Before the Star Wars: The Old Republic Community Cantina, millions of voices were crying out in terror: “We are never going to get any new content from SWTOR!” Those voices were suddenly stopped by the announcement of the next expansion: Onslaught. Complete with a splashy slideshow, BioWare gave the general details of what to expect from the future of our only officially live Star Wars MMORPG.the Massively OP Podcast this week, this is a true expansion. Onslaught has a new planet, a new species, new flashpoints, and of course, five more levels. We have a lot of things to talk about, so let’s jump into my take away from the Onslaught announcement.
Actual character progress is coming
I have a confession to make: I’m not generally interested in the linear progression of a character. I’ve been more interested in the ability to grow a character horizontally. However, I respect the desire to see a numeric progression of characters in general.
Based on the statements from Creative Director Charles Boyd, we will get both horizontal and vertical progression. The addition of levels 71 to 75 clearly indicate additional power that makes straightforward sense, but we also have armor progression that will allow characters to expand their growth.
Over the years, I’ve spoken to many different kinds of MMORPGers. One that took me the longest to exactly understand is the PvPer. Not the griefer, mind you. I’m talking about someone who intelligently and thoughtfully seeks out PvP as a challenging gameplay style. For the longest time, I considered all PvPers to be leet kiddies who liked to pick on lower-level players. Of course, those kinds of players do exist, but the more interesting PvPer is the one who studies the meta and is interested in character development and skill progression.
I will likely do a whole post on the ways that tactical items and set bonuses will allow players to expand the way they play the game, but there isn’t quite enough information right now to fully embrace it. I have been asking for something like this for a very long time. Community Manager Eric Musco posted a thread on the official forums asking players what they would like to see in both set bonuses and tactical items. If you’ve been looking for something like this in SWTOR, now’s the time for you to get a word in while the system is still in development.
I don’t even know if I should mention this, but yes, we are finally getting another species to play. The last one was Togruta, and after the fad wore off, the Togruta players turn all of their characters back to Twi’leks so they could wear helmets again.
The idea of having a plethora of species skins for players to jump into is great, of course, but I have to ask what we are giving up by having some of these species. Like the Togruta before them, we have to assume that Nautolans will not be able to wear helmets. This disappoints me. I completely understand that the amount of design and programming going into making different helmets for different species, especially since some of those helmets will look like the Twi’lek Mandalorian helmet from Star Wars Galaxies (see below for an image of that). But even if it looks terrible, just having that level of detail says that the developers put some extra thought into the design instead of taking obvious shortcuts.
I guess that’s the biggest lesson anyone can learn from any part of SWTOR: You can take shortcuts, but don’t make it look like you’re taking shortcuts.
Revisiting nostalgia but not
Today we found out that Lucasfilm is working on an Old Republic movie or TV show. About once a decade, we get to visit ancient Star Wars. But each time we visit there is a different spin on the tale.
Twenty years ago, we visited the Old Republic during the time just prior to the famous Knights of the Old Republic video game. During the Tales of the Jedi comic, we were first introduced to the planet Onderon and its close-orbit moon Dxun. These two planets have an interesting relationship with stories of the Star Wars expanded universe: Onderon was the home of the Freedon Nadd Uprising, the birth of the Krath cult, and the infamous Exar Kun started his Sith training there.
Dxun has its history with the greater universe as well, the Taung leader Mandalore the Indomitable met his end on Dxun, but then in a weird twist Mandalore the Ultimate made his base there during the Mandalorian Wars.
The Mandalorian Wars predated the KOTOR series and gave birth to Revan, and you visit Onderon during KOTOR II, tying SWTOR back to these two planets heavily. But clearly, things have changed on these two worlds. Onderon of KOTOR II was different than Onderon of Tales of the Jedi, and I expect the Onderon of SWTOR will differ from both of those. This is the kind of nostalgia I enjoy.
We have been waiting for this announcement for about two years. We knew that the team at BioWare Austin was creating an expansion. Of course, given what we now know about Anthem, it’s clear that those plans were slightly sidetracked. Now that BioWare has time to focus on SWTOR again, it’s good to see a good mix of content coming to the game.
Some players are not going to be happy with anything that BioWare gives. Perhaps those players are justified in their ire, but this announcement was a sigh of relief for me. I have more to write about, of course, but I also have a lot more to be excited about as well. The game was drying up. Hopefully, this is enough to breathe some new life into it.
Let me know your thoughts: Are you excited about the new planets? Does the new armor system intrigue you like it intrigues me? Let me know any and all of your thoughts about Onslaught in the comments below.