19/05/2017

Would You Want To Go Back?

When I stopped playing World of Warcraft after more than five years of being a loyal subscriber, it wasn't because I had got tired of MMOs, raiding or living in a fantasy world. I was simply very unhappy with the overall direction in which Blizzard was taking the game. But I still felt fondly about what had been, and would have been quite happy to go back to the game it once was.

I was therefore quite pleased when I learned that there were private servers out there that emulated older versions of the game, and I had fun playing on a couple of them on and off over the course of the last two of years. While you can't literally turn back time and recreate everything about your first MMO experience, playing on those private servers certainly proved to me that I hadn't been blinded by rose-tinted glasses: I genuinely found WoW's old ways of levelling, doing dungeons and professions a lot more fun and wholesome than the newer iterations.

What does all of this have to do with SWTOR? The other day, I found myself reminded of a reddit thread from a couple of months ago that asked: "If you could roll back SWTOR to a previous version, which would you want?" I was actually really surprised to see that subject even come up, which is telling by itself - I've never actually had the urge to go backwards in SWTOR. No, I haven't been a fan of every single change ever made, but the package as a whole has remained enjoyable to me. Nonetheless, it's still an interesting thought experiment. If you could go back to a previous version, even just temporarily, which one would you choose?


I think going back to pre-4.0 would pretty much be a no-brainer because that was the patch that changed the game the most and reverting it would simply yield the biggest differences. While I like level sync, I do miss everyday combat being more challenging, hard heroics and people actually running Colicoid War Game (at level). I'd also like to see those NPCs and quests again that were removed in 4.0 - there weren't many of these, but there were some.

I think I would take it even further and go back to pre-3.0 though. Again, there were things about 3.0 that I liked, such as the new planets and the "epilogue" to each class story... but I could do without those forced personal phases separating me from my pet tank every step of the way while levelling, and there was something to be said for the old talent trees too. I could play a hybrid Scoundrel again!

Even as I'm saying that though, I'm sure there would be quality-of-life features that I'm not thinking of right now which were implemented in the more recent patches and which I would miss. And it would certainly suck to be nothing but a glorified punching bag in warzones again. There's never been a better time to PvP as a Commando than since 5.0.

What about you? Would you want to go back? And if so, to what time/expansion?

7 comments :

  1. I probably wouldn't choose to go back to a single specific patch, but rather take bits from the various states of the game and layer them altogether into a 'composite' game.

    1.0: Class 'flavour'. This one's a no-brainer; every Class with their own story and individual Companion lists. It made the game feel rightfully small and gave people proper investment to complete all eight stories, something which has taken a hit now every Class gets to meet the same Companions and the story is just so much bigger.

    2.0: Fast-paced and differing story updates. Whilst I'm not too fond of how the story is largely the same between both factions starting with CZ-198, 2.0 gave us multiple stories in quick succession. Some, like CZ-198 and Kuat Drive Yards, were Section X-level of simplicity but were contrasted with the 'evolving' style of Oricon and Forged Alliances. This seems to be happening again in 5.0 on a much lesser scale, but I'm pleased to see it again.

    3.0: Cheap and easily-accessible PvP gear. Literally nothing else; this sole change made PvP actually worth doing, since you no longer needed to grind hours on-end for useful gear. They do seem to be doing this in 5.2.2 with the Tier I gear with Command Tokens, but Tiers II - IV are still far too expensive via Unassembled Components.

    4.0: Companion changes and Level-Scaling. I'd mainly scrap the grindiness of Influence for Companions and keep everything else, while having every Operation and Flashpoint be at-level is fantastic, since it means that it's no longer a case of there only being one or two 'in' things to do (although this has of course since seen something of a return with Tyth).

    5.0: As strange as it may seem, I'd choose to keep aspects of Galactic Command, notably the initiative of the Legacy 'Commendations' in the form of Command Tokens. Once Tier I gear becomes purchasable these will be very useful for getting alts a quick and serviceable set of gear. I also like how it is encouraging certain activities, notably GSF, but of course I'd prefer it if this increase was under the specific activity's own merits (such as the incoming cheaper upgrades and such changes in 5.2.2).

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    1. Also, one thing I'd like back from pre-4.0 is for Class Companions to once more actually 'speak'.

      Since 4.0, only the main story ones (plus Shae, Nico, Ranos, and for some bizarre reason Choza Raabat) actually speak 'properly' - the rest have this disconnect between spoken line and body action and their mouths and heads never actually move.

      As a demonstrative example: stick a helmet on one of them, say, Aric Jorgan. Summon him and the helmet's vocal-effects kick in as normal, but speak to him at any other time and his voice is absolutely crystal-clear.

      I'm not sure what they did along the way of "updating" these Companions (it doesn't affect Companions during the vanilla story nor a reclaimed Companion), but it's certainly a rather annoying breakage.

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  2. If there was one thing that I wish SWTOR would revert, it's the extended final site in Tatooine's planetary story. Sure, the newer version is quicker, but the original version had that creepy feel to it that the new version can't hope to match.

    I guess that would mean no 4.0, but I found that on the whole I think 4.0 was better for the game as a whole. That's why I'd cherry pick a few changes that I wish the devs hadn't made rather than a complete wholesale change. That last thing is why I miss pre-Cataclsym WoW, because the reworking of the Old World left such a gigantic hole in WoW's story continuity that you'd have to go back to Wrath Era to find complete story continuity as you progressed through the levels. Plus, Blizzard's devs didn't rework all of the Old World's zones that well, so what ended up happening is that you get some half baked zones out there just like in the Old World, but with the dubious distinction of having time continuity problems with BC and Wrath.

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    1. I do miss that extended underground base too. Making your way through the levels definitely felt creepy like you said and gave you the impression that you were digging something up that had been hidden for a long time. Now that "the thing" is literally only an elevator ride away it almost seems silly that nobody else has come across it before you!

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    2. I felt unfulfilled when I did this post 4.0; one of my least favorite changes.

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  3. I would like to recapture a feeling, but I'm not sure rolling back to a particular point would achieve this. Haven't played in ages, and can't seem to find the motivation to do so. There was a time when I would play every day, but it has been weeks. Haven't even finished KotET yet.

    The excitement and wonder is gone, and I don't know how to get it back.

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  4. The QoL changes that came with 4.0 are just too good to bypass. I just want to see them de-emphasize grind and crank story content.

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