know this character sells only one stack of that item at a time.
      • This helps to keep things organized and speed up your day. It is easy to while away hours tending to just your GTN sales over 10 characters, leaving you no time to play the game.
    • Know when enough is enough.
      • Remember you are on SWTOR to play the game, not endlessly make credits. Unless you are a credit-seller, in which case you are in violation of the Terms of Service and are liable to get banned from the game once they discover you.
The tips here should give any starting player a solid foundation for making credits. Once you have a good reserve, go ahead and ask for tips from others and experiment. If you lose your shirt, come back here and make back a fortune.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Titan Quest Anniversary Edition

If you don't remember Titan Quest, it was a Diablo II clone that was gorgeous to see, especially with its wealth of extremely detailed gear. Shortly after it was released, the company folded, citing computer piracy as the chief cause of its shortage of revenue.

Now it's been not just resurrected, but improved -- the Titan Quest Anniversary Edition includes:
  • Restored and improved multiplayer functionality, including new features like a built-in voice chat and NAT resolving for best multiplayer connectivity 
  • Support for more resolutions, larger camera distance and scaleable UI size 
  • Improved performance and general stability 
  • Complete balance rework with improvements to all Masteries, damage types, unique items and sets 
  • Countless bug fixes and other improvements, including ten years’ worth of community fixes 
  • Increased challenges and rewards for larger parties and on higher difficulty levels 
  • Dozens of new heroes and bosses to encounter 
  • Improved enemy and pet AI 
  • Quality of life features like higher stack limits, quick item pickup, a larger stash and a speed setting 
  • Reduced cheating with curbed exploits, removal of test items and mod comparison in multiplayer
And all this at a FRACTION of the original cost, thanks to GOG (Good Old Games).

Friday, March 3, 2017

SWTOR Story Missions You Should Not Skip

Leading up to SWTOR 5.0 (Star Wars: The Old Republic), two profound changes to "story mode" -- playing the game for story rather than grinding repeated content for gear -- have been implemented:
  • Some quest givers have been REMOVED. This is especially true of various Heroic missions. Older guides directing you to various quest givers won't necessarily be valid anymore.
    • This guide is valid for version 5.1.2,
  • Fast-forward-to-Fallen-Empire character tokens have been given out / put out for sale.
If you are new to SWTOR and want to see the story, here is my recommendation for content definitely not to miss, AND the order to do them so things don't appear out of order or present spoilers. If you maintain the quest chain, later quests typically reference your involvement in earlier ones, through token dialogue options you can pick.

For non-class-story missions, you don't really have to do it for every character, just once to see the content and what backstory it provides. Therefore, to reduce the late-game / later-chapter grind of repeating content, consider choosing two characters -- one Republic, one Imperial -- to do all side quests and content. For the other characters, do only the class stories, and a bit more here and there to unlock Daily Missions if you like. To see the relatively minor differences between classes, look to Youtube, such as Roksik's Knights of the Fallen Empire class comparison videos.
  1. Class Stories -- Do all classes.
    • Some class stories actually reference characters and events in others.
    • Do not proceed to Jedi Knight Chapter 2 before finishing Maelstrom Prison (see below).
  2. Esseles and Black Talon Flashpoints
  3. Story Arc: Dromund Kaas.
  4. Story Arc: Belsavis, Imperial side.
  5. Story Arc: Voss, Imperial side.
    • If you also want to do the Republic side, do it first as the Imperial side ending can give you more information than the Republic side
  6. Section X, HK-51 acquisition mission, BUT do not do the flashpoints yet.
  7. Republic Flashpoints - Taral V and Maelstrom Prison. Quest-giver is on Fleet.
  8. Imperial Flashpoints - Boarding Party and The Foundry. Quest-giver is on Fleet.
    • If your character was involved with Story Arc: Dromund Kaas, there is token acknowledgement of this in dialog.
  9. Story Arc: Ilum (Chapter 3 Interlude)
  10. Chapter 4: Rise of the Hutt Cartel -- Republic side first.
    • After Rise of the Hutt Cartel you are automatically given the Shadow of Revan quest. You can safely Abandon it and pick it up later from your Personal Ship mission terminal.
  11. Seeker Droid Missions
    • Might as well also do the Macrobinoculars Missions as they take you to the same planets, although the Shroud story arc appears to start and end with no further follow-up or connection.
    • The Macrobinoculars Missions will also give you some background into The Shroud if you qualify for the HK-55 bonus mission.
  12. Chapter 4 Interlude: Oricon
    • For the ops, finish the Imperial side first.
  13. Chapter 5: Shadow of Revan
    • Prologue: Forged Alliances
    • Shadow of Revan (Rishi and Yavin 4)
      • If you have not finished your Class Story, you will miss a class-specific mission given at the same time as the Blood Hunt flashpoint on Rishi.
      • If you don't want to do stories for all classes, you can see the class-specific missions on Youtube.
    • Epilogue: Rise of the Emperor (Ziost)
  14. Knights of the Fallen Empire
    • Your companions are removed except HK-51 and Treek, if you have them, so it may be worthwhile during the previous chapters to develop them to maximum Companion Influence.
    • The next original companion to return is your ship's droid, either C2-N2 or 2V-R8 -- you can get them back by speaking with them in the Odessan Cantina.
  15. Knights of the Eternal Throne
(to be continued)