I have previously written about ways the Star Wars The Old Republic Developers could compromise on the Galactic Command Gearing System. I still prefer my ultimate solution of course. But it is clear that the SWTOR Developers will unlikely make any changes to the system at this stage. Here is my ultimate solution for those who need a refresher or who missed the post:
Ultimately, my ideal solution is to take the gearing component out of Galactic Command entirely and just leave it as a tool to queue and get bonuses. Keep it as a subscriber only feature. Leave gearing as it is now and then as subscribers queue for content through Galactic Command, they get bonus commendations/crystals as well as vanity items from ranking up through Command Rank. This way preferred players could continue to gear and queue for content the old way but not get the bonuses subscribers get in turn, adding incentive to subscribe!
I feel in light if SWTOR’s unwillingness to change Galactic Command (not surprising) that it was best to consider a solution that would theoretically be easy to implement within the confines of the existing game. So my idea is simple.
Add Purple Level lower tiered End-game gear to World Boss Loot Tables.
SWTOR with the Dark vs. Light component of Galactic Command is adding new World Bosses. What better way to incentivise people (and Guilds) to do these new bosses (and the old ones) then to have Raid/PvP gear drop from them? Fluff alone and the chance at getting more Command Points isn’t enough incentive, in my opinion. Yes, World bosses are level synced to the planet’s level but the ability to drop gear relevant to the players level already exists in the game (Heroics). Surely adding an endgame loot box or Command Crates for Level 70’s to World Bosses would be straight forward?
Admittedly, this idea was inspired by WildStar. In WildStar there are multiple avenues for getting geared enough to do Dungeons and Raids. One of those avenues is World Bosses which have a chance to drop a piece of entry level Raid gear for each individual who participates in the Boss kill. World Boss kills, in turn, are incentivised by a Contract system which provides additional rewards, including gear, for doing different types of content in the game. The Contracts available change each day and each Contract rewards you points. When you reach a tier (as you earn points) you can choose to get a piece of gear or special currency which can used in various ways.
The Galactic Command System, to some degree, is a poorly bastardised version of WildStar’s Contract System. The only difference is that in WildStar, Contracts are not the only way to get gear like Galactic Command will be in SWTOR. It is basically a ‘bonus’ way of getting gear that also offers additional rewards and incentive for people to play all types of content in the game.
The Galactic Command System in SWTOR was also designed to incentivise players to do all types of content the game has to offer while adding the convenience of getting to that content quickly and easily (something which WildStar lacks). However, I still feel SWTOR’s System is too heavily reliant on RNG and will feel more like a grind of chance than anything else. While every crate you get is guaranteed to give you a piece of gear, the revelation (on the Bad Feeling Podcast Dev Stream) that Command Crates will have a chance to drop blue and green gear, as well as the purple non-set bonus gear, only makes the unpredictable nature of this gearing system even worse.
I guess my over-arching point is, please don’t make Galactic Command the only way to get gear. A lottery system for end-game gearing is far too unpredictable in turn, making the process of gearing stressful rather than enjoyable. Having additional methods to get gear eases the burden of ‘the grind’ making enjoying a variety of game content more enjoyable. WildStar additionally has a ‘Daily area’, that has multiple World Bosses, that reward a currency that can be used to purchase entry level Raid gear.
So in WildStar, you have the certainty of being able to get the gear you need as well a chance to get slightly better gear from World Boss drops and the Contract system (PvP gearing is currency/commendation based like it formerly was in SWTOR). WildStar has the perfect balance of certainty and chance making the gearing process more bearable. If SWTOR could mimic WildStar’s system to some degree, or simply go back to the way gearing was with Galactic Command as a bonus, I feel the player base would find the Galactic Command System more agreeable if it wasn’t the only way to get gear.
My World Boss idea is not a complete solution. There still needs to be a guaranteed way of getting the gear you need, like what Warzone Commendations used to do and what WildStar’s ‘Daily area’ does. Earning the Commendations or Currency to be able to buy the piece of gear you want alleviates the stress and grind of gearing by giving you of getting the gear you need without RNG being a factor. But naturally, this would take more time and resources to implement.
In WildStar, I have the comfort of knowing that even if my RNG luck is bad, I can earn the currency to be able to buy the gear pieces I need to fill in the gaps. This makes the overall gearing process in WildStar far more enjoyable and much less of a grind.
That is the whole point, to make gearing an enjoyable experience. Ultimately, a grind for a currency that enables you to buy gear is far better than an RNG grind that does not guarantee you the gear you need. Grinding for a currency gives you the freedom to choose what gear you buy and only takes a set amount of time to get. RNG takes away player agency by forcing them to be beholden to chance and in turn, makes the gearing process more stressful. This takes enjoyment out of the game and in turn, makes the time investment unpredictable and unlikely worth the effort.
The World Boss idea, while also being beholden to RNG, would still overall give players a greater chance of getting gear, in turn, reducing the stress and grind. It is not a complete solution. We can only hope that with the advent of new 8 player + content next year (Operations) that the SWTOR Developers will be more open to making gearing more the way it used to be, at the very least, if not adding improved systems, without an RNG factor, whether inspired by WildStar or other games. The Galactic Command System, in its current form, is not suitable for endgame gearing and acts as a deterrent for more end-game oriented players to come back to the game even if SWTOR were to make more Operations.
I implore SWTOR to please, please do not make Galactic Command the only way to get gear. Bring Warzone Commendations back into the game. Add a non-RNG heavy component to PvE gearing. Please for the sake of your MMO name, do something!
Are you still unhappy with the new Galactic Command Gearing System? What are some good gearing systems from other MMO’s that could work in SWTOR?