21/03/2021

6.3 Preview Thoughts

Last Thursday Bioware did a preview stream for patch 6.3 - now confirmed to be named "The Dark Descent" - similar to what they did for 6.2 back in November. I didn't watch it live, but fortunately a recorded version is once again freely available on both Twitch and YouTube.

Apparently they got a lot of positive feedback about the voice actor interviews they included last time, and I can only agree with the majority that they've been great content and I'm happy to see more of them. This time around they interviewed Moira Quirk, who voices Elara Dorne and Aryn Leneer, and Gideon Emery, who voices Darth Rivix. They were both great to listen to once again, and Charles Boyd uttered the words "sexy David Bowie vampire" in the second interview, which is definitely something to be preserved for future generations.

One thing that was really funny to me personally was that, when Gideon started his interview by saying "thanks for having me" it was as if a switch had been flipped in my brain and I went "oh my god, it's Fenris from Dragon Age" - I had completely failed to make that connection when chatting with Rivix in game (I guess I was too immersed?) but the moment I heard the voice out of context it was like BAM!

Besides the voice actor interviews and a few giveaways, the stream's other two big ticket items were some talk about the story content coming up with 6.3 and the introduction of a new system called Galactic Seasons.


Secrets of the Enclave

6.3's story update will once again be delivered in the form of a flashpoint, continuing the Darth Malgus storyline and taking place in the ruins of the Jedi enclave on Dantooine. I was quite giddy to hear this, considering that I've (somewhat to my own surprise) become quite a Malgus fangirl ever since Jedi Under Siege! My only slight caveat is that this would potentially be the third time that we face Malgus as a flashpoint boss, which even I would consider overdoing it a little in this particular format.

That said, I thought it was interesting that they didn't actually confirm in the stream that we'll be fighting Malgus; they just stated that he'll be the reason we're there, so things might not actually end up going as we expect. (My dreams of a Malgus team-up are not dead yet!)

Characters confirmed to feature are Arn and Aryn for Republic players and Darths Krovos and Rivix for Imperials. These are all people I'm happy to see more of so I'm 100% on board with that.

Galactic Seasons

There is a whole blog post up on the official website about how this new system is going to work, but in a nutshell it sounds a bit like a cross between a limited time event and what other games call a season pass. Over the course of a season (currently slated to last about five months), you'll be able to unlock rewards for completing certain in-game objectives (more if you're also a subscriber) but you can also just spend money to get the rewards right away without playing, or pay credits to catch-up if you've fallen behind.

My reaction to that whole announcement can mostly be summed up as a somewhat resigned sigh. I don't really need the game to give me more stuff for doing the same things I'm already doing. I want story, content, and systems that keep me busy in a fun way. Like the basic login reward system introduced in 6.2, this feels more like another one of those free-to-play "tricks" to keep you engaged for the sake of monetisation, and I don't like that. I don't hate the idea or anything, but it just feels like another one of those little steps in an overall direction that I'm not too fond of. I do worry about one day realising that the water actually has become too hot for this frog.

Because I don't want to sound too negative, I will say that a large part of the player base does seem to love collecting stuff for the sake of owning it, so from that point of view I can see this system being quite a success. If I understand the way it works correctly, it will also offer free or preferred players an additional incentive to subscribe for at least a couple of times a year, even if it's not required to access new story content, which should be good for the game I guess.

Also, being completely honest with myself, depending on the details of how it works, I could see the actual objective-chasing appealing to the part of me that likes being able to combo completion of tasks for different purposes (e.g. doing a flashpoint to advance a character's personal story and complete their Conquest). If I can add "progressing my galactic season" on top of those other things I'm already interested in doing, I could see that having a certain appeal. But I can only wait and see.

What are your thoughts on what's been shown to come with 6.3 so far?

27 comments :

  1. "collecting stuff for the sake of owning it" - I just wanted to say that's the perfect description of what I've been doing all my life without even realizing it. I always knew it was diferent to hoarding (which is not being able to throw anything away) or collecting (which is acquiring things for the sake of completion). I wonder if there's a word for it?

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  2. The story content feels like they are going to setup Malgus and the Mandalorians as a joint force against the Republic and the Empire. It makes me wonder if they are going to try to recreate some of the feeling of the original cinematics where you had Malgus front and center leading a major invasion. Of course, I could be totally wrong, but return to the original feel of the game would be great. (Actual class story beats would be perfect for the 10th anniversary, too.)

    Galactic Seasons sounds nice. If this gives them a way to reintroduce all the no-longer-obtainable items (gear, pets, mounts, recipes, etc.) then I'm all for it. While I no longer have the urge to get All The Things(tm), there are some items I would like to get in order to complete a few sets. I'm cool with the ability to use cartel coins and credits to catch up. The game can definitely use more credit sinks for those with stockpiles of currency.

    Also, I do like the idea of the fleet stronghold, especially if I can see folks moving around in the VIP Lounge. I've always wanted a stronghold where I could see/be seen in the world (or active shard).

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    1. Hm, I don't think the Malgus and Mandalorian arcs are related, but I could be wrong!

      As someone who got all those rare things the first time around I'm a bit "harumph" about them going on a vendor now... but I guess I can always use my currency to buy other stuff instead. :P

      I can't see the fleet stronghold actually being connected to the live fleet, imagine the lag! I agree that it would be cool though.

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  3. The Galactic Season System shows once more, that long time subscribers (or just long time players) are not the main audience for the devs.

    I have basically every reward they will offer, including the (old/trash) cartel market armors/mounts they will put into the new reward system. Of course, the new designed items (mounts/weapons/decorations) i don't have, but it seems they just convertet a cartel market batch into "free" rewards.

    Year after year they are trying hard to hide the fact, that they only have to offer old content. Running old content for conquest. Running old content for gear. Running old content for rewards. The last time we had to do new stuff to progress was Ossus (2018). And this was basically just a daily area.

    Of course, i see, that the wast majority of players will be happy, to get the chance to secure old sub rewards. But i hate the fact, that they -once again- put so much workload in a new system, to promote/sell old stuff.

    I just can't run around anymore and kill 75 enemies on Alderaan, just because there is a imaginary reward, that i just don't need.

    SWTOR sucks big time. And it will not change.

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    1. They need 8 to 12 month for one flashpoint and additional story bits. What are they doing all the time?

      No new warzones. On the contrary... they had to take away two warzones because they were bugged beyond repair.

      No new GSF maps.

      No new Operations in 3 years.

      No new rewards on old reputation vendors. No incentive given, just conquest points.

      They create a flashpoint, introduce in this very flashpoint a new mount. And instead of putting it in the flashpoint as a (rare) drop, they made it a cartel market mount. Opulent skiff.

      Every new bit is bugged. Can't remember one cartel market batch, that wasn't in some kind bugged. Animations on weapons or armor not working. Clipping. Flashpoints badly tuned. Too hard, too easy, even the NiM Players can't figure out the intended mechanics of a flashpoint boss.

      They "fix" three pages of bugs and at the same patch, they manage to make three classes unplayable in harder content, break set-bonuses or tacticals.

      Where is the quality? "No content"/"long breaks" is one thing, but if you release only garbage, because players leave faster than you can count... yeah... not much to stay.

      But hey... give the players more stuff, more blink, to distract them from what is really going on.

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    2. play three mmo's... you won't notice any of that.

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    3. bounty contract week... no new content since 2013. New targets? No. New "nightmare" targets? For a tank-heal-two dps-group? No. Wasted opportunities.

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    4. Since none of these comments were signed with a name I can't tell whether it's the same person coming back to vent some more or different people replying to each other, but just to respond to some points selectively...

      - Having never worked in game or software development in general, I wouldn't dare to guess what's taking up all their time. I understand that their team is pretty small for a game of this size and scope though.

      - We actually got a new operation less than 2 years ago, Nature of Progress. Just because I don't see the point of diluting what I think are generally legitimate complaints with falsehoods.

      - On the subject of bugs, to be honest SWTOR's had issues with bugs and lack of polish in places pretty much since launch. It's just one of those things you come to accept or not, but it's not really something new. I also think it's a bit contradictory to complain about the team not using their time to produce more content while also making a big deal out of some Cartel Market armour having a buggy cape or whatever...

      - As for new content for Bounty Contract Week, I think I've said in the past that I'm the kind of player who's actually happy to be able to be "done" with an event and to not constantly be given reasons to re-do it every year, but I acknowledge that's personal preference. ^^

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    5. sorry, my mistake. i just read dxun release 2019. of course it was in late 2019. it's just two years at the end of this year and not three. but do you think, we will get this year another operation? it will be 2 years, more likely 2 and a half years. So i don't see the point in pointing it out. :)

      regarding "devs don't use their time the right way" and being "a bit contradictory" if i complain about "buggy capes".

      ingame bugs, like broken classes, or no content at all are one thing. but for cartel market stuff i pay extra. additional money. so i think, i'm allowed to complain that they always release unfinished stuff. the game bugs are covered from my subscription, and the cartel market bugs are covered from my cartel coin spendings. i think, i have the right to complain double.

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  4. yeah... they have so much to do. so much opportunities. but what do they do?

    "here is one guy and his guild. they can't make it to the number one spot. he wants us to destroy crafting."
    "done".
    "people complain on the forums. they say, the guy and his guild are still not able to get number one spot."
    "silence them".

    "one dude on the forums said, toxic ranked players are toxic."
    "silence him".

    players still buy credits from third parties. economy is destroyed. they can't fix it. they can't identify the sellers. they can't identify the buyers. they can't identify ranked abusers. (looking forward to snaves stream with prum this saturday). they can't identify conquest crafter abusers running scripts.

    basically they're not capable of anything. close the game. give us a new staff and swtor 2.

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    1. It's kind of funny to me that I always feel a bit bad when I have something even slightly negative to say about the game, until I get comments like this. ^^ Sorry to hear that you're not enjoying the game anymore, but thanks for the reminder of the kinds of vibes I'm trying to avoid!

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    2. of course you can say "negative vibes", and you can avoid them. but is it untrue?

      in contrast to that we have the bioware influencer.

      illeva starts every monday a new playthrough. only story stuff. sure positive. but this is not the whole game.

      we have vulkk. who buys people to write class guides, because he does not play the game anymore. an official bioware influencer does not play the game.

      we have swtorista, who does a whole lot of stuff and carries the game and community.

      is kidlee even alive?

      mmobits just reacts to official news. which basically comes down to every few weeks one post.

      and this year your blog makes a headstart into an alltime low in posts about swtor.

      that are four out of six people, who are not playing the game or create content in the way they used to do.

      of course this is a negative viewpoint, but a viewpoint that is true.

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    3. i would like to add...

      of course the six people i mentioned are not the whole community. but it is a representation that four out of six longtime players, two out of three people, are not there anymore.

      and this can be seen in the game.

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    4. but is it untrue?

      Yes. Saying stuff like "basically they're not capable of anything" (direct quote from the comment I was responding to) is 100% nonsense, even if I get why people might feel that way.

      And I think you put too much stock into the amount of output from specific influencers you follow. There is always turnover in the community, and people have been saying that the end is nigh for these and other reasons since at least 2012.

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    5. hahaha... what is this here? i saw this post on our discord. you have to excuse jeff. he got banned on official forums by jackieko and is looking for another stage to vent. "devs are not capable of anything"... he doesn't mean it. he is just filled with bitterness because he is in quarantine and his girl left him. ignore him. sorry for that.

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    6. This is so much more amusing then it should've been..

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    7. "And I think you put too much stock into the amount of output from specific influencers you follow."

      The mentioned influencer are kind of special, no?! apart from this blog owner, they were all featured on official bioware pages (websites, launcher). if you promote influencer this heavy, it sure is sad, that only two are left playing the game or create content.

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    8. Yeah, but Bioware has never been great about keeping their official programme up to date. It's normal that people drop out over time, and new stars arise. Just because Bioware isn't highlighting them yet, doesn't mean they aren't there.

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  5. so much traffic on this post. i like it.

    multiple anonymous... i'm afraid, i'm another anonymous.

    i just want to say, that the swtor community is humble. they are trained to. all players who wanted more in a game are gone since years. all the players still playing the game are used to getting content every few years. they always played "old" stuff. nobody demands anything anymore. maybe we do, but not on a great scale. they are easy satisfied with one developer stream every year, or maybe two streams directly before a "major expansion"/slightly bigger content release.

    everybody knows, bioware does too little with the star wars id. but all in all, the player that are still active, are hardcore fans and white knight everything the game has to offer. and the 80 percent of the player base that are just playing story every once in a while are easily satisfied and will come back with the next content patch.

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    1. i agree on this one. the game is, what the players allowed the game to be.

      makes this sentence sense? i'm french and not sure, if this is a correct sentence.

      what i mean is, that bioware figured out, what the least amount of output is, which satisfies the playerbase to stay subscribed and continue to support the game financially.

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    2. Apart from the , between is and what, the sentence makes perfect sense. Ofc, this applies to any service you have, too...

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    3. "Humble" swtor players are a lot of things, humble is not one of them. One of the most toxic chats i've ever seen in a game lol

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  6. Shin, I'd love to make a longer and meaningful comment (I have missed your blogging) but I can hardly remember what was I thinking of saying before all the commentary drama around here! Hahahahah.
    All I can remember is that I don't think we'll be fighting Malgus in this flashpoint, much like we never fought Theron in this traitor Arc. In fact, I would love a team up with him, too, and using the knowledge of the pressure Acina/Vowrwawn used on him and the compulsion to strike against the Empire for either Pub/Personal Gain.
    (On team sizes... If you look at job search platforms, you'll notice a number of requests for jobs specifically within Swtor... Idk what to make of it, but they seem to be growing their team, and that is still up even after canceling Anthem)

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  7. somebody pointed out, that shintar releases less posts on this blog, than ever before. related to that i have a question.

    how are the viewer numbers compared to previous years. is there a decline as well?

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    1. It's hard to say as the data I have can be quite unreliable, but it actually says that 2020 and 2021 have had the highest pageviews in the site's history. A large part of that is probably due to Swtorista linking to several of my posts in her "guide of guides". The readers coming for regular updates only ever make up a tiny fraction of the overall traffic.

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    2. You can blame swtorista on reddit for making me aware of this place :p
      https://old.reddit.com/r/swtor/comments/kms37y/dulfy_update_where_has_dulfy_been_why_hasnt_there/ghn712m/?context=3

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    3. Haha, thanks for that; that link made me smile. Especially got a chuckle out of one of my ops team members calling me a celebrity. :)

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