There are usually specific methods for remaining solvent in any MMO and ensuring that you have sufficient in-game currency. In fact this often provides a entire mini-game in itself. It is not an aspect of gaming that I usually struggle with and I currently enjoy more than adequate funds in Star Trek Online, LOTRO and Guild Wars 2. However this is not the case with Star Wars: The Old Republic. As I mentioned on the last podcast, I never seem to have sufficient credits to cover my required expenditure. So far discussions on this matter have suggested that my strategy may be the issue and it appears that it may well be the case.
First off, I decided on my new character to choose purely gathering skills. I do not craft in any game unless it is imperative. So I chose slicing, scavenging and bioanalysis. Now levelling these skills is not too hard but at lower levels the rewards are not outstanding. Lockboxes offer relatively low credit rewards but it is a steady stream of income. Also the resources gathered can sell quite quickly on the galactic market. Again the funds raised are not staggering and this is especially the case at lower levels. It would appear that the financial rewards come when all these skills reach max level. It is at this point that blue and purple quality items can be obtained and they are far more marketable.
So what is the problem I hear you ask? As long as I have sufficient funds to repair my equipment and purchase new class skills then I should be fine. Well the issue is my expenditure. Out of habit, when playing an MMO I like to maintain a high standard of gear whilst levelling. Simply put, I like to be as robust and over powered as possible because it makes matters easier. So I spend credits every 10 levels replacing my gear and that of my companion of choice. Now people have already suggested that I need not do this and there in lies the problem. Not availing myself of the high end gear for my class whilst levelling just seems to mitigate the point of such items being available. It also reinforces the feeling of being funnelled to via a particular type of game-play towards endgame.
However, my spending habits can be sustained if I use my other character as a resource farmer. My level 50 Smuggler can slice, scavenge and then simply send the resources or credits on. This does then add a level of additional grind to the game. Luckily, I am happy to run the space combat missions as I find them a great way to relax. I managed to raise 15, 000 credits this way last night. The alternative is to gather resources from intermediate planets and then sell them on the galactic market. Unfortunately for a game that has many contemporary attributes, the galactic market is distinctly old school. It is esoteric, time consuming to use and is also “temperamental”.
BioWare’s Cartel Coin system does offer an additional option to raise capital. You can use your allowance if you are a subscriber to buy a store item that you can then sell via the galactic market. It does require some research so you do not invest in a item that offers a poor return. Also items from one off or seasonal events can be stockpiled and sold at a later date. Cosmetics are especially popular. It is tried and test method used in many other MMO’s
Unfortunately, that is the problem as I see it (other may not even see it as a problem). Here’s a quote taken from the SWTOR forums on the very issue of earning credits. “If you have experience with MMOs then you know the drill for a fresh toon. Don’t spend except on ability training and the speeder skill. Gather and slice everything, then sell on GTN. Get your toon to 50 ASAP and save your few million credits.” The prevailing methodology lacks any real flexibility. You can do as I do and spend credits on the items you like but it will require additional work to raise the funding. So again I return to the sense of being channelled towards a specific style of game-play and strategy. That is either a game flaw or a conscious decision by the developers. Limited choice can lead to wider problems. As a returning player to SWTOR, I have noticed that the gold sellers are still present.