Star Wars: The Old Republic recently launched a new expansion which is called Onslaught. As the seventh expansion of Star Wars: The Old Republic, Onslaught has included new updates to the story, endgame and introduced two new playable areas and a new species.
Star Wars: The Old Republic first launched in 2011 and in the 8 years since it has had a lot of growing pains. When the game first launched, in the pre-Disney era of Star Wars, it had over 1.7 million players. SWTOR wanted to focus on BioWare’s unique brand of storytelling. It launched with over 1600 hours of storytelling and cut scenes and they’ve always tried to continue that brand even in less successful times.
SWTOR’s two previous expansions focused exclusively on story at the neglect of continuing MMORPG elements that are needed to keep an MMO player base playing past the conclusion of the story content. There was also criticism about the story because it did not focus on the struggle between The Sith Empire and The Galactic Republic like the original game focused on, but the biggest issue was the end game content which is needed to keep an MMO thriving.
In 2017, SWTOR went in a new direction when the last Lead Producer left the game to work on Anthem, which was also made by BioWare. The new producer wanted to focus on making SWTOR more of an MMORPG again. He has been doing that with small patches of gameplay improvements and new types of storytelling which focuses more on bringing back the galaxy spanning conflict of the Sith Empire vs Republic.
The Onslaught expansion launched on October 22nd of this year. Onslaught features new story, a new gearing system, a new level cap, a new playable race in the Nautolan, two new planets, a flashpoint and a new raid.
The new story starts on the planet of Onderon. Yes, the same Onderon that featured in The Clone Wars that Saw and Steela Gerrera were from. This story involves a new cold war brewing between the Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic. Throughout this story, you travel to a new mining colony on an asteroid and return to the planet of Corellia. There are class flavor dialogue that brings back a somewhat semblance of it being tailored to your class like the original SWTOR did so well. The story will take you a few hours to complete and during this story one should hit the new level cap and after that the process of getting new gear begins.
This new gearing system is setup in a way where you gain access to the next level tier of armor by increasing your character’s power level. This sounds complicated but it is far from a fairly simple gearing system once you get hands on with the game. For instance, if all your armor is level 10, you can’t get level 20 armor until you get armor between level 10 and 20. The armor upgrades are far easier to come by than in previous expansions and can drop in anything from story missions through PvP combat. The system overall allows a player to gear based on their pace, be that PvP, flashpoint runs or doing small solo daily missions.
BioWare also did many ‘Quality of Life’ improvements throughout the game, lowering some of the Free to Play restrictions, improving graphics and performance in some areas and greatly improved the inventory and crafting systems available in game. BioWare also recently removed most of the RNG based micro-transactions in favor of purchasing new outfits and other accessories outright. They also made it so community is more important to a user and that is essential to help an MMORPG grow. Guilds are more important than ever in exploring the new raids and quickly gearing in flashpoints.
Overall, Onslaught was probably the best expansion that the SWTOR team has done to date and puts the game in a great position moving forward. If BioWare continues in this direction, the game could be revitalized like it has not been since release – almost 8 years ago.
The force is calling you, will you answer and return?