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14 January 2012 0 Comments

Saving Money on Generic Crafting Materials

Most crafting schematics in SWTOR require the addition of fairly generic “crafting materials”, which you can buy from a Crew Skills Trade Vendor in various locations (such as in the vicinity of most crafting trainers, and a few other places besides). These materials can also be provided by the same gathering skill that supplies crafting resources – for instance, Cybertech, Armormech, and Armstech all use Fluxes, which can be obtained from Scavenging missions.

At low levels, these missions seem like a bad deal. They’re far more expensive than simply buying the material from the vendor, and it’s only worth doing them if you’re miles from a crew skills trade vendor and you want to craft an item right now. That makes it very easy to simply look past all of these missions even at higher levels – and that’s a mistake.

The lower missions may not be cost-effective, but the higher-level missions certainly are. As an example, a single Thermoplast Flux costs 400 credits from a vendor – or as little as 63 credits if you choose the right kind of missions.

I only have hard data for Scavenging at present, as that’s the gathering skill I’ve been focusing on to feed my Cybertech-crafting main character, but here’s a table showing how the value of Scavenging for flux changes from low to high levels:

Scavenging Missions for Flux

Type of Flux Cost From Vendor Class of Mission Standard Mission Cost Per Flux*
Conductive 10 1 & 2 18 or 34
Insulating 50 3 43 or 65
Brazing 200 4 56 or 92
Thermoplast 400 5 63, 75 or 124

Three things to note:

  1. The dataset for the table can be found in this Google Docs spreadsheet. Note that the dataset for Class 4 & 5 missions is incomplete, but enough to see the trend. I’ll fill in the rest of the dataset as I get a chance.
  2. The per-item costs in the final column vary by mission type/yield. In all cases, Rich missions have the lowest cost-per-item and Moderate have the highest.
  3. “Standard” costs are based on non-crit results only. Crits seem to increase the mission results by 25-33%, depending on the mission, but I haven’t included them in these numbers.

As you can see, the changeover point hits around the Class 3 missions – Class 1 and 2 mission yields are worse than the vendor price; everything in Class 4 and 5 is better than the vendor price. When it comes to Class 3 missions, the Bountiful yield missions (43 credits per flux) are a better deal than the vendor price (50 credits); the Moderate yield missions (65 credits per flux) are worse. However, if you can be confident of critting at least 30% of the time, even the Moderate mission yields are on par with vendor price.

When you get to Classes 4 & 5, for the top two levels of flux, there’s simply no reason to buy from a vendor again unless you need the fluxes right now. Given that most crafting schematics require at least a couple of fluxes – at least for Cybertech; I can’t speak for the other professions – this has the potential to save you thousands and thousands of credits, while earning you Scavenging skill points to boot.

Please note that this advice probably doesn’t directly map to the crafting materials used by Biochem, Artifice and Synthweaving — for instance, I can see from Torhead’s list of Archaeology missions that there are five tiers of crafting material, rather than four. However, even if the numbers are different, the principle is almost certainly the same: at some point in your progression in Bioanalysis or Archaeology, you’ll be able to execute missions for vendor-supplied crafting materials for a far better price than the vendor price. I’ll have a look at hard numbers once I get stuck into my alts, but in the meantime a bit of napkin math could save you a lot of money.

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