Monday, 9 January 2017

SWTOR changes I'd love to see in 2017

In my last post I looked back at 2016. In this one, I want to look forward. What better to fantasize about than my favourite MMO, Star Wars: the Old Republic? I saw Rachel's post SWTOR - A look back at my 2016 wishlist and my 2017 wishlist and I loved it - so I decided to go with my own version of the 10 things I'd love to see in SWTOR in 2017 (more or less in order of importance). Mind you, this is not intended as a list of demands addressed at the devs, but rather as an interesting thought experiment. Here they are.

1) New operation

This is the elephant in the room. Not getting a new raid last year was understandable, as the developers were occupied with scaling all the existing ones to level cap. For the record, I'm happy we now have them all available as viable endgame options rather than just having one or two raids to keep wiping on. This year, however, there is no excuse for not adding something new. We are promised a revelation about "new larger group content" later this month, but as the developers consistently avoid the word 'raid', I'm wary. Let's hope we'll get something that will bring back the raiders to SWTOR.

2) Catch up mechanics for new players and alts

The galactic command system is new now, but imagine doing master mode operations with your guild and you convince a friend to start playing. It will take ages before they are able to join you on those runs, making it less likely for them to stick around. The answer of this according to the devs is crafting, but I'm not sure if it's enough.

3) Return of key companions

Once you've started Knights of the Fallen Empire, you lose all your class companions. The developers keep telling us every dev livestream that they want to bring the companions back as much as we do, and I believe them. With the Eternal Throne expansion, the main story has come to a conclusion and finding out what happened to our companions is the logical next step: there is no way they don't know where you are at that point. I hope it happens this year!

4) Sage DPS desirable in PvE

It is going to be really hard to make sage DPS desirable in raids again without making them overpowered in PvP, but that one's on the devs for wanting to go with the same builds for both. An option would be to decrease the power cost of Disturbance in Balance, which would boost sustained DPS (right now you run into power problems when using it) without affecting PvP. Sage is my favourite class, but right now there is no place for them in a DPS role in progression raiding: they lag 10-15% behind the median (source: Conrad). I'd love to bring sage DPS to raids again!

5) Cosmetic weapons

I stole this one from Rachel, but I know a lot of people are dying to see this added to the game. Now PvP gear has been removed there is no reason to have multiple weapons on a single character - and now my lightsaber crystal clashes with some of my outfits. Oh my!

6) Conversations with new followers

Once you've reached chapter 9 of Knights of the Fallen Empire you'll get the option to recruit many 'followers' (how companions are called from KOTFE onwards). And when I say many, I mean many. My sage currently has 35, and she even turned some down. However, once you have recruited them, you never speak to them again. Sure, you can summon them to fight for you, but it doesn't feel the same as the classic class companions, who I really felt attached to. It would be cool if there were conversations with them later on, so you can get to know them a little better. Right now, it doesn't feel meaningful to even have so many.

7) Skills remembering where to go after respeccing

People who occasionally switch their spec on their characters (hopefully, but probably not, the majority of the player base) will know my pain: each time the new skills of that spec spread seemingly randomly over your skill bar, so you'll have to rearrange them to fit your keybinds. Too hard to program it so they automatically go to where you left them last time? I doubt that, as even the old fashioned Lord of the Rings Online has figured this out. This small quality of life change would make me so happy!

8) Dye system revamp

Who is waiting for a yellow and fluorescent green dye? Right, nobody. I was very disappointed with the dye system when it was just implemented, because I still couldn't dye my clothes the way I wanted. The available range of colour combinations is simply too limited. In a perfectly fashionable world, each armour piece would have two dye slots and you could mix primary and secondary colours to your liking.

9) Hood down option, or unhooded versions for each hooded chest piece

This is less pressing than it used to be, simply because of the sheer amount of available outfits, but this would still be a welcome change for fashionistas, especially those that play miralukas.

10) Incentives for group ranked

It's cool that solo ranked has a better population right now because it rewards with a lot of command XP, but group ranked is still underplayed - they never pop. I'd love to group up with my friends, queue up for group ranked and actually get into matches without having to organize things beforehand on the forum. I fear the only way for this to happen is to increase the command XP gained (but if you have another idea, I'd love to hear it).

Then there are things like fix bugs (AoE looting; courting companion gifts, I'm looking at you) and I could've gone deeper into the gearing with galactic command, but I tried to keep it to fun suggestions.

What would you like to see added to SWTOR this year?


  1. What's bugged about AoE looting?

    1. Only the first person to loot in a group loots AoE, the others in the group need to go to each body individually. It's as if you're looting bosses in operations, but for all mobs. Drives me crazy when doing heroics with friends.

    2. Oh right - I remember that only applying to quest items and it's been a while since I quested in a group.

    3. I've been helping guildies level up to 70 a lot, hence I noticed. Unfortunately it's not just quest items, but also green gear, trash and even credits that need to be looted individually.

  2. Oh my, is that still a bug? I remember posting about this last time I played our Imperial trio back in April 2016 (yay for blog as aide memoire!). It got very annoying for us as it happened more often than not.

    I haven't had much experience of the Command system yet but I suspect I'll end up agreeing on that point (2). Point 4 would be a big thing for me if I played more as my old main is Sage and thesedays I'd more likely play him as dps than healer. That leads into point 7 neatly though - why on earth does SWTOR not have saveable builds, including hotbars?

    I'd be on board with 3 & 6 as well, although I've not done that many companion unlocks yet (just did Blizz :-) ) I would like to see more conversations in general with companions outside of the main storyline.

    1. I thought it was something that slipped in with Eternal Throne, but I don't think I did that many heroics etc during the Dark vs Light event era, so you might be right in that it was around all that time. :/

      Regarding the Sage DPS, I guess it depends a lot on what type of content you do. For quest and story content you're fine, and also for storymode operations. But when you're doing hardmode and nightmare mode and not making DPS checks, it's going to be a problem. Unless you're doing that I wouldn't worry about it too much, though (unfortunately for me, progression raiding is what I love about MMOs).

      Thanks for dropping by, and I hope you'll find the time to experience the command system. Curious what you think of it!

  3. #9 FTW!!! I love the Athiss look on my Inquisitor, but there are times when I want to see her face that is covered by the hood.

    1. Yeah, right? There are so many great hair styles available in the game. It's a shame not to see them.

  4. These changes are all good stuff, sign me on!

    On number 10, I think they have to buff CXP for everything that's NOT solo ranked PvP. Tier 2 target of 90 and tier 3 target of 180 are not attainable unless you grind that PvP. Forget flashpoints, uprisings, operations, leveling alts, playing the GTN or any other things you "used to do" before Galactic Command came along.

    Or maybe just rename this expansion "Knights of Overwatch" so people are less confused by what's happening in game. :)

    1. "Tier 2 target of 90 and tier 3 target of 180 are not attainable unless you grind that PvP."
      I'll have to disagree with that one. Living proof is Shintar from the blog Going Commando, who is rank ~124 (IIRC, I'm sure she is in the tier 2 bracket at least) and got the majority by running operations with her guildies. She may have done a PvP match for fun now and then (no ranked), but she definitely didn't grind it. Yes, it may not be the most efficient way, but it is possible.

      The main problem here is that the most time efficient way to gain command ranks is to grind an activity that you don't like. Problem is, there's always going to be one activity that's best, and there's always going to be people that don't like that activity. Personally, I'm already happy the best way isn't "farm mobs in KP courtyard", because that was truly brain dead.

      Contrary to what it may sound like, though, I do understand your frustration. The galactic command system simply makes things feel 'unfun'. People feel pressured to take part in activities they don't like because they don't want to lag behind on friends with their command rank. The system seems to drive competitive behaviour in an unfun way, something that probably never was intended by the devs; nevertheless it is how it turns out to work. This is also one of the main things I talked about with Shintar on Corellian Run Radio live last Saturday (social implications of galactic command - the episode should be released later today if you're interested).

    2. I'll be listening in when it hits the site.

      Normally I wouldn't queue for anything, being a filthy casual. I can confirm that that won't keep pace with Mox that way :)

  5. Agree with many of your suggestions from cosmetic weapons to hoods on my Miralukas. But my immediate with is to be able to talk to new companions as I did with classic ones. I miss those old interactions. In fact, a number of my original characters have not done KOTFE as I don't want to lose their companions as I had such good relationships with them.

    1. Totally on board with that one, Roland! In fact, I have only taken 3 characters through KOTFE myself, leaving me behind with many crafters that could really do with the extra companions of KOTFE (you get a lot of 'free' influence doing chapters & Star Fortresses) for crafting speed and crit chance. But I just don't want to before they can get their favourite companions back! Especially those that are in a relationship; that's just too sad.

  6. Having just got a level 65 to level 70 through doing Conquest 'missions' for guild, I now wonder if I can get some of my level 60 crafters up higher in a similar fashion - using xp boosters perhaps...and my Dark V Light XP armor set which is Legacy so can be used by other toons. Then I avoid losing Ashara/Akaavi/Kira/Corso etcetera............................

    1. You do have access to Galactic Command as a level 70, even if that toon hasn't launched KOTFE.

    2. Aww, you're an angel running all those missions for your guild! I've levelled up all my crafters to at least level 68 by doing heroics: I have a set of rating 228 non set bonus crafted gear that's pretty good that they share (it's in the legacy bank). I could level them all to 70, but I enjoy having some of them in the midbie PvP bracket (they will get promoted to the top tier PvP bracket as soon as they hit level 70).

      Heroics are so fast now we can insta travel to their locations, and they give a ton of XP. You're on the right track with the DvL XP armour: just put that on plus an XP boost and you're done levelling that toon after one or two planets! Much faster than doing the story, and you keep your old companions. I usually level together with a friend; then it's more fun and even faster.

      These are level thresholds to keep in mind:
      * Level 66: you can send out max 8 companions for crafting instead of 6
      * Level 68: your can wear rating 228 legacy gear (crafted)
      * Level 70: you unlock the galactic command system

      Depending on what you use the character for, you can decide how far to level them. If you exclusively use them for crafting, level 66 is enough.


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