SWTOR: Knights of the Fallen Empire makes large-scale operations and flashpoint changes

This autumn’s Knights of the Fallen Empire won’t be shaking up just the narrative foundation of Star Wars: The Old Republic but its group content as well.

A new developer diary posted today outlines all of the changes and improvements that BioWare is planning for instances when the expansion hits. Story mode flashpoints will get a solo mode and be far more level-flexible than they are today. The system will even bolster underleveled players so that they can play with their friends.

All operations will be raised to level 65 and given new rewards. BioWare promises that it’s planning improvements for the group finder, including a daily reward for tackling specific raids. The team did confirm that there will be no new operations with the expansion, however: “We felt it was important to first address some of the issues with our elder game before moving on to new content.”

Source: SWTOR. Thanks to Bob and GreaterDivinity for the tip!
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GoJammit
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GoJammit

Gurnlei GoJammit A KOTOR that doesn’t transport me back 10 years though.

Gurnlei
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Gurnlei

GoJammit KOTOR?

Sum0ne
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Sum0ne

sray155 crawlkill  “those changes are also discussed during an expansion’s pre-launch to attempt to draw back players who’ve left.”  Thus making it an expansion feature

srmalloy
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srmalloy

It’s not all the story-mode flashpoints that get a solo mode, just the ones that are “important to the core story” — Athiss, for example, because it doesn’t advance the overarching storyline, doesn’t get a solo mode, while Maelstrom Prison does, because it hooks in Revan. And some of the flashpoints — but again, not all — have been converted to tactical flashpoints like KDY is, but it’s a different selection of flashpoints — you can do Boarding Party solo, but in a group you’ll need the industry-standard tank/heal/two DPS team makeup, because it isn’t in the tactical list.

And the bidirectional bolster is going to affect some players significantly. With the introduction of the outfit designer, players got a reason to go back and farm badly-outleveled flashpoints for gear that might drop because they liked the item’s appearance, even if it was just a green item, so they could use its appearance in an outfit (or because the flashpoint dropped a moddable item they could use for a companion); they could just skate past the mobs they didn’t want to fight and only engage the ones that dropped the item(s) they were after. Now, you’re bolstered down to an ‘appropriate’ level for the flashpoint, which means that you’ll get your ass handed to you if you go in solo — but if you do, the game will give you a godbot like the Forged Alliances flashpoints will, so you can breeze through the flashpoint the way you did before, except that you’ll have to fight everything, because having a godbot doing 90+% of the fighting somehow ensures that you’re “experiencing content at the difficulty level intended”. Thanks, but I’d rather have the option of going in solo at my actual level and farming it directly.

The class- and level-appropriate drops sound good, but if all they’ve done is ensure that ‘appropriate’ items drop in the flashpoint, it doesn’t address the problem of the jerk players who ‘need’ on everything whether or not they can use it, and with the increased spread in level that teams will be composed off, having a jerk with a level-20 character ‘need’ on the level-65 drop of gear they can’t use will be even more annoying. If the drops go directly to each player in the flashpoint, though, that eliminates the problem, but that’s a significant change to the way drops work in game; it will be interesting to see whether or not Bioware decided to go that route — City of Heroes had no ‘general’ drops, with every drop going to a specific character, so there was no angsting over ‘need vs. greed’ or ‘ninjaing’ loot.

Looking at the description of the way bolster will work, both up and down, though, it looks as if it may be the first small steps toward implementing a mechanic similar to the sidekick/exemplar system that City of Heroes had which let players of different levels team up and play through content for any player in the team without having some members of the team be over- or under-powered for the content. If so, that will address a significant hole in the game that creates a barrier against existing players bringing friends into the game and having to start new characters if they want to play with their friends.

EricCartmanboy
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EricCartmanboy

MEGALUS uhmm how is the Fallen Empire story that is coming up no new content?? Maybe it´s just not the type of content you wanted.

Tamanous
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Tamanous

Dnote kunda311 I certainly hope an Operation releases within 6 months. I just can’t see an entirely new story arc not having an ultimate show down piece at it’s end which Operations bring. I suspect we see a flashpoint very soon after expansion though.

Tamanous
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Tamanous

ntellect I think what makes Star Wars more accessible to many is that fact it isn’t a hardcore science sci-fi. It is really mostly fantasy as the and story drives the interest. I love me some real sci-fi especially the new trend of real’ish science movies but Star Wars is sort of like steampunk in a way … far more futuristic than traditional fantasy but built around wonder and imagination more than reality. I mean … does anyone wonder why wall terminals in Star Wars all look like 1970’s massive computers? It’s about flamboyant flavor text which is basically what draws interest in high fantasy for the most part.

Star Wars definitely draws a different sort of audience and is far more accessible than most other sci-fi. If developers stay smart (I say “stay” as if they remained so thus far LOL!) they will treat the IP with respect and always have a solid fan mmo fanbase. This is why I firmly believe this IP can support 2 dramatically different types of mmo on the market. We just need that second sandbox version again!

MEGALUS
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MEGALUS

No new content: check. Waste time with old content: check. Make everyone eat it up: check.

Bobuster
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Bobuster

SoMuchMass It doesn’t now: it gives below Tier 1 (out of 3) endgame gear and some comms to purchase Tier 1 gear. People who run the solo Flashpoints don’t do it for the gear now: they do it for the story.

(The only reason solo mode is repeatable now is due to the fact that people were getting stuck when it was only a 1-time mission and they abandoned that mission. People get better gear from solo dailies than solo Flashpoints.)

Bango
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Bango

theblackmage75 Who on earth cares what the self-important reddit community thinks. Plenty of other MMOs with raids in them.

Kass40
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Kass40

darkthunder84 I was under the impression if you subbed for the month then cancelled sub you got all the content you subbed for restriction free.

Kass40
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Kass40

sray155 crawlkill Exactly… and if they pull off the new mechanics and keep up with content then ToR could have the biggest revival and comeback for any MMO to date, even more so than Sony’s Final Fantasy A Realm Reborn.

I just wish and hope the dark days are behind us and those of us that left months after launch bewildered and let down etc. What I am trying to say is basically, there now seems to be light at the end of the tunnel.

SwobyJ
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SwobyJ

They’re basically making Lv 1-60 an increasingly (first these changes, but likely many more to come) optional (as in for F2Pers) solo(ish) experience outright.

Lv 65 may be the new level cap for soon, but I can see a Lv 70 mattering a lot more next year. For now, we get this (adjusted operations).

ntellect
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ntellect

Oh shit. The developers are slowly getting it.  Now I will re-sub to SWTOR and really try this out. Solo flashpoints (read: Option) and scaling raids allowing people to play together. Throw in a hopefully kick ass story to play through. Thats all I ever asked.  Too bad I love a fantasy theme more than sci-fi but hoping the Star Wars IP that I grew up with can overwhelm.

Hurbster
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Hurbster

Nice, there is a whole bunch of content that I have not really seen and that is the later flashpoints. I do wonder how they will handle bits of the flashpoints that require 2 or more players – such as the bonus in the Esseles (sp?) one.

JakeDunnegan
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JakeDunnegan

CrowingOne ColdinT I have a hard time drumming up any sympathy for people complaining about the passes. Obviously, it works to get people who want to be in the game to contribute a little money to the Devs. F2P is and always has been a joke and it’s stunning that anyone actually really wants something for nothing.
If you do not want a limit to your gameplay, then pony up some $$.

JakeDunnegan
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JakeDunnegan

sray155 Moondancerbb I don’t know if your theory is true or not, but it’s as good as any I’ve heard.
I also think of how ESO (and before that, Skyrim) is doing gangbusters on the consoles and it makes me go, “Hmmm.”
Which is to say – RPGs aren’t dead. MMOs, for that matter, aren’t dead. But, they may need to seek new audiences, somehow. And I believe SWTOR (and ESO, for that matter) were trying to do just that, though with different methods.

sray155
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sray155

Moondancerbb People pay five bucks an episode for episodic adventure games like “The Walking Dead” or “Life is Strange”, which are very entertaining but movie like interactive movies than games. If you can produce about two hours of RPG type game play plus roughly eighty to ninety minutes worth of cutscenes, that’s more than what people are paying fifteen bucks for in as DLC in many other non-MMORPG games. If BioWare can actually deliver this content monthly (which is very possible given the right content creation tools and lead in time; don’t know about probable but it’s definitely possible), then more traditional RPG players will be likely to look on a subscription as paying for monthly DLC, which is something many can get behind.

The long and short of it is this: BioWare isn’t trying to bring more MMORPG players because that market has reached its limit; they’re trying to bring in more traditional RPG players, who show up in far greater numbers for a good story driven game than MMORPG players do for typical MMORPGs. Bringing traditional RPG players into multiplayer gaming is a brand new idea, and long past due. If you’re looking for the same old “solo oriented leveling followed by raiding and/or ranked PvP or get the hell out” there’s dozens of games that provide that experience already, and the number of people who want that isn’t growing, so they might as well try something new.

darkthunder84
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darkthunder84

One change I’d like to see them make to Flashpoints and Operations is the REMOVAL OF WEEKLY PASSES!

Witches
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Witches

Greaterdivinity Cirventhor 
Are all of WOWs dungeons actual dungeons? 
And as far as SWTOR is concerned, it’s pretty weird to be running around in open air or inside a spaceship and calling it a dungeon.

Kass40
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Kass40

Neo_Wolf Oh I am loving it, but the skeptic in me is worried, been let down so many times by them… Again!

Kass40
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Kass40

Pesko I know where you are coming from for the single player aspect. However, (I for one who has been very vocal with my disdain for Bioware/EA over the mess of core game) I am at a loss for words they have incorporated City of Heroes scaling of lowbies into the game. Massive step forward. 
Single player aspect… I’ll say it like this: Knights Of The Old Repoublic 3

Kass40
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Kass40

Estranged I know, in utter shock.Expecting to wake up in morning to realize that it was all a dream….

Pesko
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Pesko

It will be nice to be able to do flashpoints with friends where we are on lowbie characters of varying level.

It will be nice to be able to revisit older content, feel the challenge of it again, and get good gear for doing it, as well.

Taking down Soa for the first time was a great feeling. It will be nice to revisit that.

Now if they could just make the new story stuff have an option for groups doing it and progressing together, and not just solely focused on one single player, I would be happy.

Kass40
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Kass40

GoJammit Nah! Not at all… I said in beta it was just Mass effect with Star Wars skin. Now it’s Star Wars Dragon Age/Mass Effect with single player access to FP’s and Ops….. 

I Approve…

sray155
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sray155

crawlkill They’re not announcing it as an expansion feature, they’re talking about it as part of the games top to bottom revamp that happens to coincide with an expansion, as that affects all players regardless of whether or not they’re subscribers. Every MMORPG that has ever released a major expansion generally also coincides with a major game play overhaul that affects all players, not just those who purchase the expansion; and often those changes are also discussed during an expansion’s pre-launch to attempt to draw back players who’ve left.

Budukahn
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Budukahn

This is far better news than the ridiculous emphasis on story they’ve been banging on about recently.  Yes yes, Bioware Story Yadda yadda I know, I’ve been playing Bioware games since Baldur’s Gate.  But once a story is over, it’s over and there needs to be something solid to keep player interest until the next update.  
This news goes along way to addressing that in my opinion.  While I’m disappointed to see no new flashpoints or operations in the expansion at launch, making their wealth of content relevant to players in a way it hasn’t been before is a sensible and pragmatic course of action I can only applaud.

Dnote
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Dnote

kunda311 Dnote Yea, I totally expect new FPs and OPS to come in the future, it’s just by the time they show up, there will be well over 12 months between them and the last set.

ColdinT
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ColdinT

I’ll say one thing. I’ll subscribe for the first month the new content is release and enjoy it. I still have all of Shadow of Revan to play, and the new stuff should keep me busy for at least a month. Then once that’s done, I’ll go back to waiting for them to put out enough content worth my time and money.

Tamanous
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Tamanous

Estranged JonBuck This is very true and I experienced this first hand. I returned to play with a friend prior to the last expansion when I think they introduced 12*xp the first time. The previous content had those I think 3 flash points that told the build up story to Revan expansion. I had done those dungeons several times previously but of course random and out of sequence all the time through group finder. When they were make tactical my bud and I did them on order at out own pace with companions and even though I had done these randomly many times (rush rush RUSH runs of course) I only FINALLY understood the story! My bud was the same way. 

I can only imagine how many players have gone through flashpoints randomly and have next to new clue what the actual story was.

Theodrax
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Theodrax

plynky12 One thing to remember is “everybody” is not in fact going Apeshit.  The forums are going Apeshit, but that’s very very different from everybody.  The forums represent a very small percentage of players, mostly “hardcore” and raiders.  I’m willing to bet if the actual full population of the game could weigh in it would show overall opinions to be different.

That said, they really should get an operation and perhaps a warzone out in the relatively near future for our raiding and PvPing brethren.

Tamanous
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Tamanous

Well good to know they plan still plan on adding new operations and flashpoints. Reshaping the game including older content progression takes serious time and effort. I’m not sold yet on the talk of not making large play zones anymore. I’d rather see more content added to planets but with all things in Swtor, content is limited by their terrible engine. Looks like small themed play areas from now on. It does seem to allow more interesting localized content so perhaps expectations of an more open mmo should just be forgotten and we all move on with what the game has become and can only become.

There will be another sandbox Star Wars someday. Star Wars fever is too high atm.

kunda311
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kunda311

Dnote 
I’m guessing they’re going to do exactly what they said—address the older content and rebalance it first, then start cranking out new stuff. I’m also really looking forward to new group content…

But the phrasing of the article is a little misleading. I doubt that there won’t be ANY new flashpoints or operations – there just probably won’t be any new ones at the launch of the new expansion, but some time down the line…

kunda311
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kunda311

Dnote 
I’m guessing they’re going to do exactly what they said—address the older content and rebalance it first, then start cranking out new stuff. I’m also really looking forward to new group content…

But the phrasing of the article is a little misleading. I doubt that there won’t be ANY new flashpoints or operations – there just probably won’t be any new ones at the launch of the new expansion, but some time down the line…

EO_Lonegun
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EO_Lonegun

crawlkill I don’t see your point when other companies like Blizzard has done it too.

GoJammit
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GoJammit

Am I crazy to want a Star Wars game like Dragon age?

GoJammit
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GoJammit

JonBuck GoJammit May have to try that.

Dnote
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Dnote

This is very good, but it would’ve been even better with at least one or two new Flashpoints and Operations.

JonBuck
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JonBuck

GoJammit I like that idea. There’s a point in the Trooper storyline where you do just that, at least at the start. Everyone doing their jobs.

crawlkill
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crawlkill

gotta love an MMO that announces the same raids as an expansion feature

GoJammit
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GoJammit

Does this solo mode include taking multiple members of my own team in to battle? You know, the way it should have been from the beginning.

Landari_Omega
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Landari_Omega

Man, they really do like reusing existing character designs don’t they?

Landari_Omega
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Landari_Omega

Man, they really do like reusing existing character designs don’t they?

Space_Ghostal
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Space_Ghostal

Awesome stuff!

Estranged
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Estranged

JonBuck Yes, people will understand the story so much better having run the FPs.

Estranged
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Estranged

CrowingOne Moondancerbb I think it is better than a DLC system.  Less complicated.

plynky12
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plynky12

I’m not sure what to think. Sounds like a good idea in principle, but everybody is already going apeshit about it. I think the long time ahead with no new raids is going to send the more hardcore among us into conniptions.

Estranged
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Estranged

theblackmage75 The issue is raiders don’t need to rule everything.  About time.

Estranged
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Estranged

Holy moiy, they have listened!

SoMuchMass
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SoMuchMass

Interesting concept and I like the idea, as long as solo doesn’t give you the best gear in the game.  This is coming from someone that never raids and barely does dungeons.

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