In case you didn’t already know, I’m a fairly large Star Wars fan, particularly the Old Republic era ever since playing KotOR for the first time. Naturally, I had pre-ordered the upcoming expansion “Shadow of Revan” and thus have been able to mess about a little in the early access (and spend all those Galactic Starfighter requisition items!). I will outline my findings and feelings on this expansion in this article.
Firstly, I feel that I must comment on the pricing. One word sums up my opinion: yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. £12 is a suitable price for an expansion to an MMO. I don’t know how Blizzard gets away with charging new game prices for their expansions at launch, considering they also have a subscription model in place. Are World of Warcraft players made of money? I remember buying World of Warcraft back in the vanilla days for about £20 in… I can’t remember the game shop, but I do remember that it was in Churchill Square in Brighton, so it could have been Game or HMV. I remember buying the Burning Crusade expansion for around £15 or £20 as well, but the later expansions came in heavily at £30 – £35, leading to me just stopping my subscription and moving onto greener pastures. Whilst Star Wars: The Old Republic has a subscription model (it’s free-to-play, but free-to-play is crippling) and the content is nothing -that- special when compared to the RPG experience I can get in single player games like Shadowrun Returns, Dragon Age: Origins, Skyrim or Divinity: Original Sin, it also has sensible pricing on its expansions. As I said, Shadow of Revan is £12 and even includes Rise of the Hutt Cartel to those who did not already own it, and will go down over time as this is the launch price. The only MMO that I have played where the expansions were the same launch price as that of the original game were the original Guild Wars games, however that did not operate on a subscription model, instead using the superior (in my opinion) buy-to-play model where you buy the game and then can play it as much as you want without a subscription and without limitations. And these were still only £15 – 20!
The first thing that I have to comment on are the changes to GSF. There are some minor aesthetic details that have changed, such as objective markers looking softer now, but the real change is in the buffs to requisition gain that we all knew was coming. Let me tell you, it feels so good. I noticed the buff to requisition gained, as I managed 1.7k ship requisition on my Star Guard (with the 2x daily mult for 500 bonus req) which netted me around 250 fleet requisition instead of 170. Also, all of the daily and weekly items have been increased by approximately 25%, and having about a month and a half worth of them stocked up, you can imagine that I was a very happy person.
The big thing that I’m sure you all want to know about is the new disciplines system that has replaced talents. I am… Both pleased and disappointed with this system. The advantage is that you gain a specialised skill straight away, allowing you to really -feel- like a tank, healer or dps from the word go, howeverthe removal of hybrid builds hurts higher level players who may have wanted to try an interesting build (I ran a “Mandalorian” build for the Powertech/Vanguard class by going mostly in tanking, but then also in the middle dps tree for the wrist blade). It has a fairly simple interface, making it obvious what you’re getting yourself into at the moment of choosing:
As you can see, from level 10, you instantly gain Underworld Medicine (which has been totally removed from the Scoundrel abilities and replaced with slow-release medpac, no longer a Sawbones only power). As you level up you gain new powers, as well as other passive abilities, automatically. There is no longer any choice for your specific discipline, however you do get to choose your utility abilities. Once you choose your discipline, you go to the next screen:
As you can see, your progression in your discipline is very linear. You level up and you gain new active and passive abilities as you go. However, you can choose your utilities and gain access to a total of seven at level 60. For a Sawbones such as myself they are very, very useful, however it varies from class to class. One of my guild mates said that he found his Guardian ones useless, for example. As I said, I don’t like this as it doesn’t allow for interesting hybrid builds, but I really like that it makes you feel like your chosen role from the moment you gain your advanced class. A quick note: Abandon is the same as field respec. You need to purchase it in your legacy window! I had the field respec, so I can abandon my discipline in the field if need be.
Next I will talk about gear and commendations. Commendations have been simplified: Planetary and Classic commendations are no more and were converted into Basic commendations. All previously owned Ultimate and Elite commendations were also transferred to Basic with favourable conversion rates. Warzone commendations and Fleet commendations remain untouched.
Basic commendations can buy you gear from the Ord Mantell vendor (the blue chestpieces) all the way up to entry level 55 gear (including gear that used to be bought with Classic commendations) for affordable prices. For the entry level 55 gear, you want to look for Zeskogo, near where the Corellia and Makeb commendation vendors used to be, his wares and prices are shown below:
Basic commendations can also be used to buy level 60 gear (186 rating) at the same place where Basic gear used to be sold. Prices seem to be the same as they used to be, just the gear has shifted up a few levels.
Then there’s the crew skills. I have not yet breached the new levels yet, but the cap has been raised from 450 to 500 in all crew skills. We’ll probably get the ability to craft up 180 gear and such items, but I can only speculate. Don’t worry though, I’m on the case!
I have promised a friend that I would wait for him to complete the new areas together, so my exposure to those will be a little delayed though I plan on playing through on the Imperial side in his absence to get a feel for it (and to get a max level Cybertech!) Expect some views on the new sections soon
So… Am I happy with the changes? Yes. For an expansion, the appreciate the changes. To see whether or not it was worth the £12 I’ll have to wait and see what Rishi and Yavin IV have in store for me!