BioWare has announced that they will be releasing a brand-new, greatly-enhanced forum platform on September 29th. What’s new and how will that help you – let’s find out.
New Forums will have a Phased Rollout
The forums will be updated in two distinct phases. The first phase will be focused on introducing new functionality, like being able to format posts easier (I assume they’re referring to rich text), incorporate images, and actually follow topics.
The second phase will focus on improving the aesthetics of the forums with things such as appearance, like buttons, badges, dev awards, and a personal karma/score.
Phase 1 seems to be what’s coming on September 29th with phase 2 happening sometime after.
There will also be 3 days where SWTOR’s forums will go into read-only mode starting on September 26th at 10 AM CT / 3 PM UTC so that BioWare can import all of the existing content on the forums over to the new platform.
What New Features will be available
The new platform will have a bunch of modern features, though if you are F2P, you will still only be able to read the forums, not write.
Personalized Feeds and Tagging
BioWare is calling this feature Streams, but basically, you’ll have the ability to follow specific accounts and tags (examples: #gameinfo, #devupdate, or #update7.1.1) and everything you’re following will show up in this feed.
The website will finally be brought into this decade with a view that also works well on mobile instead of only working properly on desktop as it does now.
Announcement Banners and Alert Pop-ups
There will be two new ways BioWare will be able to emphasize certain pertinent information: announcement banners and alert pop-ups.
Announcement banners will allow BioWare to convey major happenings that the whole playerbase would like to know about, such as when a new PTS phase is happening, or perhaps that patch notes have been released.
Alert pop-ups will get in your face to tell you that something time-sensitive is happening soon, like that a dev stream is about to go live, and you’ll have to dismiss them to keep interacting with the forum as you were, kind of like some phone notifications.
Game Events Calendar
Well finally have an official game events calendar! I expect it will include things like the conquest schedule, the monthly game events, and possibly other cycles like the endgame weekly mission rotation we had at the beginning of 7.0. This feature won’t be ready in time for the September 29th release, and they’re expecting it to arrive sometime in October or November.
What the SWTOR Forums Redesign means for you
We still haven’t seen any pictures of BioWare’s new forum platform, but this has the potential to make them a lot more active. I’m sure that there are a lot of players out there that don’t interact on the forums right now because everything is so outdated.
I doubt BioWare would release 7.1.1 at the same time and given that the launcher update is happening this week, I wouldn’t expect 7.1.1 to come any sooner than Tuesday, October 4th or maybe even the following week, October 11th.
I bet that BioWare going over Galactic Seasons 3 will be their first major post on the new forums system.
SWTOR Update 7.1.1 will introduce a lot of combat style balance changes. Everything about 7.1.1’s release date is still speculation, BioWare hasn’t announced anything concrete yet.
It is a shame that we’ve had to wait so long for updates this year, especially considering the number of issues we’ve experienced with this expansion, but I have hope that the game will gradually get better as the modernizations are refined and associated bugs get squashed.
You can read the full forum post announcement here.