Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR’s latest raid might be a too little too late

When Star Wars: The Old Republic launched, I was champing at the bit for raids. Then when I heard about the launch bugs from friends, I really didn’t want to have anything to do with that. But thanks to the Darth Hater crew and eventually my raiding guild in Nefarious Intent, I came to really enjoy raiding. I started raiding in SWTOR when Karragga’s Palace was the top-tier raid. I raided every week for three years. We were never the best raiders on the server, and I don’t think that we ever really tried to be because it was about having fun in a team-based PvE.

After a two-year gap, the developers at BioWare decided that it was time to introduce a new raid. With Update 5.2, players will see additional story, dailies, and the first boss of the new raid on the planet of Iokath. Although I am very excited to see all of this hit the game again, I can’t help but wonder if the interest in raids is strong enough to make that kind of gameplay viable again.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me tackle the questions: What is coming with Update 5.2: War for Iokath, what does the existing community think of it, and will it be enough to draw people back in?

A deep backstory

If you have not played through Knights of the Eternal Throne, then the planet Iokath probably means nothing to you, unless you work in the medical field — then the term “IO cath” has a very unfortunate association the planet from SWTOR. However, if you did play through KOTET, then you know that Iokath is less of a planet and more of a giant Dyson sphere around the system’s sun. If you enjoy reading about astronomic theory like I do, then you’ll know that it’s highly unlikely that a Dyson sphere that completely surrounds a star, like Iokath does, would ever work. But as every Star Wars fan knows, Star Wars is sci-fantasy and not pure science fiction. So, BioWare, you go with your Dyson sphere!

Are far as the story is concerned, the biggest focus should be that Iokath is the origin of nearly all Zakuulan technology. Given the general look of all the tech on Zakuul, I’d venture to say that everything on that planet comes originates on Iokath. The fleet certainly comes from there. The Gravestone was Iokath technology. The GEMINI captains and SCORPIO all clearly come from Iokath. It also appears to be the origins of Zakuulan mythology.

In the Star Fortresses, players can find different bits of text at random.  Eventually, when they find all six texts, they will receive the title of “Follower of the Old Ways.” The Old Ways refers to the worship of the old gods, which Valkorion had supposedly destroyed. In one encounter Valkorion was called the “Slayer of Izax.” Izax is the father of the Zakuulan pantheon: Izax, Scyva, Tyth, Aivela, Esne, and Nahut. We also have heard of Zildrog, who is supposed to be another aspect of Izax.

Tyth, god of rage

A new raid

BioWare announced in a livestream a couple of weeks back that Update 5.2 would contain several community-desired bits of content. For instance, Master modes for Uprisings, more story, returning companions, the return of Empire-vs.-Republic conflict, a new daily area, and of course, a new raid. All of this new content takes place on Iokath.

BioWare did not say when all the bosses in the raid would be released, but we do know that the first boss will come at the end of March with patch 5.2, and his name is Tyth. Circling back up to the names in the Zakuulan pantheon, you’ll see Tyth, the Zakuulan god of rage.

Beside the lore behind this boss, there are a few things that we know from a mechanical standpoint about the boss. We know that people are currently testing this boss fight because BioWare was taking applications for testing and some other players have admitted to being on the test center. I have not seen or heard anyone break NDA, yet, so we don’t know the mechanics of the fight. BioWare did say, however, that the person behind the challenging Revan fight at the end of Temple of Sacrifice raid is the same person who developed the Tyth fight, so we can suspect that it will be interesting and difficult.

Community thoughts

The existing community takes a rather positive stance for the upcoming content. The Eternal Throne content, in general, appears to be me more well-received that the Fallen Empire content. Existing players do not appear to mind waiting a few months between releases as long as the content is quality. And given that BioWare has more time between releases, the quality of the content certainly has the opportunity to be higher quality.

However, I don’t hear a lot of stories about people returning to the game because of the new, upcoming content. In fact, we asked that question of Xam Xam on the Passionately Casual Podcast. Although she definitely wanted to be a part of the new content, she wasn’t sure that her former raiding guildies would return, and if they did return, it wouldn’t be until the whole raid is released. Who could blame them? It’s been two years already since BioWare released a raid, and it will likely be closer to three years before we see all the bosses for the Iokath raid.

Admittedly, I am on the fence when it comes to the new SWTOR content. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing it, and I’m surprised at the quality of the content so far. Even my lackluster first impression of Uprisings is turning around, but I can’t really blame those who feel burned. If I had been gone from the game for a couple of years, I don’t know that I would be coming back to see some content unless I knew for certain that it would exceed my expectations.

As always, I want to turn the conversation over to you. Do you believe that BioWare is doing enough? Are you an existing player who believes that this will give you more to do? Am I wrong? Are more raiders going to return to the game because of the new raid, or has the Command XP system put them off like it has so many others? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, and I will see you next time.

Every other week, Larry Everett jumps into his T-16 back home, rides through the hypergates of BioWare‘s Star Wars: The Old Republic, and posts his adventures in the Hyperspace Beacon. Drop him a holocom on Twitter @Shaddoe or send him a transmission at larry@massivelyop.com. Now strap yourself in, kid — we gotta make the jump to hyperspace!
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29 Comments on "Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR’s latest raid might be a too little too late"

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Pedge Jameson

You have to sub or there’s monsters in the woods and people in places who keep killing you, it’s really a pain.

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Cypher

Never cared about raiding in this or any game tbh, it’s just not what I play MMO’s for so I’m pretty ‘Meh’ on the whole subject.
That said, I did re-sub the other day, and while I enjoy the story content, and only because I feel I need to see the end of the story cos let’s face it, it get’s less “Star Warsy” with every expansion!
But as mentioned below, ESO and the like are putting out as much content in a quarter than SWTOR puts out in a year, and then some! I’m tired of being treated like a customer, treat me like a FAN Bioware!!

dixa
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dixa

Until the command crate fiasco is addressed, this game is dead to me and i’m sure many others.

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Witches

SWTOR only released more than one Ops at the same time during SOR, and both were superbroken and were exploited to death, and basically were the catalyst for the great Ops drought of 2014-2017, Ops in SWTOR are wasted resources, the don’t hold the attention of the people who like them long enough, i’m still playing the original stories, if i could play the solo flashpoints with Lana or Theron instead of the GSIsus i would play them more often even with the ridiculous rewards they give, if the mechanics to have two companions were introduced to the main game i would probably replay all the stories.

When they made the Kalig lightsaber BOL, there was an explosion if new SI in Korriban, when Togruta launched Tython looked like Ryloth, they just need to be more BW and more SW and less regular mmo and they will do fine.

The best example of how “raids” aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and not every game should have them is GW2, their attempts at corralling people towards raids keep failing and the game is suffering because of it.

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George

You mean Shili, right? Ryloth is Twi’leks’ home world…

Woetoo
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Woetoo

For my sins I resubscribed a few days ago.
Right now my plan is to continue from Chapter XI of KotFE and complete both it’s story and the current KotFT story.

As someone who had 11 max level characters (7 of which actively raided frequently on an EU server and 1 that was infrequently raiding on a US server) – I’ve no intention of raiding this time around.
The community I knew is gone. The gearing process reminds me more of a Facebook game. And if I dipped my toe into the group content I used to love, I suspect I would only see the worst sides of the community because I haven’t given myself enough time to introduce myself into a current community I could learn to trust.

So I’ll sub for this month and then unsub again. I doubt I’ll ever be back. But a single month’s subscription of the best part of two expansions seemed fair for a single player DLC.

Do I believe Bioware is doing enough?
For who? It’s investors: sometimes, but barely.
For it’s players? The couple hundred thousand who’ve stuck around might say “sure, maybe”. A couple of million others already said “no”. Pick whichever answer you like the most.

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wayshuba

Well, you asked so I will answer in perspective of our entire guild which just, in one day, moved on from SWTOR and started in mass in ESO.

Most that have left recently have done it over two things: the absolutely worst piece of MMO gearing design ever introduced into an MMO – the GC System. And secondly, how BioWare just seems to be intent on sticking with this system no matter how many subs bleed.

So, that brings us to the announced content – way too little and way too late. When games like ESO and FFXIV are putting out large patches quarterly that equal THREE YEARS of content from the SWTOR team, it is not even worth it anymore. Their competitors are putting out two to four full raids a year (meaning 6 to 12 over a 3 years time frame) in which BioWare will have put out a grand total of 1.

Lastly, we should be talking about the big elephant in the room. The GC System already has caused a big sub loss. When the 5.2 patch hits and people find out that the raid (i.e., one boss) is really being used to introduce a further two tiers of gear… well, you can imagine how big the backlash is going to be.

It seems to be all the decision makers in BWA can seem to do today – create massive dis-satisfaction and backlash from a good portion of their customer base.

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Jadefox

This Raid they are making is pretty much pointless at this stage of the game. At the end of the year no one is going to care when they release the final boss. It’s going to be the ho-hum event of the year.

The problem with SWTOR has always been the pace of content. Right now, if you came back to the game today, after being gone 3 years. You could be caught up story-wise in about a week.

Everything else in the game is just repurposed content that was already in the game.

I really think that there is no one left at BW that can create stuff. They could not even add a stronghold after yavin and that would be easy as it is 100% instanced.

The only players that enjoy the game all the time are the roll players. They can at least make their own content.

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NeoWolf

Barring the last two statements which are highly subjective, I think the issue you describe is not so much a SWTOR issue sadly as more an MMO in general issue. :(

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wayshuba

I have to respectfully disagree. Look at what ESO and FFXIV have put out for content in the last two years. Also look at what is on their plate to release for this year versus what is announced from SWTOR. Heck, even LOTRO has put out more content updates than SWTOR.

The small amount of content put out by BW over the last two years, is unfortunately very much unique to SWTOR. If you actually compare them to the other nine titles in the “top ten” MMOs, you will find they come dead last (and by a very long margin), in the amount of new content produced over the last two years.

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NeoWolf

Actually Bw have stated a bunch of content is forthcoming its just unloading it in chunks rather than huge drops. their current focus being on adding more mutiplayer (meh).. but more story coming after that. Its not like they are ever NOT developing new content but it takes time. It is simply impossible to produce new content ahead of the time it takes players to go through it.

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Andrew SWTOR Economics

If you compare the amount of content being developed though, it’s embarrassing for SWTOR compared to other MMOs that have been mentioned. I don’t intend to play any of the other MMOs probably, but it’s just denial to act like SWTOR doesn’t have a problem with lack of content development compared to its competitors.

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NeoWolf

Maybe, but then being an IP based game they have a whole level of approval and bureacracy to go through for everything they make that all non IP mmos don’t all of which takes time.

But again name one mmo that provides content faster than players can consume it?… exactly.

Richard de Leon III
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Richard de Leon III

Personally I dont raid in the game at all. But I still play heavily because of its strong solo content. The level scaling hurt it for my tastes because I liked overpowering old content, but I have been able to adjust. The raiding scene I have yet to try even with the LFR difficulty level, I simply do not have the urge to run them since they arent critical to the story in the same way as the raids are in other games, like WoW.

That being said, I want them to make more group oriented content, any content really. Using WoW as an example, Legion has so much content it feels complete in a sense and there is so much to try and do even if I dont relish much of the group-oriented content.

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NeoWolf

Additional raid late or not will not have any impact on my enjoyment of SWTOR or indeed that of anyone I know. Lets be honest noone plays anything Bioware related looking for group oriented content or raiding. They are the masters of the solo and story based experiences and that is where they excel and should keep excelling.

And I know some will gasp and throw the same lame old comeback.. “But Neo this is an MMO”! as if that somehow means there SHOULD be group content and raiding. And in part I wouldn’t entriely disagree that there “should” be that sort of content.. but MMOs are social games by definition they are not GROUPED games by definition. 99% of almost every mmos content is geared at solo friendly content it is and has ONLY ever been endgame where group content and raiding became a mainstay and that sort of gameplay over the last several years has largely become an anachronism most people no longer find acceptable to be the ONLY option of an endgame experience.

Now sure, this comes as a swift kick in the nuts to those who love group content and raiding..but again if that was your jam, what the heck were you doing playing SWTOR to begin with? Looking for the ideal experience of that sort form the least idea candidate was ALWAYS going to end in tears.

Endgame has evolved over recent years PVP and Raiding alone has no longer become acceptable as the only means of playing a game once the story is done. thats just how it is, peoople want choice and when given that choice, in SWTOR at least they largely choose not to do those activities and instead look for the story, because again…. BIOWARE game.

menofhorror
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menofhorror

I disagree with the “masters of the solo and story based experience” KOTFE and KOTET were a big step down storywise. And the solo experience was in both expansions very dull.

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Greaterdivinity

Can’t speak to KotET, but I can back that from chapter 1-14 of KotFE. It was alright from an overall narrative standpoint (I found it uninteresting mostly, but it wasn’t really bad), but it was nowhere near where some of the class stories are in terms of quality (And even those are spotty). And the solo experience…ugh.

Ludonarrative dissonance has not been kind to this game over the years. The huge gap between the tone presented in cutscenes (often presenting major enemies as much more powerful than you) and gameplay (often these same enemies become the most trivial of foes) makes for a very jarring experience overall, IMO.

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Trippin Ninja

I miss raiding with you Larry! Even if it was always your fault. ;-)
I almost cancelled my subscription but I’m still subbed thanks to a close friend starting the game recently. I wouldn’t mind seeing the new raid when it drops but I’m not sure I have it in me to find a new group. If the Nefarious Intent group got back together I would definitely jump back in though.
Unfortunately it definitely has the too little too late feel to it.

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Sally Bowls

For me, I regret the effort spent on group content. I can see that it could be possible that the efforts will retain enough people to be justified, but I am skeptical. If you want to raid, play WoW; they are delivering so much more raid content.

There are few grays in my world; I think SWTOR is in the awkward middle. It does not have enough raid content to keep raiders happy. However, it is not that solo friendly; there are still all the vestiges of the raid-or-GTFO mentality: repeatedly emphasizing how the raid-or-GTFO group content gets you much better CXP.

I think they have the Wildstar disease. A large majority of the 1% who post on the forums are elite-just-ask-them but the forum warriors don’t reflect the revenue.

My guess is that these raiding efforts are either too much or way too little.

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rafael12104

So, the same person that came up with Underlurker is doing this OP? Lol. Ok then. It will be interesting. Sure, Underlurker became a faceroll later in SM, but he was no joke at the start and was just damn nasty in HM. Thing is, the mechanics were not complicated either, but it was hard to execute. That cross of death was fun. LOL.

But, too little to late? Maybe. I love SWTOR. Played from day one etc. etc. but I recently left because of Cxp and the lockbox slot machine for Ops gear. And frankly, I won’t come back for that reason, even with a new OP. They go back to the old loot drop tables or they use Cxp with no lockboxes and I will be back for Ops.

Yet, there are a few guildies and friends who keep in touch and are waiting to see what happens in hopes of coming back. They left as well, but we are all keeping an eye on things.

Please BW, give us a reason to return. One big one? Reswizzle Cxp into something that is not rng lockbox based. Look, rng is always in there right? You down a boss with a given loot table and you may not get the item because other players are rolling for it. But that scenario is infinitely better because someone in your team benefits or passes on loot they don’t need giving others a chance.

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Greaterdivinity

I think if they’d gone all out and surprised us with a complete, fully fleshed out raid and promises to continue supporting raiding moving forward, they’d have had a chance to bring in a lot of lapsed subs/raiders who have long since left for greener raiding pastures.

But as it stands, this piecemeal “one boss every few months” approach won’t cut it. It’s the easiest, safest way for them to say that they’re supporting raiding, as it also leaves them free to drop work on additional bosses if nobody ends up bothering with it and their engagement metrics are in the tank. It’s the method a team that has no confidence in themselves chooses.

I would have rather this game never bothered with raids to begin with, honestly, but they opened that Pandora’s box long ago and are stuck with the consequences now. If that puts them between a rock and a hard place, that’s nobodies fault but their own.

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Sray

Honestly, I feel like raids are the wrong way to go for SWTOR. Over the last two years they’ve carved put a nice chunk of the market to occupy as counter-programming to the “raid, ranked, or GTFO” of virtually every other MMORPG on the market. But the failure to fully commit to that, and be vocal to that commitment, has caused a lot of angst to a highly divided player base. At this point SWTOR is a platypus: it’s an animal designed by a committee, and the result doesn’t make any sense.
And if, as they’re now claiming, that their resources are so limited, then building a raid is a waste of those resources. If what you’ve got is so damned limited, then building content that maybe only 25% of your players will ever use is a monumentally poor use of those resources when all 100% of your players are content starved. It would be a far better use of time and manpower to create instances that scale from 1 to 8 players. No, you probably wouldn’t be able to put in all of the overly scripted boss mechanics that raiders love, but it would still be a hell of a lot better than the large group content that they haven’t seen in two years.

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Paragon Lost

No, just no. The whiplash that Bioware causes is just painful. No, I am not returning.

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Kevin McCaughey

I left a long time ago and wonder what the game is like nowadays. Is it worth playing as a primary MMO? I heard it nickel and dimes you.

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Paragon Lost

As Sleepy mentioned, just sub. Otherwise the hoops aren’t worth leaping through in order to have a decent game experience. Also be ready for major yo-yo-ing on what they say/do. They can’t make up their mind on what they want to be. It gets to be a major frustration point for many of us. Also, nickel and diming is what they do, that hasn’t changed.

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Sleepy

You have to sub really, it’s not worth the hassle otherwise.

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