Although most PC gamers are currently stalking around below the Shadow of Mordor, BioWare hopes to bring MMO fans under a different shadow this December. After a few delays and a bit of worry about the future of Star Wars: The Old Republic, the next expansion for the MMO spiritual successor to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic will be ready for launch just before Christmas. In addition to some major changes to the game’s talent system, the Shadow of Revan expansion will also pin players up against the iconic titular villain.
The Shadow of Revan digital expansion is set to raise the level cap up to 60 on December 9th. Experience points to work through those five new levels can be earned on two new planets, Rishi and Yavin 4. The new content includes four hard more flashpoints (similar to instances or dungeons in other MMOs), two ‘role-neutral’ flashpoints, two level 60 operations, and a new chapter in the game’s story mode.
Star Wars lore-addicts and old-school KOTOR fans will be happy to hear that the expansion’s mission storyline takes place during a pivotal point in the universe’s history. The Republic and the Empire forces will need to team up and work together to hold off Revan’s armies. We don’t know much about the details of Revan’s master plan yet, but all of that will likely be revealed in high-level flashpoints and operations as end-game players work towards a showdown with the legendary villain himself.
If you’re already sold on the expansion, you can pre-order Shadow of Revan for $19.99. Shoppers who lock in the purchase before December 1 receive some pretty nice in-game rewards. If you’ve fallen behind in the game, or just want to roll a new class, the pre-order will grant you a 12x experience boost up to level 55. That should be enough extra XP to hit max level soley by completing the class story quests, without the need to worry about any side missions or optional flashpoints.
BioWare isn’t ready to go the Warlords of Draenor route and give shoppers a free max level character just yet, but the company clearly wants to make it easy for rookie players to reach the new content. Other pre-order bonuses include early access to the new content and free access to the game’s previous expansion, Rise of the Hutt Cartel.
One of the most interesting changes to SWTOR in the expansion is the addition of class disciplines. The new discipline system will replace skill trees entirely and attempt to eliminate the frustration of purchasing essential skills to make each class useful…
“No longer are you forced to purchase skills that are, in essence, necessary for your character to function; you simply get them automatically as you level up and progress down what we call the Discipline Path… Much like the old Skill Trees, each path is made up of active abilities, passive abilities, and a new type of progression concept called a utility selection.”
The new system seems to follow in the footsteps of other major changes to AAA MMOs lately to make the games more accessible to casual gamers. WoW made some changes to its own talents and specializations in the past few years that definitely made the game new-player friendly, but also removed some of the min-maxing that more core RPG players have grown to love over the years.
Although STWOR had a bit of a rocky first year (after a very profitable first month or two), the game seems to have recovered with its transition to an optional subscription service and microtransactions. We are interested to see if the emphasis on a fan-favorite villain like Revan will draw in any new players or if this expansion just draws in $20 a pop from current players.
Do you plan to pick up the Shadow of Revan expansion pack? What do you think of the changes coming up for the game? Let us know in the comments.
Star Wars: The Old Republic Shadow of Revan will be available on December 9 for PC.
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