So the big news this week was that 2.0 landed on the PTS this Wednesday - minus Makeb that is, which I think makes perfect sense. In practice this means that you get to go to a terminal on the fleet to insta-level to 55, play around with the new talent trees and try out the new hardmode flashpoints and operations if you so desire.
Many of my guildies were extremely excited about this, but my own reaction was pretty much a resounding "meh". I felt like the guild's very own grinch... until my guild leader came online and went on a wild rant about how 2.0 supposedly completely breaks Guardian tanks. I was oddly amused and relieved. Hey, at least I'm not the only one who's not super cheerful anymore!
Maybe it's a sign of increased age (I am turning thirty this year after all...), but I'm becoming more and more cynical when it comes to change in MMOs. I know that some degree of change is always going to be needed to keep things fresh, but all too often too much of it just seems arbitrary and more importantly, simply not a good thing. Looking back at my time in WoW, no matter what people say about the game continuously improving, every expansion after Burning Crusade only served to diminish my overall enjoyment of the game. And while it doesn't take more than a cursory glance at the PTS to see that Rise of the Hutt Cartel is not going to handle the new level cap like WoW expansions do, I still find it hard not to be worried about history repeating itself.
"Did you hear that they are introducing an achievement system?" I was asked in what I assume was an attempt to get me excited about 2.0 after all. "Have I mentioned that I don't like achievement systems?" "No..."
I really liked how SWTOR's codex has always been comparatively low-key for an achievement system, and this new addition with newer and brighter random badges does not thrill me. Isn't it incredibly spoilerific to show all your future companions on any and all potential alts to the player right off the bat by attaching them to achievements? From what I've seen of it, most of the achievements are ridiculously silly and grindy things as well: run each flashpoint twenty-five times, kill a thousand mobs on each planet, kill a hundred mobs with each companion out. I joked to guildies about how once the expansion hits, the starter planets are going to be overrun by max-level characters AoEing everything in sight to get their mob kill achievements. Yeah, that sure sounds like it's going to make the game that much more fun...
Looking at the new abilities and talents was a bit of a let-down for me as well. For my main at least, they are all about PvP and focused on increasing Commando mobility, which is a good thing I suppose, though it still does nothing to address the issue of how easily we are completely shut down by interrupts (many of which are ranged anyway). I'm simply reserving judgement on this one until I see how it works in the live game. I still remember getting super excited about the small 1.4 Combat Medic buffs and then they added bugger all to my survivability in practice.
Seeing Kolto Bomb become a trained ability for all Commandos also honestly felt kind of insulting to me. Why do dps need an AoE heal? I felt that Kolto Bomb was the signature and most fun ability that was unique to Combat Medics before. Now it's just another default thing, and in its place we get... a passive buff that makes it heal more if you're specced into healing. Joy. Oh, and we can now spec into Concussion Charge doing healing to allies as well. O-kay... I still don't know what to think about that one, other than that it's funny to see both myself and my companion get healed when I knock back a bunch of mobs while questing.
At least the overall feel of Commando healing seems to be unchanged, as I got to find out while trying out hardmode Hammer Station with some guildies. The only thing I can say about that is... this is so going to get the nerf bat before going live. The first boss in particular was nothing but crazy spam healing and rotating cooldowns, while we were all wearing a full set of what's effectively going to be the new Columi. I reckon that if you were to go in there with anything less, it would simply be impossible at the current damage levels.
Anyway, apparently this is me now at the dawn of a new expansion: full of ennui. Engaging in endgame activities on the live servers suddenly feels a lot less rewarding because after all there is going to be a gear reset soon, and doing things on the PTS doesn't feel rewarding because, well, it's just the PTS! I'm hoping to return to my usual, more cheerful self soon... but until then, at least I can always level some more alts.