With the release of the Makeb expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic and the interview which seemingly spells out the abandonment of class-specific stories, my mind wandered to what I would like to see from future content. As I’ve got one character of each class (and a series of duplicates) I’m pretty familiar with the beginnings of all of the classes, though I haven’t yet finished but three stories. That’s due to hitting level cap, which the expansion fixed, so I’ll be spending a lot of quality time on Corellia in the near future.
My thought was this: wouldn’t it be lovely if Makeb were simply an interlude in class stories, a setting for the next stage of your PC’s involvement in galactic matters? I’m not thinking short-term, here. In fact, I’d be all for their adding a series of extra areas for existing planets over time, in part to mix the new level-55 folks with lower-level players and in part to keep people engaged with shorter faction stories that give them a reason to wander the galaxy.
What I’d really like, however, is for new Empire and Republic content to frame the context for Chapter Four’s beginning. While I realize that this would be an enormous undertaking, such additions along the way would keep players who came for the stories (particularly those who role play) involved in the game while the massive fourth chapter was produced.
Add in flashpoints, daily and weekly missions, space missions, heroics, datacrons, world bosses and other easily skipped or missed content and you’ve got enough to keep a player going for a good, long time if they aren’t glued to their screen forty hours a week. The interview also mentioned the possibility of additional companions being added in the future. Considering how limited your time to find out about the companions you already have, there’s another load of new sidelines to keep people occupied.
Even if it took them two years to bring a full Chapter Four to the SWTOR table, it would be worth it. Players who had exhausted the existing content and left would be far more likely to come back to the game to find out what happens. Class-specific stories would keep them around a lot longer running at least eight characters through instead of just two, one for Republic and one for Imperial. People who still play would have new reasons to keep doing so.
Best of all, the planets on which those stories take place would diverge further between the two factions the further into the story you played. It’s cool that Taris is all daylight when you play Republic and all night-time when you play Imperial but the landscape itself doesn’t change much. Imagine the possibilities of having a planet where your faction’s impact on the galaxy showed more clearly the farther into the story you went.
Naturally, that would cause issues on PvP servers where, by design, players of both factions wander into one another’s territory. If you instance a server’s factions from one another for immersion you destroy cross-faction conflict for those who like to battle other players. This could be fixed with zones of contention worked into the story line. People would simply have to be content with a planet where you couldn’t organize a group to sneak into the enemy’s bases.
That’s already the case on Taris, where you infiltrate the Republic base at the end of the Imperial quests and there’s nary a player to be seen. I don’t see this as being a major concern as long as there is still provision for people to duke it out in other areas.
Naturally, this would have to grow alongside new operations, flashpoints, and warzones. Did you notice my two-year window? My hopes for SWTOR may be pie-in-the-sky but they aren’t cloud castles. I may not be a huge fan of BioWare’s technical staff but I have a lot of faith in their writers and I know they could find something suitably epic for our heroes to do, if they just put their minds to it. I’d love to see that happen.