Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Week Post 2.0 In SWTOR

SWTOR's patch 2.0 has been around for a week now - along with the expansion for those who pre-purchased early enough to comply with EA's "early access" ultimatum. (Aside: I have heard no outcry, or even mention, of this unprecedented marketing move amongst the SWTOR sites I read, so presumably this tactic is here to stay.)  I chose to hold off in favor of waiting until the next time I would be subscribed anyway to play on alts, in order to qualify for the lower subscriber pricing. 

The timing mostly worked out for me, in that the extra week was enough to get my Operative across the line to level 50.  A few observations from the intervening week:
  • Class Changes: Like most MMO's which award a point per level to spend on a talent/skill/etc tree, the SWTOR team faced the challenge of how to deal with adding five new points for the five new levels.  Their solution was uninspired - they added five points of generally uninteresting filler requirements to each existing tree to ensure that the five new points would be consumed getting back to the character build you had prior to the expansion.  My Operative felt especially hard hit, having just gotten to the point where she could have some off-tree points before the patch, only to immediately re-invest them back into her main tree. 

    This irritation aside, I don't have too many complaints on the class fronts.  There were some tweaks, in particular to some of my medium use cooldown (~60 abilities) on both my Vanguard and Operative.  Both seem to play mostly alright. 

    The other (mostly) minor annoyance is the addition of uncontrollable giggling to my Operative.  This audio cue is intended to provide players with a better indicator that they have gained a resource type used for certain special abilities.  Unfortunately, it does make you sound like a homicidal school girl, giggling every time you knife a foe.  I've chosen to play my Operative with some light and some dark so I guess it doesn't entirely kill my chosen characterization, but I've had other players comment on the giggling and it is a bit of a jarring addition.
  • Currencies come and go: Each planet players encountered during the leveling game previously had its own planet-specific token currency.  The good news was that you had zero incentive to hoard the things to get better gear on the next planet.   The bad news was that you might finish the planet without enough to purchase what you wanted, and end up with multiple rows of unspent commendations in your currency tab.  (This was especially problematic for non-subscribers, who currently cannot lift the penalty on NPC vendor prices by any means other than subscribing.  Werit's datamining suggests that this unlock may be coming in the future.)  Now all the planetary commendations through level 50 stack, which effectively reverses the good and the bad.  Now you can save up, but you have an incentive to wait for higher levels to get the best possible gear.

    In other news, all old endgame currencies (four that I can recall) were merged down into one legacy currency, and there are now three new tokens for the new endgame (the lowest of which can be earned in some of the older content).  I suppose this is no better or worse than anyone else has done it - at least SWTOR has a currency tab so all these things aren't taking up space.
  • Pleasant surprise on stability: For a patch of this scale, 2.0 has seemed remarkably stable.  Downtime to deploy the patch was minimal and servers came up ahead of schedule.  There have been some cosmetic bugs, like world bosses spamming red text to the entire planet, but I've seen much worse from releases with far fewer moving parts.  Kudos to the team for what looked like a smooth launch from where I sit. 
  • A Non-Spoiler Word On Spoilers: Technically not at all related to 2.0, but I've found myself strangely willing to read spoilers for my class story.  This seems counter-intuitive, but also in some ways empowering.  To the extent that the game is a work of interactive fiction, knowing the major plot outcomes (if not necessarily everything that is going to happen along the way) means that I'm making an informed decision on what kind of story I would like to see.  I don't think that knowing all of the major decision points hurt my enjoyment of the tale any more than knowing the outcome of the Lord of the Rings trilogy or other tales harmed the enjoyment of the path it took to get there. 
 Next stop Makeb, and we'll see how this new planet fares. 


Rohan said...

The giggling is actually a old thing. It happens when you get Upper Hand, I believe.

It used to happen every time you got UH, but then people complained that the character giggled too much. So Bioware took it out. Then people complained that they missed the giggling. Thus Bioware added it back in at a (slightly?) reduced rate in 2.0.

Can't please everyone, unfortunately.

lazybasterd said...

I'd been planning on trying to get back into TOR for awhile, maybe even subbing since I thought the restrictions would be to annoying. Apparently though every time you log in you need to check you email and supply a code sent. It boggles this hassle is required, I don't know if I'll ever touch the game again.