22/01/2015

Class Stories: What's Next?

Shadow of Revan has been out for almost two months now. How many of the new class missions have you seen yet? More than one blogger has started to review and compare them already - posts which I've dutifully avoided for now as I don't want to read spoilers. Personally I'm "only" sitting on five out of eight completed at the moment. That's fine though, I'm savouring the fact that there's still unique content left to do.

Even if I had already seen it all, I think I'd struggle to review the new class stories in a critical manner. They may have their flaws (like everything), but I still can't quite get over the fact that they exist - which makes me way too happy in a fangirlish way. We haven't had any new class stories since launch (!) and after more than a year of being told that there wouldn't be any more class stories ever again (while "more class story" continued to be the most requested feature on the forums by a mile), this complete turnaround was actually a bit of a shock, and I'm still surprised that Bioware didn't make a bigger deal out of it in terms of marketing. I guess they wanted to be sure that people wouldn't develop inflated expectations.


While it's a bit formulaic how the new class missions are always inserted into the same part of the Rishi storyline, I'm always giddy when I get to that point on a new class. What surprises will await this time? I've loved walking around Rishi and feeling like there's a whole world of stories out there that I don't know about. I remember noticing the "fever victims" in Raider's Cove that were constantly coughing loudly, and wondering if there was more to them - I was then delighted when I found out that they were a plot point in the new Jedi knight story. It really takes me back to my early levelling experiences, to seeing "phase doors" that were marked for other classes and wondering what lay behind them, making me feel like the game had a seemingly endless potential of untold stories.

The main thing I'm wondering about right now is: what's next? I can't see how Bioware would have any kind of metric to tell them if the new class stories are popular (and therefore profitable to make) other than people explicitly saying that they love them. With how closely they tie into the Rishi story (from a technical point of view), I have a hard time imagining anyone completing Shadow of Revan's main storyline without also doing the class story, simply because it's there. Yet even if (random assumption) more people complete the storylines on Rishi and Yavin 4 than the number of people that completed Makeb, that still doesn't prove anything, because there could be other reasons for that, such as that Rishi's plotting is much tighter than Makeb's or that the quests give great rewards for any character that's levelling up through them.

Plus I can't help but wonder how the class stories would even continue from this point onwards. From what I've seen so far, all the class missions on Rishi are capstones to what came before instead of taking you anywhere new. Mostly they bring back NPCs from your character's past for one last hurrah.

That's fine, but it's also made me realise just how much the class stories have relied on those galaxy-spanning story arcs to flesh out your character's place in the world and to give the supporting cast substance. If Bioware tried to genuinely push the class stories forward, how well is that going to work with a single mission a year? I can't see our characters achieving anything particularly impressive in the scope of ten minutes, and without constantly referring back to the existing class story, how could Bioware possibly make us feel invested in a new plot and a new set of characters?

What are your thoughts on the new class stories in general (leaving aside specific opinions on the individual stories)?

6 comments :

  1. I think we're just not going to see class stories any more. The two stories I've done (Agent, Jedi Knight) have both struck me as a "last hurrah", an epilogue to the main class stories.

    Barring something crazy where the subscriber base jumps by a few million, I think Bioware has simply decided that class stories are not worth the cost.

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    1. In fairness, that's what I used to think. But I'd find it strange if they made these new class stories with no hopes of gaining anything from doing so...

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  2. I think the fact that we have this little "class quests" on Rishi means that Bioware has been listening to players who miss their old class stories after hitting level 50.

    I fear that they indeed don't have the resources to make new (level 60+) class stories in the fashion of the level 1-50 ones, but I'm already happy with this little bit. Like you say, it gives you something to look forward to when leveling a new toon through Rishi. :)

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    1. Yeah, I don't expect them to make new class stories in the style of the old ones either, but do you think they'll make more small snippets like these? If so, they'd have to come up with some new stories that can be told in that format though...

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    2. I've heard most people react positively on the new class stories, so I certainly think it's possible they'll make more for a future expansion. As long as we players let them know we appreciate them. :)

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  3. This is now making me want to pick up a few of my max level toons and go through the new content, but I still want to at least finish Chapter 1 on my new Gunslinger first.

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