Wednesday, January 16, 2013

SWTOR Reverse Engineering Cost Me 20 Million Credits

How I Underestimated SWTOR's Reverse Engineering RNG

SWTOR Cartel Coin
Have you ever had terrible luck with random number generators (RNG) in games? This is my embarrassing story of how I threw 20 million credits away by a combination of greed and poor Reverse Engineering luck. read on to see what not to do.

Making Credits in the First Place

I don't have any secrets of how I accumulated the credits I eventually lost. I did daily quests often and was frugal with my spending. During progression raiding, I bargained with Biochemists I knew to avoid paying too much on Resolve stims when that market was monopolized.

Eventually I learned the Advanced Adept Enhancement 26 and Advanced Battle Enhancement 26 - and I was fortunate enough to be one of the first to have them on the old, smaller servers. These easily sold for around 2 million credits, and before I knew it I had bought up every Legacy perk I wanted and had surplus cash.

Greed, Hope, or Bad Luck?

When rank 27 gear released with Terror From Beyond, I wanted to continue the success I had before. This is around the time two fateful events occurred.

First, it became public knowledge that taking a crafted mod a player had made and inserting it into gear then removing it made you eligible to learn the schematic from Reverse Engineering it.

Secondly, my guild bled players at an increasing rate. I no longer had regular chances to RE leftovers from raiding when we couldn't run a solid Ops group. You can probably see where this is going.

A Terrible Investment

I chose to invest my profits in buying up crafted enhancements and hilts from the first successful players to learn them. Because this was the start of a new Operation, prices were high. I think I spent 2.3-3 million credits on enhancements, hilts, and a mod for an alt to try REing.

I was really confident this would pay off as long as I learned the schematics early. With the amount of items I bought, I had a reasonable 79% chance to learn something. I had bad luck.

Hutt from Rise of the Hutt Cartel Expansion

Of that initial batch of purchases, I didn't learn any schematics. 20 million credits wasted.

Supply and Demand

I gave up and waited for prices to come down. I bought a few things to tweak my own gear first and foremost, then eventually I learned a Barrel and Armoring (chosen only because the price was lowest) on alts.

By then, everyone had caught wind of the ability to Reverse Engineer crafted item mods and the profit had shifted to the materials and away from the crafted items. Of course I had no materials left, so I picked those up from the GTN and made what I could. Then nobody bought them; prices were still dropping.

That catches us up to where I'm at today. Miffed at SWTOR's crafting RNG, I've started recording GTN data to make smart decisions based on average prices over time. I'm taking a (much smaller) gamble now by betting that the Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion will use a new grade of crafting materials so I've begun to liquidate Grade 6-8 mats I've stored up.

Others are probably thinking the same thing because Molecular Stabilizer prices are taking a plunge.

I did Everything Wrong

To recap, here are my mistakes that made this loss happen:

  • I relied on my luck to continue
  • I bought high and sold low
  • I didn't pay attention when we hit the tipping point from high demand to oversupplied
  • My circumstances changed when I didn't consistently raid anymore, but I didn't adapt.

I wouldn't have made any of those gambles with my real-life money, but I stupidly did it with arbitrary online currency. Better that it happened in SWTOR than IRL I suppose. Put your excitement in check before you open up the GTN and remember the supply of materials is just as important as the glamorous new items you're trying to Reverse Engineer.