In case you haven’t already heard the news, Star Wars The Old Republic has finally announced it’s next Expansion, ‘Onslaught’ coming in September.
You can read more about the announcement in my ‘Announcing ‘Onslaught’ The Old Republic’s Next Expansion‘ Article.
The expansion was announced to a packed hall of players and fans, adjacent to Star Wars Celebration, at a Community Cantina. Eric Musco, Community Manager and Charles Boyd, Creative Director with Keith Kanneg, Game Producer for The Old Republic headlined the event with many other Developers also in attendance.
The Expansion presentation, while sprinkled with Musco’s usual monotonous marketing queues, was far more insightful then I anticipated. They were surprisingly forthcoming with details. I was expecting yet another tease or maybe just a title announcement. But to see them give us a good look as to what we can expect in Onslaught was great to see.
The usual expansion toppings were on offer including level cap increase, more story and planets to explore and new class abilities. The big surprises were Nautolans (as a playable species) and sweeping gearing and itemisation changes. The scale of the gearing changes came as a shock to me. I knew better than most to expect changes to how we get gear. But I never imagined it would be such an in-depth and customisable system. These changes will hopefully add freshness to the stale, same old class play we’ve had for years. Not to say there aren’t things to be concerned about. But then again, it’s easy for me to say that anything is better then what we have now…
One might be forgiven for being disappointed in the lack of a Blur trailer. But honestly, I’m not particularly bothered. Perhaps the money was better spent on development? Or perhaps it’s yet to come? Who knows. Either way, the Presentation satisfied me more then a dazzling trailer would have. I’d rather informative hype then just pure marketing hype.
One thing happened at the Presentation though that really stood out for me. Keith’s closing remarks. While announcing the date for Onslaught’s release, he told the Cantina audience a quick quib about the development process. How he rejected the first expansion proposal, specifically the gearing and itemisation aspects because it didn’t have anything ‘Legacy’ in it. As a player with multiple characters, he wanted Legacy to become more involved in the game. He spoke from the heart, as a player, not a developer. Something I really appreciated.
“They ran it by me the first time I’ll be honest with you, I said no. It didn’t include anything with Legacy–What I asked the team to do was to–make Legacy a part of the game because it really is and so that’s what they’ve done in 6.0. We’re gonna have a new gearing system.” – Keith Kanneg
As someone who has been playing the game sporadically for the past year and a half, it was bittersweet to finally get the expansion announcement. I lost interest in the game largely because of the tedious and cruel gear grind for PvPers that was (and still is) Galactic Command. Now to finally see them attempting to make amends for that mistake has me relieved but also feeling cautious. I would have preferred them to go straight back to having separate PvP and PvE gear and separating how we get those gear types (as it was before ‘hell-tet’).
Looking back on 5.0 it really does seem like it’s gone on for an eternity. Far too long if you ask me. For the first six months or so, I had a Guild and a raid team. Having them made hell-tet more bearable, for a time. Once things died down on those fronts, I had little reason to keep logging back in. In that time, I had managed to get just two characters to Command Rank 300 and I couldn’t bring myself to do it for all the other characters I wanted full gear on. So I just stopped playing. I only logged back in for Game Updates. I took my story mains through the Theron betrayal arc and would occasionally log on to PvP. Beyond that, the only other significant Updates for me, prior to Ossus, was the Rishi Stronghold and Vandin Huttball ones which I helped do a fair bit of testing on the PTS for.
The Ossus Update gave me a small glimmer of hope for the game, the story was fantastic and the zone itself, breathtaking. Unfortunately, the new way to get gear after the hell we’d already been through with Galactic Command was too much for me. To this day, I have barely done any grinding for gear there beyond doing some dailies and the weekly on my story mains after they had completed the story the first week it launched.
More recently, I’ve been doing more PvP here and there to try and slowly get back into the swing of things. But after PvPing in other MMO’s such as Elder Scrolls Online, SWTOR’s PvP isn’t quite as fun as it used to be. Combat is slow and stagnant. It’s not that there are too many slows, snares, stuns etc. so much as there are far too few break free options making combat tedious. The horrid cleansing system doesn’t help either (only being able to cleanse based on ability type is ridiculous). I’ve gotten used to games with faster combat that give you accessible break free options which ultimately reward smart gameplay. In SWTOR, you are punished no matter your skill level.
Regardless, having our first proper expansion since Shadow of Revan has renewed my hope for the game. In light of the announcement, old Guildmates who left the game during the KOTFE era (due to lack of group content) are showing interest in, or are even returning to, the game once again. It has been incredible to see and quite emotional for me. The game taking its final steps back to it’s MMO roots is great to witness and has long been overdue.
I look forward to hearing more details about the expansion from the Developers over the coming weeks!
What are your initial impressions of Onslaught? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter!