Star Wars: The Old Republic, Bioware’s massive big budget Star Wars MMO released to huge numbers this past holiday season and since then only a few updates here and there have addressed many of the nigling complaints and concerns voiced by both fans and non-fans alike. Over the past few months Bioware has been hyping up their big update titled “Legacy” which was to promise an expansion of the Legacy system, a new PvP Warzone, a new end game operation as well as a host of changes to the skill trees for virtually all of the classes in the game in an effort to better balance them. Well, after all the build up, the big update has finally been released. Were the improvements and additions worth the wait? Has the game been “fixed”? Well, yes and no.
[pullquote_right]Were the improvements and additions worth the wait? Has the game been “fixed”? Well, yes and no.[/pullquote_right]First of all, the biggest addition to the game is an expanding of the Legacy system. Upon completing the first act of a character’s story, you are able to choose a Legacy surname (if you hadn’t already on that server) which can be shared between all your characters. You then also get an extra shared experience bar to gain “Legacy levels” culmulative between all the characters in your legacy. And that’s all there was to it, originally. Now, there’s actually a Legacy button on the UI that let’s you form a “family tree” of the characters within your legacy as well as unlock additional abilities, perks and emotes (often based on your Legacy level and for credits). Also if you reach level 50 with a particular race, say a pure blood Sith, you then gain the option to create any class in the game as that race (yes, you can make a pure blood Sith smuggler). Leveling up different classes also allows you to grant that class’s unique buff to all of your other characters as well as unlocking a special iconic ability that can be used by any of your characters. For example, if you level a Sith Warrior and complete the third act of their story, then all of your characters will gain the ability to Force choke. There are limits built in, however, to keep such perks from being exploited. You can only use an inherited ability while your companion is out, so if you were worrying about Operatives spamming force chokes in PvP, rest assured that its just not possible.
[pullquote_left]It would be nice to have a mailbox, an auction terminal or training dummies on my ship…but, why so expensive? [/pullquote_left]The Legacy system, expanded as it may be, is not without its flaws and is certainly not complete. It, like many of the other new features in the game, includes a cryptic “coming soon” message under its list of functions. And although I can create a family tree of my own characters, no one but me can see it. I also noticed that “spouse” is an option when creating associations on your tree…but, I can’t imagine marrying two of my own characters together. If you could add other player’s characters to your family tree, share your surname and abilities…now that would be something. Plus being able to display the family tree and who’s in it, whether it be your characters or someone else’s mixed in, would be a neat social feature. Sadly, it seems like there’s little point to the family tree function at this point. The costs for many of the perks are also a bit overpriced (like many other things in the game). It would be nice to have a mailbox, an auction terminal or training dummies on my ship…but, why so expensive?
The Novare Coast PvP Warzone has also been added, a three point domination map similar to the Alderaan map already in the game. Its a larger map and the terrain is a bit more varied, breaking up combatants into smaller groups and allowing for ambushes. Its fun, but not terribly different than what we have already seen. At least now we have four warzones to choose from when queuing for PvP. Warzones can now all be filled by the same faction to reduce queue times. Also, your PvP stats (wins, kills, medals) are now tracked, though not retroactively which was a little disconcerting considering how much PvP I’ve done in the game since launch. The queue window also states that rated Warzones are also “coming soon”. Guild banks are in the game, but must be purchased. Your guild has to have at least fifteen members and the initial bank goes for 600,000 credits. I don’t agree with the fact that it has to be bought, this is a feature that should have been available from launch for every guild right off the bat. However, if you take up a collection between all your guildies you should be able to afford it. Additional tabs can also be purchased.
Besides those major additions, there is a new end game Operation (Raid) also taking place on the planet Novare called “Explosive Conflict” (Bioware needs to come up with some better names for some of this stuff). I haven’t had a chance to check that particular piece of content out as of yet, however. Most of the classes have had their skill trees rebalanced, so if you haven’t logged in lately you may find all your skill points refunded. My jedi knight, who I gave a Focus DPS spec still seems viable, but I’ve heard other players complaining that their characters have been “nerfed”. Commandos, in particular it seems, have been the most vocal about their healing capabilities being reduced in effectiveness. There have also been a plethora of “quality of life” changes, most notably the option to customize the UI, something players have been asking about for a while. There’s a “retro” setting that arranges your windows and hotbars to resemble other popular MMO’s. Windows can be individually resized and moved around and UI settings can be saved to be loaded onto any of your other characters. You can now also improve the texture settings for character models and match all your gear colors to your chestpiece as well.
The many additions and changes are welcome, but not complete. And a lot of the inherent flaws (like ability delay) are still present. Its a big step in the right direction, but at this point that’s all it is: a step and not the huge leap it was being hyped as. Bioware is also giving players until April 22 to have either at least one level 50 character or Legacy level 6 to get a free month of playtime on them. Previously subscribed players can also log back into the game until April 19 in an effort to entice them back.Whether these changes and additions are enough to get them back remains to be seen. For full details on all the changes and additions, check out the game’s official website.