Sunday, October 27, 2019

The Old Republic: Onslaught

This post contains some minor spoilers for The Old Republic: Onslaught.

Star Wars: The Old Republic launched its latest expansion last week, Onslaught. This expansion adds a new story, a level cap increase to 75, and some changes to gearing and some cleanup for the UI.

The story in Onslaught is a bit short, probably clocking in at about three hours each for each faction. TOR has gone back to the Empire versus Republic stories, with the Sith Empire launching an attack on a new Correllian shipyard, and various machinations around that. It's very good though, and in many ways is a welcome return to form after the Fallen Empire/Eternal Throne style.

I will say that the loyalist Imperial story is perfect for an Imperial Agent, and I greatly enjoyed it. There are lots of good callbacks to the older story, along with newer NPCs.

There is one weird or interesting thing about Onslaught, which feels different from previous versions. Before, you had:
  • Original - 8 class stories in a shared timeline.
  • Makeb - 2 faction stories in a shared timeline.
  • Revan, Fallen Empire, Eternal Throne - 1 story in a shared timeline.
Now, in Onslaught we have 2 faction stories, but the timeline is not really shared. It's like many similar timelines, but things are unfolding differently in each timeline.

For example, let's take Darth Vowrawn. At the end of Onslaught, he can be:
  1. Dead
  2. A member of the Dark Council
  3. The Sith Emperor
This is a huge variation in outcomes and story going forward!

And Bioware is doing this for a lot of different elements. I wrote a post once about Story Choices That Constrain the Future. In Onslaught, that doesn't seem to hold anymore, and Bioware is actively committing to making many similar versions of the story, with differences to account for your choices.

It will be really interesting to see how Bioware attempts to deal with this design, and whether they can maintain it going forward. Or if they work towards collapsing some of these timelines back into a single one. For example, they could have another Sith kill Vowrawn and Acina (whichever are still alive), and become the new Emperor, cleaning up those timelines. Which would be kind of sad, as I really like Empress Acina. But she's already dead in some timelines.

In any case, Onslaught is a worthy addition to The Old Republic, and very enjoyable. Hopefully Bioware will be able to produce content faster than they have in the past, and the story continues.

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