Category Archives: Legacy of the Sith

Limitless Season

This week, somewhat coincidentally, I completed two goals I set for myself in SWTOR this year. The first is that I hit level 100 in the current Galactic Season without using any skips or catch-ups. When I started, I hadn’t specifically intended to do it in the minimum amount of time but when Ted from the State of the Old Republic podcast, compared skipping a day of Seasons to a snow day off from school, I began to make sure to complete all my objectives as they came up. As great as snow days are in the middle of February, they always come due as extra time in the classroom in June. Therefore I resolved to diligently complete my SWTOR homework so that I could jump straight into summer vacation at the end of the Season.

The second goal is that I completed the Limitless achievement, which saw me hit Renown rank 999 on one of my characters. I know I am far from the first to complete this one, but when I passed rank 500 earlier this year, I resolved to push the rest of the way through.

When it comes right down to it, I am like many MMO players who gain satisfaction from filling in bars, be they Experience, Reputation, Achievement or Legacy based. I’m not exhaustive in these pursuits, and if I’m being honest, I don’t always know why I set out to complete some tasks and not others. As far as the Galactic Season goes, however, I was motivated to unlock the Stronghold, and I once I’d gotten that far, I didn’t feel like it was significantly more work to get the rest of the way to the century mark. The Limitless achievement comes with a matching Legacy title and 20 sweet, sweet Cartel Coins, so I guess that was my goal. I’m sporting the title right now, but I don’t think of hitting the millennium rank of Renown so much as a feat of strength as a test of endurance.

I realize the term “grind” means different things to different people, but to me it is working towards a goal that can only be reached through specific, repeated, and monotonous gameplay. The classic example I’d cite is the Wintersaber Trainers reputation grind from vanilla World of Warcraft. Although it was made considerably easier to gain in later expansions, originally the only way to get reputation with this faction was to complete three and only three repeatable quests, the easiest of which was in a high traffic area with randomized mob spawns The reputation awarded by completing each quest filled only the merest sliver of that bar. When I did the grind, it required countless hours over months of running back and forth across the same zone killing the same mobs. It was a tedious, mind-numbing, and often frustrating process. I had different priorities back then, and I can’t possibly imagine doing it again, but I sure did love the Wintersaber mount I came away with after all that work.

Thankfully, nothing in SWTOR comes close to that. I hesitate to call earning Seasons levels or even the Limitless achievement a grind. At their very core, all I had to do was log on and play the game. I did play a lot to be sure, but not enough to drive me crazy. As I made my way through Galactic Seasons, I definitely developed a preference for certain objectives. The only ones I opted to avoid were the objectives to kill mobs. Finishing the Ossus weekly and still having to hunt down a dozen or so bugs was for me the least fun part of the first Galactic Season. I would truly prefer to lose a GSF match (and I lost a lot!) than mindlessly hunt mobs. But I know folks who disagree and look forward to those objectives. I can see the appeal of going out, playing your character and fighting monsters. On a very basic level, that’s what it was all about, but it’s not for me. While I absolutely hope to see a greater variety of objectives next season, I generally felt like the objectives I did get or rerolled kept me busy doing different enough things over the stretch.

When Season two comes around, will I jump into it again? To some extent, probably, but I don’t think I’ll be quite so zealous about keeping up. The strongholds were the only vendor rewards I didn’t already have. Since I have a head start on the second one for next season, I expect I’ll take it easy and enjoy the rewards as they come, unless there is something surprisingly amazing on next season’s track,.

I do have mixed feeling about the Limitless achievement. The main way I like to keep SWTOR fresh is by playing different characters from day to day, but to complete the achievement in a timely fashion, I really had to focus on just one, my Operative. To be clear, I did not complete the achievement in the quickest, most efficient manner possible. I certainly ran more than my fair share of Master Mode Red Reaper stealth runs, but I also made every attempt to mix things up with visits to all the daily areas and quick heroics in the course of each week. Even so I did get bored of the character, and might have run out of steam if not for the two double XP events this year. It’s not my proudest achievement, and if it gets reset or revised during Legacy of the Sith, I think I’ll give it a pass.

Panic at the PTS

Speaking of Legacy of the Sith, our first look at the expansion’s class changes have just appeared on the PTS, and there are major changes coming down the pike. I highly encourage everyone to check them out, give them a fair shake, and share their considered, thoughtful and polite feedback on the official forums. Player feedback had a big effect on how Onslaught turned out, and it’s important to let Bioware know how these changes will affect players. Remember that no one ever made a point by screaming like a monkey lizard. Be cool like Fonzie, not Salacious frakkin’ Crumb.

 

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Filed under General SWTOR, Legacy of the Sith, Onslaught

Legacy of the Sith

This past Friday saw the long anticipated announcement of SWTOR’s next expansion timed to coincide with its tenth anniversary.

Legacy of the Sith is expected to launch during the holiday season at the end of this year and seems to feature an array of release content in line with Onslaught. Although the story will be set on one planet instead of two, based on the preview images I expect we’ll be spending more time on Manaan than we did on either Onderon or Mek Sha. Once again, it looks like the capstone of the story will be a flashpoint, this time exploring Sith ruins on the planet Elom. Likewise, we’ll be able to venture into a new Operation that continues the Czerka story started on Dxun, but with a rather more horrific setting.

The expansion will also come with some system changes, most notably Loadouts and Combat Styles. Being able to hot swap specs and gear and action bar layouts is something that is long overdue to SWTOR and it’ll be nice to not have to remember how to set up action bars for my countless alts! Combat Styles promises to be interesting. SWTOR has already separated character leveling from story progression, so it’s probably natural that they’d sever gameplay from story as well.

A common complaint about SWTOR is that having each Advanced Class associated with only one weapon type limits players ability to be inspired by famous characters from Star Wars lore. Clone Troopers and bounty hunters use every weapon under the twin suns, and even Luke and Anakin dual wielded lightsabers on occasion. Combat Styles will allow players to swap out their characters’ actions and skills for the moves of any other advanced class so long as it is another Tech class if they use blasters of any type or a Force class if they use a lightsaber.

There is already precedent for this in SWTOR lore; Satele Shan, Jace Malcom and Darth Malgus show off moves from multiple advanced classes in SWTOR’s introductory cinematics, and it will be cool that players will soon have some of that flexibility too. My very first SWTOR character was a Smuggler and as much as I enjoy playing the story with him, I never particularly cared for the Gunslinger’s static crouch and shoot gameplay. With Combat Styles, I’ll be able to switch to a Mercenary’s run and gun ability set while maintaining the two-gun action I associate with gunslingers in popular culture.

I’m curious to see how Combat Styles play out within the game. I fear there might be some negative social aspects, but I wonder if it will really affect my large roster of alts. I have a Sentinel and a Guardian and a Sage and a Shadow and a Sniper and an Operative and a Mercenary and a Powertech and many, many more. In theory, Combat Styles will mean you really only need to maintain one Force-using character and one Tech-based character on each faction to have access to all roles and specializations. Personally I think I will probably stick to my roster of alts to cover those bases. It seems wildly out of character for my Sage to start slamming her Lightsaber into the ground like a Guardian or my brash Gunslinger to be sneaking around like an Operative.

Many of Legacy of the Sith’s changes will come with and, I suspect, require under-the-hood updates to the User Interface. Over the last couple of years, the SWTOR team has been updating elements of the UI, and to be honest the changes haven’t always gone off without a hitch, so we might have to experience some growing pains while they work the kinks out, but I hope it will be worth it in the long run.

While I am very much anticipating Legacy of the Sith, I must admit this was not the most exciting expansion announcement ever. I hate, hate, to compare SWTOR to World of Warcraft, but, man, Blizzard can do expansion announcements. They’ll run a teaser where they tear a hole in the heavens and show off new a class or race or host of customization options, and it’s a drag that SWTOR just can’t compete with that level of hype. As much as I wish otherwise, I fully understand the days of SWTOR launching an expansion with a Blur cinematic are in the past. The story sounds neat; the concept art looks amazing; Combat Styles should be interesting, but I think the announcement was missing a little something extra. Something to make players sit up and say “Holy cats!” or “Fork yeah!” and not “Okay, more of the same.” We all know that the SWTOR team prefers to keep the story as close to the chest as possible, but directly teasing a cool new character or an unexpected bit of lore might’ve been in order.

I don’t think more of the same is a bad thing, but it’s maybe not exciting. I consider Onslaught a successful expansion, and the good folks at Bioware absolutely should be commended for the hard work and truly fun content they produced for us despite the considerable challenges of the previous year. At the last Community Cantina event in New York City in 2019, I asked Keith Kanneg how long he expected Onslaught to last, and he answered, about two years. And it is to the credit to the hard work of everyone at Bioware that Onslaught is matching that expectation.

And that gives me hope for Legacy of the Sith. Based on the quality of Onslaught, I am very much looking forward to exploring the new expansion. I believe Keith that the tenth anniversary will last the whole year, and I look forward to the celebration ahead of us.

 

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Filed under General SWTOR, Legacy of the Sith