Monday, August 18, 2014

SWTOR: Fall Calendar

A few days ago I rounded up all the dates, both announced and speculative, for the fall in World of Warcraft. I want to do the same for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Sadly, Bioware can be notoriously closed mouthed about upcoming events when it suits them, but that is their decision to make as developers. So again, I’ve assembled a combination of announced dates, dates projected by the developer, and random wild guesses.

August 19th.  We talked about this at length yesterday but Game Update 2.9 brings with it Player and Guild Housing, Manaan flashpoint, and some significant buffs to leveling in Makeb.  That gives players about 3 weeks to become familiar with the first two chapters of Forged Alliances

September 9th.  Game Update 2.10. This next update brings the third chapter in the Forged Alliances story.  The devs have repeatedly mentioned a continuation of the storyline on “the historic planet of Rakata Prime.”  There will also be a flashpoint associated with this planet as well. 

October 21th.  Now that leaves an obvious gap between September and December and I would expect at least a mid-October Game update 2.11, possibly with some narrative to lay the groundwork for this next expansion.  I might also look for some new PvP work at around this time.

December 2nd.  Game update 3.0   This date is completely fictitious, of course, since Bioware hasn’t announced anything officially, but they have repeatedly stated that they are preparing a “Rise-like” expansion to be released before the end of 2014.  By ‘Rise-like’ they mean a planetary expansion like the Rise of the Hutt Cartel, that will increase the level cap and will offer a new planetary story driven by narrative quests that will offer experience for leveling.  When Bioware finally releases this expansion it will be a big deal and will likely include many other game enhancements in addition to the level cap increase, but Bioware hasn’t released any details.

I don’t expect this expansion to directly compete with Warlords of Draenor in mid-November, but maybe a few weeks later to roughly coincide with the original SWTOR launch.  Galactic Starfighter also was released around this time.

December 16th.  We've just recently finished a Gree event (7/22 - 7/29) and a Rakghoul Event (8/5 - 8/12).  In the past we've had the Gree return in the later half of December, overlapping with the Life Day celebration.  I would expect to see a similar event around this time as well.

So that's as much as we know of the fall schedule for The Old Republic.   To me, this schedule looks less full than for a similar time period for Warcraft, but here's the odd thing:  I don't think there are actually more things to do in WoW, the difference is that Blizzard is willing to be much more open about their scheduled events than Bioware.  I'm sure that SWTOR will be packed with great stuff that just hasn't been confirmed on the calendar yet.  And if the players don't know, they can't be building anticipation for the impending event.  Often that means that stuff like the recent Rakghoul Resurgence was half over before many of the players even picked up on its presence.

This stuff shouldn't be buried in the patch notes.  The new reality is that players aren't playing a single game to the exclusion of all others, particularly with the transience of FtP players. The expectation that all the players are going to log in everyday to find out what's new, is unrealistic. Announced events and updates, like the one tomorrow, build enthusiasm.   That's what will bring players back to check out what's happening, and will motivate them to schedule game time, and turn them into long term players. 

Post eighteen in the Blaugust challenge to post once a day for the 31 days of August.

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