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I had planned to write about the thing that tends to make or (more often) break opinion about Smugglers and Agents: the cover mechanic. However, it was starting to grow into something much bigger than what I could handle in a week. Rest assured, I will talk about Cover soon, but it’s going to need a lot more time and research than I can give it in a week. Luckily, the good people at Bioware have dropped patch 1.2 onto the public test server, and as you may have already noticed, it is MASSIVE.
Here at TOROZ, we’ve got a full listing of the entire 1.2 patch notes, broken down by category. You can find the major highlights as well as links to each category over here.
At first glance it can be overwhelming, so I’m going to try to sift out the parts relevant to us Smugglers and Agents, to make it a bit more manageable and easier to understand. It’s also good to remember that the patch notes posted for 1.2 are not final, and that the patch itself is still several weeks away from hitting live servers. There is every likelihood that some changes listed will not make it into the final draft, especially if issues crop up during the testing phase.
In order to better understand how this update will impact upon Smugglers and Agents, I’ve set up a few characters on the test server, and started to play around with some of the new features. Due to the sheer volume of updates for these two classes, I’m going to start off by looking at some of the more general changes that 1.2 offers. In the next few weeks, I’ll start to go into a bit more depth about ability changes and the extensive skill tree reshuffles and rebalancing.
First things first: character creation. Due to the upgrade to the Legacy system, 5 extra races can be unlocked for both Smugglers and Imperial Agents. In order to unlock these extra races, you must have a level 50 character of that race on the same server (and hence part of the same Legacy).
We all want to make Sith of everything, I know. However, I am kind of fascinated by the idea of a Chiss Smuggler, and the Zabrak should be able to be awesome at everything. Also, a gun-toting Miraluka? You can’t tell me that isn’t utterly badass! Roleplay-wise, I’m sure some great stories can come out of these new options.
In addition, this update might serve to explain the rumours of Legacy-enabled use of Force abilities for non-force classes – I would expect naturally force-sensitive races like the Miraluka and Sith to be able to use them, even if their lives have taken them down the path of the blaster rather than the blade.
Armourmechs will now be able to learn schematics to make Aim/Cunning/Shield and Absorb augments.
The Cunning and Shield ones will be particularly useful for us as Smugglers and Agents.
Armstechs will be able to learn schematics for Endurance, Surge, Critical, Accuracy, and Power Augments.
Here, Endurance and Critical augments will be of most use.
Synthweavers will now learn schematics allowing the creation of Strength, Willpower, Defence, Alacrity, and Presence Augments.
And here, the Defense, Alacrity and Presence are probably best, though I don’t really recommend Synthweaving if you want to make things for yourself. Armormech and Armstech are much more useful to us.
In addition to the new schematics, the above three crew skills will also allow reverse engineering of the Augments to give Prototype and Artefact quality schematics (presumably these are Augment schematics, though it is not stated in the patch notes). As a result of Augments moving to the crafting skills, they have been removed from Slicing as mission rewards. Instead, Slicing missions can now reward tech parts that are needed by the new Augment schematics.
Companions & NPCs
Other than cosmetic changes to some of the Companion codex entries, and fixing a few companion quests that weren’t working properly, the only really important change for us is that Kaliyo’s storm ability has gone from a range of 5-20m, up to 5-30m. (Which isn’t huge, but it is a boost and not a nerf, so hurrah!)
One change that I’m particularly excited about, which I actually haven’t seen listed in the 1.2 patch notes at all, concerns the Smuggler companion Corso Riggs. If you’ve played Smuggler (or watched Zero Punctuation’s SWTOR review) you’ll know that Corso has an ability called Harpoon Shot, that pulls enemies right up close. It has to be the most counter-productive skill ever invented for a ranged class. Luckily, it was possible to switch it off, and since there was a patch that allowed abilities to remain switched off through logging, I haven’t given it another thought until now…
Illegal Jet Pack! Gone is the useless Harpoon Shot – now Corso flings himself at the enemy, and keeps them far away from you. Brilliant. Of course, it’d be better on a melee character, but if Corso is happy using a Blaster Rifle at close range to keep the enemies off me, then I’m a happy Smuggler indeed. Illegal Jet Pack is now pretty much the same skill as Kaliyo’s Storm, and is probably also why Storm gets a range increase in 1.2, as well.
Also note the much more streamlined look to the Abilities window – no more cluttering of tabs across the bottom. Unfortunately, you can also see here how silly Corso looks. It seems Companions won’t be getting the rather cool “unify to chest colour theme” option that our own characters have. Hopefully this is something that will follow soon after 1.2, if it isn’t actually part of it at release.
Strong and Elite humanoid enemies no longer throw grenades at or use Headshot on targets in cover.
This should prevent some horrible wipes from a few enemies that other classes can beat much easier at the same level. I’m actually finding that I can fight much more level appropriate enemies on the test server than I could with the same-level character on live. Though, it could also be that I know what I’m doing now, more so than I did when I first started playing SWTOR.
That’s all for this week, so thanks for reading! Next week, I’ll start to tackle the new abilities and skill tree for Gunslingers and Snipers, and the week after it’ll be Scoundrels and Operatives. In the meantime, I’ll be levelling on the test server like mad to try and see as much of it as I can. As always, leave a comment if you have any questions or comments, or if there’s something in particular that you want me to discuss.