The Onslaught DLC is good. It is not great, but is it good and a number of elements included in the new 6.0 patch are things the game needed moving forward. The new storyline does a good job of reintegrating the player into the conflict between the Republic and the Sith Empire. The Spoils of War system is a welcome change to gearing, if still not quite what players were hoping for, and it is nice to feel the progression being made once again with characters. The various visual updates add more clarity to identifying elements within the game world and potential gear upgrades looted from the various in game activities. These days I am more of a casual player due to the constraints on my time, so what did I think of the new DLC after coming back from an extended break? This is our review of Star Wars: The Old Republic – Onslaught.
Going into the Onslaught DLC it may be best to think of this as still part of a bridging storyline between the last two main expansions and what is next. One thing you should keep in mind when starting the storyline for this DLC is that if you have anything not previously completed for story it will set you to having made the default choices. You are warned of this before accepting the new DLC quest. If you are looking for a grand villain to appear early on for you to eventually defeat, you will not find on here. The story will take you across the two new planets of Onderon & Mek-sha, both are very different very different in appearance and feel.
Voice acting ranges from decent to top notch, as per usual for SWTOR. New characters that are introduced evoked different reactions in me depending on the character I was playing at the time. Overall, I did enjoy the story, but I found that certain climatic points just lacked the punch they should have had. There was so much potential during the story to build up suspense and really create interesting moments for a returning character or tell part of the backstory… but instead it felt like going through a list of items/events that needed to be included for the purposes of future content. That being said this DLC gets the job done, by the end of the storyline you are realigned with one of the two factions and your choices will determine how tightly allied you are too said faction.
For those of you like me, who enjoy more grand storylines in Star Wars, there is some rather interesting developments towards the end of the DLC along with the return of old companions.
Spoils of War & Gearing Up
The level cap has been increased from 70 to 75. I levelled up to max just by working my way through the story. The new abilities granted to each class are interesting, but I didn’t find them overly game changing or particularly engaging. I did notice that along with the discipline utilities being changed to 3 tiers of 8 utilities each some of those utility choices have been changed/pruned. Looking at the set armor pieces you can now buy at the fleet I see where a few of those changes may have been partially relocated to. Having access to purchasing those set pieces is nice but I am not sure how much they actually provide for “new” adjustments/changes that were not already present in the game before the DLC. Either way they are the items you will now grind for by deconstructing other gear and completing activities at end game.
The Galactic Command system is now “gone” in so much that it is now called Galactic Renown. Everyone’s rank has been reset to 0 and the experience for gain ranks has been equalized. As future content is released the ranks will be reset so that players can earn new rewards, think of it like seasons.
I will be honest, I was not a fan of the gearing system from the last two expansions. In my opinion, it was too much RNG and the system was implemented poorly. While there is still a lot of RNG to the new gearing system the biggest change is that item rating on dropped gear for any given activity is now based on your character’s average item rating. This is nice for getting a steady stream of upgrades that you can easily see in your inventory, a small up arrow appears on the item to indicate an improvement over currently equipped gear. Unfortunately, this can lead to where as a player you will equip the highest item rating equipment you have drop in the hopes of getting the higher rated upgrades, even if the stats may not be the best for your class/spec. You can get a few visually interesting pieces of gear from random drops but all the best looking items are still locked behind the cartel market and real cash. I have had no issues upgrading my gear to the point where I am ready to group with others and have found quite a few active guilds looking for members. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of people in some of the main hubs.
The tactical item is a new equipment slot for characters that you can on get once reaching max level. Your first tactical item you gain from completing the DLC storyline. After that you will need to acquire additional tactical items through other various in game activities except for a couple that can purchased from the Onderon Reputation vendor, these can be used by all the classes. Some of the tactical item abilities sound like they would make quite a difference in playstyle while others are an immediate pass.
F2P Changes & Inventory
For those looking to try out SWTOR F2P players have also gotten a boost. The level cap is now 60th and the story content includes everything up to Rise of the Hutt Cartel and Shadow of Revan. F2P players can also play and receive reward for 10 warzones/flashpoints/space PvE activities per week. For those who are preferred players you also now earn renown at a rate of 25% when compared to a subscriber.
I cannot say enough about how happy I am with the new crafting component storage system, it has freed up a ton of space across all my characters and I can now access all my crafting component with any toons I happen to be logged in with. Combine that with the additional storage locations added to the fleet it makes accessing items with any character much more convenient. Now if we could get rid of the grey junk items that are only good for generating some extra credit and taking up inventory space I would be thrilled.
There are still bugs in the game that have been there since release, I don’t know if they are just part of the engine at this point or require deeper code fixes to correct but they just knock the experience down a peg when going to load the launcher or during a play session, check out my first impressions article if you would like to know which bugs I am talking about. The story for this DLC was decent but felt like it fell flat at certain critical moments. It really felt like Onslaught was meant to deliver more initially but that some of content was cut or scaled back.
Should you play SWTOR Onslaught? If you are a new player and don’t mind/enjoy a tab target style MMORPG, yes you should definitely give it a go at least as a F2P player. The various class storylines, barring one or two, are great examples of classic BioWare storytelling. There is a ton of story content in the game and each class story is unique up to level 50.
For returning players the question is more difficult to answer. I have enjoyed the new DLC enough to remain a subscriber for another month, if I had not found a guild I would most likely have cancelled shortly after completing the new storyline. Coming back to play through the new storyline has been enjoyable though and if you have a guild or friends in SWTOR I can recommend at least resubbing for a month or two in support of the game. The fact that you get access to the new DLC just by being subscribed is a great value.
Unfortunately, who knows if we are in for another content drought with SWTOR and if you are at all concerned about that being an issue I might suggest waiting until the next DLC is announced. You will not be missing out on much of a storyline to get caught up on from this DLC.