So you’ve finally done it, you hit the level cap. Hours spent gathering, slaying and exploring have all culminated in this most glorious of moments. Of course a celebration is in order, but after all the fireworks and champagne the inevitable question arises; what now? For some, it’s right back to the field gathering materials and supplies for that epic armor set. Others dive straight into PVP, honing their skills and farming points or marks for gear. For the PVE-ers it’s into the instances we go, building up an assortment of quality items to take on bigger, more challenging bosses and raids. This has been the way of things for quite some time now, and with The Old Republic on the horizon it’s time to take a look at what it will be bringing to its endgame experience. Will it be more of the same, or will BioWare be our “only hope” for something new? Let’s go over what we know.
First, there’s the most familiar to all MMO folks: raids. The Old Republic will offer large scale raid encounters called “operations”, which are almost definitely comprised of the standard clear mobs to bosses, get loot, repeat. Trailers released so far appear to show around 20 characters comprising a raid group, performing the standard tasks of tanking, DPS, and healing. Not much is new here other than the addition of full voiceovers, which will be great for immersion in raids as well as every other part of the game.
Flashpoints play out on a smaller scale and are taken on with a group of four of your closest allies. Describing flashpoints, Bioware makes a point to say that decisions made while in a flashpoint will greatly alter the experience you will have during its play through. Whether or not these changes will be numerous and large enough to make each play through a very distinct experience will be interesting to see. The rewards from completing flashpoints are said to be some of the most powerful loot, but it does not say if they are the result of a quest picked up at the beginning, or of the corpse pillaging variety.
PVP is a large part of any MMO’s endgame, and of course TOR will be no exception. As of right now we know that warzones will most likely be the sole source of PVP at launch. Specific gear for PVP has also been confirmed, almost certainly being received in exchange for points gathered during combat. Open world PVP will make an appearance but looks as though the player’s from opposing factions will have to consent to the fight using some sort of flag system.
Those of you handy with a hot glue gun and popsicle sticks are in luck, crafting will add some content to your endgame experience. Although from what we’ve heard it will be primarily carried out by your crew, no doubt players will have to gather materials and items out in the field to supply your shipmates. It also wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that certain recipes will require items crafted by other professions to complete, and in the process create a nice source of revenue for those able to craft them.
The effect that a characters alignment will have is still a bit of a mystery. What we do know is that it will change the amount of force, energy and so on to use the ability depending on whether it is geared to the light or dark side. For example, if a Jedi’s alignment is more towards the dark side, light side abilities would “cost” more than if he was aligned to the light. This will definitely have an effect on endgame raid groups as well as adding another interesting dimension to characters.
If this is starting to sound a lot like WoW, that’s probably because so far that’s what it looks like. What we don’t know yet are the details surrounding this “brand new” content mentioned by TOR’s creative director James Olhen. He goes on to describe it as something that “…hasn’t been done in an MMO before.” As for what this could mean, your guess is as good as mine; solo endgame, a whole new type of raid, a variation on daily quests, the speculation is endless but I’m hoping it’s truly something new and unique.
Even if the game does turn out to be similar to WoW, I don’t think that’s a deal breaker. I mean, I got a lot of good playtime out of WoW. Switch the setting and story over to Star Wars, a place I find much more interesting, and I’m having ten times the fun. Of course I want TOR to be its own game, something unique and fresh in a genre full of raids and grinding, but as it stands I find it hard to be worried about the end of a game that I haven’t even started yet. But of course, the time will come when that ceiling is hit, so future inhabitants of The Old Republic, what will you want to do next?