06/10/2014

Quick 3.0 Announcement Thoughts

At last, it's official: the next mini-expansion is going to be called Shadow of Revan and will be released on the 9th of December. I'm still trying to sort out my thoughts on all the news and I'm quite tired right now, but here are some quick first impressions of the announcement details:

It was kind of amusing to me just how uninformative and full of stock phrases the trailer is: "War is coming." "This is where we make our final stand." etc. I love Bioware and SWTOR, but I always find their trailers (for anything really) to be pretty underwhelming. Sorry, trailer guy at Bioware!

I'm surprised to see Lana and Theron feature so prominently in the expansion artwork. I hope they won't hog the centre stage too much. I like both of them as characters, but let's not forget who this story is supposed to be about.

I'm not thrilled by the 12x class experience boost for pre-orders... and that it's applied automatically. Don't force me to outlevel stuff, Bioware. Also, this means that I'll have several weeks of agony in guild chat ahead as certain people won't stop going on about how awesome it is that they'll be able to acquire another three max-level characters in exchange for minimum amounts of engagement with the game. (Honestly, I don't think it's a terrible idea for those who want it, but I dislike that there's no way to pre-order and opt out of this.)

The price is £11.99? But that's twice as much as they charged for Rise of the Hutt Cartel! Talk about daylight robbery! And to think that WoW players complain about a 20% price increase in their expansions... /muttermutter.

I hope everyone realised that the previous paragraph was a joke. I obviously pre-ordered already.

Two new planets instead of just one sounds great. Even if we don't actually get more story content than we did on Makeb, it will be nice to have a change of scenery.

It sounds like there will be a solid amount of new endgame content. Two brand new operations and two entirely new flashpoints is actually more than we got with RotHC.

I'm not at all keen on the sound of this new discipline system. From what I've seen in the associated forum thread, the reactions to this part of the announcement basically fall into one of three categories:

1) Awesome, it's going to be just like WoW! I love it!
2) Oh god, it's going to be just like WoW! I hate it!
3) Uh, that's going to be just like WoW, isn't it? I'm not sure how I feel about that.

I'm inclined to count myself as part of the second group to be honest, however I do understand at least some of their reasons and don't want to dismiss the whole idea before we've even heard any details about it.

I'll definitely be writing a longer post to talk about my thoughts on disciplines at some point though.

16 comments :

  1. I'm more of a 1) person. I've liked the change in WoW from talent points to skill perks. Too often you just used a cookie-cutter spec and if you deviated by even a single point you got questioned. Seriously, when I apped to my current WoW guild I was questioned about the placement of a single, optional talent point. :sigh:

    Hopefully the Discipline system will allow a lot of 'use X for this, Y for that' utility swapping. Real choice that helps you instead of landmines to avoid in the talents will be nice.

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    1. To be fair, that's more of a WoW culture thing than something to do with talent points in general. After all you can't even inspect people's talents in SWTOR. I struggle to recall a single occasion in the last three years where someone gave a damn about the exact distribution of my talent points as long as I was performing my role well. The only times it was a point of discussion occurred when people actively wanted to discuss talents to exchange opinions on whether certain talents were better than others.

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  2. You did notice Darth Marr and Satele Shan in the trailer? Very interesting about the strange bedfellows, there.

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    1. That fits the whole "Forged Alliances" theme Bioware is pushing.

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    2. Sure beats the "we have to keep them separated" that Blizz is doing with WoW. I always felt that was one of the best parts of Vanilla and BC, that the disparate factions could come together in the face of grave danger. Cracks started in Wrath, and it blew apart completely in Cata and Mists.

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    3. Haha no, how did I miss this? I blame Lana's glaring orange lightsaber for distracting me. I thought I just saw a random Sith warrior and Shadow there (one of which admittedly looked a bit like Satele)... thanks for pointing that out!

      I think this kind of thing is always tricky to handle. Having the factions focus blindly on beating each other up even in the face of greater threats is stupid, but allowing them to get too close while working together erodes faction identity. We'll see how they handle it in this story arc.

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  3. There is a way to opt-out of the experience bonus - cancel your subscription. ;)

    I'm probably the target audience for this promo with most or all of five class stories left to play and a relatively high level of fatigue with actually playing the game. The issue is that I'd still have to play the game, and more importantly, I'd have to drop everything to do it between now and December. I would have been more likely to sign on in exchange for a permanent boost for a single character (i.e. character class mission experience perk rank infinity) than a temporary boost for a theoretically unlimited number of characters.

    We'll see how I'm feeling in a month. I have a time card I could use towards this, but I would want to start the 60 days closer to the expansion date so that I'd still have subscription non-penalties active to play the expansion content.

    I think it's a safe bet that I can call Bioware's bluff here and get a similar promotion someday in the future. This is the problem with marketing your game to people who aren't actually playing your game.

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    1. Sadly it works all too well. And people like me may be annoyed, but are unlikely to be annoyed enough to actually cancel our subscriptions.

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  4. One thing the 12x class exp boost means is that you don't have to be a completionist to level properly (no more Fez Burba!), nor do you have to spend your time running flashpoints to keep up when you really just want to level by questing.

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    1. The thing is, from my experience it has never been "necessary" to be a completionist in this game (not as a subscriber anyway). Heck, while levelling my very first character, when I had little rested XP due to playing all the time, I still skipped two entire planets (class story excepted) and all the bonus series because I was already outlevelling content as I went along.

      I have a guildie who, on one of his alts, seems to have ignored questing altogether after Taris (including his class story). He's raiding on a level 55 Shadow who hasn't even got her second companion yet.

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  5. The Guilty Party7 October 2014 at 23:32

    I'm in (cautious) favor of the Discipline system. The skill trees really do do all the things they say wrong: you have to slowly crawl up to the useful/defining skills, and until you hit them, you're in this awkward, underpowered, weirdly-synergized class. Where you maybe have a 50% chance of hitting the special effect that next level you'll get every time.

    Some of this is because they did a poor job designing the trees. (the whole 'you need to spend 3 points, and until you do, it's annoying to use' approach sucks). But also really, there's a set of core stuff you are implicitly choosing by picking a particular path, why pretend you have some choice about it? Are there TK Sages that skipped the whole telekinetic wave thing?

    Just give me the good stuff, and let me choose other, auxiliary skills based on if I like ranged or close up or focus on pvp or pve or whatever.

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    1. I wouldn't claim that the talent system doesn't have its flaws, but I'm sure that the new system will have its own set of problems. And there are definitely people who enjoy playing hybrid specs, which is something that is effectively being killed by this change.

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  6. I kind of wish the 12x class xp boost was something one could toggle on and off at will. There are planets (Imp Taris and Rep Belsavis particularly) that I would LOVE to just do the class quest on and otherwise run away with my fingers in my ears. And there are other planets that I mostly enjoy. Though I don't really care that much about out leveling things - I still play for the story more than anything.

    I've tried to read the write up on the Discipline system several times, but my eyes just slide off. But I've never really warmed to the fussy bits of gaming (don't worry, I don't inflict myself on other people) and the time I spent trying to in WoW has burned me out completely on the whole thing. There are a few things that I hope stick around from the skill tree I use in my favorite class, but beyond that, well... I can't even remember how I spec anyone else, anyway.

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    1. I'm not a fan of fiddling with talent trees myself, but that's part of why this change worries me. If the new utility abilities are something that you can swap out on the fly, this will likely become an expectation (and annoyance) in group content. I like to just pick my talents once and be done.

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    2. Yeah, that's not a good direction to move in.

      (Though apparently some people are already swapping talent trees more or less on the fly. Urgh.)

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    3. I know, one person in our guild loves to use his field respec in the middle of boss fights. But at least we can all agree that's crazy. ;)

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