More Adventures on the LotS PTS

I never actually wrote a follow-up to my confused post about day one of the Legacy of the Sith PTS, but that doesn't mean that nothing's been happening. Bioware did provide some more information and context for what they were trying to achieve with what was on display there soon after, but to be honest none of it really changed my opinion from "I'm not really sure about this, but I guess I'll wait and see".  The rather confusing initial implementation of the new system on the PTS - which required you to wade through several forum threads to have even the faintest idea of what's going on - didn't exactly help either.

Plus as previously mentioned, the first advanced class/combat style to be tested was Guardian, which I play only casually, so combined with all the other limitations I didn't feel like I could really give any good feedback on that one. After that they tested Sentinels, which I know even less about, as Sentinel/Marauder is probably my least favourite advanced class in the game right now and I play it very little.

However, this past week they added Sniper and Operative, and while I'm not big on Snipers and Gunslingers either, Operative/Scoundrel is something I do play somewhat more frequently, at least in the healer role, so I thought it might be worth checking out.

One thing that was immediately helpful was that they added a very rough work-in-progress UI, which just makes it so much easier to understand what's happening. I wrote in my last post that it felt like they were trying to return to skill trees of a sort, but the new visuals make it clearer that it's more of a merge of the current specialisation "line" and the utility system. So you'll still get a lot of abilities that are tied to your spec as you level up, predetermined like it is now, but then at certain levels, instead of getting a utility point, you may be given a choice of three abilities or passives that modify existing abilities tied to your spec, e.g. as a healing Operative one of my early options was to choose between three passives that added special effects to existing heals. Somehow just seeing it like that made the whole thing immediately less intimidating to me.

In terms of pruning, Operatives didn't seem to have been hit too badly from my point of view. There was a bit of early panic when Sleep Dart was missing from the initial PTS build, which immediately sent everyone's minds racing about the implications of a potential end to crowd control from stealth (no more stealth caps in PvP?!), but that turned out to just have been an error and they added it back in almost immediately. As a healer, all of my heals were still there, and the only thing I noticed being conspicuously absent was the class's raid buff.

Where abilities had been turned into choices, forcing you to pick one out of three, this mostly seemed to be directed at perhaps nerfing the class a bit in PvP by making people choose between things like having more stuns or extra survivability. I don't really have a good read on the details, but that doesn't seem too bad a concept... though the hard stun becoming an elective does make me wonder about PvP balance a bit, even as someone who's more of a PvE person. Every single class having a hard stun on the same cooldown was one of those things the original devs decided to include as an easy balance move... and I'm not saying it's necessarily a bad thing to move away from that, as being stunned in PvP isn't exactly fun, but I can see changing that baseline having a major effect on overall class balance.

With that in mind, I originally wanted to have a bit of a go at seeing how this new setup worked in PvP, but whenever I was on the PTS there weren't enough people queueing. So I went to do a couple of level 75 veteran flashpoints with my guildies instead (since level scaling still isn't implemented the way it is on live). First we did Objective Meridian, in which I healed and it was... actually kinda challening! We even wiped once or twice, and defeating Tau took absolutely forever (which wasn't helped by the fact that only two of us were still standing by the end). This didn't seem down to any weakness of the classes though; more a result of us having none of our usual legacy buffs and all playing characters/roles that we weren't necessarily 100% familiar with. For example one of the new utilities I picked was actually a major buff to one of my heals but then I completely forgot to use it appropriately to take advantage of that.

After that we went into Spirit of Vengeance, and as one of my guildies wanted to try his hand at Operative healing too, I respecced to Concealment - a spec I've actually never played on live, though I did play its Republic equivalent (Scrapper Scoundrel) for a bit when I took my Scoundrel through KotET on master mode. Even with everything being stabby knife moves instead of punches it quickly came back to me how there's a certain rhythm to that spec in terms of building Tactical Advantage and spending it, and I actually found it quite fun, even if I couldn't really tell whether/how it was changed from live. Oh, and we wiped on this flashpoint too, so it wasn't just my healing earlier! But still, it was good fun.

My main takeaway from this round of visiting the PTS is that I'm feeling much more optimistic about what I'm seeing. A big part of my initially rather negative reaction was due to the way the ability changes seemed to have come completely out of the blue, but having a better understanding of what's happening and why certainly makes it all look a lot more palatable and like less of a big deal than it felt like initially.


  1. Delfae @Star Forge30 August 2021 at 13:37

    I agree, having the WIP interface helps a lot. I was mostly invested in the Sniper tests this round (And I'm still a little baffled about how they tried to handle Engineering), but overall this round of PTS looks good.

    I also went back to check the updated guardians & sentinels, and (for the most part) they're looking much better than their original iteration.

  2. hihihi...

    Your opinion "I'm not sure about this, but i guess i'll wait and see", is really close to "i can't change it anyway, but i guess i'll wait and see". Both state of the mind look similar, but there is one difference. The illusion of hope, the illusion of future change.

    1. I would say the main difference is that someone who thinks "I can't change it anyway" would need to have some specific changes of their own in mind that they'd like to see instead of what's actually happening. That's not me though; I have no ambitions to be a game dev. :) I'll always say what I like and don't enjoy as a player, but it's rare that something will make me go "they should do XYZ instead".

      Also, re: "the illusion of hope", I'm self-aware enough to know that I'm often unhappy about change to begin with, but might well end up liking it in the end after all, especially when it comes to what the SWTOR devs have been doing over the past few years. I was not keen on what I saw of Spoils of War on the Onslaught PTS for example, but then was really happy with the actual live implementation of it.


Share your opinion! Everyone is welcome, as long as things stay polite. I also read comments on older posts, so don't be shy. :)