Last week, the SWTOR team announced their plans for the next big game update 7.2: Showdown on Ruhnuc. The livestream was packed with news. I can’t possibly breakdown it all, but I do want to touch on a few of the major points while the takes are still somewhat hot.
Showdown on Ruhnuc
First and foremost, I’m very happy to have some new story content to play. SWTOR’s storylines of late seem to have flown off in several different directions with characters and arcs seemingly unconnected to the others, but it looks like things are coming together and hopefully coming to a head.
At first glance, the new planet Ruhnuc looks to be an impressive and stark wasteland, inspired by the American west. One of Star Wars’ foundational genres is the Western, so I’m always glad to explore some wide-open spaces, wade behind waterfalls and maybe find a datacron or other fun secrets along the way.
The update of SWTOR’s UI continues with a revised map that is more user friendly and less intrusive than the current one. As some one who frequently gets turned around on Fleet and lost on Corellia, this is a welcome improvement. Messing around on the PTS, I found I was able to leave the map on all the time without it interfering with my exploration and view. The UI changes also have at last allowed for the addition of colorblind mode to the game. I’ve known many colorblind players over the years, and it is long overdue for this accessibility option to be a part of SWTOR, and these UI updates finally make it possible.
For many players, the big news comes with the PVP changes. To summarize, the queues are being pared down into one for 8v8 warzones and one for 4v4 arenas, with rewards coming from a Galactic Season-style objective track.
This means that SWTOR will no longer support Ranked PVP. I am not the best person to comment in depth on this. I made Bronze one season and have dabbled here and there since, so my experience is limited. My first reaction is that I feel bad for the people whose favorite game mode is ranked PVP, and I know how much it sucks when a game stops supporting the play style you like best.
But I think Ranked was doomed. For the last few years, ranked has enticed players with the best cosmetic rewards the game has ever offered, but it hasn’t helped grow the PVP population. We all know the reason. The barrier between unranked and ranked isn’t so much a learning curve, as a buzz saw. It should not come as a shock that most players simply aren’t interested in investing the effort in getting skilled enough to compete while also dealing with the “personalities” of some players they encounter in the queue. I’m not blaming the ranked community, not most them anyway. The fact of the matter is that SWTOR is the theme-parkiest of theme parks MMOs, and Bioware simply has been unable to fully support and effectively police a competitive PVP scene.
If a casual-friendly PVP season attracts more people with the promise of rewards, allows inexperienced players to get their feet wet, and dilute the toxicity that festered in ranked, then I think the changes will be a good thing.
So I am indeed looking forward to 7.2. Bioware says that Life Day will be timed with its release, and since it doesn’t quite make sense to celebrate Life Day after our holiday season, I’m hopeful that we’ll be heading to Ruhnuc sometime next month! Keep your fingers, toes and lekku crossed!
I also want to thank everyone who entered my latest raffle. There were more than enough entries to unlock three Opal Vulptilla Mounts for the lucky winners. While not everyone could win, I was able to sweeten the pot with some extra Cartel Coins and 30 Day Subscription codes to help bring an early Life Day to a few extra folks. If you entered, check the character in your entry!
I’m hoping to do my best for the rest of the year to catch up with everything I’ve missed lately so come on back soon!