The Spoils of War
In the upcoming Onslaught expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic, our driving philosophy for how we design our systems is play your way. We aim to accomplish this in a few ways. First, we are offering more gear customization than you have ever had before. Second, we want to ensure that the path to getting the gear you want is always available through playing your favorite types of content. And most importantly, we want to make sure that if any part of gearing is frustrating, that we have ways for you to reduce that frustration. Getting gear and customizing your character is a key part of being able to play your way, and one of the core systems in Onslaught.
New Set Bonuses
Set bonuses are unique effects that help tailor your character’s playstyle. They are activated by equipping multiple pieces of gear from the same set at once. Today, players only have one set available to them in their chosen role. As an example, if you were a damage-dealing Sith Sorcerer, you only have one set available, which doesn’t offer much in the way of customization or choice.
Starting in Onslaught, our goal is that players will have a much larger number of sets to choose from. If you were that same damage-dealing Sorcerer, you will not only have more than one Sorcerer option to hunt for, but now you will also be able to find set bonuses that work for all Inquisitors, or even sets that can be used by any Class!
Another added benefit in Onslaught is that sets will come in a variety of sizes. This means that not only is there a host of new sets to choose from, but you even have the ability to mix and match multiple sets together to provide even more flexibility. Lastly, we are moving all set bonus effects to be on the armor item shell itself. This means once you get the armor piece you want, you can simply just upgrade its mods to keep it valuable to you as you gain more power. Whether you are wearing a damage dealing set, a general set, or mixing and matching multiple sets together, you will be able to achieve more customization than ever before.
Tactical items are a brand-new item type being introducing in Onslaught. These are rare and very powerful items which, when combined with set bonuses, can help you play the way you want. At launch, there will be numerous Tactical items that are available for each Advanced Class and Discipline which means there are plenty of ways to modify your character to fit your personal playstyle!
Tactical items can have a broad range of impact on abilities. Some will increase damage, others may cause your abilities to affect more targets, or trigger additional effects, and so much more. Not only are Tactical items powerful, but their effects can be combined with set bonuses to achieve even greater customization!
Amplifiers are a new type of stat bonus found on gear and gear modifications. Starting in Onslaught players will always find one Amplifier on each Armoring, Mod, Enhancement, Hilt, Barrel, and Armor Shell. With many different Amplifiers, players will be able to tailor these bonuses to fit their playstyle. Some example Amplifiers include increased weapon damage, increased threat generation, and in-combat health regeneration.
Amplifiers offer entirely new paths to customization! When we balance our upcoming encounters (like the new Dxun Operation), the power gained by Amplifiers isn’t factored into those equations. Any damage, bonus healing, extra tankiness that you get from Amplifiers will help give you that extra “unplanned” oomph to take down the Galaxy’s greatest threats.
While the Amplifier found on each modification is random, we want to ensure that players can work towards getting exactly what they want. Amplifiers can simply be rerolled from the item modification window for credits as many times as you’d like. When rerolling, a character will get a few new Amplifiers to choose from, or, they can keep the one already assigned! There is no limit to the amount of times you can reroll any given Amplifier so you can quickly rebuild your character to find the perfect choice that fits your playstyle!
Items in PvP
Between Set Bonuses, Tactical items, and Amplifiers there is a lot at play when it comes to balancing gameplay, especially with Player vs Player content. We want to ensure that Warzones remain a place where gear is important, but that player skill is critical to victory.
One of the ways we plan to do this is with our continued use of Bolster. Bolster is a mechanic that boosts a character’s power to a fixed level. In Onslaught, all players in PvP will be Bolstered up to the highest item rating in the game. This levels the playing field so that item rating on gear level no longer matters in PvP.
However, Set Bonuses, Tactical items, and Amplifiers will all affect your PvP experience. Although every player is at the same power level, the way they choose to focus that power is in their hands. We look forward to your feedback on how these items impact PvP, so be sure to provide your feedback now and on PTS!
With a larger variety of gear across the game, we are also increasing the amount of gear that drops. It’s important that you feel like you are always progressing your character, and so we are making a number of changes to how, and where, you acquire gear.
One of the biggest changes we are making is that we want to ensure that gear you receive is tailored to your character. As an example, let’s say that you kill and loot a Flashpoint boss. The game will now take into consideration your current Discipline and the average power level of your gear to make you more likely to receive items that both work for your playstyle and are around the power level of the items you have equipped.
Even with these changes, it is still possible that you could receive gear for another Class or specialization. In Onslaught, we’ll be making all new set pieces, tacticals, and gear bound to Legacy, rather than character-bound, allowing you to move gear between members of your Legacy as you see fit! Enjoy playing mirror classes (such as Sorcerer and Consular)? Now you can pass your gear between them instead of having to build two completely separate piles of equipment!
Defeating enemies, completing content (PvP and PvE), and completing Missions are going to remain the primary way to acquire gear in the game. We want players to be able to play the content they want, and still be able to progress their characters. To help in this effort there are two supplementary systems to help in gearing: Galactic Command and Conquests.
Galactic Command is our existing system for gearing, where as you complete activities at max level you gain Command Ranks. Each rank provides you with a Command Crate which contains a variety of items, including gear. Before Onslaught this used to be a tiered system, where players would get a static level of drops from Crates depending on their tier of Command Rank. This system will be seeing an overhaul in Onslaught, starting with the system being renamed to Renown.
Players’ Renown will work quite a bit differently than Galactic Command. For starters, we’ve removed the concept of “tiers”. Every rank of Renown is equally valuable. Whether you go from rank 1 to 2, or from rank 700 to 701, the possible pool of gear that can come from a Renown crate is always based on the current power of your character, so that it will be relevant for your character. It may not always be an upgrade but it will likely be close to your characters’ power level. Onslaught will also introduce seasons to Renown. Starting with 6.0, Command ranks will be retired and players will enter the expansion at Renown rank 1. The rank cap is being increased to 999, with future updates likely bumping the cap up even further. With rewards now equally available at any Renown rank, your rank now has no effect on the quality of loot you receive and is solely a way to show off to your Guildmates and at your local cantina. Our intention is that the entirety of the Onslaught expansion cycle will comprise of one “season”, with a new season starting at some time in the distant future.
Conquests will also supplement the gear players are getting elsewhere. In Game Update 5.10.3, we made a change that all activities that earn experience points, also earn Conquests Points. This allows all players to passively work through their personal Conquests. For that reason, we are also going to be giving gear, crafting materials, and more from the personal weekly Conquest rewards!
That’s a Lot of Gear
Players will be getting a lot of gear from their favorite content, supplemented by additional gear from Renown and Conquests. We expect this will lead to situations where players have much more gear than they actually need or want. What do you do with all that extra stuff? We’ve got a few things that players can do with this gear, but it all starts with Deconstruction.
All players will now be able to Deconstruct any of their gear in Onslaught to receive crafting materials and a new currency. Reverse engineering will still remain and crafters will receive greater rewards for using reverse engineer over deconstructing where possible.
Crafting materials can then be used as a part of our updated crafting in Onslaught. We want to make sure that crafters have a path to being able to craft relevant, end-game gear for players. Players will be able to craft up to max item rating gear (with some variance / limitation over dropped gear) and can even craft exclusive Tactical items.
No Such Thing As Luck
A new currency, which you can receive from Deconstruction, can also be acquired in a number of places around the game (such as drops, Mission rewards, and more). This currency is used on two new vendors to help serve as a mechanism to both protect you from any streaks of bad luck, and to work on getting the items you want.
The first vendor will allow you to spend currency to purchase a random version of a specific item slot. If you are trying to get a chest piece, you can spend your currency to purchase as many chest pieces as you can afford at that time, allowing to really hone-in on the item you are trying to get.
The second vendor is a regularly reappearing vendor which sells very specific items. This vendor’s selection is not based on your Discipline or power level. Instead, they will have a rotating inventory each time they appear in-game. This will allow you to purchase exactly what you want, when it’s in stock, as long as you manage to find them before they leave to resupply!
The last component of this may be the most important feature of all. We have built-in several layers of RNG (random number generator) protection for set and tactical items. If a player hits a bad luck streak and doesn’t get a set or tactical item after a specified number of item drops, the game will force the next loot drop to be a set or tactical item! This way even the unluckiest among players will never have a problem progressing their character.
Onslaught is bringing with it new sets, a new item type (Tacticals), new ways to play your way,all wrapped in new ways to acquire more gear than ever before. Spoils of War is going to be a big step forward, but we want to hear your thoughts! Head to the official forums, the /r/SWTOR subreddit, or even social media and let us know what you think. And of course, look for all of these changes coming to our Public Test Server in the future. Keep in mind that everything in this blog is subject to change. This is just the first step as we continue to share more details on Spoils of War!