BioWare and LucasArts hosted SWTOR’s first official LiveStream event last Friday, September 21st. The stream hasn’t been put up on BioWare’s official Youtube channel at the time of writing this article, but it is going to be made available. For those who would like to see the stream now, check out Dulfy’s video. If you’d like the super-condensed version, keep reading for some of the most interesting highlights and my personal opinions on the material that was covered during the event.
Terror from Beyond
- Terror From Beyond, the new Operation, heads deeper into the Gree storyline.
- The Operation puzzle involves becoming part of a Gree computer, and will require the Op group to complete some Simon Says-type objectives.
- Kephess from Explosive Content makes a comeback, which was one of the predications made a a while ago.
- TFB hardmode will drop the new Dread Guard gear, which has just received some major color changes from those seen on the PTS.
Game Update 1.4, SWTOR Going Free to Play, and Beyond
- The free-to-play move will be made in November.
- There won’t be any items in the item shop that drift anywhere near “pay to win” for max level players. Players still leveling will be able to purchase orange mod-able gear (that’s supposedly cool looking, and doesn’t have any class/faction restrictions) that will serve the leveling process well. They will also be able to buy experience boosts, etc.
- Endgame players who don’t enjoy PvP and don’t take part in Operations will see some focus as our Game Updates progress. One example given was a daily area in the works.
- Paid server transfers aren’t quite ready to roll out yet, but will be in the near future.
- Makeb continues the game’s story, but not our characters’ personal stories.
- The team plans on implementing the Cartel Coins shop and system on the PTS server before launching it on live servers. Testers will receive a PTS-only amount of Coins in order to provide feedback.
- The relics that cost 400 Daily Commendations currently on the PTS won’t be made that way on live. They will be receiving some tweaks.
- BioWare is currently planning to get HK-51 in the game before the end of the year. The Cathar race, on the other hand, will be next year most likely.
- One of the Cartel Shop items discussed is a package of random goodies called a Cartel Pack. These will have a chance of containing random cosmetic goodies, and more.
- Nightmare mode EC will be coming very soon. Some time after that, Nightmare TFB. These will be more difficult than some of the current Nightmare modes.
- We might see some decent endgame gear coming to crafting soon. The team wants to spread out players’ options a bit more.
- Cathar will be unlockable with Cartel Coins. More race unlocks via the shop may come after.
- BioWare is optimistic about the new high population server tech being able to handle the server load when F2P launches.
- Creating a hood toggle option seems pretty complicated, but is still in the works.
- We won’t ever see Operation content downscaled for solo and small group play (if you know RIFT at all, think Chronicles)– it’s simply too complex. We will hopefully see other types of endgame content for solo players, however.
First of all, let me just say that I’m glad BioWare is making an attempt to up their levels of communication with SWTOR’s playerbase with events like this. Unfortunately, there really wasn’t a lot of new information revealed, and sadly nothing was shown in-game, which would have been a very cool bonus for driving folks to take part in the LiveStream.
We did find out a few more details about some of the items planned for the Cartel Coins store, which is good. The lockbox-type item reminds me quite a bit of Guild Wars 2′s Black Lion Chest system, and personally, I’m pleased to see BioWare adapt the idea. Random goodie bags of items can be enjoyable. I only hope that the cosmetic gear available raises the bar for gear set appearance in SWTOR. We could really use some better looking gear during all levels of play.
It’s admittedly disappointing to find out that Cathar won’t be made available until after the first of the year, most likely. It’s not entirely surprising that the race unlock will be available with Cartel Coins, but the fact that BioWare advertised the new race months ago, at E3, and won’t be actually releasing the race until a long time afterwards doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Paid transfers, in my opinion, still remain of high priority, and we still don’t have an exact ETA on those (besides the token Soon™, of course), which is also disappointing. That said, the team definitely has their hands full.
This was BioWare’s first official LiveStream, and in time, hopefully they will improve some. It’s a step in the right direction, although I think many fans would appreciate a little more revealing of new information, and a little less “oh, we can’t talk about that yet.”