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2016: The Year of HK-55

Star Wars: The Old Republic General Articles - By Michael Bitton on December 02, 2015

2016: The Year of HK-55

Yesterday’s producer’s livestream for Star Wars: The Old Republic was hyped up over the past couple of days. BioWare supposedly had some major plans for the game’s subscriber rewards program, and yesterday we found out what all the hype was about. Oh, and please keep in mind that there will be spoilers for Knights of the Fallen Empire ahead!

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In a word? HK-55. Lots of HK-55.

But before we get to that, let’s recap some of the finer points from earlier in the stream.  BioWare kicked things off with the usual state of the game stuff we’re all used to by now. Knights of the Fallen Empire has been well received by fans, which shouldn’t surprise anyone, given the fact that the most consistent feedback BioWare has received over the years was the desire for more story.

 

And there is more story to come! Chapter X: Anarchy in Paradise was given a February 11, 2016 release date on the stream and Kaliyo (also known as Firebrand) will feature prominently in the chapter.  Touching on some criticism about choices mattering in KotFE, BioWare’s Eric Musco noted that the choices made in chapters I-IX will have consequences in future chapters. That said, Chapter X will involve the player making some significant choices with immediate impact, as well as another choice with significant effects on the story that won't be revealed until a later chapter.

Players can look forward to recruiting Kaliyo into their alliances as part of Chapter X, but Kaliyo won’t be the only origin story cast member to return in February’s update. Bowdaar, the Smuggler’s Wookiee companion, can be recruited as part of a new arena survival encounter found in the lower levels of Zakuul. Successfully defeat enough baddies and Bowdaar will join your side. Defeating enough foes will also grant the title of Eternal Champion.

Crafting was briefly touched upon as well. There weren’t many details, but BioWare noted that February’s Chapter X update would bring new levels for crafting and improve its viability for solo players.

Finally, and before we get to the HK-55 stuff, December will feature a new event each week throughout the month (Gree, Rakghoul Plague, and Bounty Contract) and players who login between December 8 and January 4 will receive a giant HK-47 statue for their Stronghold. Life Day (and all previously available rewards) will return as well. Lastly, BioWare will enable double XP for two weeks this month, kicking off with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Time to knock out the rest of the Republic stories that I’ve been dragging my feet on finishing!

With all of that out of the way, we can get to HK-55!

 

BioWare found great success in the subscriber reward program leading up to the release of Knights of the Fallen Empire and the team wanted to take things a step further and add even more value to player subscriptions with a new subscriber reward program beginning next year. One of the major pieces of feedback BioWare has received since the launch of KotFE is that players loved HK-55 and wanted more of him. So, why not make 2016 the year of HK-55?

To start, players who are subscribed by January 11, 2016 will receive HK-55 as a companion on Chapter X’s release date of February 11, 2016. You’ll still have to recruit him via Alliance Alert and BioWare didn’t explain how exactly he’ll be returning to us, considering what happens to him in KotFE, but if you’ve got a particular affection for the assassin droid, you can look forward to a reunion with him early next year.

Each month from January through August will bring a new HK-55 themed reward. Players who subscribe through the entire program will receive a bonus KotFE chapter where the player actually gets to play through as HK-55 himself.

Finally, players who are subscribed on the first day of each month will receive two days of early access to the chapter released that month. For example, if you’re subscribed on February 1st, you’ll be able to play Chapter X: Anarchy in Paradise two days early on February 9th (instead of the official release date of February 11th).

That about wraps things up! Personally, I’m more of an HK-47 fan than I am of HK-55, but I suppose these subscriber rewards are neat. What did you think of BioWare’s announcement? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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.