On this week’s show, Bree and Justin recover from an avalanche of expansion news, including announcements from Elder Scrolls Online and Star Trek Online. Also, did you hear that Bless Online is coming this May? Oh, they did, and they have many words to say on the matter!
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
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Star Wars The Old Republic’s 5.8a patch is live today
with a bunch of tweaks to last week’s far bigger update. In fact, many of the changes are happy nerfs: Expect reductions in guild invasion requirements and multiple conquest targets and objectives, plus new conquest objectives and reverted rewards for warzones. Can anybody say course correction?
But probably the biggest news for SWTOR players today is the changes going into the cartel market (cash shop).
“Over the last year we’ve changed how we operate the Cartel Market based on your suggestions, including increasing the number of items and the frequency in limited time, direct purchase sales,” says BioWare. “Our goal is to give you more freedom to choose how you get your items. Want to get them out of packs? You still can! Want to get them directly? Now you can do that, too. Starting with the Spring event on Tuesday, March 27th players will begin to see changes take shape in three key areas: direct sale of items, new items, and the next Cartel Market (CM) pack.”
There are lots of moving parts with the conquest system for Star Wars: The Old Republic,
so it was almost inevitable that multiple passes would be needed for improving it. The most recent dispatch from the team makes it clear that this was always the goal; the revamp was meant to be the start of revisions, not the end. So there are already plans in place to change certain things
, such as lowering the objective cost for all tiers of conquest.
Players can also look forward to a weekly participation reward always being in the rotation for conquests (it was meant to only be there sometimes, but players wondered where it went). Crafting reductions are being scaled back somewhat while Large and Medium targets are getting more enticing rewards. More feedback is helpful for further tuning, so be sure to jump into the discussion and let the developers know how you feel about the changes so far.
If you’re a City of Heroes fan – or any kind of superhero fan – then you’re gonna want to check out the brand-new and never-before-revealed early-game Ship of Heroes map that Heroic Games just sent over. Remember, SoH is literally set on a starship, but it’s so massive that it fits all kinds of real-world zones inside.
“Every new MMORPG gets to the point where they can begin sharing the current version of the persistent level with their community,” Heroic Games writes. “Ship of Heroes is at that point right now. The map below is our first viewable version of the map of Apotheosis City. While every part of the city has not be allocated to a zone yet, it is clear that there will be about a dozen zones in the first playable level.”
Massively OP’s Larry and MJ made it off of Iokath, but the adventure is far from over; just because they survived doesn’t mean they are safe. Vaylin is hatching a plan that could lead to trouble, and you know this pair aims to stop her. Join us live at 2:00 p.m. as the duo starts chapter VI — we hear there might even be a vote flirt in there!
What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
Yesterday, Star Wars: The Old Republic
launched the delayed Update 5.8: Command Authority
to the servers. BioWare
now offers its first complete operation since Shadow of Revan
. For those keeping score at home, SoR
was launched way back in December 2014. We also see some much-needed improvements to the guild questing system that was originally launched with Strongholds expansion earlier in June of 2014, although BioWare has been adding to and improving strongholds since then. And lastly, we are introduced to some of new interactions companions Arcann and Ashara.
It’s only been a day since the launch, but I’ve had a chance to take a long look at most everything BioWare introduced in this expansion. And overall, I’m glad to see an update, but it’s just kind of… there. I have to wonder whether it was really necessary to make the bulk of what was introduced into a major update at all – or the developers could have placed the individual pieces into a much more impactful update. Let me explain what I mean by breaking apart the major pieces.
Hope you brought your industrial-sized ion cannon, fly boy, because that is one mother of a droid that’s trying to stomp on your face. Izax, the final boss of the God of the Machine operation, goes live today with Star Wars: The Old Republic Game Update 5.8
Izax and its limited-time event is merely a part of today’s content update. BioWare has revamped the conquest system – which we’ve already deep-dived in Hyperspace Beacon – to include a new interface and additional rewards for guilds. Three companions also return for some story content: the Sith Inquisitor’s Ashara, the Imperial Agent’s Vector, and everyone’s hunky Arcann.
For those who play the Galactic Trade Network, it should be noted that BioWare has increased the tax rate from 6% to 8% to “combat credit inflation.”
I think that we can all agree that Hirku seems like he’d be a pretty fun-loving dude to hang out with in World of Warcraft. We would all get cooler just by association, and he would take us on these crazy adventures where we’d log in the next day, find ourselves naked in some unfinished expansion, and have no recollection of what happened the night before.
I mean, look at this picture! “Ordinary” does not suit this party pirate’s life at all.
As a side note, I am completely jealous of players who have the ability to take great screenshots using fun emotes. Trying that usually results in me taking a picture of my character’s left ear from an extreme close-up view.
This week, I’m going to depart a little from the usual insights into the world around Star Wars: The Old Republic
and talk about another studio that isn’t owned by LucasFilm
and certainly isn’t owned by Electronic Arts
. I’d like to talk about Fogbank Entertainment
Some people believe that a studio makes a game what is it. Others believe that it’s the IP that the studio carries that makes the video game unique. I think that IP and the studio name carry weight. I certainly would not play SWTOR as much as I do if it carried an IP like Valérian and Laureline. But one of the primary reasons that I believe that SWTOR performed as well as it did (or didn’t, depending on your opinion) was the quality of the people behind it. For me, some of the most integral people to making a good game are the writers. And many of the SWTOR writers have moved on from BioWare and have effectively started their own studio: Fogbank.
If you recognize names like Daniel Erickson, Alexander Freed, Drew Karpyshyn, and Hall Hood, then you will definitely want to see what they are up to at Fogbank Entertainment. If you don’t know who they are, then give me a moment to explain why they are superstars of the gaming and MMO industry.
Around the time I started working at Massively-that-was, there was an article that I quite liked talking about how four high-profile MMO failures were not necessary. It was a product of its time, but the point was made that these games didn’t have to wind up in the state they were in. The mistakes that were made were not unexpected problems, but entirely predictable ones that anyone could have seen. Heck, some people did see them and pointed them out, but nothing was changed.
I think about that a lot when I think about other MMOs and online games because there are a lot of titles that, even if not entirely failed, are in states they never needed to be in. These stories are, at the very least, stories of some failures where the failure was not an inevitable end state, nor are they messes that had to be made. The writing was on the wall, the warnings were given, and someone just kept on keeping on and ignored all of the signs. And here we are.
Ready for Star Wars: The Old Republic
Patch 5.8’s arrival next week
? It’s OK if not, because the developers are here to bring you up to speed on the latest chapter of this MMO’s journey.
The team popped on a livestream yesterday to cover a half-dozen features that are coming with the update, including the return of two companions (the Inquisitor’s Ashara and the Imperial Agent’s Vector), some screens of the improved conquest user interface, an embedded trailer for Izax, and the lore behind the Gods of the Machine operation.
BioWare said that it is slating class balance tweaks for 5.9, not 5.8, so you’ll have to wait a little while to see what these utility changes will bring.
Surfacing at the tail end of last week was the news that multiple former BioWare devs who’d all contributed heavily to Star Wars The Old Republic at one point or another in their careers were moving on to a new studio called FogBank to work on unnamed narrative-centric games. The Fogbank roster includes Daniel Erickson and Alexander Freed, both of whom left BioWare and SWTOR years ago. But it also includes renowned storyteller Drew Karpyshyn, who’d returned to BioWare specifically to work on Anthem, which certainly cast some doubt on the state of that game, which has been delayed at least once (though EA denies it).
On Saturday, Anthem studio boss Casey Hudson address growing player concern on Twitter, suggesting rather ambiguously that Karpyshyn had simply finished his work on the game and was moving on as part of the natural course of development. “Story will always be an important part of every BioWare game,” he wrote. “Drew has wrapped up his work on the project, but Anthem’s Lead Writers and their teams continue to do amazing work developing the world, story, and characters.”
God of the Machine, one of Star Wars: The Old Republic’s
premiere endgame operations, is not a new addition to the game. But it has been incomplete, as BioWare has slowly been adding to its encounters over the past year. Next week when Game Update 5.8
arrives, the final boss will be added and players will be able to go through the complete operation from start to finish.
BioWare teased two images of Izak the Destroyer, a truly gargantuan droid who looks like it also has some sort of protective force field, as a way to generate hype for the March 20th patch. Check them out after the break and brush off your skills — you’re going to need them!
Oh, and it looks as though a plague has broken out on Corellia. Again. So, you know, get on that.