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A Year in Review – SWTOR 2020

I asked myself when I began writing this article ‘Was this the year we got the Alderaan Stronghold?’

Yes, yes. It turns out it was. 

It’s been a hell of a year for everyone. Star Wars The Old Republic, true to form, was not exempt from 2020. COVID aside, there’s been minimal new content introduced this year. Unsurprising, of course, for a game known to put out small content patches and have really long gaps between content. On the plus side, there was quite a few quality of life improvements and an epic story to round out the year.

Here’s an overview of what happened in 2020 in The Old Republic.


Overview of Major Events 2020

  • Game Update 6.1 – February 13th
    • Alderaan Stronghold
    • Minor Story Update
    • Class Changes
  • Game Update 6.1.1 – April 21st
    • Conquest Overhaul
    • Double XP…
    • Class Changes
  • Game Update 6.1.2 – June 24th
    • NIM Dxun
    • New Event – Ultimate Worlds Swoop Rally
    • Nar Shaddaa Nightlife Event – New Rewards
    • Ranked PvP Season 12 Ended
    • Galactic Guide – the thing that pops up from the social bar
    • Set Bonus Changes + New Set Bonuses
  • 6.1.2b –  July 16th
    • PvP Reward Changes 
  • 6.1.2d – July 28th
    • Ranked PvP Season 13 Started
    • Deserter Penalty PvP Unranked
    • Win requirement for PvP Dailies and Weeklies
    • PvP Queue changed to favour match variety over map variety
    • Vandin and Quesh Huttball maps removed from the queue
  • Game Update 6.1.3 – September 9th
    • Double XP…
    • Improved Uprising Rewards?
    • Replica Ranked PvP Rewards (first round)
  • Game Update 6.1.4 – October 20th 
    • Conquest Changes
    • New Augments
    • New Event – Feast of Prosperity
    • Legacy Ignore
    • Vote Kick removed from Ranked
    • Item 306 Rating required to queue for Ranked
    • Class Changes – Guard changes
  • Game Update 6.2 – December 9th
    • Story Update – Echoes of Oblivion
    • New Flashpoint – Spirit of Vengeance
    • New Login Rewards System
    • New Emote Window
    • Life Day Celebration
    • Nine-Year Anniversary – new rewards on vendor
    • Ranked PvP Rewards – new batch of replicas
    • Class Changes – weapon damage increase

Highlights

The main highlights, for me, were the new Events, the quality of life PvP changes, the Alderaan Stronghold and the recent Echoes of Oblivion story. The new Events were a nice distraction from the usual mundane. I enjoyed participating in them as well as creating guides for them. Most of the PvP changes and quality of life improvements this year were overall positive, in my opinion. If it wasn’t for Rocket Out and other rapid moving abilities still being bugged, I probably would have PvPed a lot more this year. Constantly getting stuck in terrain due to Rocket Out caused me to completely rage quit the game multiple times this year. The Alderaan Stronghold is absolutely gorgeous and I’m still slowly decorating it. If only quality decorations weren’t so painful to obtain! And, of course, the new Echoes of Oblivion story. No spoilers, but it was incredible!

As I mentioned above, there were a fair few quality-of-life changes. ‘Legacy Ignore’, one of the most sought after quality of life changes by the player base, was finally implemented. Another ongoing theme for the year was the numerous Conquest changes and overhauls. I feel Conquest is in a pretty good place right now but could still use some tweaks, especially for level 75 characters. You would think it would make more sense to make doing conquest on level 75’s more rewarding than low-level characters. But alas, this is not the case. I understand they want to make new players aware of the system, but that doesn’t mean they should gimp point acquisition once you do hit 75. It’s not hard to get points at level 75, of course, it’s simply a lot easier to get points on a low-level character. Hopefully, a better balance can be achieved in the future, for the sake of conquest guilds. 


The elephant in the room

While we saw lots of little changes and tweaks to various types of content, there was very little actual new content introduced to the game. Two Events, NIM Dxun, Story updates and a new Flashpoint. When you compare this content delivered by SWTOR to other MMO’s, it definitely falls short.

It’s hard to not feel dismayed that other MMO’s are able to produce lots of quality content, despite 2020, while The Old Republic continues to lag behind. I’m tired of The Old Republic being left behind. I’m tired of it not being able to live up to the hype of the Star Wars IP. I’m tired of it not being able to live up to its true potential.

We can debate the ‘why’s’ and ‘how’s’ all we want. But it won’t change anything. Nothing ever does. Regardless, it’s frustrating to continually watch the game seemingly being held back. I don’t blame the developers and I’m beyond grateful for the work they do put into the game. But this has been a continuing pattern for years now. It’s just frustrating at times. But, I’ve come to accept that content will forever be a trickle with The Old Republic.

I hope the developers know this frustration I have comes from a place of love for the game.


Looking ahead…

Now, looking to 2021. We have very little information or hints from the developers about what is going to happen. Meanwhile, other MMO’s are already hyping their content for 2021. All we can say for certain is that the developers seem excited for the 10-year anniversary. They’ve even vaguely hinted that we’ll get an expansion then too. We can kind of guess based on the recent 6.2 storylines where the story is headed. But I think any story going forward will have a hard time living up to the hype that was Echoes of Oblivion. The Old Republic reached its peak with that epic story. Kind of a shame that story was just in an update and not part of a major expansion.

Given the state of the game and how little new content there’s been this year, I find it difficult to get excited about the upcoming anniversary. I’m sure once they start revealing stuff I’ll get more interested especially if they address key PvP and Stronghold issues.

I’ll likely discuss the recent 6.2 story and my hopes and predictions for 2021 in more detail in future articles.

All we can do now, is have hope.

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Gearing will make or break Game Update 6.0 – Feedback and Thoughts on ‘Spoils of War’

I never thought I’d see the day where I’d actually be praising Galactic Command, Game Update 5.0’s main gearing system. Yet here we are. That’s how bad Star Wars The Old Republic’s new gearing system, dubbed ‘Spoils of War’, was when it was introduced in Phase 2 of the Game Update 6.0 PTS.

Bioware somehow managed to take player feedback about Galactic Command and Ossus gearing systems and have created a new system that is even worse then both of those were. They told us that they heard our complaints about these systems and ensured us that 6.0 would be better. Clearly, something got lost in translation.

Everything about ‘Spoils of War’ reeks of RNG. The majority of gear acquisition is RNG based. RNG loot boxes everywhere, gear drops determined by RNG, there are even vendors that sell RNG loot boxes.

Compounding these issues is the lack of moddable gear drops (which they are working on) and a severe lack of modification drops.

The developers have taken some steps to improve this gearing system and make players lives a little easier. But, in my view, there is more that needs to be done.


How does Gearing work in 6.0, currently?

With Spoils of War, there are two key mechanisms for gearing, vertical progression and horizontal progression.

Vertical gearing progression is based around your Item Rating. So the gear you get from drops is entirely reliant on what your item rating is. If your item rating is 274, you will likely get gear item drops that are 274 or higher. So this system forces you to place greater emphasis on your item rating then your stats meaning you are forced to wear whatever unoptimised non-moddable pieces of gear you can get.

It will be near impossible to customise or BiS your stats as you progress through the multiple tiers of gear. Moddable Gear and Modification drops are currently fairly rare. You will have to wait until you are max tier (306) to be able to properly even begin the BiSing process. Needless to say, DPS won’t easily be able to achieve 110% accuracy anytime soon with this system.

Horizontal Gearing has been introduced to the game by adding a variety of new Set Bonuses and a new Gear Item, Tacticals. There are general, base class, advanced class and discipline-specific Set Bonuses and Tacticals.

See my 6.0 Set Bonus Guide for a full list of Set Bonuses.
See my 6.0 Tactical Items Guide for a full list of Tacticals and what they do.

There is also a supplementary stat system, called Amplifiers. This system is a pure RNG based system that adds additional stats to various modification slots on your armour pieces.

You can read more about Amplifiers in my Game Update 6.0 Amplifiers Guide.


Current and Future (not yet implemented on the PTS) Sources of Gear in 6.0

Here are all the current sources of gearing that we’ll have when 6.0 launches. Note: This is all subject to change.

  • PvP
    • Unranked and Ranked Weeklies – RNG Lootbox
    • Unranked and Ranked Dailies (except Zero Tolerance/United We Stand) – RNG Lootbox
    • Winning an Unranked or Ranked Match – RNG Lootbox
    • Earn Tech Fragments for completing matches (you get more if you win a match)
  • Operations
    • Tech Fragments drop from each boss
    • Each boss drops a piece of gear for the group to roll on
    • Each boss drops personal loot (tailored to your discipline)
  • Flashpoints
    • Tech Fragments drop off of each boss
    • Group loot from each boss tailored to at least one member of the group
    • Each boss drops personal loot (tailored to your discipline)
  • Conquest
    • Personal Reward – RNG Lootbox
    • Guild Reward – RNG Lootbox
  • Dailies
    • Onderon Weekly – Tech Fragments + Equipment Crate: RNG Modification Lootbox
    • Onderon Patrol Daily – Tech Fragments + Equipment Crate: RNG Modification Lootbox
  • Tech Fragment (new currency) Vendors
    • Spoils of War Gear Vendor – Unidentified Gear Boxes by slot tailored to your class at higher item rating than you currently have. Also sells an Unidentified Modification Box
    • Kai Zykken – a weekend vendor that sells a rotating selection of gear items directly (like Xur from Destiny)
    • Set Bonus Shell and Tactical Items Vendors – will sell all Set Bonus Shells and Tacticals directly

What I don’t like about this System

Simply put, there is too much RNG. Yes, there was originally a lot more RNG. It was quite common to get drops that were not even suited to your class let alone discipline. But now, they are going to make all gear drops tailored to your discipline. This should bring the RNG more in line with 5.0 at least.

Given the breadth of Tacticals and Set Bonuses being added to the game (ie. the addition of horizontal gearing progression), I believe it is unnecessary to add all these RNG induced artificial time gates. They are adding Vendors that sell the Set Bonus Shells and Tactical Items directly. But the Shells will not have any modifications in them. So it’s only a partial solution to a wider problem.

Adding to the RNG and Modification woes is the sheer number of not only tiers of gear but the insane number of modification variations. All these extra unnecessary tiers of gear and new Modification variations add artificial time gates to gearing progression. To date, more than 12 different Lethal Mod 306’s have been discovered each with different Primary Stat and Power distributions (from 275 – 465). This will be a BiSing nightmare and yet another unnecessary time gate.

I’m also not a big fan of gearing being based on Item Rating. We are forced to wear whatever unoptimised, non-moddable gear we can get out hands-on. While wearing green and blue gear was completely optional with Galactic Command, since we could get away with waiting for moddable gear drops, that won’t be the case with Spoils of War. If a piece of gear drops that is higher Item Rating than what we have currently equipped, we have no choice but to wear it no matter what it’s stats are.

I yearn for the days when we could just walk up to a vendor and buy whatever moddable piece of gear we wanted with whatever currency we earned though the relevant content (just like in 4.0). That is how the system should’ve been designed, from the beginning.


Suggestions

I do not believe that it is possible to turn ‘Spoils of War’ into an optimal gearing system in the time frame that we have left before launch. Instead, I will offer suggestions that I feel are somewhat possible in the timeframe we have.

  • Significantly increase moddable gear drops (yes they did say they are working on this). Priortise making weapons moddable first if necessary.
  • Reduce the number of Modification variations especially at 306 Item Rating
  • Add an RNG free way of obtaining modifications (not crafting related)
    • Add a vendor that sells individual 306 modifications?
  • Since Kai Zykken is a prestige/limited-time vendor all gear he sells should be 306 item rating and include 306 modifications in the gear.
  • All Operations bosses should drop one set piece, per boss, tailored to someone in the group.
  • Add RNG Loot boxes to Operation Weeklies (with drops tailored to our class).
  • Increase Tech Fragments earned from all sources.
  • Add Bonus Renown Trophies to personal loot for Operations (we shouldn’t have to roll for a Renown Trophy dropped from a boss).
  • Add Renown Trophies to PvP Dailies and Weeklies.

The main thing that needs to be desperately implemented is far greater access to moddable gear and modifications. I do not believe that crafting is a viable alternative for modification acquisition. Material cost is too expensive and the additional steps required to craft items are too time-consuming.

I would also like further clarity on this statement by Musco.

Each content type will drop specific gear types, depending on difficulty. Example: the final boss of Master Mode Flashpoints have a 100% chance to drop from a pool of mostly tactical items and some set bonuses for the group. They don’t only drop in Flashpoints, but if you are targeting a specific type of drop, you can hone in on it by running specific content. To be clear, Daily Areas, Conquest, Flashpoint, Operations, Reputation Vendors, Crafting, and PvP all will have these focused loot drops. Now, we may need to focus this more so that you have more control over drops, so please keep the feedback coming on that front. Also as a reminder, these are just bonus drops in addition to all of the personal loot you will get which can also contain any set and tactical item.

How specific are the loot tables for various content going to be? Will we be getting a list of where each Set Bonus and Tactical Item comes from? Honestly, the more specific the sources of various Tacticals and Set bonuses, the better. That way if players are wanting to get specific Set Bonuses or Tacticals, they know exactly what content they have to do to get them.

Ideally, PvPers need to have a non-RNG path for gearing progression outside of the Set Bonus Vendors. But that’s just wishful thinking at this point.


Additional Comments

I wanted to quickly comment on some of the assumptions I’ve seen by some players about this gearing system.

There seem to be some players who believe that Set Bonuses and Stats won’t matter in PvP due to the new Bolster. Therefore BiSing will not be necessary. This could not be further from the truth.

First of all, there are a number of new Set Bonuses and Tacticals that have the potential to be significantly impactful in PvP. Secondly, the new Bolster only caps your Mastery and Endurance. Power and Tertiary Stats will still vary depending on your gear.

The most obvious take away from this is that BiS mods for PvPers will be the high Power mods since high Mastery Mods would just be a waste of stat. The Focused Retribution Relic, likewise, will no longer be of any use in PvP. Players who take the time to BiS their stats and have good Set Bonuses and Tacticals will undoubtedly perform better in PvP than those who do not.

I also wanted to comment on BiSing and clearing content. It seems some of the player community has become far too complacent with the current difficulty of content–given how over-geared we’ve been for most of it for years now. These players underestimate how important it is to have the right stat distributions and the difference it makes to spec performance and ease of rotations. And in turn, improves players’ ability to clear content.

I’ve recently experienced first hand the difference having correct stat distribution has on the ease of doing content versus not having correct stats even for SM Operations. If the majority of players in the group are not well geared and do not have the right stat distribution, then the group will hit enrage timers on Boss encounters even in SM Operations. This is what happened with my Guild when they all came back to the game a few months ago. Bolster only fills in the gaps to an extent and by no means gives you the correct tertiary stats which are essential for most specs to perform correctly. Once the majority of my Guildmates got their stats correct, clearing SM Operations then moving to HM Operations was a breeze.

Players can not rely on any content being as easy as it is now when 6.0 launches. The game is going to change in ways we have not seen in years. It will be a bit of a ‘culture shock’ for most of the player base. Ideally, a more efficient gearing system would ease this ‘shock’. Only time will tell.


Hopefully, ‘Spoils of War’ can be salvaged before Game Update 6.0 launches. I’ve been impressed with the developer’s willingness to make changes to this new gearing system. But questions remain as to how this gearing system got conceptualised in the first place. I’m looking forward to further testing on the PTS once further changes to Spoils of War go live.

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Blog Star Wars The Old Republic

Review – Peacetime Dantooine is Lacking but Worth a Visit

It is nice to be able to explore Dantooine and enjoy the scenery with the reduced chance of running into mobs. However, ‘Peacetime’ Dantooine leaves little else to be desired. You can either sit around for hours at a time waiting for food or mission items to respawn or spend 5 minutes doing lacklustre dailies.

So let’s take a look at what there is to do.


Dailies

There are a couple of dailies you can do (different for each faction). However, there are no meaningful rewards for doing them. And, much like Rishi (ahem), there is no weekly to go along with these dailies.

See my Dantooine Dailies and Peacetime Guide to see how quick and easy the dailies are.


Achievement Hunting

Achievement Hunting? Yes, this is your main reason to return to the planet. For some of the achievements, you’ll have an easier time getting them. Others, not so much.

The spawn times for the foods for the Culinary Achievement remain ridiculously long. And with fewer instances due to fewer people on the planet, your chances of actually getting lucky and having the food spawn is almost as worse as when the Pirate Incursion Event is active. And with some of the foods only found during peacetime, it is a tedious endeavour to get this achievement completed. See my Dantooine Achievement Guide for more details.

Other achievements such as the Dantooine Cipher, Lingering Shadows (if you have macrobinoculars) and Well That Was Unexpected are obtainable. But others such as The Polly Exclusion Principle and Dantooine Treasure Hunter can only be gotten while the Pirate Incursion Event is active. Almost all the Codex entries for the Dantooine Scholar achievement are also obtainable.


One-off Mission ‘While You’re Out There’

There is also a mysterious one-off mission you can complete (if you’re lucky) that sadly, like the dailies, gives little rewards. ‘While You’re Out There‘ is plagued by really long spawn times for finding particular items. But unlike the Culinary Achievement, the items you need to find remain static ie. they don’t move. However, they become unclickable seemingly for hours at a time once someone else has clicked on them. This makes completing this mission extremely tedious and near impossible.

You would think a one-off mission that requires so much trouble to complete would serve a greater purpose or offer a better reward. But alas, it does not.

At this point, it feels like the Devs are trolling us.


Dantooine in its peacetime state should be an enjoyable, peaceful experience. But it is marred by tediously long spawn times and few rewards. It does, however, provide a means to get some of the planet’s achievements with fewer distractions and interference.

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Blog The Curious Turtle

The Curious Turtle – How much damage should Siege do?

‘The Curious Turtle’ is a new bi-weekly column I’m starting where I discuss anything ‘Elder Scrolls Online’! My aim is to do at least two articles a month.


‘Can’t these bloody milk drinkers handle a bit of extra siege damage? It’s called ! Put it on your bar for god’s sake!’

It was certainly an interesting week in Cyrodiil after Wrathstone launched. The Devs managed to bug out siege so that not only were Siege Shields useless but Siege was basically doing the equivalent of Oblivion Damage (unavoidable damage).

I mean it really wasn’t that bad initially when I was surfing with pugs healing them. We’d get hit with the odd bit of Siege (yes people were using Siege open field), a quick purge and no dramas we kept on turtling about killing every banana we could find. Then when the bananas got too close to BRK the timid EP who never leave walls of keeps ever (who am I kidding that’s most of the faction) were ready with the OP siege to kill them instantly. For the first time in forever, their fire ballistae were actually useful.

When I ran with my Zerg, again it was bearable, initially. If purges were on point, it wasn’t too difficult for a coordinated group/zerg to survive Siege.

However, when the siege was highly coordinated, boy did it hurt. It wasn’t uncommon to just drop dead from Siege. One minute you’d be purging and healing away handling the oils just fine. Then in a single instant, you were on the ground, dead.

While it was all fun and something new at first, it quickly got tiring. Having to constantly Purge and roll dodge just got tedious.

Hell, this bug even got me naively believing that EP might finally learn how to properly Siege defensively. Yeah, Nah.

Naturally, the question came up, ‘Should Siege always do this much damage?’ Opinion among Cyrodiil regulars was mixed. Some welcomed Siege doing more damage while others insisted people should learn to play their classes instead of being Siege monkeys.

The devs even chimed in saying they were discussing options for increasing Siege damage in a future Update. I would certainly support Siege doing more damage as it is quite tame currently. But the damage it was doing that week was just a tad too much. Perhaps with the Elsweyr Update, we may see some Siege damage adjustments? Or maybe just start with making some of useless and rarely used Siege more useful?

Either way, I’m glad that week has been put behind us. I do look forward to having Siege possibility do more damage in the future.


Did you experience the OP ‘oblivion damage’ Siege? What are your thoughts on Siege damage?

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Zerging 101 – The Joys and Pitfalls of the Zerg Machine

It’s been a tumultuous few weeks for me since I joined a Zerg Guild. But honestly, I’ve never had so much fun PvPing in my entire life.

For the uninitiated, let me explain what a Zerg is. Basically, it is a large coordinated group of people working together in a PvP environment usually following the instructions of a single leader (or in our case, usually two). Zerg compositions and the number of people involved may vary but the result is the same, total carnage in their wake. And let me tell you, it’s exhilarating!

There’s nothing like being part of a horde of people going up against another horde of people and annihilating them with precision tactics and coordination. Or capturing a Keep where you’re outnumbered. Or running a scroll while chasing down another scroll. Even riding with a large group of people to battle on horseback gives you that epic ‘Lord of the Rings’ feeling.

The only real downside of running with a Zerg, especially one that runs in peak time, is that it does get pretty laggy. It’s not something that bothers me too much (most of the time) since I have plenty of experience with laggy Open World PvP playing The Old Republic. So I’m used to playing in laggy conditions. The main difference is ESO can handle a lot more people in one spot fighting better then SWTOR will ever be able to. So it’s a bit more tolerable–not that there aren’t bad nights where you’re continually getting kicked out of the game or aren’t properly able to execute your abilities. But all in all, it’s still fun.

Turning Grass off, reducing Maximum Particle Systems and Particle Suppression Distance down really low and turning Shadows down to medium has definitely helped me. I still lag out here and there but it happens less and I’ve yet to run into a ‘texture line’ bug since reducing my graphics.

When it comes to the community perception of Zergs, it varies. Much like the perception of ‘premades’ in pretty much every MMO with PvP, you either love them or hate them.

So inevitably, rolling with a large group of people tends to attract a lot of opposition and saltiness (even from your own faction???). When it comes to our Zerg, we’re not bothered by it or the consequences for that matter. We don’t care about the spies. The other factions knowing what we’re doing ultimately means more opposition and the increased chance of challenging fights. So we say, bring it on!

Lately, Zergs are also being blamed for recent heightened game performance issues in Cyrodiil. I certainly disagree with that assertion. As we discussed recently in our Discord, we’re simply playing the game as advertised. It’s ZOS’s fault that Cyrodiil is laggy and having increased difficulty functioning with lots of players casting abilities in one spot.

The primary role I’ve played since joining the Guild is Heals. I’ve healed on both my Templar and Warden and I have to say, I definitely prefer my Warden. I find Magicka management not only easier on my Warden but I enjoy the playstyle and feel of her better than my Templar. I have also played my Support Stam Sorc (aka Rapids spammer) a couple of times.

Our Zerg is probably the largest one on Vivec NA. On a typical night, we run with 48 people easily. Our large numbers and the casual nature of the Guild allows us to be less strict on classes and roles than other Zergs. It certainly allowed me to try out different setups and abilities on both my Templar and Warden healers.

The thing I love the most about the Guild is that it has a drama free, friendly and chill environment that I crave from Guilds. That isn’t to say that there aren’t some basic rules, recommended builds and abilities classes and roles are expected to run. But the atmosphere is very relaxed and it’s a great place to learn about PvP and ask questions. Perfect for someone like me who is still learning the ropes of ESO PvP.

If you PvP Pact on PC NA in Vivec and are willing to hop onto Discord to listen to instructions, I can invite you to <Army of the Pact>. We accept anyone regardless of their PvP experience.

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The MMO that broke my Devotion to SWTOR – Why ESO is now my main MMO

I haven’t exactly made it a secret that I’m not playing Star Wars The Old Republic much anymore. There was a time where I balanced my time between Elder Scrolls Online and SWTOR. But now, ESO has completely won over my time. There are various factors that contribute to this of course which I’ll go over later on in the post. But in the meantime, here are the key things that made me switch to ESO.

My first GvG Event in ESO with AP.

Large Scale Open World PvP

ESO delivers exhilarating PvP on a scale that SWTOR will never be able to. SWTOR’s antiquated engine simply cannot handle large numbers of people in one area fighting to the extent that ESO’s can (not the ESO is perfect by any means). There is also no support and little incentive for Open World PvP in SWTOR. Something that continues to frustrate me when the solution is pretty damn simple.

My most memorable SWTOR experiences have all involved OW PvP encounters large and small. Despite the lag, it was always fun back in the day to be involved in OW PvP encounters. Oricon, in my opinion, was the closest SWTOR came to incentivising and getting people involved with OW PvP*. If the developers added intriguing titles to OW PvP kill achievements (like they did with Oricon) on other planets/areas it could be enough to get players and Guilds to organise events. Then we can once again have OW PvP in SWTOR.

In ESO I can just hop into Cyrodiil and bam there always something happening. Whether you just want to go at it solo and gank, run with a Zerg or pug group or even just attack or defend keeps, you have plenty of options to suit all types of PvP play styles in Cyrodiil.

SWTOR attempted to add vehicular OW PvP combat with Iokath in Game Update 5.2. It failed miserably. The vehicles were too expensive to purchase, limited use and had unreliable interfaces. Not to mention that earning the currency was gated by doing the planet storyline. This system could have worked if the currency to purchase the vehicles was universally accessible to all PvPers, cheaper to purchase, lasted longer (but still limited use) and again, if there were more incentives for OW PvP.

*I wasn’t around for Ilum at launch so can’t comment on it.

New Zone just released, Murkmire.

Continuous Consistent Content Releases

The thing that’s impressed the most about ESO since I started playing the game is the consistent content release cycles. There are four major updates a year. One Expansion, one large DLC (new zone) and two smaller Dungeon DLC’s. Each of these updates always includes class balance changes, new features and additional improvements. It feels like there is always something happening.

I’ve been playing the game for a year and a half now and I have still not been able to do all the content in the game. I have done pretty much all the story content and the majority of PvP content. But beyond some Dungeons and a couple of easy Trials, I’ve barely done much of endgame PvE. I’m not in any particular rush to get to it either. PvP in this game is just way too fun.

SWTOR certainly doesn’t have a consistent cycle. Indeed content releases have been erratic at best, inconsistent at worst. Over the years, we’ve had long droughts with no content and generally content releases have been all over the place in terms of the amount of content in them. But more recently, things have been improving. The quality of the content has gotten better and we’ve been getting content at a more frequent pace. As for consistency, I don’t think that’s something we’re ever going to see for SWTOR. It works nicely for ESO but at this point for SWTOR to me, at least, quality matters more than consistency.

Class Flexibility

When I first started playing ESO, I found the variety of skill trees and endless ability combinations to be very overwhelming and daunting. But as I’ve played the game and gotten to know all the various skill trees available for each class, it’s gotten easier. Various class guides created by members of the ESO community have been excellent resources too and have helped me understand better what works well with what. Though I admit my knowledge is certainly far from complete. I am still learning but I’m enjoying it a lot more now.

SWTOR used to have limited flexibility with its Skill Trees for each Advanced Class. But this was done away with in favour of cookie-cutter, non-customisable, skill trees locked to each advanced class specialisation. There reasoning for this change was to make class balancing easier and to make it easier for players to understand the system.

I never really had too much issue with them making this change but I do miss the old skill trees. But since playing other MMO’s that allow for greater class customisation, I kind of wish SWTOR could take this route. But personally, I would rather SWTOR concentrate on other game features as they already have a great variety of classes. Unlike other MMO’s I’ve played the animations are unique to each faction. Something I have never seen in another MMO. So while I’ve been enjoying ESO Class system I’m not so sure it would work for SWTOR. They’d be better off just introducing a new Class, to be honest.

The Witches Festival which just finished up.

Events

ESO has multiple regular ‘holiday’ and celebration events. Each Event is run once a year. You always know when to expect them and each year, they sometimes add new things to the events. Hell, they’ve been adding new minor Events too this year.

In SWTOR the events are a lot more in your face and are repeated constantly. There is always an Event happening which is quite tiresome and exhausting. The only exception to this is the Life Day event which only happens once a year (thank god).

Day and night cycle and a weather system help make ESO truly immersive.

Highly Interactive and Immersive Environment 

The world itself feels so alive. I can collect butterflies or flowers, kill spiders and other bugs/creatures (that aren’t NPC ‘monsters’) and get crafting materials and fishing bait. So not only does the game have a thriving ecosystem, it serves a purpose. I can pickpocket NPC’s and steal/loot random crates and barrels found throughout the world. If I get caught, I get a bounty on my head. The game not only has a day and night cycle but a weather system too. The world of ESO is incredibly immersive and sucks you right in. This is what originally won me over to the game when I first started playing a year and a half ago.

SWTOR doesn’t have any of these things. Yes, there are crafting nodes but there’s a difference between collecting crafting material nodes and collecting and killing creatures that are a part of the environment itself for crafting. ESO has crafting nodes too but is not entirely reliant on them for materials.

New planet coming in Game Update 5.10, Ossus.

I haven’t given up on SWTOR

I still hold high hopes for what SWTOR will deliver with its 6.0 Expansion. Indeed Game Update 5.10 is giving us a bit of a taste of what we can expect. The developers are continuing to slowly move the game in the right direction gradually correcting many of the mishaps of 4.0 and early 5.0.

Keith has undoubtedly been the key motivator behind this shift. Since he became the lead game producer for SWTOR, the developers have increasingly shifted back their focus to the MMO components of the game while still continuing to deliver story content.

Ultimately the primary reason I don’t play SWTOR much is I don’t have anyone to regularly/consistently play with. When my original Guild <Corvus> left the game during 4.0, I joined other Guilds here and there to try and find a new home but those never worked out for various reasons. So I’ve given up on finding a Guild home in SWTOR.

At this point, content-wise, I’m only interested in PvP. I can only handle so much Solo PvP and besides the gear grind through PvP is incredibly demoralising. To this day I still only have one character in full 248’s. I refuse to grind other content just to get better gear for PvP. I shouldn’t have to do that. Period. I should be able to PvP and get gear at a reasonable pace (like we had in 4.0).

The reality is, presently, ESO is giving me everything I want content wise and gear is reasonably okay to get (but by no means perfect though it’s easy to get gear that’ll get you by at least). I have also found the perfect PvP Guild in ESO. They’re a friendly, helpful, chill but skilled bunch who run PvP Events multiple days a week. If such a Guild existed in SWTOR then maybe I’d play the game again but trust me, there are no Guilds like that.

Not playing SWTOR has nothing to do with me hating the game. It’s just that I’ve found a game that does everything I want better. Not to say SWTOR is a bad game. They are both MMO’s but ESO, I feel, is on a different level then SWTOR. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. I’m still going to keep making SWTOR content and will log in occasionally. But beyond that my gaming time is pretty much going to be dedicated to ESO for the foreseeable future.