Friday, 13 April 2012

SWTOR: Legacy update

There's a new update online! It's apparently called update 1.2 (click here for the release notes). I didn't have time to play SWTOR at all, because my computer spent the whole evening downloading it, but I did have the chance to take a quick look in-game. A lot of promised nice changes have now been implemented, including the legacy system and the interface editor I wrote about earlier. Let's take a look at the things I encountered straight away after logging in.

High texture graphics

They apparently improved the graphics quite a bit. On the picture below you see my jedi sage with the old graphics to the left and the new graphics to the right, taken on the same computer. Can you tell the difference? (Apart from wearing a different dress, of course!) On my boyfriend's account the change was more clear: the cap he was wearing now all of a sudden appeared to have ridges! Overall, I do have the impression that all characters look a bit 'sharper', and that is always good. The only graphical thing we were disappointed in was the absence of our promised 'hood toggle': you would be able to choose whether to wear the cap of your cloak on your head or to leave it off, laying on your back. They should totally implement that option in other games too, by the way (*thinks: LotRO*). We will have to wait until the next update for this, though.

Legacy system

The second, quite straightforward change was that they implemented something for us to do with our legacy points! We've all seen the videos of what crazy stuff there was going to be, and it seems like it all actually is there. The first thing you see when opening the new legacy panel (icon to the right of your skills icon in the top bar) is the possibility to create your own family tree. You can freely drag your characters around and create bonds between them. Icons show the nature of the relationship: you can add characters as each others rival, ally, spouse, sibling or child/adopted child. The extended family tree looks totally cool and is another thing they certainly should implement in other games (again, LotRO comes to mind). There is still room for improvement though, as you are limited to setting one relationship per character. Another drawback is that it isn't possible to adopt other players into your tree. I can see how that could get complicated because of legacy advantages other players would get, but it would be a great addition for the role-players among us.

How does it work?

It seems you can achieve a lot of different things (skills, emotes, features, species...) through your legacy level. Some are unlocked automatically by an achievement (social rank, light/dark side points or legacy level), others you need to purchase yourself (legacy level requirement plus credits to buy it). A few stood out for me:

  • Ship unlocks
          You can buy features for your ship, i.e. a mailbox and a vendor droid. You can also get things like an operations training dummy. This must be really helpful for end-game! (Once again: I want this in LotRO!)

  • Class improvements
           By completing your storyline, you will improve a skill and get an emote. And now the cool thing: if you complete the end of it, your alts will inherit a skill of your class they can use during a 'heroic moment'. For me, this would mean my other characters will eventually inherit the skill Project (the pick-up-something-that-is-nearby-and-throw-it-at-your-enemy skill that is quite handy and, literally taken, sometimes not so handy). 

  • Species unlocks
          Once you reach level fifty with your character, you will be able to pick that species for an alt, regardless of their class or side. I love this idea lore-wise since it makes the game less one-dimensional: you could be a Sith that has been converted to the light side and vice versa. I'm probably not going to use this much, since I like playing different classes, though. Oh, and if you play a human (who always can pick all classes and sides already), all your characters get a +100 presence bonus. I'm looking forward to this already.

There was one surprise for me, and that was that I had already unlocked some new emotes! All that questing together with my boyfriend resulted in a lot of social points, which automatically bestowed me a companion dance emote and some tech emotes (/holocom, /map, /datapad, as shown from left to right on the picture below). Sadly, I have not found out how to use the companion dance emote yet, but the tech emotes look fun. I imagine they're mostly useful for role-playing though.

The changes of this update seem much fun and are very extensive. They will no doubt cause headaches for the completionists among us, since there is too much to choose from and too much to do to get it all. That's their problem though, I myself like this idea of creating your own lore into the game. The influence of the legacy system on gameplay is not very big, and that wasn't the goal either, but I think it's a great addition to the game in terms of diversity.

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