With the holidays now behind us, it looks like BioWare is fast approaching rolling out the next game update to Star Wars: The Old Republic. Game Update 1.7: Return of the Gree was announced yesterday, and while details are somewhat vague, I have some thoughts on what we do know so far.
Relics of the Gree
I was a huge fan of the Rakghoul Pandemic and Grand Acquisitions Race events, but they were short lived. Thankfully, BioWare is adding a new event to SWTOR with Game Update 1.7 and this one is being billed as a ‘recurring event’.
The Relics of the Gree event will take place in the contested Western Ice Shelf of Ilum and players will be tasked with learning of the Gray Secant, an ancient Gree starship. The event promises a ‘powerful opponent’ for players to fight at the center of the starship and players can look forward to new weapons and armor as well.
This all sounds good at first, but I am also finding myself a bit concerned. Is this event BioWare’s answer to sorting out world PvP on Ilum? After all, the event takes place in the Western Ice Shelf. If so, I’m not so sure I’m a fan of mixing PvE and PvP. It’s been done many times before and it’s often messy. But what really concerns me is one particular piece of language used in the game update overview:
“Look for opportunities to join this recurring event throughout the rest of the year!”
OK? Assuming this is BioWare’s master plan for Ilum PvP, that bit of text is quite concerning. Does this mean we’ll only be able to have fun doing large scale PvP whenever BioWare decides to flip on the event? I sure hope not.
Oh, boy. I have seriously mixed feelings about this one. Game Update 1.7 is introducing a new system to Star Wars: The Old Republic (great!) with Galactic Reputation (...hmm). Basically, BioWare is adding reputation grinding to Star Wars: The Old Republic. Depending on your feelings on reputation grinding, this can be a good or bad thing.
Six reputation ranks will be available, ranging from ‘Outsider’ to ‘Legend’, and players will be able to earn reputation with the Gree (on Ilum), the Voss, or for the Empire and Republic. On the plus side, all reputation earned will be tied to your Legacy, so you won’t have to grind reputation on all your characters.
As I mentioned earlier, my feelings on this new system are mixed, primarily because this ‘new feature’ is really just an overdone and overused system employed by many classic MMOs, often in order to pad out the experience and keep people playing. Basically, there’s nothing creative and interesting about reputation. It’s just a really basic form of carrot-chasing. Based on what we know so far, BioWare isn’t doing anything special here other than sparing you the torture of having to do it on all your characters. Of course, I do recognize there are some masochistic folks out there who really enjoy rep grinds, but I’m not sure that I personally fall into that camp.
The last time I enjoyed reputation grinding was in Star Wars Galaxies, and that’s because grinding faction points gave me access to some seriously cool stuff like AT-STs and entire bases that could be placed out in the live game world. If BioWare is going to use this system as a foundation to offer players rewards of that caliber, then I’m all for it. If it’s just another means of acquiring some titles and pre-raid epics, I can’t say I’m jumping for joy with excitement.
Tron Wars: The Old Republic
Before we go, I have to include this little sidebar about the ‘cool new gear’ coming with Game Update 1.7. I thought BioWare explained to us months ago that they would be looking to improve on new armor visuals to ensure they are more Star Wars-y and less, well, visually offensive. Many players found the aesthetic of armor available in the game (more specifically, endgame armor) to be pretty horrendous and I was pleasantly surprised to hear that BioWare would be addressing this; though we were told we’d have to wait a couple of patches or so for it to happen.
Judging by this latest set of gear, it hasn’t happened yet. The new gear certainly looks like it game from a sci-fi setting, but it’s more Tron than it is Star Wars. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, to be sure, but if I had shown you a screenshot of this stuff without telling you what game it was from (ignoring the lightsaber, of course), would you immediately think of Star Wars? I wouldn’t. I’m not sure what BioWare is thinking here, but there’s a wealth of Star Wars visual style inspiration out there, both in the films and the Expanded Universe, and most of it isn’t as gaudy as the stuff they’ve been pumping out.
That’s it for this week’s column. Hopefully the update will hit PTS soon so we can offer a more in-depth look at all the new stuff. What do you think of the announcement of Game Update 1.7: Return of the Gree? Are you excited for the update? Why? Why not? Let us know in the comments below!