As Pallais said on Twitter when the news broke: “The circle of loot in SWTOR is complete”.
Yes, the Star Wars The Old Republic Developers have finally gone full circle on their controversial and unpopular RNG gearing grind fest. Gearing will be returning to how it was before 5.0 with Command Crates remaining with what appear to be some decent improvements.
For all the details you can check out these links from the Developer Tracker here:
TLDR gear will now once again drop from every single Operations Boss in Game Update 5.2 and rates of gear drops from Command Crates are being improved.
While I acknowledge that the Galactic Command Gearing System should never have been implemented the way it was (I wrote a few criticisms of it pre 5.0*) and should have been ‘fixed’ much quicker, it is great to see the Developers finally respond to player feedback by returning loot to all Operations Bosses. Is it an admission that their RNG gearing experiment failed? Perhaps. Full admission of their mistake would be getting rid of the system entirely but we all know that’s never going to happen. The return to how things were with gearing (mostly) along with improvements to the ‘RNG’ of the Command Crates is definitely a step in the right direction.
What could they do next? Bring back a commendation/currency system (like the data crystals we had in 4.0) so that gear is directly purchasable through currency earned via PvE (eg. Flashpoints, Uprisings, Operations etc.). But, is it really necessary? Crafting is more meaningful than ever as a way to gear and then there are the RNG Crates themselves. But would it really hurt to have another means to get gear? Absolutely not! The more paths open to players for gearing the better! Would the Devs use Galactic Command (especially with 5.2 changes) as an excuse not to bring back a currency system for PvE? Probably.
While PvE gearing is going to be in a much better place, I still feel the rates of Unassembled Component drops for PvP could be improved. In my view, they should make Unassembled Components not only bind on Legacy but also make it so you can earn the Components from the under level 70 PvP Daily and Weekly at least or even from completing matches as well. I guess what I really want is to see PvP Gearing return to the way it was in 3.0 and 4.0. If the Devs can mimic that somehow (if not revert it back to that) then I’ll be happy.
I am hoping that if the Developers haven’t already that they consider bringing back Weekly Operation Passes (and Warzone Passes too) to the Cartel Market. Keep Galactic Command a subscriber only feature but allow those without a subscription to be able to do (and get gear through) Operations and PvP at least. Having more choice for players as to how they play the game is always a good thing!
I still can not fathom why someone thought an RNG Gearing system was a good thing for SWTOR (let alone thinking that it would be fun). It’s been a truly awful, punishing system. It is such a relief to know that we’ll be less dependent on it for gearing in 5.2.
These changes to Gearing are set to be implemented in Game Update 5.2 which will likely be going live in early April.
What do you think of the Gearing changes/reversals? Are you satisfied or do you think Bioware should do more to make gearing a better experience for everyone?
* How SWTOR could compromise on Galactic Command, Discussion on ways SWTOR could Compromise on Galactic Command Gearing with Comparisons to WildStar, The Grind of Chance – The Sacrilege of SWTOR