06/09/2018

Autumn Road Map Excitement

With how often I've gently mocked Bioware for liking to make announcements about announcements before actually saying anything of substance, and what with them clearly reading my blog and taking everything I say to heart (that's me being sarcastic in case you weren't sure), Keith decided to drop a road map for the next few months on our heads without any kind of advance warning for the second time in a row. What is this madness? There was also a live stream about it for which Dulfy has already provided a summary as usual.

Let's talk about the big bullet points and I'll share my opinions!


Must take more pictures of roads/paths to illustrate road map posts...

Huttball on Vandin

The new Huttball map that was mentioned in the summer road map will be set on Vandin and is in fact already on the PTS. We've already known about this for a few days actually and I was going to make a post about it at some point, but now all this other stuff has come up and there's just too much else to talk about. I expect that I'll still write about the new Huttball at some point, at the latest when the new map actually releases.

Republic vs. Empire Story

The new Republic vs. Empire storyline that they already hinted at apparently won't have to wait until 6.0, but will already start (I'm guessing it's only the start) in 5.10. And at the risk of setting myself up for disappointment: it sounds awesome! Apparently we'll finally return to having distinctively different story arcs for Republic and Empire, and if you sided with the other faction on Iokath that will be taken into consideration as well. The story will be taking place on a new planet whose name they haven't explicitly revealed, though from the hints mentioned in the road map I've heard people say that it's probably Ossus. There will be dailies, world bosses and new friendly NPCs, oh my! Calphy suggested that from the way they talked about a Jedi Master/Imperial Commando accompanying the player through their respective faction's story arc, maybe this could end up being a prelude for 6.0 similar to the way Forged Alliances ended up being a prelude to Shadow of Revan.

Operations & Gods from the Machine Master Mode

Remember when they officially cancelled Gods from the Machine's master mode? Well, apparently it's now coming after all: yes, it will stack on top of the existing "hardmare" mode, and no, they aren't planning on nerfing the existing difficulties.

Now I'm not usually someone to complain about the devs spending time on making X instead of Y, because I think that paying attention to every aspect of the game is a good thing and I like having a variety of things to do. I also always like to remember Ion Hazzikostas' quote about WoW from about two years ago, saying that almost every MMO activity only caters to a minority of the player base.

However, with all that said, I do think that there are ways of using your time and resources badly, and this is one of them. Veteran mode Gods is already so hard that hardly anyone does it; master mode will be a complete non-starter for everyone but an absolutely minuscule number of players. The road map also states that Bioware are planning on developing additional operations content later, which is good, but I honestly wish they'd gone straight for that and left this particular idea on the scrap heap. As it is, I hope the dozen players or so who can beat it will have fun with it; for the rest of us it will simply be a completely irrelevant addition.

Crafted Tier 5

There will be a new tier of gear, but it won't drop from bosses or Galactic Command, but will instead be entirely crafted. Erm..? I don't know what to think of this. I like the idea of crafting gear in general, but I didn't even bother with the last tier of augments for example. With the mats from this likely dropping from Gods master mode, I wouldn't get to acquire any of the mats "organically" anyway, and then it just turns into a question of how much money you're willing to pour into the GTN to increase your item level, which seems boring. I probably won't bother with this one either.

Guild Systems

There are going to be a whole bunch of quality of life changes for guilds, which is definitely going to be interesting to me as someone who is an officer in her guild! What we know so far:

- "Heraldry": My first thought as a former WoW player was: "So, tabards then?" Of course, actual tabards would be silly in SWTOR, which isn't necessarily to say that they won't be included, but I'd expect them to display the chosen guild logo in some other way. How, though? On the guild ship? Non-guildies wouldn't see it there though...

- "Progression system": Again, I immediately thought of WoW's guild levelling. They took that out again soon after introducing it though because it caused all kinds of issues. I hope the Bioware devs have thought this through.

- Guild Inspect: So people can see some info about your guild if they inspect you I guess? Sounds nice but not sure how useful it's actually going to be for people looking to join the guild of someone they encounter on the fleet or in a pug.

- Guild Mail: The ability to mail every single guild member at once sounds amazing at first, but then the thought of receiving said mail on all of my... however many alts I have these days, is also terrifying. Undecided on this one!

- Ability to directly challenge other guilds to PvP matches: This could be nice for PvP guilds I guess? Can't see it getting much use in what's primarily a PvE guild.

- Logging: My first thought was that this would finally show things such as a list of when members joined or left the guild, something that's been long overdue, but what they actually mentioned on the stream was better logging of members' Conquest point contributions, which for me is even better and would go a long way towards making up for the recent changes that made it harder to do so manually.

- Also guild-related Conquest improvements of some sort (no details on that yet), more guild ranks, and the ability to ban a whole legacy from the guild instead of just a character.

Companion Returns

Doc, Nadia and dark side Jaesa confirmed! Plus there might be more if they finish the relevant content in time (unlikely then, but it's still good to know they are working on getting everyone back). I still haven't played through all of the already existing companion returns... really need to get cracking on that!

Overall, I think this is a very promising road map. While the revival of Gods from the Machine master mode and the related new gear tier get a thumbs down from me, everything else sounds great. Can't wait!

5 comments :

  1. I'm wondering if with all the new focus on Legacies whether the Guild Mail will have an optional functionality to send a message only to the designated Mains of each Legacy (or to all characters from a Legacy which has no Main selected).

    That little star could really benefit from some 'proper' functionality in all this.

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    1. That's an interesting idea! Not sure it would see much use though. I mean, even considering that I myself wouldn't want to receive twenty copies of the same mail, I'd probably still send it to every character when given the choice, simply because too many people haven't even bothered to designate a main and would then be left out.

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  2. You haven't missed much by not doing all companion return missions. It can be a little disappointing waiting for your favorite wife/husband/friend to find their way back to you... through a simple and often silly 3-4 minutes long static conversation scene.

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    1. Well, I already got that disappointment out of the way with the missions I did do; I know not to expect too much now. Also, most of my characters haven't married anyone, so expectations for a merely friendly reunion aren't that high anyway. I just want to see them all come back (and merely watching a video on YouTube isn't the same).

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  3. Interesting stuff. I've been wondering about how much they can do given that most of Bioware is working on Anthem, but I suppose that Anthem must be coming along pretty well if Bioware is committing enough dev resources to SWTOR to handle all of this stuff.

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