2 Feb 2012

SWTOR Endgame: Fixed!

I’ve been talking with a couple of people about the state of endgame in Star Wars: The Old Republic and we pretty much all agree the same thing – it’s good when you can get into it. The lack of an LFD tool and low number of raiding guilds mean that a lot of players are left choosing between PvP or daily quests.

That isn’t such a great choice for me – my PvP skills are slightly worse than my ability to paint the Mona Lisa using tarmac, with my feet, and blindfolded. Daily quests have a tendency to get very old very quickly, leaving me looking at raiders like a kid with his face pressed up against the toy shop window, peering in at all the goodness without being able to take part.

So we had a think about what else we could do, and we think we have a solution that everyone will enjoy.

Hats. Not literally, but more a figurative sense, using the Team Fortress 2 style of fast-paced fun with distinct cosmetic rewards. As I’ve mentioned before, there hasn’t been a decent space combat dogfighting game since X-Wing Vs Tie Fighter game out all those years ago. It’s a completely untapped market at the moment, ripe and ready to exploit. Plus a ton of the art assets, game engine and design work has already been done.

Gameplay would be fast-paced, newcomer-friendly and with an emphasis on fun instead of showing off skill or trying to build an e-sport. Getting blown up would result in a quick respawn, with no huge wait times or penalties.  Players would be spending most of their time flying around and shooting things, not waiting for a countdown timer.

You could even have different gameplay modes such as defend/capture the space station, mine the asteroid belt, king of the quadrant and so on. Enough to keep things varied and allow for tactics to evolve, possibly including derelict ships and minefields to keep things interesting.

And the rewards? There’s cosmetic stuff such as customisations for your ship to make it stand out, or new internal features like a trophy cabinet or a mute switch for your ship droid. You could even have variations on weapons and armour, giving them a boost in one direction but a drawback in others. It takes a page from the Team Fortress 2 playbook of allowing players to earn fun items like hats, without getting into the PVP arms race that happens in so many MMOs.

So there you have it – turn a side-game diversion into a compelling endgame activity and grab an unpopulated segment of the market at the same time. It’s a win-win.

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