Complex Simplicity

As many people are aware by now, BioWare's goal with introducing Galactic Command as the main means of acquiring gear and utterly removing Commendations was to vastly simplify the 'endgame state'.

With the changes which have come to Galactic Command in 5.1 and those which are going to come in 5.1.1 and 5.1.2, it has become all too apparent that they are now doing the inverse and are taking the system to an even more complicated - not to mention tedious - level than ever before.


So, let's begin with a look at how Command was before these changes. Yes, I can see the argument that they made things substantially simpler. The significant downside is that they upset a lot of people because, what would you know it, people preferred the 'save-up-and-buy' gearing system which Commendations afforded, particularly in PvP, to pure RNG which is what the Command system unapologetically provided.

Now, with 5.1, we're very much in a 'hybrid state'. RNG is still the 'main' way of getting gear, but now we can trade in Unassembled Tokens for gear from Operations and purchase and upgrade gear through PvP once again. However, this in itself is far more complicated than it used to be:
  • For the Operations route, rather than just trading in the Token for a piece of gear, you need to have the correct amount of Command Tokens to do so. This isn't a significant problem for prolific players since they should have substantially more than are actually needed for a set from all three tiers, but for people who only log on every once in a while to do Operations (and nothing else) this may be ever-so-slightly problematic if they come away with all the pieces that nobody else needs. 
  • As an addedndum to the previous point, only one piece is guaranteed to drop, and it comes from the last boss. All the other bosses have a scaling chance (whilst BW posted a group of conditional numbers (20%, 25%, 30%, and 35%) they haven't come out and said if these have changed so it is safe to assume that these numbers still hold true) to drop a piece.
  • For the PvP route, rather than just trading in the shells for an upgrade, you need to trade in a shell alongside the Warzone Commendations Unassembled Components for an Unassembled Token and then purchase the piece as if you had won it in an Operation.
  • Beyond Tier I, you can only trade in 236 gear. This does make some sense since otherwise the vendor would get substantially overcrowded with items, but it does sting to see 234 and 240 gear shells be essentially worthless. 
The good thing about the 5.1 changes is that you can earn Unassembled Components from all PvP activities, including Galactic StarFighter. The downside is that you will need to do several matches just to be able to upgrade a single piece. For example, for a piece that costs 100 Unassembled Components, you'd need to play at most 34 standard PvP matches. This number is reduced to 20 if they're all victories, but it's still a rather high number.

So 20 victories for one piece is all well and good; how long does it take to earn a full set of all three tiers? You will need a total of 6,140 Unassembled Components to purchase every 230 piece, upgrade it to 236, and then upgrade that to 242. You don't need to do the maths to know how long this will take, because I've done it for you.

This is the equivalent of:
  • 1,229 standard Warzone/Solo Ranked victories and 3,073 standard Warzone/Solo Ranked losses.
  • 2,049 standard Arena victories and 6,145 standard Arena losses.
  • 769 Galactic StarFighter/Group Ranked victories and 2,049 GSF/Group Ranked losses.
Not that I'm picturing people getting in nothing but Arenas when they queue for standard PvP, but I just figured I might as well cover all bases.

Even the entry period is very rough. The bolster is rating 232, so even the earliest gear you can buy, 230, is 'not good enough'. A player will need to earn 1,290 Components to buy a full set of this gear, meaning that they'd have to put themselves through at least 258 standard Warzones before they're anywhere near the bolster level, and there's still a lot of work they'd need to do beyond this. 

The final annoyance here is that Unassembled Components are currently absent from the Daily and Weekly missions, an omission which I feel particularly sour towards.

Point is, this is a shedton of matches needed to be played to upgrade every piece of gear. This figure is, of course, ignoring the fact that you will still get pieces from Command Crates, but factoring in RNG is always impossible since you may have just upgraded and augmented a piece only to get the piece you just bought in the very next Command Crate. 

So, this is the present. What about the future?

Annoyingly, at the moment, very little is going to be done to address the RNG element of Command.

5.1.1 and 5.1.2 are largely all about either gaining Command Ranks faster (which isn't a bad thing in my books...) and not at all about reducing the RNG factor.

Yesterday, BioWare posted a roadmap regarding changes to Galactic Command coming within the next three weeks, with some even coming out this next Tuesday.

In 5.1.1 (Tuesday the 7th):
  • There will be a CXP levelling event which will increase CXP gains by 250%. This event will last until April 10th when 5.2 hits, so there is a good chance that this will be when a new Command Tier will hit to mark the start of the new Operation.
  • CXP packs will be Bind-on-Legacy. This is a very welcome change to people who enjoy maintaining alts, but may also be seen as a sore point for those who enjoy playing the content on their alts and earning their stuff 'rightfully'.
  • There will be a 100% CXP Booster which will only affect those who are below Tier III (CR 180). This will be found on both the Command Token vendor and the Cartel Market and is yet another boon for alts. Bear in mind that this will stack with the Character perks and the 250% gain, so you'll be looking at a 360% CXP gain if you're below Tier III. 
In 5.1.2 (Tuesday the 28th):
  • CXP rewards from Operations are going to be rebalanced; bosses will award more CXP and the Weekly missions will have their CXP reward "greatly" increased (I imagine they'll be rewarding the same as Master Mode Chapters, i.e. ~1,000 CXP). 
  • Group Finder will have its own Daily CXP pack reward. 
  • The Weekly missions for Uprisings and Flashpoints will receive an increase to their CXP reward, and so too will the missions for the individual Flashpoints themselves.
  • The PvP Daily and Weekly missions will finally reward Unassembled Components, and the amount of Components earned for both Solo and Group Ranked will be increased.
There are some good changes here. The fact that they mainly relate to the rate at which Command Ranks are gained is the biggest nuisance to myself and many others, since RNG is a brutal mistress and it would have been nice to see this tuned down in the first real substantial batch of changes to the actual system. That said, I'm pleased they are laying down the groundwork as they go.

I particularly like the fact that they are making it slowly more approachable by alts. That 100% CXP boost for non-Tier-III characters is particularly nice. To give an example, a player using this who also has the 10% Character Perk will see a boosted standard Warzone victory (normally 662 with eight medals) give 2,383 CXP during the 250% event 

The all-too coincidental time that the CXP 250% event ends, especially seeing as new Operation content is being released from this point forth as well, does imply that there are going to be more Command Tiers added throughout the year, which isn't all too surprising, so only time will tell as to whether or not this implication becomes reality.

These changes don't, however, change the fact that the system is still far too complicated for its own good. Sure, it's easier for alts and mains who aren't yet Tier III, but everything is still tedious and RNG-based. Faster Command Ranks may make the pain of getting junk sting less since you wouldn't have to have worked quite as hard, but you'll still have the same chance to get junk as you do now.

Furthermore, these changes also ultimately mean very little to those who plan to use Operations and PvP to help upgrade their gear. Whilst Ranked PvP is getting a worthy Component boost, they aren't reducing the cost of the gear, so for casual PvPers the above maths still hols nastily true. Sure, the Dailies and Weeklies will grant more Components, but this won't make much of a dent (although it may reduce the total matches needed by 100 or so) in the overall tedium.

Indeed, the very notion that Operations and PvP, formerly the only ways to get the best types of gear, are being treated as the 'supplementary' way to gear compared to the Command Crates just feels so very wrong to say, and this reveals another inherent problem with the Command system. It's practically invasive, having captivated the minds of the Developers and confusing everybody else with its mere presence. How many people have expressed their confusion as to how BioWare thought it was an acceptable system, stated that they're quitting over the grind, or otherwise expressed their distaste for it?

Additionally, these changes are not presenting a more 'alluring' way of getting gear; if anything, Command remains the most efficient way to gear for the individual compared to not knowing which pieces you'll get from an Operation, if any beyond the guaranteed piece, and grinding out Warzone after Warzone after Warzone to very slowly upgrade gear. Until these 'entry periods' are eased, gearing by any other method is going to be a tedious and slow process, if thankfully more predictable than relying on Command.


Whilst the motivation to simplify the endgame gearing process was well-intentioned, the ever-changing nature of Galactic Command, spawned largely through the developers and players having very different 'desired playstyles', has resulted in an extremely convoluted system which completely belies the original intentions.

There are going to be more changes beyond this, but right now we don't know all that much beyond their beginning to look into making Unassembled Components more compatible with the Legacy system, which in fairness is something which a lot of people have been asking for, and rightfully so. We don't know when or if they're going to be looking at making the RNG more favourable, increase the percentage of Operation boss drops, or reduce the cost of gear from the PvP vendors.

These are the changes which I think would make most people look over the Command system. As it is right now, you can't ignore it; as I already said, the other methods are too tedious or unpredictable (it comes to something when unpredictability makes unpredictability look appealing) to allow people to just grin and bear it, since Command is unfortunately the most efficient way to gear on-paper for the moment.

One thing I do sort-of like about the changes in 5.1 and beyond, though, is that you do have to work for the gear. The problem, and it is significant, is that you have to work an awful lot to make any headway whatsoever, and to a level that would turn away many a hopeful new player. Over 1,200 PvP games just to be able to get a full set of each tier is one hell of a tedious affair even for veterans to contemplate.


  1. Oh god, I hadn't even thought about them introducing more Command tiers. I don't want to think about it right now either...

  2. The Nickster06/02/2017, 12:23

    If Calphaya, the hardest of the hardcore says it's a grind... It's a grind!