In a livestream earlier this week, BioWare finally got around to talking about specific features in Knights of the Fallen Empire. Because I guess you can only stall so long. I mean, we’re just weeks out from the expansion and the studio’s been dragging its feet on some of these expansions since early summer.
So here’s a list of some of the points mentioned and my thoughts on them.
Creating a new level 60: If I ever did an alt, I wouldn’t want to jump all of the way to 60 and bypass the personal story — that feels so incredibly wrong. That said, the setup here looks solid. Feels a bit of a cheat that they’d be giving level 500 crew skills out like candy. BioWare will be charging for this (of course) so it won’t be the default option for the entire playerbase.
Legendary status: Beat all of the personal storylines, get a fancy icon next to your name. It’s silly but a literal status symbol can be a powerful thing, especially for those who value their epeen above all else.
Cartel market companions: Buy companions from other class stories? Or a grab-bag of new, non-story ones? Either way, it’s interesting. Might even be tempting, although I’m pretty attached to the companions I have (plus, only being able to have one out at a time puts a damper on wanting to collect them all).
Share keybind: It’s small but this feature should really be standard in all MMOs. I hate creating alts and then having to redo all of the keybinds and settings.
Temporary ability bars: A good idea for situational skills. I hardly use my heroic moments because they’re not that convenient to access.
Crafting/gathering: I don’t do a lot of either, so these changes aren’t of much interest to me. It is intriguing that you’ll be able to gather any resource no matter what your skill level (although your level determines how much you get).
Legacy datacrons: Now they’ll be made retroactive, which is a good start. Next would be to make acquiring them much less painful. Next after that would be to eliminate them altogether. I am not the biggest fan of datacrons in SWTOR.
Leveling and level-scaling: The new leveling process is as I predicted — the class and planet storylines will be the main focus, with side missions made obsolete/optional. It won’t be as fast as 12x, but that’s OK; I think it’ll still feel a lot better paced.
As for level-scaling to planets, I’m all in favor of it. Worked out well in Guild Wars 2, and even if you level is lowered, you still have better gear and skills at your disposal.
Fallen Empire chapter interface: This looks a LOT like Guild Wars 2’s living story interface, in that you can hop into different chapters of the ongoing saga. And that I really like. I hope there will be a lot of replayability here, because I have a suspicion that players are going to need it once they blaze through the first 13 or so chapters and have to wait for 2016.
Companions: Bye-bye annoying companion gear, hello cosmetics! Affection is being transformed into influence, which will reportedly affect how well that companion functions in combat. So maxing out influence will be much more important than before.