The big news this week is that the PTS has been updated with patch 2.0 which is the Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion patch. The highlights, obviously, are the increase in level cap to 55, a change to warzone bracketing and expertise, new gear, increase in crafting cap, a new Operation and the addition of a Legacy wide Achievement system – complete with inappropriately placed capital letters. Are “Legacy” and “Achievement” proper nouns? What about “Operation”?
Anyway, there’s lots of good info out there about the changes, new gear etc. Here’s a few links to be going on with:
- Official PTS Patch Notes
- Jaspor’s overview of the Achievements system
- Dulfy’s overview of the Achievement system
- Dulfy’s gear previews (Armour, Weapons – see other posts on site for stats)
- SWTOR Spy’s PTS Skill Tree Calculator
All in all, there’s a lot to be looking forward to – although I’m sure there’ll be lots of grumbling when a full analysis of the skill tree changes is available. Some observations and thoughts of my own though:
Many of the classes are having abilities removed – notably most of the ones that can only be used on incapacitated targets (e.g. Smuggler’s “Headshot”, Sith Inquisitor’s “Tumult”, Jedi Knight’s “Pommel Strike”). Ultimately, this is probably a good thing as one danger of an increased level cap was even more ability bloat. And one thing SWTOR isn’t lacking in is available character abilities.
The skill trees are being extended rather than added to – by which I mean that they’re not adding new abilities, just more passive effects. That also means that the current 31 point abilities will become 36 point abilities. Although I haven’t checked it out myself, I’ve read comments that the skill tree redesign makes hybrid builds much more difficult to spec (probably because most of the trees I have looked at seem to swap some of the first tier skills with second tier skills) which is a bit of a shame but only time will tell if a) it’s actually the case and b) I’m bothered by it.
There are some minor quality of life changes incoming although I don’t know if all of them are documented yet (none of the crafting changes were in the patch notes so it’s possible other stuff got left out). Notably for me the changes include:
- “Companion reaction tooltips have been added to companion gifts to illustrate how a companion will react when receiving the gift.” – no more having to look up notes that may well be wrong anyway.
- “Personal shield generators are now effective against all attacks that deal Energy and Kinetic Damage, rather than just direct weapon attacks.” – finally useful in PvP? Here’s hoping.
- “Commendations from individual planets have been converted into a single “Planetary Commendation” type. Vendors that previously traded items for specific planet commendations now trade the same items for Planetary Commendations.” – unbelievably useful given how many I’ve got kicking around on various characters that will just never get spent.
- “Players can now exchange 40 Warzone Commendations for a Planetary Commendation at the PvP Items vendor” – given that they’re sadly taking away the PvP weapon/armour vendors, this is more useful than reaching the comm cap and having nothing to spend them on.
- “Achievements may unlock titles, grant items, or even add Cartel Coins to your account!” – Oh yes…!
I’m not going to lie, I’m really looking forward to the achievement system. I know I should be cynical and dismissive about such meaningless, “Skinner box” type gameplay that it encourages but I just can’t quite seem to give a fuck. What I particularly like with this system so far is that there are Cartel Coin rewards for getting certain achievements. Admittedly, there aren’t many but what it does show is a willingness by Bioware to find other ways to earn CC. I liked that in LOTRO too – except in LOTRO, most of the rewards were tied in to the deed grinds of having to kill yet another 10000 Goblins.
There’s also a change to the mission terminals. Specifically:
The Daily Mission Terminal on the Fleet has been replaced by the Priority Missions terminal. This terminal provides daily, weekly, and introductory missions for activities such as Flashpoints, Group Finder, Warzones, and other high-priority content.
I think this means they’re consolidating all the mission terminals into a single one (while also revamping some of the [DAILY] and [WEEKLY] missions. This is all well and good but I’m not sure that it goes far enough. The change I’d particularly like to see – with respect to the PvP daily – is the quest terminal moved to the Warzones themselves and being able to turn the mission in on the go (ie not having to return to the terminal). Hell, I’d even be happy for the mission to automatically start when you go to a warzone in the same way [AREA] quests do, no terminal required. It irks me no end that I have to go back to fleet to get the mission, return to my planet to carry on questing while queueing for a warzone, then make sure I go back to the fleet to turn in the mission.
Which reminds me, I have ranted about the travel in the game recently? No, well, I should get on that.
All in all, there are a lot of good changes coming and even the new Operation (which looks from the brief screenshots like it owes a lot to the Geonosis arena scene in Episode II) has made me curious. And I don’t do Operations! Anyway, I’m sure there’ll be lots more discussion about the changes over the next few weeks. Any highlights for you?