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Star Wars: The Old Republic Column: SWTOR 2.1 - What We Know So Far

By Michael Bitton on May 01, 2013

It’s only been a couple of weeks since the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic’s first digital expansion, Rise of the Hutt Cartel, and we’re already learning bits and pieces of what lies ahead in Game Update 2.1: Customization. The next game update hasn’t been officially revealed just yet, but we’re going to take some time this week to put together what we know so far and offer our thoughts.

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The Cathar species is easily the most significant addition coming to SWTOR in Game Update 2.1. Cathar were unveiled all the way back at E3 2012 as the first new species to be added to Star Wars: The Old Republic. Like everything else revealed back at the show, the Cathar were slated for release some time in 2012, but we all know how that turned out. Of all the features and additions announced at last year’s E3, the Cathar remain the final piece of the puzzle to be added to the game.

Cathar

The Cathar are a cat-like species originally appearing in the Star Wars Expanded Universe as part of the Tales of the Jedi comic series released in the mid- ‘90s. However, the Cathar didn’t really enjoy widespread recognition amongst Star Wars fans until the release of BioWare’s Knights of the Old Republic in 2003.

In KotOR, players encountered Juhani, a female Cathar Jedi Knight who has fallen to the Dark Side and earns her redemption after meeting Revan, the game’s protagonist. Cathar may also be found in Star Wars: The Old Republic as a number of NPCs, most notably, the Trooper companion Aric Jorgan, who is said to be receiving a visual update alongside the release of the playable Cathar species. 

Like other existing species unlocks, purchasing the Cathar will set you back 600 Cartel Coins. Unlike the other species unlocks, we are hearing the Cathar will unlock account-wide instead of only applying to the Legacy of the server you’ve unlocked it. Whether this is unique to the Cathar or something BioWare plans to retroactively apply to other similar purchases (a la PlanetSide 2) remains to be seen.


Appearance Designer Kiosk

As revealed in the April 2013 issue of the The Old Republic Insider video series, players will essentially be able to almost fully re-customize their characters with the introduction of the Appearance Designer Kiosk in Game Update 2.1. From what we can tell so far, it sounds like the only thing off-limits will be your character’s gender. However, you will be able to alter your species, and this includes changing your character over to the new Cathar.

There will also be a number of new hair styles and colors available for some species. Customization can even be done on a per-slider basis. For example, you won’t have to pay a full customization fee just because you want to add a scar or tattoo to your character. While customization will only be available for Cartel Coin purchases, subscribers will enjoy discounts of up to 50% depending on the option(s) selected.

Armor Dyes

Players have also long requested the ability to re-dye their armor and it looks like BioWare will finally deliver in Game Update 2.1.  You’ll be able to dye the primary and secondary color of your armor via the existing item modification window. Dye modules are simply slotted into the piece of armor to change its color. Colors can be previewed and even unified to your entire armor set if applied to the chest piece. It’s important to note that unlike other modifications, dye modules will be consumable and thus destroyed if removed from your armor. 

Dye modules will be available via Crew Skills, Cartel Packs, the Cartel Market, and there will be even be exclusive colors available on the Collector’s Edition and Security Key vendors. Items belonging to sets that are distinct to certain characters (such as Jolee Bindo) will not be compatible with dye modules.

(Thanks go out to Dulfy for the lion’s share of this info!)

My Thoughts

I’m not terribly excited to play as a Cathar, but I will be unlocking the species anyway, in part due to my desire to have everything I can unlocked as well as my hope that my purchase will signal to BioWare that I’d really like to see even more new species added to the game. As I understand it, there’s been some controversy about doing this in the SWTOR community. BioWare has publicly stated that developing the Cathar was very costly and the likelihood of additional species being added to the game largely depends on how the Cathar release pans out. Some scoff at the notion of purchasing a species one doesn’t care about simply to increase the likelihood that BioWare will perhaps add whatever pet species they’d like to see playable in the game, but it doesn’t bother me too much. If you’re curious, Nautolan top my list, though I’d also like to see the seemingly SWTOR fan-favorite of Togruta make an appearance as well.

Of all the additions we know about so far, I would say that I am most excited for the Appearance Designer Kiosk. As far as the kiosk goes, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve agonized over creating a character in SWTOR due to the fact the conditions found in the creator don’t perfectly reflect how your character will look once in game. I’ve rerolled a new character a couple of times just because I felt the skin tone was off a bit or I didn’t really like the face once I saw how it looked in conversations. For someone like me, being able to rectify this sort of thing without having to resort to a re-roll will certainly be a most welcome addition. Let’s just hope the prices aren’t prohibitive, especially for F2P and Preferred players.

On the other hand, I’m a bit apprehensive about armor dyes. I’m all for additional customization, but there’s something to be said about the mostly matching characters found in the game today. Come Game Update 2.1, I won’t be surprised to see fat Cathar Jedi with some variation of the name Lion-O running around with their hot-pink Jedi robes and coordinated pink-purple or magenta lightsabers. I know, I know, I’m lame since I don’t find all that stuff particularly funny, but hey, it is what it is.

What are your thoughts on what we know so far about Game Update 2.1: Customization? Are you looking forward to the Cathar species or anything else in particular? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!


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Michael Bitton
MMORPG.com's Community Manager Michael Bitton gives us his thoughts and opinions on the happenings in and around the world of MMORPGs.
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