29/08/2023

What Is Conquest and Why Should I Care about It?

I'm mostly writing this post as a reference point for my guild, but I hope that it might be useful to others as well.

What is Conquest?

Conquest is a rotating weekly event that offers a selection of useful and valuable rewards. In terms of how it works, you can think of it like temporary achievements - complete certain tasks during that week and earn points. The types of activities that award Conquest points are generally very simple and varied, from gaining a level to completing a heroic mission, plus you also receive a small trickle of Conquest points from simply killing mobs or completing any quests at all.

Conquest matters on three different levels:

Personal / Solo

If your character is level ten or above, earning 100k Conquest points in any given week (starting on Tuesday with the weekly reset) will give you a reward. Even if you've never cared about Conquest, even if you didn't know what Conquest even was, you've likely taken part in it by just playing. Earning 100k points on a single character is not hard at all if you play at least a few hours during the week, and the reward would have simply popped up as another mission completion for you. You may have clicked it away without thinking much more than "huh, free stuff".

Guild (non-competitive)

A guild's Conquest score is based on the individual Conquest scores of all of its members combined. At the start of each week, leadership gets to choose a guild target from one of three options (small, medium or large). If the guild reaches this point target within the week, everyone who contributed (by reaching their own personal Conquest target) gets an additional reward after the next reset. Rewards are better based on the chosen size of your target.

Guild (competitive)

Guild targets are associated with planets, and each planet has a leaderboard showing the highest scores of all the guilds that have invaded that planet/chosen that target during the event. The guild at the top of the planetary leaderboard by the end of the week earns a rare achievement and legacy title. This is why guilds may care about scoring extra points beyond their non-competitive target.

Why is my guild asking me to work on Conquest?

In most situations, a guild's officers will choose a guild target that's appropriate for their guild's "natural" level of activity, to ensure that everyone gets their guild reward at the end of the week with no additional effort required. However, there are situations in which leadership might ask members to put in extra effort when it comes to generating Conquest points:

1. You've joined a dedicated Conquest guild. There are usually no more than three or four of these per server, and they are focused on staying on top of the leaderboard each week. They may ask you to score as many points as possible each week to achieve that goal. These guilds will have relatively strict activity requirements and may quickly remove members that become inactive and are no longer contributing.

2. Your guild is trying to move up. As an example, your guild may have been hitting the medium target for a while, but it's been growing/getting more active, and leadership thinks that large yield and its improved rewards are within your reach (but not yet guaranteed). Officers might then choose to go for the large target the next week and ask people to play a bit more than before to push the guild over the threshold.

3. It's Total Galactic War! Most Conquest events only feature three to five planets, meaning that the same few dedicated Conquest guilds will end up on top of the leaderboard over and over. However, there is a rare Conquest event called Total Galactic War, during which every planet in the galaxy can be invaded, meaning there are a lot of opportunities to win first place somewhere. Medium-sized guilds may rally their members around this event and call for a big Conquest push to make use of the rare opportunity to win first place without being dedicated to Conquest all year round.

OK, so... what do I do?

Your guild has asked you to help with Conquest and you want to, but... what do you do? The simple answer is to just play and be active. Almost everything you can do in game generates some Conquest points. As a rule of thumb, organised small group content and PvP will generate points more quickly than just playing solo, but there are plenty of opportunities to score a lot of points as a solo player as well, such as increasing your reputation with a faction or increasing a companion's influence level once per day.

If you do want to learn more about the nitty-gritty of how Conquest works, what activities there are to do and what rewards you can earn, I recommend checking out these guides by Swtorista and Vulkk.

28/08/2023

Saving TOR Fashion

Fan sites are a big part of an MMO's life blood. Even as someone who likes to go in "blind" most of the time when it comes to exploring new content, sooner or later there'll be a point where I get stuck or confused, and being able to look up a guide - or even just finding out that other people have been having the same problem - can become an important part of continuing to enjoy the game.

With that said, I was not best pleased to find out about a week ago that TOR Fashion was going to shut down. TOR Fashion and its sister site TOR Decorating have been on my blog's side bar for a very long time now. Back in 2014, which must have been around the time they started giving people the ability to submit custom outfits, I uploaded one of my own. Other than that, I don't recall using the site much since I'm not hugely into fashion or decorating (I know...) but I'm sure it came up in quite a few of my Google searches over the years.

Fortunately, I then found out that Swtorista was going to preserve most of the content from both sites, hurrah! I gave the virtual equivalent of a thumbs-up and didn't give it any more thought beyond that. I was therefore very surprised when I received an email from Swtorista a few days later in which she asked me whether I was interested in helping out with a small task related to the project. While she was busy figuring out how to export all the data and incorporate it into her site, she'd come across a few pages that defied automatic processing due to weird layouts, and she was wondering whether I'd be up for helping to manually move those into her Wordpress account.

To be honest, I'm not sure why she picked me - maybe because I'm clearly somewhat familiar with blogging software, even if this site runs on Blogger? Maybe because this blog is evidence that I love documenting and preserving things? No matter, I was honoured to be asked for help, and after some careful inquiries about how much work would be involved (I do have other things to do as well, after all), I agreed to take care of transferring twenty odd pages.

Of course, it wasn't until after I'd started that I realised that some of those pages consisted of a multitude of tabs, and included a total of over a thousand images.

Still, you might think: How hard can it be to copy and paste some text and click "save as" on a bunch of images? Well, you'd be surprised! For example, it turned out that not all of the images were saved in the same file format, and Wordpress wouldn't let me upload one of those formats, so I had to then go back and find all the odd ones out and manually convert each one to something that would be accepted. It's not difficult, but it can be pretty time-consuming, and before you know it you've wasted an afternoon and are wondering where the time went.

I have to admit there were moments when I thought to myself, what am I doing here? How many people really care about what outfit Mako wears when you first get her as a companion? But then I thought, well, someone cared enough to make a page about it and upload 300+ images of companions in their starter gear, and I respect that.

On the stronghold pages I worked on, I learned a lot of new stuff about each stronghold actually. I technically own them all, but I don't really use any of them other than the Coruscant and Fleet apartments, so I never knew that the Alderaan stronghold has a "Killik Dispenser" in it for example. What the heck? The more you know...

In general, trawling through the old TOR Fashion site filled me with mad respect for the old owner. You could kind of tell that her enthusiasm diminished many years ago now, as some pages were extremely outdated, but in general there was so much stuff there and it was all managed in an incredibly manual way.

I learned that the site was originally founded by Dulfy (yes, that Dulfy) and then handed over to Exile, who continued to expand into something like a dozen different games (even if some of those expansions didn't last very long - both the sites and the games. Rest in peace, "Wildstar Fashion".) Exile did so much work behind the scenes; she just never reached quite the same level of notoriety as people like Dulfy or Swtorista (I guess it helps your brand if your name is literally your website's URL).

Anyway, I think it's nice that most of her work will now be preserved, and I appreciate that she actually went out there and offered people the opportunity to do so before shutting the site down. I remember way back in 2012, when Torhead was a thing, I went through a phase of compiling and uploading about five hundred screenshots of things like armour pieces and NPCs for them because I wanted to help make it more useful... and then a few years later it just went away.

Or take the aforementioned Dulfy! She lost interest in the game many years ago, but her site remained up and running, and even with no updates it continued to be a valuable resource for certain aspects of the game that hadn't really changed and simply hadn't been covered by anyone else. And then a few months ago, it just went offline! I've bookmarked an archived version of her "Dreadseed and Star Forager armor locations guide" because I'm not aware of any newer sites having content on the topic, and I'm not sure the old site is ever coming back. It just sucks! (EDIT: Swtorista pointed out to me that she does have an article on that subject too now!)

So I'm glad that all the stuff gathered on TOR Fashion is getting a new lease on life for now and that I've been able to contribute at least a small part to it. A site like that takes a huge amount of effort to build and maintain, and it would've been a shame to have it all just disappear.

19/08/2023

A Long, Slow Goodbye to Twitter

I created my Twitter account almost eleven years ago. The site was still smaller back then, a kind of nerdy place for bloggers to hang out. It wasn't something I ever felt I needed in my life, but I was curious enough to check it out and see what the fuss was all about.

And I kept using it, even though I never loved it. In 2015 I wrote about what I saw as some of the pros and cons of Twitter. I will say that it grew on me over time though. As I became more active within the SWTOR community on Twitter, I had more positive interactions. Also, when I finally got a smartphone, I could verify that there was indeed more of an appeal to scrolling through Twitter on the train (for example) than to looking at it on my desktop PC.

And then all that Elon Musk drama happened last year. I kept hearing worse and worse things about him, but was still hopeful that even if he was a big jerk, that didn't necessarily mean that Twitter couldn't continue to do its thing (lots of tech billionaires are not among the nicest people, but that doesn't necessarily make their products unusable). Oh boy, did I have no idea.

Look, I'm not going to rehash all the nonsense he's inflicted on the site since then - there are hundreds of articles and videos out there laying it all out in detail. If you're a Twitter user and you feel that his buyout hasn't really impacted your experience, I'm not here to tell you that you should feel otherwise... but for many of us, the site has become increasingly less usable and just generally less enjoyable to hang out on.

I've seen a lot of people talk about leaving, just to then come back a week later because despite everything, they missed it too much, and I didn't want to be one of them. However, I also have very different motivations from many Twitter users. For me, Twitter was always meant to be an extension of the blog, and so my first reaction to Musk firing 80% of the site's staff was one of annoyance. At the time, I honestly wouldn't have been surprised if the site had just outright crashed within two weeks, and I was seething at the thought that I'd put ten years of myself into a website that might just disappear one day due to the whims of a random billionaire. I mean, we often joke about how Google might shut down Blogger any day now, but at least they are usually professional about these things, giving you notice and plenty of time to export your data.

So I came away from the whole Twitter debacle with two main resolutions: firstly, to slowly wean myself off using Twitter as much (though I was going to continue using it while there were still interesting things to read there), and secondly, to extract everything I had ever posted there, review it for things I wanted to keep and remember, and incorporate them into this blog.

Point one was relatively easy to action: I completely stopped using my secondary account, and cut down on posting on my main account, no longer offering up random thoughts or anything like that, but purely limiting myself to promoting the blog and posting the occasional reply to someone else. I also started to look for other places that would provide a similar sort of entertainment and/or could be used to promote my writings. (For example I've taken to making a post on the official SWTOR forums every month.)

Point two meant requesting a copy of my stored data while that service was still functional, and starting work on sorting and categorising it. The latter is still ongoing, because it turns out that manually reviewing almost 5000 Tweets and pasting them into blog posts takes some time, and to be honest it's a bit boring - the kind of task for which I have to be in the right mindset. I am however close to being done, and what will happen then is that I will start making a series of posts on here called "Tales from Twitter" which will reproduce old Tweets of mine that I'd like to remember and preserve. I don't know how many parts this series will have yet, and since it's not time-sensitive, my plan is to intersperse it with "normal" posts. I don't know how interesting these will be to you as readers... I think some of them, like the random pug/PvP stories, are pretty amusing and timeless, but others might not be. Still, it's something I'd like to do for myself above all else, to have all this content in one place.

As for what will happen to Twitter... to be honest, at this point I think it will slowly fade away for me. As of now, there are still a few people there for whose content I check in every day, but the number of posts on my timeline is constantly decreasing as people leave and the weird crap that's been done to the algorithms makes it harder to find interesting new people to follow. I'm trying out Bluesky as a "Twitter replacement" (it's not the same but to me personally it does seem to be the competitor most likely to be able to serve a similar purpose right now) but regardless of how things go there, I feel like I'm going to make more conscious decisions going forward about where to post anything on the web.

16/08/2023

My Very Own Malgus

I'm not a toy collector, but I do enjoy buying frivolous things sometimes. So when I found out that Hasbro was releasing a new Darth Malgus figure, I hesitated only briefly before taking the leap and pre-ordering.

I always felt like I missed out a bit by not getting the collector's edition of the game (which included a Malgus statue) back in the day - but when I decided to give The Old Republic a try back in 2011, I had no idea I would still be playing it twelve years later! Anyway, the point is that this seemed like a good opportunity to get my own Malgus after all.

He arrived in a nice cardboard box that made him look like a mummy when opened up. Honestly, I'm pretty impressed by the creativity employed in the plastic-free packaging that many companies have come up with for a variety of products recently, though it's my understanding that some collectors are not fond of not being able to see the figure inside the box through a plastic window anymore.

Anyway, once unwrapped, he's a pretty handsome, detailed and posable fellow.


I find myself once again reminded that I really wish SWTOR offered more merchandise. I believe the common argument for why there isn't is that it's too expensive due to the Star Wars license, to which my counter is always that I've seen crappy pens, bags of apples, and freaking toilet roll with the Star Wars logo on it, so surely it can't be all that prohibitive... however, I guess this kind of situation, where a company that's regularly producing Star Wars merchandise makes something that doesn't feature the game's logo, but does include a character or other content from the game in their regular line-up, is better than nothing. I'd love it if they made a Satele as well at some point. I'd get that one too and then the two of them could do battle.

12/08/2023

SWTOR Moves to the Cloud & GS5 Changes Direction

After I recently posted about how with SWTOR, you rarely know what comes next beyond the very immediate future, we got some updates yesterday about what to expect in the next couple of weeks at least.

First off, the move to Amazon Web Services that's been in testing since earlier in the year is finally becoming reality! The latest news post on the subject explains once again why this should be considered a good thing for the game and informed us that the process will start in earnest this Tuesday. It looks like they'll be moving one server at the time, starting with the Leviathan - this makes sense to me as Leviathan is the smallest of the current five servers, so if anything goes wrong, the player base hopefully shouldn't be affected all at once. We'll see how soon after that they'll aim to move the rest - depends on how smoothly the first move goes I guess.

The other piece of news released on the same day was that patch 7.3.1, which will include the start of Galactic Season 5 as well as some more map UI updates, is meant to come "soon" - that is to say in "late August/early September".

One piece of feedback I've had over the course of the last couple of seasons was that while seasons as a concept were in a good place overall, I thought they could really do with a bit of innovation, such as more changing objectives and perhaps a reward that isn't another gibberish-speaking alien companion. I'm delighted to say that it appears that the SWTOR team has listened!

According to the blog post, we won't be receiving a new companion this time but will instead be "interact[ing] with several new characters [...] while making dialogue choices that affect gameplay" - whatever that means exactly. The story tied to this will replace the little personal stories that we've been getting with the seasonal companions since Season 2 and progression will be tied to overall season progression. There'll also be new objectives tied to companions, space missions and operations.

I have no idea what any of this will look like in practice but I'm happy to find out!

09/08/2023

Romance Review: Base Game Guys for Gals

A couple of months ago (wow, this has been sitting in my drafts for a while!), Intisar wrote a blog post in defence of the romances with Doc and Corso, after they'd been panned pretty hard in one of Swtorista's livestreams. I had thoughts on this that I wanted to share in reply, but I figured that I might as well do so in a blog post of my own. It just took longer than expected to get it out...

I'll open by saying that I'm far from the most knowledgeable person when it comes to the in-game romances. Unlike many players, I'm not tempted to hit absolutely every flirt option I see, and in general the concept of romancing an NPC in a video game has less appeal to me nowadays than it might have had maybe fifteen years ago. I've also just been really inept at virtual romance in the past. My first post about companion romances on this blog talked about this at some length, incluuding mention of my akward attempts at romance in Dragon Age. However, that doesn't mean that I don't have opinions on the stuff I have seen, and I thought I might as well compile them all in a single post.

This will only talk about romanceable companions by the way - flirting with random NPCs you encounter along the way can still be fun and memorable, but it just doesn't quite have the same weight in my opinion. I'll also limit myself to the base game companions, and more specifically to those available to female player characters, because almost all my characters are female. It's only more recently that I've dabbled a bit in also trying to level a couple of male characters, but none of them have made it far enough in the story to see their major romances. Something to explore over the next decade I guess. Anyway, here's what I've got to say now:

Republic

Trooper - Aric Jorgan

My main is a trooper and she's never kissed anyone. As I mentioned in the post linked two paragraphs ago, I wasn't instantly sold on Jorgan, and by the time he kind of started to grow on me and I might've considered a romance, I had missed my chance. So all she's done is flirt relentlessly with Jonas Balkar, and I could see something developing with Rass Ordo depending on how things go with him in the future... we'll see.

Anyway, on the subject of Aric: I obviously made alts later and have romanced him since then, though it's been a while since I played through those conversations, and I've got to admit they haven't been particularly memorable. In this post from 2016 I wrote that Jorgan kind of acts like a clich├ęd action hero in the sense that he likes to let the tough guy hang out most of the time, only confessing his feelings under certain amounts of pressure. It's hard to picture him in a proper committed relationship where he'd actually have to act like a normal person most of the time. And yeah, I don't really have much more to add to that. I kind of want to get my Vanguard through Fallen Empire at some point, to see whether the reunion with Aric in chapter eleven adds any more depth to the relationship.

Smuggler - Corso Riggs

Ah, the frequently maligned Corso. I'll come out right away and say that I like him. Honestly, even if you don't want to romance him, taking him along everywhere and watching him squirm by intentionally pushing all his buttons is hilarious. However, even as a romance he's got some things going for him. Like Intisar says, he's the kind of guy who'll always have your back no matter what's going on. He's kind of old-fashioned in his protectiveness and ideas about loyalty... and yes, this is where the problem with the sexism comes in.

I can't really blame anyone for being put off by this, but to me it ultimately wasn't that big a deal because unlike many sexist ideas in real life, Corso's sexism is utterly toothless. He'll always pipe up about how he thinks that a lady shouldn't do this or that... but ultimately he never tries to stop you, ignoring his objections doesn't diminish his affection for you, and if you push back on any of his silly complaints, he never has a good comeback. His ideas about ladies don't come from some deep conviction, but rather from a place of being a young bumpkin growing up on a backwater planet who just repeats what he's been told growing up, which ultimately just means that he's kind of naive, which I don't find that big of a deal personally. Plus he does show some growth over time.

Jedi Knight - Doc

Next we have Doc, the other guy Intisar went to bat for, and I agree with him, though for different reasons. I get why people might find him unappealing if they're looking for a character who'll be their one true love - but I always loved Doc for offering a more casual romance option. Doc flirts with every woman he meets from the moment you first encounter him, so you know exactly what kind of guy he is. And that can still be fun! There's something attractive about a man who finds something nice to say about absolutely every woman he meets, as long as you don't let yourself get dragged in too deep.

Ultimately, Doc's brave, easygoing and optimistic, and some days that's just the kind of pick-me-up you need after a hard day of saving the galaxy. I think he might also be the only companion who's actually happy if you turn down his marriage proposal. I just think he's a fantastic buddy with benefits.

Jedi Consular - Lieutenant Iresso

My first impressions of the consular romance were not very positive (again I refer you to the old blog post linked at the beginning), as I apparently flirted with both Tharan and Felix without meaning to and it all got very weird. I still don't really care for flirting with Tharan, but Lieutenant Iresso was really charming when I entered a relationship with him intentionally on an alt consular. He's probably got the most mature of all companion romances, with no major tension or drama, just two adults that really like each other and slide into being more than friends really easily.

Empire

Sith Warrior - Malavai Quinn

Quinn is another companion that is hated by many, though he didn't do badly on Swtorista's romance tier list. His betrayal in the main class story makes many people's dislike understandable I think, though if you can look past that, he's got another pretty unique experience to offer. I actually never forgave him on my own Sith warrior - she didn't hold a grudge on Iokath but also came to realise that she was kind of over him and that she preferred casually shacking up with Lieutenant Pierce.

Either way, in the earlier part of the class story, Quinn is pretty delightful to romance as he's basically the male equivalent of a blushing schoolgirl. He's super turned on by the Sith warrior's power and confidence but doesn't quite know how to deal with it at first, which makes for many a fun opportunity to make him squirm. It's an entertaining dynamic that you don't see this way round in media very often - more commonly it's the strong man whose appealing qualities make the woman blush.

Sith Inquisitor - Andronikos Revel

Andronikos is the classic "bad boy". He even gifts you a knife at one point! I remember the thing I enjoyed the most about romancing him was that he starts out very chill and views the relationship as pretty casual. I'll never forget how much I cracked up when I flirted with a guy on Alderaan and Andronikos' reaction was to approve and tell me that he was gonna go off to entertain himself with some girl from house staff in the meantime. He does get more possessive later on from what I remember, but it's still an interesting dynamic. He's easily the fiercest of the male love interests.

Imperial Agent - Vector Hyllus

Vector is the one romance that worked for me from the beginning and that I've never changed my mind about. I find it hard to make a female agent without romancing him. I just love how he's this calm, dedicated geek, and how the early flirtations with him are very low-key and playful. His love is deep but he doesn't want to make any drama about it. What's not to love?

Bounty Hunter - Torian Cadera

Torian is superficially attractive, but I've got to admit I never found his romance terribly compelling. I'll always remember the various conversations where he just says something to you in Mando'a with no subtitles and I was simply like: "Huh?" How am I supposed to judge whether that's romantic or not? His voice actor also uses a pretty flat affect most of the time, which to me comes across as Torian being "too cool to care", which I in turn don't care for myself.

On replaying his romace more recently I found it a bit more appealing, as I think it actually works better if your own bounty hunter isn't too weighed down by morals and approaches things with a colder "just in it for the thrill/money" kind of attitude. (My first hunter who romanced Torian was very light side and e.g. letting a potential target go for "moral" reasons didn't generally sit well with him.)

Overall Verdict

All in all, I've got to say I rank the base game romances for female characters pretty highly - even if they don't all appeal to me personally, I think it's really impressive what a wide range of love interests the writers managed to come up with for these: from shy to boisterous, from loyal to promiscuous, from goodie-two-shoes to bad boy, they offer quite a wide variety of experiences.

In fact, just writing this has made me want to do some romancing on alts just to see the ones again that I haven't played through in a while...

04/08/2023

Never Knowing What Comes Next

When the news about the Broadsword move first broke and everyone was worried and confused, I did something I usually never do: I went and watched some SWTOR streamers. I just had this urge for some reassurance from the community, to be reminded that there were other people out there who cared and that we were all in this together. It worked surprisingly well!

Somehow I ended up on the channel of Kat, one of my competitors from the Galactic Championship, and we got onto the subject of SWTOR's content release cadence. I actually don't remember what exactly she said about the subject, but I do remember this one thought that stuck with me as a result of that chat: that in some ways, even with all the uncertainty of the Broadsword move, not much is changing for SWTOR players in the sense that we rarely know what's coming next anyway.

I mean, whatever you may think of World of Warcraft for example, it's undeniable that Blizzard has been churning out new content for it at an incredibly predictable rate for more than fifteen years now. You basically get a new expansion every two years, with each one being announced about a year in advance. This generates a nice hype cycle where an expansion only really has to keep people truly enthralled for about a year. Then you announce the next one, and as the old one winds down, people get engaged by the hype for the new one instead.

The content of each expansion is also very predictably structured, with each expansion consisting of three major patches that will contain a new raid and a new dungeon season each. There has been the occasional exception to this rule, such as with Warlords and Draenor and Shadowlands, but these then immediately generated complaints precisely because people have been conditioned to expect more by years of routine.

Then you look at a game like SWTOR, and while it's had a fair amount of content added over the years, it's always been all over the place in terms of direction and with limited communication. I think the most advance notice we ever got of new content was with Makeb, which was released in April 2013 after being announced at E3 in June the previous year. Ever since then, it's basically been lots of surprises with relatively little notice given beforehand. Even Knights of the Fallen Empire, which I think was the expansion with the most pre-launch hype around it, was only announced in June for an October launch. I guess the gap between the Legacy of the Sith announcement and its eventual launch was a bit longer than that, but only because it got delayed.

Basically, the SWTOR devs have generally kept their cards close to their chest and have refused to develop any kind of truly predictable content cadence. At one point it was all story and no group content, but then group content eventually came back. I also remember there was a time after KotET where they wanted to stick to just having ongoing content patches without calling anything an "expansion", but then they changed their minds about that again, presumably because people were actively clamouring for something they could call an expansion.

At the point of me writing this, patch 7.3 has been out for a bit less than two months, and we have no real idea what's coming next, other than Keith mentioning on the forums that 7.4 is being worked on and should arrive before the end of the year.

To be honest, I haven't always minded this. A static content cadence like WoW's often comes with a sense of FOMO and a feeling of planned obsolescence, which can be pretty off-putting. There is something liberating about not knowing that my gear will need upgrading again in exactly x months and about being genuinely surprised by every patch announcement.

On the other hand though, there's also something to be said for being reliable when you want people to pay you a subscription. With a game like WoW, you always know that if the current patch isn't to your taste, there's going to be a new one that'll introduce something different soon. If you're into an activity like raiding, you can count on being catered to at regular intervals, so even if you unsub due to feeling "done" with the current tier, chances are good you'll remember to check back in later.

For SWTOR, things have been a lot more muddled, and in a way I can't even fault people for not necessarily having faith that the next patch will interest them, or perhaps even having doubts whether it will ever come at all, considering how little we've been given to work with in the more recent past. I sometimes see people talk about "the next expansion" and all I keep thinking is: Why do you even think there'll be one? That's not meant to be me dooming about the Broadsword move either, I'm just thinking of the fact that the game's leadership wanted to discard the expansion concept once before, and since Legacy of the Sith hasn't exactly gone too rosy, I wouldn't be surprised if they decided to do so again.

I've been trying to figure out whether SWTOR is unique in the MMO space in terms of being this inconsistent and secretive about its content updates. Most of the larger western MMOs, such as Final Fantasy XIV and Elder Scrolls Online, seem to be on a pretty regular cadence with their patches and DLCs, with players having a good idea of what's coming next well in advance. But you don't even need to be one of the big hitters to be consistent: both the Everquests for example still churn out yearly expansions like clockwork. (I seem to remember reading that they did go through a phase where they wanted to give up on that concept but I don't think it lasted very long.)

The only major long-running MMO I'm aware of that I think can match SWTOR in terms of the sheer chaos of its vision over the years is probably Guild Wars 2, which has also changed direction in terms of how it wants to release content and just what that content should be multiple times over the years.

I don't really know where exactly I'm going with this post... I guess the bottom line is that my own personal hope in regards to the Broadsword move is that it will allow the game to develop a bit more consistency in terms of its releases and how they are communicated. Of course, that assumes that all the wild swings in the past had something to do with Bioware's leadership, which is something we don't really know.

If you're reading this and are someone who's spent significant amounts of time playing other MMOs (especially ones I haven't already mentioned here), I'd love to hear your own thoughts on how you feel those MMOs handle their expansion/DLC cadence and how that affects your relationship with those games.