The patches begin

December 28, 2011 by Tim

So, SWTOR had its first substantial patch since launch yesterday, and Slicing got nerfed.

I can’t imagine that there’s a single slicer out there, myself included, that didn’t see it coming a mile away though. I think it was somewhere around level 20, when my Trooper was rolling around the galaxy with three-hundred thousand credits that I thought to myself “Yeeeeeeah… this isn’t going to last.”

Slicing was sort of so good to the point of being a near requirement, which puts you at odds with the traditional crafting-gathering-gathering trifecta that I think the game was designed for. As an Armormech, I should have taken Scavenging and Underworld Trading to support my craft. However I’m perusing the crew skills and saying “Ok, this one would let me gather organic materials… with this one I would be gathering scrap metal… this one lets me harvest money… wait, what?” and it just seems like a no brainer. So I took Armormech, Scavenging and Slicing.

Slicing was a slot machine that I always won. Put in a thousand credits, a half hour later my companion brings me 5000 back. You just couldn’t go wrong.

I certainly did find the lack of Underworld Trading hurt my crafting a little bit… I had to completely rely on others for the rare metals I needed to make the spiffiest armor… but on the other hand, my ship’s cargo hold was stuffed to the brim with cold hard cash, so if I really needed to, I could just buy the stuff off the auction house. And my skills. And my speeder training. And my extra inventory slots.

It was a little crazy.

So of course when the patch notes went up, all slicers shed a little tear. Not because they thought slicing didn’t need a nerf, or because they didn’t expect a nerf, but rather because it was just sooooo nice having money all the time. And of course, some people went into doom-and-gloom mode and declared the economy would dry up without the slicing funds pouring into the game, and got all worked up about the idea that they’d actually have to work for some money from now on, but that’s really no surprise, is it?

Slicing is still profitable… but it definitely took a solid (and as I said, much-needed) hit. Clearly if they’re going to have a skill in the game wherein you pay credits to send a companion out to earn credits, if the return is less than you spent to run the mission, you have an obvious problem (and a useless skill). So there has to be a profit. But it’s got to walk that fine line between being “A nice perk to have” and “If you don’t take this skill you’re a moron.”

I guess those of us who surfed slicing until the wave broke against the jetti are just going to have to learn how to earn and save credits for real now. The fix comes a little late to have much effect on my Trooper, who is nearing L50 and already has most of his skills and inventory slots unlocked… but I know I’m in for a rude awakening when I start leveling up an alt and I’m finding myself desperate for cash when level time rolls around and skills are 30k each.

Bioware also fixed some other issues… some fairly prominent (Taris) and others pretty minor. As I said in a previous post, I’m really excited to see what sort of pace they set for themselves as far as being able to push out fixes and, eventually, new content and systems. Having launched so close to Christmas, and with the development team no doubt in crunch mode leading up to launch, I expected that we wouldn’t see any sort of major update activity for a couple of weeks.

Hopefully the staff had a chance to relax and take some time off over the holiday, and hopefully we’ll start seeing more polishing coming down the pipeline. Come on customizeable UI!

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