SWTOR Color Crystals: BioWare Clarify Future

SWTOR Color CrystalsBioWare’s Damion Schubert has jumped on the official forums to discuss SWTOR color crystals. It’s a long read but if you’re unlike me and interested in the intricacies of color crystals then it’s worth doing.

For what it’s worth I tend to agree with Schubert on the approach that crystals should not actually have itemisation properties – it just seems pointless to me and causes more hassles than benefits.

Have a read for yourself:


So the other bit of discussion to have is about the color crystals. I thought in this case that I would start the discussion with all of you, so that you could understand our logic and guide our thinking.

Currently, these crystals appear in cartel packs with a level 10 requirement, and on the store with a level 35 requirement, in order to access stats roughly equal to a standard level 50 color crystal. It’s worth noting that color crystals are something that the itemization team stopped improving the itemization of shortly after launch, because people really hated losing their signature lightsaber color because it was no longer Best in Slot. We have, incidentally, seriously entertained removing all itemization from color crystals entirely (it makes many problems go away for us), but we didn’t have the time to make such a large change on itemization before this patch went live.

The reason why we put these in with low level requirement is pretty simple: getting an item you can’t use in the Cartel Packs really sucks. It’s the same reason we pursued the tech that allowed us to make mounts adaptive – we expect a very large influx of new players when we launch free to play, and those guys opening cartel packs to get items they can’t use for months (literally, for casual players!) is a negative experience, not a positive one.

So after discussing with the balance team, we decided to put these in with lower level requirements, with the following reasoning:

  • The balance math shows the bump to be pretty good at level 10 (not something the balance team was uncomfortable with, though), but pretty unremarkable by the time you hit, say, level 30 or so. Since pretty much open world PvP doesn’t happen at those low levels, the impact on open world PvP is pretty much negligable.
  • The way the math works out, the benefit pretty much washed away by the bolster system in warzones, which means there is no significant advantage there.
  • The crystals are exactly as good as end-game color crystals, which means they have ZERO impact on endgame activities (level 50 ranked warzones, operations, heroic flashpoints, etc). We’re still philosophically avoiding putting any stat advantage at this level that subscribers cannot earn through reasonable normal play.
  • The fact that these items are fully tradeable means that players who do think there’s a balance advantage here can acquire them on the GTN for pure credits without spending a single cartel coin.

The net result of all of this is that slapping one of these color crystals in your saber at level 10 effectively makes levelling from levels 10 up somewhat easier, with the benefits tapering off quickly as the player levels up, and eventually zeroing out altogether. We felt, in general, that that was okay. The focus groups that we ran also seemed to think it was okay, as long as we avoided endgame power.

We are more than open to having a discussion about this and other options here (with the proviso that we have very limited time to make changes before this goes live!) if this continues to be perceived as an issue.


So what’s your take: do you agree with the approach laid out to make levelling just that little bit easier?


  1. I’m going on a bit of a Lore kick and I know David won’t know what I’m talking about but if I remember my Lore from the book I, Jedi which as far as I’m aware goes into lightsaber creation fairly detailed, a lightsaber has two crystals… although that could have just been the protagonist, Coran, being fancy which I think blew up in his face and in KOTOR 1 and 2 you could have up to 3 crystals.

    So I don’t see why they can’t have two types of crystals one focus crystal for lightsabers as the stat mod and another as a vanity item to colour the beam and then have a blaster specific upgrade like a power pack or lens as the stat mod in place of the crystal while still maintaining the use of the vanity crystal for colour. This would split blaster mods to cybertech and armstech and leave the force using mods with artifice.

  2. Why don’t you just allow for people to keep the color they want, no matter what the crystal is. In other words don’t get ride of the different power options the crystals have, just allow players to make the crystal the color they want. I don’t understand why you have to color coordinate the crystal with a specific power option anyway. Separate the color from the power option; this way you can have your favorite color the entire game, but you can also get different more powerful crystals the longer you play the game.