Beast Master Continues to be Too Much of a Good Thing in Star Wars Galaxies

Back on the Intrepid server in Star Wars Galaxies, before we moved to Starsider, I got into the Beast Master crafting and pet-wrangling system full force. Even for a person who had stock piles of resources dating back to the summer of 2003, this was a daunting task that ultimately required me to use 3 game accounts simultaneously for a month. Beast Master crafting is truly the most impressive, over the top, “We’re sorry for screwing up the game with the NGE, here have this amazing system as an apology” game play system that I have ever experienced in an MMO. You can read about the whole (extremely involved) process on SWGPets.com.

I did ask the few remaining crafters I knew for help back then, but bless their hearts, they didn’t really understand the system and what I needed them to craft for me. See, in order to create a good pet, one needed to refine a bunch of basic ingredients using various tools and consumable chemicals. Making those tools and chemicals required sub-components that were crafted by all of the four crafting professions. This meant that I had to either spend the in game credits to change my crafting profession any time I needed to make a component or I had to have to one character for each crafting profession. We were limited to 2 characters per server back then and I wanted to keep one of mine as a combat character (though I did use him as a crafter as well), so to me it made more sense to fire up 2 additional accounts and level 3 more crafters. I certainly had enough resources to do this and it was “only” $30 for the convenience.

“If you want it done right, do it you’re self”, they say!

Anyway, on top of requiring every crafting profession, the consumables used in the pet making process required huge amount of resources. And not just any resources, but high quality ones at that! Every time you killed and animal and stuck it with a Hydrolase Enzyme Extractor, you were spending around 10,000 credits. 10k for the chance to get something useful – something that you will then need to spend literal hours and even more resources refining. All this, plus the whole needing to forage and to kill stuff for other important components, meant that the Beast Master crafting system was really too much for one person to do in any great quantity on their own.

I was able to make myself a life time supply of modest quality BM consumable items for collecting and refining enzymes, but these items weren’t amazing and they weren’t really any good for trying to get stat enhancing mutations, let alone the super rare creature mutations. I would have needed two enormous supplies of a wide variety of top-quality resources to make both sets of consumables and that was completely beyond my means, even back when I associated with a couple hundred people in the game.

Beast Master crafting was clearly designed as a community project, something that people were intended to work in groups to achieve.

Fast forward to today, where one can play the 2011 version of Star Wars Galaxies on the Legends server (a server created using source code that was stolen from SOE when Sony was hacked – something I absolutely do not condone!), and the players are left with an untenable situation: They have an awesome game play system, but there aren’t really enough players to spread the load enough to bring the cost down to the point where the average player can make use of it. As such, from what I saw using the vendor search feature, there are only a handful of people on the Legends server who are making pets. And given what I know about the system, I was not not surprised to discover this.

  • Setting up the tools required to process enzymes or even incubate a pet is expensive.
  • Buying or crafting enzyme extractors is expensive.
  • Buying or crafting refinement consumables is expensive (and daunting!).
  • Suiting up a character who can kill the high level creatures required to get good enzyme samples is expensive.
  • Gathering the right Lyase and Isomerase enzymes is either tedious or expensive (because it’s tedious).

The whole process is so involved and so expensive that the few people who are going through the process of creating and selling pets are basically selling them for cost at 1 to 60 million credits each. Even the crappiest pet that really would not be sufficient for fighting other cirtters of its own level, goes for 1 million credits. And of course they do, because they’re super expensive to make!

Back on Starsider, I was selling low-end pets with modest stats for around 50,000 credits. On the whole, this cost me money, but it was money I had already spent building up my ability to craft an almost endless supply of such pets, so it didn’t matter. I was doing it essentially as a community service, so that people who couldn’t or didn’t want to grind millions of credits could actually play with a pet. A 30 to 40 point pet (out of 60 points max) with a healthy amount of secondary stats and abilities was sufficient for all but the highest end content in the game. So that’s what I made quite a few of, with the occasional 60 point pet that I could sell for several million credits to top up the bank.

My 0 Point pet! Made on Starsider with some resources I brought with me from Intrepid. It did pretty well in combat considering it had only the bare minimum of stats.

Some folks back in the day were super hardcore into chasing mutations and making the most rare and powerful pets, but me, I was just happy to be able to play with the system. I enjoyed all the aspects of Beast Master, from setting up my character to automatically follow its droid and forage while I was at work, to taking my pet out and soloing some nearly top-end krayt dragons, I had a lot of good o’l fun with the system. But, I was lucky back then – by the time I started making all this stuff in 2008-2009, I had already been playing the game on an off for 5 years and as a crafter, I already had most of what I needed. I’m sure this was true for many, if not all, of the other pet crafters in the NGE as well.

Unfortunately, everyone had to start all over again on the Legends server. Yes, there are some excellent bonuses given out that somewhat make up for having to start over from scratch, but it still doesn’t really fix the main problem with the Beast Master crafting system:

There aren’t enough people playing the game.

If you want a decent pet on the Legends server, you’re going to have to grind a few million credits to buy one. And that’s just to see if you actually like using the system, because there is no alternative. You might get lucky and meet someone who will give you a pet for free or for a lower price, but with a population so small as to only max out at less than 1,600 concurrent players, the picking is slim for community interaction in general.

I actually complained about this issue on the original forums back when the game was live, because it’s a two fold problem that unnecessarily prevented people from discovering game play that they might enjoy.

1. There isn’t even a free crappy pet for a person to try the Beast Master system with.

2. Crafting even the simplest, non-refined pet, requires more tools and resources than what most people can afford.

Back then I suggested… you know what, I can’t remember exactly what I suggested like eight years ago, but it was essentially that they should make second set of consumables that only used a handful of any quality resources, with the downside being that the pets created with them would top out at 20 or so points. See, that’s plenty of points to make a pet that is capable of not being obliterated in level 90 combat, but it’s certainly not enough to be powerful in high-end combat. Still, it would have been enough for both pet users and pet crafters to enjoy all the wonderful Beast Master game play systems (without having to grind and save credits for months).

I’m not sure how the Legends server is operated or what their plans are for it, but if they’re into making “quality of life” improvements to the game, this is one area where I think it would be worth their time. Most of the people I knew in SWG played it because they enjoyed the crafting game and virtually everyone I have met in online games likes pets, so… it would probably be nice to, at the very least, give away a 10 point pet to everyone. That’s my two cents on the matter. 🙂

Here are some screenshots I took over the years of playing with the BM system. Sadly, I accidentally deleted my screenshots from 2008-2010 when I did a format/reinstall of Windows one day… Even those who know better… don’t know better! 🙂