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The future of SWTOR, and what I think needs to happen with end game

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Flashpoints, Operations, and Heroic Missions
The future of SWTOR, and what I think needs to happen with end game

RageFury's Avatar

10.19.2012 , 01:15 PM | #1
Long post incoming, but stick with it - I'm curious what people think.

SWTOR has not maintained a significant subscription base. We all know this. The reasons why have been debated ad nauseum. The whole problem with operations in SWTOR (as well as raids in WoW) is the ultimate objective is based on getting gear. They make getting gear the objective, and the content is "meh". Oh, how I long for the days of Asheron's Call, where you repeated quests weekly because they were fun and enjoyable to do, not for the reward...

Modern MMOs have completely ignored trying to make large-group content actually fun, by and large. I hate how gear works in SWTOR/WoW/etc. Make everyone have the same stats or similar ones, so that stats don't matter; and let them customize the look/color of their gear. Most people don't want to have to farm PvP, operations, etc. just to be competitive in PvP. It should all be normalized, to a large extent. Make the enjoyment of content the focus of playing the game at the maximum level, not "to getz teh leet purpz". I'm so sick of everything being gear-based. Leveling up to 50 in SWTOR is the most amazing leveling experience in any MMO, ever, and a lot of that is because gear is largely irrelevant; you enjoy the act of leveling and can keep up with decent gear without spending any specific effort to do so whatsoever. Between quest rewards and the commendations you get on each planet, you can just keep buying new mods to put in orange pieces you've acquired, and be geared decently until 50. It's perfect. The leveling in this game is all about enjoyment of content.

What this game needs to transition into is having an end game PvE system based on enjoyment of content, not obtaining of items. Most MMOs almost immediately at end game, turn into the equivalent of flipping burgers at McDonald's to get the paycheck. You don't go to enjoy anything, you do it to get something at the end, and that's it. Sure, it starts off enjoyable when you experience a new operation for the first time; but within a few weeks, it generally starts turning into the same old snooze fest as you get the boss fights down and it becomes trivial, and it's just the same old thing. The answer to this is not making bosses hit harder, though I do enjoy a good challenge; it's to provide incentive for people to be there that is not based on simply keeping their character competitive in healing, tanking, or dealing damage.

BioWare - you should make obtaining items/gear either irrelevant, or if you want to stick with the current system, then let people obtain the stuff in other ways without having to do operations, flashpoints, or PvP. Gear, specifically the stats on it, needs to be trivialized. You could literally have it be based on time spent doing dailies, or a combination of time spent doing PvP, hard-mode FPs, and questing; or something. Be creative. Operations themselves should be greatly expanded in terms of story inside them. Flashpoints are great in terms of the story as they are right now, but why not make operations have more story than flashpoints, with a lot more choices? Make operations epic in feel and scope in terms of story, with MAJOR different story threads happening. Here's an idea, have random roll chances to get certain uncommon events to happen for people to witness or experience. Find a way to get people to want to experience them for the content, not the loot.

Think about how cool it would be if by killing a certain boss with zero deaths in the group on that boss kill, it unlocks a special party room in that operation instance that has a VIP celebration, kind of like an achievement. Some story there with unique cutscenes and dialogue, perhaps award a token each time you get this "achievement" and with enough tokens over time, you can buy something unique. I always loved the slave Leia outfit, (the idea of being able to get it and use it) why not come up with some other equally unique types of items like that? Not the latest & greatest mods to put in gear, but special outfits, or weapons, or heck, even rare story events or cutscenes. Make some content showing Darth Malgus getting scolded as a young child by his family, or a turning point in his life where he was no longer the innocent kid afterward. There are a ton of characters, scenarios, etc. you could use for this. Obviously, things like this would get posted to YouTube ASAP, but it's non-loot incentive to accomplish things. In other words, it's CONTENT that people would want to experience for the sake of content, not those "purpz".

You could even make it a long string of events; each time, it unlocks a new 3-5 minute scene of events in the story of a particular character. 10 times, 10 different scenes, a whole story told. Think of the possibilities.

I have a suggestion in regards to this. Why not create a huge story arc (this could even be for a game expansion to be released later) where a Jedi (a famous one in-game, or some hermit type off on their own, whatever) finds a way to see into the future and the past in a specific way. A way to witness events at a specific time & place. What this would do is, from a story perspective, give you the ability to develop a ton of content that people would want to see. How awesome would it be to see an in-game recreation of something that happened in the Star Wars movies as a reward for finishing a particular operation, quest, flashpoint, etc.? Create new content that ties into aspects of the Star Wars movies. Put a lengthy (and repeatable) quest line on Tatooine for max-level players where you get to pick one of 3 or 6 or however many "epic moments" in the life of Luke Skywalker from the future via a "force reading".

The reason I said a Jedi should invent this is that it would be a great thing for the Sith to steal from the Jedi in the scope of the game. You could have a certain group/faction that controls the knowledge of how to do this on both sides, and even have a huge quest line to join them with their own vendors and rewards, if you wanted. How awesome would it be to go do a repeatable, and lengthy, quest line on Tatooine that lets you choose a cutscene to watch of Luke fighting one of many battles from the huge number of Star Wars books, or original new content for him created by BioWare? How about going to Dromund Kaas and doing a quest line that lets you see Darth Bane landing there as he did in the books, and searching that temple, and watching a recreation of the battle after he comes out of the temple from finding the Sith holocron?

This would have massive appeal, and could re-launch the game. Most modern MMO players can't even fathom an MMO where gear isn't the ultimate objective. I've asked plenty of random players on forums about it, both here, in-game, and in other MMOs, and the answer is always the same. "If you don't get best-in-slot gear, why do operations/raids/etc.?" The answer is because that content is almost universally weak. Change the ultimate goal of what people do at end game, (get it AWAY from acquiring gear) and this game could last for a decade+ and make you guys billions. Most people, in my opinion, don't even want to have end game be all about obtaining gear, they just don't know it because they have yet to see a good alternative.

I strongly suggest having a person or two at BioWare play Asheron's Call. It's like 15 years old now, but Turbine keeps it going. You can go play a trial for free right now, though there's no way to get to a high level quickly. Talk to old-school Asheron's Call players about what end game was and is like in Asheron's Call. Gear didn't matter in that game; not really. Buffs were ultra-powerful. You were more powerful simply buffing yourself with everything, by far, than an unbuffed person with the best gear in the game, while you were wearing junk. It was a clever way of making gear fun to obtain, but not necessary. It literally makes for an entirely different culture in the game. It's more about enjoyment, and not...grinding for gear.
Something Dark Side

Codek's Avatar

10.19.2012 , 01:48 PM | #2
I just look at it like this:

Do you enjoy progressive raiding and working towards the next goal? Play SWTOR!

Do you enjoy being able to jump into any event and enjoy the atmosphere and environment? Play GW2!

It's two very different styles of gaming and caters to two very different player base.

alifaraaz's Avatar

10.19.2012 , 02:41 PM | #3
The thing is, gear is often used a a extra little 'carrot' to keep people busy for longer. It's also used as a gate, forcing people to gear up before they can beat a certain boss, again spending more time. That's how sub based MMOs make a good portion of their money afterall.

I think the 1st reply guy has it right really. But, and I know everyone says this but often don't mean it, lots of us do actually raid for raiding, the gear being an extra.
That being said, not so much in this game cause gear is...or atleast was easy to get. In WoW some of the most awesome moments was when we finally beat a really tough boss and he dropped the mace I been wanting ^^
Kazar - Powertech, [Tomb of Freedom Nadd EU]

RageFury's Avatar

10.19.2012 , 04:04 PM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by alifaraaz View Post
In WoW some of the most awesome moments was when we finally beat a really tough boss and he dropped the mace I been wanting ^^
Here's a mental test to take to tell the difference between real content, and just garbage. Take away the loot. No reward at the end. Would you ever do it again more than once or twice, ever? (MAYBE 3 times?) No? Then it's not content, it's just filler garbage. Virtually every boss encounter in WoW, ever, fits into that; and most bosses in SWTOR, too.

End game PvE needs to be designed as if there are no rewards; THAT is the key to longevity. WoW's a fluke. They came into the MMO scene at the right time with the right product, and it caught on fire in terms of popularity. Every other WoW-esque MMO as far as end game goes has been a tiny drop in the bucket, and virtually all have lost money, because it's not sustainable. WoW gets away with it, no one else will ever be able to again.
Something Dark Side

tigervol's Avatar

10.19.2012 , 04:08 PM | #5
The biggest problem with what you're suggesting is that it is impossible to create enough of these unique scenarios and content to keep people interested long-term.

What I'm saying is, once you've seen the story, for most people, you aren't particularly interested in seeing the same thing over and over again, week after week.

There is no way to make it unique each and every time, so you have to introduce some sort of grind to make it worthwhile to keep coming back. In this case, as with most, it's a gear grind.

I agree it's a bit frustrating the lack of customization of how your character looks, due largely in part to so many pieces of gear being the exact same thing just reskinned in other colors and textures. So having some unique things that you could get for completing certain objectives is nice and is something that they should do more of.

Things like the title for completing Nightmare Mode ops in under 2 hrs. The Infernal and The Unyielding titles aren't rare anymore because that content isn't difficult compared to before, but those titles used to represent a small and elite section of players, and you could wear those titles as a point of pride because not every group can clear that content.

What this game really needs more of is things that really are difficult to obtain. Getting gear is so easy in this game, but if they had some really uber rare pieces that only drop once a month or take some ridiculous amount of effort to obtain, and are substantially better than the standard tiered gear, that'd be awesome. The gear could be Bind on Pickup or Bind on Legacy to prevent abuse or people farming them to sell, but it'd have to look unique and be worth the effort involved in getting it.

I do agree with what one of the posters above me said, though. I raid because I enjoy raiding. I like the encounters, I like the zone design, and I like working with a team to clear that sort of content.

RageFury's Avatar

10.19.2012 , 05:16 PM | #6
Hard-to-obtain gear is absolutely NOT what this game needs. They need other kinds of rewards - not gear - that are very difficult to obtain. Things that are optional, not required. That way, the hard stuff people go for is of their own accord and they will enjoy it more accordingly.
Something Dark Side

alifaraaz's Avatar

10.19.2012 , 05:34 PM | #7
So like interesting achievements maybe? An achievement system more advanced than the current codex system wouldbe good.

I havnt played WoW in recent years and some say their achievement system was a pain as guilds and pugs asked for proof of achievements before inviting. However when I was playing doing some of the fun achievements and earning new titles and mounts was also extremely fun. E.g. 8manning Malygos and several others

So yeah I'd definitely be up for something like that. There was also a mention a while back that legendary items will be coming to swtor. But they probably will be very rare like wow, as in just 1 or 2 that can only be obtained from the very last tiers of raiding. Like the warglaives etc
Kazar - Powertech, [Tomb of Freedom Nadd EU]

Xenith's Avatar

10.19.2012 , 06:09 PM | #8
If you all think taking away loot progression in Ops and PvP is the saving grace of this game, you've all lost your minds. It'd be the complete oppposite because there'd be no reason to pvp or raid. Therefore, the game would be worse off than it is.
Peace is a lie... and so is your Order.

Chorusgirl's Avatar

10.19.2012 , 07:43 PM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by RageFury View Post
Here's a mental test to take to tell the difference between real content, and just garbage. Take away the loot. No reward at the end. Would you ever do it again more than once or twice, ever? (MAYBE 3 times?) No? Then it's not content, it's just filler garbage. Virtually every boss encounter in WoW, ever, fits into that; and most bosses in SWTOR, too.

End game PvE needs to be designed as if there are no rewards; THAT is the key to longevity.
Don't you think this is what they were trying to do with Nightmare Mode EV/KP? There was no different loot between Nightmare and Hardmode. Nightmare was a great fight, much more challenging than HM. What I saw happen was that people just opt'd to do HM because it was easier and provided the same reward as Nightmare. People put in the time not ONLY because they enjoy the content, but because they also get to see their character progress. Progressing one's character is what makes MMO's addictive. It's the same idea as leveling, you want to reach the "holy grail" in a game either by finishing the content, or getting your character to max level, or by getting your character to best in slot gear. We all do it for the achievements, whether it's personal or game granted.
<Cali Killed Nox>
Prophecy of Five
Progression Raiding Guild

uniz's Avatar

10.20.2012 , 01:51 PM | #10
that really is a long post but changing the mmos system to a single player computer game style of unlocking content via killing a boss with no gear rewards really wont solve your problem.

your problem isn't limited to just the reward system which players since eq1 have been carrot chasing in these games. ease of gear is part of it. also the wow and wow clone system of having story and hard mode content is another part. lack of any true gear progression doesnt help things either. all that is needed is from one tier to another is to do more dps, heal more and have more hit points. there are no resists, no crit avoidance and etc making no damage mitigation mechanics at all tied to gear and its bonuses needed to be farmed for new content.

this game is fun to play and has a little of everything for everyone. it is what it is. there is really not much a need to make radical changes that the op wants to do.