BioWare opened up the Public Test Server for SWTOR early in January and introduced the proposed changes to the Amplifiers System and the Uprisings group content. PTS is currently not available for Steam players and may not be for this test session!
Please remember that anything you see and hear here is work-in-progress. Things may change for the live version of this game update.
What to expect from SWTOR Update 6.2.1
Late yesterday (Friday 8th) BioWare opened up the testing session for SWTOR’s first update in the new year 2021. Patch 6.2.1 will not contain continuation of the story as the big December 6.2 Update did.
The highlights of this first reveal and launch of PTS are the changes to the Amplifiers system and the improved loot from Uprisings in an attempt to make them more appealing and engaging for EndGame players.
The start of the year is usually not BioWaare’s favorite time to release major content, especially after they got into a habit of finishing the year strong. SWTOR 6.2 Echoes of Vengeance was not as big as 2018’s 5.10 Jedi Under Siege and certainly not anywhere as close to the 6.0 Onslaught expansion release. But it did deliver way more than any other patch in the whole 2020.
Early last year the devs announced the new patch labeling policy they are adopting. Every big update that contains new story will be labeled with 6.X and all incremental updates that introduce new features and other changes to in-game systems and mechanics will be labeled as 6.X.X.
Because of that we know not to expect anything story-related from 6.2.1.
There is no release date revealed yet for this first for 2021 patch, but I personally don’t think it will land in January. Early February seems like a good target date.
PTS cycles usually last two to three weeks. Often longer, of course, but 6.2.1 seems to not offer much from what we know so far, so there is no point in a long testing period.
I’m also a bit skeptical on the amount of people who would join PTS. I myself had to wait almost a day to get to it, because a few months ago I deleted my original SWTOR installation and left only the Steam version on, which I like better with the non-streaming client and less issues with installations and updates in general. Keep reading to learn why SWTOR PTS is not available currently on Steam.
Curious to learn what are he differences between SWTOR Launcher and SWTOR on Steam? I personally very rarely had troubles with patches and updates because of the streaming tech the original launcher uses. The biggest advantage to play the game on Steam are actually the SWTOR Steam Achievements, if you ask me.
Changes to Amplifiers in SWTOR 6.2.1
The Amplifiers system is one of the few that was not altered, updated or tweaked since its original launch with the Onslaught 6.0 expansion. It’s not because it never needed polish or tweaks.
It was meant to be complimentary and not mandatory for all EndGame players and probably that was the leading factor why it was left alone for so long.
Another reason could be… because it was a successful credits sink. BioWare develops these credit sink mechanisms from time to time and the Amplifiers system was one of the most successful ones, in my opinion.
In SWTOR 6.2.1 the amplifiers values and bonuses will remain unchanged. The changes are more of the cosmetic and quality of life type.
In the live game at the moment Amplifiers live in a separate window, which you can open by clicking on a button in the Character Window. The list of Potential Amplifiers shows them all in alphabetical order.
In 6.2.1 as soon as you open the Character Window, you will see the Amplifiers tab attached to it. Don’t forget to check out the featured video in this post. I know some of you miss my accent and voice :)))
The button from the Character tab is gone. The icon for re-rolling Amplifiers is new as well. I wonder who and why decided to change that little icon, but… well… it’s not important.
When you click to re-roll, another UI change greets you there.
Note the small button in the bottom left – this is a new feature allowing you to exchange more credits per recalibration for greater chance to get higher rarity amplifier. More on that further below.
Clicking on the “Potential Amplifiers” button will reveal what appears to be the biggest change BioWare has made so far – all Amplifiers are structured in categories:
By default all categories are expanded and you can see all of the tiers of each Amplifier. Here’s another important note! BioWare added a new tier of rarity: Standard. These are the white amplifiers. They are also the weakest, of course.
The rest of the tiers remain unchanged and are as follows: Premium (Green), Prototype (Blue), Artifact (Purple), and Legendary (Gold).
Another innovation is the availability to activate “Rarity Locking”. It improves your chance to get a high quality Amplifier at a higher price. On PTS at the moment the first prices showing for me are as follows (these may change for live):
- Regular price for Recalibration: 5 688 Credits
- Activated Rarity Locking: 45 497 Credits
Here is how SWTOR community coordinator Daniel Steed explained this feature on the forums:
We’re also introducing Rarity Locking as a way for players to exchange credits for greater chances at obtaining the Amplifiers they want. This feature is costly due to the improvements it grants, so it has been coupled with the Weekly Cost Reset to allow players to save credits by waiting for more re-rolls.
You will see increased pricing for each re-roll for up to one hundred re-rolls. That’s when you will reach the cap. Every Tuesday along with pretty much everything else in the game, this will also reset and you will be able to re-roll for Amplifiers again starting from the lowest price point.
Every re-roll of an amplifier increases the cost, up to 100 re-rolls. Each Tuesday, re-roll costs will be reset to their starting costs!
Don’t know what Amps are? I have a great guide for you to check out! Read more about What Amplifiers are and how they work in SWTOR.
BioWare’s attempt to bring life back into Uprisings
I loved the idea of the Uprisings when they were first announced. Shortly after the first batch of five was released, with 5.0, we all saw the ugly truth behind this group content.
Uprisings are poorly designed four-men group content exploiting already existing terrain and environment (often NPC assets too) to create situations for us, the players, to simply go fight a number of mobs and a few bosses among them and get out with some loot in our bags.
They were meant to be simple and casual. Shorter than a Flashpoint and harder than a Heroic. The perfect gap-closer.
The reality was different. Uprisings were poorly balanced for the intended audience they were supposed to entertain. Some were too easy and boring and others were ridiculously hard for the non-raiding community.
BioWare put little to no effort in bringing life into this type of content up until 6.0, when the whole EndGame Gearing System was completely changed and now any content is useful. Or… almost.
With 6.2.1 the developers are making another push to make this content more appealing to us, the players. How? Here’s what Daniel Steed mentioned in his forum post:
All Uprisings are now available at level 75 with a rebalance of the difficulty and time they take to complete. Along with those changes, loot drops have been increased in all Uprisings.
Literally nothing outside of the Uprisings’ instances is changed so far. The reward for doing them through the Activities Window is the same, the reward for each Uprising mission is the same. There are more drops inside, but that, in my opinion, is not going to be enough!
Fun fact! BioWare’s asking for feedback for the Uprisings changes, like they usually do with any change on PTS. What’s funny here? One of the questions they ask in the forums is literally “Do you feel if the Uprisings are content worth doing?”. Well, no. To me they still are not entertaining enough and do not provide good enough incentive to farm them.
No matter how many times I have ran the Flashpoints in the game over these nine+ years, I’d still prefer to do a FP run than an Uprising run.
If you have not done any Uprisings and want to try them, I have a detailed guide for each one of them! Check out the Uprings SWTOR Guides collection.
SWTOR 6.2.1 PTS is not available on Steam
BioWare announced that due to a technical difficulties and some internal functionality changes Steam players will not have access to PTS.
Community manager Eric Musco informed us via the forums that it is very likely that this testing session will end and the update will be up before the studio can bring the PTS to Steam. This means that if you want to see the changes for yourself and help the developers test things, you will need to install the stand-alone SWTOR Launcher.
To download the game outside of Steam, open up your account page in swtor.com and visit this link: https://account.swtor.com/user/account. From the “My Account” tab click on the “Download Now” gold button at the very top.
Once you download the launcher, start it up. You will have to download and install the whole game and then open up the launcher again and allow access to PTS.
If you need guidance on how to install and access SWTOR PTS, check out my guide.
Here is Musco’s message in full:
Currently, you will not be able to access 6.2.1 on PTS. We removed PTS functionality as part of our update to direct patching on Steam. We are working to get PTS available for you as soon as possible but in this case 6.2.1 was ready faster than our Steam functionality was. We didn’t want to hold up testing while we continue to work on it.
To set some expectations, it is possible that 6.2.1’s PTS cycle will complete before PTS is available for Steam. You can still access PTS though if you have access to the game outside of Steam. We know this isn’t ideal but as soon as we have any updates about timing we will let you know.
Thanks for understanding. We will make sure this information is updated in our PTS communications.
There will probably be more news about the upcoming SWTOR Update 6.2.1. I will keep you informed for sure. As soon as we have a release date, you will learn of that immediately as well.
In the meantime – how do you feel about the proposed cosmetic changes to Amplifiers? Were you hoping to hear more about an actual rebalancing and new amplifiers added? How about the Uprisings changes? How many Uprisings have you done in the past… say… 3 months?