Big 7.0 News!

Sorry, we still don't have a release date for Legacy of the Sith. Considering that Onslaught's launch date was announced about seven weeks in advance, and if we assume that Bioware is aiming for a similar schedule this time around, they're rapidly running out of time. If we don't have a date by the end of next week, I expect we'll eventually be hit with an announcement that they have to delay until January because things just aren't quite ready yet.

However! We did get a big info dump yesterday, detailing more major changes coming with the expansion that had previously not even been hinted at, so I thought those were very much worth talking about.

Goodbye to Set Bonuses, Say Hello to Legendaries

First off, we had a big news post detailing how they'll be phasing out set bonuses in favour of simply putting similar effects on single pieces of gear for either the ear or the implant slot, which will be called legendary items and you'll be able to equip two at a time.

This was quite a big surprise to me personally because Bioware generally seemed happy with the way gearing in Onslaught has panned out and hadn't said anything about wanting to make any major changes to this, so this announcement comes on fairly short notice. Aside from the surprise, I can't say that this evokes any particularly strong feelings in me though. As mentioned in my Onslaught in Review post, one downside of the current system has been that it felt a bit clogged up with too many useless sets, but I don't really know if this change is going to address that (there could still be plenty of useless legendaries).

Needing fewer pieces to swap between different bonuses will be nice for min-maxers who like to adjust their gear for different situations while also wanting to have every piece augmented, but I'm not really one of those so that won't impact me personally. I do wonder whether the removal of the whole set concept won't make these new legendaries too similar to Tacticals... as the only difference between them will effectively be that legendary ear pieces and implants can also be augmented and still have regular stats on them as well.

Oh yeah, since legendaries are effectively regular gear pieces with an item level, you'll also be able to upgrade them if you get a good one at a low level. No details have been provided about how that's supposed to work though.

Then there was also a big forum post announcing not one but five other major changes. Click the link if you want all the details as I'll just be summarising and adding my thoughts on each item.

Daily and Weekly Mission Resets

According to this, Bioware will change the way dailies and weeklies work, so that progress won't be saved anymore past reset time and old dailies/weeklies will be removed from your log. My first thought on reading this was that this must surely be meant to combat the kind of Conquest prep my guild has been doing for Total Galactic War by e.g. getting the PvP weekly to 9/10 the previous week and then finishing it quickly on the next day, but on second thought that's such an incredibly niche thing to do that doesn't really harm anyone, and while this change would put a stop to it, I don't think that's the primary intention.

Thinking about it some more though, I still couldn't help but see anything but negative effects to this proposed change. On Iokath I like to pick up several sets of rotating dailies over the course of several days so that I can then knock out all the quests in a single area in one go - with this change this would no longer be possible. Also, Conquest prep aside, things like the PvP weekly can require quite a bit of time to complete with its ten win requirement, so in this brave new world of constant resets you'd have to be very focused in your play to ever complete it before it gets reset, which would go very much against SWTOR's casual and alt-friendly nature.

The reasoning given for this change is that they want to rotate weekly content for bonus rewards, so I guess that some weeks the PvP weekly would be different from the "normal" version? I have to admit I don't fully understand what they're planning to do here, so I'll have to reserve final judgement until we know more, but as laid out it doesn't really sound appealing to be honest, with the downsides of these forced resets far outweighing any potential benefits I can imagine.

Economy Adjustments

Credit inflation has been a hot topic recently, so I'm not surprised to see Bioware address this. I am somewhat surprised that Conquest credit rewards are their first target for a nerf, but then they are the only ones with hard data on just which activities inject the most credits into the economy so I'll take their word for it.

I'm less clear on why they want to remove certain rare material rewards from Conquest, as that will drive up their prices even more and not have any effect on the influx of credits? Unless Bioware felt that these particular items are actually worth too little at the moment, but if that was their thinking they didn't make it very clear.

Shared Tagging for Mobs

This is something that many more modern MMOs have, so I'm sure many will rejoice and go "finally", but from me this one gets nothing more than a shrug to be honest. I've spent enough time in MMOs with and without shared mob tagging to have seen its benefits in areas where mob spawns are contested or fights are very tough, but from my experience it also has downsides that don't make it objectively superior. People sometimes say that it makes the community better when other players are not viewed as competition, and it may well reduce incidents of someone yelling at another person for "stealing" their mob, but at the same time it reduces incentives to group up with and talk to other players, and at least in my book, basically being able to ignore the people around you because their actions don't affect you in any way isn't actually "friendlier".

When it comes to open world mobs and bosses with rare drops, it could also increase hostility as basically someone could run in and e.g. hit Dreadtooth twice while an ops group is fighting him and then get his rare loot assigned to them by RNG. If you can't "secure" the loot by tagging, certain players may feel that they instead need to discourage competition for loot with abusive behaviour, though I admit that would likely be an edge case. My point is that in my opinion it just trades one potential source of occasional bad experiences for a different kind.

Combat Change - Vanish

So this one is interesting - vanishing into stealth will no longer cause you to exit combat in flashpoints and operations; it will just drop aggro, with the stated intent of doing away with the stealth res meta. For those not too up-to-date on these things (I wouldn't blame you), the way it works currently is that every advanced class that is capable of healing is able to revive in combat, but the ability to do so has a four to five minute cooldown for the individual, and also puts a five-minute debuff on the whole ops group so that combat res can't be used again during that time, even by another player.

This always seemed pretty reasonable to me, but balance was thrown out of whack by the fact that characters with stealth could vanish during the fight, exit combat, and then use their normal, out-of-combat revive which was unaffected by the debuff - as a Scoundrel/Operative you could do this multiple times in a row! While this has technically been possible forever, I think in the early years it was relatively rare as it takes some skill to not get put back into combat by bad timing, so it took some time for the meta to truly permeate the community I guess.

Nowadays it's pretty common in higher-level content though and puts a very high value on having multiple stealthers in your group. My own ops team doesn't have someone who can stealth out to revive in our normal setup, and I found it very noticeable that when I went to help out my other guild's progression team on some nights (who run with more stealthers) that they relied quite heavily on those extra revives sometimes and that this allowed them to recover from many a mishap that would have forced a wipe for my own team.

So this change is meant to get rid of this whole meta... but to make up for it, Bioware will remove the debuff that limits combat revives and instead just restrict the ability to healing specs. I've seen some negative reactions to this, primarily from people who liked to prove their skill with well-timed stealth reses or dpsers who feel they are losing some utility with the removal of combat revives for non-healers, but for the average ops group this is simply a big buff as you'll have way more combat revives available, and without having to stack stealth classes.

Dps-specced resers losing their in-combat revive is a bit of a downer for those classes, and it does mean that it will always fall on the healers to do the resing going forward (which does have its own risks - I've seen many a wipe triggered by a healer deciding to stop healing in order to do a combat res at a bad time), but overall I'd expect the benefits to outweigh the drawbacks on this one.

The one question mark that remains is what other bits of "stealth cheese" will be affected by this change, as the post does call out the fact that vanishing in general often makes it possible "to circumvent intended game mechanics" - a good example of this would be the first boss in TFB, where having a Shadow tank vanish out during the tank swap currently causes no small adds to spawn, which means you don't have to deal with that mechanic at all and your dps gets a lot of extra uptime on the boss. It's not entirely clear just how many of these sorts of situations will be affected by this change though.

Weapons in Outfit Designer

This mostly made me smile due to a couple of comments I got in the past that claimed that Bioware couldn't do this and that combat styles were in fact supposed to be a "replacement" for this feature, which I never thought made any sense. Seeing it announced as another addition coming with 7.0 felt somewhat vindicating in that regard, though I'm kind of surprised they didn't make a bigger deal out of it.

For me personally this won't actually do anything as I never understood why people wanted this so much (if every Jedi in my flashpoint and ops groups used the exact same lightsaber I would never notice), but I know it's something that a lot of people have been requesting for quite a while, so it's a good thing that it's being added.

What are your thoughts on these changes? Most of the early reactions I've seen so far have been somewhat mixed, with people loving one thing but then hating another. I'm honestly kind of neutral about most of them at this point, with the vanish nerf striking me as the most positive change and the plans to reset repeatable missions sounding the most unappealing - with the caveat that I feel there are aspects to the latter that I don't think we fully understand yet.


  1. "When it comes to open world mobs and bosses with rare drops, it could also increase hostility as basically someone could run in and e.g. hit Dreadtooth twice while an ops group is fighting him and then get his rare loot assigned to them by RNG."

    I don't think I've ever seen a shared tagging system that didn't also involve a degree of reward scaling. Everyone who hits a mob doesn't get the same xp or loot in any game I can think of - you get a share based on your participation. I first saw it used in Rift, where the sharing was overtly displayed in the UI and I remember people trying to finesse it to get past certain contribution thresholds before moving to another mob. I don't think I've seen that level of detail since but there's always some element of how much work you did or how long you were involved working in the background.

    The best thing about shared tagging is that you pretty much always get full credit for any quest you have for that mob - kill credit, quest drops, etc. That alone makes it a much superior system to first-hit-owns in my book. Yes, it does preclude a lot of those "Shall we team up for this one?" encounters but honestly, those are vanishingly rare nowadays outside of nostalgia servers like WoW Classic, and even there it didn't last. And there's nothing to stop people talking and grouping up if they want to, just because there's shared tagging. If they're not doing it it's probably because they never wanted to in the first place and were only doing it because they felt they had to. I'm not sure that's so much of a loss.

    That's all generalization about the genre, of course, not about SWtOR specifically. It's a long time since i played so I can't remember the specifics of how it felt with no shared tagging. I don't remember it being a problem, though, because I don't recall being in competition for much at any time.

    1. I don't think I've ever seen a shared tagging system that didn't also involve a degree of reward scaling.

      Yes, I could see them increase drops for quest items and such, but I was thinking of mobs that currently drop one rare item even if you're in a group of up to 24 people, and I don't see Bioware changing that as part of this system. I guess we'll see.

      If they're not doing it it's probably because they never wanted to in the first place and were only doing it because they felt they had to.

      See, I've never been a fan of using that argument against anything in an MMO. There are very few people on the extreme ends of any feature in the sense that they'll always love it or utterly hate it. Most of them are somewhere in the middle and game design gently nudging them one way or another makes a big difference to how the game and its community feels.

  2. I am wondering if you can take on the Ancient Threat on Yavin 4 with a double full group of 48 players with the Shared Tagging? One full imperial ops group and one full republic ops group.

    1. Considering the blog post says that the tag will still be tied to faction, no.

    2. So two full imperial ops groups is possible? Or three? There is no limit on how much people can tag the boss? The only limit is the size of the instance on the planet? This is a wild concept.

    3. It would depend if the Ancient Threat counts as a world boss, as they'll have "Open Tagging" for WBs that will enable anyone to join in.

      "In some cases, we will allow credit to be shared with any player regardless of faction. The first content that will take advantage of this ‘open tagging’ will be World Bosses. This should minimize griefing opportunities and really encourage players to help each other out in order to defeat these bosses!"

      Hopefully in this instance the Ancient Threat is not one such boss, but we'll see what BioWare do.

    4. Hopefully in this instance the Ancient Threat is not one such boss.

      Why don't you like the idea? What are arguments against this happening?

  3. I like the shared tagging because there are times I just want to solo. In effect, I'm 'casually' grouping up to do a minor PvE world activity. I do understand what you're saying about actually making a group and working together however briefly. Unfortunately, I think the larger MMO player base has move away from even that small effort. MMOs are more about shared play areas than socially shared efforts. (I wonder how much of this is the rise of social media?)

    The weapon designer is ok, but not exciting. Given I play a Sentinel, mostly, I generally don't see the weapons that much. Not like, say, Wow's massive swords. Also, with so many weapons being moddable it never felt that big a deal. I do wonder if there's that many cool unmoddable weapons that will start being used or worth a lot on the GTN. Now, if they had a transmog 'catalog' where you learned the appearance and could get rid of the actual item, well that would be exciting. That would free up quite a bit of storage space.

    The weekly/daily resets are ok. I'm so used to that from Wow I'll just roll with it.

    The Vanish changes don't affect me, but I can understand the reaction to losing a bit of utility. In the end, if it adds a bit more variety in classes for Ops then that's likely a good thing.

    As far as the set bonuses changing from the armor pieces to the Legendary items, we'll see. Making it fewer items you have to chase does seem nice. Less gear to have to carry if you are doing multiple roles is good. Though I suspect the fanatical min-maxers will always complain about what they supposedly 'need' to carry.

  4. Look, I've put on quite a few god-like stealth rezzes (mostly on Revan... But not only) but I can't say I'm too sad about missing the possibility to do so - I'm more upset I can't stealth out of a wipe and avoid the running back (I'm looking at you Apex prog).

    I also hope they end the ridiculous amount of time one has on friendly out of combat rezzes (15 minutes for non-healing-possible classes), as there IS no good reason to need to wait that long. >.<


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