Ravalation has a recent post on desired changes to Star Wars the Old Republic. Reading this got me thinking about what I’d like to see changed or added to the game for or by the time of the next expansion. Here’s my shorter and more broad-brush thoughts on what I’d like to see done differently in future.
1) Fix coop play (a la GW2)
This is a big bugbear for me with the current development of the game, at launch and for some time afterwards SWTOR represented almost the perfect coop MMORPG. Great for couples and friends to play in duos or trios. Leveling together was, for the most part, a great experience – perhaps the only major downside is the spoilers from seeing other people’s class missions. After the Hutt Cartel expansion the game main storylines became much less group friendly, however. That’s a big mistake in my mind – all this content (including KOTFE and KOTET) should be group friendly. Playing with friends is, in my mind, a big part of the stickiness of MMORPGs as games!
I bring here the experience of Guild Wars 2, which from launch back in 2010, had a slick system for progressing story quests when in a group. Similar to SWTOR, any story instance had an ‘owner’, however in GW2 when your group finished the particular instance anyone coming along to help would be presented with a simple yes/no option to either progress their quest to the next stage or to leave it where it was. That same, long-established system, would allow SWTOR players to group up for say KOTFE missions to play with their friends. If the choices made, using the existing multi-player conversation system, didn’t work out as they wanted, they could always choose to not progress the mission and do it again solo on their own to get the result they want. Perhaps to be 100% sure no-one has problems you could even have that same yes/no choice for the instance owner too as they might ‘loose’ a few conversation choices as well.
2) Explorable new planets
Adding new planets always makes me happy, but only adding them for a short walled off story instance makes me sad. It’s also a pretty big waste of developers time compared to the potential for those areas to be opened up for resource gathering and future content such as daily mission hubs or new world bosses. Why not fix it so the Alliance base has a door leading out into Odessen’s forests, for instance?
3) Open world content
Should SWTOR have more “public quest” style content? It does have world bosses, although I suspect these are mostly targetted by guild groups. Seeing how the Legion expansion of WoW handles open world content, and how other games like Rift have long-had such content, I do wonder if open world content in SWTOR would be a good idea? The game is pretty heavily instanced for grouping, so it might be good to see more content that happens out in the open, such as the Relics of the Gree event.
4) Break from the big story
After two very ‘big story’ expansions, with tightly focused and very epic storylines, I’d be tempted to say we should have a change of pace. The next expansion could be less focused and more about the aftermath of such a galaxy-encompassing conflict. It would give the devs the chance to tie up missing or underdeveloped companion stories and to address any hanging issues, such as the aftermath of events on Voss. A less focused story would also allow for the introduction of new planets or the expansion of existing ones without needing to conform to a set narrative. We could have an expansion of lots of little stories rather than one big one.
5) Give me my ship back
Although this is only partly an issue, we never actually lost it from a gameplay perspective, I think in the next expansion our characters should, from a story perspective, get to reclaim and use their own spaceships again. The gravestone is cool and all but it’s not my Defender, ok?