05/06/2012

Trying to make sense of the E3 announcement

So Bioware unveiled a new trailer at E3 to give us a sneak peek at what kind of new content we can expect to see throughout the rest of the year, after 1.3.

(As a slightly snarky aside, for a company that has created such a cinematic and story-driven MMO, they sure make some pretty boring, bullet-pointy trailers for its patches. Why not give us little glimpses of story instead, something to make people go "ooh, I want to see how that plays out" instead of simple feature checklists?)

Anyway, not to sound ungrateful, but most of the things they advertise sound pretty par for the course. A new space mission, a new operation, a new warzone, a new planet - that's all good stuff and I'm looking forward to it (the operation in particular looks really cool in my opinion), but it's also pretty much what I expect to see in regular content updates for an MMO.

Some of the more unusual bullet points have me more baffled than excited though, with the biggest one being the announcement of a new level cap. I like levelling well enough, but raising the level cap and obsoleting endgame content when the game is still less than a year old seems like a bad move to me. I can only guess that this is related to the continued story quest progression. As you level up, the stories imply that many months pass over the course of your level gains, so it would be consistent to add more levels as the overall story of the game progresses. Still, I'm not sure that this consistency is worth the sacrifice of so much endgame content so soon.

Then there is the addition of the Cathar as a playable species. I'm not surprised by that, as they pretty much struck me as the most likely candidate for such an addition, and I'd personally be quite happy to play one (if I had more character slots...) However, presuming that they'll become available to both factions... well, that's just going to be weird. The Mandalorians nearly wiped out their entire species once; I can't really see them being very friendly with the Empire now! Not to mention that I played through Imperial side Taris only recently and all the "kill the Cathar" quests there are still freshly on my mind. I can't imagine just how weird it would feel to play an Imperial Cathar and be sent to kill members of your own species while the NPCs make degrading remarks about them throughout. Pureblood Sith going to the Jedi Academy strike me as positively quaint in comparison.

More importantly though... it appears that the Cathar announcement has actually been edited out of the official trailer linked above at the time of writing this! You have to watch this video of the official press release to see the Cathar ad, between the mention of the new companion droid and the note of the level cap increase. I wonder if they got cold feet right afterwards, fearing that they wouldn't actually be able to make the Cathar release for this year and should thus take it out? That would be pretty embarrassing, right after they made such a big announcement about it. Or maybe it was the other way round and they edited it in for the press release at the last second? Would be weird not to put that same version up online then.

Anyway, these are just some initial thoughts. I'll probably have more to say about this in time.

2 comments :

  1. Is that for the next year or the foreseeable future? It could be that they're planning a lot of this for a future patch late next year.

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    1. The trailer explicitly states "coming this year".

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