SWTOR: Thoughts on Fallen Empire’s new features


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.


6 thoughts on “SWTOR: Thoughts on Fallen Empire’s new features

  1. Athie October 2, 2015 / 9:29 am

    This mostly sounds fine to me, but the best part is the datachron change. Yikes! Even doing them once is too much. That Jawa vehicle in Tatooine……..

  2. goldenhornet October 2, 2015 / 9:37 am

    I’m loving most of this. As a lefty I rebind pretty much every keybind when I roll an alt so export/import is about 3 years and 20 characters late, but still really welcome.

    I’m a little sad they are putting companions in gamble boxes, but as long as they aren’t too rare you should be able to find them on the GTN (who am i kidding, they’ll be ultra-rare right?)

    And the level sync thing? I spent last night taking a couple of 60s to Alderaan to clear missed Heroics so I don’t have to waste time clearing trash mobs just to get to the door once they’ve nerfed me down to planetary level.

    As someone that’s levelled all the advanced classes and then more, the syncing down to the max level for a planet is more inconvenient than anything else. If I visit a low level planet I like that the trash just ignores me. After 3 years and hundreds of hours played it seems odd they want to make my life more difficult instead of easier.

    I’m going to love being able to pull out a companion and not worry about when I last geared them though. That’s awesome.

  3. Tyler F.M. Edwards October 2, 2015 / 11:21 am

    Speaking as someone who does not play SW:TOR, these all seem like very positive changes to me (aside from the instant high level characters, which I’m not a fan of in any game), and they’re once again making me feel very tempted to give SW:TOR a go once Knights launches.

    Sigh. If only their business model wasn’t so wretched.

  4. Nick Foster (@goldenhornet) October 2, 2015 / 2:03 pm

    “Sigh. If only their business model wasn’t so wretched.”

    Their business model is really “Sub or GTFO”. Yes you can play for free if you really have to but I only lasted 3 days the last time my sub expired. It’s not a pleasant experience as a preferred player.

  5. Hagu October 2, 2015 / 11:22 pm

    I like everything except LS.

    I love *optional* scaling as in Rift.

    I have never played GW2 and I had an immediate and very strong negative reaction to planet scaling. When I go back to a low level planet for mats or datacrons or exploration, I am going to much less powerful after the patch. Why? So some people can be “challenged” when they go to an old planet? My opinion is if you want a challenge in your life, quit wasting time on video games. And if you want a really challenging MMO, SWTOR is probably not the best fit.

    Initial KotFE info was very promising – solo friendly, lots of story, little ops content; then we get this #HARDCORE crap near launch.

    My sub will get me through launch but then SWTOR goes on financial time out; I am disappointed in them.

  6. Vagrant Zero October 3, 2015 / 11:46 pm

    Even thinking of doing datachrons again gives me instant PTSD.

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