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.