08/07/2020

The All Worlds Ultimate Swoop Rally in Review

Unlike when the Dantooine Pirate Incursion was first introduced, Bioware decided that a single week of swoop racing was enough to give us our first taste of this new event, so it felt like the racing tracks disappeared almost as quickly as they had been erected. Did my positive first impressions hold up? I'd say mostly.

The novelty factor admittedly wore off pretty quickly, but I was still happy to do all the races at least once a day to quickly get a character from zero Conquest points to hitting their personal target in a single go. The first couple of days I did multiple characters per day, but that quickly turned out to be a bit much for my taste. Also, the introductory story quest is nice enough and all, but having to do it on every single alt got old really quickly. I'm not usually someone to resort to space-barring even on repeated playthroughs of most content, but after the third time or so I decided that I'd definitely had enough of Zella to last me for a while.

I did get a bit better at the actual racing too, managing to grab all the perfection achievements on Dantooine and two on Tatooine. On Onderon it felt like I also should have got one once or twice, but I heard from several sides that the Onderon ones were a bit fiddly and didn't always grant proper credit.


The event currency seemed to come in fast and furious, and I actually hit the cap of one thousand tokens per faction more than once because I wasn't paying attention (oops). I definitely appreciated that it was legacy-wide from the start though, instead of being character-specific like these things used to be! Since the weekly reputation cap limited what I could buy during this first week of the event I just picked up some decos and all the basic speeders on two of my characters. Since reputation tokens don't disappear anymore, I'll be able to advance my rank during the following weeks even while the event isn't on, so I should have a much wider selection available to me next time it's up.

Speaking of reputation, in an interesting move Bioware decided to include a small story quest at newcomer rank for each faction, and from the way these play out the implication is that there'll be at least another installment to follow, perhaps more. These feature fairly basic tasks as you do each swoop gang leader a small favour, and the cut scenes are the "KOTOR style" that seems to have become the default for side quests now.

While I'm fine with that in principle, I do have to admit it grated a bit that of the ten different NPCs or so that you talk to during these stories, every single one's an alien that speaks the default Huttese gibberish. I'm not as easily annoyed by the repetitiveness of those lines as some, but it did feel like a kind of obvious money-saving move. I'm okay with not having all sixteen character voice actors in for little side missions like that, but couldn't they have paid one guy or gal just to mix it up a bit and have one of the NPCs speak Basic? Then again, maybe they had plans for that and COVID interfered here too, who knows.


Anyway, it was interesting for me to realise that Bioware hasn't really done anything similar before, despite of the concept of reputation ranks unlocking new story content being old as dirt. (It even existed in Vanilla WoW!) However, previously they've only really used reputation as a different type of gating mechanism for cosmetic rewards... and to access the Gray Secant during the Gree event I guess. Kind of weird to imagine that nobody at Bioware ever really thought about using it like this before. Either way it's an addition that gets a thumbs-up from me and I look forward to seeing how the story continues the next time the event comes around.

2 comments :

  1. I *definitely* thought that the whole kotor-style + alien gibberish was COVID-related. I mean, if they HADN'T reached recording-level of ready with the story that they clearly already knew was coming in January, I don't think they were even close to it with the swoop-event. Specially because I'm sure it became much more important to release it as the crisis hit and it meant that story was on hold for god knows how long.
    And - at the same time, I like when differnt aliens speak with their different language-styles, but it DOES make sense that outside of Basic, Huttese would be the mostly widely known language. The trandoshan speaks Qyzen,though! :D

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    1. Well, they did have the intro quests with Zella voiced properly, so I figured if they'd wanted human voice acting for any of the other characters that probably could have been done at the same time? I won't pretend to know how the timelines for this stuff work though.

      And fair point that's it not all Huttese. Still all generic gibberish though. ^^

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