To many Star Wars: The Old Republic players, the details on patch 1.2 came as a breath of fresh air in an endgame that seems to already be getting a bit stagnant. In case you didn’t catch the update, here’s a link to BioWare’s video announcement. 1.2 promises a lot of cool additions and features we’ve been waiting a while for. New content across the board, some majorly-needed UI adjustments, some class balance adjustments, new gear, guild banks, PvP adjustments, crafting additions, and finally, a complete legacy system.
The legacy system is something that created a lot of varied fan feedback from early on. Most players loved the idea of a surname, but many didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of a family tree imposed upon all of their characters on a given server. Most of us decided that the idea of rewards for such a system created a sense of uniqueness among players and would give the game a fun spin. It was a disappointment when the rewards didn’t make it into TOR’s launch, but now we’re able to take a look at them and figure out just how they stack up to our expectations.
There are a couple of different legacy rewards. First of all, we have the legacy race unlocks. Players who have leveled a certain race to level 50 will be able to make new characters of any class of that race. A player could, for example, make a Chiss Smuggler, Mirialan Bounty Hunter, or Pureblood Sith Jedi Knight, but only if they have leveled a corresponding Chiss, Mirialan, or Pureblood Sith to 50. Players are also able to purchase these unlocks with a substantial amount of credits, which makes the whole feature a little more accessible.
This is an interesting addition. Many players are pleased with the ability to level any race and class combination of their choosing. Some are unsure about what this means in regards to Star Wars lore, but it’s important to remember that Star Wars lore in itself is far and wide-encompassing. Thanks to how easy it is to travel within the galaxy, it seems logical that a Sith Pureblood might be able to sneak off-world and learn the smuggling trade undercover.
Now, the big debate comes in when comparing this addition to what happened during World of Warcraft’s Blood Elf racial addition. What happens in an MMO when new races are added? They’re suddenly everywhere. People love playing with new toys. It’s a simple fact. In the Star Wars universe, it may seem logical that one Sith Pureblood sneaks off to become a Smuggler, but what about when 200 Sith Pureblood suddenly appear in Tython and all over the Republic Fleet? Doesn’t a bit of authentic Star Wars immersion then disappear?
That’s a hard question to answer. I honestly think it does, although it’s hard to say for sure until we actually see what kind of effect this has on the general population. Not everyone is going to have a Sith Pureblood leveled by that time, and not everyone is going to be interested in making characters that seem pretty rare in lore. It’s a shame that BioWare spent all this time making races inclusive then suddenly opened them all to everyone under the right circumstances. I would rather see new races added altogether. I can’t help but feel like it’s a lazy move.
Then we have the newly-revealed legacy abilities. Players will be able to link certain characters together based on their relations in their family tree, and when certain characters are closely related, they will be able to “share” certain abilities. A daughter of a Sith Inquisitor, for example, will be able to chuck lightning at enemies, in a limited state, even if that daughter is a Republic Trooper. The limitations will be related to spell strength and cooldown, and these spells will be disabled during PvP combat.
This addition is quite interesting, and honestly, not exactly what I expected. A lot of folks are surprised by this one, just because of how ridiculous it seems upon first glance. Here our characters already have a considerable amount of spell bloat, and a Trooper is suddenly able to shoot lightning? A Smuggler, as pictured above, is able to use Force Choke, which is the iconic Sith Warrior move.
Here’s my problem with this addition: it’s also lazy. Instead of coming up with a new set of abilities, gear, or some cool ways to socially interact, they decided to toss over abilities already in use to other characters with the hopes that players will think it’s super cool to chuck lightning on every character. It almost seems like a desperate attempt to get our attention.
I understand the supporting argument. If a parent of a child is Force sensitive, it does make sense that their child has some Force abilities. It doesn’t, however, mean it automatically makes sense that they cast a Force ability that is both rare among most sources of canon, and generally considered difficult to learn. And sure, Luke was able to use a blaster as well as a lightsaber. It doesn’t mean he was able to fire off something like Pulse Cannon.
Ensign Temple, an Imperial Agent companion, is Force sensitive, yet she is in Intelligence. She has one ability that can be considered derived from the Force. She can randomly fire off an energy ball, called Force Burst. She can’t chuck Force Lightning at enemies. She can’t Force Choke them.
I would have been happy with abilities similar to Temple’s. New versions of infused abilities that show a bit of creativity and give players some neat ideas to work into RP storylines would have been awesome. Tossing over iconic class abilities just because they look “cool” just doesn’t seem that creative.
Don’t get me wrong– I love the idea behind the system. I love the fact that RP players will able to come up with cool additions to their storylines and timelines based on this addition. It’s fun to customize, and players will enjoy being able to do so. The system itself seems enjoyable, and being able to come up with custom family histories is a cool option. The menu for the legacy family tree is shown above (click to make it larger).
The overall theme of the legacy system is indeed customization. One of the major themes of the entire game is customization. A player’s ability to become a writer of their character stories and not just a mere bystander is an underlying theme in The Old Republic. It’s a great path for BioWare to progress down. Now if only they did so with a little more creativity, and a little less copying and pasting, everyone, I think, would be happy.