18/04/2019

Looking Back At Past Expansion Announcements

As someone who likes to look back as much as forward (if not more so), all the recent excitement about the Onslaught expansion made me try to recall how I felt whenever new SWTOR expansions had just been announced in the past. I don't think I was that excited? That's one of the great things about having a blog though: I actually have a written record of those times that I can check.

As it turns out, I remembered correctly that I wasn't as excited about previous expansions... but it's almost comical how un-excited I was about some of them when they were first announced.

Rise of the Hutt Cartel's announcement was received with a lackadaisical "Expansion Time, Then?" as I was actually kind of grumpy about having to pay for content that Bioware had advertised as free to all subscribers at E3 only a few months earlier. I wasn't convinced that raising the level cap after only a little more than a year was a good thing, and getting "only" one new planet didn't seem like much of an expansion to me. (How spoiled I was!) To top things off, this was also around the time when a memory leak caused my game to crash several times a night. I wasn't really having the best of times.


Galactic Starfighter's announcement was similarly unexciting to me. Once again I used "expansion" only in quotation marks and declared that I felt decidedly "meh" about the concept of space combat, despite of seemingly everyone else being super excited about it. Admittedly it turned out that my attitude was actually pretty in line with that of the majority of the player base on this one, but still...

Galactic Strongholds had been rumoured for a while when it was finally announced officially. I was kind of ambivalent because I was never really into housing but it seemed at least vaguely interesting. In hindsight it's weird to see myself talk about how much I used to enjoy hanging out on the fleet, because ever since the introduction of strongholds that has changed. I blame the legacy cargo hold... if I could access that from the fleet too, I would probably prefer to hang out there still, but I guess limiting them to strongholds was Bioware's incentive to make people use their new houses (and it worked).

It's also funny to see how I guessed some things correctly, such as that the system would be more about arranging furniture than about building things from the ground up, or that a lot of the best stuff would come from the Cartel Market. On the other hand it's interesting to see some of the things I was theorising about at the time that ended up being completely off-base, such as that we might be getting a new furniture-making crew skill, or that companions might come visit us in our strongholds and wander around instead of being static decorations.

The Shadow of Revan announcement mostly had me whinging about its trailer being lacklustre, Lana and Theron featuring too prominently in the loading screen art (boy, did I have no idea what was to come), not liking the experience boost that was being given out as a pre-order "perk" and feeling wary of  the upcoming changes to the talent system. But hey, at least I acknowledged with this one that two new planets, two new operations and two new flashpoints was a good chunk of new content.

Fallen Empire was shrouded in a lot of mystery and hype due to its fancy trailer and departure from what had come before. I was trying to keep things grounded in my initial analysis, and was actually spot-on with almost everything! Particularly prescient points in hindsight were "personally, I would find Star Wars without a Republic/Empire conflict very un-Star-Warsy" and, in the follow-up post, "re-acquiring your old companions [...] worries me a little because adding sensible reasons for players to hunt down forty old companions doesn't sound like a thing Bioware would do in a post-class-story world". Note that while Bioware has been trying to achieve this, we still haven't got all our companions back nearly four years later, so that was clearly a bit of a Pandora's box. Or how about this one: "An MMO can't live off story alone." Still, I'm pointing all those things out with the benefit of hindsight - at the time I was cautiously optimistic about the expansion despite of my concerns.

We knew very little about Knights of the Eternal Throne when it was first teased, so my comment section was mostly conspiracy theory talk about how the people in the teaser image were probably not Senya and Vaylin (something that's quite amusing to look back on). After that we spent almost three months without getting any more information, until we finally got the official announcement... at which point we still barely knew anything, so that most of my first impressions post was about analysing the trailer.

So yeah, I used to be pretty spoiled when it came to expansions, not really valuing them all that much because they came out frequently. Someone on Twitter pointed out that Onslaught is actually going to be SWTOR's seventh expansion, which is pretty crazy when you think about it, but it's also worth noting that the first four came out within the game's first three years... and that the last one came out two and a half years ago by now. As they say: absence makes the heart grow fonder - after so much time without a chunky piece of new content, I'm definitely more excited about this one than ever!

3 comments :

  1. (I know I'm way late on this comment.)

    It's funny, I tend to view Galactic Starfighter and Galactic Strongholds as part of the Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion. I know why Bioware viewed the former two as expansions, but to me they were part of the rather meaty patches we got between the start of RotHC and Shadow of Revan. As much as I complained about the lack of class stories in RotHC, looking back it was a great time for me in the game. So much fun, so many things to do. For me, I can look back at it as a golden time as wish that the fun I had in game and with my guild had continued for much longer. I suspect we all have periods in various MMOs where we look back and would have wanted things to continue. Ah, nostalgia. :)

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    1. Yeah, I tend to view RotHC, SoR, KotFE, KotET as the actual expansions. I think the numbering system bears this out as well with the current scheme in KotET being 5.X.

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    2. I also tend to think of GSF and GSH as part of the Rise of the Hutt Cartel patch cycle, but at the same time I see no reason not to respect Bioware's official nomenclature when talking about the subject (even if put "expansion" in air quotes a few times myself).

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