Is it an MMO if there’s no grind?
Coming into any MMO where you need to clear older content before getting to the new stuff always brings a different perspective than everyone else who saw it before. And I don’t mean leveling an alt here. I’ve maxed enough characters in WoW to know head to toe every bit of content from Vanilla to BfA. It does not get better the 10th try, I can assure you.
But in SWTOR, I had never completed the Knights of the Fallen Empire content. I had started it and my hazy memory puts that somewhere near chapter 4 (of 16). In the original launch, the first 9 chapters were released in a go, allowing you to set up a new base. From 10 to 16, chapters were released every few months. You filled up that time with a new Alliance system (faction based quests) and a new solo mode. I can’t comment on any of that time sink system – I simply don’t need to do it to progress. What I get instead is pure storyline.
Spoilers expire after a few years… so the gist of it is that the big bag guy from the baseline game (Vitiate) has super mega powers and took over another part of the galaxy. From appearances, the leadership he had over there was deemed positive in the larger scale (yet oppressive in the immediate). He had 3 kids (twin boys and a girl) and showed little affection. Time goes by, one of the boys wants to strike his dad and ends up killing his brother. You eventually show up in time to see another fight and kill the emperor. Who then proceeds to haunt you while you’re stuck in carbonite for 5 years.
Let’s just say the setup is right up there with plausible Star Wars storylines ok?
As mentioned, chapters 1-9 are about you setting up a new base, finding new companions, and a footing around all the stuff going on. 10-16 are about strategic attacks, culminating with a rather interesting/epic boss fight. The neat part in all of this is that a large chunk of player companions (across all classes) show up in the story. Generally, it’s the more interesting of the bunch – Gault / Vette is one of my preferred combos.
There are a lot of cut-scenes and dialogue choices. They all have varying effects on the story. I never felt like I had to make a specific choice to keep the story going, I simply did what I thought was in character (Darkside Sorcerer). It’s impressive how you can be merciless, yet also a decent leader. There’s a couple major twists present that generally work. Characters make choices based on their personalities rather than plot points – which is a MAJOR frustration I have with the recent SW films, Last Jedi in particular. Scorpio in particular is a heck of a wrench in the light/dark conversation, and one that’s effectively adds a new faction to the game.
Mechanically the expansion is ok. There’s very little in terms of character power progression (which plagues most MMOs), but since that’s not the focus I don’t mind. There’s zero group content, making this a more social KOTOR3 than much else. I still find FF14’s group constructs the gold standard. I am 99% sure there were zero flashpoints (dungeons) added in KOTFE. That’s a topic for another post though…
Having completed the entirety of KOTFE in about a week and not having to wait for the next expansion (Knights of the Eternal Empire) gives an overall very positive view. The story is well presented and executed and a dramatic shift over what came prior. I never saw any grind or wait on content, which was great. The lack of group content is troubling given that MMOs are meant to be social.
For now, I would recommend that anyone who hasn’t tried SWTOR give it a shot. The main class quests (1-50) go fairly quickly, and still are quite relevant for half the classes. KOTFE just kicks it up a notch.
Now onto KOTET.
If I remember correctly, KOTFE introduced “Star Fortresses” which you could do solo or in a role-neutral group or even a duo. There were six or so of them, and they were pretty basic, but sort of covered the “flashpoint” part of things. There were no new operations (raids).
I believe that all Bioware’s data showed them that the vast majority of people played solo, and they leaned into that heavily with KOTFE. They ended up backing off that at the end of KOTET and in the latest content.
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Yeah, I think that’s one of those situations where the conclusion was only a portion of the data set. I certainly can see why solo content was seen as more popular than group work…in particular around how SWTOR treats group content. But if that same heatmap logic was applied to the end of WoW-WoD we wouldn’t have had any dungeons at all in Legion.
I look forward to how Onslaught tackles that issue, and when I get through it I’ll have a post on that specific topic.
Did you do any of the Alliance alerts? They are optional and were basically KOTFE’s side quests, but they each revolved around acquiring a companion character and at least some of them could be interesting to you, e.g. as an inquisitor the only way to get Talos and Xalek back is to do their respective Alliance alerts.
No I have not. Didnt even realize that was the end reward. On the bucket list!