Hello Holotable Heroes!
It’s time again for the quarterly Road Ahead, where I reveal some of what the team is planning to accomplish in the upcoming months for Star Wars™: Galaxy of Heroes and give insight into the development process, as well as what you can expect to see from the team in that time for some of our larger updates.
Celebrating the 15th Anniversary of Star Wars™: Knights of the Old Republic
This July marks the 15th anniversary of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Created by BioWare, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic delivered a deep, compelling role-playing experience filled with exciting new characters that were introduced into the Star Wars™ universe. To celebrate the anniversary, we are thrilled to be bringing some more beloved characters from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic to Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, including light side companions such as the Jedi Padawan Bastila Shan, the Jedi Jolee Bindo, the Rutian Twi’lek Mission Vao, the Wookiee Zaalbar, and the loveable utility droid T3-M4.
We’ll be sharing some more about these characters in the upcoming weeks.
Game & Feature Roadmap
Something we use internally to guide the direction of the game is a multi-year roadmap, which we put together to help identify the direction we want to go. There are numerous things we try to balance, between new features and quality of life, features for new players or for those at the end-game, content for those who prefer Player versus Environment or Player versus Player. All these things we try to use to strike a balance of features, and then we layer in a rotation of characters from throughout the Star Wars universe, from different movies and shows, trying to capture every last bit of the fandom.
I mention this, because I want to describe how we came to the decision of what we wanted to do in our Title Update 13 build, which is slated for release sometime in the next couple of months.
If you look at the last few releases spanning all the way back to TU9 at the end of last summer which was the release of Territory Battles, we have tried to touch on different parts of the player experience. Territory Battles was an entirely new feature aimed at making use of the entire collection and creating more cooperation inside of a guild. The next update, Territory Wars, while still focusing on guild play, introduced cooperative competitive play. With our “regular” Quality of Life version in February, it was time for us to provide a little relief in introducing brand new features, and to focus on improvements to help players save time that had been creeping up with the previous releases and the new raid. In TU12 and TU13 both, we are hoping to refine and build upon existing systems that have either not caught on sufficiently, or that we think could be better. All of this is laying the groundwork for the things we intend to do in the future, and we want to ensure the foundation is stable.
As I’ve mentioned several times in the past few months, we are aware that one of the biggest requests from the community has been to facilitate “mod loadouts” – or an easy way for players to swap a group of mods from one character to another. However, not only was that a pretty hefty task for a normal Quality of Life update, but we knew there were a number of things that we believe need to be done with mods in order for them to reach their potential. From looking at the data, we know there are a vast majority of players who have not yet engaged with the feature, and in talking with the community we’ve heard that they’re too complicated. With an eye to solving concerns for both people who understand mods very well and those who don’t use them at all, we have set about on a number of changes and quality of life improvements to the mod system.
Upcoming Feature Changes
All of our updates have underlying goals that help us to frame what we’re trying to accomplish for Galaxy of Heroes, and with mods, those goals seemed pretty clear:
- Clarity – Make mods easier to understand for players who find them overwhelming or confusing
- Ease of Use – Make mods easier to use for all players, but particularly address usability concerns of players who currently engage with them, and make the system work the way they want it to
- Balance – Create more diversity in the mod meta by elevating some of the sets that are currently under-utilized
- Depth – Deeper investment in mods while respecting the investment made so far in existing mods
I’m going to talk about some of the changes you can expect to see for each of these goals, however we have already begun to get player feedback on some of these items and will be running a couple alpha and beta tests in advance of their release. Although we’re starting to see many of you really engage with the new features we added with the Ships update, we acknowledge it can be frustrating when existing systems change. We also recognize that we could have done a better job messaging the changes to help the community get prepared for the upcoming changes. It is our sincere belief that these mod goals reflect more about improving your mods experience than changing it. Unlike how ships were prior to TU12, we believe there is more currently working with mods than not, however we do want to address some of the issues above to increase the use and utility of them. We’re working on a full communication plan to explain and visualize the changes coming to mods, which you’ll see rolling out soon. Here’s a taste of what’s to come:
Clarity: Basic Mod Screen & Recommended Mods
As mentioned, many players don’t engage with mods at all, and many who do have expressed frustration and confusion about how to utilize the system. We are planning on addressing that with recommended mods:
- Recommended Mods – One of the primary reasons why many players do not engage with mods is that determining which mods are best for a character requires a lot of knowledge about the character’s abilities. To increase mod accessibility, we have introduced a new mods screen that is similar to equipping gear. In this view, one of the player’s currently owned mods is recommended for the character and can be assigned. If the player does not have the recommended mod then a find flow will direct to a location where the mod can be acquired. The player can even press an Auto-Assign button to assign the best mods for that character.
Note: We understand some players use different mods depending on different factors, and while we will be offering top tier recommendations, the primary focus of this system is to help make mods easier to use for people who don’t understand them deeply.
- Basic Mod Screen – Mod recommendations occur on a new screen called the Basic View. This will allow people who don’t want to be inundated with information to simply focus on what mods they have equipped and how to upgrade them. You can choose between Basic and Advanced, and once selected, your choice will stick - so you don’t have to switch back and forth if you don’t want to.
Note: If you are already an advanced mods user, you can opt to stick on the advanced screen which will remain the same as it is currently.
Ease of Use: Mod Loadouts
While a number of items are intended to improve the usability of mods, like removing the Destroy button which was a remnant from a previous time, the primary objective was to provide advanced players with a mod loadout feature.
- Similar to saved squads for characters, the mod loadouts will allow you to save out groupings of mods, name them for easy reference, and then load them up onto another character with just a few button presses. This will even allow removing equipped mods and assigning to a new character in one step.
Balance: Pulling up Under-used Stats
We know a few mod sets, like Defense, aren’t good enough to warrant even using them right now. We’ll be making them more powerful, while not decreasing the value of any existing sets. This will provide more variety in mods without decreasing the value of any existing mods. The Speed Set will not be changing.
Depth: Introducing Slicing
One of the things that has added to the difficulty of understanding mods is the fact that it is unclear which mods are good in the first place. A mod’s Tier (Color) is currently based on the number of secondary stats when it is acquired. For example, a Tier A (Gold) Mod has 4 secondary stats at level 1 where a Tier E (Grey) mod has no secondary stats at level 1. What is confusing is that we then increase the tier (change the color) when leveling the mod. This results in all level 15 mods being Tier A (Gold) when there is a vast difference in the value of a level 15 mod that started at Tier A (Gold) vs one that started at Tier E (Grey).
To better represent the value of the mod, we are separating improving the level of the mod from improving the Tier of the mod. In the future, as you level a mod up to level 15, you will reveal all four secondary stats. You will not see the color change any longer as you level the mod. By revealing the secondary stats prior to leveling up the secondary stats, we’re trying to give players the choice whether they want to invest in a mod before spending anything on it.
In an upcoming release, we’re going to set each mod’s color according to represent the Tier of the mod when it was first acquired, however the mod’s stats will remain unchanged. We are going to roll this change out prior to the client update so that you can get familiarity with how this affects your current mod roster. This may be somewhat of a visual shock, but keep in mind that the stats are not changing through this update. We’d also suggest that until these changes go into effect, you may want to avoid mass selling your 5-dot mods, so you can make a more accurate decision about their value.
We are also introducing a new feature, Slicing, that allows players to improve the mod’s Tier. Similar to crafting gear, Slicing requires new pieces of salvage that can be acquired through Mod Battles. Once the salvage has been acquired, “Slicing” a mod will upgrade a random secondary stat and increase the Tier (Color) making it roughly equivalent of getting that tier mod in the first place, but at a different cost. For example, slicing a Tier E mod (Grey) three times will turn it into a Tier B mod (Purple). Slicing can only be done on rarity 5 mods. More about this will be revealed in the upcoming weeks.
There’s a lot more to share, especially details around these systems and how they’ll work along with other mod updates we are adding to the game, which we will be revealing through additional communications and will be testing in the upcoming beta tests.
And as always, we’ll see you on the holotables,