10/03/2019

Hype and Hope

When I reviewed my 2018 predictions for SWTOR back in December, I said that I wasn't going to make any for 2019, but lately I've been doing a lot of thinking about SWTOR's near future again. This year's Star Wars Celebration takes place in Chicago and is only about a month away at this point, and Bioware has made it clear that this will be when we'll finally find out about what's in store for SWTOR for the rest of the year. I think even though it hasn't been made official, everyone pretty much expects this to be the long-awaited 6.0 expansion announcement.

Someone asked me in a comment section somewhere what this expansion would have to entail to make me happy, and this gave me pause because I actually didn't immediately know what to answer. I've heard a few other fan content creators do their own speculating, and in my opinion some of their expectations are pretty high. I guess this is somewhat understandable, what with Casey Hudson's claim that this was going to be SWTOR's "most exciting year yet", but I've long been wary of superlatives like that. And what exactly does "exciting" mean in this context anyway? Exciting things aren't always good...

Anyway, as for what I personally would like to see, in a nutshell: a "classic" expansion following the basic model of Rise of the Hutt Cartel and Shadow of Revan. That would mean one large or two medium-sized planets with new quests and story, a level cap increase, one or two new operations, one or two new flashpoints.

I guess to someone who's made their home in a different MMO it might seem strange that the inclusion of such basic features might even be in question, but SWTOR's just never really developed a consistent model when it comes to adding new content. In the early years it briefly seemed like they were settling on having two smaller expansions per year, one focused on story and one focused on a new feature, such as space combat or housing (which was a cadence that I quite enjoyed by the way), but then Knights of the Fallen Empire came out and threw everything into disarray. Mind you, they still had a plan at that point, to continue telling that story over several "seasons", but then that didn't work out either (for whatever reasons), and since then we've just kind of gone from one patch to the next for more than two years.

From the sounds of it, 6.0 has been in development for over a year, which makes you think that it should be big, considering Bioware's previous output in past years (before the current big lull that is), but everyone always claims that the SWTOR team is much smaller now, so I don't want to get my hopes up too much. Also, people have pretty much always complained about SWTOR's expansions not being meaty enough. I do remember feeling similarly back when Rise of the Hutt Cartel came out actually, simply because my only real reference point back then was World of Warcraft, and WoW's expansions had always been huge. I knew to adjust my expectations after that, but I've still seen other people complain about the lack of content in pretty much every expansion after that.

Beyond this hope related to the basic scope of 6.0, I have little in the way of expectations. The way gearing works will need a revamp because the number of currencies, vendors and tokens is a proper nightmare right now, to the point that it confuses even pretty hardcore players, but I don't have a specific solution in mind myself. I guess it would be nice if there was some new feature that turned out to be a pleasant surprise, but the last big new feature they decided to surprise us with (Galactic Command) created nothing but unhappiness, so... if I had to choose, I'd rather not have something dramatic and new than end up with another dud.

Only somewhat tangentially related, but one also has to wonder whether there will be a big cinematic trailer again. None of the aforementioned expansions that I'm hoping 6.0 will mimic had them, but  after KotFE and KotET had one each it would feel like a bit of a vote of no confidence on EA's part if they decided not to promote this new expansion in a similar way. And Star Wars Celebration would certainly be as good a place as any to try and make a splash with a shiny new cinematic. Bioware's presentation is also going to be a big enough deal that it actually got a mention on the official Star Wars site, which is rare enough.

Ultimately, I find myself going back and forth on this subject a lot, even within the time it took me to write this post. Hype is bad and leads to nothing but disappointment in my opinion. There are plenty of reasons to try to not get too excited about what's coming up next. But then there are those small glimpses that make you hopeful again - and story-wise, I absolutely adored Ossus and can't wait to see how those events will be followed up. I guess I remain cautiously optimistic that reality won't be too far off from what I'm hoping for.

5 comments :

  1. I think I actually NEED a classic expansion with a large planet an increase in level cap and lots of new missions. Included in this must be flashpoint(s) and an operation. My interest is really starting to wane now as im just getting bored at the lack of content. I never thought I would say that but for me at least BW has really dropped the ball in recent years. So come on guys get me back in to the game and make me want to play as much as i used to.

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  2. The nightmare scenario is that Anthem's poor reception sinks all other Bioware projects.

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    1. I will remain optimistic until I'm being given a reason to change my attitude beyond vague fears that nobody can back up one way or another. It helps that while I'm aware that Anthem's reviews have been lacklustre, I seem to live in a bubble where everyone I know and who tried it, loved it.

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    2. I'm in the same boat as far as the game's reception, so I do have to wonder about a lot of these poor reviews.

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  3. I'm actually enjoying Anthem maybe because I need something at the moment that isn't SWTOR but if it comes down to it SWTOR wins if it means we get more content. You are right though the nightmare scenario is BW going under and SWTOR being all but abandoned. Lets hope the 2 are not tiex together.

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