Back to the Future

Okay everyone brace yourselves, this is heavy. Senior designer George Smith revealed BioWare’s plans for end-game content in Knights of the Fallen Empire.

They are overhauling their Flashpoint and Operations system. Every existing Flashpoint and Operation will be made relevant to players who are at max level.

There will be solo Flashpoints that scale you down to the level of the instance. There will be tactical Flashpoints that bolster you up and allow you to play with players of almost any level. There will be hard mode Flashpoints that require tanks, healers, and DPS. On top of that every single Operation will be converted to level 65.

Everything about this announcement is amazing, except for one thing.

We know that many players love our Operations and look forward to the introduction of new challenges, however with Knights of the Fallen Empire there will not be any new Operations.

Great Scott!

That’s right for the better part of Knights of the Fallen Empire players will be stuck in time reliving their past glories.

Keep in mind that the story part of Knights of the Fallen Empire is scheduled to last until May or June of next year. If George’s statement means no new Operations for the entire expansion, that’s a long time to go without any new elder game content. I’m talking Obi-Wan stuck on Tatooine long.

Oh No! The Rancor!
Oh No! The Rancor! Again.

I love Eternity Vault. I really do. I think Soa is one the best raid encounters I’ve ever seen in any MMO. Am I looking forward to defeating him again? I’m not sure.

The problem with Soa is I know the fight. I know where to stand when the platforms fall. I know which platforms to jump on. I know when to pause, and where to heal up.

I’m familiar with the orbs and the mind traps. I know all of this already. It’s not just Soa either. It’s the entire Operation. The same goes for Karagga’s Place, Explosive Conflict, Terror From Beyond, Scum and Villainy, Dread Fortress and Dread Palace.

I’ve done Bonethrasher so many times that I feel like I’m the guy in Return of the Jedi who sobbed like a baby when Luke killed the Rancor. Bonethrasher’s my buddy now, not my adversary.

What makes Operations so engaging is learning how to overcome the new mechanics that bosses throw at you. Gear is nice, but it’s only part of the equation. It’s what keeps players running on the treadmill once they’ve mastered the Operation. Here’s something I found interesting from George’s post.

As you continue to play and progress in the game and pass the level range of those Flashpoints, you no longer play them, as they become obsolete. Similarly, due to the nature of gear progression or an increased level cap, as we release new Operations we continue to make older Operations obsolete.

This is how MMO’s work, or a least it’s how many MMO players perceive them to work. You play through the content when it’s relevant. Then, after players have conquered it and are bored with it, you increase the level cap and release new content to satiate their voracious appetites. This is how Star Wars: The Old Republic has worked for nearly four years. Now with Knights of the Fallen Empire, BioWare is creating a huge paradigm shift, and it’s not clear if players are ready for it.

Knights of the Fallen Empire is a relaunching of the game, and the changes to Flashpoints and Operations are BioWare getting their house in order. The question is will anyone still be living in the house when all is said and done?