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The Curious Changes of Patch 1.1.5

Michael Bitton Posted:
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Patch 1.1.5 for Star Wars: The Old Republic is currently on the public test server. While the current set of notes is short enough to make one think there isn’t much meat in this latest ‘weekly’ patch, there appear to be a few documented and possibly undocumented changes particularly worth noting.

First, a little bit of context. Last week’s Community Q&A revealed that the seemingly massive upcoming Game Update 1.2 will also contain a large push towards endgame crafting (four pages of Crew Skills related patch notes for 1.2 as of this writing), something many of us thought were further off given how large 1.2 seems to be already. While we aren’t quite sure when 1.2 will arrive, it looks like BioWare is employing some temporary measures in the interim to address a few things, including some of the issues with crafting.

The most obvious of these changes are listed in the patch notes themselves. 1.1.5 will temporarily add a new vendor that will sell previously unavailable endgame crystals for credits and will also temporarily reduce the price of high-end speeder models. The crystal vendor is particularly interesting, as it will sell rare (or unavailable) color crystals such as cyan, purple, magenta, and even white, in all manner of stat configurations (including Expertise!). These changes, combined with the comments made in last week’s Q&A, lead me to believe that there is a strong possibility these items will be craftable and tradable in 1.2.

If this is true, I find the changes to be a bit curious. If BioWare intends to make every Crew Skill desirable in 1.2, wouldn’t introducing a vendor (even temporarily) with fairly inexpensive rare crystals kind of shoot themselves in the foot? Sure, in the short term it makes players happy by addressing the larger issue of these items being mostly unavailable, but the longer this vendor hangs around, the less of a market there will be for Artificers (as far as these specific color crystals go) come 1.2.

As an aside, I’m also disappointed that the restrictions on color crystals for Light/Dark side users have been removed in 1.1.5. I realize this has always been a controversial issue, but I imagine the influx of hipster Sith wielding blue lightsabers and Jedi wielding red lightsabers just to be ironic is going to annoy me a bit.

On the PvP front, there are some interesting rumors surrounding 1.1.5 circulating at the moment. I haven’t been able to get on the test server and confirm this myself, but there are reports that players will be able to purchase Champion and Battlemaster tokens with existing Warzone and Mercenary Commendations when the patch goes live. Again, this stuff isn’t in the current patch notes and I cannot confirm this at the moment, but this rumored change would certainly alleviate some of the stress related to acquiring PvP gear by at least a little bit. According to the rumors, it will take 120 Warzone Commendations for a Champion token and 1000 Warzone/1000 Mercenary Commendations for a Battlemaster token.

There aren’t many complaints with regards to the cost of Champion tokens, as this change combined with the previous changes to Champion bags would only help people fill out their Champion sets sooner. However, players are hotly debating the Battlemaster token cost at the moment. The reported changes in 1.1.5 would have significant implications for these folks as they would finally be able to make a steady progression towards earning Battlemaster gear. While we know BioWare is going to do away with the bag/quest system entirely in 1.2 (replacing it with hopefully with an altogether improved alternative), no one knows when said patch is going to drop, and this Battlemaster issue is frustrating for many PvPers on a daily basis.

At the moment, players can only complete daily and weekly tasks to earn Battlemaster bags, and these bags don’t guarantee any progression towards earning Battlemaster gear whatsoever. Battlemaster bags simply grant 15 Champion Commendations and a supposed 25% chance at a single Battlemaster token. The Champion tokens are largely considered worthless since many Valor rank 60 players report having at least one full set (if not more) of Champion gear by that point, anyways. Sure, some players just want their Battlemaster gear now, which is one thing, but the real issue isn’t that it takes too long to get the gear – it’s that the current method just isn’t satisfying.  As a result, players are pretty excited for the ability to purchase tokens for Warzone and Mercenary Commendations, but some are arguing that the essential 4000 Warzone Commendations needed to acquire a single token is far too steep to be reasonable.  Maybe people will finally PvP in Outlaw’s Den for those Mercenary Commendations instead of simply trading up Warzone Commendations as they do now. Oh, who am I kidding?

If these reports are true, it’s possible that they aren’t documented in the patch notes yet due to the specific Commendation costs being in flux at the moment. But hey, maybe I’m just being an optimist. Personally, I’m not obsessively chasing Valor rank 60 or Battlemaster gear. My biggest beef with PvP at 50 was being easily blown up by PvP geared players as a fresh 50. This is pretty easily alleviated by putting together some Centurion and Champion pieces, which doesn’t take too long now, but is still admittedly frustrating while doing so.  Between my current Champion and Centurion pieces, I’ve got enough Expertise to hack it in PvP, so I’m pretty content with earning the higher Valor ranks and Battlemaster gear at a natural pace, whatever that ends up being. Battlemaster gear isn’t really a huge upgrade over Champion, anyway. With that said, the disparity in time required to acquire PvP gear vs. PvE gear is pretty jarring. It didn’t take me more than two or so normal mode raids to be almost fully geared out in Columi gear, and from what I hear, Rakata isn’t that much harder to deck yourself out in. I realize I simply got lucky, but the PvE side of things always offered a much more sane progression even when you aren’t lucky with drops.

What do you think of the confirmed (and unconfirmed changes) in 1.1.5? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Michael Bitton

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB