An Overdue Perspective on... Galactic Seasons

The Galactic Seasons have been available for almost two years now, having started in April 2021 (how time flies!) and yet I haven't really commented on them except in passing.

This is because, until recently, I feel that I haven't been in the best position to comment on them, at least from a fair perspective. Season 1, The Stranger from Kubindi, was an interesting concept marred by horrific execution. Season 2, Shadows of the Underworld, shared top-billing with the sheer grind of early 7.0 and that really coloured my perspective of the whole thing. Season 3, Luck of the Draw, therefore, is the first season where I feel I can approach the system and offer a mostly-unbiased view of it all.

That said, I shall of course be touching on both prior seasons as part of my assessment of the system as a whole. After all, the system changed so much between the first two systems that it would be remiss not to comment on where it improved and where it might have become more tedious.

On with the show!


The Basics

Each Galactic Season follows the same pattern. Taking the form of the rather common battle-pass system, each season presents players with 100 levels. You earn progress by completing various objectives, either weekly or daily, and along the way you unlock various rewards. Most rewards are entirely cosmetic, but sprinkled among the mix is a decent sum of Cartel Coins. More on this later.

The seasonal calendar has two tiers; one for all players, the other for subscribers alone. Compared to other games that possess such a system, I feel this one just about works. At least you don't need to pay through the nose just to access the second tier, although your own mileage may doubtless vary on this point depending on how necessary or even feasible an ongoing subscription to SWTOR is for you. You can, of course, pay through the nose just to buy out various levels (if you wait long enough, this also works with credits), although one can't deny that's useful as a catch-up mechanic if absolutely necessary.

Each season is somehow themed around a companion, who is the first reward that all players can claim. The extent of the theming has varied massively between seasons. The first themed not just various cosmetic rewards around the companion, but also some objectives as well. The second and third thankfully leave the objectives as more generic, and keep the theming solely to the cosmetics.

Because the seasonal-reward progress is server-specific, this inspired a lot of people to take part in the seasons rush across multiple servers. Those Cartel Coin grants I mentioned? Yeah, you could previously get up to 4,000 CC per server. 5 servers, 5 seasons, boom, 20,000 Cartel Coins. It still required a lot of effort, especially in the first season, but it was very lucrative and almost certainly not something BW foresaw.

As a result, BW whacked the CC granted down to 2,000 per server, which I think is entirely fair. 

I have little issue with people wanting to complete the seasons across multiple servers if they find it fun, challenging, or just because they want something extra to do if they view completing it once is easy enough. On the other, I feel that doing it specifically to gain that 20,000 CC essentially for free was ridiculous, so I am pleased to see the sum whacked down even if people like myself who only do it on one lose out in the process.

I know, I know, I said I would offer a mostly-unbiased perspective on seasons. Mostly.

With that said, onto the specific seasons themselves.


Season 1: The Stranger from Kubindi

The first Galactic Season introduced us to the first kubaz companion, the sniper Altuur zok Adon, and the entire season was themed around kubaz culture where possible. Since insecticulture is a big enough thing on the kubaz homeworld to warrant a codex entry about it, this meant that a lot of the objectives involved killing bugs. 

Oh, and these objectives were all completely random. Each week you would get a pool of eight dailies and four weeklies, from which 50% would be plucked each daily or weekly reset and distributed out to all players in a random pattern. You and your friends might have got lucky and received the operation weekly together, or less than half of you might have received it. Not even re-rolling the objectives helped, as you might still get a weekly that wouldn't align with everyone you want or need it to.

I should also stress that during this first season, the important objectives were all daily-based, and if I recall correctly you had to do two each day. This, combined with the rather finickity nature of re-rolling objectives, meant that you could get the same set of objectives multiple days in a row.


All-in-all, the first season at its core was a complete mess. The cosmetic rewards were alright, but not spectacular in my view, although it was nice to get two new strongholds. The companion, Altuur, is commonly referred to as something like "Captain Squeaky" by one of my guildies; at influence 50 he shoots up to near the top of the crew skills list (only 2V-R8 and Akaavi Spar sit above him), so whenever he sends companions out on the character who he focused on during that season, Altuur's squeaks feature very prominently.

I do occasionally see Altuur be used by players, moreso than his direct successor, since he provides a 10% damage boost as part of his kit regardless of spec. SWTOR players and their maximising of companion DPS, I'll never understand it...


Season 2: Shadows of the Underworld

The second Galactic Season introduced us to totally-not-Cad-Bane-inspired duros gunslinger companion, Fen Zeil, and reintroduced veteran players to the Shadow Syndicate. This used to be owned by Godoba the Hutt and features pretty prominently in the Imperial story on Nar Shaddaa, so it was nice to see how it had evolved over the past... what, 16 years in-universe?

This season tore down all but the basics of the Galactic Seasons system - the calendar with 100 levels of various rewards - and built it all back up from scratch. Gone were the randomised objectives with a strong focus on daily toil. Now, all players shared the same ten weekly objectives (although the tenth is a subscriber exclusive), of which you had to complete seven, and the single daily objective transformed into earning 25,000 Conquest points. 

These new weekly objectives ranged in type and complexity. They ranged from the easily-soloable side, such as killing 25 enemies without a companion present or killing 100 enemies with the season companion by your side, to the more challenging group-only options like killing specific world bosses like R8-X8 and Dread Pirate Karvoy. It's a good variety, although some weeks do tend to be more tedious than others, but these all being weekly means that you can pace yourself how you please. You can do all seven in one day, or spread them out so that you can do one a day if you wished. It just works much nicer than it did in season 1.

Furthermore, this season also introduced what I refer to as "extra-credit" objectives. In the first season, once you hit or bought out to level 100, that was it. Season 2 introduced various meta achievements, such as reaching rank 100 and completing 100 weekly objectives, and a brand-new reputation faction. Progress with the faction was earned through turning in Underworld Syndicate Plans to an NPC affiliated with the Shadow Syndicate. These USPs could be earned by completing weekly and daily objectives, looting the final bosses of flashpoints and operations, and as loot in open-world combat. You could also buy a special "Jawa Intel" consumable from a jawa in the Cartel Bazaar on fleet, which could be used to increase the drop-rate chances of USPs, although since this costs 500 purple jawa junk... not entirely cost-effective unless you still have literally thousands to spare from the 6.0-era.

Completing all of these meta achievements (including hitting Legend rank with the reputation) during the season earned you extra exclusive rewards, including a legacy title and a unique customisation for the season's companion. More on my feelings about all this further down.

I feel the cosmetic rewards were again just pretty much "okay". Nothing really stands out to me, although I have since made use of one of the dye packs and the bracers from the first cosmetic set in two of my characters' outfits. Fen Zeil himself is... kinda meh, really. I didn't really like how his story intertwined with Altuur's the way it did, as it didn't really feel organic. 

But hey, he's Cad Bane, so he's so awesome, right?


Season 3: Luck of the Draw

The third Galactic Season introduced us to simultaneously the most interesting but also most disappointing companion seen thus far; PH4-LNX. Formerly a GEMINI droid, she has now been repurposed into a croupier droid and employed by an organisation known as the Gambling Authority and Management Entity, or G.A.M.E.

The concept of Fay being a repurposed GEMINI droid is rather interesting. After all, we never really learned what became of the Iokath tech once we were done there, as it just kinda got... dropped. For good reason, of course, but that's not to say that something interesting mightn't still come from it all. Fay herself still desires to be a combat analysist as that's what she was built to be, but that also clashes with her new programming, and it's through us that she gets to live the life that she views as truly "hers". It's quite a deep story for a droid.

On the other hand, Fay being a droid model that we have seen before and in droves is also quite disappointing, not least because she continues the trend for the companions speaking alien gibberish. I get it, it's a cost-cutting measure, but it would have been great to hear her speaking Basic a little bit, and temporarily cutting out the gambler terminology, as her story progressed - a sign that the "real Fay" is starting to come through after being buried for so long.

But alas, she's just another alien voice. Shame. At least her story doesn't directly intertwine with either that of Altuur or Fen, but since she was once owned by Godoba there is just the faintest connection to Fen. That sort of level of connection, I don't entirely mind, but still makes things feel a bit too small for my liking.

Season 3 reutilises the same system as introduced in season 2; G.A.M.E has a reputation track, you once again earn an exclusive legacy title and companion customisation by completing meta achievements, all that stuff returns. The main differences this time around are that you earn the reputation trophies by talking to Fay herself rather than a separate NPC G.A.M.E representative, and that the open-world drop-rate for the G.A.M.E Analysis Modules seems to have been reduced compared to the Underworld Syndicate Plans.

Seriously, even with Fay out as and when required, I would consider myself lucky if I even saw one Analysis Module drop on a given planet. That said, my newest Warrior, Avsa, saw several dozen drop on Taris, and Taris alone, while she was doing her class story there, and she didn't even own Fay or have Jawa Intel active! I couldn't quite connect the dots for that one - it wasn't as if Taris was somehow highlighted in an objective during that week...

One of those things, I guess?

Compared to the previous seasons' cosmetic rewards, I feel season 3 has the best armour sets by far. They're not overly-flashy, but are instead just a relatively casual and everyday-looking set of clothing, and I feel certainly the jacket looks amazing. Almost reminiscent of young Han Solo's main look from Solo. The weapons and mounts continue to be a miss as far as I'm concerned, although that's mainly because I don't like the colouring used for the weapons. The actual shells themselves do look decent, but the colours just put me right off them.



Keeping this in its own section to prevent it from overshadowing my views on any particular season.

When last I commented on the "extra-credit" objectives, my comments were made from frustration. As mentioned above, season 2 shared the limelight with the early days of 7.0, which were quite involving. Once I had finished the season, I looked back and realised just how liberating it was to be done with it all, and I know now that I had got sucked in "too deep" to the various goings-on without really knowing it.

Without such frustrations impacting me today, here are my more untainted views on the whole thing:

On the whole, I don't mind them introducing these "extra-credit" things. It gives you a reason to engage with the system even when you hit level 100 by any means, so even if you give into instant gratification and pay to complete the calendar on day one you still need to engage if you want to get every reward.

However, that itself is also something of a problem. A lot of games prey on the concept of "FOMO" - fear of missing out - and while the concept of seasons has always leant itself to that in some form, it's this which comes closest to it. Season 1 lacked any form of extra-credit, so if Altuur is put on the vendor, a player who missed out on his season can just buy him and earn all associated achievements and the like. There'd still be stuff they'd miss, but achievement-hoarders wouldn't be permanently locked out of completing the full set of S1-based achievements.

Starting with season 2, you do miss out on achievements if you come to it too late. You cannot earn the exclusive legacy titles or the special companion customisations, and for a time BioWare were planning to permanently render the reputation tracks inaccessible once a new season had been introduced. They later went back on this and have implemented a means to allow a player to earn any season currency with the relevant companion(s) summoned, but the drop-rate on those things is far too slow to generate any semblance of decent reputation gain.

Unlike every other rep track in the game, which has a weekly limit of at least 12,000, those introduced with seasons have a limit of 5,000 reputation. As a subscriber in a guild higher than level 64, this will take you a minimum of 11 - 12 weeks if you make very careful use of the +50% reputation booster that you can get from login rewards. Otherwise it's 14 weeks+.

I get entirely why BW has made these rep tracks as lengthy as they are. After all, completing 100 weekly objectives takes a minimum of 15 weeks (14 full weeks + two objectives in the 15th), so the two align pretty neatly in that regard, provided the reputation gain isn't boosted, of course. But still, it taking double the amount of time to hit max-rep than it does to hit max-rep even during the season itself isn't ideal.

I don't even want to consider how long it'll take a player who have missed out on season 2 or 3 altogether to get to max-rep once they can buy those companions and start earning the currency that way. That's going to be a lot of combat that player sees each week. Additionally, Jawa Intel only works for the active season's currency...

While I don't object to the 100-weekly achievement, I do think that the reputation factions for seasons need another look. I'm not entirely sure what they can do without upsetting the balance they designed it around, but it depends entirely on how strictly they want to hold themselves to it. It might be entirely possible, after all, for them to scrap the weekly objective for earning reputation with the faction and replace it with a new generic one, in which case they could afford to experiment more. 

We shall see if they decide that anything needs adjusting!



I like the core system of Galactic Seasons quite a bit, especially with the majority of the changes introduced with season 2. It started out as being very tedious, but has since shifted into something that's relatively easy to focus on without going overboard too much.

Of course, this is something where others' views may differ. I myself hold quite a different opinion on the worthwhileness of completing seasons on other servers compared to many other players, for example, although I do respect the incentive behind some players' reasoning for doing so. I still remember how burned out I felt after season 2, although that was due to other factors, and I do not wish to repeat that feeling anytime soon.

There are definitely some improvements that I feel should be made to the system as it is right now. The reputation aspect ideally needs some tweaking, but I feel it shouldn't take an awful lot of restructuring to get it "just right". 

The companions... well. We already have so many companions as it is, but I do wish that there was more variety. All three of the current ones have been tech-based and are not affiliated with any faction other than their own, which I feel is a shame. It would be quite nice to get a defector from either the Republic or the Empire, whether they be soldier or Jedi / Sith, and for their story to differ depending on your faction and / or alignment. The defector could be made to see how their original faction has changed, gradually bringing them back to sympathising with it, or they could be twisted further down their chosen path. 

It could work, and it would be really interesting to get multiple different perspectives of the same character!

As things are, I am relatively happy with the system. I do wish there were more robust "catch-up" mechanics in place for those who come to a season late for whatever reason, and I am wary of more and more seasons just adding so much more elements that people can miss out on. Then again, maybe they'll get to season 10, stop adding new ones, and re-run them all again or something.

I don't see it happening, but who knows?

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