Patch 1.7 is being released tomorrow and with it comes a new event, based on the Gree and taking place on Ilum, and the addition of factional reputation along the lines of many other MMOs that have gone before it. The introduction of a reputation system can mean only one thing:
I don’t know how I feel about a reputation grind. They were a major part of the end-game grind in vanilla WoW but the only one I ever bothered with was getting to Exalted with the Frostwolf Clan in Alterac Valley for the epic mount reward. I largely ignored them in LOTRO – except for the Tailors guild as it was a good way to level tailoring – and at the moment, I can’t see any reason why I would want to do it in SWTOR.
Personal preference aside, however, there are some interesting design choices that have been made that were outlined in a devloper blog published last week.
The first is that the reputation is tied in with the Legacy system which means that you only have to grind a reputation once and that you can earn reputation with any character in a Legacy. On the whole, this is definitely A Good Thing(tm). I say on the whole because the weird thing is that, even though the Imperial and Republic factions are on opposite sides of the ideological spectrum, earning reputation for the Republic faction with a Republic character will be reflected for Imperial characters in the corresponding Imperial faction. This kind of makes no sense at all although from a game point of view even if it does enhance player convenience.
Secondly, a character can not have negative reputation. There are 6 ranks of affection which are “Outside”, “Newcomer”, “Friend”, “Hero”, “Champion” and “Legend”. But, unlike say Aldor and Scryer, you cannot increase one factions at the expense of another and you cannot find yourself “At War” with a faction and all their members be hostile with you. I am undecided whether this is a good thing or not but again, it does suit player convenience. You won’t have to make a choice between factions and effectively rule out being able to get a set of rewards and there won’t be the constant barrage of “which side should I choose?”
Finally, there is a weekly cap on the amount of reputation points you can earn. The points are added by means of Reputation Trophies, earned from either doing daily missions (eg Section X) or Heroic quests in the case of the Voss faction. You can get hold of as many trophies as you want during the week but
The amount of Reputation Points you can earn with each organization is limited by a weekly cap which provides a natural endpoint for your Reputation Trophy collection each week.
Cynically, I can see how this was implemented by the developers to drag out the lifespan of the Reputation system and stop players grinding to Legend on all four factions in the first 24 hours after release. Looking at it more favourably, it does mean that a player won’t feel obliged to spend every hour of every day grinding reputation and may be able to limit it to one night a week or something.
However, even having said that I wonder how much it will affect me. Even though I now have 2 level 50s, I still haven’t done the normal Belsavis dailies or finished the Section X ones and will be going to Ilum tonight to do the current dailies at least once before they go.