[SWTOR] Some of the upcoming changes announced at this week’s summit

So yesterday Bioware held a SWTOR guild summit, with panels, news about upcoming patches, livestreams, etc. swtor-life has a good summary of bulletpointed news items.

I’m just going to pick a few.

Story Mode for Ops

Taking a tip from WoW’s raid finder, or possibly from the ME3 story mode, the plan is to rename normal Ops modes to ‘story mode’ with the explicit aim of letting casual players experience the galactic storylines (presumably making them easy enough to favour PUG raids.) I think they are making a distinction between galactic storylines and class/personal storylines, so you won’t miss any of your class story if you don’t raid.

Legacy System

If you want to set up an actual family tree between your characters, you will be able to do so. I assume this will include some non-blood relations such as ‘mother in law’ or ‘slave of’ so that your Chiss Bounty Hunter can have some sort of connection with your Pureblood Sith Inquisitor without implying that they sleep together. (Actually, given the companion romances, I’m not sure if they’ll let you specify romantic relationships between your alts anyway. What would Quinn say?)

Some of the stuff you’ll be able to unlock for your alts sounds fairly fun though:

  • Reach level 50 with a species in order to unlock it with all other characters.
  • Can Unlock Heroic Ability (i.e. Force Choke) among all other characters one you finish your story. (I could have a Jedi with force choke???)
  • Repair droid on you ship, can repair gear, but old items, sell items to improve crafting abilities on ship droids. Mailboxes on the ship
  • GTN terminals available on ships, very high up on the legacy system
  • Can trade items between anyone in your legacy, including those in the opposite faction
  • Multi-Spec system will be tied to Legacy system, not coming at beginning of 1.2 but it is on the way.
  • Will be able to place vocal restraining bolt on your droid.

Poor droid, I think a LOT of people will use that :) One thing this will mean is that people will be strongly motivated not to create alts on lots of different servers as the legacy bonuses will only apply to alts on the same server.

  • Most rewards can be purchased as opposed to unlocked via normal means. Some things will not be able to be purchased when 1.2 first releases, but will be able to purchase down the road.

Aaaaand heads up for what sounds like an upcoming cash shop.

Some Crafting and Economy Stuff

  • Most popular Crafting skill is Artifice, followed by BioChem

Biochem I can understand, it’s rather useful having endless potions/ stims, but Artificing? It’s not bad per se, but the only reason I can think why it would be the most popular is that lots of people are playing force users and find it cool to be able to craft their own crystals/ lightsabers.

  • 57% Empire vs 43% Republic across all servers, PvP servers much more Empire heavy
  • Sith Inquisitor is the most popular class, Smuggler is the least popular
  • Reusable BioChem items will be phased out in the future

Noooo. not my reusable Biochem stuffs! ;/ Wish they could just make them less powerful than the non-reusable ones. Oh well, I suppose prices on the stims that doesn’t disappear when you die will go through the roof.

  • Reverse engineering rate for better items has been improved in 1.2
  • Tooltip will let you know if you can learn a new schematic from reverse engineered items, chances of receiving the same recipe twice will be reduced

Those are both good changes

Random Stuff

Why does random stuff always get labelled as ‘roleplay’ I wonder

  • Male slave outfits incoming. (Well, that’s it for Quinn then.)
  • Animal mounts on the list for things to be added (Tauntauns, obviously.)
  • Will be able to add comments to friends in 1.2, hopefully will be able to write up a character bio for all your toons (OK, this legitimately is a RP improvement.)

Guild Stuff

  • In game guild calender coming, able to set events and show them to non guild members
  • Guild banks 100% confirmed to be in 1.2
  • Guild progression in the works, large project with no details released yet
  • Tax system is also on the way

I’m not so hot on the taxes, personally. What is it a guild is going to buy exactly that individual players can’t?

More Random Stuff (but apparently this isn’t RP)

  • Dual/Multi spec coming in two parts/ Part one will let you switch through skill trees, part two will let you completely switch gear as well.
  • More story coming this year (this YEAR … that could be December, just saying.) Same Gender Romance options coming with Story updates
  • Cross server/ cross faction communication possible down the line, no real details released yet (will be good because the Legacy system is encouraging players to play both factions.)
  • Cooler outfits coming for Republic faction, particularly at endgame
  • Quests for epic weapons, armor, and other items coming. May even require having characters on both factions to unlock

As far as patch 1.2 goes, there’s a longer article about it on ign.com which includes some (ominous?) rumblings about class balance:

Class changes in 1.2 include new abilities for the Warrior and the Knight, a nerf for the Bounty Hunter, and more. Every class will receive changes, and all skill tree points refunded so you can look over the trees again before deciding how to rebuild your class.

Any of the new stuff particularly grab any of you?

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31 thoughts on “[SWTOR] Some of the upcoming changes announced at this week’s summit

  1. Nothing too exciting there, if you ask me. The Legacy stuff sounds quite interesting, but we’ll have to see how that pans out.

    Not sure why Artifice is popular. I took it on my Sith Inquisitor, but it’s nothing more exciting than Armstech or any other crafting profession. Do people like to play around with color crystals that much?

    Of the 1.2 changes I am most excited about…better search function for the auction house. Amen.

  2. Baby Tauntauns had me cooing at the adorableness.

    I really hope that the Guild Bank ‘tax’ is listed as ‘bonus’ cash, even if (in truth) players are looting fewer credits. One less headache as a GM, please.

  3. When I took Artifice, I presumed that it would be something like Jewelcrafting in that other MMO and that I could make some nice credits with it … well …

    One thing this will mean is that people will be strongly motivated not to create alts on lots of different servers as the legacy bonuses will only apply to alts on the same server.

    This annoys me to no end. I specifically create alts on different servers because I don’t want my Republic and my Empire toons to be on the same server. I would love it if things could be more “account bound”.

  4. (from askajedi) “Group Finder: They will be introducing Group Finder in 1.3. This will work for missions, flashpoints, and operations. It will be single server only. Community is very important, and they don’t want random pug dude who goes AFK And doesn’t care about his reputation – you avoid that when more people know each other.”
    I am really excited about this. Personally this is what killed my lust for dungeons in wow. I’d chose this version and wait a little longer on finding groups.

  5. No one saw this?

    “Developers do want to have DPS meters, Threat meters, ect., included in game.”

    Also, Group Finder will inevitably go cross-realm. They didn’t say that, of course, but if realm-only LFG is added, they will eventually suffer the backlash when queues hit 1.5+ hours.

    • We don’t really know whether there’ll be queues at all, that is to say whether they will include mandatory auto-grouping. They did say only a few weeks ago that their LFG tool was not supposed to take away people’s ability to choose who to group with.

  6. “I’m not so hot on the taxes, personally. What is it a guild is going to buy exactly that individual players can’t?”

    Well, the guild’s capital ship! You missed that? Guild housing is incoming. And presumably the ‘extras’ to go in it, like vendors and GTN. I presume it’ll cost a massive amount, seeing as VIP Wristband and some speeders cost 1.5 million, and my main will break the million barrier tonight and there’s nothing I really need to buy. This is a welcome development – now all we need is more people actually playing, so the capital ship isn’t dead…

    Cross-faction communication – great. SWTOR really does encourage cross-faction play, something I’ve never been too bothered about in other games, and I’ve friends on both sides. (And you can already talk cross-faction within WZs, it seems).

    One thing I’d like to see addressed but which I saw no mention of is the PvP quitters. No point being able to /kick someone if they’ve already left because the Huttball team went 1-0 down at three minutes in, or “lost” round 1 of Voidstar. There needs to be some sort of penalty for quitting out of a match, other than the lack of credits/commendations, because at the moment it’s actually the most logical thing to do – quit the “losing” team and get in the queue before them. And quitting early almost guarantees that the team _will_ lose.

    • The guild housing stuff doesn’t sound as though it’s slated to happen any time soon, though. But yeah, maybe you’re right.

      Fraid I’m getting anti-incentives to play on multiple servers at the moment so not sure how much I’ll be around (alas poor abandoned Consular etc.)

  7. I got Artificing because it sounds fun to upgrade your Lightsaber but it is not. It is boring. Very, very boring. I was hoping for at least some unique crystals or something. But it is dull and lacks a strong visual component.

    And yes. Marauder/Sentinel need a bit of a nerf, as do head rolly trooper/bounty hunters. Juggernaut/Guardian tanking has some…issues, which I suspect the new abilities will address.

    Also, I’m thinking the Smuggler numbers are relatively low because the cover mechanic seems horribly out of place on them. Gunslinger suggests a mobility that you just don’t have and your awesome space cowboy seems kind of crap when he’s cowering behind stuff instead of drawing dudes down.

    • I’d guess both Smuggler and IA are low (because they have been since beta), and Smuggler comes out lowest purely because Republic is played less than Empire. I’m not really sure exactly why this would be, but I guess if you want to play a ranged dps you have plenty of other choices (ie. Bounty Hunter or Sith Inq) which aren’t as constrained by cover and still do good dps.

      I would have thought Smuggler would attract Han Solo fans, and IA is said to have the best story of all the classes, though.

      • I suspect a lot of smugglers/IA’s get started, then set aside.

        There is an issue with the Trooper/Bounty Hunter being not so much better, sinc Gunslinger/Sniper dps is pretty high, but easier to use than the smuggler as both a dps and as a deepsy heals since the smuggler/IA relies on an awkward mechanic in both AC’s in the sense both cover and melee heals feels a little strange.

  8. I was hoping for more info on the UI changes and combat mechanics. Those are the two issues that really prevented me from enjoying the game to the fullest, and I’m still hopeful that they can improve these features enough to change my mind. Adding all these other things is great, and some of them sound really exciting. But my problem is that those basic “quality of life” aspects of the game like an efficient UI and smooth combat prevent me from enjoying those other features.

    And I agree Smugglers are just… odd. When I first started playing I had fully intended to make a Smuggler my main. I had a huge backstory written up for them and everything. The class is just off somehow. Scoundrel in particular just feels awkward as all heck to play.

  9. As someone with a Gunslinger main, I agree. The class as it plays is not really what we were sold. Remember the promo video, with the gunslinger walking down the corridor firing his blasters (and admittedly doing a rather pointless pirouette at one point before loosing another shot)? That’s what I was expecting.

    In reality, in that (PvP) situation, my gunslinger would do an auto Kirk roll into cover, target someone, find they were out of range, exit cover to run closer, crouch and erect a portable barrier, get knocked out of cover, be targeted by AoE so he couldn’t crouch again and thus had no powerful shots available… it’s not very Han Solo.

    Ok, PvE mobs aren’t that bright, but yes, the cover mechanic still plays oddly.

    • I have suspicions that video is the main cause of people being disappointed in the smugglers.

      • I’m going to second that as someone who’s mains are a Smuggler and an Imperial Agent. I never saw the video and the class(es) play about like I expected from the write-ups. (I also spent years playing a mage in WoW. Being a squishy damage dealing class is not exactly new for me.)

        The stories for both are (so far – I’m more of an ambler than a rush to 50 type) hella fun. Though all the stories so far seem pretty enjoyable.

        Oddly, from my friends, anyway, it’s the damage dealing version of the Jedi Knight/Sith Warrior that everyone’s complaining about being a disaster to play.

  10. I’m looking forward to the legacy features. mailboxes and G.T.N on my ship would cut down on all the running around I would have to do. Unlocking races and abilities is a neat idea and look forward to it. Can not wait to create a Mirialian Imperial Agent.

    I also play a Smuggler and PvP can be funky. Although, I’ve learned to play so that they crappy issues don’t bother me as much it still silly that other range classes aka Trooper and BH can use one skill and steamroll people where I have to work at it to power someone down.

  11. Aaaaand heads up for what sounds like an upcoming cash shop.

    Where did you get that from?

    Funnily enough the one thing that randomly jumped out at me was the bit in the video where they advertised “mission tracker useables”, as that’s one UI feature that I’ve been missing more than anything else… hate that moment when I have to pause during a mission, wondering what to click on and eventually end up rummaging through my inventory in the middle of nowhere.

    Otherwise I’m not exactly hugely excited about anything they previewed, but it looks like a lot of nice quality of life stuff. I approve.

      • Oh, I thought they were simply differentiating between unlocking (meaning stuff you get it automatically once you fulfil the requirements) and purchasing as in choosing to get it via legacy skill points or whatever they will be called.

      • From the IGN article to which you linked: “Ohlen said the race purchases will be made only with in-game currency.”

      • Actually they went out of their way at one point to say “purchased with in-game currency”, which hopefully means “no cash shop”.

  12. Don’t see anything here worth resubbing for.

    I think out of the whole thing this actually struck me the most: “Cooler outfits coming for Republic faction, particularly at endgame”.

    What does that even mean? As a Republic player (when I played), I thought the outfits were more or less apropos. Hopefully they don’t mean “more like the Empire”, which really means “more dark, broody and ‘badass’”

    • The Consular raid gear and their giant fan hat would like a word with you. As would rubber iron man.

      Honestly, though? Badass is important. The Republic side stuff really makes you look like kinda ineffectual which is not really helping the faction balance.

      • Well, *all* the raid gear (and PvP gear) looks awful, not just the Consular stuff (although Consulars definitely get the short end of the stick when it comes to hats, at all levels). At least with the return of the ability to pull all the mods and stick them in something else operations groups won’t look quite so much like Warhamster 40k refugees at the Dromund Kaas Pride Parade anymore.

      • @ Pardoz Your description of current operation groups made me laugh. Wish there was a screenshot to go with that.

        Legacy system sounds interesting, although not enough to get me to re-sub. No cash shop (for now) is good news as well. I’m waiting for more concrete information on planned UI improvements and the ability delay fixes (if it hasn’t been addressed yet), then I’ll jump back in for a month or two.

        As a side note, I’m also one of the people who leveled Artifice because it sounded a bit like JC in that other game. It’s not too bad, but I wouldn’t bother with it again. It’s mostly boring :(.

      • I think the issue with the republic gear is that it doesn’t have a strong theme. At least the Empire has ‘I’m gonna look like Darth Vader. Failing that…military uniforms and skulls!’

        The republic get cowboy in a cape, Fan Hat and ‘Well, I guess we’ll glue some random crap to you monk outfit, Mr Jedi Knight’

  13. I’m happy about these changes in the main, I just can’t shake the question that I know many are asking:

    “How much of this should have been in launch?”

    It won’t effect my enjoyment of the game, but had EA been willing to wait for this and launched the game in a “finished” state, how much better might it have been received?

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