Earlier today, BioWare fixed the Star Wars: The Old Republic Space Combat missions in Game Update 1.6 on the Public Test Server. With that, I was able to take a look at them and get a general idea of what to expect when the update goes live. After seeing the new missions firsthand, I can speak somewhat briefly on some of the key points. Consider these impressions somewhat incomplete as I was unable to finish any of the missions and unable to even attempt the Kabal Station Defense mission due to being ineligible. I will add more to this post as the situation evolves, but for now hit the jump and read my initial impressions.
Same Environments, Different Enemies
While we all were somewhat expecting to be underwhelmed by the new missions due to BioWare’s admission that this is not the new Super-Secret Space Project, I can say that I was even a bit more disappointed than expected by the fact that the environments themselves stayed the same. I certainly did not expect them to go all out with these new missions (eleven in total, ten playable (five per faction) as discovered in the DB “leak”) but I always hoped that they would go back and make new environments. However, it is not a deal breaker for me as I am just grateful to see them continuing Space Combat work after fan reviews on that portion of the game weren't always positive.
The environments may have stayed the same but new interesting flight-paths make it a little more enjoyable than past missions. For example, during Far Cradle Strike players have to navigate through a series of tight shipping crates that is actually a fun detour from the combat. The missions as a whole have similar mechanics that make them at least partially unique. As far as the enemies are concerned, they are more varied than ever. New enemies range from Jedi ships, shielded bombers, heavily fortified Capital class ships, shielded minefields, and more. Some are entirely new models while others are reused from earlier missions. Overall, there is a good variety to them and they offer up a tough challenge.
They are HARD
So let me set the scene a little bit here. Over the last 7+ months, I have been one of the few people to mention that I love the Space Combat in SWTOR, so much so that I have the best equipment that a player can obtain pre-1.6. I figured, “Hey, I’ve got all the Kuat and Grade 6 stuff, this will be easy!” Yeah...that lasted about 20 seconds after I got into them. They are hard, maybe even impossible to do with anything acquired prior to Grade 7, which is the new ship part tier they added for 1.6. If you remember a couple days ago, we covered some of them in a post and remarked that they are pretty pricey on the commendation end. As a normal person might do when BioWare does not add any new missions, I spent most if not all of the comms from the space portion of the game on crafting and artifact equipment. Meaning that I did not have enough commendations, prior to the character import, to acquire new ship parts.
If you were thinking about running any of the new missions, I would recommend running many Space Combat missions starting now and saving the commendations for when the update goes live.
After playing the new missions, I am somewhat disappointed by the lack of new environments but find some of the new tricks BioWare employs within them interesting. I am glad they are coming in Game Update 1.6 and will look forward to playing them when it goes live. Like many, I will begin hoarding my commendations for the new Grade 7 tier of ship parts in hopes of besting the missions when released. When we have more on the Kabal Station Defense mission, we will update our impressions here.