Rise of the Hutt Cartel
Posted by Blessing of Kings [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 April 2013, 1:55 am
The Old Republic launched it's mini-expansion, Rise of the Hutt Cartel, last weekend. It includes a new storyline revolving around the Hutts and the planet Makeb. It has 5 new levels, and an assortment of new mechanics and quests.  By and large, I think it's a solid addition to the game.

Sadly, the class stories did not continue. There's only an Imperial storyline and a Republic storyline, about 9 to 10 hours long. Though oddly enough, I found that the Imperial story felt like an Agent story. Not sure if some of the dialogue was deliberately shaded towards that (since I was playing my Agent), or if the story was just more "Agenty" than the other classes.

One thing I do find funny is that, in earlier chapters, my character was the grunt carrying out the dangerous missions under orders from superiors. Now, my character is a power in the Empire and is in command of the operation. Yet she's still the one carrying out the dangerous missions.

There are some interesting changes to daily missions in this expac. In particular, the new planet has this "staged" mission concept. You have to do 3 Stage 1 Missions, which you can pick from a pool of about 7. The pool does include a couple group mission. Then you do an intermediate mission, and a pool of new Stage 2 missions open up. That's as far as I have gotten. The overall stage mission is a Weekly mission. It's a nice blend of repetition and dailies that you can pursue throughout the week.

There's also a couple new types of activities. One is macro-binoculars, which seem to be a bunch of puzzle missions. So far there's been some "hunt for pixels", some jumping puzzles, and a maneuvering through a laser maze puzzle. I find it a bit odd that the spiritual successor to the old point-and-click adventure games is occurring in MMOs like TOR and The Secret World.

The other new mission type is seeker droid missions, which is essentially TOR's version of archaeology. Very similar hot-cold mechanic as in WoW.

The only other thing to note is that the Marksman Sniper rotation changed significantly. It used to be a very strict "Enabler - Followthrow - Filler - Filler" rotation.

Now it's pretty much just alternating Enablers and Followthrough. However more abilities enable Followthrough, and there are interactions between the abilities. I rather like the change. It's simpler, with a couple less buttons, but does feel right.

Overall, Rise of the Hutt Cartel is a solid expansion and well worth the price. I wonder if Bioware could have gotten away with not raising the level cap. Personally, I wouldn't mind paying another $10 or so for the next chapter, another 10 hours of story content, in a few months. But I think raising the level cap yet again would be annoying. I wouldn't mind a story expac that just happened at 55.

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