This is OpsCom, where we bring you a weekly dose of Operations and PVE related content from the world of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Here you’ll be able to get the latest news and developments along with highlights of the big issues in the PvE community and the occasional ranting of the writer. Check back with us each week for the latest and greatest from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
After over a month offline, OpsCom returns just in time for the imminent release of 1.5 with Operation Explosive Conflict Nightmare Mode and the new world boss Dreadtooth! Check out all the latest after the jump!
Weekly News Roundup and Commentary
The biggest piece of news this week is of course the release of game update 1.5 this Thursday.
The end game PvE scene will be introduced to a new higher difficulty of Explosive Conflict with the long overdue Nightmare Mode, a new world boss that gets more difficult and rewarding every time you beat him, a new area for dailies on Belsavis, and a new HK-51 companion. It will also be the launch of the Free-to-Play option and the Cartel Market.
While this does add a number of encounters for the current tier of content, it is difficult for many raiders to get excited about this release. Those of us that have been doing operations all year have already spent a solid five months doing EC HM, and maybe even normal mode during the same weeks for the extra commendations along the way. Now the progression path is taking us back to the same instance with only a few minor changes along the way to make it more challenging. Challenge is great, but this is content that most of us are already pretty bored of. In my opinion, the time for EC Nightmare Mode has long passed.
That leaves Dreadtooth as the new raid content. World bosses can be fun, but in my experience world bosses are best when they either terrorize an area until they’re killed, or they are linked to major quest lines. So far TOR’s world bosses have been mild distractions from the regular content that beyond the first few times are usually more trouble than their worth.
On the upside, we’re only a month and a half out from the release from Asation, which has proven to be a decent operation with a few interesting fights to keep us busy. In the meantime, we’ll just have to hope that the next tier of operations won’t be too far off.
Op-Ed: Forgotten Features of Raiding?
Is everyone ready to go? Jump up and down, spin around three times, move up, move to the left, okay looks like everyone’s here so let’s pull! Wait, someone was AFK. Too late, it will be another wipe.
The ready check is one example of a basic feature that most would have expected BioWare to implement by now and though I’m no coding expert I can’t imagine it would be too difficult to put in game. There are plenty of other things that would be a great help to raiders if only they were added to the game.
As a healer, I must say the biggest thing I am waiting for in Operations is better UI controls. They UI customization offered months ago was a great and very important first start, but still lacks many of the essentials needed for effective healing. Filtering and resizing buff and debuff icons would be a great start. Manual control over the raid frames so I can separate and resize my primary healing targets differently would help as well. In fact just these two changes alone would make it so much easier for me to track my responsibilities in any given encounter.
I believe that it’s important to not only introduce new and innovative raid content in to this game, but to also make sure that the challenge comes from the player engaging the boss. On several boss fights I feel like the greatest challenge comes from watching 8-16 health bars for a few pixels of the color that signifies a debuff I need to dispel, or trying to track the three or four targets I need to heal while they’re scattered through the groups. While I do enjoy a challenge, and while a few changes like this would make the fights as they are now easier, I still think these changes are necessary and that the mechanics of the encounters themselves should be made a little more difficult if too much of the challenging aspect is lost.
What important features do you all think the PvE end game is missing?