SWTOR details combat changes, level sync in Fallen Empire

Quite a few combat changes are in store for players when Knights of the Fallen Empire hits SWTOR later this month. A new dev diary outlined some of these tweaks, which include streamlining main stats down into a single one called mastery, a flexible companion system, more health per point of endurance, and no more split XP when in a group.

The devs also elaborated on the much-debated level sync feature: “We have added a new system to the game called level sync. What this system will do is that when you are on a planet, but above the target level of that planet, your level will automatically be lowered to that planet’s level. However, while under level sync we will not take away any abilities or passive effects that you have. Also, while under level sync you will earn scaled experience. This enables a player to go play any of the content in The Old Republic and get rewarded appropriately for their time investment.”

Source: SWTOR. Thanks to Bob for the tip!
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groo the wanderer
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groo the wanderer

A Dad Supreme Is your chicken supreme too ?

Qarran
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Qarran

I’ve been thinking about this a bit more.  And in reviewing the list:

Instant 60: Free toon and slot for all subs
Sub rewards: weapon, armor, companion, free access to KoTFE
Random mount and pet abilities added
Guild whisper added
Reward for completing all class stories
Combat Companions added
New Interface Editor: Sharing Keybinds
Temporary ability bars for special skills: Heroic Moment, Huttball etc.
Crafting Changes: No more greens.
Gathering changes:  Resources available to all crafting levels
Crafting missions: All missions available per grade
No currency exchange
No weekly commendation cap
Legacy Datacrons
Speeder Pilot at level 1
Cape Clipping fixed
Search and Sort features in collections
All Event Vendors now in one place
Old Event items available: Containment Gear
Streamlined Leveling: Only class missions necessary
Exploration missions available
Groupfinder updates
KoTFE: Instant Start to a Chapter
Companion Outfits slots cosmetic
Heroic Missions on Fleet Terminal with instant travel
Anti-ailising update
Companion Influence update
Alliance Feature

I ask you, how important is level sync in comparison to all of that? Heh.  Not very…  Keep going BW.  You are doing great!

Wayshuba
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Wayshuba

I think the changes are fine. BoiWare is still trying to streamline a few elements of the game and, based on watching the recent TwitchCon streams, they are banking on a large increase in players with the release of the new Star Wars movie.

That being said, I still see two other issues which I have been unable to find any commentary at all they are addressing.

1.) Since the SoR drop (3.0 patch) server lag has been a problem. Are they even attempting to fix this with this patch/expansion? If not, and they do get a big influx of new players with the release of the new Star Wars movie, this is just going to create bigger issues.

2.) BioWare STILL doesn’t know what the heck they want to do from a business model standpoint. After watching the TwitchCon streams and listening to the commentary, now they seem poised to introduce a new hybrid episodic-subscription model. So the expansion will have 9 chapters released with the remaining 7 coming one per month starting in January (to time with the release of the new movie). That will encompass “Season 1”. The intent is to now have an monthly episode to keep people paying $15/month. Is each individual episode going to be worth $15? This is a business model more akin to Telltale games than an MMO.

After watching 9 different Twitch streams, it appears this expansion, with one story for ALL character classes, is nothing more than a glorified single player game. There is not one single thing being introduced that is “MMO” content. Most of these changes are to ‘refresh’ the old content so it appears there is some MMO elements, but nothing is being introduced on the MMO front at all. So am I to believe EA is now trying to get people to pay $15/month for a single player game?

I was thinking of returning to SWTOR after an extended hiatus, but after seeing the Twitch streams, it has become apparent from the comments that the plan is to evolve more to a Telltale games model, release one episode a month, and charge $15/month for access to that episode. That is some very expensive gaming right there for something that is probably going to give your 30 to 60 minutes of NEW content a month.

Tamanous
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Tamanous

Greaterdivinity It shatters the self-worth of the player who formulates their ego around being vastly over-powered by gear and level. Basically most of the remaining player base of the modern mmo. Swtor has devolved into a game where gear means everything. Pvp is all about ranked geared players whining nobody plays ranked (because it’s actually a challenge) and instead head to non-ranked to slaughter lesser geared players. Pve is about progressing through content greatly over geared so it can be done as fast as possible with the Fleet filled with, “Must know fight! Must be geared! We have no patience for helping those wanting to learn!”.

The failing of Swtor is copying Wow and attracting that player base. They can try to go back but it may be too late.

Tamanous
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Tamanous

I can’t even recognize the modern mmo player anymore. They just want easy mode and instant gratification, complain there is no content and when given it back whine like little children that they can’t one-shot mobs and players from lower level planets anymore.

Genre is dead to me.

Radfist
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Radfist

Good, would like to see more games adopt the GW2 approach to lower level content.  I always hated that I could just fart in the general direction of low level mobs and they would die.  You should become better and more skilful as you progress, but not God / Superman tier level of stupidness.  If you pull a room of 30-40 lower level enemies, you should still die, unless of course it is an actual superhero game.

RicharddeLeonIII
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RicharddeLeonIII

Estranged No doubt.  Still would be nice to not lose anyone by making it optional.

sray155
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sray155

JakeDunnegan sray155 Damonvile Story is the best part of the game, and yet it was still designed just like every other WoW-style theme park, and I don’t see how that’s contradictory: the WoW-style of theme park design is all about “rush to to the endgame”, and SWTOR is a WoW-style theme park. Just because the leveling experience is the best part of the game, doesn’t mean that it’s not still the same thing as every other WoW-styled theme park: it just happens that one aspect of the game is better than other parts. Take a way the class cutscenes and the game has nothing that particularly sets it apart: it’s well done, but unbelievably derivative. 

A major “selling point” of the new expansion is the streamlined leveling experience, because apparently SWTOR’s blink and you’ll miss it pace of regular leveling was just too much (not talking about double xp or 12x either, just normal). Excluding DCUO, SWTOR was by far the fastest leveling experience of any MMORPG I’ve ever played; and now they’re making it even faster, because players wanted to “get to the real game” faster; you know, just like WoW and all of its clones.

Estranged
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Estranged

We will see, SWTOR has decided to go into a different direction. All content made relevant, including raids. May just gain more than lose.

JakeDunnegan
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JakeDunnegan

sray155 Damonvile I disagree that iwas “designed to rush to endgame” – and, I think you know that, since you know that “story is the best part.” Your two sentences conflict. 
One other thing – the reason why other game companies copy the WoW design – is because it works. That’s like complaining that every other fast food joint copies McDonald’s design. It’s not perfect, it has its ups and downs, and it’s not even particularly healthy for you – but it works. Make food fast, have a register, get people in and out in ten minutes. WIN!
Ditto on theme park design. People like questing, they like content, and games like ESO and SWTOR do that very well. Me? I couldn’t care less if raiding never existed and never made it into another game. 
But that’s just me – different games have different aspects – I don’t mind me some PVP, so, I don’t kneejerk respond when I see a game has it. But, give me story any day of the week, and you won’t hear me complain.
One last bit, @sray155 – I would also agree that, until the 12X xp thing, SWTOR’s intent was absolutely not to get to the end game. At this point, I’m unsure exactly what is their point. Based on what they’re saying, I guess it’s more story…

xyzzysqrl
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xyzzysqrl

srmalloy JonBuck So you’re on the playtest server, clearly, with your over-specific knowledge?

RicharddeLeonIII
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RicharddeLeonIII

Kass40 jauffins I dont think he meant the level sync, but the stat simplification and talent simplification that wow did a while back that kinda alienated the min/maxers.

sray155
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sray155

Kass40 A player who can’t be bothered to do something is one thing; but “lazy” gets thrown out as a catch all for anyone who happens to want a streamlined or -god forbid they actually admit to this- easier experience. Players asking for simple QoL improvements like a shared character cash banks get called lazy by others who are too “lazy” to say “I’d rather developer resources were spent elsewhere.” It’s an overused pejorative tossed out by a subset of achievement oriented players trying desperately to maintain their stranglehold on developer focus in a day when it’s becoming increasing clear that there is a huge under served audience of activity oriented gamers out there.

If a player who doesn’t want to run content for themselves? Fine: that’s lazy (one has to ask what the hell they’re doing “playing” a game if they’re not actually going to play it). A player who wants game experiences to be simplified, streamlined, easier or less tedious is not lazy: those are players who are more concerned with the activity than gaining a sense of accomplishment, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Mobile, indie and “point and click adventure” adventure  game developers are making money hand over fist by recognizing the fact there’s a large audience out there that isn’t looking to have to overcome complex, five hour ordeals to be entertained by a video game: not every video game has to be a gigantic challenge (nor should every game be a cakewalk), sometimes they just have to be entertaining.

Kass40
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Kass40

sray155 Damonvile Kass40 cheesybites76 Exactly! The mnindset in many mmo’s now especially WoW, is rush to endgame. ToR is NOT designed to be rushed, so folks start throwing wobblies and tantrums….

There’s a vile mindset of “Self Entitlement” now in MMO gaming and it annoys the hell out of me.

Kass40
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Kass40

Damonvile sray155 Kass40 cheesybites76 I totally agree. I know of somebody who was about lev 13 same as me when we talked. Bare in mind I am starting from scratch on a new server, When I hit lev 20 they were in the 30’s, when i hit 40 the other night they are now max lev. I am doing all the content as much as I can, and enjoying the game questing crafting, PvP Instances etc. Also I am using the Fleet token to stop the 12x XP from class missions.

ToR is not meant to be a quick spam through to max lev… as you said :)

Kass40
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Kass40

sray155 Kass40 cheesybites76 I’ve played a few mmo’s in my life along with my close gaming team. Here’s an example from what I’ve encountered from randoms or people I know of example “Hey Kass, would you mind spamming me through all these instances and old raids, I want to get all this loot, I can’t be bothered signing of for randoms” OR “Kass you busy? Wanna spam me through some stuff because I can’t be bothered doing it myself” That’s what I call dammed LAZY folks

Now if it’s a member of my close personal game team, I have no hesitation spamming their alts through stuff cause I know they have grinded their way through stuff and done stuff the hard way like me.

Yeah and I agree with you, Dev LAziness is a huge factor in no matter what MMO it is, Copy paste approach especially with ToR. But the point overall I am trying to make is, there is a mindset out there of players who expect others to give up their time because those players really can’t be bothered doing anything on their own, I mean some need their hands held and that just annoys the pure hell out of me. Sure when I first played WoW about 8yrs ago, I needed help, after that managed to figure rest out for myself.

schlag sweetleaf
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schlag sweetleaf
srmalloy
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srmalloy

dorn2 There are changes to the character progressions, too. For example, Phase Walk, which Assassin tanks get now at level 51, will be moved into the base Inquisitor skill tree — but you get it at level 61. So your level 55 Assassin tank, who’s had Phase Walk for four levels, will, when KotFE goes live, lose Phase Walk and won’t get it back for six more levels.

There are other tweaks, most of which seem to be based around stretching out the abilities you get now from level 1 to level 60 so that you’ll be getting the same abilities spread over level 1 to level 65, so the devs don’t have to do any balancing of new abilities; with the abilities handwaved, they can focus their efforts on making the class stories more detailed and immersive… ummm… except that your class is pretty much irrelevant to the KotFE storyline, because there’s only one storyline, so they skip out on having to do a lot of work there as well. And to prevent story line conflicts, they set it up so that the moment you start the KotFE content, you’re locked out of any of the prior story content, so make sure you do all of the pre-KotFE story content you’ll ever want to do with a character before you start them on the KotFE content.

srmalloy
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srmalloy

JonBuck Unfortunately, simply synching you to the planetary level is far from a panacea. Aside from the effect on the way it’s going to feel for your Inquisitor to have bound Sith ghosts to defeat Darth Thanaton and take his place on the Dark Council as one of the most powerful Sith Lords in the galaxy, only to get mauled by trash mobs when you go back to Korriban, the ‘target level’ for a planet is broken. If you go to Alderaan, do you get synched to the level-32 cap of the class story, the level-44 cap of the bonus series, or the level 55 cap of the GSI missions? And several of the level-55 macrobinocular missions generate ambushes; all of them are going to have to be reworked, or the devs are going to get all kinds of hate and discontent from the players who get hit with level-55 ambushes while their characters are synced down to level 25.

And it doesn’t solve one of the problems that it was intended to address — being able to play your high-level characters with your friends’ low-level characters without one or the other getting shafted for XP or survival. If your friend has a level-15 character who’s just left Dromund Kaas, they go to Balmorra next. You take your level-60 character to Balmorra to team up with them, and they get level-synced to 25 — +5 over the planetary target. If you team up, you’re ten levels apart, and your friend’s character won’t get experience.

Making level-sync optional (except for PvP — if your PvP flag is on, you should automatically level-sync to reduce level-60 vs. level 20 ganking), and having the sync be to the lower of either the planetary level or the lowest-level character in a group preserves the ability of all the characters in a group to get XP, and allows the people who want to go to a low-level planet to RP and not have to deal with respawn aggro.

Syco_at_Twitch
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Syco_at_Twitch

I only plan to play  it for the story n then i will drop it

KryptonianGL
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KryptonianGL

cheesybites76 BKone Couldn’t agree more! Variety is the spice of life and I can’t stand it when devs force decisions on players rather than giving them the option where possible.

I applaud BioWare for giving players the option to use the 12x XP or not. Not everyone’s taste or situation is exactly the same and freedom to choose based on one’s specific case is always better than having no choice.
I am an extremely busy person — so much so that I don’t even have time to max out a character with the 12x XP. So, chances are I’ll never have time to waste on content that is not relevant to the main story. However, I can always see myself needing to go back to lower level areas to farm/gather materials and I simply do not want to have to worry about the added time-sink of being scaled down and wading through mobs while doing so.

This is the EXACT reason why devs and players need to stop being obtuse in believing that there is only one answer or side to approach something.

We are all different and while something might very well be one man’s solution, it doesn’t mean it will work for all. One size does not fit all!

Hopefully BioWare is listening!

shadowblender
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shadowblender
Kass40
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Kass40

asuranknight Kass40 cheesybites76 I was in Beta for Star Wars. I was in a leveling area on tat, 2 high levs and 2 lowbies ran ahead of me and smashed the place up, it’s a thing that happens in all mmo’s. as for the 12x XP, I disbaled it using the token available at fleet. I am one of those folks who like to do all the quests avail and enjoy myself.

MyNameIsIllegal
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MyNameIsIllegal

JonBuck It’s good AS AN OPTION. Since they have decided not to make it optional, its bloody terrible.

BryanCo
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BryanCo

Apollymi  Those areas seem to be separate ‘planets’ as far as the game is concerned (they have separate ‘world’ maps from the rest of the planet) so that’s probably the case.  But there are other places (the ‘Seed of Rage’ areas etc.) that can be much higher level than the rest of a planet while being continuous with the rest.

JudgeDavid101
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JudgeDavid101

That’s no level sync, it’s a space station. 

Sorry, sorry.

Qarran
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Qarran

Bioware, “Stay on target.  Stay on target!”

cheesybites76
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cheesybites76

BKone That’s right, Blizzard has ruined MMO gaming for everyone. Must suck to be them.
At any rate, if you enjoy content scaling that’s great, more power to you, but my entire point is that such thing should be optional. I would offer that forcing anything onto players is generally a bad idea and detrimental to a game’s lifespan. 
If you want to scale down (and get the rewards for doing so, ofc), then you should be able to. But if someone is struggling with something and you have the power to push them through it (and get basically zero rewards), you should be able to choose that route also.

BKone
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BKone

cheesybites76 Oh yeah…., Blizzard’s spoiled brats…
Anyway, I prefer Cryptic’s approach. The content is scaled to your level.

Apollymi
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Apollymi

Good point. Maybe those areas have a different level cap.

JonBuck
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JonBuck

The Level Synch looks better than it did when I first saw it. This is good. There are actually some Bonus questlines in various planets I’d like to play through, and doing it as a level 60+ was just a faceroll. Some challenge is good.
Second, I’m cheering what they’re doing with Companions. I don’t want Elara with me all the time as a Trooper. And there’s the fact that some of the Classes didn’t get a healer (or even a second companions) until late (Looking at you, Agent). Thank you.
Now, if only I could tear myself away from all these sim games.

Techbot Alpha
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Techbot Alpha

Ok this, coupled with the 12x exp, has caught my attention.
Time to polish off the blasters and put the lightsaber on charge…

Rohirrim
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Rohirrim

Tbc and wrath was the peak yes, but still classes in tbc was much less complex than how they was in later expansions, even in wod…but they were fun and unique.
I dont have problem if content is difficult..I just dont want to straggle with the UI in order to play “right”. Vanilla and TBC wow is the perfect example for me of how to have simple, fun and unique classes combined with difficult content.

RicharddeLeonIII
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RicharddeLeonIII

Whether minority or not, the game isnt a democracy its capitalism. Its all about how much money bioware will lose if prople stop paying either in subs or cash shop purchases. Same thing happened with blizzard and flying. The people complaining was a minority, but big enough to hurt their earnings. Which is why its in their best interest to find a way to make everyone happy otherwise EA is gonna start firing people.

Vagrant Zero
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Vagrant Zero

Jadefox  So apparently you’ve spent your last 20 years in an alternate universe where Star Wars Galaxies never existed.

theblackmage75
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theblackmage75

My only concern about level-syncing is what it will do to old daily areas like the Black Hole, Ilum, and Section X.  I have spent a fair share of my time blasting through them both because of the favorable time/credits ratio and because they’re not too overcrowded.  I’m wondering if there will be any point whatsoever to going back to those places when level sync happens since the benefit simply won’t be there anymore.  Even so, I loved how COH handled sidekicking, so any effort to get players playing together regardless of level is a step in the right direction to me.

theblackmage75
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theblackmage75

Cial00 No new dungeons, raids, or pvp at launch.  They have greatly restructured the way flashpoints and ops work, however: changing some fps to be soloable, others to be tactical (like Kuat), and hardmodes to be available from 50+.  Similarly with ops: all of them will now drop endgame gear, along with new mounts, etc; all SM will be available from 50+, and HM/NiM is intact with its set of better rewards.
I can only guess that the whole expansion is pretty much geared for folks like me who have maybe been playing since launch but have never had the temerity to jump into much endgame group content, not for serious raiders or pvpers.  For more info from the horse’s mouth see this link:

http://www.swtor.com/blog/operations-and-flashpoints-fallen-empire

sray155
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sray155

Damonvile sray155 Kass40 cheesybites76 I’ve been subbed to SWTOR for years, so I know that story is the best part; but it is ultimately still designed with the whole “rush to endgame for raiding and/or ranked pvp” mindset (or at least has been until now, I do agree that KotFE does represent an almost fundamental shift in BioWare’s design philosophy with the game). And most of the objections I read come from those who feel the leveling game is just an annoyance to get through on their way to endgame raiding/pvp.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

Not thrilled about them combining stats to simplify it.  Doesn’t really affect too much but there is no need for that, wasn’t difficult to figure out to begin with, I don’t feel it needed to be dumbed down.  Takes away some of the flare and immersion too in my opinion.  A smuggler should be cunning, a force user should have strong willpower, a warrior should have a ton of strength.  Mastery does make sense though, as you have to master a specific skill, but it just doesn’t seem as immersive to me.

SallyBowls1
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SallyBowls1

Qarran SallyBowls1 Time is cyclical.  When an expac hits, I spend zero time on leveling planets.  But right now in WoW, I am spending far more time on low level zones than max level zones on my max level characters (excluding Garrisons ofc)   If I were playing SWTOR more instead of WS and WoWs, I would be spending no time in max level planets but doing datacrons, story, and achievements on low level planets. 

Who is spending much time on max level planets in SWTOR or WoW at the moment?  I am sure there are people but I don’t see the motivation.

/shrug these things happen

Damonvile
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Damonvile

sray155 Kass40 cheesybites76 This mmo isn’t really about rushing to end game, and the story is it’s best part. Someone rushing through it probably shouldn’t be playing it at all.

Cial00
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Cial00

I haven’t really been following this expansion. Is there ANY new dungeons/raids/pvp content or is it all just single player story?

sray155
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sray155

Kass40 cheesybites76 I’m personally all for levelsyncing myself, BUT…

When I read one MMO player accusing another of laziness, I feel compelled to point this out: you’re calling someone who wants to spend less time playing a video game -so they can presumably do anything else- lazy. I think you might need some help with the definition of the word lazy, because that is most definitely not it.

This has nothing to do with laziness, and has everything to do with the shortcomings of WoW-styled MMORPG themepark design: if the leveling experience and areas actually had any real significance other than being an unexplained time sink before getting to  “the real game”, then players wouldn’t want to rush through them as quickly as possible; and would be less likely to mind replaying through those areas as they were designed later on. If there’s any laziness going on, it’s on the part of game developers who’ve kept cranking out the same shit for the last ten years, copying WoW’s blueprint without ever attempting to even fix any of its very real shortcomings.

Spacejesus3k
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Spacejesus3k

Witches Spacejesus3k RicharddeLeonIII Yep, would totally ruin the fun of trying to solo it.

Estranged
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Estranged

Yeah, too bad they are often the torch carrying minority.

Qarran
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Qarran

SallyBowls1 Qarran  Sorry to hear that.  But from what I can see, you will still be OP.  And, really, do you spend a lot of time hanging out on lowbie planets? The game is a theme-park.  Exploration is great but limited and sadly with very little to discover.  The game is not a sandpark or sandbox where you go looking for different mats in different worlds to trade and make a living.  The frequency in which most go to leveling worlds after cap is minimal because there is nothing to do.

So, I get that it is a big deal to you, but I wonder if  you use  your god power often enough for it to be a make or break situation.

Nah, level sync is not a big deal.  The changes to crafting, combat, classes, story, QoL are and worth the xpac whatever you may think of level sync.

I don’t care if they make it optional, but they shouldn’t delay the xpac or expend heroic hours to do it.  After the nuance of it all wears off, there will be few people returning to the lowbie planets and level sync will be just another remember when story.

Boardwalker
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Boardwalker

Jadefox Boardwalker My apologies for assuming that you don’t play SWTOR, but based on your negative comments, that appeared to be the case. Personally, if I disliked a game as much as you seemed to in your posts, I would choose to play another. Glad to see that you actually like the game.

SallyBowls1
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SallyBowls1

d0ub1ep1u5g00d SallyBowls1 Qarran Huh.  Say my max level was going to go do stuff on a level 20 planet.  The day after the patch, my power will be idk 10%? 5%? 15%? of the previous day.

Little is hard in a video game and nothing is admitted to be hard in a forum. If it is a lazy Sunday and I am going to go work on Loremaster in a low level zone, be it WoW or SWTOR, it is certainly doable.  It is just that in the new SWTOR it takes a longer than it did before this change.. Again, certainly doable; not hard; A good analogy is that is they said after the patch, you moved at 20% of the speed the day before.  Going slower does not make it harder or not doable, just more annoying.  

I am especially cognizant of all this as this is the phase of WoW where I am going back and doing catch up and fill in.

I value my time.  They could have gone with optional like other games. The good news is that you get the same DLC/story if you subscribe just for Dec ’16 as if you were subscribed from now till Dec ’16.

quark1020
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quark1020

Jadefox Farawaydi6 It would have helped if you posted this as the first post instead of a vague post about the game making choices that would kill the game.

Unfortunately, what retains players to a game varies between each person, so there will not be a single decision or feature that will keep everyone. Eventually, people will get tired and take a break from the game.

Greaterdivinity
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Greaterdivinity

Estranged It’s the nature of working on things people care about. No matter what you do, you’re going to piss off some very loud group of people who will make sure that you hear about it : )

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