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Ask Mr. Robot’s SWTOR Item Database

02 May

I received the comment above on an article I wrote last week about companion affection and the legacy unlocks associated with it. At the time I didn’t know that AMR even had an item database for SWTOR, much less that I could link to items in it. I had spoken to the team at Ask Mr. Robot around the time of SWTOR’s early access about testing out their SWTOR features but after I had agreed they never contacted me again (I thought we were friends too, AMR. Why the silent treatment, eh?).

As you can see from my WoW leveling guides and heirloom guides, I’m real big on linking to items when I have a reliable database that I can look things up in and actually work with. Up to this point I’ve been using Torhead, mostly because I had no other option, but also partly because I was hoping that Torhead would eventually get somewhere close to Wowhead in terms of database functionality. Here we are 4.5 months post-launch and Torhead is still lackluster at best as far as items are concerned.

Ask Mr. Robot Has Useful Filters?!?

So I went to Ask Mr. Robot and loaded up their SWTOR Items Database to see what I could find on Synthweaving patterns because I have a Sith Warrior who has 400 Synthweaving and I want to know when I’ve managed to get all of the patterns custom gear from Underworld Trading so I can stop running those stinking missions.

I had already done the search on Torhead, but without any worthwhile filtering on their schematics pages or their armor pages I had to scroll through thousands of items, fifty at a time, and look for the custom pieces myself. That being the pain that it was, I wanted to see how much simpler it was to do at AMR.

Having never even seen their database before, I was able to pull up the search in that screenshot above in about 15 seconds from the time I entered the URL to the time I had my results. You can click on the screenshot to take you to my search if you’d like to see it in action yourself.

Clicking on the individual items gives more specific information about that particular item, which is exactly what I want to see. You get which mods the item accepts, where the pattern for the item comes from, which materials are required to make it (which are also links to more specific info about the mats), what the required skill level is to craft it and at which skill rank it goes from orange to yellow to green to grey.

In short, it has almost everything I would ever want to see from an MMO item database.

How Could AMR Improve?
There are still a few features that I think could be added to improve their database. The filters that they have in place already make it better than Torhead’s in my personal opinion, but they could still add some more features that would make it even more useful.

Screenshots
I know the database isn’t the primary function of AMR so it’s not likely to be a high priority for them, but in the age of transmogrification and people wanting to customize their looks it’s going to become a big deal soon if it isn’t already. With changes in 1.2 allowing custom pieces to proc an Augment slot this gear is now moving into that best in slot category and picking and choosing for the best look is the nature of the customization beast.

One of the biggest features of Wowhead’s item database is that it has not only screenshots but also a 3D model of almost all of the items in game. I think SWTOR is currently locked down to where you can’t get those 3D images from it like you can with WoW, and that’s fine. But allowing users to upload screenshots would still be much better than just the in-game icon that we can see right now.

Most items have a different look depending on which faction you’re viewing them on, so you would need to be able to see pictures of how it would look for both factions if you were trying to decide on a specific look to last you through to the end.

More Filters
The fact that AMR has any filters at all is a really big deal, but they could take it a step further to make it more universally applicable beyond their initial scope of just telling you how to optimize your gear. For example, I’d like to know how these items bind because I have no interest in crafting 25 of an item at once (queuing five on each of my five companions) to proc augment slots if the item in question is Bind on Pickup.

Some additional filters that I would propose include:

  • Binds on ??? / Does Not Bind
  • Source
  • Class

Binding is a pretty big deal if you want to use this database from the perspective of a crafter/seller rather than simply optimization. If you’re making things to give to guildmates or to sell on the GTN then you want to be able to search your items based on whether or not they are Bind on Pickup before anything else. We may or may not see more items that become Bind to Legacy in the future, but having that as an option that’s already in place would be good for when and if that time does come.

Source might not be a huge issue right now with the game still fairly new, but as the game ages and more and more schematics are added to the game it’s going to become more important. Right now there are only a few different sources for schematics as it is, but it would still be good to be able to filter out which ones come from Underworld Trading missions versus which ones come from vendors and so on.

They have a filter for Advanced Class, but that doesn’t help much when you’re dealing with a piece of gear that can be used by Jedi Knights or Troopers. Some end game gear is specified for use by certain AC’s, so I can understand the reasoning for including AC as a filter, but I think they would be better served by have a combined list of both Class and Advanced Class rather than just the AC’s. I might need to play with the existing filters more to see if this is absolutely necessary or if we can get by just fine with what’s there already. I tested the AC filter to see if it would accomplish the kind of filtering that I was looking for, and it worked just fine.

Export Functionality
Entirely selfish of me I know, but I would like to be able to export my filtered lists to a spreadsheet. The purpose of a database is to hold information and offer methods of querying said information. Once that information is collected it should be up to the end user to decide how to manipulate and present it.

I would really like to get spreadsheets of all of the custom gear that you can make with each profession so that I can keep track of which ones I have and which ones I still need. As a programmer who works with databases all day long at work, it’s not that big of a deal for me to get the information off of their pages and make my own spreadsheets with it, I just wish that functionality was built in so that I wouldn’t have to go through that effort every time.

If you want to see my first attempt at a poor man’s export you can check out my Custom Synthweaving Google Doc to see the full list of items. The most important thing I’m missing from that list is that there’s no link going back to AMR’s website so it’s not easy for me to look up which mats are required to make them, or where the schematics can be found. In patch 1.2 most of the schematics just come from Underworld Trading missions or PvP vendors, but in the future I’m sure we’ll have more that are world drops, dungeon/boss drops, or perhaps purchased from vendors for commendations or something along those lines.

Conclusion
Overall, I think the item database at Ask Mr. Robot is honestly the best one I’ve seen for SWTOR to date. It might not be perfect, but it’s a heck of a lot better than some of the others I’ve seen and as far as strictly items are concerned I would say it’s currently the best one out there.

I know that I have seen at least two other sites mentioned this week on twitter as having item databases in the beta stage. I haven’t looked at them (yet) because I don’t think either of those are actually open to the public just yet. Those new ones just might come out and surprise us all, but until I see them in action I’m going to have to give my stamp of approval to Ask Mr. Robot.

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7 Comments

Posted by on May 2, 2012 in SWTOR

 

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7 responses to “Ask Mr. Robot’s SWTOR Item Database

  1. Mr. Robot (@AskMrRobot)

    May 2, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    Hey, it’s zoop from Ask Mr. Robot again. LOVE the article and your well-thought out feedback :) I’ll try to address them all and not miss any:

    * Pictures of armor: we have something in the works that should launch very soon. There’s a stealth armor site launching soon, and then we’ll be providing armor screenshot links on the item pages.

    * Filter: BoP vs BoE – agreed, we’ll add that to the list of future features.

    * Source: We have source actually, but not if you’re on the crafting tab (since that’s the source). If you look at an item from the AC tab, for example, you’ll see a source filter. It’s still of medium-use since the sources are gathered manually. I’ve gone to every vendor in the game, and work with Dulfy for end-game items. I’m currently recruiting volunteers to categorize as much orange armor as possible to add that in as well.

    * Filter: Class (not just AC) – can you elaborate why you’d want to see this? If you’re looking for something for a Jedi knight, it will show anything he can equip. It won’t show if another class can equip it though, if that is what you’re looking for.

    * Export functionality: very interesting idea. We’ve had several people ask our help to get them data exports for their spreadsheets, but we don’t have enough time to fulfill all of those requests… and those are only the people who’ve reached out to ask. I have a feeling a LOT of people would like that feature. We’ll brainstorm on some ideas here at Team Robot, see what we can come up with.

    Mr. Robot couldn’t be more excited that you like his filters. He knows that WoW players are used to the WoWhead set of filters, but he wanted to do better. He thought there could be improvements, and it’s taken some getting-used-to for some humans, so he’s glad you see you really like them.

    Lastly, Mr. Robot checked his memory banks to have you beta test and get updates on his site. He found your entry but one of his humans didn’t add you to the email list. As punishment for this error, he is eating an entire batch of home made cookies in front of said-human, without sharing even a crumb.

    Post-Lastly: Have you seen the combat log parser for SWTOR yet? He’ll add you to the email list so you get notified of new stuff, but he wants to see if you have more high-quality feedback for that feature too :)

     
    • Psynister

      May 3, 2012 at 9:25 AM

      I’ve always prioritized stats over looks, but when I can have both I might as well. Pictures will be cool, so I look forward to the upcoming launch.

      As zsaz points out below, the Source for the crafting tab should include the source of the schematic/pattern. It’s all fine and good that this robe comes from Synthweaving, but I’d like to know whether I get the schematic for that robe from a vendor, mission, boss drop, etc. Clicking on the item shows me the schematic’s source, I just want to be able to filter by that as well when in the crafting tab.

      The filter for class was one I listed before fully thinking through such a filter. The idea came up when looking at some of the custom pieces, as many of them have two base classes listed (Imperial Agent and Sith Warrior for example). That piece would be Medium Armor because of the tie to the Agent class. Whether or not you need to include a search for base class rather than just AC depends on whether or not Juggernaut/Marauder already includes the definition of both Sith Warrior and Heavy/Medium armor respectively. When a piece of gear is restricted to two classes, does filtering for Juggernaut include or exclude a piece that’s restricted to “Sith Warrior or Imperial Agent”? I haven’t had a chance to test that feature just yet. If it does work, then this isn’t needed. I’m writing a comment right now, so clearly I have time to test it. Screw the class filter, AC accomplishes this just fine.

      Those silly humans and their lack of proper email listing skills. Now I have a sudden craving for homemade cookies…

      I have not tried the combat log parser yet, but I will.

       
  2. zsaz1029

    May 3, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    Mr Robot, he was looking to find the source of the SCHEMATIC, not the gear itself which was obviously Synthweaving in his screenshot.

     
  3. Mr. Robot (@AskMrRobot)

    May 5, 2012 at 2:40 AM

    Hey guys, we’re actually working on some schematic sources. We don’t want to list the schematic as a separate item like other databases do, because there is really no reason for the user to see it separate, right? Well, when we list sources, and the source is ‘crafted’ – we now need a secondary source… a source for the source, if you will. So that just takes an extra field in the database, which isn’t a big deal. So it should be coming soon :)

     
    • Psynister

      May 6, 2012 at 9:28 AM

      Thanks for the update, Mr. Robot!

       
  4. Hagu

    May 12, 2012 at 5:12 AM

    Thanks!

    Synchronicity.

    I really miss my TSM in WoW and auto mailing mats to the proper crafter.
    I was trying to empty my bags and I had these investigation mats I haven’t used much (lolarmstech is 165; other 5 are each 400) And I came to Saava Silk. Torhead and darthhater both listed the missions that drop it but not who uses it.

    It turns out http://swtor.askmrrobot.com/gear/made-with-material/34023/saava-silk# was what I wanted all along.

    Speaking of site things I miss from WoW is drop rates of missions & R/E. Is a level 300 purple UT Mission worth 10k? 20? 30? When I do Companion farmville where I am only running the mission for profit which is the most profitable? For the increasing amount of stuff I have given up trying to sell, I assume vendoring is more profitable than r/e. But it would be nice to have better info.

    Do you know any source that could help with that?

     
    • Psynister

      May 14, 2012 at 9:27 AM

      I haven’t found any site yet that has reliable percentages on things like that, sadly. I know there are individuals who have tested and tracked every mission they’ve ever run and their results to get their own averages, but as far as I know they haven’t collected all of the individual data into a single place.

      I can tell you that Investigation is just about the single-most worthless skill in the game, though. If you want to make money on mats right now you either need Artifice, Slicing, or Underworld Trading.

       

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