Fight the Future: Five Predictions for 2021

Happy New Year! Let’s all hope that 2021 is a big improvement on the previous year. As is tradition, let’s kick things off with my dumb top five predictions for the next year of SWTOR that are likely to be wrong.

Looking back at last year’s list, it did look for a moment like I might, shockingly, come away with a winning record. A Blurrg mount was briefly teased on the PTS late last year but it did not seem close to making it to the live game. One should always remember that the PTS is not a promise. While this does suggest we might lope around on a Blurrg at some time in the coming year, I cannot fairly give myself a point for that one.

As for my two correct predictions, guessing that we wouldn’t see changes to Spoils of War was not a stretch. No one has ever gone poor betting that something in SWTOR would not change. As for my story prediction, technically it has not been explicitly confirmed, but the subtext is clear enough that I feel confident putting that one in the win column. I am being somewhat vague since it still feels spoilery, but I will say I am pleased with how that beat played out in the Echoes of Oblivion story.

Without further ado on with the show! These predictions are based on my years of experience not developing a mass market videos game inspired by one of the world most popular intellectual properties. So, of course, I know what I’m talking about.

Expansion Hype

SWTOR’s tenth anniversary is next December, and it seems reasonable to expect that Bioware would like to celebrate with an expansion. That will give Onslaught a roughly two year lifespan, a stretch more or less in line with SWTOR’s other expansions. With much of Onslaught’s 2020 content backed up to the end of the year, this does leave a lot of ground for the game to cover before getting ready for a new expansion, so this prediction is far from a slam dunk. Will 2021 end with a new expansion or a new expansion announcement? There is a fair amount of ground between the two, but I will boldly predict that this time next year, we’ll be level 80 and grinding new sets of equipment. Hopefully not in Hammer Station.

What’s the Story, Morning Glory?

The possibility of an expansion does make the business of predictions easy this time. I suspect that the Spirit of Vengeance flashpoint and perhaps one more (or two if we’re really lucky) to come this year, will act as the prologue to the next expansion, in the same way the Forged Alliances flashpoints set up Shadow of Revan. That means the next expansion could very well focus on a Mandalorian civil war. Mandalorians are having their moment in pop culture right now so I don’t think it’s outrageous that SWTOR might get in on that action. In addition, it’s also a faction neutral setting into which Bioware could easily insert both Republic and Sith aligned characters.

This could also allow Bioware to keep the loyalist/saboteur storylines going without having to resolve them. I don’t imagine we’ll be seeing Republic Bounty Hunters looking for work on Carrick Station and Jedi saboteurs recruiting on Korriban anytime soon.

End of Expansion Gearing

If we do get an expansion, I suspect it will be preceded by a tried and true MMO end of expansion gear bonanza. I don’t think a new tier of gear would be out of the question to drive up those Veteran’s Edge stacks. At the very least I’d say the Dxun class sets and crafting materials for gold augments will become easier to acquire. While I know the mechanics of how Ossus gear was acquired during Jedi Under Seige was controversial, I do think we might see new loot gained from a new daily area and perhaps a lair boss.

Hey, What About Malgus?

The fate of Darth Malgus remains the major thread from Onslaught still dangling, and resolving his story seems like the thing Onslaught will most likely accomplish this year. Whatever Malgus is up to on Dantooine could very well take us to the ruins of the Jedi Enclave there. In the end, I think we will face and defeat Malgus in final battle. I’ve seen other possibilities suggested for Malgus, but as fond as I am of him and the tragic figure he’s become, I think his days are numbered. I don’t imagine we’ll be able to join him, recruit him as a companion, or install him as the Sith Emperor. He is reasonable to be suspicious, at best, of the player characters regardless of class, faction or allegiance, and I just don’t see him going down without a fight.

A Porg in Every Pot

It’s not a running joke until I run it into the ground. So, yes, I am hopeful that 2021 will be finally the year that an adorable Porg will be able to follow and passively observe me on my adventures! Once again, I am here to offer helpful suggestions for how to add Porgs to SWTOR. First off, clearly, there will be Porg tacticals that replace all our spoken dialogue with Porg calls. This will make the recording of all future dialogue a significantly easier task. But let’s be clear, there must be distinct Porg sounds for characters of all genders and alignments. Clearly a Sith Inquistor’s clucks should be distinct from a Republic Trooper’s chirps. And since I’ve predicted that a new tier of gear is imminent, the system to acquire it should be named “Spoils of Porgs” which will allow us to grind unwanted gear into “Porg Fragments” that we can use to purchase Best-in-Slot equipment. And, yes, Bioware, you can have these ideas for free.

For these predictions to come to pass, it would mean we’d be getting outrageously more content from SWTOR than we’ve almost ever seen from the game’s history. So I’m certainly letting my sunny disposition get the better of me. Still, I believe Bioware plans to mark the tenth anniversary of SWTOR with something special, so I am honestly hopeful it will be a party to remember.

 

6 Comments

Filed under Dumb Top Five, General SWTOR, Onslaught

6 Responses to Fight the Future: Five Predictions for 2021

  1. Avatar Teigra

    Happy New Year!

    I would love to see the Mandalorian conflict plot take center stage for a while. It’s such a shame that the Spirit of Vengeance flashpoint was so bugged upon its release, because the story it started was much more interesting to me than Revan/Valkorion/Malgus coming back for the umpteenth time. I’m worried that the negative feedback might make them shy of developing that story further. Regardless, I’m pretty sure this year will bring us a unified “world state”, because I doubt they want to keep running into the Acina/Jace Malcom bugs with every new update.

    As for gearing, I personally don’t want to see an item rating increase until a new expansion. Whenever they do increase it, I hope they drop the R-for-ridiculous number variants because it only added a whole new layer of stress to gearing I’m in no hurry to repeat. For now I would love to see some sort of catch up mechanic for players to get to 306 quickly. That seemed like a common issue for people having a hard time in SoV. In fact, I think SoV would be a fine piece of content (especially once fixed) to use for that purpose. Why not have the bosses drop 306 gear no matter what gear the player is wearing?

    I’m 100% on board for a Porg pet. How about a fun adventure involving Don the Exiled Knight that ends in obtaining one? 🙂

    • TWIA-Mark TWIA-Mark

      I’m confident we’re done with Valkorion, and I think (or maybe hope) that Vaylin won’t be back for a while as well. That’s she’s out there somewhere finally able to forge her own future seems a fitting end to her story. I’d heard that Spirit of Vengeance was buggy going in, so I was extra careful going through as to not trigger any bugs and was mostly successful. I did fall out of one of the space ships while taking screenshots, but, luckily, that didn’t break my progress! I’ve done a few more runs since it’s been patched and haven’t run into any issues. Aside from the length and those bugs, I gather it’s been received pretty well, so I’m certain that story will continue.

      I do think we’re stuck with the countless A, B and R-x mods and enhancements for the rest of Onslaught. Whether they streamline the gearing process next time around, I can’t say for sure. There are certainly players who are into min-maxing their gear to the nth degree, but I agree for the rest of us, it’s a bit more confusing than perhaps it ought to be. Chasing upgrades is the classic incentive to keep players on the MMO treadmill, and I’m pleasantly surprised that SWTOR hasn’t flipped that switch in more than a year, but I wonder how long they can resist the temptation.

      More Don the Exiled Knight content would absolutely make my day, so sign me up!

  2. Happy New Year from me as well!

    I’d absolutely be down for a Mandalorian themed storyline. Not sure if this is something a more lore-savvy person would know, but it certainly did look like Heta Kol has a very personal axe to grind with Shae, especially given her last line in that final cutscene of SoV. I’m curious what happened between those two, maybe we’ll find out. Considering how much I was looking forward to the Shadow of Oblivion part of the update, it’s kind of ironic that I actually enjoyed SoV a lot more, especially from a story point of view.

    I definitely agree with Teigra that delving into the Mando civil war would be a lot more interesting than whatever they’re doing with Malgus and apparently Vaylin. That remark about “wouldn’t even be here” if we hadn’t “dragged her along” doesn’t bode well. Regardless, a new expansion this year would be fun, even though I’ll probably make it nowhere near the Renown cap by the time it comes out and Renown possibly gets replaced by the next system 😀

    • TWIA-Mark TWIA-Mark

      I’ve seen a ton of speculation about Heta Kol. Personally, I hope the Clan Cadera connection is more than a red herring. I like the idea of Mandalorian themed expansion as well. It’ll be great for Bounty Hunter players, of course, but I can also see Smugglers slipping into the setting. And I’m certain that numerous Jedi, Sith and Troopers would be interested in immersing themselves in the Mando’s warrior culture. And anything that allows companions like Torian, Mako and Akaavi to be involved in things would be cool as well!

      Malgus is probably the next big thing on the agenda, however. One last Sith who refuses to die!

      I have too many alts to hit the renown cap sadly. Unless they give us an extended double-xp event this year, I don’t think I’ll make it myself.

  3. Hm, I hadn’t considered the possibility that the Mandos might be “the next big thing”, while the Malgus arc might be treated as more of a side story. I sure hope it’s not; I think that after bringing him back from the dead and all that he deserves a proper wrap-up! Plus I don’t care that much about Mandalorians, though I did enjoy the Spirit of Vengeance story. You make good points in any case, so we’ll see how it goes.

    • TWIA-Mark TWIA-Mark

      I kind of feel like keeping stories more or less self contained is probably the way they’ll go so choices we make don’t necessarily have spill over and complicate future content. “Who is the Sith Emperor?” is certainly a difficult question to answer right now. I think Malgus will dominate the rest of Onslaught perhaps with some more bite sized story bits like the Task at Hand (for better or worse) and a “Jedi Under Siege” style big update, but my Mando-themed expansion prediction feels like a safe bet to me.