SWTOR Knights of the Fallen Empire: Power To You?

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SWTOR Knights of the Fallen Empire (KotFE) - Power to You?So here we are, only a matter of days before subscribers to SWTOR get early access to Knigts of the Fallen Empire expansion. (Because it’s a long title, I’ll call it KotFE from now on!).

If you browse Twitter you’ll see a myriad reactions to the new expansion. Some people are despairing over Heroics, Flashpoints and Ops becoming harder. Some people play SWTOR for reasons other than story – e.g. progression, gear, Galactic Starfighter, Warzones – whatever. Because SWTOR offers so much they have drawn in a wide variety of players. Have they now alienated a previously-committed group of core gamers?

A Focus on Story & Choice

BioWare have been clear that they want to emphasise choice in KotFE. So far the choices we have made don’t make many far-reaching impacts. So you can be Jedi Knight, enter into a relationship and go the dark side, but the Jedi Council never seem to clock onto it. My Sith Healer is Lightside and instead of saying ‘you cannot be a dark councillor’, you’re just given the title Darth Imperious. You can get married but if you use another companion and flirt with an NPC, your mate doesn’t know.

So although you can choose relationships, Light/Dark Side, gear, weapons etc – there’s no repercussion to live with. If you live in the real world we know that actions come with consequences – sometimes for the rest of our lives.

And so in KotFE, I personally am looking forward to exploring what freedom you can have in choices and the different outcomes that brings. Here’s the BioWare video intro about them being more story- and choice-driven:

Having had a Level 60 Jedi Consular for a while, I miss having some sort of story. Sure there are plenty of changes coming soon, including the dreaded SWTOR Level Sync ‘feature’. But without story, Cor-Jhan Arcturus felt a bit ‘lost’ – meaning my time playing him was aimless. If we have nothing to aim for, then aimlessness could soon turn into boredom – and if SWTOR have bored players, they will categorically leave.

So promising to bring out story chapters ‘continually’, we can develop our characters in even more depth, allow us to connect more with them, and have something new to play. As someone who only plays on evenings and weekends (and not all of those either), even the first 9 chapters will keep me busy for a while, given I have 13 characters to work on!

What About Experienced Players?

Many have complained about not having any new Operations – which is a fair criticism. But I think the actually likely situation is that there are no new operations yet. Even tweets like this one, referencing doing an option for the “last time” kind of nod in this direction:

If KotFE does not yield new planets I would be surprised. And with new planets comes new potential for Flashpoints and Operations. And of course, Operations could be held on other starships or space ports. The Galaxy has enough space!

I’m not an Operations kind of player as I find group situations stressful. But seasoned players are going to need more incentives than just XP, Story and Crafting Changes to keep them happy. They need a reason to keep coming back, rather than just flocking to Star Wars Battlefront once it’s out of Beta.

Personal and Group Focussed

My last observation is that the official lines coming out of BioWare about KotFE is that it is your own personal star wars experience. For an MMO it is a brave move to focus on the individual. At the same time with some of the other Core World Changes, they want to focus on the multi-player experience.

BioWare are going to have a challenge keeping both Personal and Group aspects in continual development. If they don’t, they could lose more core gamers, which would not be good for a game I love playing.

What are your thoughts on this week’s launch of KotFE? Is Knights of the Fallen Empire power to you, or a gaming experience taken from you?

I’d love to hear them in the comments!


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5 thoughts on “SWTOR Knights of the Fallen Empire: Power To You?

  1. Two things Musco told us at the GC cantina that might be of interest:
    > Ops (and warzones) are not forgotten; they just want to focus on the story now (the game has been reworked a significant amount for 4.0 after all) and streamline everything else so they can implement new stuff easier later on.
    > Ops players make for the tiniest fraction of the whole playerbase

    Keeping in mind that both SWTOR and SW Battlefront draw from the same IP and will therefore have an overlap in their playerbase, it makes sense to emphazise multiplayer in one game and story in the other (rather than willfully splitting the players even more).

    I for one am happy with how things are going (not *entirely* but it’s no tragedy; true to the motto in dubio pro reo – KOTFE isn’t out yet, after all) and look forward to both leading my characters through Zakuul *and* getting squashed unter the foot of an AT-AT.

    1. Interesting to hear that Ops people are the minority. From guild members chat you’d think it was the complete opposite. So thanks for the clarification on that.

      Also re: Battlefront, I wasn’t sure about overlap/synergie given Battlefront is EA and SWTOR is BioWare. Ideally they would want regulars playing both. I’m more of a Solo player anyway, but I think I’m unusual, especially as SWTOR is supposed to be an MMO ๐Ÿ˜€

      1. EA is the publisher of both SW Battlefront (developed by DICE) and SWTOR (developed by BioWare). Disney owns the IP, as we all know. That means that those same people are interested in making the most profits out of both games. Of course they’d want players to invest time (and money) in both, but that works better if the two games complement each other rather than make, say, ops players decide whether they want to focus on new operations or on the multiplayer missions in Battlefront. But I agree that having a solo-story focus in an MMO feels strange^^

        1. Thanks for clearing that up Ethuiliel! I didn’t realise EA published both. I do now ๐Ÿ™‚

          Yeah they will want to cross-pollinate across both games, rather than see an exodus. But if ‘hard core’ Ops gamers do choose to change, then EA don’t lose out and SWTOR player base shouldn’t be dented too much.

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