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It begins again: p = 0.047 and dropping....

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Crew Skills
It begins again: p = 0.047 and dropping....

finelinebob's Avatar

12.05.2012 , 11:24 PM | #1
We are coming up on the one-year anniversary of this game and we still do not have a viable, meaningful, skillful crafting system in this game that cost, what?, upwards of $200 million to produce ... and that was pre-launch? Indie games operating on budgets less than 1% of what BioWare has spent on this game have developed more meaningful crafting systems.

So, my current project is REing an Overkill Focus of Devastating Power (lvl49 focus: +48 Endurance, +60 Willpower, +41 Power, +49 Critical Rating, +483 Force Power, +28 Alacrity Rating), one last little toy for my Sage who just hit level 49 turning in my warzone daily a minute ago. To prepare for this, I have been trying to get maybe an Expert Tier 2 RE (add +47 Surge, increase Force Power to +543) or a Vehemence RE (increase Alacrity to a beastly +75, Force Power still up to +543). And +7 more Power for either, btw.

But this is crafting in SWTOR, so that means there are problems and more problems to overcome. Yes, I wanted the Overkill version and not the Critical version because my Crit Chance is already over 35% so I needed power more and, luckily (not skillfully) I got the Overkill after I got the Redoubt and didn't have to RE any more plain Focus of Devastating Power items. Then began the hunt for an Artifact quality item to finish off my <50 days in style. So, what has happened in the last two days of trying to learn one item?

I've spent hours circling the Primal Destroyer on Belsavis getting mats (Upari Crystals and Primeval Artifact Fragments) to grind out REs, as well as running missions non-stop for Cortosis Weave. Did it on my 50 Shadow, btw, so I didn't have to keep aggroing level 50 critters with my level 48 (at the time) Sage. So harvest, mail, switch toons, send out crafts, switch toons, harvest, lather, rinse, repeat ... you know the drill. Thankfully, I've run enough Treasure Hunting missions in the past to have more than enough Lorrdian Gemstones and Corusca Gems for my Prototype RE items and my final Artifact items (yes, I want one for Nadia as well).

Well, I think I have enough Lorrdian Gemstones ... I do have five full stacks, so maybe I'll get a successful RE before the 125 or so crafts I would get in before running out. One always must hope.

Currently, over the last two days, I'm at 29 consecutive failures for a binomial probability of 0.047. What does that mean? Let's say we take 1,000 artificers (let's assume skill 400 to eliminate necessary variables that don't affect the outcome anyway, but some people who don't understand stats might have suspicions) and give them 29 identical Overkill Foci of Devastating Power. Let's put them in the same place (Senate Plaza on Coruscant should be sufficient for that many) and at the same time (both of these to rule out other "variables" people mistakenly think matter when REing) and have them all RE those 29 items one right after another. Odds are that I would be standing in a group with 46 other people, of that 1,000, who scored 29 fails in a row. Double the number of items to RE, and if my streak of "bad luck" continued I would practically be standing alone of that 1,000, with one other person at best.

A streak of failures with a binomial probability of 0.047, and this is Working as Intended, Working as Designed.

Sure, this has nothing on my 56 out of ONE MILLION results a little while ago, but it still sucks. It still is unacceptable given what EA and BioWare care to think of the quality of their game. We deserve better. We are PAYING for better.

Of course, there is still the matter of my complete lack of control over what schematic I might learn should I succeed at an RE. As in my case of 93 consecutive failures, I could get a Rampart build (+47 points of useless Shield Chance) or a Commander build (+47 points of useless Presence on my PvP toon) or even a Hawkeye build (+47 points of accuracy, useless as my accuracy is already at 104%). Odds are 3:2 against me getting something useful. You would think that having a skill level of 400 would MEAN something, perhaps like giving me a 100% chance of choosing what advanced schematic I would learn. It means nothing. The true "story" here, since BioWare vaunts "story" so much, is that as a master of my craft, at the pinnacle of my knowledge and skill, I am still fumbling in the dark, making random decisions, learning nothing from past mistakes.

I'm guessing many of you are bored to tears if you've read this far. If so, you may understand my point: SWTOR Crafting is, at best, a mini-game that serious players should not waste their time over. There have been thread after thread for the last year calling for something to be done about just how terrible the system is. Even though we players know that "Coming Soon©®™" means little from BioWare, it still would be better than what we have received from BioWare about possible changes to crafting. Crafting in SWTOR has all the appearance of someone understanding ninth-grade simple probability, and absolutely nothing about how quickly binomial probabilities become vicious indicators of failure beyond your hope of ever attaining any sort of control.

There is no such thing as skill in Crew Skills, particularly crafting. The only true control you have is to not do it.

What have we heard from BioWare concerning improvements to crafting? Phkmg. That's a word I invented with the meaning of "the onomatopoeic representation of the sound of devastating silence", pronunciation guide provided below. And inventing a new word certainly takes more skill than I can hope to invest in any Crew "Skill", because to call them "Skills" is to use a convenient fiction with a wink and a nod from the developers and producers to the advertising team.

So, my question as we come up on the first anniversary of this game is: Is there a producer or developer who has the guts to tell us what is being done to improve the state of crafting or, if as we suspect is true, that nothing is being done to improve the state of crafting in SWTOR?

I double-dog dare the lot of you.

[Pronunciation guide: p as in pneumatic, h as in herb, k as in know, m as the in the first letter of mnemonic, g as in gnome. Yep, all silent consonants. There's even a song about this word. Well, okay, the song came first, but it would have been in the lyrics if the word came first.]

PS: Why not just give up? Why not craft the blue item and use it and forget about trying for the next level of schematic I would use for one (1) level? Because I'm stupid, and stubborn, and I don't give up even when I really should.

AND... because right now I have a Vehemence Immortality Relay (earpiece) that equipped on my companion just fine, but when I tried to equip it on myself I got the You cannot use or equip this item due to your subscription permissions. My subscription, which is something I locked in during Early Game Access and haven't let falter. My permissions, which are "You can use Artifact items because you are a subscriber!" And for the sake of full disclosure, attempt #30 got me the Expert schematic. Would have preferred that Vehemence one, but I said Expert would be suitable.

And I can't equip that either. You cannot use ....
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DocMojoz's Avatar

12.06.2012 , 02:11 AM | #2
TLDR: Crafting gets crit by math. pls fix.

finelinebob's Avatar

12.06.2012 , 11:51 AM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by DocMojoz View Post
TLDR: Crafting gets crit by math. pls fix.
If you didn't read, how would you know there is anything to fix? The math is in there. If you don't have the attention span to read it, don't say it's wrong.
Jedi Guardian JonBonJovi'wan
"Wanted: Dead or Alive"
Defenders of Monkeys - Prophecy of the Five
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nbayer's Avatar

12.06.2012 , 12:42 PM | #4
Could be worse, originally you could get the proc on RE and it would be a schematic you already knew. Then you would of course want the version with an augment slot so you would need to craft a bunch until you got the crit since there were no augment kits.

finelinebob's Avatar

12.06.2012 , 01:02 PM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by nbayer View Post
Could be worse, originally you could get the proc on RE and it would be a schematic you already knew. Then you would of course want the version with an augment slot so you would need to craft a bunch until you got the crit since there were no augment kits.
But (1) you don't get schematics you already have and (2) given the number of REs I did on a wieldable item, I had enough components to craft several augment kits.

Ever wonder why you need 10 aug slot components to craft a single kit? Could it be, in BioWare's simplistic, probabilistic approach to crafting, some developer thought "It takes on average five 20% chance RE tries to get a Prototype schematic, more like eight to get the prefix you want, then at least ten 10% RE tries to get any sort of Artifact schematic and probably more like thirty-five tries to get a schematic you might actually want ... so, if you're lucky, you get 15 components minimum and maybe as much as 40 or so more typically. Yeah, 10 should be enough and then some."
Jedi Guardian JonBonJovi'wan
"Wanted: Dead or Alive"
Defenders of Monkeys - Prophecy of the Five
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nbayer's Avatar

12.06.2012 , 01:15 PM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by finelinebob View Post
But (1) you don't get schematics you already have and (2) given the number of REs I did on a wieldable item, I had enough components to craft several augment kits...
I was just pointing out that they have improved the crafting system since launch. Because at launch you could learn schematics you already knew and augmentation kits didn't exists at all so at least the 10 provides a safety net of sorts.

SteveGarbage's Avatar

12.06.2012 , 01:36 PM | #7
Obviously crafting for a specific pre-fixed item is way more difficult than the linear path for mods and such. I think one aspect you're overlooking, however, is that these percentages are very low to try to brute-force through. The truth is there IS a lot of luck involved, because it's a RNG system, that, yes, has been talked about to death but still not changed.

I don't have the game in front of my right now, but if I'm not mistaken, the chance to RE a schematic off a blue-grade item is 10 percent? Or is it only 5 percent when you get to those higher levels? Anyhow, from there, if you're specifically targeting one prefix combo out of five, you're setting yourself up for a lot of frustration.

That means on top of a 1 in 10 chance or 1 in 20 chance to not RE anything, you're adding another 1 in 5 chance to get the one you want. As far as I'm aware, just because you already RE'd one of those last five schematics doesn't take it out of the pool. It's not like, "Oh you already have Expert, here's Vehemence instead!" It's more like, "You got Expert! Oh you already have Expert? OK then you get nothing."

You mention the odds and yes, it is extremely rare to have a streak of so many failures in a row. But it's not impossible. The probability of REing at all is either 1 in 10 or 1 in 20 (again, can't remember) and then the conditional probability to RE the prefix you want is 1 in 5. So your overall probability of crafting that one specific prefix combo on any try is either 1 in 50 or 1 in 100.

Again, those tries are all independent of one another. You don't gain anything by rolling multiple times. You odds will be 1 in 100 on try No. 1 and they will be the same on try No. 100. Your percentage chance to win isn't increasing with each try. You're not "due" to win eventually. That's the gambler's fallacy. So while the chance of failing 30 times in a row is whatever small percentage, the chance of you failing on each try is 99 percent, period.

Crafting a specific artifact-grade prefixed item is horribly punishing. The numbers back that up. It's not a great crafting system and you're no the first person to experience this frustration (I had it trying to craft a purple-grade enhancement on my Sentinel and that's not even the prefixed kind of RE). But that's the way it goes. Math sucks sometimes.
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Zem_'s Avatar

12.06.2012 , 02:29 PM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by Han Solo
"Never tell me the odds!"
I don't think there's anything broken with the current implementation. It's just the occasionally unforgiving nature of independent random trials. But here's an alternate idea, anyway:

Instead of independent trials with probability 10% and 20%, keep track of two counters attached invisibly to every character. Initialize the 20% counter with a random number from 1 to 9 inclusive. Initialize the 10% counter with a random number from 1 to 19 inclusive. Now every time you RE a 20% item, you decrease the counter by 1. When it hits zero, you are granted a schematic and the number is re-rolled again from 1 to 9. Similar thing for the 10% counter and its 1-19 value.

Now you're guaranteed a blue schematic with no greater than 9 attempts. On average, you will get one every 5 attempts. One every 10 attempts on average for the purple. Same as it works now, but with far less possible variance.

Anyone see a problem with this? Note that it would not flood the market with items because the average production rate of new schematics would be the same as before. It would just not allow the extreme long bad luck streaks.

Also keep in mind that if you're still going for a specific prefix when there are five available, your worst case for getting that purple schematic could still be 95 total trials. But that is, at least, guaranteed to be the absolute worst case and by then you'd also be guaranteed to have all five of those purple schematics (besides which, the odds against actually having this happen would be about 2.5 million to 1... why did I just hear that in C3PO's voice? )


psandak's Avatar

12.06.2012 , 04:16 PM | #9
I think everyone is missing Finelinebob's point...

There is no skill involved in crew SKILLS. It is 100% luck of the draw. That is what he is griping about.

And I have to be honest, On one level I agree with him. RNG for EVERY crafted item is not a good system. There should be some way for the player to influence the results.

On the other hand, I lived through the WoW Burning Crusade Alchemy flask recipe discovery system where players would craft thousands of elixirs to try to get any flask recipe only to fail. My opinion at the time was that of defending it because it "encouraged trade"; I have a flask recipe you do not have but you want flasks, you have a flask recipe I do not have but I want flasks...let's trade (more simply, I sell what flasks I can make so I can buy what flasks I want). Further, elixirs were nearly equal in quality to flasks with regard to stat buffs. The only difference was that flasks survive death. So, I was of the opinion that flask recipes were a bonus not the desired goal. I simply went about my business of crafting elixirs and if I got a flask recipe....Yippy for me!!!

The system and my mentality radically changed with Wrath of the Lich King - flasks were greatly superior to elixirs, but the recipes were trained. The discovery system was relegated to other aspects of alchemy and the chance of discovery was radically increased.

So, I am used to this RNG type of system. Because of this, I play the SWTOR crafting system with the mindset of, "craft 10 of some blue quality item, RE all but one. If I manage to get ANY purple quality schematics...Yippy for me!!! If I don't then I send the last blue quality (that usually has an augment slot) to the alt I crafted it for."

@Finelinebob, I'm sorry but there is no word of any radical changes to the crafting system an I do not foresee any in the future. You said that the only choice one has is to not craft. I disagree. An additional alternative is to modify your mindset. You can accept the system as it is and do the best with what you have.

asbalana's Avatar

12.06.2012 , 04:53 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by finelinebob View Post

I'm guessing many of you are bored to tears if you've read this far.
LOL, not at all, great and funny (as in been there) thread.

My record is 79 REs at 20% without a hit.

As far as changing the system is concerned, my theoroy is that the different dev teams are having a contest to see which one can cause the most subs to quit. At this point there is probably a tie between the one working on ability delay and system response, the one working on endgame content, and the crafting team. I do not think that the crafting people will want to forfiet the race just to improve the crafting system and make a few random players happy.