The Road to Somewhere: Spring 2018 Edition

So the most recent Roadmap has been posted by Keith, pertaining to Game Updates 5.8 and 5.9. As per usual, it's now the time for the blogging community to pick the most recent news apart and see what's interesting, unexpected, or potentially worrisome.

Let's get started!


March 13: 5.8 - Command Authority


5.8 will be finishing off the Gods from the Machine Operation, in nice quick pace considering that his predecessor SCYVA was only released a few weeks ago. IZAX is essentially being styled as 'Master' despite being a boss in Veteran mode because - oh joy - he's just that difficult. Such a terminology can also only mean one thing; Master Mode Gods has officially been canned. 

This is the part of the news which many will immediately be calling 'worryingly interesting'; when Gods was first announced, it was stated that each new boss would bring with it the previous boss in Master Mode. After Temple of Sacrifice and Ravagers introduced the concept of 'HardMare', a fair contingent of people were hoping that Gods would retreat on this a little; offer the traditional Story and Hard modes and then follow up with the typical Nightmare format. 

Instead, we once again saw a repeat of the HardMare format, first seen with ESNE and AIVELA; the Veteran mode of which has been so full of mechanics that there feasibly wasn't all that much more that Master could have done. For example, in the four-beam phase, what would the beams have done? Each independently go in a random direction a la Brontes? 

Conversely, the first boss TYTH did not receive a mechanic-laden fight in either Story or Veteran mode. Indeed, he's probably got the fewest amount of mechanics since the days of Eternity Vault and Karagga's Palace. This in itself posed a problem for the potential Master-conversion; while his mechanics weren't difficult, the comparative lack of them in the first place would undoubtedly have made it harder for them to add any additional ones on top

Maybe that was an indication we should all have taken as a forewarning-of-sorts. It does at least mean that we know exactly where we stand on the Operations front until the next expansion, which - depending on how each individual person or team treats the Operation content - is either comforting or annoying; a team which still has a fair few things to clear can rest easy knowing that there isn't much else coming on top of the stuff they haven't yet done, while those who are on top of all but a few fights will be concerned that the fights they have left are one hell of a brick wall and won't be enthused about that. 

They're also doing something similar to Nightmare Power again, only a little more 'tactile' this time. Between 5.8 and 5.9, people who kill IZAX will receive a title, a unique Achievement, and an "enticing" Legacy reward. It might not be much, but it has been a while since we've had something of this sort so it is nice to see it again even though I'll of course never be a recipient. 

By extension, this news does also mean that Tier V of Galactic Command will finally have died a final death. RiP, you unseen presence; you won't be missed.



A Conquest revamp has been on the cards for a while, and is something which many people have been asking for for years. 5.8 will finally be granting us one.

Although the details are scarce, we know that 5.8 will be bringing the following:
  • New Interface
  • New Objectives
  • New Missions
On top of this, we'll also be getting access to a vendor for completing weekly objectives and a new backend system has been written which will - hopefully - eliminate the pesky 'no rewards' issue several Players have had for what feels like well over a year. We'll see how that plays out, but I hope they've finally nipped this issue in the bud.

The aforementioned vendor will provide Decorations and something called the "Commander's Compendium". We don't yet know what the Decorations will be - although I'm willing to bet that there'll be those which are tied to specific Planets to encourage guilds to invade the whole galaxy again - but we do have details about the Compendium.

This is an item which will raise the Influence of a Companion immediately to 50. A quick way to get a Companion to the highest Influence has been requested for some time, and it's nice to see it being earned by actually doing something in-game. Especially as it requires Crafting and apparently will be expensive.

Excellent news for people who don't want to spend nearly an hour clicking 477 Artifact Grade 5 gifts and who were worrying that something like this would end up on the Cartel Market (it may still end up there eventually, of course...). I myself am quite used to the slow path and have more than enough Influence 50s to be getting on with, so this is one purchase I will not be making. 



5.8 will be bringing 3 new missions.

The first is the long-awaited Arcann romance. This is something which I am very curious to see, especially as Arcann will be the first male Force User who a full romance can be entered into in a BioWare Star Wars game for thirteen years. The most 'painful' bit about it is that these thirteen years have resulted in a character who a lot of people dislike and have potentially killed being the character in question, but whatever. At long last, female Force Users have someone on 'their' level who isn't a same-sex option!

Speaking of romance options, the other two missions are both reunion missions; Ashara will be returning for Inquisitors - being the second Inquisitor Companion in as many patches - and Vector will be returning for Agents. I'm really looking forward to meeting up with both of these, and I'm especially curious to see how Ashara has flourished over the years since the Inquisitor's disappearance.


Cartel Market

There'll be some big changes coming for this in 5.8 which we'll know more about before release. Yay, I suppose.


April ??th - 5.9: The Nathema Conspiracy


Take a wild guess where this Flashpoint takes place. I bet you can't.

This will be the conclusion to the Traitor storyline and ostensibly the main lead-in to the eventual 6.0 story, assuming that there isn't anything between now and then to set it up in a more direct way.

Considering that the Flashpoint takes place on Nathema, this will doubtless fuel rumours that the item being searched for by the Order of Zildrog could be the original body of Vitiate. As long as he stays dead and isn't just sleeping.


Regardless, I'm looking forward to seeing how this ends and what it could potentially lead into.

This Flashpoint will also provide schematics for players to craft even more Augments! Yes, because the ridiculous price on 236-rating Augments isn't enough, they're giving more Augments to us to give people the 'edge' needed to defeat IZAX (and by extension every other boss in the game).

Okay, eliminating Tier V of Galactic Command is nice, and all, but these Augment additions are just getting silly. Also, as good as the boost the Augments give is they won't make much difference to people's ability to kill the hardest bosses if their problems are all mechanic-related. Sure, you might be able to take off an extra 5% with every Player packing them, but you can't outgear momentary slip-ups or stupid. 



IZAX will offer an "exciting new reward" and people who have an Achievement for killing him will be able to buy a special item. Yay, I guess? At least it'll be something new and relatively exclusive for engaging in endgame stuff. 



Iresso, Mako, and Akaavi will be returning in 5.9, but with a twist. While Iresso will be returning for Consulars alone, Mako and Akaavi will be returning as a pair and for both the Smuggler and the Hunter.

Okay, I'm really pleased to see a pair of Companions from two different Classes again, but I'm slightly disappointed that this is only an Alliance Alert. Still, Akaavi and Mako are good characters and I'm quite eager to see how and why they're helping one another out; the two don't exactly seem like ideal partners on-paper...

It's great to see Consulars finally get another Companion back. The only other one we've seen has been Qyzen, so fantastic news for them. Still pales to the Agents, Smugglers, Hunters, and to a lesser extent Troopers getting all of their Companions back in the same time-frame...

Yeah, there's not a lot for 5.9 yet.


Patches of the Beyond

We obviously don't know exactly what we'll be seeing beyond 5.9, but we have had some hints. 

Firstly, as already seen this past week, there will be more Subscriber Rewards. The first of these is the nVidia Chiss Talon Interceptor speeder and the (hideous) Force Veteran's Amour set package being given to those who are Subscribed by February 27th. We've seen similar repeats of a 'one-time-exclusive' reward being repeated, but this is the first time that a promotion deal has transferred to a sub reward. Regardless, this one gives a nice speeder and I know some people were peeved they never got an nVidia code, either from the launcher or from a friend, so this is a nice way to give them this bonus.

Beyond this, all of the rewards are a mystery. They've acknowledged that people would like to have access to the Shroud of Memory chapter, but as this is a reward a fair number of Subscribers have already I doubt they'll offer it by itself a second time around. I might be wrong, though. There might be another Companion reward, since we're on the run-up to 6.0 and both 4.0 and 5.0 gave us one. Otherwise, we'll just have to wait and see.

Keith has also acknowledged how people would like to see a traditional expansion again, as in one that gives a bit of everything to start with rather than a small amount and then adding on top of it; think 2.0 as opposed to 5.0 and especially 4.0. While we don't yet know whether 6.0 will actually be such an expansion, it is nice to know that multiple options are being considered at this early stage. 

Certainly the canning of Master Mode Gods will already be fuelling speculation in some parts of the fanbase for an Operation being in 6.0 from the off, helped no less by Keith's mentioning of plans for "this year and beyond". I'm holding my breath on this score and just looking forward to seeing how the rest of 5.0 plays out. 

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