Monday, December 12, 2016

SWTOR's Command XP System

In their latest expansion, The Old Republic introduced a unified item reward system for endgame. Basically, all activities give some amount of "command" XP. Once you gain enough CXP, you gain a command level and get a lootbox. The lootbox has a random item in it. The quality of item you get depends on your current command level.

The community reaction to this is very negative. Personally, I don't think it's that bad a system. Its one great advantage is that you can do whatever activity you like, and you'll earn gear. You aren't "forced" to do raids or PvP.

But perhaps people like being able to "optimize" their gear hunt. To go after specific pieces in specific different activities. I complained once about grinding blue bars in WoW, specifically because you could not optimize your gameplay, and thus it was less interesting. In a way, this CXP system is very similar.

Or perhaps it's because the optimization is really obvious. Find the activity with the best ratio of CXP to time spent and spam it. Perhaps if Bioware made the CXP system artificially more complex, like having diminishing returns on activities, players would find it more "fun".

Another group of players complain because the system is entirely random. What if CXP had been a straight currency system, where you spend CXP at a vendor to purchase items? The grind is still there, but at least there is no random factor in obtaining loot. But then the random system gives you more gear because it expects you to end up wasting a large amount of it. A true purchase system would have very high prices to compensate.

Another possibility might be to "seed" the game with set tokens. Certain bosses or activities can reward specific set tokens, maybe with a cap on how many tokens you can earn in a week. So people can target those activities if they need that exact piece. The Command XP system would still exist, but would be more supplemental.

I don't know. I'm rather sympathetic to Bioware here. People always complain about "needing" to do activity X, which they dislike, to get gear. Bioware makes a decent system aimed squarely at letting you play whatever you want. And they end up with a huge community outcry.


  1. I'm curious: Have you actually been back to try this out for yourself? Personally at least I've found there to be a big difference between theoretically contemplating the benefits and drawbacks of RNG and actually playing and getting box after box after box (dozens!) whose entire contents I had to throw away because they were useless. It does get to you quite quickly.

  2. The negative reaction that I've seen about the system has less to do with crappy RNG, and far, far more to do with Bioware paywalling it.

  3. I hate the way they make a casual player have to subscribe or hit the massive amount of restrictions they enforce. I am more in favour of the way ESO handle things by letting people play for free but offering lots more bonus's for people that sub and that most of the online shop gear is mainly customisations/mounts/pets. . .stuff that is nice to have but not necessary to play the game.
    Apologise for going off topic but it's the main reason I don't play TOR any more.

  4. What are the actual complaints that people are voicing? I don't see that being addressed here.