There were a few disappointed SWTOR fans on Friday when the Producer’s Road Map we’d all been waiting for wasn't posted soon™ enough. I’ll admit, I went to bed last night a teensy bit grumbly that we were going to have to wait a whole week for Bruce’s puns and the inevitable twitter discussions...but what Monday morning magic did I wake to? Not one, but TWO major news updates from Bioware. Obviously that one fanfic I read on reddit where Jeff tied Bruce up in his office on Friday when Eric came around looking for the Roadmap was true...
At the PAX South Cantina there was an early draft of the 2015 Roadmap written by the Senior Producer, Bruce Maclean. The Roadmaps have been a nice way for the Dev’s to keep communication lines open with the community and let them know, albeit vaguely, what we can look forward to in the future. With the Roadmap’s official release, we begin our transition into the new era of SWTOR which will focus heavily on story.
“Shadow of Revan was just the beginning. In 2015, we are committed to bringing you more character-driven adventures in the Old Republic universe. You’re going to see a unified story, with a focus on themes that unite our eight classes – everyone is a veteran from the Galactic Civil War with a complicated past and an uncertain future. You’ll see a greater emphasis on your character’s personal history, and on the choices you make.” -Bruce Maclean, Senior Producer
In my opinion, the upcoming focus on story is what is right for SWTOR. For so many, that is the reason they play the game. All complaints aside it’s why I play the game; being a part of the Star Wars universe is magical to me. I’m here for the Star Wars, and I’m excited to see where we go next, what planets we’ll see, and how many Jedi I get to kill in the process. While we don’t really know what the balance between individual vs. larger “universe” story will be, rumors of the Emperor’s return make me pretty excited to see what’s coming in the future.
The first portion of the Roadmap we will experience is Update 3.1, which was pushed back two days from February 10th to the 12th. This update contains the Hard Mode versions of Blood Hunt and Battle for Rishi, and also starts the beginning of Ranked PvP Season 4. I’m VERY excited for this season of PvP. Sorc heals are strong contenders and my new computer means that I can actually overload what I mean to! Hopefully an increased scrutiny on behavior like win trading and queue syncing will result in a better ranked experience. I’m hoping to see some of my friends come back to playing with the season starting and that adding to Ranked populations.
In the Spring there will be Game Update 3.2 This was originally slated for April 28th but was changed in the official Roadmap release. But it is a very hefty update, and making the date a little more ambiguous gives the Devs more time to perfect what we will be getting. Probably the most heavily anticipated aspect of this update is Outfit Designer. While speculation is high on what exactly, and how exactly, this will work, we did get teased with a soon™ blog on it.
This update will also open up a new story arc on the Imperial homeworld of Ziost, which builds off the end of SoR, and will be both the close of Ranked PvP Season 4 and opening of Ranked Season 5. I don’t really feel the back to back seasons are a good thing. That buffer is a nice time to relax, and also is a better entry point for new Ranked players than jumping right in to elo hell can be.
The last two tidbits Bruce leaves with us with are a new stronghold and a new race, Togruta. Many have been guessing and suggesting where the new stronghold will be, and I’m excited to see. I have enough decorations to do another house or three and my personal dream is somewhere near water.
There are two noticeable missing aspects of the Roadmap for me. I’m obviously a progression PvE fangirl and I would have loved to know what that release schedule looks like. I had initially heard/thought NiM Ravagers and ToS would drop in May. Will that be a part of the Spring 3.2 update? The second aspect that’s missing is the entire end of the year, lol. Hopefully that’s where we will see a new Operation and some new PvP maps. Anything could happen, right?
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The additional major news break from Bioware this morning was the scrapping of Shadow Realms in a letter from Jeff Hickman. For a few weeks now the future of that game has looked bleak, and I can’t say I’m really surprised to see that they won’t be moving forward in it’s development.
This affects SWTOR in that the Dev team will no longer have to split their focus between the two games. That’s nothing but good news in my opinion!
"But the biggest focus for our team in BioWare Austin will be on Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. As every Star Wars™ fan knows, this is a massive year in the Star Wars universe. We have some great plans for expanding this epic game this year, and look forward to sharing the news about those plans with our players in the coming weeks."- Jeff Hickman, General Manager
This post also shows the first real acknowledgement I’ve see that SWTOR looks to capitalize on the Star Wars saturated market right now. I’m really excited that someone heard me (or maybe thats just my ego) and there will be a Cantina at Star Wars Celebration this year!
So what are you most excited for this year in SWTOR? Is 2015 going to be better than 2014? What things would you like to see added to keep you interested?