It’s only been a few days since early access started, and it’s still a day until the full launch of SWTOR’s first expansion, Rise of the Hutt Cartel. Being the dedicated chap I am, I’ve already put in a solid block of hours to levelling my Jedi Sage from 50 to nearly 52 (yes, yes, I know I have a long way to go).
That amount of ROTHC gameplay has given me enough exposure to the content to feel I can make some considered judgements on it. Instead of going on too much about specific likes and dislikes (make sure you check out Simon’s mini-review here), I thought I’d target my thoughts to particular groups of people.
Also, I’ve thrown in information related to Game Update 2.0 Scum and Villainy as it’s all in the mix now. So here goes:
Brickbats and Bouquets In Less Than 200 Words
Bouquets: This expansion is worth the money for the level of extra content it provides, Makeb looks great as a planet and is well differentiated from current planets. The Hutt storyline is engaging as well. Love the improved achievement system.
Brickbats: Quite a few graphical glitches and I’ve had an ongoing issue with staying in combat. It seems related to all the low level droids around – if one’s in an area where you’ve killed a bunch of enemies, you stay in combat even if you kill that droid. Killing the droid before the last mob seems to help sometimes. Very frustrating – please get this fixed BioWare. I also dislike the on-planet transport not showing the full journey – there’s a fade to black and arrival to the destination. Some will love this but for me it takes away from immersion in the game and seems and obvious way to save development time.
ROTHC By Play Styles
As promised, here’s some thoughts on how appealing ROTHC is, based on individual play styles:
For everyone: It doesn’t matter what sort of player you are, this release is a sign of SWTOR’s growing maturity as a game. There’s something for everyone here – even with some frustrating issues that have taken some of the fun out of the new content for me (more on that below).
For the cynical ex-SWTOR player: There’s enough in this expansion to make it worthwhile for you to invest a few hours. The reasons each person departs a game are obviously individual so ROTHC may still not have addressed them for you. But if you were wanting more story content, more Flashpoints and Operations and some improvements in interface and usability, then that’s been delivered to a large extent.
For the Achievement Junkie: I well and truly fall into this category and there’s been some much needed updates to the achievement system. For starters there’s a lot more achievements to earn. Unfortunately a lot of them don’t reflect your playtime prior to the new system’s achievements – an example is in regard to companions where you earn achievements for the number of kills done with each companion: all started at zero on my Level 50 Sage. That said, it doesn’t take long to chalk up a bunch of kills so it’s not a deal-breaker.
For the casual / solo player: aside from the extra story and content, this expansion doesn’t deliver a lot extra for the more casual of us – although for me the achievement system adds to the solo appeal.
For the hardcore raider: For any raider it’s about progression and this expansion definitely offers that. Every new Operation and its challenges are very individual for each guild, so it’ll be a few weeks before we get any serious evaluation of either Terror From Beyond or Scum and Villainy.
For the PvP’er: This is a difficult one, particularly from an oceanic perspective. There’s certainly been changes with tiers and rankings and gear, but that’s about it. The imminent closure of local servers is not going to make many PvP players happy I wouldn’t think.
Given the challenges SWTOR has faced over the first nearly 18 months of its existence, there’s been a lot riding on this expansion. The move to F2p saved the game’s bacon for the short to medium term. Rise of the Hutt Cartel has achieved something more: proof of a game with a growing content that integrates well with the current game. If BioWare fix some of the more annoying glitches in the next few weeks, I’ll be one of hopefully many touting SWTOR’s new expansion as one worth exploring.
What’s your take on ROTHC so far?