Hey everyone, I recently had the pleasure of attending the Guild Summit via livestreaming, where a host of panels were held discussing the upcoming patch 1.2 (scheduled to be released sometime in early April) and other new features/changes that are coming to SWTOR. There were quite a bit of information – the transcript of which I have captured here if you want to view all the details. In case you don’t feel like reading through pages of my notes, I have created a guide here summarizing all the important features you can expect for patch 1.2 and beyond!
- March 9: Previously I said cross server warzone queuing is available with patch 1.2 – this is not the case. They will be coming after 1.2.
- March 9: 8 man pre-made queuing is possible with ranked warzones only starting 1.2 (source)
- March 9: It should be stressed that heroic abilities are only usable during heroic moments – which means that you can use them only temporarily and occasionally with a companion (source: StephenReid)
New Warzone – Novare Coast –this will be a 3 point majority control warzone where you need to control at least 2 out of the 3 objectives to do damage to the enemy fortification and win. The three existing warzones (Huttball, Civil War, Voidstar) will allow same faction queuing (sometime between patch 1.2-1.3) which should solve the issue of too many Huttball matches previously for Empire players due to the heavy Empire population on majority of the servers (Huttball is the only warzone currently supporting same faction queuing).
There is also a change to the way warzone rewards/quests work. 18 new medals will be added in with patch 1.2, doubling the amount of medals currently available in the game. Majority of the new medals are objective based to encourage players to actually accomplish objectives rather than descent into a team deathmatch, Daily quests for PVP are also being changed to not requiring wins but rather obtaining a number of medals. This should eliminate some of the “rage-quitting” behavior seen in warzones when players realized that they are playing on the losing side of the match. To discourage medal “farming”, Bioware will also cap the number of possible medal gains to somewhere around 8 and have a system in place that awards medals if you win a match fast. The quicker you win the match, the more medals you get as medals are awarded for winning matches before a certain time-limit and if you are quick, you will also get all the subsequent time-limit medals as well (i.e. if you win a warzone in 6 minutes, you will get the medal for winning it in 8, 10, 12 etc minutes as well).
Additionally, Bioware is putting in additional measures to combat against AFK in warzones. A new Vote to Kick feature will be implemented with additional measures to prevent abuse. A system will also be in place to only hand out medals to those that participate and not sit around in a corner.
Patch 1.2 will also begin the pre-season of ranked PvP – players will be able to participate in ranked warzones that rank your performance solo and in group using the ELO rating system. Ranked warzones will hand out a new currency called ranked warzone commendations which are used to purchase the new tier of PvP armor called War Hero.(Edit: Bioware has mentioned that cross-server queuing and 8 person pre-made queuing will not be in 1.2 but rather sometime after it).
War Hero will be the new tier of PVP armor above Battlemaster. This tier of PVP armor has no valor or ranking requirements and can be directly purchased via the ranked warzone commendations.. Additionally, a new entry level PvP gear on par with the current Champion level PvP gear will be introduced that can be purchased with credits alone to help bridge the gap for new 50s jumping into warzones. Both sets of armor will focus on PvP stats heavily, making them not ideal for PvE purposes. The existing Battlemaster level of PvP gear can be purchased directly using regular warzone commendations – eliminating the current PvP bag system entirely. The Bis PvP gear will also have a crafting component as all of the War Hero mods/armoring/enhancement can be removed in 1.2. Players with time & credits can craft/buy a set of orange gear with augment slots and put in their War Hero modifications along with augments. The diminishing returns on expertise, the PvP stat, will be modified in 1.2 and any pre-existing theorycrafting will need to be re-done. New lightsaber colors will be available for the new PvP tier and artifice will be the first crew skill progression to benefit from the PvP crafting feature (obtain mats and schematics from doing PvP and purchasing bags).
Some new armor models were shown but it is not clear if they are the new War Hero set or the new PvE set.
Valor will no longer be a gear progression stat for PvP. Instead, Valor will server as a prestigious stat – reflecting your experience in PvP rather than in your PvP gear progression. Higher valor ranks will unlock features such as cooler mounts or the ability to lead a warzone but will no longer off any advantage in PvP.
Ilum has gone back to the drawing board once again. Ilum’s popularity was not as high as Bioware had hoped and technical difficulties with the Hero engine prevented Bioware from adding in new features/designs to Ilum. There are some plans in place for Ilum in the future but for 1.2 it will simply be an world PvP area similar to Outlaw’s Den on Tatooine.
New Operation – Explosive Conflict – (Operation is essentially “raids” in SWTOR). With patch 1.2, you will see the release of the 3rd raid dungeon called Explosive Conflict. The “nightmare” difficulty of this operation is not available with 1.2 as Bioware still need to add additional new mechanics for the nightmare difficulty to make a truly “nightmare” experience (non pun intended). This new raid instance will be tier 2, surpassing both current tier 1 raids (Eternity Vault & Karagga’s Palace) in both difficulty and loot quality (new tier of raid armor). Also, there will be less reliance on gear/stat checks and more on coordination & execution. The 16 man version of the operation will still have the exact same content as the 8 man version but also adjusted to have the same relative difficulty to compensate for the logistics and coordination challenges of the 16m raid.
There is also a shift in the gearing up progression. There will be no longer a normal mode, it is instead replaced by story mode. This mode is more for casuals to see the story rather than gearing up. The real raid gear progression will be in hardmode and nightmare mode. The pre-assigned looting system currently in place for normal mode operation will be replaced by existing looting system for hardmode/nightmare mode and Bioware plans to allow for time limited trading of loots between operation members in the future in the case of misloot.
The new operation will likely involve two tanks in the 8m version and may have mechanics in place that requires tank swapping. Bioware is aware that most of the current operations can be cleared with a single tank but this will likely not be possible with the new operation.
New Flashpoint – Lost Land – Finish the story arc started in patch 1.1 with Kaon Under Siege. This flashpoint is promised to be more difficult than previous ones. A group finder feature will be also in place for flashpoints & heroic quests (for patch 1.3). This feature will be single server only to preserve the community that each server has developed.
Personal combat logs will also be in the works but may not be released with 1.2. This will be a file saved to your desktop that shows your performance. No in-game combat meter will be available – it will be upto the fansites to develop a 3rd party combat log program/site. Patch 1.2 will allow you to paste a line into chat that shows you what you killed or killed you.
In addition to the new operation and flashpoints, at least one open world boss will be released with patch 1.2 that will require a raid to defeat.
Last but not least, ready check feature will finally be implemented. The devs were not aware that this feature was missing.
The legacy system is going to be a huge feature in SWTOR and it is probably the reason why patch 1.2 was named Legacy. The first feature introduced with the legacy system is family tree. This is more of a RP feature but it is nonetheless very cool to be able to sort all your characters in a family tree. Currently this legacy tree is only available for characters you own, there might be plans down the road to add other people’s character as marriage partners etc. The key thing about this legacy tree is that it is cross-faction so it can contain both your Republic and Empire characters on the same server.
Another cool legacy feature is species & class unlocks. Once you play a species to level 50, you can unlock that species be any classes on both factions – this means that you can have a pureblood Jedi or a Chiss smuggler! If you are playing human, you will be given a presence stat on all your existing and upcoming legacy characters instead since the human species can be all classes. Cyborgs also have a neat feature. If you havn’t noticed this before, each class for the cyborg race have their own unique cyborg attachments. You can now unlock all of them and become a super cyborg!
In terms of class unlocks – completing a character to the end of Chapter 2 for that character’s class quest will grant you that class’s class specific emotes and buffs for all your legacy characters. This means that you can have bounty hunter buffs on your sith warrior alt for example. Completing that character to the end of Chapter 3 will grant you heroic abilites from that class to all your legacy characters. These abilites are iconic class abilites (i.e. force choke from sith warriors or flamethrower from bounty hunters) that will require a companion to use (similar to the heroic moment abilites you have right now). The companion restriction will prevent you from using these heroic abilities in places such as a warzone or operation. Another key thing is that these abilities are only available during your heroic moment, which means that they are to be used temporarily and occasionally – StephenReid)
Two examples are shown below: a sith warrior using the iconic bounty hunter flamethrower and a smugger using the iconic sith warrior force choke.
Companion completion: Bioware wants you to do those companion quests and there are now incentives to do all the quests for a specific companion. Once you “complete” a companion (do all the quests available for that companion), you will receive a) shorter cooldowns on heroic abilites, b) longer durations for your heroic moment and 3) unlock small stat boosts if that companion is the first companion you have “completed” for that companion type (i.e. ranged tank). If you complete a second companion of the same type, you will receive an additional presence buff.
Alignment/Social Rank/Valor unlocks: These unlocks are mainly non-combat based (fluff). Reaching Light V/Dark V will unlock active abilities for all legacy characters. Reach a certain valor rank will unlock the abiliites to have unarmed duels on all your legacy characters. Reach a certain social rank will allow you to dance with your companion and unlock RP emote packages.
Additional rewards: Sprint has being moved to level 1 with 1.2 so you no longer have to wait for your teens to get faster running speed. Gaining legacy levels will allow you to unlock a higher level version of spring called Jetpack for bounty hunters and rocket boots for all other classes. This is essentially a shorter duration spring with faster movement speed. Legacy levels will also allow you to purchase items for your ship such as training dummies, mailboxes, repair droids, neutral GTNs and even cores for your ship droid to improve specific crew skills. To prevent the fleet from becoming a ghost town, the devs have said that items like neutral GTNs are only available for players with very high legacy level and lots of credits. Mobs will also drop legacy tokens. These tokens are not class specific and are bound to your legacy. You can trade them to merchants in return for low level gears for your legacy characters.
Unfortunately, legacy banks will not be released with 1.2 but patch 1.2 will allow you to send cross-faction mails to someone in your legacy. This feature should help out many players who wish to experience the story on both side of the coin. Bioware has hinted that there might be epic quests in the future that unlock rewards for your entire legacy and may require characters on both factions to complete.
Economy and Crew skills
Some hard statistical data were given during the summit. It was interesting to see the overall distribution of all the crew skills. Biochem was actually not the most popular crafting skill – that was artifice. Interestingly, bioanalysis was actually the least used gathering skill, which explains the inflation seen on the GTN right now with the bioanalysis mats.
In terms of overall player wealth, less than 1% of the players have 10 million credits. Majority (84%) of the players have <= 1 million credits. Biggest source of credit income was from quests and the biggest sink was actually ability training (damn expensive speeder trainings!). There was a small inflation of 12% – that is the discrepancy between the credit sources and the credit sinks.
Some demographic data were shared as well – 57% of all characters were Empire, the remaining 42% were Republic. This ratio is actually not too far from the population study I did a while back which gave a ratio (Empire/Republic) of 1.22 for PVE servers and ~1.8 for PvP servers. Class distribution was not surprising – an overwhelming majority of the characters were sith inquisitors (18% of the total population). Imperial agents and smugglers were the least played classes.
The goal of crew skills in 1.2 is to to make every single crew skill viable for endgame. To that end, there is an overhaul to the current reverse engineering system – better reverse engineering rates and the ability to reverse engineer more items. There is also going to be a change to the augment system – synthweaving, armstech and armsmech will be able to make augments while slicing (the current source of augments) will be providing mats for these three professions for augment making. There is a huge emphasis on the crafting of orange armor with crit slots to both customize the look you want and also providing the best stats since the majority of endgame mods/armoring/enhancements can now be removed. Schematics for new orange gear will be released with 1.2 so if you don’t like the look of the orange gear you can get right now from crafters there is hope down the road.
Sadly for users of biochem, reuseable stims/adrenals will be phased out sometime down the road – Bioware doesn’t like the idea of reuseable stuff and aims to provide a more robust economy. For those concerned about expensive & hard to get crafting mats, Bioware assures you that when 1.2 comes, some of the previously operation exclusive mats will be able to be traded and there will be resource nodes on the new planet & some of older areas as well.
Roleplaying & Guild features
The meat of the roleplaying experience will be in the Legacy system introduced earlier – family trees, social unlocks, emote unlocks etc. Chat bubbles will be making a come back as Bioware has resolved the technical issues that prevented their usage at launch. You will also see a lot more ambient activity as well – creatures, NPCs etc to make the world feel more alive. Cosmetic/social armor will no longer be light armor exclusive and should be useable by all without taking a stat loss.
For guilds, there are two major improvements – guild banks and guild UI. Guild banks has finally arrived and now features 7 tabs you can unlock with increasing credit requirements. Guild leaders can restrict access to these tabs to only people of a certain rank – including the option to require authenticators to combat account hacking. Guild UI will feature some minor improvements with 1.2, with the promise of a complete revamp sometime after 1.2. In 1.2 you should be able to invite people to group from the guild window.
Guild capital ships and calenders are in the works but Bioware has no ETA on exactly when they will be released.
UI Improvements and others
The much needed UI improvement is finally here – with 1.2 you can resize, move, tweak your UI elements however you want. If you liked Rift’s UI customization at launch, you can expect a similar experience in patch 1.2.
More importantly, target of target window is finally here! Unfortunately, click to cast didn’t make it to 1.2, Bioware expects this feature to be implemented in patch 1.3 or 1.4. There are no plans to have macros for combat currently.
The UI for auction house/GTN will be 80% less stupid in patch 1.2 according to Bioware – about time!
Dual spec/multi-spec will be in the game but unfortunately not with patch 1.2. Dual spec/multispec will come in 2 parts – 1. allow you to save different talent tree layouts and 2. allow you to save gear configuration between different builds.
Unify to chest option is back – now you can toggle this option on individual armor pieces to have them match the color of your chest piece. The pieces will not necessary have the same color but they will fit into the same theme.
Same gender romances will not be included in 1.2 – it is coming in this year, when Bioware adds in more story. Same gender romances will not be a case of simply switching dialogs to work for the other gender – Bioware plans to release new same gender romance arcs.
No server transfers are in the works in the immediate future. Due to the complex legacy system, there is currently no easy way to transfer’ one person’s legacy to another server. Bioware assures you that when server transfers comes, you will be able to combined the two legacies on two different servers and the one with the highest legacy level will be used.
High res textures are coming with 1.2 and Bioware is working to make sure that SWTOR can be run on the low end machines as well. You can see the difference with high res textures in the screenshot below.
Well this is it for the patch 1.2 coverage. There are definitely a lot of exciting new things coming for patch 1.2. If Bioware delivers everything it promised, this patch will probably be one of the biggest content patches in MMO history.
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