4.0 Impressions: The Knights of the Fallen Empire Story

BioWare have always claimed that Fallen Empire was going to be their big chance to return to their roots, something which was met with both enthusiasm and scepticism. With the expansion having launched, we can finally see for ourselves how successful they were in achieving this outcome.


4.0 Impressions: Universal System Changes

So 4.0 has finally hit and whilst not everyone has access to the story, which I shall cover next week, or Level 65, everyone has access to the changed systems such as Companions and Level-Sync. This is just to look over what has changed and what my feelings are on the matter.


The Imminent Falling Empire

So, here we are, just a few short days away from Knights of the Fallen Empire. 3.0 still feels like it hit only relatively recently and yet already we're preparing to embark on yet another expansion, and one that's changing so much more about this game than any update that came before it.

At this late stage I've been keeping myself busy by acquiring various bits of armour and armaments for Companions, mostly from the GTN and Cartel Market; I would write a blog-post about that, but it would be an incredibly boring read even with pictures. No reason to do anything more than that as far as I'm concerned since I like to get a feel for the new systems on one geared character long before worrying about managing the gear of other characters for their inevitable playthrough.

I'm looking forward to it. The story promises to be one of the most compelling and captivating "universal" stories done in an MMO - at least on the first run-through but much like Shadow of Revan people would likely only be able to tolerate a few repeats at most - and the level-sync system should hopefully pave the way for reasons to return to former planets in the story and complete aid missions to add more context to the galaxy's turmoil under Zakuul. At least, I hope they make use of it for that and it won't only be a feature just for the sake of it being a feature.

Other than that, I'm curious to see how the new Companion system is realised and exactly what difference higher levels of Influence will have on their performance, especially when coupled with maximum Presence which is, admittedly, likely to pale somewhat in comparison to the Influence "bolster". I'll also be keeping an eye on the new Hard Mode for Red Reaper, something which a lot of people - myself included - have been requesting for a long time.

I likely won't be making much or any use of the updated Crafting system outside of training some of the new BioChem stuff, but that's because I'm not particularly big on it to begin with. Hopefully certain changes won't prove too problematic in practice for those that are, since I'm aware that there's already some controversy surrounding some of the decisions made, notably the decision to take away Enhancements and Armorings from Artificers and Cybertechs, respectively. Not my scene, though, so I'll leave it at that.

Knights of the Fallen Empire is going to be an interesting expansion, that's for sure. Exactly how successful it is going to be depends entirely on whether the story is as captivating as BioWare has promised it is going to be. I don't have any doubts about that myself, but considering that this is the only new content in a game with otherwise re-relevant "old" content, this is doubtless going to be the main keystone holding everything together for quite a few months to come.


The Developer Stream and Changes to SWtOR

Finally, after such a long period of nothing but promises and actually quite interesting Class Change blogs, the Developers of The Old Republic allowed a Twitch Stream showing more than just basic Companions changes and Story spoilers. Sure, there were those included as well, but they were a part of the overall larger scheme of showing off more of what was changing in the game.

It was a very informative Stream, and only one aspect was announced at not being covered: the Alliance system. Nico Okarr is becoming a part of this for all eligible players once the first nine chapters of the story were completed, but as they detailed Companions separately it is to be assumed that this is a whole other system entirely which just happens to feature potential Companions. The more, the merrier.

This is just to offer my thoughts on what we'll be seeing when the expansion launches. Order of topics based on that of the Stream, of which you can find a write-up here and a YouTube mirror here.