19/05/2015

Whatever happened to...?

Bioware keeps adding new features to The Old Republic at a decent pace, and even if they slip up in certain areas sometimes (such as letting us go with no new operations for over a year), you can feel safe in the knowledge that they are probably working on something new in the background. Recently, GSF players have been worried that their favourite part of the game might be in danger of being forgotten because every time the subject is brought up, the devs declare that they currently have no plans for new GSF additions. However, at least Galactic Starfighter is still being talked about. There are other parts of the game that haven't seen updates in much longer and genuinely seem to have been forgotten by most people. Here are three that I've been thinking about lately:

1) Original Space Combat

It seems to me that the last time this received a significant update was in patch 1.6 when heroic space missions were introduced. That was over two years ago. But does anybody even care? Unlike with GSF, I haven't heard anyone clamour on blogs or podcasts that Bioware needs to make new space missions. Were they really that unpopular? I have to admit that I never liked them very much myself, and I can only think of two people I know who ever played them with any real gusto, but I also seem to have a vague recollection of Bioware stating that a fairly significant percentage of players were doing at least one space mission per week. (Though of course I can't find a link to that piece of info anymore.)

I kind of have a suspicion that Galactic Starfighter was more or less intended to replace the original space game, which is why they stopped updating the latter. Of course it's a bit questionable to replace a PvE game with a PvP one, and while GSF has found its fans, I wonder how many players actually migrated towards it from the original space combat. Of the aforementioned two fans I mentioned, only one really took to GSF as far as I know.

At least the original space missions are still in the game, and most players probably give them a try at least once, considering how prominent that quest icon is on your starship. The fact that space combat has never been relevant to any other parts of the game actually has the advantage of making it timeless.

2) Legacy

This one might seem a bit odd at first, considering that we probably spend a fair amount of time looking at our legacy window to check things like achievements or reputations (all of which are legacy-wide). What I'm talking about however is legacy as something other than a simple accumulation of character perks.

Remember legacy levels? I have to admit I almost forgot that they exist, considering that I hit legacy level 50 over two years ago, which caused my legacy experience bar to disappear. I'm sure I'm not the only one who expected these to gain some sort of purpose eventually, but they never really did. The maximum legacy level has also never been raised, even though the maximum character level has gone up to 60 in the meantime.

Or how about that family tree? I have to admit I always thought that it had some potential for roleplaying additions, but Bioware never really did anything with it. I would have loved to be able to connect it to the characters of other players!

Basically, the legacy system originally appeared to be something that could really allow us to build our own story in game and build stronger connections between our characters. However, nobody has really shown any great interest in taking it in that direction in the last two years, neither the devs nor the players. It still has its role to play as a point to collect achievements and certain character perks, but I can't help but think that it could have been - and could still be! - so much more.

3) Matrix Shards & Cubes

The first time I actually felt compelled to hunt datacrons in the game was when I built my first matrix cube. At the time, good relics were pretty hard to come by, and none were better than this simple item that you could build yourself... even if it did require some effort. These days, I like to pick up as many datacrons as possible whenever I level a new character - but sadly all those matrix shards effectively go to waste, as Bioware never added new matrix cubes for level 55 or 60.

Why not, I say? I'm not saying that these new matrix cubes would have to be best in slot, but having new versions of these at all would offer players at least an alternative way of getting something for that particular gear slot.

I find it strange that while Bioware keeps adding datacrons to give people stat boosts (and players embrace them, with all their crazy jumping requirements and secret puzzles), this secondary function of datacrons seems to have been all but forgotten.

Would you like to see any of these features updated and added to? Or can you think of other parts of the game that both devs and players seem to have forgotten about?

8 comments :

  1. I only know of one guildie who got into GSF. Everyone else just wasn't that big into space combat (old or new).

    One of the things I don't understand about the family tree system is that they don't have an apprentice/padawan option. That seems like an almost basic connection! It would also be really cool if they made a guild organizational chart like the family tree.

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    1. Everyone else just wasn't that big into space combat (old or new).

      I remember feeling perpetually confused when pre-GSF, they were always talking about how sooo many fans were asking for off the rails space combat. I think that must have been a very loud minority... personally I'm not surprised that there doesn't seem to be a huge overlap between people who like classic hotbar MMOs and Bioware RPGs and people who like twitchy spaceship combat...

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  2. I think the Legacy system was poised to go places, but was upended by the Cartel Market. Some of the perks are very good, but I don't see this system evolving very much.

    Regarding the original space game, I can't remember the last time I played it. Other than new missions and maybe new levels of gear I never saw it going anywhere.

    I initially figured that GSF was going to be PvE and not PvP. I never got used to the controls so I don't play it much. I may have to give it another look.

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  3. I really enjoyed the original space missions. It wasn't something I focused on like GSF because there wasn't really much to them. Still, every time I leveled a new character, I always looked forward to doing them. I think the visuals are/were really amazing. It was the perfect mini-game for me, given how my particular affinity for the Star Wars universe lies mostly with its ships. I thought it was really well done, for what it was.

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  4. I think they missed a real opportunity with the original space combat game; I remember talking with my guildmates at launch about how COOL it would be to have a group PVE space combat mission ... all the different ships zooming in and out on their own tracks. I would have really loved to have seen the space combat portion incorporated into an operation; you could have the option of 'softening up' a target but doing a space battle and this could effect the next couple of bosses or even the whole instance. I think that'd be killer. Maybe one day they'll do that?

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    1. omg so many typos.

      * 'softening up' a target by
      * could affect

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    2. I can't really see them doing that because you just know that a lot of people would resent being "made" to do space combat for their operations. To be honest, I think the fact that it doesn't grant major advantages in any other part of the game is one of the strengths of space combat. That truly makes participating in it a choice.

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  5. I haven’t touched anything related to GSF and only ever did a couple of missions of the original Space Combat. My wife, however, enjoyed the latter very much. I also agree that updated Matrix Cubes would be nice and that the Legacy system could have been so much more as well.

    I remember feeling perpetually confused when pre-GSF, they were always talking about how sooo many fans were asking for off the rails space combat.

    The way I see it and how I understand it is that many people were hoping for something akin to the original “X-Wing” and TIE-Fighter” games. At least I did. Admittedly, that was a long stretch, but hope dies last, as they say. Also, let’s not forget that GSF is first and foremost a PvP mini-game and SWTOR is primarily a PvE game.

    I'm not surprised that there doesn't seem to be a huge overlap between people who like classic hotbar MMOs and Bioware RPGs and people who like twitchy spaceship combat

    I find that point particularly convincing as it is exactly how I feel when I’m forced “outside” of my character in an (MMO)RPG. This is basically the reason why I always disliked vehicle fights in WoW. I want to play my characters and not some other construct.

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