Here is the new state of the armorsmith profession. I welcome any suggestions, especially in the area of additional confirmed or suspected bugs.
State of the Armorsmith Profession 4/30/04
The armorsmith profession, overall, is in a period of prosperity. Players have come to recognize the value of armor and, although not everyone understands how it works perfectly, most players choose to wear armor at some point during their careers. Two major bugs- the "armor hole" and the vulnerability shift experienced by certain types of armor- were fixed in Publish 8, adding to the effectiveness of armor.
Economically, most master armorsmiths are very well off. High-level composite continues to be heavily sought after and fetches a fairly high price. There continues to be concern about the viability of lower level armor and armorsmiths, however, and of the difficulty faced by a new player choosing to be an armorsmith. The biggest problem facing a new armorsmith is the limited number of experimentation points at any level other than master, meaning that a master armorsmith can make the same products as a novice, but with a much higher quality. Thus, masters dominate both the high-end armor market (composite and ubese) and the lower end armor market (mabari, chitin, etc.).
Variation among armors continues to grow. Three new types of armors designed expressly for wookies are being developed and one has already gone in. Likewise, a questable armor schematic, RIS, has also entered a game. While there are issues with the availability of one of the key components of RIS, the Giant Dune Kimogila scale, it has nevertheless increased the variety of armors. Finally, one of the elements that the Developers have mentioned as part of the Galactic Civil War revamp is craftable faction armor, something that armorsmiths have been seeking since the game launched.
That said, armorsmiths continue to be concerned about the effective variation among armors. The relative uselessness of most armor types compared to composite and ubese is a major issue. As a whole, armorsmiths would like to see more true variation among armor types, rather than simply a scale from low end to high end. The biggest issue with this type of scale is that resource costs do not scale with armor quality. Thus, high end armors require the same quantities of resources as low end armor. In particular, the organic component requirement, which is the primary resource cost driving armor prices, does not seem to be related to the benefits provide by the armor. One example is Tantel as compared to Advanced Composite. Advanced composite requires only a modest amount of wooly hides, while Tantel, which provides much less protection, requires a large amount of bristley hides, a modest amount of any hide, and avian bones, which are very difficult to acquire in any quantity. As a result, little Tantel is made because it provides less protection, yet costs more to make, than composite.
As a whole, however, armorsmiths are in good shape. There continue to be small bugs that plague the profession, but by and large everything works. There are rumors of major changes in the works for how armor works under the new system that will be coming into play when the combat rebalance is finished, but until the rebalance hits public testing we will not know how armor will fit into the new paradigm.
Experimentation irregularities- There are a variety of irregularities in the experimentation process. For instance, the way composite is experimented seems to be different from how other armors are experimented. Along the same lines, experimenting encumbrance costs on segments seems to be acting strangely.
Mabari special protection irregularities- Mabari has two special protections (heat and blast), but only heat can be raised on the chest and only blast can be raised on the legs. Moreover, the segments contain only a heat special resist.
Composite pants missing a colorable area- The thigh portion of the composite pants cannot be changed from gray, even when a different color is chosen for the armor.
Glove/bracer irregularities- some glove/bracer combinations are impermissible, even though the graphics for those items appear as 'hand only.' In particular, chitin gloves, while appearing small, cannot be worn with bracers.
Suspected Technical Bugs
AP weapons ignoring PSG's entirely- There are reports that AP weapons ignore the effects of PSG's entirely.
PSG's still not working 100% of the time- There are still occasional reports that PSG's are not working all the time.
Armor not stacking with synthsteak- It is unclear exactly what is going on here.
Some looted segments not working properly- The latest reports deal with Fambaa segments not being usable in padded armor.
Looted armor segments are generally useless- Most looted segments contain base statistics that are lower than those crafted by a novice armorsmith with only one experimentation point. As a result, they are essentially useless. The looted segment table should be reviewed and particular segments should be modified.
Dual condition shields- These would be Personal Shield Generators with two conditions: a maximum condition and a temporary condition. The temporary condition would slowly recharge over time and would deplete at the same rate that PSG's currently degenerate. The permanent condition would degenerate at a much slower (1/10th or less) rate.
Experimentation range for encumbrance is too small- the trade off for experimenting encumbrance versus resistances is weighed heavily in favor of experimenting resistances, because the benefits from experimenting encumbrances are much smaller than for experimenting resistances. The benefits for experimenting encumbrance on all armor types should be increased.
Increase Giant Dune Kimo scale drop rate- The drop rate for GDK scales is vastly lower than that for the other RIS components. It seems to be in the neighborhood of 1/20 or lower. Given that the GDK is by far the hardest of the four creatures to kill, it seems counterintuitive that it should also have the lowest drop rate.
Armor powerups- Some kind of modification, similar to the one in place for weapons, would add a bit more variation to armor.
More questable armor schematics- RIS was a great idea, even if the quest items were a bit on the unobtainable side. The PSG quest is a bit too easy, although the fact that it is a limited schematic makes up for this. Armorsmiths would really welcome a questable armor schematic that did not require looted components to make, or only required a one time acquisition of a looted component.
Real shields- Either energy or physical shields would make a good addition to the game.
Visual effect for PSG's- When shield generators are active in the movies there is a very clear visual effect. This would add a strong immersion element to the game.
Sound effects associated with armor- Heavy breathing or altered impact noises are two possibilities
Grant more experimentation points to low level smiths when crafting low level armors- Currently, it is difficult for low level smiths to compete with master armorsmiths at all because they suffer a double penalty- not only can they not make the high level armors, but the low level armors that they can make are inferior to those made by a master smith. Even a smith with Techniques IV has only 7 experimentation points- three fewer than a master armorsmith and five fewer than most established masters. One possibility would be to simply give armorsmiths with Tech IV +80 to experimentation rather than +75, thus giving them 8 experimentation points. Another alternative would be to grant them a higher number of experimentation points for use on low level armors but decreasing the higher the armor is.