Two days ago, 2.9 went live, and within my report on the matter I expressed some concern over the NPC limit that one had within the Stronghold during the latter stages of the PTS and how I hoped that it hadn't transitioned over.
However, it has done exactly that, and BioWare have responded that they implemented this restriction to negate performance issues that would arise from having a lot of NPCs of various sizes in so many different versions of the same place at once.
Part of me understands that. I can see that they would want to avoid getting flak for making Strongholds a pain to navigate due to the lag caused by a certain someone placing ~325 pets, four Rancors, 5 Dewbacks, 8 Varactyl, 7 Tauntauns and 44 Companions all in one Stronghold.
The part of me that criticises this is the part of me that wants to show off vast collections of pets and creatures - I'm sorry, I just find a lot of them absolutely adorable - and much more so than a vast speeder collection. If I were a motor enthusiast more than a creature one, then I would be in a different boat.
Whilst this is not the only problem, the fact that creature mounts count as NPCs really doesn't help. Pets and companions undoubtedly can compose a vast surface area - much more so than one Rancor - yet the sheer physical size of these mounts also presents an issue. Sure, they have animations, but so too do several of the non-NPC vehicles. Ergo, to redact the NPC-ness from the creature mounts would simply be step 1 in managing better performance.
"But what about those who want to RP with their creatures?"
Yeah, that throws a spanner into the works and really does emphasise the many-edged sword that BioWare have to deal with. There are those who'd say "Damn the RPers! I just want to show off the bloody things! If the other vehicles don't count as NPCs, why should any?", just as there are those who see no need to complain about there even being an NPC limit and view the entire thing as trivial and not worth fussing about. A house is a house, who cares about a stupid little thing like a pet?
However BioWare eventually decide to tackle this apparent issue , it has certainly thrown more things into the light than they would perhaps have bargained for.
Various people have lost out on certain items with this patch, all pertaining to the Nightlife Event. Whilst some people - not all - have actually lost the achievements for the casinos - all those credits for nothing? - everyone has lost out on other items. These are the emotes from the last two Cartel Packs (nothing more) due to the rearrangement of the emote selection. For the time being, you can no longer be "out of breath" next to someone who is doing the tihaar or faint at the spectacle.
So yeah, 2.9 hasn't had the best of starts at all...