04/08/2022

Manaan: Dailies With a Story

I've said many times that I'm not a huge fan of dailies - and 7.0's new gearing system has forced me to do way more of them than I usually would, to be honest - but I was still looking forward to the new daily zone on Manaan. It's always nice to get new content, and dailies are one of those things that Mr Commando and I can still do together in these days of all main story updates being pure solo content / personal to your character.

After one full round of the new area on both Republic and Imperial side, I'd say the jury is still out on whether this is going to be a place I visit more regularly or not. Cal was surprised that the new dailies offer neither daily currency nor tech fragments, but I think that's intentional - at this point, people are going to do the area for its sheer novelty and the new reputation anyway. I'd expect Bioware to rebalance the rewards to make them more equal to other, existing daily areas eventually, but for now I get it if they don't want to over-incentivise this new content.

Just in terms of general feel I got the impression that I had to do a fair amount of running around, but I wouldn't be surprised if we all came up with our own, more efficient ways of going about things after a while. On the first night, Mr Commando and I started by fighting our way into a cave for a heroic and back out again, ran around the little "island" doing other missions and then found that we had to go back into the exact same cave at the end. There's definitely ways that can be planned out better.

What was most interesting though was that Bioware decided to add a little story to Manaan. The overall feel of the narrative reminded me a bit of the old planetary storylines - less personalised and centred on your character, but adding some life to the planet and context for what it is you're doing in each area. The dailies are immediately available without doing the story, but if you pick all of them up at the beginning, you'll be able to complete them relatively synergetically alongside each step of the storyline.


Bioware also did something that I've seen in WoW before (and I wouldn't be surprised if other MMOs did this too) by having the story reward you with extra abilities that only work on Manaan. After each step you're allowed to choose between two types of gadgets, including different AoE damage abilities, a reflective shield, a self-heal, a speed boost and even a stealth field generator, if you haven't already picked a stealth class as one of your two combat styles. These should make subsequent runs of the daily area a lot easier without otherwise unbalancing the game. Very neat.

I'd say the only downside is that the production values for this side story were clearly very limited, because not only does it use the KOTOR-style dialogue in which your character stays silent (which I'm fine with for side quests), but every single character speaks some form of alien gibberish, which I'm less keen on. It's particularly annoying when they radio you updates out in the field - this is something that makes perfect sense when characters speak Basic, as you can just listen to what's being said without disrupting your gameplay, but when it's all Huttese or Selkath or whatever, you've got to stop what you're doing to bring up the right chat window and scroll back to read the translation of what they said, which is a lot less fun.

There are also some small oddities in the flow of the dialogue which make me think that Bioware originally intended for story progress to be gated by time or reputation. On Republic side this is reflected in your two contacts standing right next to each other in the same room, while occasionally conversations end with something like "No idea where X is right now" just for the immediate next step to be to talk to X two steps to the right. The Imperial story is even more obvious about it as your contact will tell you to come back later because he needs time to do something or other, but then the conversation just continues after a brief fadeout anyway.

Anyway, overall I consider this little story addition a win, and the dailies seem alright, with nothing sticking out as particularly efficient or awkward at first blush - we'll see how they hold up over time.

3 comments :

  1. Mr Commando and I

    Wait, he's no longer Pet Tank? Darn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Come on, I haven't called him that in years. :P

      Delete
    2. I'll have you know that I still have holiday cards around with Pet Tank on them... (My wife stores them.)

      Delete

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