Those Galactic Command Changes

Another friggin' Galactic Command post!

As mentioned in yesterday's post, BioWare were due to announce upcoming changes to Galactic Command in 5.1 in the evening stream.

The stream has of course come and gone, so what are the changes like?

In a nutshell: eerily similar to past proceedings.

Basically, how things will work is this:
  • Operations Bosses will once again drop Unassembled Gear Pieces
  • Unassembled Gear will scale with Ops difficulty; Story Mode drops Tier I, Veteran Mode drops Tier II, and Master Mode will drop Tier III
  • PvP - not including StarFighter - will grant a new 'currency' type called Unassembled Components, which can then be used to 'buy' a Tier I Unassembled Token of any variety, the turn-in for which is required to upgrade to Tier II and so on and so forth for Tier III
  • Combining either item with new (Bind-on-Legacy) Command Tokens - which will be guaranteed drops from each Command Pack - will enable you to purchase the gear from vendors
It's interesting to see them do almost a complete heel-turn on this. Outside of the little details, this is exactly how things used to work, and in many ways it's wonderful to see them realise that their darling system was flawed.

So, that's the facts. What are my interpretations of the above?

Firstly, this does not mean that Galactic Command is becoming worthless. You'd still need to get the Ranks to acquire the Command Tokens (that they are guaranteed drops is wonderful), so it's not as if you could go into an Operation, pick up an Unassembled Gear Piece, and hey presto, there's your gear anymore. The grind will still be present, it's just going to be largely insignificant compared to what it is now.

Secondly, Command Tokens are not only guaranteed drops in the future, but they're going to be rewarded retroactively as well. For some players this might not mean a lot depending on how much each piece costs Token-wise. For others, however, this will mean that they could be relatively 'wealthy' and able to make the most out of their winnings in Operations. The good news is that 5.1 isn't out until the 24th of January, so this is plenty of time for even relatively prolific players to get to Tier II, if not at least a quarter-of-the-way through. 

Thirdly, this change is especially fantastic because (theoretically, more details in a moment) once again we can now gear returning and new players relatively easily. Sure, there's no Highlighted Mode, but Rating 236 gear is designed for Master Mode, so gearing them up through Hard Modes isn't exactly going to be a waste of time.

As an addendum to the previous point, this will only go so far. BioWare's apparent hard-on for RNG has ensured that it will still be in existence; only the last boss has a guaranteed set piece drop, and we don't know which bosses drop what yet, if indeed this piece itself is 'set', which it may not be. Every other boss only has a chance to drop a completely random difficulty-relevant Unassembled piece. It's like NiM in the early 4.0 days all over again but even more annoying since this affects all difficulty modes.

So close and yet still so far, BioWare, but at least you've tried! 

Funnily enough, this particular aspect is particularly out-of-place considering that people who raid and do PvP (I predict we'll see an even bigger influx of these players based on this) will essentially be able to completely negate this RNG by steadily earning the specific pieces themselves. Sure, it's slower, but at the end of the day these players should eventually be able to pick-and-choose what they need rather than rely purely on RNG.

At the same time, maybe this is yet another attempt to convince people to be more involved with the wider game; certainly, if it wasn't planned, it's going to have this effect anyway because, as has been proved spectacularly by certain individuals since 5.0, players enjoy finding as many ways around the grind as possible.

Finally, Command Tokens have an as-of-yet unspecific 'extra' bonus to ensure that players who neither raid nor do PvP will be able to use them for something 'cool'. We don't yet know what these extra items will be, but it's safe to bet that they're probably going to be cosmetics such as an armour look, pets, and Decorations. Regardless, compared to being able to buy actual gear with them the purpose of these for true 'Casuals' is wholly insignificant compared to their full potential. 


As I say, it's absolutely fascinating to see them pull a complete heel-turn on this, and so quickly to boot. Based on the feedback it was getting since launch, one can see that it was basically inevitable, which again raises the question of why they thought it was a good idea in the first place

Ultimately, what this goes to show even further is that BioWare are still trying to figure out 'their' own things to include in this game, which is admirable, but in this case it has severely backfired.

This all said, I am looking forward to this change being implemented. Whether it will truly serve as more than a simple bandage in-practice remains to be seen, but at-present the potential for the system to be 'rescued' is there, but the damage has of course already been done. It's certainly a change for the better in many a Raider and PvPers' eye, but for the Solo player whose time had seemingly finally come, this change could be painful to endure.

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