Monday evening (well, evening my time anyway), Senior Producer Bruce Maclean made a post on the official website called "Producer's Road Map 2014", giving us a bit of an idea of what new content we've got to look forward to in the first half of this year.
I've read and heard a lot of community reactions to this already, and I think that if I had to sum them all up in a single sentence it would be: "That's nice, but we want more." I haven't really seen anyone say that any of the promised additions are unwelcome, just that there should be more of them. Now, part of that is just MMO players being their usual selves and always wanting more, of everything, and preferably yesterday. But I do think that some of them have a point when they say that their favourite part of the game seems to be getting less attention than usual.
The raiders point out that if nightmare mode Dread Fortress and Palace are scheduled to come out in April and June respectively, that will likely mean no new operation for over nine months. (I suppose it's not impossible that Bioware might surprise us with a new release anyway - Terror from Beyond came out before Explosive Content got its nightmare mode after all - but personally I consider a repeat of those particular circumstances unlikely.) Nine months is a pretty long time to be farming the same content over and over on multiple difficulties - and definitely the longest that Bioware has made us wait for a new operation. Explosive Conflict came out four months after launch. Terror from Beyond came out five months later. The break from that point until the release of Rise of the Hutt Cartel (and with it Scum and Villainy) was the longest so far, lasting seven months. Then it was another six months until Oricon. By now Dread Fortress and Palace have already been out for four months, so the prospect of having to wait another six months or so for something new is definitely daunting.
I've seen someone suggest that Bioware should just drop nightmare mode altogether if it increases the time between new operation releases, seeing how it's only attractive to a small minority of players anyway. I have to admit that I wouldn't be opposed to that idea myself (though I don't feel particularly strongly about it either way). While my own guild has dabbled in nightmare modes, I've never seen us clear one while it was current content, and difficulty-wise I've found some of them hard enough to just become frustrating to me personally.
On the PvP front, there is going to be a new Huttball map, currently set to be released in April. All I can say is: about time! I've always said that PvP is only a secondary pursuit in The Old Republic, but even so... not counting the arenas, there hasn't been a new warzone map in over a year. (The last one was Ancient Hypergates in December 2012.) There's nothing else though... and I have to admit that I do feel for the dedicated PvPers a little bit, as much as some of them like to whinge unnecessarily. It does seem like they have been messed around quite a lot as of late, and with no great results: first there were ranked warzones; when they didn't work very well due to lack of participation they were removed and replaced with ranked arenas, but from what I hear those don't really pop nowadays either. I can't blame people for longing for an addition to their gameplay that actually works.
You know what is scheduled to get updates with every major patch though? Galactic Starfighter. And I think that's the crux of the matter: the more systems you add that need maintenance and adding to, the fewer resources you'll have to dedicate to the existing ones. I suspect that Galactic Starfighter is directly to blame for the delays in updates to other areas of the game, and as someone who's not a great fan of space combat, I can't say that I'm happy about that. Still, at this point I feel that it's a little early to complain, because I can see that Galactic Starfighter needs updates right now. After launching with just three ships and a single gameplay mode, it needed expansion or else even its biggest fans were likely to get bored with it quickly. I would hope/expect that once it's got a more robust foundation to stand on, it won't require quite as many resources to stay updated.
Overall the posted Road Map has me hopeful for the new year though. While updates to the areas of the game that I enjoy the most aren't coming as quickly as I would like, they are coming. Two new flashpoints to ring in the new post-Dread Master storyline sound exciting. And most of all: "Expect to see two digital expansions in 2014 just like you did last
year, with one similar to Galactic Starfighter in scope and one more
closely resembling Rise of the Hutt Cartel."