28/12/2018

2018 Predictions vs. Reality

At the end of last year I let my fellow gaming bloggers lure me into trying to make some predictions about the upcoming year for the first time. I figured that my guesses were all super boring and more or less guaranteed to come true. I'm surprised by how wrong I was! Let's review the predictions I made about what was going to happen to SWTOR in 2018 one by one.


1. I expect that we'll get an expansion announcement once the current storyline has been wrapped up, and that the three flashpoints that comprise it will tie into the new expansion in the same way Forged Alliances tied into Shadow of Revan. The expansion's theme will be related to the Heralds of Zildrog and have a name that is designed to sound vaguely like the title of an existing Star Wars movie, such as "The Serpent Awakens". The actual release will be set to happen only a couple of months after the announcement, since Bioware never milks these things for hype, and will happen in early autumn at the very latest but probably earlier. The expac will feature another five levels of story content but no new operations.

My first and biggest prediction was the one I was sure was pretty much a given, at least the part about us getting an expansion, and I was completely off, as we're actually no wiser about 6.0 than we were a year ago. My proposed theme, which was the most "daring" part of the prediction I suppose, also turned out to be moot as they actually ended up wrapping up the entire Zildrog arc in the Nathema Conspiracy flashpoint. I honestly thought at the time that there was going to be much more to it.
 
2. Speaking of operations, the last boss for Gods from the Machine won't be released until June or so, making it the most drawn-out content release EVAH! In hindsight, all the fights will be excellent, but nobody will care because people lost interest months ago. Master mode will continue to fail to materialise or at the very least get delayed even more. If it does ever see the light of day, it will come with a hefty nerf to all of veteran mode. (Note that I'm not saying that this is what I want to happen, just what I expect to happen based on past observations.)

While it did ultimately take ages until we were able to run Gods from the Machine in its entirety, they were relatively quick with getting Izax out the door and got him live by March. I also think that I was wrong about nobody caring about Gods by the time it was completed, though we seem to continue to exist in this weird information hole where we don't have a single reliable source for guides for boss fights anymore and we're all kind of winging it. The other day my guild figured out that some of the common advice about what you're supposed to be doing on the Ossus droid world boss for example is actually the opposite of what you should be doing, so yeah...

I will give myself points for the master mode prediction though, because while it has come out now, it did take many months and was even supposed to have been cancelled for a while. I don't think the nerf to veteran mode has been as substantial as I would have liked, but it did happen despite of Bioware initially not wanting to do any nerfing at all.

3. Either with the expansion's release or somewhere around it, Bioware will reveal some major change or new feature that will leave everyone going "What the hell?" - not necessarily because it's a bad idea (though it might be), but because it seems utterly random and feels like something that nobody ever asked for. (Again, not saying I want this to happen, just speaking from experience...)

Again, we didn't even get an expansion, but even if we leave that aside I don't think they did anything super weird this year either. In actuality I thought that all their content additions and systems changes were fairly safe and predictable. I suppose the whole masterwork gear thing added with Ossus is slightly strange in that "did anyone ask for this" kind of way, but I suspect it's meant to be a response to people wanting crafting to be more relevant again as well as moving even further away from Galactic Command, both of which are things that people have expressed a desire for.

4. One thing that will definitely be changed is conquest. That's not much of a prediction, considering that Keith himself has officially said so! However, I will add that I expect them to add a lot of new activities as ways to earn conquest points, and more importantly, the system will be revamped in some way that allows smaller guilds to get more out of it than they currently do.

I suppose you could argue about what qualifies as "a lot" but they certainly did add a whole bunch of new conquest objectives. And the new system is definitely much more rewarding for smaller and medium-sized guilds. As I acknowledged at the time though, this was a bit of a non-prediction.

5. Story-wise, the Eternal Alliance will either be disbanded or become irrelevant in some way, finally returning us to the story of Republic vs. Empire. Now this one I might actually be hoping for...

Even this was kind of wrong, as the Alliance has been neither disbanded nor become irrelevant. Its importance has been greatly diminished, but it does remain a relevant player on the galactic gaming board, even if the focus is moving back Republic vs. Empire now.

Now, while this was pretty fun to review, despite (or maybe even because) of all the ways in which I was wrong, I don't think I'll be repeating this whole prediction thing this year. I did actually start a draft post trying to write down some guesses and ideas for things we might see in 2019, but to be honest I couldn't think of much to say beyond "we'll get an expansion in 2019, for real this time". I better not be wrong about this one a second time!

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