First Impressions of Legacy of the Sith

I can't lie, my first impressions of Legacy of the Sith are not as positive as those I had of Onslaught, though it was hard for me at first to articulate what exactly is wrong, because I am having a good time. Trying to sort out my thoughts for the purposes of writing this post has certainly helped with putting things into perspective though.

If I had to sum my issues up in a nutshell, I would say that one is that there are a lot of mechanical and visual changes that I'm not sure how I feel about yet, and the other is that the content feels incomplete.

Point one is about both the UI updates made with 7.0 and the class changes that included some ability pruning. The UI updates have generated a lot of public complaints that I've got to say feel very out of proportion, buuut... I do have at least a little bit of sympathy because I can't say that I really love them myself. I'd like to think that there were probably good reasons for all of the changes the designers decided to make, which may not be evident to me, such as needing to increase scalability for larger monitors, improving accessibility or whatever, but the main thing I see as a long-time player and layperson when it comes to UI design is that a lot of things that used to be very colourful, detailed and representative of a style that strongly set SWTOR apart from other MMORPGs... are now more flat, less detailed and minimalist in a way that makes things look a lot more generic. It doesn't really actively bother me, but I can't claim that it feels like an improvement to me personally either.

Old class/origin story icons vs. new

As far as the ability pruning goes, the situation is actually kind of similar, though here it's more a case of "I'm not sure how I feel about this yet". What changes I experienced on the PTS for myself didn't seem too bad. Playing my Commando after the update has been fine too! In fact, I did kind of like having fewer combat abilities that don't fit onto my main two action bars, because that does feel neater somehow.

On the other hand though, I've already been in numerous situations where I found myself missing almost every single ability that I now had to cut out of my arsenal due to the new system forcing you to choose between different options. I can't tell though whether that's just a temporary thing while I get used to the new normal or something that will bother me in the long run. Either way, it's once again a change that I can't simply gush about as a cool new feature.

As far as the content feeling incomplete goes... I was perfectly fine with Bioware delaying the release of the new operation, because other MMOs also stagger the release of new raids and that seemed completely reasonable to me. I was fine with them leaving crafting updates for some time after 7.0, because I'd rather they had a good think about them than rush out something that feels bad. When they said they'd have to push weapons in the outfit designer back to 7.1 as well, I was like: "Whatever, it's just a small cosmetic feature!" But when I wanted to do the new daily zone on Manaan and was told that this, too, had been cut out of the initial launch, that didn't feel good at all. Apparently Bioware had announced this somewhere previously, but I'd completely missed the memo somehow. It does mean that once you've completed the story, there's nothing to do other than work on getting new gear through existing content and re-running the new flashpoint perhaps. That's a pretty thin offering.

Speaking of the story... I won't go into any spoilers in this post, but I can't deny that even I thought it was kinda short. Now, people have complained about SWTOR's expansion stories being too short pretty much since Rise of the Hutt Cartel (aka the very first expansion), and I've always found that ridiculous because a lot of these complaints tend to be rooted in comparisons to certain other MMOs that are made by much bigger teams, and which also charge a lot more money for their expansion content.

But in this case, you can very easily compare to what we got only one expansion ago in this very same game, with Onslaught, which launched with a story that spanned two planets and a flashpoint, while this time around it's only one planet and a flashpoint. I had some hope that Bioware would compensate for this by making Manaan bigger and longer, but that simply hasn't been the case, so we got about thirty percent less story than last time. That's very noticeable.

As for the content of the story... again, I won't go into spoilers until a later post, but again the comparison to Onslaught is quite striking. Onslaught had three acts that were logically tied together and finished with a solid climax, followed by a little epilogue that teased the next update. It also made great use of the large existing cast of characters, showing lots of love for little details. In contrast, the story that LotS launched with consists of two parts that are completely disconnected and which focus on a much smaller cast, leaving you with a certain sense of: "Where is everyone?" It's not awful, but compared to most of what Bioware has served up over the last couple of years, it falls rather flat.

All that said, I'm still managing to have fun. There is something fascinating to re-discovering your class with the combat changes in place, and gearing up through group content with my guildies is as fun to me as it has always been. The new season has also been enjoyable so far. It's just that... I should really have better things to say about a freshly launched expansion than merely that? I'll continue to focus on the bits I enjoy for now and here's to hoping that 7.1 fleshes things out a bit, considering how much content they held back for it.


  1. As a retuning player I find that the new expansion works in my favour. The reduction of skills means I have less to learn and makes it easier to get "back into the game".

    I was a little surprised at the length of Rise of the Hutt Cartel story. After fleeing Makeb in the Ark I expected to start tracking down the Imperials and stopping them from claiming any surplus Isotype 5.

    Reading both yours and others comments, it would appear that SWTOR is suffering from what I would call Star Trek Online syndrome which has similarly seen a decline in length, story driven content over recent years.

    1. I can definitely see the appeal for new and returning players when it comes to the skill pruning, because the amount of abilities can be a lot to remember. Whenever I've played an alt of a class I don't play that often, I would often forget to use a lot of the more minor skills myself, so I expect that the effect of the pruning will actually feel better on those characters (as in: me simply having fewer buttons to press instead of having loads and forgetting about half of them, heh).

  2. I think this is a real issue of language for the entire genre. The term "Expansion" used to mean a box you bought in a store that, when installed, pretty much doubled the size of the mmorpg you were playing. Other than using the base game to save the trouble of creating a new game enginee, an expansion came very close indeed to being a full-size game in its own right. Expansions were expected to have enough content to last as long as a brand-new game: weeks, probably months of 30+ hour weeks of play.

    That was still the case even as recently as ten years ago and a few developers still come close to that standard even now but the term "Expansion" has been adopted, almost perniciously in some cases, to describe things that would certainly have been looked on as "Updates" in the past, the kind of two or three times a year regular content drops that subscription games provided as a matter of course as part of the sub. The fact that other games literally use the term "Expansion" to describe their actual free updates just adds to the confusion.

    In my opinion, if something doesn't have sufficient content to qualify as a standalone game with at least as much content as a typical offline title - let's say forty hours - it really ought not to be called an "Expansion". If it's free it ought to be called an "Update" and if there's a charge (which obviously should be proportionate to the amount of content) it should be sold as "DLC" or "Add On" or "Scenario" or whatever.

    1. All very true, and I guess it hasn't helped that SWTOR has been somewhat bad at this pretty much since launch. Makeb was originally advertised as just another big story update that was going to be free for subscribers, but then they repackaged it as an expansion with the free-to-play transition. People questioned whether Strongholds and Galactic Starfighter should be called expansions from the very beginning, since they added no story, just a single new gameplay feature each, but Bioware always labelled them as such. I guess at a minimum, I would expect something that's called an expansion to be noticeably larger than a regular content patch, but LotS doesn't look like it's living up to that at the moment either...

    2. I seem to remember one of the devs saying that they considered anything that had enough content to get them a magazine review was an expansion. Now, this was back before Strongholds came out so the team might not view things the same way now. (Amusingly, it was the lack of content with Strongholds that prompted the comments about 'why is this an expansion'. The circle of comments continues.)

    3. As I'm not buying the thing itself I don't really care if they call it expansion or patch or whatever. I've come back for WoW Patches that had the scope of expansions, so that's fine.

      From what I read it is actually a bit low on content this time, but level cap +5 and with that a new round of the gear mill... so that's an expansion I guess...

  3. I don't care about the length of the story.
    I don't care about the pruning.
    I don't care about leveling into the mid-twenties with 3 attack abilities.
    I don't care about not being able to solo heroics anymore.
    I don't care that i'm not allowed to use the group finder, because this week are only high level flashpoints available.

    But i will uninstall.

    I'm here since 8 years, and i played on almost a daily basis. Maybe a weekend i can't. Maybe two weeks of holidays. But mostly once a day.

    And i will leave. Because of the UI.

    Many people say it is not that disturbing, and i see them playing on high res, wide screen monitors. But with my hardware... it's horrendous. It is literally unplayable. I can't play the game anymore.

    1. I'm curious what makes it so bad for you? Does it hurt your eyes or something? I mean, my monitor is almost ten years old, so far from state of the art either, but I don't have any issues other than having somewhat preferred the older aesthetic.

    2. It's the scaling. If i press C my whole screen is occupied with this window. From the bottom to the top, from left to right.

      I spend hours in the interface editor to make it somehow work for me. I can change the global settings to make the window smaller. But when i reach the size i want for this window and the inventory, the icons are so tiny, that i can't even identify what is in there. Apart from that i have to resize the quickbars again, so that i can identify what's on there.

      Regardless of what i do, there is absolutely no satisfying setting, where i can see everything equally good and how i want it to be.

      If they don't bring back the old UI or the option to switch back, i literally can't play, because i can't change the settings in a way, that makes the game playable.

      Last week i had two crafting windows open and the inventory and on top of that i could see, where i was driving with my speeder. Now the whole screen is covered with one gigantic window and i see nothing else.

      This is not a userfriendly change. They should have tested this on non-wide-screen monitors and other solutions.

      I did, what i could. And i give up. Game is dead for me.

  4. I think we share some similar reactions to LotS. Now that I’ve had a couple days to play with them, Combat Styles are fun and Loadouts are pretty neat too. I wish Loadouts could pull gear from my Legacy Bank or Cargo hold, but that might be a whole other nut to crack.

    As far the UI goes, I do feel like it was showing its age and needed an update. I don’t know if it’s true, but I’ve heard that old UI was programmed in Flash, so it’s definitely overdue for a makeover. The new windows, however, could do with tweaks to make them more user friendly. The pop ups in the Abilities window and the titles section on the character sheet are ridiculously limited.

    Clearly SWTOR's current UI design philosophy seems to be as minimal as possible, certainly more so than I’d personally go. Those white icons seem out of place on the character screen and I don’t think a touch of texture and splash of color would hurt them at all. But I am fine with a cleaner, modern aesthetic. The combined inventory/character sheet is a good update, and I like how it looks, even as I wish it were a bit smaller. It is weird how inconsistent the UI is from window to window. I imagine there are more updates to come.

    As for the story, when they first announced it, I thought Manaan sounded like Ossus 2.0 and I’m used to what to expect from a story flashpoint, so I thought it might be short. I’d hoped I was wrong, but was not shocked when I wasn’t. I did enjoy what we got, but I’m ready for the story to get going again.

    I guess Legacy feels like its off to a slow start, but it is start, I guess.

  5. When I started up again, there are/were too many new Players that don't know how the Original Classes are supposed to Run before adding a Second Class. I get that some people wanted to try playing a Dark-Side Jedi or a Light-Side Sith and the Same for the Tech Classes, but really, new Players should play through one Class at a Time and then if they want to add a Second Class after that they can.

    1. Actually didn't they do it?

      New players, in like real new players, can't switch.

      You have to at least unlocked the Dark V or Light V achievement. Which no new player has.
      And you have to at least finished once chapter 3 of the story. Which no new player has.

      Sooo... if we are precise... the many questions about this topic are actually not coming from new players.

      Or do i misunderstood something. I haven't done any of this on my own. Just read about it.

    2. Per Swtorista's Combat Styles FAQ: "Any character completing their Act 3 Origin Story unlocks the ability Legacy-wide to choose a second Combat Style immediately after Character Create (upon entering the game, the Mission is available and in your Mission Log and Tracker)". Boosted characters don't count, so a new player will have at least leveled one character through Chapter 3 *and* be a subscriber to have a second Combat Style.

      I do wonder if you are confusing the fact that Origin Stories and Combat Styles aren't locked to each other in the way pre-7.0 Class Stories and Advanced Classes were.

  6. I have recently returned, both to the game and this blog, after a rather long hiatus. A flirtation with other games (The Elder Scrolls Online and World of Warcraft's Shadowlands expansion, neither of which could hold my attention) and some pretty major life changes and personal hurdles to overcome.

    But, oh boy, am I glad to be back (again, both to the game and the blog!). I started up again a few weeks ago, to prepare for the new expansion (or whatever you want to call it). Sadly, some of the abovementioned life changes mean I can't afford to sub, so I am experiencing the new expansion as a Preferred player rather than, ironically, my preferred way to experience it, as a sub. Oh, well, it is what it is. I can't play the new story content yet, but I can still get my characters to level 75 (70 was the max the last time I was subbed) and experience the new system and UI stuff.

    Personally, I am a huge fan of some of it (Combat styles, the new Character Sheet, etc) and utterly unperturbed by smaller things like the icons and such. I think the Combat Styles are an absolute breath of fresh air. I have finished all the class stories multiple times in the past. Twice each for each Jedi, to experience both Advanced Classes, and three times each for the Trooper and Smuggler. The Imperial side is so much better in my mind, though. Four times through each Sith story, six times through the Agent (the best story in any MMO ever) and *eight* times through the Hunter story (the best-playing character in an MMO, in my opinion).

    Combat Styles, however, will allow me to play through the Smuggler and Trooper stories with the Bounty Hunter Merc style (I know they are mechanically the same, but I just enjoy the Imperial aesthetic more). And, I can give the two Jedi stories one more try each, but with the Sith Combat styles (as soon as I unlock Dark V; for some reason, there have always been too many icky or just cartoonishly evil Dark Side choices to keep me from going too far into them). Eventually... Hey, if I could play the Jedi stories with the BH Merc Combat style, I would probably do that! ;)

    Honestly, the best part of this game, for me, has always been the original Class Stories (hence my fairly ludicrous alt count). And it has been an absolute joy to revisit them. I have just completed a new Bounty Hunter story run (as a Merc, of course) and started on a Trooper (Merc) playthrough, as well as started a new Agent and Smuggler. I also went back and finished one of my Sith Warriors who I never got around to completing before. Oh, and I also started a new Juggernaut character, who I decided to name "Jugglernaut" and roleplay as the child of two Sith Lords who ran away from the Empire to avoid Sith plotting and backstabbing and joined a Hutt circus, before their enemies caught up with and murdered them, leading him on a path of revenge starting with training on Korriban. Honestly, I have a rather overactive imagination... LOL

    Anyway, thanks as always for the post. Most entertaining.

    1. "Jugglernaut"... LOL!

      To be honest I haven't had anything to say about combat styles so far because I've been completely ignoring the feature, simply untracking the quest to choose a second combat style on all my characters and going about my day as I did before.

      Back when combat styles were first revealed, I said that they were something that "has the potential to be a huge game changer or to make no difference to many players at all", and it seems that for me it's turned out to be the latter. I'm just happy with my characters' identities as they are and don't really want to change them. I do still think that as time goes on I'm likely to try out swapping at some point just because the option is there, but at the moment I'd really rather focus on other things.

      However, I can totally see the appeal for people who like to roll up new alts all the time and for whom this greatly expands their gameplay options. :)

    2. As I am Preferred, I won't get a chance to try having multiple Styles myself anytime soon. And, like you, I can see little reason to have a second style on any given character.

      Mostly, because I am a roleplayer at heart. Like you, I am mostly happy with my characters' identities as they are. The system is a win for me because it allows me to create new versions of them which more closely match my style of actually playing them, as well as which feel more consistent with their story. For example, I have tried to imagine playing a new agent with one of the other Styles, but my new Agent is just a basic operative.

      As for the ability to add a second Style, I think it has value mostly in terms of convenience. The ability to add stealth skills to use if you want to stalk through areas and avoid a bit of combat ang hit the objectives more quickly. Or have the utility of adding ranged combat to a melee character (or vice versa). And save time on character relogs. If you are feeling the need for a different style of play than your current character offers, no need to switch to an alt, just have that alt in your backpack, so to speak.

      So, for an altoholic like me, the need for this second style is… well, a needless waste. Why pull that second skillset out of thin air when I can have the pleasure of rolling up that alt and going through one of those wonderful Class Origin stories all over again! Bliss.

      This is probably why, back in my youth, I was that annoying guy at our D&D sessions (and other table top roleplaying games). I created characters which we *interesting* to me. Like the dumb Wizard (sure, his spells were weaker, but it was fun to see the world through those eyes) or the cowardly Warrior (who loved to debate the morality of warfare and whether he added more value to the world as a living philosopher or heroic martyr).

    3. Or, and I just thought of this, I once played a Halfling Berserker who was a cannibal and super cheerfully psychotic. I had so much fun with her (and I now see her in Treek), but I annoyed the hell out of my friends with her.


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