Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Rise of the Hutt Cartel

The Old Republic launched it's mini-expansion, Rise of the Hutt Cartel, last weekend. It includes a new storyline revolving around the Hutts and the planet Makeb. It has 5 new levels, and an assortment of new mechanics and quests.  By and large, I think it's a solid addition to the game.

Sadly, the class stories did not continue. There's only an Empire storyline and a Republic storyline, about 9 to 10 hours long. Though oddly enough, I found that the Empire story felt like an Agent story. Not sure if some of the dialogue was deliberately shaded towards that (since I was playing my Agent), or if the story was just more "Agenty" than the other classes.

One thing I do find funny is that, in earlier chapters, my character was the grunt carrying out the dangerous missions under orders from superiors. Now, my character is a power in the Empire and is in command of the operation. Yet she's still the one carrying out the dangerous missions.

There are some interesting changes to daily missions in this expac. In particular, the new planet has this "staged" mission concept. You have to do 3 Stage 1 Missions, which you can pick from a pool of about 7. The pool does include a couple group mission. Then you do an intermediate mission, and a pool of new Stage 2 missions open up. That's as far as I have gotten. The overall stage mission is a Weekly mission. It's a nice blend of repetition and dailies that you can pursue throughout the week.

There's also a couple new types of activities. One is macro-binoculars, which seem to be a bunch of puzzle missions. So far there's been some "hunt for pixels", some jumping puzzles, and a maneuvering through a laser maze puzzle. I find it a bit odd that the spiritual successor to the old point-and-click adventure games is occurring in MMOs like TOR and The Secret World.

The other new mission type is seeker droid missions, which is essentially TOR's version of archaeology. Very similar hot-cold mechanic as in WoW.

The only other thing to note is that the Marksman Sniper rotation changed significantly. It used to be a very strict "Enabler - Followthrow - Filler - Filler" rotation.

Now it's pretty much just alternating Enablers and Followthrough. However more abilities enable Followthrough, and there are interactions between the abilities. I rather like the change. It's simpler, with a couple less buttons, but does feel right.

Overall, Rise of the Hutt Cartel is a solid expansion and well worth the price. I wonder if Bioware could have gotten away with not raising the level cap. Personally, I wouldn't mind paying another $10 or so for the next chapter, another 10 hours of story content, in a few months. But I think raising the level cap yet again would be annoying. I wouldn't mind a story expac that just happened at 55.


  1. the story feels agenty because they very deliberately tried to personalize it, to compensate for the lack of individual class story. I first played it on my sith sorceress and I don't want to spoil SI conclusion for someone who may not have played it, but lets just say I got a distinctly different treatment from my operative :) majority of the options were identical, but there were just enough differences to make it feel sufficiently personal to make it more replayable.
    I do hope that whatever content they release next is going to involve no level cap. while seeing your character level again is kinda fun and I'm impressed that they kept lvl 50 content still somewhat relevant to max level players, it would be probably impossible to continue with 5 more levels.

  2. The writer who wrote the Makeb Imperial story was the same guy who wrote the Agent.

    As a preferred player, I don't find RotHC to be a good value proposition. It's basically what we get in a WoW content patch (a new raid with twice as many bosses as the SWTOR one, and a new zone, class balance changes) but EAWare feels they need to charge for it.

    I'll continue to level alts to 50, but I don't see myself buying this 'expansion'.

  3. Well, my perspective on value is that I would pay $60 for a 40-hour story game like Mass Effect. So to me, $10 for 10 hours of story content seems a decent bargain.

    The raid, dailies, and other activities are just a bonus on the top.

  4. Im having a blast so far with Rise of the Hutt Cartel. Pretty good expansion overall.