Quite a lot has happened in Star Wars The Old Republic this past week. Game Update 5.1 launched with its share of issues. But the biggest thing by far was the Group Content Announcement on ‘The Look Ahead Livestream’ this past Thursday (26th January).
Eric Musco, Charles Boyd and Ben Irving finally revealed what the players have been wanting for far too long, an Operation. But with a catch. They would only be releasing one boss at a time; the first of which would be coming in Game Update 5.2 – The War for Iokath set to launch late March/early April.
What do we know so far about this new Operation?
- It will be released in stages, one boss at a time and be a full 5 boss Operation by the end of the year.
- Each boss will initially release in Story and Veteran (Hard) Mode. When the next boss is released, the previous boss will release in Master (NIM) Mode.
- The Operation (bosses) will be 8 and 16 man mode.
- The first boss is giant droid called Tyth. The encounter is being designed by the same person who designed the Revan ToS boss fight.
I feel conflicted about the new Operation. It’s a shame we’re not getting the whole Operation at once. But realistically I would much rather get one boss released at a time than wait until the end of the year for a full Operation. If the mechanics and gameplay in the newer Veteran Uprisings are anything to go by, the new Operations bosses should prove to be very interesting! It is nice to finally have some new 8 player + group content to look forward too.
Game Update 5.2 The War for Iokath
Besides the Operation boss, there is quite a lot coming with Game Update 5.2:
- Master Mode (NIM) Uprisings
- New open world, explorable planet Iokath.
- New story set on Iokath which is a series of quests that when completed, unlocks a daily area (sounds similar to Oricon).
- The new story involves going to Iokath with the Alliance (now that radiation is gone) to scout the planet but it turns out the Republic and Empire have also sent scouts. A super weapon is discovered and you get to decide whether to side with the Republic or Empire. Jace Malcolm is involved somehow.
- The quests and daily’s will involve new gameplay mechanics.
- New Reputation system to grind (faction dependent).
- Returning companions Malavai Quinn and Elara Dorn.
I am very much looking forward to having an open world planet to explore again! The way the Devs described how the new story would play sounds very similar to Oricon. I’m glad they listened to player feedback regarding the lack of explorable planets in 4.0 and 5.0 content and are giving us the old open world questing meta back again with a new Reputation system. I’m also looking forward to seeing how Quinn and Elara play into the story.
Urgent Game Update 5.1 Issues that need fixing ASAP
There are some things that need addressing that are new in 5.1 (and some that aren’t new) ASAP.
- AOE colour’s – AOE’s show up as green for everyone in a Warzone so it’s hard to differentiate which is a friendly or enemy AOE attack. This is especially problematic in same faction warzones. Enemy AOE’s need to be red regardless of faction.
- No Grade 10 Mats on Jawa Scrap vendors – Please add Grade 10 mats to the Jawa Scrap Vendors. You keep giving us Jawa Scrap in Command Crates and we can’t use it to buy mats to craft new gear…
- Class Balance – A lot of people seem to complain about this but fail to offer specifics.* Personally, I feel there are a couple of DPS classes (Sorcs, Juggs and PT’s) that could use a small DPS buff and Assassin tanks need a bit of a buff to their survivability in PvE in particular.
- Gear costs for PvP – The cost of Tier 1 (230) gear needs to be reduced significantly so players can be on a more even playing field (I talk about this further below).
Speaking of PvP, I also wanted to address Musco’s response to why the Devs decided to change bolster:
The reason we moved Bolster down to 232 Item Rating is because of its rating relative to the best gear in the game, which is Item Rating 242. This means that someone with brand new gear entering into a Warzone is at worst, 10 Item Rating away from the best geared players. As an example, this works almost identically to how it worked prior to Knights of the Eternal Throne. During Fallen Empire, the best PvP gear in the game was item rating 208 and Bolster would raise your character to 200, an 8 rating difference. In short, the difference in power now should be almost identical to the difference that existed prior to KOTET.
Sure bolster as it is in 5.1 would work well if 230 gear was easy to get like 204 gear was really easy to get in 4.0 but it doesn’t. Introducing this change a couple of months after 5.0’s release has completely screwed up the playing field. Changing bolster in 5.1 rewards the players who had the most time to grind Galactic Command and/or the means to get gear crafted giving them a much greater advantage. Players who are more time poor or who chose not grind have been left high and dry with a very slow, grindy way to gear their characters. There is far too much gear disparity in PvP now. Returning players, in particular, are left with a very slow means to catch up gear wise to those who have played since 5.0.
I propose the following changes that should be implemented as quickly as possible:
- Reduce the component cost of Tier 1 (230) gear significantly (like I said above). I would say the cost of Tier 1 gear should be halved at the absolute minimum. That way players can get the entry level gear much quicker creating a more even playing field.
- Increase the amount of Unassembled Components earned for completing all types of PvP content win or loss. I would say doubling the amount of Unassembled Components earned would be a good start.
- The cost of Tier 2 and 3 gear should also be reduced a little but not as drastically as Tier 1 gear. The grind to full BIS gear should be reduced to some degree to make it closer to how it was pre 4.0.
I feel like these simple changes would reduce the grind but much more importantly, make it easier for everyone to get the baseline Tier 1 (230) gear so that the playing field is much more even for everyone.
What do you think of Game Update 5.2? Are you looking forward to the new Operation? What do you think of the current state of PvP gearing and bolster?
*I’m also interested in your thoughts on class balance in both PvP and PvE. Which classes do you think could use a buff or a nerf? (Note I will ignore any comments that say nerf Mercs).