In the wake of all those posts on the new Star Wars: The Old Republic expansion, we got a bit more information as to the future, thanks to livestreams and announcements. They’re worth a look at.
First: the next Chapter for Knights of the Fallen Empire will be released in February, not January as I’d heard previously. The plan appears to be to release a chapter a month, but honestly? Name one development team that’s managed to hold to that sort of bold claim. (Actually, that’s rhetorical-there may well be games that release new content consistently on a monthly cadence, but I doubt they’re as intensive as the chapters in KotFE. In my experience in playing and reading assorted dev claims, none have managed to pull that off for a year’s worth of time-and most blow it the second month in.) So I honestly will continue to figure that at the very best, we’re looking at a chapter every two months. And that’s probably optimistic.
Of more interesting import was the announcement of subscriber rewards on a monthly basis up to next August. The actual rewards themselves-for the most part-have been unannounced, but they include a couple of days early access to the next chapter (for each chapter), and something related to the HK-55 unit you meet in KotFE. That’s no spoiler-it’s on their KotFE page. And it’s even less of a spoiler when I say that the first month’s reward-in time for the new chapter-will be a permanent HK-55 companion, which I believe is an account unlock, similar to how they did the Nico Okarr companion prior to KotFE’s release. My interpretation is that this will likely allow a starting character to use their own HK droid.
That said: it sure kind of kills the need for hunting the HK-51 unit with those missions and unlocks. Then again, if you don’t happen to have been subscribed in this window, it doesn’t become completely irrelevant-so it’s a question again of “do you sub or do you play free?”
I don’t mind the companion. Apparently, though, he will not have any in-game interactions like your usual companions in the pre-KotFE game; of course, HK-51 didn’t either, and while I can’t speak for Treek the Ewok, I’d bet that would also be the case for her. I’m dead certain that early Nico doesn’t. So if you’re looking for commentary from companions in the pre-KotFE game, the new HK unit won’t be doing that. Still, it’s another companion, and if you like the thought of an HK unit and don’t want to pay up the credits or cartel coins to unlock the other HK unit (not to mention the missions to unlock that capability at all).
Now, if you were to sub all the way through August uninterrupted, the devs have an interesting reward lined up: a special chapter wherein you step into the shoes of the HK-55 unit and play as that. It’s not unprecedented for Bioware to do something like that; I recall a section in Mass Effect 2 that was similar. It’s not big deal to me, but given the interesting humor that tends to be attached to most HK units, I think it should be at least amusing to play.
Needless to say, forum-goers are unimpressed. Big shock there. Sometimes I wonder why I bother to read reactions when I’m apparently so out of step with them. Ah well-how boring would it be if we were all alike, anyway?
As for my own progress, I’ve pretty much gotten my Smuggler where I want him to be; he’s unlocked almost everything he can unlock, blowing up all the Star Fortresses and getting the associated companions. The only companions I haven’t nabbed have been M1-4X (because PvP) and Doctor Lokin (because medical supplies). I will probably spend a lot of time in the Rakghoul caverns during the next event to get some of the supplies that will grow his affection to the point where I can unlock Lokin. My Agent isn’t that far along, but he does have all the companions he can get except for Pierce (because PvP) and the Star Fortress ones (because I’ve been busy doing them with my Smuggler). My Jedi Knight has completed the story to date, and my Sith Inquisitor is working out on Yavin, and I expect soon to hit a landmark with him: my first character to max out Dark Side points. He was pretty Dark Side, but he had moments of actual decency at times, which hindered his progress to the Dark, but he’s been on a nice streak of evil lately. If I haven’t maxed out my Dark Side points before I leave Yavin, I’ll eat my shoes.
Next time, I’ll take a peek back into what’s been happening in Star Trek Online; we’ve had a couple of new episodes, which are worth commenting on.