01/09/2015

Makeb's Staged Weekly

Another comparatively minor change that was announced last Wednesday is that the achievements for the staged weekly on Makeb will be removed in 4.0 and that those who actually completed them will receive a special decoration as their reward. The reason they are being removed is that the whole Makeb weekly will be revamped to "be more consistent with the other planetary weekly missions".


I actually meant to write about the Makeb weekly when it first came out, but then I rarely ever did it because it was so boring and eventually I kind of forgot about the whole thing again. It is still worth writing about however, simply because of how unusual it is.

Most good daily hubs give you a bunch of quests which you can complete in short succession since they are all in the same area or at least close to each other so that they can be done in one circuit of the map. By those standards, Makeb was a terrible daily hub. The staged weekly would only allow you to pick up one quest at a time, and it would be long and annoying to boot, often requiring you to traverse a whole new mesa and kills dozens of mobs. Once it was finally completed and handed in, you'd be allowed to pick up one other quest... and then had to repeat the whole thing six times to complete the weekly.

The question I always asked myself was: Why? It seems like a very odd design choice, unless you're intentionally trying to draw out the questing as long as possible, even at the risk of boring your players. To this day I can only guess what Bioware wanted to achieve with these dailies, and I suspect that the crucial hint lies in the aforementioned achievements. Certain quests would unlock other missions, and doing them in a specific order would unlock various achievement steps. From their description, it sounds like they are supposed to tell a story. It seems to me that the idea behind the Makeb weekly was to create a set of dailies that would tell a story, and one that would be slightly different each week based on the player's picks.


It actually sounds like a cool idea in theory, but the implementation just didn't work out. The "stories" were so bare bones as to be almost non-existent and there was no clear indicator of which quests were connected or even that they were supposed to be connected at all. I did the staged weekly this past week, following TOR Community's guide to unlock "endings" I hadn't seen yet, and there was just no obvious logic to which quests were connected. A quest about the local mercenaries was supposed to be followed by one about the Imperials on Makeb, then another one about the mercs. The ending had nothing to do with the Imps, yet you'd never reach it without that random mission focused on them in the middle. Why? Without a guide, it pretty much would have come down to trial and error.

So I can definitely see why Bioware wants to clean this content up. It was obviously an experiment, and not a very successful one. It didn't succeed in telling any real stories, and people just avoided doing the Makeb dailies because they took ridiculously long compared to any other daily hub and felt terribly unrewarding. I was actually surprised to see some players express annoyance about the change in the official forum thread, but as Wilhelm always says, such is the rule of MMOs - it doesn't matter what you change, it will have been someone's favourite feature.

While I'm not a huge furniture collector, I'm planning to get myself those achievements before 4.0 simply because I know that this content is going away and even if I approve of the coming changes, I want to see it one more time as it was.

I don't think that trying to make a set of dailies with a changing story was a bad idea, but I think Bioware has learned a lot since Makeb. Bounty Contract Week is a good example of how to mix things up on a daily basis and make each day a little bit different, even if it achieves the variation through RNG instead of player choices. Also, Bounty Contract Week's different story steps flow smoothly from one to the next so that you can complete the whole chain in half an hour instead of spending over an hour hopping back and forth between different locations.

5 comments :

  1. Whilst I do do this as a part of my "standard" Weekly Run, this is still my least favourite to have ever accomplished. The sheer distance you had to travel, coupled with the fact that without a guide you had to guess the correct order, made it a complete nightmare.

    Without worrying about "correct orders" there are some pretty fun missions, but they're still bogged down to this day in the formula of only being able to do three either side of that annoying and rather long intermission.

    It will be interesting to see whether any of these missions remain. Certainly the areas would likely be re-purposed seeing as there are quite a few [HEROIC] Areas set up purely for the purpose of being a Staged Weekly Mission.

    To this day, I still think this has the best introduction and conclusion of any mission chain, since you get to chat with the unique "Under-Moff Benson" and of course the legendary Jace Malcom who send you on your merry way. I only wish they could have warned us of how tedious our tasks were going to be. =P

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    1. I had really great hopes after that intro with Jace. I thought that maybe each week I would make a new discovery, such as why Makeb was still stable or why the Imps where there (since as a Republic player you end the basic Makeb storyline being extremely ignorant of what had really been going on). The reality was quite disappointing.

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  2. Similarly to you, I liked the theory, but hated the implementation. Shuffling daily quests that chained together in different ways sounds like a nice idea. It avoids getting into a rut of doing the most optimal route between a set of daily quests.

    Problem is, these particular quests just kinda sucked. They felt really tedious, even if you ignore the inherent tediousness of dailies.

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    1. I'm surprised that Bioware hasn't taken a page out of WoW's book with the concept of "progressive dailies", e.g. a new set of dailies unlocking every time you reach a new reputation level or something like that. It would go well with their story focus.

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  3. I guess this would be a good time to dust off those level 60's that sit in the SH Crafting for me. I haven't really done the weeklys for anything because I sometimes get to bored with them ,and plus with the Epic XP Boost. I've been doing things I don't normally do, like a light side Sith Warrior all cause I kept hearing how annoying LS Jaesa is, and so forth, so was time to decide for myself. If I could stomach Ashara, then I can stomach Jaesa as well. But I may do the quests, or just say bump it all, if my 60's come out, it's really only to credit grind so I can keep them crafting.

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