[SWTOR] It’s a new day, it’s a new patch

My experience of playing SWTOR has been solidly positive, but it took a great turn for the better recently. Suddenly my frame rate improved massively, loading screens and conversations start seamlessly, and even hopping in and out of orbital stations is more of an interesting change of scenery than a painful speed bump. Amazing how much difference a new computer can make Smile (The old one was about 6 years old and has now been retired to less onerous duties.)

Oh, yes, there’s a new patch 1.2 also, featuring new high level content, Legacies as a way to earn perks for your alts, huge UI improvements, and the usual round of “PvP is now broken” feedback. (Although some people do also like it.)

What do you need to know about the new stuff?

Here’s a few useful links for SWTOR players:

mmo-mechanics has a guide for Empire players to the new Corellia dailies (I assume Republic players get their breadcrumb quest from the fleet too)

UI Cantina is a repository for UIs, which you can now download and use. Their ‘tips and tricks’ tab also explains where the .xml files (used to store UI information) will be stored, so to use a new one just save it in that directory. It is actually a hidden directory on Windows 7 so you’ll have to set your file explorer to show hidden files/ directories to check it. Look on this as a learning opportunity if you don’t know how to do that yet.

mmo-mechanics also have some UIs which you can download. I am thinking there will soon be plenty of UI related sites, if you know any good ones feel free to suggest them in comments.

legacy

This is a screenshot of the Legacy window. You will have to log in each of your characters to have them show up, and can then move them into the middle of the screen to define some relationships. You do this by holding the picture of one character over the picture of another who you already set up on the screen, and as you can see here some options for relationships appear. When you pick one, the new character will appear in the ‘family tree’. (Same sex marriages are allowed, incidentally.)

Since my agent (shown) is a sleazy horndog, he’s probably slept with all the others so I’m mostly defining him as ally or enemy depending on what happened after that. I’m not sure yet why he earned the enmity of my Sith Warrior but let’s be honest, it wouldn’t take much to set her off. Let’s hope he has some good friends, as opposed to the bunch of weirdos he usually hangs out with.

The Legacy screen also shows you what abilities/  races/ special stuff you have unlocked or have yet to unlock. I think I’m now saving up a million credits so that my ship (and all my alts ships on this server too) can have a repair bot, which is nice in the sense of adding some long term goals. Long term goals are essential for player retention, so Bioware will now be hoping that plenty of other players are also now thinking “Cool, I’ll save up for XYZ,” or “Oo, I could make a True Sith Consular!” Anyhow, it works for me. I like that my alts can benefit from my main, and vice versa. Shame they all have to be on the same server but you can’t have everything.

One of the fancier bonuses is that if you have completed chapter 2 on any character, your other alts on that server will automatically get that character’s buff alongside their own when they cast it. So for example, all my alts now cast the Sith Warrior buff as well as their own automatically. This is actually a pretty nice perk for alts.

There are also perk abilities you can get if you have a character who is LS5 or DS5.

To make your armour match, open up the character window. You will notice a small tab around halfway down on the right hand side – click that for the armour matching option. You can then unclick the icons by individual armour pieces if you want a few non-matching bits too.

Anexxia has also posted a FAQ for patch 1.2 so if you have any other questions such as “Where’s the guild bank” or “where are the legacy vendors” check out her post.

Also, some random rewards from Bioware

Bioware is also giving out goodies to existing and former players. There are free pets for active players, free time for lapsed players and a free MONTH for anyone with a level 50 who has ever subscribed. That’s rather generous – Bioware are now becoming synonymous for me with being wildly generous, I remember they threw out free copies of ME2 with DA2 last year also and even then I thought, “That’s nice, if a bit unexpected.”

Tobold takes the logical assumption that this is all intended to encourage player retention. Comments in that thread compare this to recent WoW offers and to the sorts of offers that subscription magazines offer and don’t find it particularly out of place.

Naturally because this is Bioware, people are also complaining about the free stuff. Personally, free is a nice counterpoint to the money grabbing scams I’m more used to so I’m happy. But then I was planning to renew my 6 month sub when it’s up anyway, because I genuinely am still having a lot of fun with the game,  so possibly making me happy is not a huge win for Bioware.

My feeling is that in the same way that Blizzard have been free to experiment with doing all sorts of weird stuff to WoW, Bioware are being encouraged to try out just about any marketing trick that they can think of to see what works. And since there really aren’t that many successful subscription games, there is still a lot we don’t know about what really does attract players to themepark games that aren’t WoW.  I’d say good luck to them, if offering people 7 months for the price of 6 (which is basically how I’m interpreting this for me) works for them, then go for it.

And while I am not sure that I am the core target for this offer, I am still a keen player with a level 50 who is in a casual guild which regularly does the endgame instances and raids. And as anyone who has ever tried to run a casual endgame guild knows, ANYTHING which encourages max level players to keep playing is a boon for everyone in the guild who wants to run group content. So this might actually be a very savvy move from the perspective of social players. I’m curious to see how it plays out.

New Content

I haven’t run the new dailies yet but we had a crack at normal mode Lost Island, the new flashpoint, last night. We worked out strategies as we went along, people were still adjusting to various class changes, and I was tanking without any tanking gear so this was not perhaps an optimal setup. Still, it was good fun, the scenery is gorgeous (I will take a screenshot of the volcano next time), and we enjoyed learning the bosses as we went along.

It felt quite tightly tuned for a normal mode instance to me, but maybe that is just because we didn’t really know the fights. Highlight was the group’s reaction on spotting a platform in the middle of a lava flow with a boss in the middle, “Oh, knockbacks into lava” – and Bioware did not disappoint.

Have you tried the new patch? What did you think?

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11 thoughts on “[SWTOR] It’s a new day, it’s a new patch

  1. I will admit to being really pissed off by their 1.2 promotion. I totally understand that giving people free stuff is for player retention. Rewarding loyal players is awesome. But when only part of the playerbase is getting a big reward, aka level 50s in SWTOR or people using a Scroll of Resurrection in WoW, and the people who have been playing since day one/beta, the other part of the playerbase is bound to feel that they are not considered valuable.

    I am still enjoying SWTOR, and yet, I still only have minimal time to play, 1-2 sessions a week. My SO and I pay the full subscription price, and despite me currently being out of work, we decided not to cut the sub expense because we enjoy playing together so much. Yet, I am disappointed now.

    I am also disappointed that people describe the upset folks (mostly altoholics who never settled on a main) as ‘butt-hurt’.

  2. I am also among those “butt-hurt” by being told I am not so valuable a customer, even though I have played far more days than I haven’t in my solid 4-month subscription. Maybe it’s only 15 bucks or so, but I’m certainly not one of those that raced to 50, bitched about lack of end-game, and dropped out, only to come back right before the patch. Hell yeah, I’m upset.

  3. I can understand how it might come across as a message that you’re less valued. I really don’t think that’s the intention but yeah, money talks.

    But at the same time, we know for sure that lots of people quit themepark MMOs after hitting max level, that the pace of an MMO changes after hitting max level, and also that current endgame needs active level 50s to participate so that the ops/ hard modes/ warzones/ open PvP can function at all. So I can see why they’d feel that was the area to target and this was a good time to do it. It is interesting that they’d want to do this in addition to the new op/flashpoint/ warzone and the legacy stuff though.

    I’ve also seen arguments that it is intended to soften the blow to the PvP fans of having rated warzones taken out at the last minute. One thing I suppose from giving out bonuses to 50s now is that you know you are targeting players who liked the game enough to finish it on at least one character. I can see the logic, I don’t know if it was a good thing to do. It won’t surprise me if they do decide to extend it to all launch accounts or somesuch. We’ll see I guess.

  4. this may sound selfish and all, but honestly? if they are rewarding their loyal valued customers, they SHOULD have extended the free 30 day offer to launch accounts that are still active. right now, it doesn’t relaly look like its a gift for valued customers but rather an attempt to inflate subscriptions by insetivizing people who quit, to come back.

    my highest level character is 44. i play on several servers and both empire and republic (thanks, friends for deciding to split up >_> ) so I’ve been splitting my time when I play between them. I preordered. I have a digital deluxe upgrade. I was originaly subscribed for 3 month increment payments. but I guess I’m not a valuable customer, becasue I was playing my way.

    that’s nice to know.

    I don’t have a problem with free stuff that I personaly may not be eligible for. but once again, the way EA presented that free stuff? to quote Mordin, implications unpleasant

      • The exact phrase was “most-valued” player who they were thanking and rewarding for their “support and loyalty”. Yes it may well be a thinly veiled retention incentive but it’s so poorly worded that they’ve ended up insulting long term players who don’t have a level 50 yet. “Implications unpleasant” indeed.

    • This. How they phrased it was really unfortunate. I’ve been there pretty much from launch, but I’m another who doesn’t do the rush to 50 thing, and I’m a casual player. Why is my $15 a month less valuable than someone who hit 50? (Or, in their re-vamp, someone who’s hit legacy level 6.)

      I don’t really care about the free month – it makes no difference to my budget one way or the other. But the phrasing was majorly WTFy. Excuse me, but I’ve shown support and loyalty, too.

  5. I’m one of the people they targeted with the free month, and I’m really not thrilled by it. Yes, I appreciate the effort but I’m not convinced that in two weeks, when the new dailies have been milked for all they can provide, that I’ll have any reason to log into the game. Any MMO requires time sinks. This can be progression raiding, PvP, achievements, reputations, collections, etc. I’m a casual PvPer and I’m not a raider – people pay me to do PM and SE so I have no interest in it as a hobby. That’s not much of a problem in WoW or RIFT, they both have quite a bit to do at level other than raid or do organized PvP. In fairness to BioWare, this was really the “here’s the game we wanted to launch but EA wouldn’t give us time” patch but they still need to address the structural weakness.

    In SW:TOR there is no reputation to grind, no collections, not much in the way of achievements, and no real daily structure. Yes, there are dailies on three planets but if you are at all organized you’ve gained all they have to offer in a few weeks – assuming Corellia follows the pattern of Belsavis and Illum. How long did it take to complete the Firelands dailies, or even to grind your faction in the Twilight Highlands to max to gain the gear? I don’t see much reason to run the Flashpoints, unless you enjoy that run or are helping a guildmate, once you have the drops as you aren’t grinding points to purchase better gear as in WoW or RIFT. And money isn’t an issue. Ignoring the GTN my main had 2M credits when he hit 50 – space missions are high profit. It feels like I’m in a tiny sandbox in the middle of a theme park. The game is clearly designed to lead players though content, until 50 when it’s telling you to find something to do.

    What sold many people on SW:TOR was story. That is expensive and very rapidly consumed in an MMO. It may also become, I think, a noose for BioWare. Having been a GM in tabletop RPGs since the early ’80s I have to admit that I was shaking my head in dismay when my Inquisitor became a member of the Dark Council. Where are they going to go from here? I’m one of the 12 most powerful people in the Empire. I have fleets and armies at my disposal. Why am I going to accept some insignificant planetary governor giving me lip? They may surprise me, but I’m not going to hold my breath until 1.3 is announced – and if this doesn’t include at least Chapter 4 they will have even more problems with defections.

    In the end, I want SW:TOR to succeed, but I’m not really clear on how they are going to get there.

  6. I dunno, maybe I’m easy to please, but the slight disappointment over not getting a free month because I’m ‘only’ level 47 was completely overridden by OMG TAUNTAUN PETZZZZZZZZ.

    Being able to rearrange and resize the UI elements was a wonderful addition, and I had some fun on my warrior with the /agent emote. Oh, and BoE hoverbikes made by cybertechs! I have two of those already. :D

  7. Pingback: High-five, Bioware. « thade's Hammer

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