Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Knights of the Fallen Empire: Early Access

Yesterday SWTOR launched early access for its latest expansion, Knights of the Fallen Empire. The launch was smooth, with no real server issues.

There was an amusing bug where all companions were not wearing pants when you logged in. The companion gearing system has changed, with gear being cosmetic only. Therefore companions no longer have non-visible gear slots. All extra gear was sent to your inventory or mail. Amusingly enough, companion pants were also sent to inventory unnecessarily.

The story is quite good. I'm in the middle right now, so we'll see how it ends. It's very much in the vein of Mass Effect 2, with a time skip and rebuilding your companion roster.

The graphics also seem to have bumped up a notch in the expansion, especially the major NPC models.

The big question I have is if this is really enough content. Each chapter is about one hour in length, and nine of them were released yesterday. So pretty much every one is going to blitz through them fairly quickly. Starting in the new year, Bioware is planning on releasing one chapter every month. Is one hour of story content each month enough to keep people playing?

On the other hand, it's more content than we got previously, and people kept playing. So who knows.

The other interesting element was that there is a minimal gear increase. Playing through the existing story up to Ziost gives you item level 190 gear, and HM raiding gave 198 gear. So far, KotFE has only been handing out 190 gear (mostly for people who choose the instant 60), and it looks like group content will start with 200 to 204 level gear. That's a very compressed gear curve, which is fairly unusual for an MMO.

So far so good. We'll see how the story finishes, and what endgame content looks like.


  1. How is KotFE different, in terms of content quality/size, if you were to compare it to the previous expansions? Makeb, Starfighter, or the recent Revan expansion. I'd be hardpressed to say that I spent 9 hours in Revan for a given character.

    Pantless. Could be a sales gimmick.

    1. In terms of quantity, it's probably slightly more than Makeb. Makeb had 2 stories, Imperial and Republic. It's definitely more than Revan.

      In terms of quality, it's a significant increase. It's much more "cinematic", and the storytelling is more complex and more involved.

      It's pretty clear that Bioware put a lot of resources into this expansion. But is it enough? Is this much story content enough to keep an MMO afloat? Remember that there are no new raids or instances, and it is pretty light on new repeatable content. There's only the new Star Fortress things, which I haven't tried yet.

  2. I knew about raids, didn't realize there were no Flashpoints either. What's the carrot then? Repeating old content for new gear?

    1. Well, they did rescale all the old flashpoints and operations to 65. There's also something which sends you back to old planets to do the heroic missions. There are the Star Fortresses, but I'm not sure exactly what they are.

      So I guess that's what they expect people who have completed the story to do.

    2. There's also a new endgame thing where you work on getting more companions and building up the strength of your alliance. I haven't had a chance to look into it properly though.