While there are many crew skill guides available across the internet for working your way through the various crafting and gathering skills in Star Wars the Old Republic™, since going to a free-to-play model one of the regularly asked questions is which crew skill a free-to-play gamer would benefit most from.
Upon release, prior to free-to-play, all players had their pick of 3 crew skills, which worked perfectly within the mechanics of the game; providing players veritable self-sufficiency when it came to the crafting aspect of the game. With 3 crew skills available players could easily pick up a crafting skill and its’ recommended gathering and mission skill to provide the materials for that craft. However players were not limited in these options; rather than craft at all they could focus on gathering or mission skills and then potentially sell the resources acquired. Since going free-to-play however, the game still has a maximum of 3 crew skills players can potentially have, but initially without any additional purchases the free-to-play gamer is limited to choosing one crew skill either until they subscribe, unlocking the 3 maximum, or purchase the cartel unlock for each additional crew skill unlock until reaching that max.
This change in the game has resulted in a commonly asked question by the free-to-play members of this game;
“Which crew skill is best for a free-to-play member?“
While there may be valid arguments for any of the potential crew skills and the yield they offer a free-to-play member, the majority seem to agree that ‘Slicing’ is the most ideally rewarding single self contained crew skill to work with.
The slicing crew skill in the Old Republic is considered a gathering skill. The resources provided from this gathering are used by multiple crafting skills to create the ‘augments’ useable by all players within the game. The resources are however a minimal piece of the dominating element this skill involves; other than resources you also gather credits in the form of lockboxes, or to put it bluntly for most MMO gamers you ‘farm gold’.
Players since the release of SWTOR can attest the credit rewards from this skill have suffered extreme detriment since the game was unleashed on the public. Players that stuck with this skill and have learned the mechanics of continuing to profit from it typically boast no more than 150k worth of credits a day potentially gained when using this skill, whereas initially they could boast as high as a million or more. It wasn’t long following the release that developer’s began addressing this economy imbalance, greatly reducing the credit rewards offered from each successful gather. Most level 50 players, and especially those with subscriptions, will agree that the 150k a day can be made in much easier and even faster fashions, but for the up and coming free-to-play member slicing could prove a profitable means to not only reap in a fair cushion from which to pay for their leveling character’s education, but as detailed below can even maximize the potential for that player to unlock many subscription features without spending a single real-world cent. Whether 150k or less made per day, the dominating incentive behind recommending slicing for the free-to-play member is definitely the credits it will bring and the potentials those can unlock.
Aside from the lockboxes of credits this skill will provide, randomly you will also receive crew skill missions for other gathering and mission skills that can be sold to players with a use for them. These crew skill missions can sometimes sell for as high as 25k per, while some of them may be difficult to unload altogether. Needless to say the more popular the gather or mission skill involved, the higher the asking price can be for those missions. Free-to-play members can easily utilize the trade chat channels, or even their limited auction listings, for the sale of these missions. Not only are missions a random find, but also several schematics for different crafting skills can be obtained and sold. Beyond the lockboxes players may also endeavor gathering the augment crafting resources to sell, further reinforcing the profit-ability of this individual crew skill and its domination of the others when on an individual scale.
Most players are already aware that any of the items purchased in the cartel in-game money-market are able to be sold to other players after a 2 day waiting period. What just as many seem unaware of, are just how inexpensive some of these unlocks are selling for from players versus the cartel market pricing or even in some cases the cost for the unlocks through pieces such as the legacy unlocks offered; while a species unlock will run as much as 1.5 million in credits when purchasing through the legacy unlocks using credits, you can typically find the same unlocks available from player sales at less than half that asking price! In fact many of the unlocks within the game can be found much cheaper when purchased from other players or player auctions. This methodology is not at all exclusive to legacy unlocks, even inventory, bank, and character unlocks can be found sold by players for much lower costs than the game itself offers them for. Whether due to random drops from packs purchased, or even China gold-farmers reselling cartel purchases, the fact is many cartel unlocks can potentially be found for much cheaper credit costs when bought from players. There has been a known issue of late taking place in these items that players should be warned to watch for, some of these unlocks rather than displaying the cartel coin insignia they should will display the number 1. While developers continue working to isolate and resolve this ‘bug’, the fact is those items do not always work as intended. Subscribers can get help through the in-game help system, but free-to-players are simply left with the loss if/when purchasing these so be warned.
With that knowledge coupled with a fair understanding on how to maximize your credit earnings from slicing; it won’t take much time, effort, and possibly no real cash whatsoever to evolve a free-to-play account and potentially unlock any hindrances it typically enforces. While other individual crew skills in SWTOR require gathering or mission skills to truly profit the player, slicing starts handing out profit fairly early on and requires minimal credits to begin in as much. Making for a strong recommendation as the crew skill to choose if playing SWTOR from a free-to-play account.