This post follows me having completed the new KotFE expansion through to chapter 9, i.e. the end of the new expansion’s solo mission arc. As usual I’ll keep it spoiler-free, so this ‘first impressions’ post will stick to general thoughts and the systems-side of the expansion.
The play through was on my new level 60 character, a Togruta Jedi Shadow. I’ve specced for damage not tanking although the class retains a good deal of survivability even-so.
Firstly I must emphasize the feeling of quality and polish to the content, the story-telling is top-notch and the game feels to have matured well at this stage. There are some stunning visuals and set-piece animations.
More than ever I’m feeling motivated to play through content again on an alt. That’s pretty unusual for me: in WoW, EQ2 or similar games I generally avoid repeating a story soon after a first play-through but the choice-based, morally-aligned nature of Bioware’s game give plenty of situations with a “what if I choose otherwise…?” question that you can resolve by a replay.
Companion characters are greatly affected by the expansion as you lose access to all your class companions at least temporarily. This may upset some players but I’m all for the change especially as it gives players real choices for which companions to recruit and use, prior to KotFE only a very few store-bought companions were available to any class. The removal of companion gearing may be a simplification but I’d say it’s an overall positive one since I rarely managed to keep more than one companion well-equipped while levelling.
The new end-game is the Alliance hub system. You have various faction and companion-related missions to take and complete as you build up forces. I’ve only scratched the surface so far having just completed chapter 9. From what I’ve seen it’s a mix of daily & weekly missions plus some companion or NPC ‘contact’ specific non-repeatable story missions.
The Alliances story will be continued through monthly story updates starting in January next. That sounds like a really good cadence for keeping subscribers happy with new story-content. In the past the story aspect of updates to SWTOR was sporadic, a big chunk with the expansion then a long gap, as it is with many other MMOs. Guild Wars 2 was one of a very few MMOs that managed to maintain a regular injection of content frequently for any length of time. Let’s hope Bioware can deliver timely and polished updates in the New Year. If they do then I’ll actually feel motivated to keep up the subscription to SWTOR for a while longer.