Hyperspace Beacon: The SWTOR Summer roadmap might get you back into PvP

    
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Star Wars: The Old Republic producer Keith Kanneg just dropped the next roadmap earlier today, outlining the features upcoming before September and a little bit beyond. Although he didn’t give much detail about the future of the story for the game, he gave us enough hints that we can speculate about the direction it’s headed.

At the very top of the roadmap post, Kanneg thanks everyone for such a great first year as producer of SWTOR and hopes that everyone enjoyed the traitor storyline. The story ends with a lot of questions unanswered, but unfortunately, those questions will not be answered until sometime after September according to the post. However, it’s possible that some of the setups this summer are pointing toward what the developers have planned.

Kanneg said the devs have been listening to players and “as a result, [they will] be making a lot of changes based on your feedback, beginning with our PvP plans this summer.” 2018 will be the summer of PvP for SWTOR, so let’s break down everything that the developers are doing.

Which faction do I fight for?

If this coming summer is any indication for the upcoming story, then there will be a lot of blending of factions. Although many people might see this as a bad thing, I believe that it adds something very interesting to the overall story.

The roadmap said that BioWare will “convert more, if not all, of [its] Warzones and Arenas to allow cross-faction grouping.” We already have an Alliance-based map that allows for cross-faction queuing, and BioWare wants to increase that number by a product of all-of-them.

Of course, this plays into the direction that the BioWare team wants the community to grow. With populations getting smaller, the devs want to make things like PvP queues and other group-related activities easier to jump into. Adding all the warzones to a cross-fraction queue will greatly increase that.

Click to reveal spoiler about Update 5.9
I believe that the Iokath PvP zone was an experiment for a larger goal, which we saw come to fruition in the dialogue at the end of Update 5.9. Because the Eternal Alliance falls apart at the end of the story, we are asked which faction we will support. I believe that means that we will be able to literally change sides in the upcoming expansion. I speculate that if you were a Sith warrior you can join the Republic or a Jedi Knight could join the Sith Empire, as examples.

PvP Strongholds, what?

In the roadmap segment on PvP, Kanneg surprised everyone by mentioning a new beach-front stronghold. “For the first time, we are introducing a Stronghold designed around PvP which can be tailored toward Player-driven dueling, 4v4, or even 8v8 battles!” Then later he mentions a second item: “We’re also enhancing Stronghold decorations to support PvP gameplay.”

He only mentions that setting up items that create line-of-sight obstacles in a PvP stronghold, but I would not be surprised if items like the Huttball and wall explosives decorations become usable items in a PvP-focused stronghold. But this would also mean that other items will have to be added, like goal lines for Huttball, and breakaway walls for a Voidstar-like map.

I know he breezed by it, but you did see where he said “4v4” and “8v8,” right? That means team-vs.-team PvP in your stronghold. As someone who used to help put together fight-nights and other PvP-events for players, I’m finding this very exciting, not to mention that this will finally allow avid PvPers to practice together as a team before jumping into a match.

Huttball, Arenas, and more!

I don’t think I’m burying the lede here by not mentioning a new Huttball map until the end, am I? Huttball will gain a new location this summer; Kanneg said that it will be set in “the dangerous and dizzying heights of an industrial planet.” I’m guessing that means that it will be set on Hutta, finally. We have Nar Shaddaa and Quesh already; the only Hutt-controlled world that we have left in from SWTOR that fits that description is Hutta. But maybe BioWare is moving the game to another world like Coruscant or Corellia.

The next arena will take place “in a compound you’ve seen before.” The first thing that comes to my mind is Nathema, but Kanneg really left us with nothing to go on with that clue.

Ranked players can look forward to the end of Season 9, which is targeted for July, and we will learn about the rewards in late June. But more important is the quality-of-life change coming to unranked. For the first time in the game’s history, unranked players will be able to choose which PvP map they would like to participate in. Players have been asking about this since the launch of the game. I might join up in PvP more often if I can choose not to do arenas. I’m sure there are many people who are tired of some of the other maps, too. Maybe it will encourage them to join back up, too.

I am encouraged by and scared about the developers saying they’re “taking an in-depth look at our unranked PvP matchmaking system overall to see what kinds of improvements [they] can make to better ensure every match is a good one,” as Kanneg put it. Matchmaking has been terrible since the launch of the game, and I would like to see it improved. But I’m concerned that the current development team will only make things worse. I hope I’m proven wrong.

Kanneg didn’t mention much that will happen after September other than we will see guild improvements and the introduction of a brand-new storyline. This has all got me tentatively excited about the future of SWTOR, but what’s more important are your thoughts.

Keith laid out a lot of items in the roadmap, so what did I miss that stood out to you? What are you most looking forward to? Is there something that was mentioned that makes you concerned? Is there something that makes you want to come back to the game. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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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Unnar Thor Thorisson

So, I have a question about all this: What does it mean for people who don’t like PvP? Like, I know some people got out of it because the game wasn’t doing it very well for a while or something, and I’m sure they’re excited for these improvements, but for those of us who were ambivalent from the beginning, tried it a few times for rewards and shifted to outright disliking it? And have found this experience transcends every game, to be just a general hatred of PvP everywhere?

In short, is the summer going to have anything I care about?

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Ben Stone

I’ve tried to go back to this a.few times but since binning the oceanic servers it is unplayable. Which is strange because other action oriented games are fine on Aussie ping.

Polyanna
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Polyanna

If you want me to give a crap, or at least think about reinstalling the game, it’s pretty simple. Bring back the old school 12x XP. Then we can talk.

Short of something that big and actually interesting, this all sounds like more of the same; a whole lot of nothing.

Ten days of double rewards, at this point — honestly, that just comes off as hilariously cheap and stingy, especially when this game has been in the doldrums for years now. At this point, it’s hard to imagine what harm possibly could be done by having some sort of really high profile, off the chain power leveling event. Or something interesting at all. Anything really.

All past sins aside, the reward structure for the game still is just bleh. It’s uninspired, unfun, and the exact opposite of rewarding feeling. The obvious cheap answer to this is the one they stumbled on purely by accident a while back; multiply everything by 10x or more, and suddenly the whole mess becomes a lot more interesting. Or at least amusing. Engaging, maybe even.

The obvious natural concern is making progression “too fast” so that short term players cap out, lose interest, and leave. But honestly at this point, the only people playing this game right now are that weird mutant strain of F2P / preferred raging trolls, and the lifers who have literally no other option; that tiny cadre who get so entrenched in a game that they will refuse to play anything else until it is pried from their cold dead mouse hands.

I can’t seriously believe that they would lose any significant portion of their players by turning the endgame up to 11 and just leaving it there for the foreseeable future. But it actually would get people like me who have all but written it off to seriously think about coming back for a couple more laps around the old track.

At least it would be something, and right now this game sure as hell needs something.

You want me to listen? Just play anything, as long as you play it LOUD.

Purewitz
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Purewitz

I hope all this talk of cross-faction will translate into being able to be neutral and to be able to work for both sides in both PVE and PVP. My favorite classes in the game are both the Smuggler (My main is a Smuggler Scoundrel Ruffian) and the Bounty Hunter and it has always kind of annoyed me that the Smuggler is tied to the Republic and BH is tied to the Sith Empire. Yeah the stories make it make sense, but most Smugglers and Bounty Hunters would go work for whoever is paying the most and that could change from time to time. Me personally, I think it be cool to play both side against the middle and profit, while staying neutral.

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Zora

I really don’t know what I expected but I suppose they are not currently able to support pve content creation at any faster pace than one snippet every six months, so with the story epilogue recently released summer couldn’t possibly see any update.

Still feels like a let down but oh well… movie releases, could have used something -other- than enabling a seasonal event that we seen already

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Greaterdivinity

After the lackluster producer letter earlier this year I was definitely hoping for more, but oh well. I’ll continue to wait for them to announce the expansion and hope it gets me excited to play again, because it’s been over 2 years since I remember last being excited and wanting to log in to play SWTOR and pick the sub back up.

I know BW Austin devs are likely getting pulled to work on Anthem, but I’ve got to say that despite my optimism that Keith would really be able to turn things around in a meaningful way I’m pretty disappointed. I figured by now he would have fully taken the reigns and seen through any existing plans that were in motion when he took over and would be making his mark, but so far it seems like more underwhelming business as usual. Still hopeful that the expansion will be hype as hell, but at this point I’m keeping my expectations pretty low.

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Sally Bowls

Yeah, we players tend to be disappointed with the new FOTM dev; IDK whether that says more about the devs or the players. Certainly, the nostalgia Kickstarters prove that some of our old heroes were not gods.

But I am giving Keith some time. I am not sure SWTOR even has its devs back from Anthem yet. And after the devs return, then it will be many months before the returning devs make an impact. So I am trying to not be too judgey until the fall/winter release (hopefully expansion.)

A good manager without the budget can’t do too much.

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Greaterdivinity

I mean…Keith has had a full year at this point and I can’t say his presence has been felt, as an outsider, in the slightest. I gave some time for him to get settled and see through projects that were in-progress when he took over, shit won’t change overnight. But at this point I’d hoped that we’d be seeing some solid improvements that just…haven’t seemed to appear.

I’m hopeful Anthem is good and that BW Austin gets their devs back so they can start ramping up in a big way soon, but thus far I’ve not been terribly impressed and don’t have high hopes. If the expansion isn’t “lit AF fam” then I fear this may be another MMO that I let fall by the wayside for a while longer : /

plasmajohn
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plasmajohn

Keith has had a full year at this point and I can’t say his presence has been felt, as an outsider, in the slightest.

Actually he has. His was the lie of omission about the “West” coast server actually being on the East coast. He also defended Galactic Command (claimed to have multiple rank 300 alts) and got real whiny about the extremely poor reception the Conquest revision got.

It’s pretty obvious that he simply doesn’t have the staff to do the game justice. But what I find inexcusable is the “our poop don’t stink” attitude that he and the previous LP’s have copped. Of course nobody is going to give them any slack because they’ve completely burned any good will they’ve had.

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Witches

The things that caught my attention were the PVP stronghold and the possibility of choosing the type of warzone you want to do, the downside is i don’t PVP at all.

Korithian
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Korithian

Basically if your into PvE or Story come back next October.

It seems they are using the same line from 2017, where there is such minimal content because they are working on mechanics or quality of life. Have to ask the APAC players how their quality of life has improved since Keith took over.

Keith tried catering to the Operation players last year and when that didn’t work dropped master mode mid way through, now they will try to do the bare minimum in relation to PvP and fall back on QoL and player testing. As far as I can tell the only people they listened to in relation to the game were their influences so to claim the players are being listened to is less than honest.

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TheDonDude

Speaking as a raider, I wasn’t really tempted by the Operation caterin’. One whole raid spread out after such a long period just isn’t competitive compared to other games.

amkosh
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amkosh

Keith’s view on story are a bunch of tediously grindy flashpoints. I wish BW would move his rear to Anthem or some other property outside of TOR and get a BW person who believes story first, not some Mythic reject who is trying to bring back the glory of a system that was hot 14+ years ago.

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IronSalamander8 .

I read this on the official forums earlier. That was a lackluster roadmap to put mildly. It’s not exactly a vast swathe of new stuff. They keep trying to give the players an ounce of content and pretend it’s a ton.

They need cross faction queueing to get games popping more often so that’s something they’ve needed for some time, especially with the population imbalance the game has. An SH where you can also have PvP games in it is a pretty cool idea though, and I’m not even much a PvPer.