The short version is this: I like it. I like it a lot! The Swoop Rally is unlike any of SWTOR’s other events, and is much better off for it. I’ve been active with operations and even PVP this year, and zipping around the Swoop Rally has been a refreshing change of pace.
At its core the Swoop Rally is an obstacle course on three different planets with three different types of speeders and objectives. It’s not the most involved thing ever, but I’ve found it a relaxing way to cool off after a raid night or a fun way to pile up experience and conquest points on an alt. And I absolutely commend the team at Bioware for the speed and skill with which they assembled this content.
The courses themselves vary from planet to planet, and each speeder has a different enough feel and set of objectives, that I’m still enjoying it even after I’ve maxed out all three reputation tracks. For extra challenge I’ve been working on the achievements. I stayed up extra late the last night of the event trying and failing to complete the Horizon Razor’s Perfection achievement for Dantooine. Next time!
Many folks, however, only care about the rewards. On that score, I think they are a mixed bag. Each faction’s armor set has been assembled from pieces of gear already available in the game, and it shows. There are some neat individual pieces but no set stands out as a must have. Making these sets even worse value is the fact that they cannot be dyed and don’t color match to the rest of our outfits. I hope this is a bug that will be swatted sooner rather than later.
Each faction’s vendor also sells speeders of their own, but only one, the Blatent Beks’, features a unique model. That said, I am personally fond of the mounts selected for the Horizon Razors and Pit Screamers factions. And the gold plated versions of all three speeders available at Legend standing are distinctive and pretty neat.
In addition, there are lots of nice new and event-inspired decorations and droid rewards to be found as well.
The most interesting rewards are the Tactical items which all have silly effects related to mounting and dismounting from our speeders. If you’re looking to min-max your character, there is nothing for you here, but if you want to show off a bit when you arrive at your destination, there is some fun to be had. The Razor’s Kickstart Tactical is genuinely useful for the extra boost of speed you get on mounting, and since it has no level requirement it’s the first Tactical that can benefit low level characters who may already be speeding through their class and planetary stories.
Events are the perfect place to include cosmetic rewards like this, and I’m glad to see Tacticals that are pure fun. Just don’t be like me and forget to equip an actually useful Tactical before pulling an operations boss. At least I got to Dash’roode first.
As with all events, I wish there were more rewards. It seems like dye module and color crystal recipes based on each team’s colors would’ve been obvious additions, and I am disappointed that some of the tougher or more unusual achievements don’t come with extra rewards. At the very least, “Perfect Idiot” absolutely should have been a title given to players for completing those weird achievements.
The Swoop Rally event, however, does come with a surprising amount of story, which unlocks in stages as players advance through each faction’s reputation levels. The story is told using the “KOTOR-style” dialogue interactions that were introduced with the Fallen Empire’s Alliance Alert missions. While I am on the record as not being a fan of this style of interactions, I understand that circumstances this year are unique, and will not object. I enjoyed these stories. They aren’t galaxy shaking adventures; they are about people just trying to work things out. Whether they come together or break apart is determined by the player’s choices.
I do wish that some of the conversations had options specific to our classes. I’m not sure my Consular needed the concept of the Trandoshan Scorekeeper explained to her, and I’m certain the Smuggler and Bounty Hunter’s underworld backgrounds could’ve played into other interactions as well.
That said, I enjoyed them and, as a light-side loyalist, was satisfied with the conclusions of each story.
Is the Swoop Rally SWTOR’s best event? I’m not sure I can make that call just yet. I understand that the racing gameplay isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but personally I’m looking forward to its return, not so I can get more rep or grind more currency, but so that I can run the courses again. Moreover, I hope the good folks at Bioware are open to expanding the event in the future. I’m sure its no accident that there is room in the pits for a forth Swoop team. Additionally, I’d be happy to see the Rally visit other planets around the galaxy. Taris and Corellia seem like obvious destinations, but racing around Hoth and Manaan could be a gas too.
Very Fast, Very Dangerous
Finally, and at long last, let’s check out this Aurebesh sign featured throughout the Swoop Rally event. This sign will be a familiar to visitors to Corellia and Mek-Sha and features a speeder reminiscent of the iconic rocket bike from Return of the Jedi. This particular speeder is available in several versions in SWTOR including one awarded from a sidequest in Knights of the Fallen Empire and another found via excavation with the Seeker Droid.
The sign seems to have been designed as an advertisement for the speeder and proclaims that it is “coming soon” and includes some small text offering financing at an annual percentage rate that only a Hutt could love.
The speeder’s make or perhaps manufacturer is “Dynovibe”, a name you may not be shocked to learn seems to appear nowhere else in Star Wars lore.
As I indicated this summer, this recreation was a bit more challenging that I expected. The small text is somewhat difficult to read and I’m still not 100% confident in my translation. Instead of simply copying the speeder from the original, I had a go at recreating it from scratch. I didn’t get the same angle or lighting, but I’m otherwise pleased with my version. As seen in the game, the sign itself is lower resolution than others similar graphics, but my version is a little sharper in the interest of readability.
Today marks this blog’s 4th anniversary, and it has become one of the longest projects this freelancer has ever worked on. I’m certain I’d have moved on by now if not for the comments and kind words I’ve received from visitors to the site. Thank you so much for stopping by, and let’s hope things only get better in the next four years!