BioWare posted an update to reflect on the community’s feedback and demands following the launch of Legacy of the Sith 7.0 expansion to SWTOR!

This was supposed to be a short news update reflecting briefly on the recent post from SWTOR’s community manager. I did go a bit overboard, though. It ended up being more analysis, thoughts and personal feelings than just a news report.

Community manager JackieKo took it to the forums to post an official update on what BioWare plans to do following the mostly negative reactions from the community to the new content and bugs introduced in SWTOR 7.0 Legacy of the Sith expansion.

On February 25th Jackie published a post attempting to reassure the community that the studio has been following the discussions, feedback and all the criticism and suggestions provided in the first week after the launch of the expansion.

“We’ve spent the week gathering your feedback, reading posts, and messages on various platforms. The team has been working on fixing bugs that are being reported as well as making adjustments to improve players’ experiences.”

SWTOR celebrated its tenth anniversary with a rather small expansion that was free to all subscribers. The negativity that stems from the fact that the new storyline is incredibly short, is strange to me. It was expected, knowing what we received in 6.0 and the two years following it. 2020 was bad, but 2021 was even worse in terms of content produced.

Perhaps the incredibly good CGI trailer raised our expectations? I know I was through the roof when I saw it. It didn’t change my expectations, though. I’ve been around long enough to know what to expect based on the official announcements and content released on PTS in the past few months.

BioWare overhyped this expansion by giving interviews to mass media and press left and right. They didn’t do that for Onslaught. The amount of hype they built promoting the tenth anniversary and the expansion, was unrealistic, compared to what they actually released.

The fact that the story was too short was easily dismissed by some players using the excuse that 2020 and 2021 saw the whole world going through tough times. And it was indeed tough. Not just on BioWare, but on all game developers everywhere.

Almost every other big title in 2020 and 2021 saw some delays. Examples? Cyberpunk 2077, New World, Elden Ring, Horizon Forbiden West. These are just the titles that I am following and am planning to play or am already playing. There are plenty more, I am sure. And we know that some of these giant and very expensive projects underdelivered as well.

Don’t get me wrong. We do deserve bigger and more frequent updates, but we also have to understand that “working from home” isn’t exactly ideal for the dev team and the slowed pace can be explained with that.

Have you seen the Credits after the end of Legacy of the Sith? Did you notice the number of people involved with the voice-over process (not just the cast for all languages, but the whole team involved in creating this narrative)? That’s certainly a big part of the budget.

BioWare started cutting off pieces from their voice-acting budget in recent years by using the KOTOR-style dialogues and alien languages.

I am thinking, the amount of story content we get in SWTOR 7.0 probably still requires substantial financial support. Much bigger than what other MMOs tend to spend on new content with generic quests and no or minimal voice-over.

EA obviously spends very little to promote SWTOR. It’s no wonder that whatever little money they receive for new content, is mostly spent on the story and little is left for new Flashpoints, Operations, Warzones, Arenas.

The more troubling and more logical complaint for 7.0 that nearly every player has with the expansion is not the short story.

The bigger issue that everyone lists upfront with the expansion is the fact that BioWare focused on long-term improvements instead of delivering new content that we can play now, right now. And they delivered parts of what they wanted and/or could do in time for the release.

We hear promises of how new content will be spread all through the whole 2022. After the troubled launch of 7.0 how many patches will they spend fixing the bugs and issues now before they focus on the next batch of content?

SWTOR 7.0 New Character Panel UI Preview from PTS Build from October 2021

Sidenote: This version of the new UI (image above) appeared briefly in one of the PTS updates in late 2021. It was later replaced by what we now have. I didn’t like this approach very much (rounded corners, bleh). But it’s far better than what we got with the release of 7.0. And that one up there was truly a “more modern UI”.

Both the introduction of Combat Styles and UI redesign were strange to all of us. Nobody asked for them, nobody expected them.

Actually, many went ecstatic after the first tease of Combat Styles. But that was because everyone imagined something different. Something people have been dreaming of doing in SWTOR for ages. Something impossible. BioWare made it sound and look as if they are about to achieve that impossible.

This up there was the very first image BioWare showed us when they revealed Combat Styles coming up as a new feature in SWTOR’s expansion, back in July 2021.

I love the idea of Combat Styles, but the way BioWare communicated this new feature to the community, was bad. They confused everyone with the first teases in the Summer of 2021, then kept explaining things in forum posts instead of just going with a live stream to demonstrate and explain as early as possible what they are doing to your origin classes and disciplines.

We tried to bring clarity and kept repeating as often as we could, but my site’s reach cannot compare with BioWare’s reach and still many people did not have a clear idea of what to expect.

The new UI is frustratingly bad. The bright color they use for the borders is a poor choice. Blue may be my favorite color, but this bright and obviously different than the rest of the UI blue color is completely out-of-place.

SWTOR 7.0 New Inventory Screen and Character Sheet UI

And they are fixing this mistake soon:

“As I’ve alluded to in a previous post from earlier today, we are finalizing details on when the next patch will be. This will include the UI contrast adjustment and other fixes. When we have that info, we will be communicating that to the wider playerbase including details of everything that will be deployed within that patch. More communication will be coming.”

For me, the best parts of SWTOR 7.0 are the new Legendary Implants and the Loadouts System. They too were not introduced properly and the new UI kind of makes them a bit confusing for some new players and returning veterans, but once you know how they work, it’s a pleasure to use them!

The many glitches and bugs we got in the new story, especially in the final boss fight in the Elom Flashpoint, are inexcusable. BioWare took two additional months to do things right. They sacrificed the tenth anniversary of the game.

This expansion was supposed to launch in December. They sacrificed that date, pushed it back two months, yet still delivered an unfinished product. The community provided valuable feedback during all of the PTS phases. It’s not like they surprised us with all of their decisions. They just either didn’t agree with some of the feedback or didn’t have time (or budget) to react to it for 7.0 (looking at you, bright blue inventory borders).

I find it strange that Jackie spent nearly half of her post writing this:

“Lastly, I understand that there are many topics to debate on the forums, but I am asking you all to please be civil with each other and toward members of the team. Attacking, harassing, and wishing harm against each other and against staff is not permitted. I and the moderation team try to find balance with allowing players to voice their concerns freely and enforcing the guidelines. We ask you to be respectful. Please contribute to the forums in a meaningful manner that promotes healthy conversation.”

I absolutely, thoroughly, 100% support what she said. Nobody should allow or tolerate aggression towards game developers or other players. Insults, harassment and attacks at the dev team should not even be discussed. At all.

Jackie's SWTOR 7.0 Launch follow-up post

The length of the text addressing the game’s 7.0 issues is not appropriate compared to the number of words in this last paragraph of her post. I firmly believe that the amount of constructive criticism and feedback absolutely outweighs the silly trolls. Jackie’s thread was titled “7.0 launch follow up”.

I do wish we get more news soon and updates on the upcoming immediate fixes and 7.1. We know how important 7.1 is for everyone, now that the Weapons as Outfits feature was delayed and not released with the expansion. Everybody now has to use a generic piece of weapon, because we can’t put on our expensive and/or hard-earned weapons that we want.

Now, in case you have not been following the dev team’s activity on the forums over this past week, you may get the wrong impression that they have been hiding under a rock. This is not the first message we get from them. Quite the opposite. All week long Jackie and the “CommunityTeam” forum account have been responding to reported issues, bugs, complaints and questions.

This is their first official announcement regarding their immediate and mid-to-long term plans after the expansion has launched. And it was too short and too vague. It’s a forum post, though. This, technically, doesn’t make it any more important than the rest of the forum posts from the previous days. It could be just that I see it differently.

There is one glaring difference. This message from Jackie addressed the community as a whole. It was a statement, not actually a response to someone’s comment. Jackie created a new forum thread to post this. In all previous messages, she and the team were responding to players’ feedback.

Let’s end on a more positive note. Because I am still a Star Wars fan and will still be playing SWTOR, even if nearly everyone I talk to is currently very angry and disappointed. Perhaps BioWare will keep their word and truly deliver more frequent and high quality new content in 2022. And beyond. Why not?

I like the idea that BioWare wants to improve the game. Starting with the UI is a good idea. The old UI is bulky, heavy and could use a refresh or a brand new design. Looking at the 7.0 “refresh” for the Character Sheet, I now lean towards a full redesign, heh.

I can’t honestly tell if they plan to ever release the game on consoles, but if they prune more abilities in their next big game update (8.0, I imagine something like that could happen, if ever), it will be a clear sign that they are making baby steps towards console adaptation. Steam got a great boost for the player base when the game was added to that platform.

Perhaps BioWare and EA see similar possibilities with launching on consoles? I personally don’t think this is their goal. I think they simply want to move with the waves and the way SWTOR was designed, is now an obsolete and outdated model. I love having four rows of abilities, but I have to admit that this no longer works in the MMO world.

I absolutely enjoy the Loadouts and if we had some more new and working content to play through with our different builds, that would be awesome.

What do you think? Are you excited about 7.1? We expect the PTS to be released soon! And with it – the now missing feature – Weapons as Outfits – should be available (by the way, it was there in the 7.0 PTS). We will also see the introduction of the new Operation and moddable EndGame gear.

New addition (because I delayed this publication and BioWare got enough time to deliver something important I want to include). Jackie posted new info about PTS coming up soon in a separate post that I will present before you in the next few paragraphs.

If you have SWTOR PTS, you may have noticed a new patch available for it. I didn’t, on Steam. The team is preparing to launch the next version of PTS with some of the 7.1 content.

“Some of you will have noticed that a PTS patch is available. Please note that PTS is not yet open. We will be opening the PTS up sometime next week so players can test out two bosses of the R-4 Anomaly Operation. Once PTS goes live, I will be editing this post to add more details about this phase, gives access to feedback threads, etc…”

Some of the hot(h?) fixes that we discussed earlier in this article may not be part of this new PTS. In it the devs want to focus our attention to the first two new bosses from the upcoming R-4 Anomaly Operation.

We are patiently sitting and waiting. I am truly hoping that BioWare will deliver in their promises for “drip-feeding” new content for this expansion throughout the whole 2022! And I don’t mean new items on the Anniversary vendor. That doesn’t count as content in my books. I am sure BioWare knows it.

Essential SWTOR 7.0 Guides to New Game Features, Mechanics and Systems

This is a collection of new Guides dedicated to specific new ore redesigned/revamped gameplay features, new mechanics and game systems. If you are looking for information on what Combat Styles are, how Loadouts work, what are Legendary Items and how to get them, what Galactic Seasons are and EndGame Gearing advise, this is the place to check!

Author Lokzmir
Categories SWTOR News
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