INSURANCE AND DECAY
As a new player, you have three "free deaths" before you are required to insure your items. After that, you will take decay on your clothing, armor other non-weapon items each time that you die.
PvE (player versus environment - this is what you're doing when you're hunting) deaths ALWAYS give you decay. If you aren't insured, your items will decay by 5% of their maximum condition. Insured items only decay by 1% when you die.
Each item in your inventory has condition - both a current value and a maximum value. When an item reaches 0 condition, it "breaks" and is neither repairable, nor useable. So don't let them get to 0! Have your items repaired by a tailor, weaponsmith or armorsmith before they reach 0 - and a good way to make sure they don't decay to quickly is by insuring.
Some items, such as "loot", unequippable items (junk and ornaments), or resource containers (your hide, meat and bone) don't take decay. You also won't decay if your items are insured and you are killed by another player (PvP).
Get used to insuring EVERY TIME YOU DIE - don't take that 5% decay for no reason. Insurance doesn't cost a large amount (100 credits per item) and the price of NOT insuring is far higher.
For the low level Scout, my best advice is to not bother with groups. You need to learn your skills and limitations first. Stay by yourself for a while to get the hang of things. Once you've got the hang of the controls, start looking for a group. Groups form up in random places - in Cantinas, Med Centers, around mission terminals, or even in the wild.
Grouping provides you two benefits now, as a Scout. The first is you'll be able to take down creatures that you couldn't fight solo. This can give you more XP faster and more hide and bone to sell on the bazaar or to other players. The second benefit is learning how to interact with other players. If you are new to SWG, you'll soon learn the different bits of etiquette and style that makes SWG different from other MMORPGs. Learn them well!
And by the way, if you noticed that you're getting less hide and bone when you are in a group, that's not a bug. When in a group, each person in the group can harvest the dead creature, but you only receive 60% of what you would receive if you had killed the creature solo. This is to keep the level of hide and bone in the game steady, so as not to overwhelm the delicate in-game economy.
HOW DO I GET BONE AND HIDE?
Bone, hide and meat are all things that you’ll need to have. You get these by harvesting corpses. When you’ve killed an animal, click and hold on the corpse. On the radial dial, you’ll see the option to “Harvest Corpse”. Depending upon the animal, you’ll be able to harvest one of the three, one time only. Some animals, like Nightspiders, only give meat. Others only give hide and bone. Most, however, give all three, and the decision is up to you.
Hide and bone are primary ingredients in a number of different artisan and scouting items, including armor, traps and camps. There’s a big market for hide and bone out there, in sizable quantities. Once you’re getting stacks of hide and bone in large amounts (generally 500 or more) go and sell them on the bazaar. The price you charge is up to you, and it should be based on how others are pricing their meat. Read my "From Novice to Master" guide for more detail on pricing, but keep in mind that every server in SWG is its own, contained economy and what one player on Bria says won't fly on Chimaera, and vice versa.
You'll notice by using the “Examine” feature on the radial dial when you click on the bone or hide in your inventory that there are different "stats" on the type of material you've harvested. Each of these stats helps determine the final quality of the material. The higher the numbers, the better the quality. The lowest quality is only good for "grinding" - practicing crafting items to get XP. The best quality stuff is good for making actual products, and will thus sell at a higher price per unit. This is called the CPU of the item - cost per unit. One hide, meat or bone is considered a unit. If you've got a stack of 163 meat, you've got 163 units of meat, even if it is just one "item" in your inventory.
CAMPING – HOW TO, WHERE, AND HOW TO MAKE THEM
Camps are an integral part of Scouting. They can be a lifesaver in the field, and are a skill tree that must be completed to get to Master Scout. To make a camp, open up your Generic Crafting Tool. Under camps, you’ll see “Basic Camp”. Select it. The basic camp costs a small amount of Hide and Bone, so you’ll need to have some in your inventory to make one. Drag the hide onto the hide slot, and the bone onto the bone slot. Click the create button. If you’re successful, you’ll go to the screen that tells you how successful you were. If you aren’t, you’ll get the “critical failure” screen and have to start over. Once you get to the success screen, click create again, and the camp is made and placed into your inventory.
You need to be a certain distance (between 750 and 1500 meters depending on the city) away from a city to set up a camp. Once you are that far away, go into your inventory, and click on “use” over the camp. The camp will be setup. You also need to be away from player city buildings or creature lairs.
Camps are one-time-use items. Every camp you use is gone forever, and you’ll need to make a new one. A good suggestion is to have at least four camps on hand at all times, in case you need one.
While you are in the camp you can heal just by waiting and there is a slight modifier to your heal times. Doctors and Medics can heal you and tend your wounds, and entertainers can heal your mind wounds. Entertainers cannot, however, heal your Battle Fatigue – you can only do that in a cantina or hotel.
Survival (Camping) XP is given based on how long you stay in the camp, how many people visit, and how much healing takes place. They don’t increase the amount of XP you can get from any single camp, they decrease the time it takes to get that XP. XP is capped at a maximum for each type of camp. For Basic Camps, you can’t get more than 320 XP no matter how long they remain up and you sit there healing.
When you are finished with your camp, you need to break it down. Do this by using the little computer terminal on the ground near the tent. Click and hold on it while it’s yellow and you’ll get the option to “Disband Camp”. You’ll also get the option “Camp Status” which lets you see how long the camp’s been up, how many visitors, and who created it. Select “Disband Camp” and the camp will disappear and you’ll get your XP. Don’t simply abandon your camp, as there can be problems with getting the XP from it when that happens. Also – you can’t get involved in combat while your camp is active, or the camp will be automatically abandoned – although it won’t be taken down. You simply won’t get any XP for waiting around there after you’ve been in combat. Best to wait until you are healed to go fight again.
Camp crafting now also grants you Survival XP, so the more camps you make, the more XP you will get. And the best place to craft camps is while you are camping! It helps pass the time, so make sure that if you are by yourself and camping to gain XP you churn out those camps. NOTE - you won't get a system message (the message at the top of your screen) saying that you've gotten XP from crafting the camp like you will when you harvest a creature. It simply appears on your XP bar.
The further you progress in Scouting, the better and bigger your camps, the more XP they give when you are crafting and the faster you'll heal.
Traps are another fundamental part of being a scout. They are easy ways to help make the creatures you hunt a bit more easy to kill.
You start off with two traps, and gain more for each level you gain in Scouting. In order to use traps, you first need to craft them.
Follow the same procedure as for making tents, but instead use the trap schematic. Both traps take hide and bone, though some upper traps will need metal, polymer and meat (musk). Get your metal and polymer (this is an inert petrochemical - make sure you check it and verify it says "polymer" because there are others types of inert petrochemical and they WON'T work in your traps!) off your artisan friends or off the bazaar.
Once you’ve made the traps, drag them up onto your quickbar. This is the easiest way to use them in battle.
When you want to use the trap, push the function key or click on them in the quick bar. You will lob the trap at the creature. It can either hit and have no effect, or hit, damage the creature, and give you XP.
You can throw multiple traps at creatures and continue to gain XP – as long as the trap you are throwing doesn’t cause an “effect”, such as making the creature “Dizzy” or “stunned”. You can tell if they make an “effect” because a little white icon will appear next to their HAM bars on their targeting screen in the upper right hand side of your HUD. Wait until it disappears and throw the traps again.
Crafting traps also gives you Survival XP, just like making camps does. So be sure to do this often as well. You won't see an XP message for trap crafting either.
Trapping is easy to do, and very easy to progress through quickly.
There are four skill trees associated with Scouting. Two of them, Exploration and Hunting, use Scout XP to progress. Trapping uses Trapping XP and camping uses Wilderness Survival XP. When you reach your first level, go back to the Scout Trainer to train it up. It will cost 1000 for the first tier, 2000 for the second, and so on. You can also find many scouts in the major cities who will train you for free or for a modest tip.
Keep in mind – you are using the same pool of Scouting XP for both Hunting AND Exploration. So if you choose to train in one, you won’t have the XP to train in another. So pick the one you want more. Both have drawbacks and benefits. Exploring gives you bonuses to terrain navigation and speed, burst run bonuses, and the skill Maskscent. Hunting gives you access to better information on the creatures you hunt using “examine”, to-hit bonuses on creatures and increased harvesting of bones, hide and meat. The decision is up to you.
One thing to note - there is no reason why any Scout should ever need to pay a non-player character for training. Scouting is the second most common skill in the game, next to marksman, and there are always tons of Scouts who need the Apprentice Points necessary to make Master. Just ask around - chances are you're surrounded by Scouts who will train you for a modest tip, or even for free. Don't pay non-player trainer when you can help out a fellow Scout.
MASK SCENT AND FORAGE
Mask Scent and forage are two skills that you gain as your work your way up through the Scouting tiers.
Forage allows you the ability to find small bits of food and drink from the surrounding countryside. These can give you temporary modifiers to your states – they can increase your Health meter, increase you healing speed, etc. for short periods of time.
Forage also is the only way to obtain the bait that you need to fish. So keep foraging until you find some!
Mask Scent helps you to skirt by the red “aggressive” creatures out in the field, and gives you a modest amount of XP if you are successful. Low level scouts, however, don’t have a very reliable Maskscent and it is easily broken. You must wait 60 seconds after each time a creature discovers you to reapply Mask Scent. To lower your frustration level, don’t bother too much with this feature until you get to the higher levels of Exploration, above Explore III and IV. Once you get higher, you'll be much more survivable in the wild, and you'll start to really like the XP you can gain from using Mask Scent on the tougher worlds. So try it out, but be careful. When it breaks, it can sometimes startle the creature you were stalking and he'll attack you. This is bad - especially if he's tougher than what you can handle! So be sure to be careful when masking your scent, and stay at a good distance when you are near the higher level creatures that you can't kill on your own.
Volsted has created an excellent fishing guide that you can find stickied to the top of the Scout Forum - check it out for more info on how to fish.
Fishing can be a fun distraction from the grind of killing creatures, and it grants Survival XP, too.
Having read all of that, I know pronounce you a fully qualified novice Scout. You now know everytyhing you need to and I expect that pretty soon you’ll be a grizzled old veteran of the woods, trading stories about the size of the Fambaa that kicked your butt back in the Cantina to impress the ladies. Welcome to the Scouting profession!
When you hit Master, be sure to come to the Scout forums and be inducted into the Master Scout Club. We promise to not haze you ... much.
Good luck, and good hunting!