Monster Revan Looting Party: New SW:TOR Expansion

To my eye, Star Wars The Old Republic was an awkward marriage of BioWare’s singleplayer storytelling and World of Warcraft-derived MMO mechanics. It’s a marriage which seemed to satisfy no one, dooming SWTOR to a brief honeymoon and a slowly diminishing life of quiet desperation. A sad, science fiction Revolutionary Road.

Nice of BioWare to throw the game and its players a little lovin’ then, in a new expansion called Shadow of Revan. It’s raises the level cap to 60, adds a couple of new worlds like Yavin 4, offers new high-level raids, and introduces a new “discipline system” which will affect everyone, including those who don’t buy this $20 add-on. There’s an announcement trailer below.

While I’m sure new stuff to do appeals to existing players, the available-to-all discipline system seems like the most sweeping change. As explained in a developer post, disciplines replace the current skill tree, and aim to allow players to develop more interesting classes and characters earlier in the leveling curve.

While we hope to maintain the feeling of progression with each level, players will no longer get a single point every level to invest in an array of skill boxes that we felt resulted in the burying of class identity, uneven power gains, and crazy-town rotations, depending on where you were in the tree. Instead, we created three Disciplines per Advanced Class, named and themed after the original Skill Trees (for example the three Disciplines for Commando are Combat Medic, Gunnery, and Assault Specialist, all very familiar names, themes, and play-styles from the skill tree era). For each of these disciplines, we took a look at all of the skills from their tree ancestor and imported everything that defined the identity and rotation of that tree and laid them out in a level-based progression, along with quite a bit of combining, cutting, creating new, and balancing along the way. No longer are you forced to purchase skills that are, in essence, necessary for your character to function; you simply get them automatically as you level up and progress down what we call the Discipline Path.

Which I can just about understand, though the rest of the post dives deeper and deeper into detail the significance of which will only be clear to dedicated players.

If you’re not a regular player and you’ve still got a few minutes spare to read something, I suggest hitting up the Wookieepedia page for Revan. It’s bonkers; this guy flip-flops from dark to light more times than Kyle Katarn. Also, news that JJ Abrams is using physical sets and puppetry for Star Wars: Episode VII gives me some probably-naive sense of hope that it won’t be totes bunk.

The Shadow of Revan expansion is due out December 9th.

45 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    distantlurker says:

    An important point of note.

    If you sub the game (just for the month say) and pre-order the expansion, characters gain x12(!!) XP bonus (immediately) on class missions. This is enough to level toons from 1-50 doing *only* Class missions. (you also get the bonus on the 50-55 expansion, paid for separately, if you so desire).

    For those who were screaming for KOTOR 3; class missions *are* KOTOR3.

    You can get some of Bioware’s best writing, Star Wars based or otherwise, without all the “kill 10 rats” MMO nonsense. All for less than £20.

    If you’ve never checked TOR out, I’d recommend the Inquisitor and Imperial Agent story lines particularly. They’re fantastic.

    /tiphat

    • Orija says:

      Bioware’s best is still rather mediocre.

      • Scelous says:

        Let me guess: You think The Witcher is a masterpiece.

        • lumenadducere says:

          Seriously, what is with Witcher fans having such a massive hate boner for BioWare? Can’t we just realize that they do different things and people can like both?

      • WiggumEsquilax says:

        I’m going to assume that you meant contemporary Bioware.

        I’m going to assume that you didn’t just badmouth Baldur’s Gate 2 with Throne of Bhaal.

      • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

        Bioware’s best was (at least) nine years ago.

    • LegendaryTeeth says:

      Is that sub for one month at any point, or is the bonus only active while your sub is?

      • Premium User Badge

        distantlurker says:

        You have to be subbed, and the x12XP ends on December 1st with the launch of the expansion (early access).

        • mashkeyboardgetusername says:

          Bah, I was tempted for a while. I tried it after f2p on a double xp weekend and found it much more fun than when it first came out, being slightly overlevelled for everything got rid of the tedium of combat*. But if you need to sub anyway and it’s a limited time thing then I won’t bother.

          *I stopped playing because enemy health bars seemed to increase faster than my damage. It still wasn’t a challenge, I could kill everything I came up against, it just took longer and longer until I got fed up with it. That was around level 30, the thought of 20 more levels of that was soulcrushing. Like I say, if I could overlevel through the content then that’d be brilliant.

          One day I’ll learn how to write comments without waffling.

        • razgon says:

          One of the REALLY great things about this, is that Training is free as well. Which is nice for my level 50 Jedi Knight who still haven’t paid the 150.000 for Speeder piloting 3.

    • The Godzilla Hunter says:

      From what I played, I am not sure if playing the class missions really would get rid of the “kill10 rats” – but I might be confusing the class missions with the essentially-mandatory-for-f2p-side-missions.

      I do agree that the imperial agent is good stuff, though.

    • Epicedion says:

      Too bad the game is pretty terrible.

      Dredging up Revan is only going to make KOTOR players angry, because everyone had their own Revan. Now they’re just going to get some stupid NPC Revan that tromps on 10 years of good memories.

      • Dolphan says:

        Revan (and the Exile) already featured pretty significantly in the base game.

        • PsychoWedge says:

          and it already is pretty atrocious what they did with Obsidians exile… xD

      • lumenadducere says:

        LucasArts already established a canon Revan and Exile long ago, shortly after the KOTOR games were released. Revan in particular has featured prominently in comics and books, and both Revan and the Exile were in SWTOR already.

    • Durkonkell says:

      I am vaguely interested (although I’d rather just buy the ability to skip all the boring filler nonsense permanently). I do have questions though. If you don’t own the first expansion, do you have to buy that first before it’ll let you have the newer one? Also, I remember the last time I played I had to work quite hard to stay appropriately geared for my level, is that even possible playing only the class missions? I mean, you wouldn’t get gear or money from those ‘kill 28689 space rats’ missions and I doubt you’d be able to keep your tradeskills level appropriate at that rate (and with the reduced income).

      No point if you get flattened by the class missions and have to go back and do the boring MMO filler nonsense for gear or credits anyway!

      • TormDK says:

        You get the Hutts expansion for free if you do not have it already if you do the prepurchase.

        From swtor.com (Odd that RPS doesn’t mention this);

        “Players who pre-order by November 2, 2014 will receive:
        •One week of Early Access to Shadow of Revan starting December 2
        •Exclusive Grand Statue of Revan to display in Player Strongholds
        •The Digital expansion: Rise of the Hutt Cartel (subscribers automatically receive Rise of the Hutt Cartel)”

        Regarding gear – I haven’t had much issues with it. Typically you would be some of the orange items (Which I can never remember what are called) anyhow that lets you upgrade the items accordingly.

        But even the “filler” quests I found pretty good. There’s an overall purpose to those “Kill X” quests.

    • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

      Bioware’s best was (at least) nine years ago.

    • ssh83 says:

      Yup. That’s the only reason they’re getting my reinstall and money. Lol. It’s funny how most news site fail to mention this. Just goes to show how ignorant most “experts” really are. Class quests and companions are swtor 3, and the best sw fiction since Kotor.

  2. Museli says:

    Now that’s the kind of headline I pay my hard-earned for. That’s all I’m taking from this article though – like everyone else, I gave up on this game ages ago.

    • Skeletor68 says:

      Agreed on the headline!

      If they could somehow repackage this into a singleplayer game I’d give them plenty money. I just can’t handle the grindy MMO combat stuff described by distantlurker. I’d also want to be able to take my time with it. A pity!

      • Premium User Badge

        distantlurker says:

        headline is epic ^^

        and just to clarify, I was trying to point out that preordering the expansion while subbed, allows you to skip all the grindy rubbish and just go straight thru the most fun (single player-y) bits.

        Sorry if I wasn’t being clear!

      • Museli says:

        A new singleplayer game set in the same universe would be awesome. I enjoyed the setting and the story when I played, but I was already souring on the MMO playstyle, so that’s what took me out of it. If they announced Imperial Agent: The RPG, it’d be straight on my wishlist.

  3. InnerPartisan says:

    Oh God. That headline is worth at least a whole dozen Internets. Thank you. :D

  4. Napoleon15 says:

    Is it just me or do Bioware basically use the character of Revan to dangle on a fishing line hook in front of KoTOR fans in the hopes of making them play? They know that there’s probably lots of people with some kind of emotional investment in Revan etc from playing the original game, so they just throw out the character again and again. It’s very cynical, but… probably pretty smart marketing.

    • Wulfram says:

      Eh, they haven’t used him that much.

      • Napoleon15 says:

        Ah, fair enough then. Just feels like they play some of the characters up a lot as sort of marketing bait, but I confess to not really following the game much since it came out\went F2P. I got fed up with the mechanics in the second day of an open beta weekend and skipped out on it.

  5. SPCTRE says:

    In my HEAD CANNON ™, Revan will always be female.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Pretty sure you mean “canon” there, old stick, unless you have a female Revan permanently operating your head-mounted artillery.

      Which sounds pretty boss, actually.

    • Wulfram says:

      In my head canon, Revan will always be not this crazy idiot.

    • PsychoWedge says:

      Hah, my Revan is female too! I often throw the dice when I can chose the gender and play the other one on the second playthrough (if there is one) and the first time I played KotOR I had a male char. Then I started for another playthrough and naturally went with a woman. I don’t know why, but half an hour after I started my brain went “this makes soooo much more sense, dude” and since then she’s always been a she. xD

      • supermini says:

        Exactly the same thing here. I chose Revan to be female the second time I went through and then every single time I replayed it (and it’s been quite a few) because…it just fit better.

  6. Laurentius says:

    It was said already many times if it had been a single player, replayable grind-free cRPG it would be a pretty good game but it isn’t . Plus I didn’t like hte way i was treated, so I bought a game at the realese for a full price, then paid subs for a four or five months and then lost interest but when i returned after transition to F2P my account was the same as for regular Joe who only registred after the game went f2p, so yeah great treatment for me splashing cash at launch.

    • mona says:

      I didn’t like that I preordered months in advance, even helping beta test the thing for them, then in a mandatory server consolidation was forced to rename half my characters I’d had since day 1 because I was the one moving servers.

      I didn’t like that another mandatory server consolidation left me over the cap on characters allowed so if I wanted to play all the characters I’d previously had spaced out over two servers, I had to either delete some of them or pay extra to have them all available, and support refused to do anything about this.

      I didn’t like the year in which we were constantly referred to previous statements on being able to play our characters as gay eventually, only to have it finally show up restricted to one planet that you paid extra for, when I originally bought the game partially on the basis of trusting their statements that the content would be in after launch and handled properly.

      SWTOR, with its poor management, broken promises, and abysmal customer service, is the game that kicked off my still running boycott of all EA games.

      • USER47 says:

        “…I didn’t like the year in which we were constantly referred to previous statements on being able to play our characters as gay…”

        Umm, what? I am pretty sure nobody from Bioware ever said there would be gay romances at launch.

        • mona says:

          Correct; read on. They said it would be in after launch, that it was being delayed because they wanted to be sure to handle the material properly, then strung us all along for over a year before implementing a very restricted amount of walled off content you had to pay extra for.

          eta: “Eventually” is literally the next word after the bit you quoted.

    • USER47 says:

      Not really. As a former sub, you are “preferred”, which is mostly ok for playing, with just a few (mostly bypassable) annoyances at the endgame.

      • bleeters says:

        Well, that, and they limit how many credits you can have. And prevent you from being able to mail them to other characters. And limit your item mailing to one at a time. And reduce all experience gains by 25%. And remove rested experience. And restrict your number of characters to 6. And make various quest reward items unobtainable. And limit your number of on-the-spot field revives after dying to five per character, ever. And reduce the amount of points you earn from PvP activities. And disable parts of the UI, the ability to hide your helmet, the ability to unify your armour colours, the ability to post on their forums…

        I could go on. The list of restrictions thrown at anyone without a subscription is dizzying. A handful are removeable with unlocks you can purchase. Most aren’t. It’s a system designed to annoy people into spending, nothing more.

  7. Hex says:

    Why do people in power-armor or whatever that is need to wear cloaks?

  8. Arglebargle says:

    While it didn’t live up to EA expectations, there’s reasonable evidence that SWTOR is now the second largest/second most profitable MMO out there.

    While the problems and errors of the design could fill a book, they’ve definitely managed pull back from the abyss….

  9. Wednesday says:

    The Horde and the Alliance joining forces to fight, well anything Super Evil makes a lot of sense.

    The Republic joining forces with the Empire to fight Revan?

    Urggggggghh

    • bleeters says:

      Yeeeeeah, I’m not sure where I sit with that either. They’ve been edging towards that for a while, with both factions hit by third parties resulting in minor co-operation to fight back. The enemy of my enemy, etc.

      But in this case, it’s just so… you guys are mortal enemies. You have been for centuries. You will be for centuries more, even if from an in-story perspective they obviously don’t know that. Bitter, mortal enemies who have tried very hard to kill all of the other for a long, long time. And now you’re allying. Right, ok.

  10. Scrofa says:

    So this “discipline” system… It’s exactly what Blizzard did to WoW with revamped specializations and talents system quite a while ago. I still see SWTOR as just a reskinned WoW from a couple of years ago, just with a much worse and less self-aware setting.