SWTOR’s spring content: Cash shop overhaul, conquest revamp, new flashpoint – but probably not a ‘traditional expansion’

        
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    Star Wars: The Old Republic’s had a couple of rocky months with the greater MMO community, following ominous rumors reportedly from inside BioWare that EA was internally debating the MMORPG’s future. While not everyone bought into the rumors, and the studio itself teased 2018 plans, the recent refer-a-friend promo didn’t exactly quell the growing concern that the game may be in trouble.

    But maybe the roadmap will. As promised, BioWare posted the roadmap yesterday, and it’s happening as a living document in the forums from BioWare’s Keith Kanneg himself, as he says, to “not make it seem like [the devs] disappeared into the ether.” So here’s what we’re looking at for content in the short term. In March, expect GU 5.8: Command Authority; it features

    • big (unspecified) changes to the cash shop based on feedback;
    • the return of companions Ashara Zabros and Vector Hyllus;
    • a romanceable Arcann companion;
    • new companion gifts to boost influence levels to 50 (not something you can just buy outright, however);
    • a fifth boss (with two modes) for the Gods from the Machine Operation (though not all bosses are getting that Master mode, note);
    • and a major revamp to the Conquest system.

    “We’ve made substantial improvements to the Conquest system including a new interface, new daily objectives, new missions, and more,” Kanneg says. “Most importantly, we have rewritten the backend system to ensure you benefit from your weekly efforts.”

    April brings GU 5.9: The Nathema Conspiracy, with

    • a new storyline flashpoint with suitable loot and craftables;
    • the return of companions Felix Iresso, Mako, and Akaavi;
    • rewards for people who don’t suck at the boss from GU 5.8 (ahem);
    • and another subber promo.

    And what about beyond April? It’s probably not the formal expansion you’re hoping for.

    “We heard feedback from some of you indicating you missed having a more ‘traditional’ expansion and you’d rather wait so it all comes at once. I like having updates released regularly versus waiting long periods of time in-between patches. Although this remains our current plan, we are also laying out what we’ll include in a 6.0 Game Update. We’ll keep you informed of our summer, fall and winter plans throughout the coming months.”

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    spencer quinn

    MY opinion I really happy to hear mako and ashara coming back, glad their revisiting the conquest system to bring back life into it. Love nathema in the game it look cool. The arcana romance, I know a lot of swtor people who will be happy about that. instant level 50 is awesome make crafting really easier, will be doing conquest for those. We will have to see about the CM changes though

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    Rolan Storm

    ‘Za_v_ros’.

    Yeah, took a bit to recall her. Sith Inquisitor companion, Jedi girl.

    Woetoo
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    Woetoo

    big (unspecified) changes to the cash shop based on feedback;

    Sure, because what gamers have been craving from their Star Wars games is more cash shop options. “Based on feedback” – We listened to all the things you hate and put more of THAT in.

    the return of companions Ashara Zabros and Vector Hyllus;

    Be still my beating heart. There’s nothing like giving back something previous stolen to make be just love the thief who did it.

    a romanceable Arcann companion;

    /sigh. I’m sure someone will love it. That person needs help.

    new companion gifts to boost influence levels to 50 (not something you can just buy outright, however);

    Wow. Whilst I agree levelling up companion reputation is a royal pain, this seems to be treating the symptoms whilst overlooking the disease.

    a fifth boss (with two modes) for the Gods from the Machine Operation (though not all bosses are getting that Master mode, note);

    A whole TWO bosses in an existing environment?
    Yeah. Okay, sure. Let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth. Well, a hoof of a gift horse at least, with more hooves promised for the future.

    and a major revamp to the Conquest system.

    Is this the 2nd or 3rd major revamp? I don’t recall.
    There’s nothing like a major revamp to reinforce the idea that the devs:

  • Didn’t know what players want
  • Don’t know what players want
  • a new storyline flashpoint with suitable loot and craftables;

    Suitable loot for a “story” level flashpoint? Doesn’t that just mean the majority of players already have better gear than what will drop?
    “Craftables” – don’t make me laugh. Crafting in SWTOR has never delivered a meaningful experience.

    the return of companions Felix Iresso, Mako, and Akaavi;

    Ah Mako. I’m sure the two and half cutscenes reintroducing you back into the game will make the subscription alone seem trivial. Of course, I long since clicked the console in my base that resummoned you and all the other companions I cared about back to my side – so it all feels a bit anti climatic really.
    #youwantpraiseforreturningmystolencompanion####you.

    rewards for people who don’t suck at the boss from GU 5.8 (ahem);

    The sarcasm is strong with this one.

    and another subber promo.

    #pleasegiveusmoney
    #pleaseaskyourfriendstogiveusmoney

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    Rolan Storm

    The amount of poison in your comment is tremendous. :D

    All of you guys criticizing them are right, though. Especially about cash shop. Feedback on cash shop? Really? Revamp based on feedback about cash shop? *here goes picture for tactical facepalm because normal does not cut it*

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    spencer quinn

    I mean TBF their have been plenty feedback on cash shop specifailly, less RNG, no more lootboxes make everything direct sale, no more reskins, put dyes in collectibles, make it to where we can earn the CM items, stuff like that

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    Rolan Storm

    When you put it like that it sounds good. Actually, really good – so I am in the wrong here.

    But most points people make are still true. Conquest system revamp for example.

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    Hirku

    One of the biggest developers, backed by one of the biggest publishers, working with an IP that’s been printing money for 40 years…yeah, this has moved beyond pathetic. We’re talking jail time now.

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    Kickstarter Donor
    Peregrine Falcon

    Upcoming WoW expansion: Battle for Azeroth! Last Guild Wars 2 expansion: Path of Fire! LOTRO expansion: The Road to Mordor! SWTOR expansion: Revamped Cash Shop!

    Are you ***** ***** **** ***** ******** kidding me?!?!?!!?

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    Hirku

    I’m having fun filling in your blanks.

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    Loyal Patron
    Jack Pipsam

    A new flash-point is pretty neat.

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    Thomas

    I haven’t played this game in a long while, so I don’t understand the “return of the companions” announcement. Why were they removed? Or were they removed only partially? I don’t see how you could play through the Bounty Hunter origin story without Mako, for example.

    This game would be better if they’d just make it a full-fledged online SPRPG/CORPG. None of the “MMO parts” of it ever seemed to work all that well, in my opinion. They should just allow players, for example, to take a team of their companions into flashpoints and elite areas. If they set it up as an online Guild Wars/Mass Effect type of game (in terms of playstyle options, if not story content), I’d probably come back to it.

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    Richard de Leon III

    Basically they moved on with their lives when your character disappeared for 5 years. Most went looking for you but didnt succeed. They are just now finding out youre alive so they are coming back. The romance companions’ reactions leave a lot to be desired to be honest, but at this point I’ll take what i can get since i missed them (storywise). You could technically bring back old companions via a terminal, but in the lore, they are still missing or away.

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    Korithian

    Worse than this any companion that isn’t one of the main ones, is seldom (never) seen outside of their return. Have the greatest Smuggler and pilot in the galaxy need someone to fly your shuttle, well it wont be him cause not everyone has him so you will get a generic.

    So while many people are happy about the returning companions (after the devs took them away) their returns have been handled really badly (or done right if you listen to the devs) and that is the last you will see of them. So hoping for some emotional return is unlikely to lead to much other than disappointment, a quick chat about how they looked but couldn’t find you is only one small step up from the console.

    It makes me sad how badly this game has been developed in the last year, how much the players have been led on (4 months for a roadmap that had nothing new in it) and how delusional the dev team are thinking 2017 was a good year and more of the same is a winning formula. But then if people are happy to pay for little to nothing and at least a few people on the official forums gush over a 3 minute Love Scene with Arcann (whose Arc will go from imprisoning you to being in love with you in a few short chats) then why should they offer any more.

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    Hirku

    I watched some of the companion returns on YT. I’d rather have the console and just make up my own reunion scene.

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    Rolan Storm

    Especially the line ‘after the devs took them away’. Exactly. Take something from someone, then give it back – be a hero. :D

    This kind of treatment reminds me of a certain person…

    *imperial march* “You have done well, my young apprentice.

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    Doubleplusgood

    If I remember correctly one of the latest expansions removes all of the old companions as time passes and your character begins a new chapter. They are replaced by a bunch of new ones.
    Which is one of the reasons I ended up regretting buying the expac. I hated that they took all my favorite companions away and I did not like the new ones.
    They have been slowly giving access to the old companions back.

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    Afro Thunder

    I have a suspicion that 6.0 will be the final “update” this game sees. Not based on any rumors or unnamed sources, just basing from my past 25+ years of playing these games and what I have experienced.

    Let’s all be honest here, take away any love for SW and/or this game and look at it for what it is. Does anyone really, honestly believe this game’s future extends beyond 2018? Maintenance mode is not a future.

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    Richard de Leon III

    The biggest problem the game has is the voice acting component. That is so expensive it would take a significant amount of cash shop activity or subscription levels to keep the game moving forward. It didnt help that the VA strike hit the gaming world fairly hard. Even though they didnt get all they want, having voice actors in any game will hit the pocket books hard.

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    Melissa McDonald

    So, this and the news about Disney reaching out to new game companies to “take over the francise” (maybe too strong of language there) sure does start to sound like SWTOR is entering maintenance mode.

    It’s been a great game, but it’s time for a new one with 2018 graphics.

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    Afro Thunder

    Anyone that believes that Disney doesn’t have an escape clause in that contract with EA is kidding themselves.

    I would be willing to gamble all that there are certain metrics that must be met to keep the license, my guess is that EA is far from hitting the expectations Disney had when this deal was made.

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    Richard de Leon III

    Odds are no matter what happens with Disney, EA will be able to keep KOTOR and SWTOR. Aside from the star wars trappings, the story itself is purely a bioware creation. It would be a waste if disney didnt let them continue with that line. It isnt a sure bet, but there is hope at least for swtor fans.

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    Toy Clown

    Talk about deja vu when SWG was shut down in favor of SWTOR running.

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    Rolan Storm

    It’s been a great game…’
    My focus is on ‘been’. I mean it is good, but… you are absolutely right.

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    Armsman

    They release new Star Wars games all the time. If you think they (Disney) is going to sink the time and money into another full Star Wars themed MMO, after two that ultimately under performed badly (SWG – and yes, SWToR as sorry going from 200 servers down to 5 is not an indication of ‘great performance’). SWTOR was conceived and commissioned at a time when WoW was taking off and reaching incredible subscriber numbers. At the time both Lucas Arts and SOE were scratching their heads as to why the largest most profitable (per project) IP – ‘Star Wars’ had an MMO iteration (SWG) that was lagging so far behind WoW. Thus the idea to “Make a Star Wars MMO that uses all the popular WoW game mechanics and add full VO…” was born, BioWare conscripted (because the KoToR game series was a great success and everyone was saying – If KoToR was made into an MMO, they’d have WoW+ sub numbers…”

    Fast forward to Dec. 2011 – where EA had already bought out BioWare; launched SWToR thinking: “Cool! It’s WoW with a Star Wars skin – be ready to rake in the money…”; and as usual EA’s market research was lacking, response to player feedback/concerns/complaints was lacking – an d as a result, after a ‘honeymoon launch period’ – the subs for the game started declining to the point where the 300+ staff that was going to be kept post launch top churn out content quickly was systematically trimmed down – to the point EA seemed to forget the statement they made at launch and spun the downsizing story into “All MMOs shed contractors post launch…”.

    The story pre and (for a time) post SWToR’s launch was: “No SWToR won’t EVER need to go F2P; and we’re well aware of the state of the current MMO market…” to (as subs dropped further): “SWToR will be going F2P which will allow us to bring out more tailored content faster too…” <— And they proceeded to launch one of the WORST, most money-grabbing ("Want more UI hotbars? – pay up…" and stuff in game like – "Want the real good gear from a Flash Point? – SUBSCRIBE!")

    Bottom line: Once EA/Disney sunset SWToR, I wouldn't expect to see a true MMO replacement, ever. (To much Dev time needed for to little ROI). Oh, I sure they'll make multiplayer Star Wars games, and pass them off as MMOish – but I don't think they'll spend the Dev Time/Money needed to create another full blown MMO.

    Time will tell.

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    Dug From The Earth

    My only interest in Swtor over the last couple years (after quitting 4 months after the initial game release) was when they released an expansion that made the game basically KoToR 3 for me. At least, playing through the story portion. After which, I left the game again.

    Nothing found in any of these recent updates or roadmaps is anything close to what brought back my interest a couple years ago. So nope, still not gonna play more.

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    Ariel Domen

    You mean Revan’s expansion? For me it ruined the character, so yeah, not even that.