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SWTOR: E3, #FallenEmpire & More!

Well…  that was… uh…  short?

Heck the Plants Vs Zombies guys got more time.  Yeesh. I was expecting to have a chance to say more, but really almost all they did was cover was the exact same bullet points as they did in the press blurb and didn’t go into much more details.  Yes, Bioware storytelling where choice matters.  Yes, ally or betray with new and old companions.  Yes, brand new story focus.  Join now! Play now!

About the only thing NEW we got from this E3 presentation was a teaser trailer, a date – October 27th, 2015 – and the news that this expansion will be free to subscribers from the get go.  Which considering the attempt at trying to rebuild the often toted and mostly eroded ‘Fourth Pillar’… giving it away to your subscribers is a pretty good idea.

The trailer definitely sets up something epic coming.  An empire – not THE Empire mind you.  Two twin heirs growing in the force.  Their trials and battles and their attempt to overthrow their father.  It definitely feels like something big is coming.  What’s more interesting is how we will play into it.

Now, the ACTUAL info we want to know is over at THIS website.

  • Knights of the Fallen Empire is the first NINE CHAPTERS of a brand new story line involving a third faction emerging and attacking both the Sith Empire and Galactic Republic.
  • Your character will become the Outlander, a veteran of the Great Galactic War (levels 1-60).
  • Hand pick your companions from new and old to build a new crew to tackle this story.
  • Choice driven storyline where your actions and decisions actually matter.
  • Play one of eight class based stories.
  • New chapters added monthly starting in Early 2016 to Subscribers only.

There’s also a bunch of cool Subscriber rewards for joining earlier including:

– Nico Okarr companion (He’s that Smuggler from the Republic opening video, I think) – Subscribe by July 31st.

– Nico Okarr’s Blasters (Hey! Cool guns!) – Subscribe by August 31st.

– Nico Okarr’s duster jacket (Oh yessss…. gimme gimme gimme!) – Subscribe by September 30th.

– KOTOR inspired Swoop Bike mount – Subscribe by October 19th.

– And finally, if you are a subscriber for AAAAAALLL of those (and I assume uninterrupted), you’ll get 7 days of early access starting October 20th.

The website also dives into a bunch of the characters that will be featured including the twins, their father – the Immortal Emperor, and returning faces such as Lana Beniko and HK-55.  Some of the character descriptions seem to imply that we will choose who we can ally with as the Outlander.  Be it joining forces with the Emperor, or helping the Dark Prince overthrow the Eternal Empire perhaps? It also has concept art and the names of a bunch of the chapters already posted.  This is looking to be a HUGE expansion.  Almost like a relaunch of the game.  Except that the old stuff doesn’t appear to be going away.

Actually in that exact vein, it seems like its very much the intent that the old stuff doesn’t go away as it’s all that F2P and Preferred Players will have access to.  The FAQ states quite clearly that Subscribers get KotFE for free, but only subscribers will get it as well as the following 7+ chapters.  If you unsubscribe, you keep whatever you’ve gained access to – the first 9 chapters after 10/27 and one would assume whatever chapters you ‘unlocked’ by being subscribed.  This is backlogged to whatever has been released, so if you wait until all 16 chapters are out and then subscribe, you’ll get all 16 right there.  If you unsubscribe then, you’ll still have those 16 chapters unlocked to your account.

The wording is vague but it seems like the post 60 experience will be re-introducing the 8 class stories concept along with the dynamic your-choices-matter storytelling.  Thus building on the 1-50 is for free, 50-60 is purchasable and 60+ is unlocked for subscribers.  With all this focus on the ‘new’ story coming for Level 60+ players (Which makes an interesting note that NO WHERE does it say there will be a level cap increase.  Maybe they are very much focusing on making this a playable storyline and doing away with leveling for it? Would be kind of a radical move. But I’d back it.  Leveling is kind of archaic concept that often proves to be a barrier to narrative.  Heck, we’ve nearly completely chopped it out of my D&D game.  It’s an afterthought really. SEE UPDATE BELOW) I would not be surprised if the Cartel Market saw it’s own version of the ‘Jump to Level 60’ service/token/thing that so many other MMOs have added.

Overall, it definitely has my perked my interest.  I am definitely looking forward to this one.  What all this ‘dynamic’ story means for my Class Story Summaries? I dunno.  Worse comes to worse they’ll still be an excellent tool for the 1-50 experience.  I’ll try and keep up with the news here and give my take on it.  Meanwhile, Heavensward is also just around the corner and it’s time to take to the skies on my black chocobo once more (Hey, do you remember when Black Choco’s meant FLYING? Congrats. You are also old now. Welcome to the club, we meet on Thursday in Uldah.)

UPDATES:

  • Looks like Dulfy.net is reporting that yes, the level cap is being increased to 65 (Only 65 for 9 chapters?!) and you WILL be able to create a Level 60 character right out of the gate (meaning hopefully that no, it will not be a Cartel Market thing)
  • I’m also seeing notes flying around that the basic premise is that your character gets frozen in carbonite for an unspecified amount of time (considering the old companions are supposed to be around, it can’t be THAT long) and when you emerge the Empire, Republic, and Galaxy at large will have changed dramatically from when you were frozen.
  • Also Yes, the Class Stories are returning, and YES, new and old companions get new stories.

SWTOR Expansion 3 Revealed: Knights of the Fallen Empire

swtor-fallen-empire-teaser-image1 Electronic Arts announced today in its press release the name of the next Star Wars: The Old Republic expansion: The Knights of the Fallen Empire!

Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ – The largest story-driven expansion to date, Knights of the Fallen Empire, marks a renewed focus on cinematic storytelling in Star Wars: The Old Republic. The expansion will deliver on the hallmarks of what makes a great BioWare™ game: new worlds to explore, new companions to recruit, and a dynamic story that players will be able to shape based on the choices they make.

They’ve said there will be more news coming during their press conference on Monday, making it officially the first time I’ve ever wanted to watch EA’s E3 conference because honestly if they can deliver on what this small pitch is promising?  Oh I will be one major happy camper. I mean, consider this: new worlds – plural – to explore.  I mean, that one can go either way really because technically The Shadow of Revan had worlds plural.  It had Rishi and Yavin-4.  Even though together they were about the size of Korriban and Tython put together (heck, even the layout of Yavin-4 resembles Korriban a bit, with the raid being where the Sith Academy is, followed by tombs to the East and then wilderness on the far east.  Wait… you don’t think that was intentional with the heavy Sith influence on both… do you?) but hey, I will take two planets of a single biome each over one. The new companions to recruit also sounds promising.  Again, companions plural.  What does that mean?  Well, it could mean a couple of things.  The first is of course we can recruit multiple companions in the expansion to our crew.  The second is something like each class gets one new companion each leading to multiples,  or finally that there will be multiple possibilities for what companion will join your crew.  Like ‘choose one person from these two to live!  The survivor joins your crew’.  Honestly, the more exciting news is the possibility of Bioware Austin turning their gaze back to the companions.  The devs have posted multiple times that they’ve been hoping to get a chance to do things like expand on the companion stories, and this may be the opportunity to do so. Finally, and really let’s be honest – the big one – is “a dynamic story that players will be able to shape based on the choices they make.”  Now the key here isn’t the choices part.  We’ve had choices all along.  It’s just that most of our choices are the illusion of choice, or create a minor detour before hopping back on course (fight this mob, go to this one room and flip and switch, etc.)  The key thing in this phrase that actually excites me is the word ‘Dynamic’.  Dynamic is one of those things that screams ‘Fluid!’ ‘Multiple paths!’ ‘Different outcomes!’  and why the heck not.  After all, SWTOR has been very much been “single player” in terms of it’s storylines.  Not every bounty hunter is the canonical winner of the Great Hunt simultaneously, nor is every Consular the Barsenthor of the Jedi Order.  Your character is – in terms of the narrative at least – the only one.  So why do we all have to follow the same trail?  Dynamic stories is something I have wanted since the game launched. Well, that and scaling planets so you could do them out of order (Imagine accomplish all your act one objectives in the order YOU choose!) which honestly has sort of been implemented with the Rakghoul and Bounty Contract events. Honestly, this is exciting to me.  I am really looking forward to see what they have to say on Monday, and what news is to come about Knights of the Fallen Empire, which by the way is kind of a cool homage name to KOTOR.  I likey.

UPDATE: See my recap and take on the E3 Presentation and other assorted news coming out about Knights of the Fallen Empire here!

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