Friday Feature! Powerups: Cornerstone of an Empire

In today’s Friday Feature, Demiurge once again provides insight into another important aspect of crafting – powerups! So without further ado…

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Powerups: Cornerstone of an Empire

Last week, I wrote about Armorsmithing on EiF.  This week I wanted to write another article to address questions, opinions, and concerns about crafting in general in SWG.  Crafting comes in many forms in this game.  More and more often, I hear people commenting on how it’s impossible to gain a foothold into it or compete with established players.  This article is intended to specifically address that misconception.

Most people who have played on EiF for any length of time know who I am.  I am primarily associated with the crafting of armor, even though I also make weapons, artisan wares, some architect items, and every now and then clothing, BE, and medical items too.  But here’s one of my biggest secrets: I make a large chunk of my credits crafting an item that a new player can make within a day or two of character creation… Powerups.

So just like with last week’s write-up, I will break down what it takes to craft them.  As you might suspect, Powerups are one of the easiest items to craft in the game.  There are no subcomponents and each craft takes a combined 10 resources: 6 minerals and 4 chemicals.

Here are the essential factors that will determine your success or failure:

  1. Your resources – This is the single most important factor in determining a Powerup’s statistics.
  2. The crafter – Are you a Master Artisan?  That’s all you need.  No need for any extra tapes.  No need to be anything other than a 10 point crafter.
  3. Your crafting tool – The stats of your crafting tool matter (again, the crafting station does not). You will want a Weapon, Droid, and General Item crafting tool.
  4. Where are you performing the craft – Crafting in a player city is always the most desirable way to make something.  As with other types of crafting, Research Centers are the best location to craft a powerup (as each individual craft will use a ton of single-point experimentation rolls).
  5. PATIENCE – I mention this one last, but it is really just as important as the resources you use.  This is because it takes a tremendous amount of patience to craft, scrap a craft that isn’t exactly what you want, and try again.  I have been known to scrap over a thousand attempts for a single one I like enough to turn into a factory schematic.

Food and Drink are irrelevant for crafting powerups, as are Skill Enhancing Attachments.  They are not needed, and even without them, you will still be able to craft server-capped powerups. Please note: while it is not important to have more than 10 experimentation points for powerup crafting, having +25s to both assembly and especially experimentation will still be beneficial in the sense of improving each experimentation roll to help with its quality… but it is not mandatory. Before I get into the discussion on how to make a powerup, I would like to share an old website that has a lot of valuable information pertaining to the crafting of powerups.  I will fill in the blanks as they apply to EiF, since the website’s data is not 100% accurate for us.  Nevertheless, Agock wrote an excellent guide for its time, and I still reference it on occasion to remind myself what stat combinations are possible.

https://www.swgemu.com/archive/scrapbookv51/data/20070205033706/index.html

What Exactly is a Powerup?

A powerup is a simple crafted item that is added to any normal weapon you might want to use (heavy Commando weapons such as a flame thrower or acid rifle and a Bounty Hunter’s Light Lightning Cannon are examples of weapons that can not be augmented with a powerup).  A powerup consists of a primary stat modification, and any number of smaller, secondary stat modifications (anywhere from zero to five, depending on the type of powerup crafted).  The primary stat modification is the major upgrade.  For purposes of example, please see the picture below:

This is a basic, 4-stat melee powerup.  The primary modification is the first stat listed (Attack Speed).  The other stats listed below are secondary modifications.  EiF has modified the “uses left” stat for our server.  On any other server I’ve seen (including live), powerups each have 100 uses.  Here, they last 10 times as long (1000 uses).  This is a major quality of life improvement for players because, for some end-game content (or PvP), it would be extremely easy to blow through those 100 uses and have to worry about placing another PuP (short for Powerup) on your weapon, mid-battle.  As someone who has crafted them for years, I will also tell you that they still sell daily.. so it is not a market killer (as you simply sell them for more than elsewhere).

When you craft a powerup, the primary modification will be one of several different possible options, depending on the type you craft.  I will go ahead and throw this out there… probably about 3/4s of them are junk.  95% of the time, on EiF, you will want to craft one of three different primaries:  Speed, Min Damage, or Max Damage.  On a rare occasion, you will have a crafted weapon that did not receive the slice you want, or you are experimenting with a new combination of stats.  On those types of crafts, Action or Wound MIGHT be important enough to you that you’d want it to be your primary (such as if you have a high SAC cost speed weapon that receives a speed slice, making a speed pup undesirable), etc.

When it comes to the actual crafting part, as a general rule, you will want to use only a single experimentation point at a time.  This is because while the primary modification is guaranteed on each craft, there are no guarantees at all with the secondaries.  You may craft a pup where you spend each experimentation point, one at a time, and a secondary stat never manifests itself.  This is why patience is so important.  Each experimentation attempt has a chance to spawn a secondary stat (until you reach the max number of stats a particular type of powerup can have).  Furthermore, each type of powerup can yield different primaries and secondaries!  They are not all the same.  So finding the right combination is key.  I will share with you my own opinions and choices, as well as the logic behind them.

There are two very important things to remember when crafting a powerup.  Firstly, you may run one experimentation (or even two) where you do not see the stats move at all!  This is normal (although it’s also annoying).  If it happens on the last experimentation point you have to spend, your craft may not yield stats as high as you know they can go.  Scrap it and try again.  Secondly, when secondaries start appearing, if the SECOND secondary (third stat overall) spawns on the powerup BEFORE the first secondary (second stat overall) reaches at least 10%, the first secondary will be stuck at its current level for the remainder of the craft.  The BEST powerups are the ones where the third stat does not spawn until the second stat has reached or exceeded 10%, adding an even greater challenge to the craft.  I will reiterate:  this is why patience is arguably the most important part of this process!  ANYONE can immediately be competitive when crafting powerups… but you really have to WANT to do it.

Making the Perfect Powerup

So what are the best powerup types to create?  And what are the best stat combinations?

Let’s start with melee powerups.  There is only one type to create:

As you can see here, Overall Quality is the only stat that matters for power-ups (this goes for any and all types of them).  A perfectly crafted, server-capped powerup will have a primary modification of +33.16%, with the highest secondary (the last one to spawn during the craft) capping out at 16.33%.  This will occur if both the mineral and chemical you use have an OQ of 1000, and there were no crafting issues during experimentation (bad rolls or stats that did not move on the final experimentation).  I could craft a hundred attempts, and this will always be the same.  Where the challenge lies is in the remaining secondary stats.  Is the first one above 10%?  Are they in the most advantageous order?  Did I get all of the secondaries I wanted to spawn?  Am I OCD enough to even care??  (Yes… yes, I am)

On EiF, when crafting a melee powerup, this is the closest I have ever gotten to absolute perfection (and I will explain why):

First… allow me to point out some key issues.  If you will notice, there are SIX stats on this powerup.  This was not possible back on Live, from what I understand.  It is the result of a design choice/mistake that was made by the SWGEmu team.  Since our code is based on theirs, we have inherited the ability to make six stat melee pups (it is not possible to make a six stat ranged pup, I’m sorry to say).  Secondly, my first secondary stat did NOT reach the 10% mark prior to the third stat spawning (point blank), so it got stuck at 8.39%.  Also, I was not using resources that were capped at 1000 OQ (but as I am only .07% off, it was close.  So with these problems present, why is this example so good?  It’s because of the order of stats.  This is the hardest thing to achieve when crafting a pup as it is totally random.

For a melee powerup, 99% of the time, Speed is king on the primary.  Melee weapons tend to have lower accuracy mods on the weapons themselves (it depends on the crafting philosophy of the weaponsmith, so opinions/results will vary).  Because of this, both types of accuracy mods aren’t as beneficial as wound chance and the two damage types.  So having accuracy as stats two and three is preferable.  You could argue on an ideal craft, they should be flipped, with Point Blank second and Ideal Range third, and you would not be wrong.  Again, this is the best order I have ever achieved.  It is not necessarily the best.  That’s the beauty of this…. you could get lucky and craft the ideal combination on your first try.  It’s all luck!  Wound chance being fourth is perfect.  Wounds are extremely important in two situations: PvP and during boss fights.  PvP is obvious, but it is important on boss fights because your group is likely attempting to break the armor of the boss (which results in their damage resists dropping by up to 50% of their original value).  Finally, both damage types being the final two is critical.  Everyone loves big sexy damage numbers on their weapons.  Is min damage more important than max damage?  If you are PvPing, yes; otherwise, no.  But having min damage as the highest stat on the pup helps decrease the spread/damage range of your weapon (min/max) for more consistent damage.  It’s not a deal-breaker either way… as long as the damages are the last two on the pup.

So what about ranged pups?  I focus my efforts on only three types, because of the possible stat combinations available to them (please see the previously provided link in order to demonstrate what combinations are possible).  The other types of ranged pups I do not talk about do not generate as ideal combinations as the three below I will illustrate.  It is important to point out that NO ranged pup can produce 6 stats (they are all 4 or 5, depending on the type), and none of them has the same “perfect” combination that a melee powerup does.

They are:

GRIPS

You will want Attack Speed as your primary stat.  Health cost is wasted on EiF (but it is a possible secondary on this pup type).  Attacks cost action or mind, depending on the special used.  The perfect Grip powerup will have Attack Speed as the primary, then Max Range, Wound, and finally Max Damage – in that order – with all secondaries over 10%.  This is the perfect powerup for a slower, high-damage weapon, such as one crafted with an overcharged core, especially if the weapon also received a damage slice.  It will make a speed pup essentially mandatory, and the one shown above would be the superior choice in such an instance.

SCOPE

A scope is the perfect powerup to use in the event you have a speed weapon (or a damage weapon that received a speed slice).  A scope can only have four possible stats on it.  The picture above demonstrates a craft that has all four present, but not in the ideal order.  The ideal order would have been:  Min damage, wound, action cost, speed.  Keep in mind, a little OCD is involved here. Had speed turned up in the prime secondary spot, the difference MIGHT have been a -.1 faster speed, or maybe not even enough to have shown a difference at all (depending on what the original speed was, it might have been small enough to be in the hidden decimals category).  Scopes are actually my personal favorite for ranged weapons.  This is because I have a unique philosophy when it comes to crafting my ranged weapons.  I then to prefer faster, more accurate weapons, with a lower SAC cost.  So increasing the minimum damage helps tighten up the damage spread.  If I am fortunate enough to get a very high damage slice on the craft, it just makes it all the better.  Again… personal preference.  There really is no wrong way to play.  It is also, unfortunately, not possible for max damage to be a secondary stat on a scope.

 

 

MUZZLES

Finally, the third type of ranged powerup that tends to be very useful is a muzzle.  Ideally, it will need a Max Damage primary, both Range mods second and third, with Min Damage being the highest/final secondary (which the picture does not match… but you get the idea).  It is possible to get different types of stats on all of these pups being shown, but their ideal configurations are what we are focusing on.  Muzzles with max damage primaries are an excellent choice when you have a weapon that may have been crafted with a speed-enhancing capacitor on it, and it received a high speed slice.  If the craft is one where no further speed reduction is necessary or desirable, this is an excellent way to go as it is the only ranged powerup combination where both min and max damage are present.  This type of pup is the one that reflects the greatest increase in damage stats (not to be confused with DPS, which factors in speed… I am referring only to the base damage numbers shown on the weapon).

And that’s it!  If you focus on these four types of powerups alone, you will account for 95-99% of all powerup usage (and if someone wants a custom powerup type made, you can easily do that on the side for them).  For greater clarification, those remaining 1-5% custom crafts will usually revolve around a wound or action primary stat.

Gaining a Foothold on the Market

So you may want to say, “But I’m new to EiF!  How can I possibly gain any foothold on the market at all?!”  Well… let’s once again take a look at the Galaxy Harvester website that I referenced previously in my armor write-up:

When you go to that site, and change the “galaxy” being viewed to Empire in Flames, it will show you all of the resources that are currently out there.  Remember, OQ is the only stat that matters here.  It is VERY easy to quickly locate a mineral and chemical that has an OQ around the 800 range for each.  I wanted to simulate how easy it is to get into this market as quickly as possible.  So I grabbed a mineral with an OQ of 798, and a chemical with an OQ of 813.  Finding resources greater than these two is a very easy matter for even a new player.  I spent five minutes crafting with a Master Artisan who has no tapes of any kind… both assembly and experimentation stats are 100.  No food or drink was used.  I crafted in a Research Center City only.  I was able to do this in five minutes’ worth of attempts:

Because the OQ of my resources added up to 1611 (798+813), my maximum possible effectiveness is ~80.51% (which does not visibly round up to 81%).  So it only took 9 of my 10 experimentation points to reach max.  It really should have only taken 8, except I probably had a bad roll in there somewhere (or also likely, no amazing experimentation rolls).  Regardless, I was able to craft a powerup that is within 6.5% of my server-capped primary and less than 3% off my maxed secondaries.  This is with very easily obtained resources that a new player is likely to be able to exceed without much difficulty at all.  Granted, the order of stats isn’t ideal or even complete, but that’s not my point.  That’s where patience comes into the mix.

Halyn updated Galaxy Harvester yesterday morning (April 22).  To prove a point, I went and took a look at what’s newly available:

and

…both spawned in yesterday.  Their combined OQs equal 1674, which would yield a stronger sample powerup than what I just demonstrated for new players above.  That doesn’t even take into consideration older resources that are still in spawn or that you may be able to cheaply get your hands on.  Anyone can do this!

Bottom line:  Powerups are one of the most overlooked, but necessary items in the game.  They are incredibly easy to make, and with patience, easy to master.  If you are looking for a quick way to break into crafting on EiF and be competitive from the get-go…. here’s your ticket!  All it takes is patience, knowledge of what stats matter on EiF, and the desire to make it happen.  Thanks for reading…

-Demi


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