SWTOR Reverse Engineering and You Guide

SWTOR Reverse Engineering and You Guide by Slaign


Hello everyone, I’m Slaign. Armed with a thirst for knowledge and an interest in SWTOR crafting, I wanted to learn as much about Reverse Engineering as possible. This system is vastly more complex than I think most people realize, especially for armor and weapon crafters.

Not content to keep the information to myself, and wanting to enlist the help of as many fellow players as possible, I decided to write this guide. In it’s infancy, it had many flaws and much speculation. While there is still much to learn, 115 posts (as of this update) and many helpful contributors later, I feel I can say that this guide is now the premier source of information on the mechanics of Reverse Engineering on the forums, if not the internet itself.

I want to thank everyone who has read this guide, commented, questioned, and contributed. I especially want to encourage you to take the time to look over the names in the Special Thanks section and recognize the assistance they gave in making this guide what it is today.

We’re not done here by a long shot, so I encourage everyone to continue to comment, question and contribute. The goal is to make this guide a source of knowledge capable of answering any question about the mechanics of Reverse Engineering. If you have a question, please ask, and even if I can’t answer, someone will try to help you.

So without further ado, let’s get to it.

Known Issues (Bugs)

Note that when I say “Known” I mean known to players. While we hope we’ve been loud enough to get Bioware to pay attention, we have no confirmation that they know about or acknowledge these as bugs. Any feedback from Reps or Devs would be priceless here.

Reverse Engineering button: The RE button can spontaneously disappear and we don’t know why. Using a keybind (defaulted to I and/or B) to bring up your inventory should resolve the issue. Interacting with a GTN or Bank Kiosk, or a vendor, should also resolve it. If this doesn’t work, press Ctrl+U once to turn off the UI and again to turn it back on.

Prefixes in chat: Another bug is that linking an item with a discovered prefix (see below) does not show the prefix or associated stats in chat. They do appear in trade windows, inventory, and the GTN.

Shotguns and Vibroknives: These items do not appear to have RE discoverable schematics. My opinion is that this is an omission or bug, as it doesn’t seem right for one pair of advanced classes to not be able to upgrade their offhands.

Redoubt’s Alacrity T2 Prefix: See below for an explanation of the prefix system and you’ll notice we don’t know what the T2 Prefix for +Defense and +Alacrity is. This is because no one has reported finding it despite a lot of effort dedicated specifically to doing so. Again, I believe this to be either an omission or a bug, and not working as intended.

What can I reverse engineer?

You should be able to reverse engineer anything that your profession can make. There are a few caveats to this:

1. Armormech and Synthweaving only allow you to RE the gear with the stats they make. Armormech can RE non-force armor and Synth can RE force armor, but neither can RE the other.

2. Certain quest rewards and dropped items seem to be immune to RE’ing despite being in line with what a profession is able to RE. This is likely an oversight.

You can learn improved versions of items learned from your trainer and from schematics acquired via other means. It currently seems as if you cannot learn new schematics from world dropped or quest items.

WARNING: Shotguns and Vibroknives do not appear to have RE schematics. Pursue RE’ing these items at your own risk! Sorry Smugglers and Agents, we don’t know why, but your offhands seem to have been left out in the cold!
The two progression methods of Reverse Engineering

Reverse engineering can follow two paths.

The first is very straight forward. RE an item and discover a schematic for an item of higher quality with similar stats, but higher stat values. Medpacks, Stims, and Modifications seem to exclusively use this method. Certain other items also use this method, notably weapons and offhands, but these items can also use the second system, depending perhaps upon the item in question. Chances are, if your item has a prefix like Gammorian or Ithorian built into the base item name, it will use the first system. If it doesn’t, it may use the second system. Most items that are equippable, including armor, many weapons, and implants follow the prefix system, which is elaborated on in great detail in this guide.

Example of the first system:

Might Hilt 2, a Premium item, will RE to Might Hilt 2, same name but Prototype, which in turn RE’s into Advanced Might Hilt 2, an Artifact.

For Biochem, the Artifact level stim is re-usable, as apposed to consumed on use like the Prototype and Premium versions.

The second system is the prefix system and involves a tiered system of multiple discoveries per base item, which lead to multiple discoveries per improved item. This is what the bulk of this guide covers, as it is the most complex.

Premium (Green) Items:

Premium recipes can, for the most part, be learned from your trainer. For the purpose of this post and my experiments, I focused upon Heavy Thermal Boots, a Tier 1 Premium heavy armor boot item.

– Critical crafting:

Earning a crafting critical on a Premium item will give you an item with the [Exceptional] tag appended to it’s name. These items allow you to insert a single item mod of the Augment type. Augment types are found through Slicing missions.

– Reverse Engineering:

Reverse Engineering a Premium armor item will give you a small chance of discovering a Prototype schematic. This schematic will be an improved version of the item.

If the item you are RE’ing follows the linear path (Mods, Biochem, etc.) the Prototype version will simply be better, with improved stats.

If the item you are RE’ing follows the Prefix tree path, it will gain a Prefix and a new stat. The old stats will remain the same, but you will gain a new one. There are 3 possible outcomes, and you can find all three. These are Redoubt, Overkill, and Critical. See the prefix section for more information.

Prototype (Blue) Items:

Prototype Items, as stated above, can be learned by reverse engineering Premium items. There are also trainable Prototype items, and certain mission skills can offer Prototype schematics.

-Critical Crafting:

Critically Crafting a Prototype item will result in an item with the tag [Advanced]. As before, this item can receive an Augment type Item Mod, found via Slicing.

-Reverse Engineering:

Reverse Engineering a Prototype item results in an Artifact item.

If your item follows the linear path, it will be an improvement in stats or functionality. (Biochem, for example, doesn’t make better medpacks as far as healing levels, but they are reusable.)

If your item follows the Prefix path, then what happens depends on whether the item you are RE’ing is the base item (learned from the trainer) or a prefix Tier 1 item (learned by RE’ing a Premium level base item, and gaining a prefix).

If your item is a base item, it will advance just like premium items do, into 3 new schematics (Overkill, Redoubt, or Critical). If it is a Tier 1 Prefix item (Already sports an Overkill, Redoubt, or Critical prefix) it will advance into a Tier 2 Prefix item. Each Tier 1 prefix can advance into 5 Tier 2 prefixes, for a total of 15. See the Prefix section for more details on these. Regardless, the resulting schematic will be an Artifact.

Artifact (Purple) Items:

Artifact schematics can, at high levels, be trained. However, RE’ing Prototypes is the primary method of finding Artifact patterns. They can potentially also be found through mission skills.

-Critical Crafting:

Artifact items have a special case for critical crafting. Items with a Tier 2 prefix (see below) gain a tag that says [Superior] by default. It is important to know that these items are not critically crafted. Items with a [Superior] tag lose that tag and gain a [Mastercraft] tag when critically crafted.

Items that do not start with a [Superior] tag gain the [Advanced] tag when critically crafted. As usual, both [Advanced] and [Mastercraft] critical crafts give you an Augment slot. See the Prefix section for a theory on why Tier 2 prefix items have the [Superior] tag.

-Reverse Engineering:

If your item follows a linear path, it is currently unverified if you can find an improved item by RE’ing the Artifact version. Indications are no, but some reports have said otherwise. These reports generally lack the detail needed to be confirmed, so RE linear artifacts at your own risk.

Tier 1 Prefix Artifacts (Overkill, Redoubt, Critical – Obtained from RE’ing a Prototype base item) can be Reverse Engineered into Tier 2 Prefix Artifacts (See the Prefix section).

We don’t currently know whether RE’ing Tier 2 Prefix Artifacts or Non-Prefix Artifacts grants any new schematic. Further information on this subject is greatly appreciated.

Legendary (Deep Purple) Items:

I know nothing on this subject yet.

Custom (Orange) Items:

Custom schematics are obtained via Underworld Training. All Underworld Training mission types have a chance to yield a schematic.

-Critical Crafting:

We really don’t know 100% one way or another whether Custom gear can gain an augment slot via critical crafting. On one hand, it may be possible, in order to keep Custom gear on par with Artifact gear, on the other hand, perhaps Custom gear requires a full set of critically crafted mods to keep up with critically crafted Artifacts.

-Reverse Engineering:

Current reports indicate Custom items cannot be reverse engineered. Update: Newer reports indicate that they can, but no results have been gained. However, I haven’t received confirmation of either report. further information is appreciated, but I personally recommend NOT RE’ing oranges, as I see no potential benefit.

[Prefix] Table:

Prefixes are added to some items (Usually armor and weapons) when an improved version is found. If you improve upon the improved item, a new prefix is added to replace the first. These prefixes are different for each parent prefix. This prevents your Artifact level items from the different stat groups having the same names.

Tier 1 prefixes add 1 of 3 stats to the item, in addition to the stats the item already had. The original stats (with the exception of armor or damage, see below) stay the same and a new stat is added. Redoubt adds Defense, Overkill adds Power, and Critical adds, well, Critical.

When RE’ing an item with a Tier 1 prefix, the Tier 1 prefix will be replaced with one of it’s child prefixes, or a Tier 2 prefix. These Tier 2 prefixes retain the stat of it’s parent, and add another stat. 5 Stats are possible, Accuracy, Alacrity, Presence, Surge, and Shield.

This means for every learned schematic that follows the prefix system, there is 1 Base item, 3 Tier 1 prefix items, and 15 Tier 2 prefix items in total.

If your base item is Premium, it will receive a Tier 1 prefix upon graduating to Prototype. If the base item is Prototype, it will earn a Tier 1 prefix by graduating to Artifact. If an item received a Tier 1 prefix upon graduating to Prototype, it will earn it’s Tier 2 prefix by becoming an Artifact. If your item earned a Tier 1 prefix upon graduating to Artifact, the Tier 2 prefixes can be learned by RE’ing those items. Tier 2 prefixes learned from Artifact quality items will still be Artifact quality, but will have more stats. Prefixes do not care about the quality of the item, only about the number of times it has been upgraded.

When you learn a Tier 2 prefix schematic, it will come with a tag that says [Superior]. While this looks like a critical craft, it is important to note that it is not. My guess is this tag is meant to denote that the item is better than Tier 1 Prefix items for people who may not recognize the difference between a Tier 1 prefix and a Tier 2 prefix. This is especially helpful for when both Tier 1 and Tier 2 prefixes appear on Artifact quality items.

Here is a list of the prefixes I have found, and what stats they represent:
(Each first prefix will be followed by its upgraded prefixes)

Redoubt (+Defense)
-General (+Defense, +Presence)
-Veracity (+Defense, +Shield)
-Anti-Armor (+Defense, +Surge)
-Exactitude (+Defense, +Accuracy)
– ????

Critical (+Critical)
-Leadership (+Critical, +Presence)
-Tempest (+Critical, +Shield)
-Fervor (+Critical, +Accuracy)
-Endowment (+Critical, +Surge)
-Supremacy (+Critical, +Alacrity)

Overkill (+Power)
-Vehemence (+Power, +Alacrity)
-Rampart (+Power, +Shield)
-Commander (+Power, +Presence)
– Expert (+Power, +Surge)
– Hawkeye (+Power, +Accuracy)

Here’s a flowchart to help better understand:


[ Leadership





Critical —- Fervor








[ Supremacy






[ Exactitude





Base Item -|- Redoubt — General








[ ????????






[ Vehemence





Overkill — Commander




[ Hawkeye

Echelar put together this graphic which shows an item with all it’s descendants (Except for that elusive final Redoubt Tier 2): http://oi42.tinypic.com/23r1rgm.jpg

So where is that final Redoubt Tier 2? I don’t know. It seems to not be in the game. It’s odd that one branch of the tree would just not have it’s Alacrity branch. I’m assuming this is a bug.

It is possible that the game will try to teach you a schematic you already know, in which case the chat log will show an error stating you already know that schematic. If you don’t already have all available prefixes for the tier you are trying to learn, you just got unlucky.

Armor and damage values as they apples to quality:

Armor (for armor) and damage (for weapons) values increase on items based on their quality. For example, using once again, Heavy Thermal Boots:

Premium – 88
Prototype – 111
Artifact – 127
Custom – Scales in accordance to quality and level of the Armoring mod used

The prefix of the item has no bearing on armor or damage values.

This is a ton of work! Why would I ever do this as opposed to just keeping Custom items updated?

People who claim the armor crafts are useless simply do not understand them, or do not like the way they work. Usually it’s the former, but for the latter, it’s usually people who think “Useless” means “Not necessary because there are other ways to achieve similar results.”

The fact of the matter is that with armor crafts, you can make armor competitive and sometimes better than you can find elsewhere. However, the flip side is that you can achieve similar results without an armor crafting skill.

The pros of armor crafting:

  • It’s cheaper to craft basic armor than it is to mod out every slot. For every moddable item you use, you must keep 3-5 slots upgraded. With regular armor, that’s 1-2. Orange gear has no stats, and requires mods. Crafted gear of a certain quality has the same stat value as an orange item filled with that quality mods. This means for an orange item, you must buy or craft 3-5 purple mods in order to equal the power of a single crafted purple.
  • Contrary to popular belief, crafted purples have just as much variety in stats as moddable armor, or at least nearly so. If you truly understand reverse engineering, every equippable item you can make has 19 variations, 1 base quality, 3 improved, and 15 vastly improved.
  • While it’s true you could raid for gear, it will take longer to outfit yourself. Even if raid gear is better, you will be able to craft gear to take up those slots you haven’t yet filled. It’s also likely that raids will also drop schematics to allow you to craft comparable gear. While it’s true you could also keep up with orange gear, see my first point about the extra effort required.
  • Armor crafters make the bulk of the orange gear in the game. If you want a certain look, or to be able to often change your look, or to sell orange items to appearance conscious players, you will want to be able to craft armor.
  • Armor crafters can critically craft armor to gain an extra mod slot that isn’t available from any other source. This includes orange armor, meaning even if you choose to use mods, you will need armor crafted by a crafter to get the best results. Might as well be you.
  • Being able to craft armor allows you to easily and relatively cheaply outfit your companions in excellent gear.
  • Reverse engineering is fun (Highly subjective.)


  • Using standard armor rather than orange armor removes your ability to look however you want.
  • Finding orange schematics is rare
  • Discovering all the varieties of a schematic can be time and credit consuming. If you are lucky, you will be able to find the variation you want quickly. If you are unlucky, it can fast become a time and money sink.
  • Crafting takes a lot of time. Fortunately, you can do other things while doing it.
  • You won’t feel the immediate satisfaction of always having a neat toy to use during combat like you will with Biochem. Biochem feels more useful in the short term, because it can actively save your life. Once you equip an item, you tend to forget about it. Also, Biochem is easier and more relevant while leveling, because you only need to keep up with stims rather than upgrading all your gear.
  • Reverse engineering is frustrating (Highly subjective.)

In the end, only you can choose what’s important to you, and what fits your playstyle. However, don’t let anyone tell you that armor crafting is useless, as it is not, assuming you know what you want to get out of it, and how to do so.

Why can’t I find this schematic? Is it broken?!

Chances are that no, it’s not broken. The RE system is random, meaning you are likely just getting very unlucky. Sometimes you might get lucky and get a schematic first try, other times you might RE dozens of items and get no schematic. Keep trying, the schematic is out there if it follows the established pattern above. If there are any exceptions, I will add them to the guide as I learn of them.

There are reports that the higher your crafting skill in relation to the recipe you are RE’ing, the higher your chances are to earn the schematic. This is nearly impossible to confirm absolutely from a player standpoint, but you may find it worth while to try coming back to schematics once you have a few more skill points. The upshot of this, however, is the more you make the item in attempts to RE it, the more your skill will go up.

A plea to those who found this guide helpful:

If you have information which can be added to the guide, please post below and I will do my best to keep this guide up to date. Please be absolutely sure of any information you post for inclusion in the guide. Any contributors will have their user names listed in the special thanks section.

We got our sticky! Thanks to everyone involved in this thread, even if you didn’t post, your views helped us get noticed, thank you!

Finally, please do not repost this guide without a link back to this thread, and a credit to Slaign.

Thank you for reading!
Special Thanks (Contributers):

cdstephen, Siegewulf, Ohoni, Kedrin, Lokai, Jeido, Sky_walkerPL, Baelish, Berjiz, Alexeia, Tokran, joshvrana, Sanctioned, Goshee, battlehax, Golarz, JimmyWild, MichaelKage, Owsley, Blurrykk, Echelar

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