The Road to Somewhere [September 2018 Edition]

So another surprise Roadmap has come and with it comes some interesting stuff to analyse.

We've known about 5.9.3 for some time courtesy of an interview done by Bad Feeling Podcast with Eric Musco and two PvP Developers, David Demaree and Brett Hoffman, and the section of the Roadmap dedicated to it is understandably short and sweet; all that's coming in this update is the new Huttball Arena on Vandin.

The subsequent big Patch, 5.10, has got a lot more stuff included, however.


Firstly, the story is being continued with us travelling to an ancient Jedi world and features a new faction-exclusive storyline as well as a Daily Area. As well as several fan-favourites, we'll get to meet characters who are new to the game to help us on our journey. Their inclusion so late in the 5.0 cycle heavily implies that they'll either become Companions or be major NPC players, much like Lana and Theron used to be, in this and the forthcoming 6.0 storyline.

We don't yet know who these characters are, but the Republic NPC is a powerful Jedi veteran while the Imperial NPC is a commando; their missions are to protect and destroy the Jedi enclave on the planet respectively. Strangely, despite my vague hopes that we might finally see someone like Gnost-Dural realised, I'm more interested in learning about the Imperial Commando. With the exception of Pierce, we never really deal with Imperial soldiers all that much in any of the storylines, and I especially look forward to seeing the perspective of a groundling soldier after the Eternal Empire conflict.

As for the planet, it's apparent that this world will be Ossus. The article only gives hints, but the hints that this planet was ravaged by a catastrophe while also being featured within Tales from the Jedi are fairly big clues. I'm looking forward to see how they realise it in-game, and I'm sure it will once again allow for SWtOR's environmental design team to demonstrate their extraordinary talents.


Gods from the Machine has had a bit of a turbulent history since its release. Things were delayed, the supposed Master Mode boss release with each subsequent new boss never happened, and to this day not very many Guilds have successfully cleared the entire thing. It therefore came as both a surprise and a relief when Master Mode was announced as canned back in the spring.

Then the 5.9.2 PTS launched back in July, and with it came the Achievements I mentioned in this post. They were removed rather quickly, but it was evident that something was up. The most recent Patch then introduced the Lockouts for Master Mode in the Lockouts page.

So with today's Roadmap, Master Mode Gods from the Machine has finally been announced. With it comes the very unexpected reveal that Tier V gear is being released only in Craftable format.

This is new. Totally new. Crafted endgame gear has always been a thing, of course, but to a lesser extent compared to the gear acquired in actual content. Operations gear had the Set Bonus and multiple times came as higher-rated than the best Crafted stuff. 5.0 has kept this tradition mostly solid for the time being, with Legendary gear being completely unlearnable and keeping that solely to Galactic Command, the gear vendors, and Operations Tokens Drops.

The first thing to take away from this is that with this gear they're moving away from Galactic Command. Considering how much of a backbone Command has been to the whole 5.0 gear situation, this is a move I wasn't anticipating them to do during this Patch cycle.

This move could herald a move away from Command in general; get the raiding population enamoured to the idea of the best gear now being far more exclusive once again before scrapping the system entirely and reverting to the 2.0-through-4.0 system. Alternatively, Command could from this point onward just transition towards becoming the equivalent of the 1.0 Level 50 Flashpoints; an easy way for the 'casual' crowd to get decent Set-Bonus Endgame Gear to prepare them for the Operations where the 'actual' gear is found.

Who knows? It's an interesting move nonetheless, and only time will tell how people can acquire these new Schematics and how they'll 'work' when it comes to getting the Set Bonus for the Advanced Classes. I hope this won't be another Champion PvP gear or pre-launch Galactic Command-style affair where the gear acquired could literally belong to any Class and not your own...

Also this gear will require new Crafting materials, because we haven't seen enough new materials over the past year.

The final thing to take away from this is the first confirmation that they are developing more Operation content for the 6.0 Patch cycle. Whether or not we'll see one at launch or whether we'll get another Gods system remains to be seen, but it's nice to know that 6.0 will see new Operations content. I was getting quite concerned that 6.0 would launch with Master Mode Gods as its bold opening statement.


Guilds are also getting some quite nice updates with 5.10. The list of incoming features presently includes:
  • A new 'Progression System'
  • Heraldry
  • PvP Challenge System
  • Guild Inspections
  • Activity Logs
  • Member Ban by Legacy
  • Increased Rank Caps
You don't need to be a genius to work out which of these I value as the most important. A way to message every Guild Member in-game has been long overdue, and I really look forward to seeing that being implemented. Similarly, Activity Logs will be very welcome as it should give Guilds a greater idea of what their memberbase is doing and how to cater most effectively to every group.

It has since been revealed via a Twitch Stream that this log will also allow for more accurate representation of a member's Conquest contributions than we have currently.

I'm curious to see how these new progression and heraldry systems function. The progression system claims to be a way for the guild to customise how it plays "the more they play", which implies it's a way for long-time Guilds to establish themselves better in a particular activity - Valor Boost to members within a PvP Guild, perhaps? Heraldry is going to be a personalisation feature, so this might be things like a logo-creator or a tagline or something. 

Regardless, both will be very useful for prospective members since they'll now have a way to inspect the Guild before they join. I'm guessing this will include number of members, accounts, and the Reputation and XP boosts, which will be really helpful. 

The member ban by Legacy feature is interesting, as it's the first time BioWare have announced something that will impact an entire Legacy. Many times people have requested this functionality for the Ignore and Friends lists, and every time they've come up with a reason why this isn't allowed. With the Guild List listing people's Legacies for all members to see, I can see why this is the first place they introduce such a blanket option and it has been confirmed that a Legacy /ignore is in the works! 

Not much can be said about the additional Ranks that will be allowed, but it's nice to see they're increasing this. 

There will also be more Conquest changes coming in to support these new features, but until we know more about how the specific Guild features will function there's no point speculating what these will be. 


Finally, we're getting some more Companions coming back. Knights and Consulars are being reunited with only their third-ever returned Companions - and the Knight's first post-4.0 cycle Companion - and Dark-Sided Warriors will reconvene with their fifth and final missing Companion.

Months of data-mining and even a comment by Charles Boyd suggested that we'd be seeing Lord Scourge be one of the next - if not the very next - Companion to be back by the Knight's side. So therefore, the first Companion the Knights get back in 5.0 is Doc. Someone who was last heard of directly as being "not actively being worked on". 

Not that I mind, as I quite like Doc.

Imperial-aligned Jedi Consulars will get to interact with a Jedi come 5.10 regardless, as Nadia Grell finally steps out of the shadows. I for one am really curious to see how this one plays out, as Nadia is presently one of my least-favourite Companions, so I'm hoping they've made her character grow substantially enough that I finally become okay about her. Time shall tell, though.

The Warrior will be reuniting with one half of Jaesa Willsaam's personalities, as the Dark-Sided Jaesa makes her return. This is thus the first reunion mission I'll be missing out on in any form, as my current Warrior's Jaesa is Light-sided as I really dislike Dark Jaesa, but I'm still interested in learning how the reunion plays out. 

So there we have it. 5.10 is all about the romance. With this Patch, the only absentee Companions will be Khem Val, Kira, Light Jaesa, Lord Scourge, Tharan, and Zenith. We're beginning to draw this long period of absences to a close, people!


5.10 looks to be a very interesting Patch. I'm looking forward to the new story update, the various Companion returns, and those Guild updates. I'm also curious to see how the new crafted gear 'operates', although I'm perfectly happy with my 248 armour sets so I won't be endeavouring to acquire any of this newer gear. 

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