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Star Wars: The Old Republic Column: Update 1.2: The Miracle Patch?

By Michael Bitton on March 14, 2012

It almost feels like the run-up to launch all over again. For years, many gamers built up expectations for Star Wars: The Old Republic and there was no way BioWare could ever imagine to meet them. Now here we are again. Opinions on Star Wars: The Old Republic since the game launched are varied, ranging from complete detractors to your typical fanboys, but those somewhere in the middle have a number of clear issues with the game – issues that many are pinning on BioWare to address by update 1.2.

In fact, you may have heard “It’ll be fixed in 1.2” or “It’ll be in 1.2” as a pretty common answer when seeking out information on solutions to some of your most bothersome issues with the game. I’ve heard this for just about every single complaint I could honestly think of, so much so that 1.2 is starting to sound like the unicorn of the MMO genre; that’s right, the elusive ‘miracle patch’. Heck, even BioWare is surprised with how much they’ve managed to pack into this update. With that said, a lot is riding on 1.2, and I’m feeling a sense of expectations déjà vu due to the scope and scale of the update. There are probably people who have outright quit until 1.2 comes out (or permanently!), people who haven’t actually unsubbed but are playing other things until 1.2 comes out, and those whose subscriptions basically ride on whether or not 1.2 hits the mark for them. The latter group may end up having to roll the dice as it looks like 1.2 will be slipping into April, well past the March subscription period for many.

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I’m glad BioWare is taking the time to properly test this update before deploying it to live servers, but this lull in between seems to be really getting people antsy. What’s more, after what I’ve heard about 1.2 since last week’s Guild Summit, all I can think lately is: “I want to play that game!” I’m sure a bunch of you are feeling the same way. And yes, I know a few of you are going to comment, “Yeah. I wanted to play that game at launch!” Fair enough, but it is what it is.

By my count, The Old Republic is still an excellent game even without 1.2, but the scope of this update reminds me a great deal of City of Heroes’ many “Issue” updates. Those updates were often packed with tons of major new goodies, fixes, balance updates, etc, but we only saw two to three of them a year. Fortunately, BioWare has gone on record to say that they aim to push future updates out a lot quicker. I would honestly rather have updates that are narrower in scope more frequently than have tons of things piled onto these mega updates but only see them a few scant times a year. I don’t feel that massive spaced out updates allow a game developer to be agile enough to address important issues or deficiencies that crop up.  

In any case, skipping the column last week to work GDC gave me a lot of catching up to do, and I have to say I’m really impressed and excited about what’s coming in Update 1.2: Legacy, despite my aforementioned concerns. I’m particularly excited about the Legacy system, to be specific.

We’ve known for some time that 1.2 would include a new raid, warzone, and Flashpoint (among many other things). We also knew that the Legacy system would make its real debut in 1.2, but we didn’t really know much beyond the fact it would allow for unlockable species. Thankfully, last week’s Guild Summit ended up being a Legacy system information blow out and it’s looking to be robust enough of an implementation to really warrant being the subtitle of Game Update 1.2.

As it would turn out, BioWare is including some significant bonuses with the Legacy system, ranging anywhere from unlocking species for use with any class, to ship upgrades (mailbox, training dummies, etc), to what looks to be a full suite of unarmed attacks. Each Legacy unlockable will be gated by a Legacy level requirement, but may also have a secondary requirement such as Valor rank or Social rank.

Some Legacy bonuses will only be unlocked by completing certain parts of your class story on a particular character, but more interestingly, many Legacy unlocks can be earned by bypassing the system altogether. For example, many of the unlocks can be acquired by simply buying them with credits (if you don’t meet the Legacy level requirement). So, if you’ve been playing the GTN this whole time and racked up a sizable fortune, well, you’ll soon have some pretty nifty stuff to spend it on! Of course, if BioWare makes good on improving Crew Skills in 1.2, you might end up having to decide between (gasp) actually buying worthwhile things on the player market and blowing credits on Legacy unlocks. I actually don’t think bypassing the system with credits will be that common, at least if we go by the currently reported Legacy level requirements. Most of the unlocks appear to require a Legacy level from 5-10, with just a few outliers at 15 or much higher at 25 or 35.

What are your thoughts on the whole Update 1.2 process? Are you patiently waiting? Have you just given up and quit? Are you playing happily as it is and don’t really mind the wait? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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