Now that Game Update 1.7 has been live for approximately one week, I thought it would be a good time to take a look back at the previous week to discuss the various things that we've seen come out. For me, it's been a busy week, especially with multiple alts, trying to keep everything on the up and up. So, for my opinion on the previous week's events, the patch in general, and to join me in the discussion, hit the jump.
I'd like to preface this article by reminding everyone reading that this is merely an opinion piece, nothing more and nothing less. Assuming you decide to take part in the discussion, please keep it civil. Given the nature of how varied opinions are on the PvP situation alone, it's easy to get drawn into a verbal mudslinging.
Reputation: Caring What Others Think
By now, many of you have begun what is going to possibly be a very long journey toward becoming a Legend with the various factions introduced in Game Update 1.7's "Galactic Reputation" system. Reputation is gained via items that are rewarded from quests, and as you well know, has a weekly cap. This is likely to prevent players from burning themselves out, which brings us to our first talking point.
One of the issues that players remain divided on is the weekly reputation cap. While some are fine with this cap, other players aren't so sure. Generally speaking, most players will hit the reputation cap at some point during the week, and as a result, they will end up accruing the reputation granting items in their inventory, and use them after the Gree event ends in two weeks. While it is likely that the Gree vendor will remain so that you can purchase rewards after the event has ended (much like the Rakghoul vendor), it is uncertain exactly what range of reputations we'll see players achieve once the event has moved on. It will be returning in the future, allowing players to further their reputation with the Gree Enclave once again, but many players feel cheated or teased by being allowed to see the new items, but possibly not being able to have access to them right out of the gate.
This is one of those issues where I can see both sides of the argument more or less. While I can understand that players are anxious to get their hands on the new items as fast as possible, if there weren't a cap on reputation, players would burn through the content and have nothing left to do when the event returns later in the year. Capping the reputation prevents this, and ensures that players will revisit the content in the future.
Personally, I'm an advocate of freedom when it comes to these kinds of choices. I really don't enjoy artificial ceilings, and if a player wants to burn through all the content in a week, then let them, in my opinion. Players who truly enjoy the game will often find things to do even beyond these kinds of limitations, and will return because the enjoy the game, not because they are forced to do so by a cap on their weekly activities. So, with regards to the weekly cap, I can understand why BioWare did this, but by no means does that indicated that I support it.
Compulsion and Gamers
As is often the driving force behind these kinds of grinds, many players feel compelled to complete reputation with the various factions, even if it offers no immediate benefit or reward that they desire. Many players are completionists, and are therefore driven beyond the normal desire to play, and instead seek to "have it all". For some it's pets; others prefer mounts; or some prefer filling their codex with lore entries. Whatever the flavor, people just love collecting things. The new reputation system likely serves as an outlet for many of these ambitions, giving them something to aim for.
I'm of the opinion that new reputation rewards and quests will be introduced in future content patches, along with the possibility of new quests, and many players will agree and feel the need to be ahead of the curve, so that they have ready access to this new content when it is released. With such a fledgling system, many changes can come in the near or distant future, it certainly has an exciting air of potential surrounding it.
Personally, I don't consider myself a completionist in that exact sense. I enjoy completing things in the game, and collecting things as well, but I don't feel the overwhelming compulsion that some people feel when it comes to doing the content. I have several 50s, and I've been doing most of the dailies on them as often as I can, but typically the moment that I stop enjoying the content, I just stop playing. Sure, I could buckle down and soldier through it, and I'd have a slight advantage towards the goal that others might not, but for me, that betrays the purpose of playing a video game in the first place. I play to enjoy; to escape. Mostly I play because it's an incredibly fun pass-time that you can enjoy with friends or alone, and it's in a setting that I greatly admire. If I felt that I had to force myself to do something too often, it would start to feel like an obligation and, as such, lost almost all of it's meaning to me. Which isn't to say that people who soldier through it for greater effect don't enjoy the game; that's just not my personal preference. Many folks enjoy the game for a large variety of reasons, so again, this is just my personal opinion.
Open World PvP - Fighting to Stay Sane
Assuming most of you are taking part in the Gree event on Ilum, I'm sure that you've seen a varied and "interesting" form of discussion in the General and PvP chat windows. With the return of open world PvP on Ilum, as well as the PvP being a free-for-all restricted to small groups, this opened the window for all sorts of carnage and chaos, as well as for some interesting subversion and avoidance of combat in general. Let's take a look.
Free For All Combat
Probably the most controversial thing from the folks I've spoken to, they were surprised that players from the same faction could target and attack one another in the PvP area, as long as they weren't grouped with one another. This kind of free for all combat is interesting, to say the least, and players are naturally divided on the issue. I was surprised that I had killed a fellow Imperial on day one. I'm not really accustomed to checking the credentials of the person I'm fighting, I just assume that red must, in fact, equal dead. Imagine my face when receiving a whisper from that player, and realizing that I'd slain one of my own. I'm not exactly the most affluent PvPer in the first place, but this was a complete shock to me, and made me feel kind of bad. Though, I suppose in the context, this kind of open warfare would make sense. I believe this was meant to encourage players grouping up and completing objectives together, rather than attempting to go "lone wolf", which is a very dangerous approach to the scenario in my opinion. Naturally, someone will come along to tell me about how they roam the frozen wastes alone as a holy terror, feared by players of both factions, and drenched in the blood of a thousand jawas. You are the exception, I assure you. Moving on.
Another interesting phenomenon has popped up as a result of this; players standing in line to accomplish tasks. This made a kind of appearance initially on Nar Shaddaa with the robot race quest. While that instance was simply so some kind of order could be established and allowed players to get in and out as quickly as possible, the situation on Ilum is a bit different. Largely, from what I've seen, the system is in place to avoid an endless cycle of griefing and objective camping. So what kind of effect does this have?
It obviously diminishes the intent of the developers, I think that much goes without saying. This is intended to be an objective controlled by fighting and bloodshed, not forming queues and waiting patiently. There are those who ask in general for an instance that has the "pylon under control", and this is an interesting way to go about it. I feel that personally, since this is a free for all PvP zone, that anything goes honestly. I can understand getting angry with someone who is bucking an apparently established system, and is generally raining on everyone's parade, but they're acting well within their rights. Largely, this is a self correcting system. If one player decides to act this way, and the largest portion of the group opposes that behavior, then they will be dealt with accordingly, and things will go back to normal. I'm fine with that kind of correction, but at the same time, I'll lobby for that players right to fight whomever they want. Again, as it is an open PvP area, anything goes. Which brings me to my next point, and probably the most contentious of all.
PvP Daily Quests
I've already covered this point briefly before, but I'd like to return to it and elaborate a bit. For those of you who aren't particularly familiar with the situation on Ilum, I'll illuminate. Offering a series of daily quests, a few of these quests are also labeled as PvP quests. These quests take place in the central area of Ilum's Western Ice Shelf, and upon entering the area you are flagged for PvP. As previously mentioned, this is a free-for-all combat zone, so anyone that is not in a party with you is able to attack you.
There is a vocal group of players who feel that because these quests are offered to them, they have the right to complete these quests without harassment from enemy players. Despite the labeling of the quest as PvP, as well as the announcement of becoming flagged for remaining in the quest area, some players feel this system is unfair.
The first point that I would make is the most obvious: Do not enter a PvP zone if you are not prepared to die. PvPers love fighting other players, and upon entering the area, you are nothing more than a target. You can disagree with this system, you can complain about it, but at the end of the day you were warned quite adequately, and despite this warning you still chose to enter the area. At that point, whatever happens after entering is on your shoulders. So, simply put, don't go in if you don't want to fight.
The second point that I would make is the optional nature of the quest. In a more general sense, all of the quests are optional, and offer rewards for players that choose to go out of their way and do them. There are a number of non-PvP quests to complete, and you can still easily reach the weekly reputation cap by doing these quests. I believe the PvP quests exist for a few reasons. They give PvPers a chance to do what they love to do, and to feel as though they can competitively control the environment or the outcome of someone's efforts on the planet; many players also find PvE combat boring, so this is a great outlet for them. I believe these quests, as well as the large zone in the middle, were introduced as a compromise for PvE players as well. Initially, the design for Ilum's revamped PvP could've gone a couple of different ways. The entire zone could've been under the threat of PvP, and things would be immensely more difficult to complete. The other design option would've simply been no PvP, which wouldn't have been nearly as fun, in my opinion.
But the fact remains that by limiting the PvP engagements to a single, isolated area within the larger zone, it gives PvPers an open and declared warzone where all bets are off, and ensures that PvE focused players still have somewhere to work on their reputation. This is a win-win system in my opinion, and simply because you're offered the quest doesn't mean that you must be allowed to do it in your preferred style of play.
Overall, I'm quite pleased with how the patch and the live event in general have shaped up. This one has gone off largely without a hitch, and I've thoroughly enjoyed the content that has been presented thus far. I'm excited to see what will happen with this event in the coming week, as well as what will happen to it in the future when it returns. More factions will likely be added to Galactic Reputation in the future, as well as more rewards for those factions already present within the game. Either way, I hope that you are all enjoying the content, and have managed to find a good groove within which to enjoy the game. Overall, what do you think? What is your favorite feature, as well as your least favorite feature? Please discuss this in the comments below, and thanks for reading.