Slicing nerf uncovered the ugly truth about the SWTOR economy

Last week I was focused on the recent Slicing nerf, wanting to determine how bad the possible impact was on me.  While I think Bioware definitely toned Slicing down, over all I found I wasn’t as affected as perhaps others were.   My credit balance continues to grow between Slicing and daily questing, but I’ve definitely noticed something seems to have adversely occurred in the economy.  Admittedly it’s only anecdotal, but many of the various mission types I was able to sell on the Auction House have all but stopped.  Now more and more I’m finding I’m actually vendoring most of the missions after trying to sell each a few times.  Even with hefty price reductions I don’t sell nearly as many as I had up to this point.  And I’m seeing many folks on my server discussing the fact they’re likewise having problems selling some of the mission consumables they had been selling profitably previously.

Although not dramatic, I think the Slicing nerf has caused many players to player more conservatively where there credits are concerned.  But underlying that is that most crafted goods that rely on mission consumables simply aren’t worth purchasing.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen off handed comments about the fact that there is nothing craftable and purchasable at level 50 that is worth buying.  But I can definitely relate from my own experience that even at the lower levels I haven’t purchased a single crafted item and don’t even see the need to do so.  There isn’t anything I need that I can’t either get through missions and instances, or via the world emblem venders.  Case in point, I was considering leveling Cybertech on an alt but found that virtually everything craftable through the profession is also available off the world emblem venders.  Does it make sense to me to spend credits leveling a profession that I know I’ll likely never recoup the costs for, and through which I’ll likely never make a sustainable income?  With the exception of Bio-Analysis, the other crafting professions suffer the same issue as Cybertech. 

Unlike the other crafting professions, Bio-Analysis creates consumables.  So it’s no great surprise that currently it is in reality the single viable crafting profession, although even it suffers from the fact it’s lower level consumables are neither needed or wanted by a majority of players.  High level Stims and Medpacs are a different matter however.

The amount of credits pre-nerf Slicing was introducing to the economy seemed to be masking the foundational issues the economy truly had.  Bioware created an economy which enables players to purchase virtually every needed piece of equipment from vendors that are comparable or even better than those similar crafted items.  Whereas it might have been better for the game if crafted items of any given item level were always slightly better than purchasable gear.  In that way crafters would likely be able to establish a viable long term income and mission runners would likely be able to reliably sell mission consumables.

I know that the money sinks get much greater as a character increases in level, yet at some point those costs become minimal in the greater scheme of things.  Once a character reaches level 50 they’ll incur no more costs for skills.  If a player chooses to level a profession, at some point the cost of leveling that skill vanishes.  Once a player reaches that point, what is the point of participating in the economy?  And without that real impetus, how can there then be any viable option for crafters?  I would think that Bioware would have had to have realized this at some point when they were working on the games design, but it doesn’t seem that the point took hold.  At least when Slicers were able to make “abnormally high” amounts of credits it was artificially worthwhile to purchase mission consumables to resell, or to use in crafting.  But now that much of that inflated credit base is now gone or deflated it’s simply not.

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