Thoughts on 5.0

So 5.0 is here, and by the end of today everyone who missed out on Early Access will have access to the Eternal Throne story.

Compared to other expansion launches, how did this one hold up?


Compared to certain expansions which were mostly bug-filled messes (who can forget the Revan glitch of 3.0?), 5.0's launch was very smooth. The only currently-known 'game-breaking' bugs are the Arcann fight in Chapter XVI glitching out and the planetary Heroic missions not rewarding the 'complete' set of Command XP, but both of these bugs will be ironed out in today's patch.

The only other minor gameplay bug of which I am aware affects Shae Vizla; she has no stats outside of 800 Mastery and Endurance, resulting an a pitifully hilarious 34,000 HP at Influence 50 in the Tank role.

Oh, and there's also the existential horror that occurs whenever you mount a Tauntaun, but that doesn't really affect gameplay outside of making you fear whatever demon powers now manifest within them.

There were a couple of particular weird 'huh?' moments which everyone at first took to be bugs but were later revealed not to be so:

Firstly, no matter how much progress you made in the Dark vs. Light Event, all of your Achievements were wiped, and the rewards made no appearance. BioWare since revealed that the rewards will come later today whilst the Achievements were wiped if just in case - although the chances of anyone doing this again are very slim - they wanted to do the Event again.

Secondly, after all the fuss made about converting Commendations and Operations tokens to Credits, nothing came from it. Again, it has since been revealed that these Credits will come later today.

However, there is still one glitch which has affected only a handful of players, although I appear to be the only person in my guild thus far affected by it; even though Calph started the expansion with the full 100,000 points of Light V, she was knocked down to 0 (Neutral) by the very next day, and I have absolutely no idea why. Since then she's currently worked her way back up to 40k (mainly thanks to BioAnalysis now granting Light Side points), but this is still a rather bizarre occurrence. 


I can't go much further without talking about how the 'main components' of 5.0 seem now that the Expansion's launched.

The Eternal Throne story - don't worry, no spoilers! - is a very good follow-on to Fallen Empire, but again I think this is mainly due to the fact that it gives proper closure at the end of the nine Chapters without an extra seven being released later on. All I will say at the moment is that it provides some of the answers to questions we've been asking since 4.0, although there may still be some questions left to ask for the future.

Uprisings are really quite good fun. They do seem to have (shamelessly) copied a whole bunch of mechanics from many different Flashpoints, but this isn't that problematic since for the most part they've used a series of 'good' mechanics and only very few 'meh' ones (Crimson Fang in particular has a mix of both 'good' and 'meh' mechanics). 

Galactic Command has taken a good number of people in my guild in a stranglehold. Most notably, because you get so much Command XP (CXP) for completing PvP matches (up to 530 for a loss and 662 for a win), we've now got people who would ordinarily log into the game only for Operations doing PvP. We've also scheduled multiple nights in a row simply for CXP farming in Operations, although this will simmer down after a couple of weeks.

At time of writing I'm currently at Command Rank 24, having secured three (230) set pieces I could actually use (and another four (two Implants and two Relics) which either didn't correspond to my current stat distribution, were copies of an item I already had, or were completely useless to me). I've still got a long way to go, of course, but it's something, at least!

It's worth noting that right now for small groups of players that Hard Mode Flashpoints provide quite a nice return rate. You get over 600 CXP per three-plus-bonus-boss Flashpoint in Tokens alone (blue for each boss along the way and purple for the bonus and final bosses), and each player gets a free Refined Isotope Stabilizer per boss as well.


One final thing to talk about is the general 'look and feel' of the game since 5.0. They seem to have done something with the in-game engine because holy hell the thing looks and performs great now! Before 5.0 you'd be lucky if (in full-screen mode and without Vertical Sync) you'd be getting 120 FPS, but now people are hitting over 200 FPS. The lighting engine also appears to have been updated, most notably on the login screen, which looks gorgeous!

I don't know what they did, but I most certainly approve!

One last thing to touch on are the new Flairs. These are portrait frames similar to the Strong/Elite/Champion identifiers which we can use for our own characters. We can all access some for free, as we get one for Legendary status and for each of the three Command Rank tiers. Others will - of course... - eventually be made available through the Cartel Market.

This is, in my opinion, long overdue. Ever since they announced that Legendary players would get a unique portrait frame (which didn't appear unless you hovered over the player themselves), I was hopeful that finally we'd get the option to customize our portraits, since other MMOs allow you to do the same thing, and it's wonderful to see this implemented at last.


All in all, 5.0's launch was very smooth, and the new story and group content are very enjoyable. It's also good to see people now trying different things because of CXP, although one can spin a negative angle on this by saying that CXP is so grindy that people are driven to do this simply to be able to cope.

At the end of the day, 5.0 is a mixed bag. You'll either find the things to do enjoyable or dreadfully tedious. We're still in very early days for CXP and the Command Ranks, so we'll have to wait and see how things are when we start hitting Tier II. 

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