Go Again: The SWTOR Hardcore Challenge

After months of speculation and hope following last spring’s trial run, yesterday Papa Keith Kanneg announced the launch of a brand new Star Wars: The Old Republic server for the Asia-Pacific region called Shae Vizla! I won’t lie seeing SWTOR open a brand new server is pretty exciting, and I am very happy that my friends on the opposite side of the planet now have a quicker and more reliable server to call home for their characters and adventures.

To celebrate I want to revisit a topic I posted this summer and throw down a HARDCORE CHALLENGE to veteran players looking to check out the Shae Vizla server. This challenge is, of course, inspired by the success of World of Warcraft‘s community driven challenge and recently opened Hardcore servers. I have enjoyed watching players test themselves this way in WOW, and this spring I started wondering if this might be fun to try in SWTOR. Let me be clear from the start, leveling in SWTOR is significantly easier than it is in Classic World of Warcraft. My goal is not to force players delete beloved characters because they missed a jump to an elevator; instead I think veteran players might find some unexpected pleasure in leveling characters without endless credits and character, legacy and guild perks.

There are two elements to the challenge, but the main one is simply to advance your character to maximum level without dying. Should you accept the challenge and your character dies at any point on their journey, you are expected to abandon that character and try again. The second element of the challenge is that players play using a set of restrictions called SSF: “Solo-Self-Found”. That is to say that the only weapons and armor and accessories they can use are those they’ve looted, crafted or earned as quest rewards. Use of the auction house, the mailbox and trading with other players is forbidden. Without being able to feed a fresh character unlimited credits and high quality equipment, Hardcore players need to be careful when forced to make do with the loot they find for themselves along the way, just like founding players did back in 2011.

Here is the rules set for a my “SWTOR Hardcore Challenge”:

  • Players may not use the GTN. They may not trade with other players (or their own alts) in person or through the mail or Guild or Legacy storage. Use of Legacy gear obtained by other characters is forbidden.
  • The gear vendors on Fleet and on the leveling planets are off-limits. Cheap and plentiful mods were simply not available back in 2011.
  • XP Boosts awarded from the story may be used, however boosts and other consumables from daily log-in rewards or the Cartel Market are off-limits. My initial impulse was to ban all boosts, but it seems unfair to prevent players from using fairly earned quest rewards.
  • Conquest rewards may be used. Conquest is a later addition to SWTOR, but it feels too ingrained into today’s gameplay to ban.
  • Each planetary Heroic and Story-based Flashpoint may only be completed ONCE and ONLY while your character is within the suggested level range for the planet or that part of the story. Once you out-level the planet, you CANNOT go back and do its Heroics.
  • Today the GSI Droid super-companion is an expected part of most Story Flashpoints, but I would award an extra gold star to players who opt to dismiss the “Jesus Droid” in Story Flashpoints.
  • Crafted gear is allowed. You may even drop and level new Crew Skills if you want to craft different types of gear. All crafting materials must be found by the character or generated from their own crew skill missions. The use of Jawa Junk is forbidden.
  • Claiming cosmetic gear, mounts and pets from Collections is allowed. I’m not a monster. Absolutely take advantage of the Outfit Designer and ride your favorite speeder. However, because they have stats, Color Crystals cannot be claimed.

I will be giving it a go myself and will be sure to let you know how it goes!

It’s All About the Journey

These rules aren’t really so much a code as a set of guidelines for a more old school pace of leveling. The degree to which anyone might want to engage with this challenge is entirely voluntary and there is obviously no way to enforce them. No, my goal here is to encourage veteran players like myself to take a step back and re-experience the game like a new player might now or maybe in a manner closer to how we leveled back in the day. Many aspects of the leveling experience have changed over the years, and mostly for the better. SWTOR has always aimed for a slower leveling pace, but things like waiting until level 14 for Sprint and level 25 for Speeder Piloting deserve to stay in the past. Nevertheless over the years, I’ve leveled many characters “efficiently” and while it’s quicker, it isn’t exactly fun. Running the same Heroics and the same Flashpoints over and over gets tedious. I started a fresh legacy on a new server recently. and opted level just through a class story I had not run in a long time. To my surprise, I became more attached to that dumb little blue haired Smuggler than nearly any other of my recently created characters. Advancing my Legacy to the point where I could unlock Rocket Boosts felt like a genuinely momentous achievement!

Since Shae Vizla is a fresh start server closed to transfers for now, all players there will be able to experience a new economy both for themselves and the server, It will be interesting to see what life is like when you have to pinch your credits! Indeed many players will have no choice but to follow some of the rules above at least to start!

I Ain’t In This For Your Revolution

But what’s in it for you? The quiet satisfaction of a job well done or the simple joy of playing a fun video game? Of course not! To celebrate the new server and to encourage folks to check it out, I am hosting raffle whose prizes include more than three dozen codes generously donated by the good people at Broadsword that are redeemable for Cartel Coins, subscription time and even a few Mandalorian Heavy Jet Packs! To be eligible to win a prize all you need to do is send me a screenshot (as seen here) of your Achievements window from a character on the Shae Vizla server showing that you’ve completed Act Three of ANY Class/Origin story of either faction anytime between today and midnight of January 17, 2024.

Do you have to follow the rules of the Hardcore Challenge to enter? NO! The challenge is for fun, but it is not part of this raffle. All you need to do is complete one Origin Story in the next two months on the Shae Vizla server in any manner you prefer. If you do attempt the challenge, please let me know how you did!

Does the character have to be on the Shae Vizla server? YES! I want to celebrate the debut of the server and help launch it with a bang.

Do you need to be subscribed to enter and win? NO! Any player regardless of experience or subscription status is encouraged to enter.

What are the prizes? I will be awarding up to forty SWTOR prize codes including twenty codes which can be redeemed for 450 cartel coins, ten codes that can be redeemed for 30 days of SWTOR subscription time, five codes that can be redeemed for a Heavy Mandalorian Jet Pack, and five codes that can be redeemed for 2400 Cartel Coins. Codes will be distributed randomly among all entries after the raffle period ends.

To enter, contact me with the following information:

  • Your character name (be mindful of spaces and special symbols!) on the Shae Vizla server
  • Your faction
  • A screenshot of your character’s achievements window (Achievements>Locations>General>) showing that you have completed Act Three of any Class or Origin story between November 16, 2023 and January 17, 2024.

That’s it!

I will accept Entries through email at twia@generic-hero.com, or through Twitter, or Instagram or here in the comments section of this post!

I will accept entries for two months from this posting and will randomly select winners on January 18, 2024 at 1 PM ET.

There are no country restrictions on any of the prizes that will be awarded. Each entry can only win one code.

This giveaway is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with LucasFilm Ltd, Broadsword or Electronic Arts Inc.

We’re on the honor system here, so one entry per person, please.

Please only enter for yourself!

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

If you’re a new visitor, I hope you’ll take a look around. I’ve been translating SWTOR’s alien languages for a few years now and sharing commentary about the state of the game as I see it.

 

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Filed under General SWTOR, Legacy of the Sith

Trick or Treat: My 5 Favorite Halloween Costumes

I’m out of town this week, so let’s shift gears a bit and instead take a break to check out how my friends and I celebrate the spooky season in Star Wars: The Old Republic and share my top five Halloween costumes that I’ve created over my years playing the game.

Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year and I have many fond memories celebrating with friends and family. Some years ago, the officers of my wonderful guild New Outriders began dressing up and it has become a tradition in the guild to celebrate the season with a costume party and some trick or treating, with the emphasis on tricks!

I also enjoy using the costumes as an excuse to tear a hole or two in the time-space-continuum while recreating some iconic scenes featuring the characters as whom I’ve dressed up.

If We Can’t Protect the Galaxy…

Our very first Halloween theme was super-heroes and we ended up with a nicely appropriate group of avenging heroes and I commemorated the event with a faux comic book cover. Truthfully, my Iron Man suit is just a yellow and red dye slapped on some goggles and the Powered Exoguard armor, but in the future, I tried to get a bit more accurate in my costumes, and I hope I made up for it in this presentation, which, do to an errant “Save as” error, sadly now only exists in this low resolution version.

Go Go Power Rangers

The following year, we went with a somewhat similar theme, and it pleased me that after divvying up the colors ahead of time, we found unique ways to create outfits for each of the classic Power Rangers, and special props to good ol’ T7 for filling the gap in the roster! To be honest, the Power Rangers phenomenon missed me, and I gather the other Rangers are more iconic, but I am happy with my efforts for the Yellow Ranger and these days she uses a vibrosword, which is more accurate to the character.

We Don’t Need Their Scum

Not surprisingly every piece of the gear needed to cosplay as the infamous background bounty hunter Dengar can be found in game as a quest reward or loot from heroic crates, but it took a little mixing and matching to get as close as possible. It wasn’t until Legacy of the Sith‘s combat styles that he was able to finally equip a rifle like the original character. And even though a very similar arrangement of bounty hunters can be found in game on the bridge of the Ziost Shadow, I decided to also have a go at duplicating the tableau of bounty hunters from The Empire Strikes Back.

More recently I created another character based on a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it the bounty hunter: Aurra Sing from The Phantom Menace. Aurra Sing was a last minute addition to the movie, and her costume is not especially elaborate so Canderous Ordo’s vest does most of the heavy lifting here, but even though Rattataki lack Sing’s top-knot, antenna and creepily long fingers, I am very happy with how close I got.

To Boldly Go

Finally let’s smash all barriers of time, space, continuity, and opposed fandoms with pop culture’s most famous starship captain. The remarkably versatile Czerka Corporate Shirt gets a second (or even a third if you count the communications officer) appearance on this list, but its use here feels entirely “logical.” My only regret with this costume is that despite the myriad number of blasters in SWTOR, none of them quite feel enough like a phaser to me. I suppose that might be intentional!

Honestly this is only the tip of my cosplaying iceberg. I fully and proudly engage with SWTOR‘s Space-Barbie endgame. I’ve created characters and outfits inspired by seasons of the year, other holidays and even a favorite anime character or two.

SWTOR has events for Life Day at the end of the year, the Thanksgiving adjacent Feast of Prosperity and the summertime Nightlife event, and while there is a gap in the calendar where a springtime event could easily fit it, I confess the event I’d most like to see added to the game is a spooky Halloween celebration. Aside from the Rakghoul Resurgence, SWTOR’s events tend to be lighthearted, and I think a horror-tinger, Sith-themed event with masks, candy and hauntings by angry Force ghosts could be a fun addition to the game. Who doesn’t love a tasty treat and a scary trick?

 

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Filed under Dumb Top Five, General SWTOR

Surprised at Life’s Little Quirks

At the start of this month This Week in Aurebesh celebrated its seventh improbable birthday. When I think about this project, I sometimes imagine myself as the Dread Pirate Roberts telling Wesley every night “Sleep well, This Week in Aurebesh, I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.” And, yet, after the better part of a decade, it’s survived into yet another day. I’m still finding things to write about, and as long as I continue to need a valet, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

This post is belated because one of the hazards of life in the big city is the noise, and over the last few weeks, indeed the whole darn year, the racket in my neighbourhood has been excruciating, and I have found it very hard to write and I’ve not discussed every topic I’ve hoped to cover recently.

Therefore for this blog’s birthday, I’ll try to catch up and cover as much as I can, and even toss in a quick Aurebesh translation as well.

Darth Nul

The story of Darth Nul has been percolating mostly in the background of Legacy of the Sith, but it finally seems to be moving on to SWTOR’s main stage, hopefully as soon as this winter’s story update.

The story of Nul revisits a concept from SWTOR’s original class stories, “The Children of the Emperor.” In short, the Children are the result of a secret program designed to condition or brainwash Jedi and Sith often unknowingly under the influence if not the direct control of the Sith Emperor himself. Both the Jedi Knight and Consular played key roles in exposing and dealing with the Children in their initial Origin Stories. The concept of “Children of the Emperor”, however, begs the question: If Vitiate was the father, who was their mother?

That’s where Darth Nul comes in. Players have learned that it was Nul who developed many of the techniques used by Vitiate to create his “Children.” The source of this discovery was Darth Malgus who had access of many of Vitiate’s secrets during his short time as the False Emperor, and once he was freed from the current Sith Emperor’s control, Malgus started tracking down relics related to uncovering the origins of Darth Nul.

Over the course of the last year or so of updates, we have discovered that Nul was once a Jedi named Reniah whose theories were considered radical by the Jedi Council; after connecting with Vitiate through the Force, she was subjugated and turned to the Dark Side. Like Revan, Nul started as a Jedi but later became a Sith. Unlike Revan, however, it seems she was not given a chance at redemption, but her final fate remains tantalizingly unknown, All we can say for certain is that Darth Malgus seems to believe she is the key in transcending both the Jedi and the Sith in a way Revan never accomplished.

As a side note, it’s worth considering Darth Malgus’ role in all of this. Clearly he has set things in motion, but it’s fair to wonder how much control he has over events now, especially from his current position of confinement on the Fleet. I don’t believe he is the mastermind behind the recent actions of Heta Kol or Sahar or Ri’kan. Rather I imagine, Malgus might be more like a Star Wars version of Pandora who has ripped open a box of curses and wants only to see the disorder its contents creates. That said, I don’t think his part in the story is over.

And since I’m digressing, I might as well briefly touch on the theory floating around that Darth Nul might be Lana Beniko, whether she knows it or not. How much do we really know about Lana, anyway? I suppose it could be possible, but such a shocking reveal feels too far out of left field to really land successfully. Nul is known to be an inventor, and Lana hasn’t shown any particular affinity towards technology, and I have a hard time believing that Valkorion would not have noticed or remarked upon Nul’s presence so close to the Outlander during the Fallen Empire story. That said, could Nul have Children of her own without anyone knowing it? Sure, why not? And could Lana be one of them? Maybe. She does feel like a likely candidate if such a thing should come to pass. Time will tell!

Old Wounds

SWTOR’s most recent story update Old Wounds continues the investigation of Nul’s history, but as with Showdown on Ruhnuk, the focus is less on our character, the Alliance Commander, than other characters involved in the past several years of story. It starts with a confrontation between Darth Rivix and Tau Adair. Tau is fun when she gets to be a stubborn bad-ass, and Rivix being simultaneously treacherous and smooth is a delight. It’s worth pointing out that while each of our characters’ play through of the story remain mutually exclusive, in this case watching both the Republic and Imperial versions of the opening encounter rewards players with a fuller picture of Rivix and Tau’s duel.

The story also takes time to focus on Sana Rae, the Voss mystic who has been guiding our Alliance’s Force Enclave since its earliest days, Arcann and Torian Cadera. I want to focus on Arcann here, but I am always pleased when SWTOR devotes space to characters that may or may not have survived in everyone’s story. It’s usually (but not always) the case that when the player opts to save or dispatch a recurring character, they are neither seen nor heard from again even if player spared the character in question. When it comes to companions, I know there are many, many mouths to feed, so it’s nice that players who have connected with Torian and Arcann can continue those relationships in the game even if only occasionally.

My main character for playing story content is my Consular, and she spared Arcann out of a sense of mercy. I do not run Heroics and Dailies with him as an active companion or send him on crew skill or crafting missions. For the most part, I have always considered him to be under house arrest on Odessan, under Sana Rae’s supervision. The interlude with Arcann during Old Wounds was the first time I actually felt sympathy for him since Fallen Empire and believed that he truly is seeking redemption. He has a long way to go, and still needs to take responsibility for his war crimes, but I do think he is on the path.

When the player does come to the forefront during Old Wounds, it is one brand new area on Voss, and it’s in a way that is somewhat unusual in the main story, and possibly not to every players’ taste. If there is one theme that SWTOR has been returning to again and again since the end of the Fallen Empire saga, it has been an exploration of the harmful effects of war on those who fight it. Tau is haunted by the battles she’s fought. Malgus rages against the endless conflict between the Jedi and the Sith, and Shae is barely keeping it together while she attempts to prevent her Mandalorians from splintering into yet another civil war. Likewise, the story of Voss is about both the physical reconstruction of the planet after its bombardment by the Eternal Empire, but also the strain on its people, the Gormak and the Voss, as they attempt to reconcile after generations of conflict and accept their shared heritage.

Old Wounds puts our characters in the middle of that conflict. Are these galaxy-shattering events meant to shake the pillars of creation? No, of course not. But I’ve always found the story of Voss to be fascinating. The Voss are a fundamentalist culture struggling to reconcile things they’d been taught which justified war with the Gormak with the actual fact of the matter that they are the same people as the Gormak. The Gormak had gotten so used to hating and fighting the Voss that they also never learned how to act in peace. These are knots as thorny to untangle in the Star Wars universe as they are in ours. But as the saying goes, all politics are local, and the Alliance Commander finds themselves in a position where they can guide both parties towards reconciliation or back to conflict.

The Interpreter’s Retreat area on Voss is a daily area unlike the others in SWTOR. There is no reputation track, no weekly quests, just optional quests and achievements for players to pursue. If you feel that cooking lunch for strangers, mopping floors and taking out the trash is beneath your Dark Lord of the Sith or Battlemaster of the Jedi Order, I get it. Once you complete the main story, you can choose never to step foot there again and not really miss out on much.

But I had fun. The quests are fairly easy, and unlike the Ruhnuk dailies, navigating the zone as a non-stealth using character isn’t bad. At the very least the mob density is much less, and you won’t ever have to slog your way through corridor after corridor choked with elite enemies. For achievement and decoration hunters, there is plenty to do in the Retreat as well.

I have been enjoying the different style of storytelling we’ve seen in Legacy of the Sith. Since the end of the Fallen Empire saga, the pace has been a bit slower and the threats more existential than galaxy threatening. We are now seeing scattered story threads begin to be woven together, and I do hope it is time that things start coming to a head. The next story update is scheduled to arrive in just a couple of months, and instead of sifting through more clues, I’d like to see our characters begin taking direct action so that the story can build to a climax.

Ri’Kan Can Wait

I do want to discuss some of the elements of the story of the siblings Sahar and Ri’kan, but I intend to do so in comparison with some of themes of the recently completed Ahsoka show on Disney+. Because I want to show solidarity with and support for the Screen Actors Guild’s ongoing strike against AMPTP which includes Disney, I have chosen to refrain from all “content creation” for media produced by companies targeted by the strike.

I know my reach and influence is meager, but let me unequivocally state that those who create and tell the stories we love should absolutely be treated and compensated better by the corporations who would rather pay executives exorbitant bonuses than their employees a living wage. The Writer’s Guild recently successfully concluded their strike against the AMPTP, and I hope SAG does as well.

And, yes, my stance will apply to video games, should it come to that.

So for now, let’s leave it off here. I want to thank each and everyone who has visited this site over the years, and I hope to see you on the adventures to come!

 

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Filed under Aurebesh to English, Legacy of the Sith

My Plastic Pal Who’s Fun To Be With

Within Star Wars lore, SWTOR is something of an outlier. It seems to exist within a liminal space between Legends and Canon, based on the lore of the former but still influencing the latter. Mostly, however, SWTOR has been off in it’s own corner of the Star Wars universe doing it’s own thing, and speaking only for myself, I kind of like it that way. But that also means that SWTOR rarely if ever crosses over into other aspects of Star Wars fandom that I enjoy, but when it does, it’s a special event. A few years ago I wrote about how I still enjoy collecting Star Wars action figures and that remains true. Star Wars figures can be found in many scales and styles, but my focus is mostly on Hasbro’s “Black Series” line which features characters in the 1/12th scale, whose figures are roughly 6 inches tall. This week, the first character in the Black Series specifically inspired by SWTOR arrived on my doorstep: Darth Malgus.

And, boy howdy, is he terrific. Hasbro’s Black Series line is nearly as old as SWTOR, and without going into nerdy detail, Hasbro has been refining and updating the design of their figures, and all of the best hallmarks of the modern Black Series are on display here. Malgus is an entirely new sculpt with a good range of articulation; his joins are pinless, minimal and mostly unobtrusive, which means  I am able to pose him dynamically enough that he looks cool standing on my desk, and I can almost believe he jumped right out of the game!

In addition, Hasbro is now able to digitally apply paint to their figures allowing for a remarkable level of detail on Malgus’s scarred face. This extends under his breath mask which can be removed if you are willing to yank the head off its peg. Malgus is also one of the biggest, broadest Black Series figures, taller even than Darth Vader, and he towers over Revan, his fellow Darth from the Old Republic era.

The question of whether this Darth Malgus action figure is a toy or an “adult collectible” is a fair one to ask. Hasbro, I’m certain, would like to have it both ways. While I wish these figures came with a few more accessories (every Jedi and Sith should include swappable Force wielding hands, for example) and a little extra punch of paint details in the costumes, I still feel like the Black Series figures I get are worth the price, even Malgus who is a few extra bucks more than a standard figure. When it comes right down to it, similar, actual “adult collectibles” cost anywhere between four and ten times as much as a standard Black Series release; so I can’t blame Hasbro for cutting corners here and there.

I may be wrong, but I think this Black Series Darth Malgus might be the first all new bit of SWTOR merchandise we’ve seen in years. And while I know it’s not up to Broadsword, I do hope this is only the beginning. At the very least, Hasbro can’t just leave it here. If they’re gonna do Malgus, they have to do Satele Shan so we can recreate their duel on Alderaan. Hasbro recently re-released the Republic Trooper and Shae Vizla figures from the “Vintage Collection” line of 3 ¾ inch figures, and you can’t tell me that they wouldn’t also look great in the 6 inch scale next to Malgus.

To do these characters justice in plastic form, all of the figures would require original sculpts from head to toe, so whether Hasbro is able to keep producing figures based on SWTOR may depend on how well Malgus sells. As I write this, Malgus is still available in the United States from Hasbro, Entertainment Earth and Big Bad Toy Store. It’s not for me to tell you how to spend your money. As I said in my original post, these “toys” are not cheap and when deciding whether I want to get one, I have two criteria: I have to like the character, and I have to like the figure they made of it. Sometimes I’ll fudge one of those, but Malgus easily checks off both boxes, and seeing him on my shelf makes me smile.

 

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Filed under General Star Wars, General SWTOR

What One Wears Oneself: The End of TOR Fashion

Two weeks ago, Exile, who had been maintaining the MMO Fashion website which was home to TOR-Fashion and TOR-Decorating, announced that she was returning to school and could no longer keep those sites active. I’m sad to see the sites go. Thanks to Exile’s hard work, both were regular resources of mine for many years. MMO Fashion played an important role in helping players answer the question of “Oooh! Where did that outfit/mount/weapon/pet/decoration come from and can I get it myself?” Exile documented thousands upon thousands of SWTOR‘s cosmetics from every corner of the game.

People joke about SWTOR’s true endgame being “Space Barbie,” but I think it is true for any game in which players can customize their avatar’s appearance. Casual or hardcore, raider, PVPer or solo story player, I’ve never met anyone in SWTOR or WOW or any other game who did not care what their character looks like.

For better or worse, it’s fallen on the fans to catalogue significant chunks of this information because SWTOR itself doesn’t make it easy or in some cases possible to find it. MMO’s require something that Youtube essayist Dan Olson calls “paratext”: detailed information about playing the game: theorycrafting, quest guides, history, lore analysis, and, of course, fashion advice. This information comes not from the game itself, but from players who are willing and able to do the research and have the means to share what they’ve learned with the game’s community. Could a new player jump into SWTOR and successfully play it without consulting an outside guide? Sure, but they’d miss out on so many fun, weird and overlooked adventuress and rewards. Moreover transitioning to the game’s more difficult PVE or PVP content would be all but impossible without a helping hand or two.

As useful as Exile’s site was, it’s important to remember that hobbies and interests change for all of us. Fan sites of any size have some upkeep associated with them, and if they become unsustainable, it makes perfect sense to let them go. When any content creator decides to move on from the game, it’s not on them to maintain their content, even if they could keep it going for free. SWTOR‘s fan community does include a vibrant list of creators for this type of content; indeed Illeva founded Swtorfashion.com with a similar goal to allow fans to share their favorite outfits.

In addition, Swtorista was able to take on the herculean task of rescuing Tor fashion and decorating’s content, and I’m glad to know it will not be lost. SWTOR has been around long enough and gone through so many changes that fan created paratext functions as a sort of institutional memory of the game’s evolution throughout the years. Some of this information has been lost to time. I recall getting tips from Torhead and DarthHater way back when, but whatever guides were hosted there are long gone. Even Dulfy, whose site was the primary source of SWTOR information for years is no more.

It certainly is to SWTOR’s benefit that fan site creators, podcasters and streamers exist to help players of all kinds find information about the game, whether it’s putting together the right outfit or maximizing their class’s performance. Moreover, I think preserving SWTOR’s history is important, and it’s fallen on the fans to do much of it.  I have fond memories of the original Rakghoul and Chevin events, but did not think to preserve either in my screenshots or record the cut scenes. If not for Shintar, I’m not sure I would even know where to tell people to go to find out what those one time events were like!

SWTOR is not the biggest MMO, and even though I know few people who like the term “content creator,” it does have a dedicated community of fans who really do want to show you why they love the game and how you might get the most out of your experience. Don’t take ‘em for granted!

Finally, I’d like to admit the first draft of this post was originally intended to be a comment on Shintar’s post on this topic for her blog Going Commando which you should definitely check out! Going Commando is SWTOR‘s longest running and snappiest blog, and definitely inspired me to start this project myself.

Update!

Shortly after this post went live, Swtorista posted an article about her efforts to preserve the content of TOR-Fashion and TOR-Decorating.

What happened to TOR Fashion & TOR Decorating?

In addition, it contains a link to a fundraiser to benefit Exile and thank her for hard work over the years. If you can spare a buck or two, consider sending it Exile’s way!

 

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Filed under General SWTOR

Cloud City

This week, Star Wars The Old Republic officially began moving forward with its plans to migrate its servers to Amazon Web Service’s cloud based servers. As I write this, the French Leviathan server has already made the move, and so far things seem to be off to a good start.

As with many other of SWTOR’s structural changes over the last couple of years, this might be something that many people may not even notice, but in the long run should result in more stable gameplay for players and less need for back-end support from the developers. Folks who’ve been playing on Star Forge this past year know very well that the server has been prone to outages, and I am looking forward to the day that the poor, tired Star Forge Hamster earns its wings up in the cloud after keeping the old server’s wheel spinning for so long!

Cloud based servers open all sorts of possibilities for the game. For now Broadsword’s plans are vague beyond migrating the current servers, but I do hope the Shae Vizla Asia-Pacific server that we tested last spring becomes a reality for everyone down under who currently has no good option for a responsive server to call home.

Beyond that, it’s fun to speculate. Could we see event servers or seasonal servers or more localized North American or European servers? I wonder if cross-server grouping might even be possible one day. I don’t know, but it’s promising to think that maybe some of this could be in SWTOR’s hopefully not too distant future.

SWTOR Hardcore Challenge?

As I said, I hope that the Shae Vizla server becomes a permanent fixture for my friends on the opposite side of the world. While the possibility of a completely fresh server with an untainted economy is intriguing, I also trust that free transfers to the new server should be open to all players who would want to make a new home there.

However, for folks like myself who would only be visiting, a fresh start offers an intriguing possibility, one in particular inspired by a popular community driven game mode in World of Warcraft Classic: the Hardcore Challenge.

There are two elements to the challenge, but the main one is simply to advance your character to maximum level without dying. If your character dies at any point on their journey, you are expected to delete that character and try again.

As a former long-time WOW player, I found the initial World of Warcraft Classic experience a curious one. Even though Blizzard did a very good job recreating the gameplay of the original game, it rather missed the mark when it came to recreating the feeling of playing WOW in its earliest days. The main issue is that there are no mysteries in World of Warcraft Classic. The question of which classes are best at which roles has long since been worked out. Players can easily target and acquire their best-in-slot gear. And the strategies for efficiently defeating each and every encounter in the game have been known for years if not decades.

I started playing WOW in its first year, and can assure you that none of those things were known to me. I learned my class by gut instinct and only had a vague notion of what the various stats on my gear did. As for dungeons and raids, I had no idea what to expect from my first visits to both the Deadmines as a pup and to Molten Core as a fresh level 60 Priest. This is something I suspect few if any players of today’s iteration of WOW Classic experience.

Despite being a community-driven initiative, the Hardcore WOW Challenge has been a considerable success to the point that Blizzard will soon be rolling out official Hardcore servers. I think a big part of the appeal of the mode is that the challenge comes closer to replicating the feeling of leveling back in WOW’s golden age. With the threat of death hanging over players’ heads, they have to be more circumspect in how they play when a reckless encounter with Hogger or a South Shore Guard can send them back to the character creation screen.

The second element of the challenge is that players are expected to play using a set of restrictions called SSF: “Solo-Self-Found”. That is to say that the only weapons and armor and accessories they can use are those they’ve looted, crafted or earned as quest rewards. Use of the auction house, the mailbox and trading with other players are forbidden. Without being able to feed a fresh character unlimited gold, bags and high quality equipment, Hardcore players need to be careful when forced to make do with the loot they find for themselves along the way, just like I did back in 2004.

This spring I started wondering if a ”SWTOR Hardcore Challenge” might be viable on a fresh server should one come along, and what sort of rules it should entail. First we must acknowledge that leveling in SWTOR is significantly easier than leveling in World of Warcraft Classic. The goal as I see it, however, is less about making leveling as difficult as possible than it is to try to approximate the pace and experience that SWTOR players had back in 2011.

When I mentioned this notion to Kal from Today in TOR, they suggested banning the use of Companions, but I feel like Companions are so integral to SWTOR’s gameplay and story that denying them to players is too much to ask. Likewise, outlawing the use of Sprint until level 14 and Speeder Piloting until level 25 seems outright cruel. Those are two aspects of the vanilla SWTOR experience best left in the past.

That said, I think veteran players might find some unexpected satisfaction in leveling a character without endless credits and character, legacy and guild perks.

Here is the rule set I propose for a hypothetical “SWTOR Hardcore Challenge”:

  • No grouping. I know this makes the challenge less social, but an extra player and their companion trivializes most if not all leveling content.
  • Players may not use the GTN. They may not trade with other players (or their own alts) in person or through the mail or Guild or Legacy storage. Use of Legacy gear is forbidden. Leave that Victorious Pioneer armor in your Legacy bank!
  • The gear vendors on Fleet and on the leveling planets are off-limits. Cheap and plentiful mods were simply not available back in 2011.
  • XP Boosts awarded from the story may be used, however boosts from daily log-in rewards are off-limits. My initial impulse was to ban all boosts, but it seems unfair to prevent players from using fairly earned quest rewards.
  • Conquest rewards may be used. Conquest is a later addition to SWTOR, but it feels too ingrained into today’s gameplay to ban.
  • Each planetary Heroic and Story-based Flashpoint may only be completed ONCE and ONLY while your character is within the suggested level range for the planet or that part of the story. Once you out-level the planet, you CANNOT go back and do its Heroics.
  • Today the GSI Droid super-companion is an expected part of most Story Flashpoints, but I would award an extra gold star to players who decline to summon the “Jesus Droid” in Story Flashpoints.
  • Crafted gear is allowed. You may even drop and level new Crew Skills if you want to craft different types of gear. All crafting materials must be found by the character or generated from their own crew skill missions. The use of Jawa Junk is forbidden.
  • Claiming cosmetic gear, mounts and pets from Collections is allowed. I’m not a monster. Absolutely take advantage of the Outfit Designer and ride your favorite speeder. However, because they have stats, Color Crystals cannot be claimed.

This isn’t really so much a code as a set of guidelines for a perhaps more old school style of leveling, and the degree to which anyone might want to engage with these rules is entirely voluntary. I’m also not suggesting that Broadsword make official Hardcore servers. I believe WOW’s Hardcore challenge has worked best as a community event for players, and it doesn’t require Developer intervention.

What do you think? If SWTOR gets a new server, would you transfer your legacy there or would you be interested in a fresh start? Are your lenses rose-tinted enough that you might want to try leveling in a manner closer to SWTOR’s old days or do you just want to race to the level cap?

 

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Filed under General SWTOR, Legacy of the Sith

A Vision Softly Creeping: Five Reasons You Should Visit the Shrine of Silence

Star Wars: The Old Republic‘s Game Update 7.3 comes with the latest chapter in Legacy of the Sith‘s story and a new questing area, but today I want to focus on its other major new addition: the Shrine of Silence flashpoint.

My very short take is that I really, really like it. Indeed, I think Shrine of Silence is one of SWTOR’s very best flashpoints, and I am certain players of all skill levels will have fun exploring it. It’s been a while since I’ve done a Dumb Top Five List, but it strikes me as a good format for my review of the games latest flashpoint.

Its Setting and Pace

SWTOR’s flashpoints, especially in the last few years, have been amazing settings to explore. Copero is certainly one of the most picturesque worlds in all of the game’s galaxy and Elom is filled to overflowing with breathtaking and sublime vistas. But as flashpoints, Traitor Among the Chiss is choked with 20 minutes of annoying trash before groups even reach the first boss. The Ruins of Nul is marred by a button puzzle that requires backtracking and a dangerous cliffside run that isn’t so much an exciting race against time as a slog through trash mobs. And let’s leave out Nul’s infamous final boss fight that launched with a floor bug that rendered the encounter impossible to complete for many players.

None of that is a problem in the Shrine of Silence. Players are dropped into a spooky Temple of Doom-style setting, and the flashpoint’s layout smoothly moves players through its locations. The Shrine’s secret chambers and remarkably hazardous broken walkways certainly recalls parts of The Nathema Conspiracy and the Hive of the Mountain Queen, but it is made distinct by a haunted atmosphere that enhances the overall experience. In the Shrine, players will discover ties to Voss lore and mysticism going back to SWTOR‘s first visit to the world in the game’s earliest days.

I’ve run with lots of friends lately and there is always one or two times during everyone’s first visit when they stop to take in the scenery and say “Oh, wow!”

It’s Fun

The Shrine of Silence includes three main bosses, one bonus and two mini-boss encounters, and each has their own unique flavor. The mechanics of the fight are telegraphed clearly, and if you can get out of the red circles and cones and know that some things can be interrupted, you can figure out the fights. In addition there is simple problem solving needed to unlock the shrine’s secrets. None of this requires outside guides, and I’d be shocked if most players can’t overcome these obstacles on their own. The biggest indication to me that I enjoy visiting the Shrine is that I am still, weeks after release, willing to run it on any character whether they be melee or ranged or stealth-capable or not.

Like most of SWTOR‘s recent flashpoints, Shrine of Silence has mobs that can detect or decloak stealthed characters. I don’t believe we’ll ever again see a flashpoint as ninja friendly as Red Reaper, and that’s fine. I think it is perfectly reasonable that trash can and should be used to set the pace in a flashpoint. That said, I agree with the criticisms that many of the other recent story driven flashpoint have so much trash that the overall experience feels sluggish. But that’s not the case in Shrine. The non-boss mobs are not dangerous or difficult, and players should be able to leap from pack to pack at a smooth and steady pace as they advance through the flashpoint.

Finally, players like me who love extra bosses won’t have to go out of their way to complete the flashpoint’s bonus encounters, but they are also easily skipped by groups who hate fun and just want to get to the end.

Its Rewards

Players will of course earn the usual flashpoint gear and currencies in the Shrine of Silence, but the flashpoint also is sprinkled with additional rewards for decorators, fashion mavens and achievement hunters. All of this serves as incentives for players to make repeated visits to the Shrine. Two different decorations can drop from trash mobs, and each boss can drop boxes that contain an entire legacy armor set inspired by the aesthetic of the Voss characters we’ve met throughout the game’s history. These armor sets aren’t for everyone but there are some neat pieces to be found here, and looting them from the flashpoint’s bosses is a much cheaper option than purchasing them piecemeal from the vendor in the Interpreter’s Retreat.

The achievements associated with the Shrine include stronghold trophies (which I’m very glad to see again after their absence from KotET), but there are also achievements which unlock additional decorations on the vendors in the Retreat. Finally there is a secret achievement for truly dedicated players looking to rock the “Untouchable” legacy title.

I’m very happy to see rewards for players who journey into the flashpoint whether they are a freshly minted level 80 character or a fully decked out veteran. That said, although it is practice now for decorations based on flashpoint bosses to be holographic trophies, I have to say that I’d really prefer to put an actual giant plant monster in my stronghold and not a hologram of one.

It’s Easy

If you are in the queue for random Veteran Mode Flashpoints and Shrine of Silence pops, you’ll be fine. The mechanics are easy to understand and explain. “Don’t stand in red stuff and avoid lightning” pretty much covers it all. If you want to skip the bonus bosses, you’ll fly through. Even if your group is wearing potato gear, healing stations should keep everyone topped off long enough to win.

No, you won’t blaze through Shrine as fast as you might through Hammer Station, but I firmly believe Hammer Station should not be the benchmark for SWTOR’s flashpoints. Instead, it feels on par with other classic flashpoints such as Battle for Ilum, False Emperor and the Czerka flashpoints, and to me that feels like the sweet spot.

It’s Hard

However, if you queue for a Master Mode flashpoint and Shrine pops, get ready for a fight! I expect most groups in 330+ gear should have few issues with the first two bosses. However, the final boss, the Curse, is a genuine step up in difficulty. I’m wearing augmented 336 gear and both dpsing and healing this encounter was tricky. I’ve only done this fight with friends, and I truly enjoyed the challenge but random groups will definitely have their work cut out for them.

The fight feels on par with the original versions of the Gemini/Zildrog encounters at the end of the Nathema Conspiracy flashpoint, which is to say that everyone in the group will need to be able to think and act on their feet to defeat the boss. Shrine of Silence has two other extremely accessibly modes, so I don’t mind that the developers added some extra challenge on its highest difficulty.

In addition each boss has achievements associated with perfect execution or by choosing to add extra difficulty to the fight. “Make Your Own Hard Mode” mechanics are something we’ve only begun to see recently in SWTOR’s operations, but they are a neat addition for players looking to spice up their flashpoint run.

Not everyone enjoys dropping into a flashpoint with a boss that might take a few tries, especially if the Group Finder puts you there, but a dedicated and persistent team may very well enjoy rising to the challenge.

I’ve long considered Voss one of my favorite planets in SWTOR, and the Shrine of Silence is a most worthy addition to the world’s rich body of lore, so if you’ve got a level 80 character and are looking for something fun to do by yourself or with friends, I definitely recommend a visit!

 

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Filed under Dumb Top Five, General SWTOR, Legacy of the Sith

Swords Drawn

I just want to pop in with a very quick post to pass on congratulations to the winners of my recent mount raffle. I had so many entries that I added a few extra prizes to the pool. Bladebreake, Nezzir, Myst Draconis and Kaliyva, enjoy your sparkly Opal Vulptilla mounts! Zingerlo, Katie Cat, Meret-isesi and Celyddon have fun blasting off in your brand new Mandalorian Heavy Jetpacks! Check the mail of those characters for your codes!

Yesterday’s big news, however, was the announcement that SWTOR‘s development will indeed be moving from Bioware to Broadsword Online. Now that the news is official and the deal seems to be inked, the “broad” strokes of SWTOR‘s future are starting to appear. As far as I can tell, much if not most of SWTOR‘s core development, design and community team will be shifting over to Broadsword. If the intention is to transition SWTOR into maintenance mode, I strongly doubt we’d see so many people making the move. Moreover, you don’t have to read too deeply in between the lines of these folks’ social media announcements to see that the SWTOR team seems quite happy with this development.

If they are encouraged, then I’m encouraged! Other MMO’s have prospered after finding new homes, and SWTOR will still have backend support from EA and Lucasfilm Games. I’m certain Broadsword’s first objective is that the transition be essentially unnoticed by players who should be able to log on, subscribe and make Cartel Market purchases exactly as they have been doing for years already.

Beyond that, SWTOR‘s content for the rest of the year is already in development, and players may not see and feel the effects of this deal until next year. With a strong core at the helm, and a supportive studio to call home, I’m hopeful SWTOR will thrive in the years to come!

 

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Looking For Love in Alderaan Places

This week let’s do something a little bit different. Last Thursday Swtorista, with the help of her audience, devoted her stream to a discussion of and tier list ranking of the major romances of Star Wars: The Old Republic. These romances can evoke very strong and divisive opinions, and for many people are an important, if not the most important, relationship our characters have in the game.

If you’ve spent any time in the SWTOR community you can probably guess which companion romances rated the highest: the sassy yet approachable girls-next-door that populate most of the original class stories, and Lana and Theron.

I’m not here to criticize anyone’s story choices or dismiss any of these characters as manic pixie dreamgirls. Because I get it. I fell for Kira immediately; Vette is hilarious, and Mako is absolutely not just a pretty sidekick, buster. As far as Lana and Theron go, It’s a credit to SWTOR’s writers that they were able to introduce two strong romantic interests after the class stories that stuck with many players. Certainly at this point, our characters have spent much more time with them than our original companions

I do, however, want to examine two of the romances that crash-landed at the bottom into the F tier and explore why they are so hated, but also give them the love that many players seemingly refuse to: Doc and Corso.

SWTOR’s most successful romances are with the companions we as players get to spend the most time with before even starting the romance. Felix Iresso is a good example of a love interest introduced too late in the story to really stick the landing. He shows up two-thirds of the way through the Consular class story, and with so little time left, he starts macking on the Consular for flirts almost immediately after joining the crew. In my own play through, I quickly friend-zoned him, but it’s a shame because, once I got to know Felix, I discovered he’s a real mensch, and maybe if they’d met earlier, my Consular might’ve given him a chance.

But Corso and even Doc are introduced early on, but their romance arcs are rarely rated highly. I think there are several reasons for this. Some of them are based on their characters, some comes from gameplay issues and others are based on how players might react to the characters.

First off, Doc and Corso can be a bit much to take. Doc is basically the SWTOR equivalent of Schmidt from New Girl, and Corso was expressly envisioned as an annoying little brother. They are not cool, and it makes sense that everyone should want their character’s love interest to be cool. It’s also fair to say that their initial attempts to woo our characters don’t get off to a good start. Corso gets drunk and makes a god-awful pass at the Smuggler. As for Doc, he is definitely a guy whose guiding philosophy is “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

For the majority of companion romances (and in particular to the most highly rated ones), it is the player who initiates the flirting. I’m not a psychologist, but there might be something to the notion that some players might react uncomfortably to their avatar being hit on by an aggressive non-player character, whether it is male like Doc or even female like Kaliyo. I don’t believe this reaction is wrong. I can see how one person might feel like having to watch their character receive unwanted attention might hit too close to home or another feel like their character should not be the passive one in the game’s most significant relationship.

One of my favorite SWTOR love stories is with Aric Jorgan. He does not jump into it after the first flirt, but as his relationship with the female Trooper matures, his reaction changes and he and the Trooper end up in a sweet love story together. That is not how things play out with Corso and Doc. Regardless of our characters’ initial response to their come-ons, Corso and Doc keep trying. Someone who does not take no for an answer is at best a pest and oftentimes much worse. I imagine the writers and developers wanted to give players plenty of opportunities to jump into the companion romances so that they wouldn’t miss out, but fending off repeated overtures from characters you’re not interested in can feel less like banter than harassment.

I do understand the negative reactions to Doc and Corso. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to want to shove them out the airlock, but I also want to defend them and suggest that it’s worth giving one or both of them a shot. In each case, I suggest that you need to commit to the romance early on, and then you might discover they are, in fact, diamonds in the rough. And if it doesn’t work out, always remember that Lana and Theron will be waiting for you in Shadows of Revan.

Justice for Doc

Doc definitely has, as the kids say these days, “Main Character Syndrome”, and that’s apparent from the moment he is introduced in the Jedi Knight’s story. I take that as a sign that he’s a bit of a buffoon and a comic relief character. This is further reinforced by the fact that Kira starts dunking on him the moment they meet, and even the Jedi Knight’s dialogue options very often allow them to get in on the action too.

If you are a member of Generation X like me, you may very well recognize one big inspiration for Doc: the actor Bruce Campbell who is best known for his roles in the Evil Dead movies and the TV shows Xena: Warrior Princess and Burn Notice. I am certain that it is no coincidence that Doc rocks the exact same ‘stache and soul patch as Campbell’s character Autoclytus on Xena. Bruce Campbell specializes in playing comedic characters who aren’t as clever, charming and skilled as they think they are, and that sounds almost exactly like Doc. Like Ash and Autoclytus and Sam Axe, the humor of interactions with Doc comes in realizing that he is all talk and no game and then calling him out for his douche-baggery. Players who don’t get the connection to Campbell may very well have a different impression of Doc, but I think the game indicates pretty clearly that he isn’t to be taken too seriously especially when you start meeting his former girlfriends exactly none of whom come out of the relationship at all impressed with him.

But Doc’s heart is in the right place. He is out in the front lines of the war helping people when he could have a cushy practice on a core world. He may complain about it, but when push comes to shove, time and time again he does do the right thing.

All that said, the thing I find most amusing about Doc is that if he were a player character in SWTOR, he’d be a Smuggler. And not just a Smuggler, he’d be a Smuggler whose player mashes the [Flirt] button EVERY SINGLE TIME it lights up, which seems to describe how many, many people play their Smugglers. So if you find Doc to be a sexist and annoying pig, take a moment to pity poor Risha who has to deal with the same thing across the multiverse of SWTOR’s Smuggler storylines. #JusticeforRisha.

The Kind of Guy You Can Trust

Corso’s your buddy. Corso’s your pal. Corso will hold your beer while you go do something stupid. Corso will help you move even if the elevator in your building is busted. Corso will pick you up at the airport no matter how late your flight gets in. Corso laughs at your jokes, even the ones he’s heard before. Corso’s a righteous dude.

And, yes, Corso Riggs is a nerd and a dope who has absolutely no idea how to talk to women. I can relate. It is possible that, in my life, I may have, on an occasion or two, been less than smooth in my interactions with the opposite sex. If I can figure it out (kinda), I gotta believe that there is hope for Corso too.

Like a lot of you, I didn’t think much of Corso at first, but as his romance with the Smuggler played out, I discovered to my surprise that he grew on me. Part of the fun of it was calling out his old fashioned attitudes and then as things developed eventually seeing that he really is a big, dumb sweetheart. But still a nerd and a dope. Some things you just can’t change.

Tell Me What You Think and Win a Prize!

But I want to hear from you! Who is your favorite SWTOR character to smooch? Leave a comment below to enter a raffle I am hosting for a special in-game mount for your characters: your choice of an Opal Vulptilla or a brand new Mandalorian Heavy Jet Pack mount that debuted with patch 7.3!

To enter, leave a comment below with the following information:

  • Your character name (be mindful of spaces and special symbols!)
  • Your faction
  • Your server
  • Your favorite SWTOR romance
  • Which mount you hope to win: Jetpack or Opal Vulptilla

That’s it! For every 10 entries, I will draw one winner up to a maximum of 3 winners.

I will accept entries for two weeks from this posting and will randomly select winners on June 27, 2023 at 1 PM ET.

If you prefer not to comment publicly, I also accept entries via email at twia@generic-hero.com or through Twitter.

There are no country or server restrictions on any of the prizes that will be awarded.

This giveaway is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with LucasFilm Ltd, BioWare or Electronic Arts Inc.

We’re on the honor system here, so one entry per person, please.

Please only enter for yourself!

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

If you’re a new visitor, I hope you’ll take a look around. I’ve been translating SWTOR’s alien languages for a few years now and sharing commentary about the state of the game as I see it.

 

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To Make Baskets or Broadswords

Gentle reader, you know me, I tend to ruminate on things before speaking my mind. Yesterday, however, news broke  that EA is likely planning to move SWTOR a new development home at Broadsword Online, a third party studio with experience stewarding Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot. To say that I am having a wide range of emotions in response to this is an understatement. I have many questions, and I doubt that anyone outside of EA or Broadsword can fully answer them, so I will endeavor to not jump to conclusions.

I think, I hope, that I can speculate about the near future from what we know now about SWTOR. First and foremost, SWTOR is not dead. Keith Kanneg has confirmed that there is already content in the pipeline to at least last through the end of the year. Even beyond that, SWTOR is not going away.

SWTOR makes money. Star Wars is one of the most popular IPs in the world, and the bonanza of new Star Wars stories we’ve seen in the last few years attracts players to the game. It’s not a coincidence that we’ve seen so much Mandalorian content in the game recently. Fans want to play as Din Djarin and Bo Katan, and SWTOR does a good job scratching that itch.

As far as I understand SWTOR has been Bioware’s most successful title in the last decade, even if it doesn’t always seem like it’s been treated that way.

Was SWTOR the WOW killer? Of course not. Longtime players should know how it is by now. As SWTOR grew over the years it was in directed ways. SWTOR stopped charging extra for expansions after Shadows of Revan and made it easy for story focused players to dip into the game without needing to stay subscribed throughout an expansion’s peaks and valleys. If all you care about is PVE or PVP content, you are long since used to waiting through lulls for the thing you care about. I don’t think that was going to change under EA, and I don’t think it will change under Broadsword.

But SWTOR makes money. It doesn’t make the kind of money that makes EA jump up and take notice, but it has been a solid performer for Bioware for a very long time. And as long as Star Wars remains in the pop culture, there is no reason that can’t continue. Broadsword has every motivation to keep SWTOR a successful MMO.

Can they do it? I don’t know and I have no way of knowing. MMO-RPGs based on Star Trek, Lord of the Rings and Dungeons & Dragons have continued to grow after shifting to new studios. In SWTOR, story is king, so if Broadsword can produce the same quality of story updates we’ve seen from Bioware, then I think SWTOR will be fine. It’s no secret that Bioware has shifted resources around to shore up other games, and that has sometimes come at the expense of SWTOR’s development. At Broadsword, the game will become their biggest asset, and they’d be absolutely motivated to give it their full attention. And, sure, it would be great if they could squeeze in a new operation or flashpoint or PVP map every once in a while.

I do want to finish up with some thoughts about the human cost of all of this. Corporations love to restructure because it means they get to cut costs with layoffs. It breaks my heart that any of the good people who have worked their butts off to make SWTOR a success might be let go. They deserve better from EA, and it sucks that all I can do is thank them for their hard work.

I adore SWTOR because of the many, many talented developers, artists, actors, programmers, engineers and community team members who have brought the game to life. As a member of SWTOR’s content creator program, I have been very lucky indeed to have had opportunities to interact with and even meet some of the people who make this game. They have been without exception talented and dedicated people who want to make a game people will enjoy. More often than not, I strongly believe they have succeeded. That they have produced a game for nearly 12 years where I get to play a character at the center of an epic Star Wars story is an accomplishment worthy of celebration. I cannot think of another piece of Star Wars lore that comes close to the breadth and scope of what SWTOR has carved out for itself.

I hope the people who move over to Broadsword and those that stay with Bioware do very well, and that those who cannot find continued success elsewhere.

 

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