Friday, 13 April 2012

Welcome to Game Update 1.2 - Legacy

Yesterday BioWare release the much anticipated Game Update 1.2. And with it they added a bunch of updates to the site, including some surprises. To begin with Game Director James Ohlen put a welcome message up on the Community Blog:

Today we released our second major Game Update, Legacy. The scope of this update is much larger than our first update and is probably one of the largest free updates ever released for a MMORPG. We’ve talked a lot about how we are going to support our fans throughout 2012 with major updates to the game. We hope the Legacy update proves to you how serious we are about this. 

This Game Update has something for everyone. A new Operation, Flashpoint and Warzone. New solo content on Corellia. The unveiling of our Legacy system. Interface customization, Guild banks, Galactic Trade improvements, etc. If you want an idea of just how big this update is, check out the patch notes. Over 18,000 words long!

The most important element of this update is the Legacy system. Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ has more unique story content than any other entertainment product in history. The Legacy system allows you to experience that story content in a different way. We will be continuing to support the Legacy system throughout the year, with major additions coming in our future updates. Including one that will make fans of the original Knights of the Old Republic very happy.

Our future updates are largely based off of feedback from you, our fans. We hear you when you ask for easier ways to group, a way to transfer characters to other servers and that you want more ways to engage in PVP. These things are coming - many of them in our third update.

However, we also want to surprise you with additions to the game that you weren’t expecting. While we managed to cover a lot of the biggest Star Wars fantasies with our initial release, we know we didn’t get them all. If you have a favorite moment from the Star Wars™ movies that you have yet to be able to experience in the game so far, be assured that we know about those as well. One day you will get to live out your Wedge Antilles, General Veers or Sebulba fantasies. 

James Ohlen
Game Director

Be sure to check out everything that’s new in Game Update 1.2 with the News Articles and Community Blog Posts that we’ve published about it so far.

News Articles
Coming in Game Update 1.2
Developer Dispatch: The Legacy System
A Quick Look at UI Customization
Warzone: Novare Coast

Community Blogs
Your Saga Continues: Story in Game Update 1.2
Crew Skills in Game Update 1.2
Your Legacy Begins
PvP in Game Update 1.2
Community Q&A: Friday March 30th, 2012: Game Update 1.2 Special
Community Q&A: Friday April 6th, 2012: Game Update 1.2 Special
Update on Ranked Warzones in Game Update 1.2

They also posted a new video for the new Operation, some disappointing news about ranked Warzones, and some good news for many subscribers. For all that read on after the break.

Let's start with the disappointing news about ranked Warzones. Just before the patch went live BioWare revealed that, unfortunately, ranked Warzones didn't make it in the patch. Daniel Erickson explains:

Hey everybody,

It is with great reluctance that I have to announce Ranked Warzones are not going live with Game Update 1.2: Legacy. We had a fantastic run of testing on the Public Test Server and I can’t begin to thank the community enough for their tireless advocacy for this feature and the time people took to file bugs and voice their concerns.

After careful consideration, it is clear that to make Ranked Warzones the feature we all want it to be is going to take a bit more time. I apologize for any disappointment this may cause and ask for your patience as we work to make sure the Ranked Warzone Preseason launch is polished and fun. With Legacy, the new Warzone, Operation, and Flashpoint, as well as many other amazing features of Game Update 1.2 ready to go, we're very excited for tomorrow's additions.

In the future we'll be rolling the Ranked Warzone Preseason out in phases, listening carefully to player feedback and making adjustments as we go. The first phase will be full team, eight-player queuing only and from there we'll look at next steps as Preseason progresses. In the meantime we have provided an alternate purchase route for War Hero gear so you can start building your set while figuring out your teams.

Daniel Erickson
Lead Game Designer

I'm sure that this is disappointing (to those who enjoy Warzone PvP), but in the end it's probably better that they did this than release it anyway and potentially cause problems similar to the PvP issues they had with the last big patch.

BioWare also posted a new video for the new Operation: Explosive Conflict. Here's the official news:

On the recently-discovered planet of Denova, a brutal conflict between an invading Imperial battalion and Republic-hired mercenaries has come to an abrupt end. The mercenary leader, himself a legendary warlord, has turned his back on his Republic contractors, convinced the local Imperial battalion to join his cause, and declared himself ruler! Now heroes from both the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire must deploy on Denova to take down the warlord and investigate what prompted him to go rogue.

Check out our latest video for “Explosive Conflict”, and watch as Republic heroes attempt to fight through the new high-level Operation being introduced in Game Update 1.2 for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™!

To be honest I'm a bit 'meh' about it. That's probably because I've got little interest in Operations as I'm sure that it'll be great for those that do enjoy them. The only thing that looked interesting to me was the bit with the red-green grid as it makes me wonder how that'll factor into the gameplay. Probably something like "don't stand on the red grid squares".

Finally, what I thought was a nice surprise, or to be more precise three of them. You can read the full post here, but let me break it down into its three parts. To begin with, and to me least interesting, they're giving former subscribers a week of free play:


In honor of Game Update 1.2: Legacy, we are offering former subscribers the chance to come back and play on us.

Starting on April 13th, 2012 at 12:01AM CDT / 5:01AM GMT through April 19th, 2012 at 11:59PM CDT / April 20th, 2012 at 4:59AM GMT, former subscribers will be able to log-in to their accounts without having to re-subscribe!

I think that this makes a whole lot of sense. People might've unsubscribed because they felt that they ran out of content or such, and with the new update adding a fair bit of new content there's a chance to show former subscribers how fun the game is (where hopefully they'll stay on after that week and re-subscribe). There's a few more details regarding who is eligible in the post itself.

The second surprise is one for all current subscribers: a free Tauntaun minipet.

We appreciate the support of our community throughout the development of the Legacy game update. As a ‘Thank You’ gift, we are giving all active subscribers (as of April 12, 12:00PM CDT, 5:00PM GMT or April 21, 12:00PM CDT, 5:00PM GMT) the in-game Legacy reward: the Legacy Tauntaun Ram Pet*, sure to be your new best friend!

Now that's just cute.

Just as before there's a few more details in the post. It's interesting to note here that former subscribers who re-subscribe before their free week runs out also get the pet. But overall I think that it's a nice gesture.

Of course there are a few complaints. You see, BioWare is also selling a Tauntaun minipet in the VIP store (for 200,000 credits). Though that one doesn't have a saddle and thus is, technically, different people who jumped in after the patch an immediately bought the pet feel a bit like they wasted 200,000 credits. Understandable and it might've been nicer if BioWare made one or the other something that's not a Tauntaun, but even so. Sometimes being first means that you pay more than others do.

And finally, the last and biggest surprise was that BioWare is giving those with a 50-level character (when the patch released) 30 days of free playtime:


As a thanks for being one of our most valued players, every active account with a Level 50 character as of April 12th, 2012 at 12:00PM CDT / 5:00PM GMT, will receive thirty (30) days of game time** in appreciation for your support and loyalty.

That's... great. They pretty much just gave me $15. Thanks BioWare. :)

The sad thing is though that a number of people are, apparently, pissed off about this. Why? Well, basically it comes down to the fact that they don't have a level 50 character and feel jibed.

That, in turn, kind of pisses me off. I hate this entitlement culture that we seem to have. Just because some people (yes, me included) get something nice others suddenly feel upset as if BioWare is out to personally get them. It seems they feel that just because someone else got something, they should too.

One argument that I've heard in this is that they feel that BioWare doesn't consider them "loyal" fans or some such nonsense. They argue that those who played since the start, but don't have a level 50 character, are no less loyal. That they are in fact more loyal than someone who got the game a week ago and sped their way to level 50. And maybe there's truth in that. The thing is though, BioWare never said that this is a reward for all their most loyal customers. The closest they said was "one of our most valued players", but never saying that it is for all their most valued players.

I think the truth is that this is basically a sort of appeasement for their endgame players. Just look at patch 1.2; all of the new content is geared at endgame (which many felt was lacking before). If an endgame player stuck with the game for all that time regardless, then this is a thank-you as well as an encouragement to try the new endgame content (and hopefully enjoy it enough to stay subscribed). Everyone else is already enjoying the content and don't need any incentive to continue to do so.

In short, if you want to look at it like that, some people got lucky and others missed out. Get over it. Next time it'll be the other way around. In the past there have been many, many times where I missed out (like how I missed out on the White crystal because I'd chosen to play my Agent to 50 first; I was disappointed and expressed thus, but I didn't throw a fit over it). Now I've been lucky for a change, next time it'll be you again.

In short, I think that all these surprises were quite good. And, outside of one bug I ran into (can't resize text for separated chat windows), have been quite enjoying the new UI customization and such in update 1.2.

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