Hyperspace Beacon: First impressions of SWTOR’s Chiss flashpoint
Let’s take a few moments to talk about SWTOR Update 5.6 and all the things in it, then dive into why I think the Copero flashpoint could have used a little bit more polish.
Activities, legacy credits, Master’s Datacron, and new hair-dos
Group activities have been BioWare’s focus for this year. They have been steadily increasing the number of bosses in the Iokath operation. Each major content update since 5.0 has included additional group activities. Gear rating has become a more visible thing to track. And now we have the activities window, which is an improvement over the previous group-finder window.
The activities window includes all repeatable content (save for story chapters) from heroics to dailies and flashpoints to operations. They are divided into tabs at the top of the window into group, PvP, and solo. There is a lockouts tab, too, but that’s largely unchanged from the previous interface. The biggest addition to this interface is the “Role-In-Need” rewards. For instance, right now, the veteran uprisings are in need of more tanks to queue, so they have offered tanks 6,397 more credits and 577 more command points than the standard reward for completing the mission. I’m on board with that as long as it encourages people who can actually play that role. I do have a tiny fear that it will encourage people to switch specs for a role they really don’t know how to play at all.
The legacy credits bank is a quality-of-life addition that should have been introduced when we received the legacy banks, or better yet, when the legacy system was introduced almost six years ago. It does exactly what you’d expect it to do. It gives you an area in your legacy bank to store credits. And these credits can be seen, added to, or withdrawn by any of your characters on that legacy. It’s not cross-server, but it is cross-faction.
Update 5.6 also introduced the Master’s Datacron. This item is what everyone thought the character boost was going to be when it was introduced in 4.0. The Master’s Datacron will simply raise the level of any character to level 70. It doesn’t reset or get rid of quests like the character boost did. It simply raises you to 70. If the character does not have the ship yet, it will grant it the player ship. It will also give characters tier 1 gear so that players don’t have to wait to start endgame activities.
Before getting into Copero, let’s talk hair. I’m not a super fan of Theron Shan’s new do, but if you are, you can get it on your character — male or female. Women also have five more hairstyles and men of one more other than the Theron hawk, assuming that the species you’re playing has hair — Zabraks excluded. Humans also have new eye colors and cosmetics. The eyes give you a Sith look without the corruption, similar to Lana Beniko.
Four of the hairsyles for women are interesting because they kind of feed off each other. They all have a ’40s-style curl in the bangs, but in the back, there is a choice of a short cut, a bun, down, and down in giant curls. Of course, you have to be a fan of that style in the first place, but it does make for an interesting set. If you like to have your character put her hair up and down or in different configurations, this would be a good style to roleplay that.
Let’s talk spoiler-free about Copero
If you have not caught up with the current storyline, there is a traitor who has twice tried to kill you and working with another group to try to take down the Eternal Alliance. If you’ve played Crisis on Umbara, then you know who the traitor is, but for those who haven’t, I’m not going to reveal his or her identity right now. The only thing you really have to know is that he or she was a major part of your group and appears to be actively working against you now.
Let’s start with the good of the flashpoint. As far as the story is concerned, the motivation makes sense. Get ready to learn why the Chiss Ascendancy and the Sith Empire were allies and the Empire didn’t conquer the Ascendancy as it did every other galactic nation it encountered. I found that tidbit of information far more interesting than the reveal at the end of the flashpoint.
I think where this flashpoint suffered was in the dungeon design. Taking a look at the screenshots of the planet, you’d think it’s beautiful, and it is. But would you believe that it’s also one very tight corridor? BioWare even went for far as to put up invisible walls to prevent you from stepping off the path. It’s also a giant murder simulator. There are small puzzles, but those seem to be fabricated and not really a way to further the story.
The bosses and especially the bonus boss aren’t a straight tank-and-spank. I only had time to play them solo a couple of times, but during that time, I felt they had enough challenge to make the flashpoint more than a slaughterfest. I found ways to cheese the trash between the bosses so the subsequent runs were a lot faster than the initial run.
Overall, I would give Update 5.6 positive marks, but I don’t think it’s strong enough to hold interest for too long. I know that I might only run the flashpoint one or two more times just to get my Chiss character through the story, but other than that, I’d say come back only if you like Chiss. Otherwise, you can wait until this story is complete to binge it all in a couple of hours.