Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Visions of the Future

So. This is the first of two posts based on the upcoming change. This one, called Visions of the Future (Star Wars readers are of course familiar with this title), will deal with what is to come in the near future. The second, named Spectre of the Past, will look back at things that have been there with us from the launch and will discuss what will be preserved and what will vanish for good.

The huge (in terms of changes) patch 2.0 is knocking on the door and we, players, face the same problem as always when such thing occurs. Ever since the patch hit the PTS, everything lost most of its value and things have gone quiet on the live servers because of two reasons. First, people are curious about the upcoming changes and transfer/copy all their characters to PTS while severely neglecting their playtime on the Live servers. Second, because of the upcoming change of high-end gear, commendations, crafting materials etc, people have lost the will to chase anything but credits or reputation - which are the only two things preserving their value when the 2.0 patch goes live. I believe it was a good move to introduce reputation just before releasing the 2.0 patch on the PTS. How effective it is in keeping players still logging on Live servers is another question. Not much in my opinion.

What about us, Shadow tanks? From the recent reports done by several people who are busy with numbers on the PTS, our value is increasing. From the perspective of average players who have tried some of the new Hard Mode Flashpoints, the situation is 'ridiculous'. I belong to the group of people who briefly checked the PTS for the changes that have been made, but can't be bothered to spend hours of playing in order to experience the new content and learn all the changes to be 'ready when it hits live'. So far, from what I have seen, the spike damage has rapidly increased on the trash pulls which could be an issue for tanks who are not used to using their cooldowns in Flashpoints. I personally haven't experienced the new Operation Scum & Villainy or any old Operation tuned for level 55 so I won't talk about them because what you hear is usually far from the actual reality. In terms of survivability in general, there has been a table putting Shadows 10% above Guardians and Vanguards based on numbers (I'm not providing the link, but it can be found on the SW:TOR official PTS forum). Also, the new ops has been marked by many as easy and forgiving even on Hard Mode difficulty. Those players are definitely not the average players, but it can't be that 'ridiculous' if the most challenging content feels easy and forgiving for some people.

There will be a few factors affecting our tanking capabilities (threat, survivability) in 2.0: some harder to measure such as class competence, knowledge of basic principles, personal learning curve, competence of the whole group; some easier to measure such as skill points distribution or gear. I will make no conclusions or judgements until 2.0 goes Live. Spectre of the Past is going to be the next post. Until then...