02/10/2014

My First Hypercrate

While I've been a subscriber since launch, I've never actually bought additional Cartel Coins before. (With one exception: I once bought a CC code in a shop in Austria to get the associated mini pet.) I'm neither a fashionista nor a collector, so there are usually few things on the Cartel Market that I feel are a "must have", and for the rare exception my subscriber stipend generally has me covered. If I wanted anything from one of the lockboxes in the past, I always used credits to buy it from another player.

Two things changed recently: One, I got a new credit card, which meant that EA was actually willing to take my money. Two: furniture.

While Bioware has made sure that you can absolutely decorate your stronghold without ever spending any real money, they did make a lot of nice items available only through the Cartel Market, and I found that oddly few people were willing to resell their decorations, at least compared to other goods. I'm guessing it's because housing is still so new that the demand for furniture is high, not to mention that the way the system works encourages people to buy larger amounts than they would usually get of other rare items. What I mean is, if there's a new rare mount you really like, you generally only need one of it (if you want to use it on alts, unlocking it through the collection system afterwards is probably the most sensible option). If there's a rare new rug that you really like... you'll need ten of them to cover even one level of one of your strongholds. It's a dog-eat-dog world out there when it comes to furniture.

So I bought myself one of the biggest CC bundles and used it to purchase one of the luxury furniture sets and one of the new Hypercrates. I had been advised to open it on a character that had a reasonable amount of inventory space, so I chose to do so on my rarely played Gunslinger. However I was still taken aback just by how much of an inventory management mini-game it turned out to be just to unpack everything. One thing I didn't know in advance for example was that items with different bind timers won't stack, and unless you're spam-clicking on those boxes really quickly, the contents of pretty much every other box will end up with slightly different timers. Oi...

When I was finally done, had added all my newly acquired furniture to my decorations list and shuffled around the few items that were unbound (such as companion gifts and XP boosts for a specific type of activity), I was still left with an huge load of stuff with which I could do nothing but wait for the timer to run out.

One thing I found particularly peculiar were those armour boxes. Even if you've never opened a Cartel pack yourself, you've probably seen them on the GTN at some point: "Blah Blah's Upper Body Armor", with the description saying that it contains a hat and a chestpiece (and gloves perhaps, I can't remember). Now, I suspect that Bioware bundles these things up to save people some bag space when they unpack their newest purchases, but it's rather weird to have boxes inside boxes, if you know what I mean. Also, unlike their contents, the armour boxes themselves do not have a temporary bind timer - so you can throw them on the GTN without having to wait. A lot of people are clearly desperate to do this in order to clear out their inventory after opening a Hypercrate, which leads to the curious phenomenon of the boxes being cheaper than their contents. I reckon you could run an entire business operation by simply buying armour boxes, extracting their contents and then reselling them for a profit once the timer runs out.

Oh the whole, Cartel packs don't seem to be hugely profitable to me though - based on my limited experience anyway - though I guess it doesn't help that I kept all the decorations for myself. They probably would have sold better than anything else I got. I was outright shocked by just how little some of the orange pieces I got were going for. I sold a lot of orange armour and weapons for less than a hundred - sometimes even less than fifty! - credits a piece. I guess if you've ever wanted an orange armour set for an alt or a companion without being too fussy about how it looks, this is a great time to shop.

Nonetheless I oddly enjoyed my Hypercrate opening experience, and I can kind of see why people even make videos of this. (Though I don't think I should do so myself - I would spend more time going "Oops, my inventory is full again, let me just reshuffle some things..." than actually opening boxes.) Flooding your inventory should by all means be an annoyance, but I've noted before that I get a strange sense of joy out of organising my belongings, so having a whole bunch of new things to sort through at once is oddly entertaining for its own sake. It's now several days later and I'm still opening armour boxes and selling off their contents once the temporary bind timers expire.

4 comments :

  1. I'm also pretty floored about how worthless hypercrates are. For 7k(lately 5k) Cartel Coins, you're lucky if you get 1,000,000 credits. Makes the credit spammer prices look attractive. Sad.

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    1. I did keep thinking: "In the time it's taking me to sort all this stuff out and sell it, I could have done a bunch of dailies and earned more money from it." :P

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  2. The inability to stack items with different unbind timers is the biggest annoyance for me. What I would like to see Bioware do -- and doing this is, I think, the best way of handling it -- is to let you stack temporarily-bound items with a confirmation check, and then give the _merged_ stack the longest of the two unlocks. So if you had a pair of Executive Loveseats with an unlock timer of 11h 27m 14s, and another pair with an unlock timer of 11h 29m 47s (that you'd gotten from the next pack you'd opened, you could merge the stacks, but the whole stack would have the 11h 29m 47s unlock timer. You'd still be prevented from merging temporarily-locked with unlocked stacks (so you can't 're-bind' items to yourself accidentally), but you'd be able to merge stacks from packs you'd opened five or ten minutes apart as you worked through a hypercrate.

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    1. That sounds like a pretty sensible solution to me. Hopefully someone at Bioware picks up on this some time.

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