Friday, 9 March 2012

My thoughts on the Guild Summit

Daniel Erickson at the Guild Summit: as entertaining as always!

The guild summit has come and gone, and rather than re-hash everything that was discussed, I thought I'd express some of my positive and negative opinions on the summit and what we learned. If you haven't read up on the Guild Summit, I recommend starting with this video about Patch 1.2 and then checking out the Darth Hater live blog post about it.

The Legacy System

The legacy system explanation was my most anticipated segment, and it was well worth the wait. This is one of the key areas that will begin to differentiate this game from competitors moving forward, especially at end-game. It's all well and good to have story as you level, but story has played a lesser role at endgame, and is thus less of a distinction once you arrive there. Legacy options will keep things fresh by allowing you to level how you want (PvE or PvP), and honestly the sky is the limit for the future of this system.

Imagine, if you will: legacy quests. One member of your legacy starts it, but for whatever reason cannot (or will not) finish it. Another member of your legacy picks up where the other left off. Though Bioware has not stated that this will be implemented, I certainly hope they do something like this in the future. I can imagine some pretty interesting rewards here.

One thing I am a bit wary about is the implication that there will be an unlock that requires characters on both sides (Republic and Empire) in your legacy. I have all eight of my character slots filled right now, for one. The other thing that unsettles me is that PvP communities tend to mostly play one side, and stick to it. While SWTOR doesn't stop you from playing the other side on a PvP server, I don't personally feel it should encourage or reward it. I quite enjoy "Faction Patriotism" or whatever you want to call it. Ultimately, I think we'll just see a temporary upsurge in activity as characters level to 50 on the other side. My new guild has more serious concerns about it, but I am reserving final judgment until I see the implementation. Heck, it might be something so minor that very few people feel the need to cross faction lines.

Operations and Flashpoints

The Operations and Flashpoints segment was also informative. I liked that the developers were keen on making Nightmare Mode very difficult. Though it may be controversial to say it, I believe a hardcore raiding community to be very important to the success of an MMORPG (please note that I do not classify myself as hardcore, nor do I want to be hardcore). I will elaborate more on this opinion in a later post.

I also liked how Bioware rebranded "normal mode" as "story mode" and will be making this content accessible to casual players in the future, so that even if they don't want to raid consistently, they can see how the story turns out and get some decent rewards. This was one of the things I really disliked about WoW's raiding system. I had plenty of friends who wanted to fight those epic and recognizable bosses, but didn't have the time to commit to raiding. Now, anyone with a few hours to spare will be able to at least keep up to date with the story. I commend Bioware for this move.


A couple of big things came out of the PvP discussion which make me feel very positive about the future of PvP.

Firstly, the team basically admitted that Ilum was not working for players and needed to be completely re-designed. Thank goodness for that! I'm hoping for more fighting over objectives when the eventual redesign is completed. Call me old-fashioned, but I feel having DAoC/WAR-style "keeps" (call them "bunkers", "garrisons", or "bases" so they fit into SWTOR) on Ilum would help concentrate ops groups around objectives. If the bases are well-designed, they can even allow an outnumbered faction to put up a good fight and get that daily done. Unfortunately, Bioware has not said what specific changes will be coming to Ilum or when the ETA is. I can only hope that they will get it right next time.

Secondly was the formal announcement of the next tier of PvP gear, and the announcement that this next tier would be less useful in PvE. It bothers me when it makes more sense for me to wear Champion (tier 1.2 PvP) gear in a slot for PvE tanking then it does to wear Tionese (tier 1.1 PvE). I'm glad that they seem committed to stopping this trend in the future.

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