Just a little less than a month out of the gate, Star Wars: The Old Republic developers are seeing where the cracks are and as we speak are putting the final touches on the January 17, 2012 update that has a ton of new things, some changes in game play, and of course, some bug fixes that will hopefully not fix one thing while breaking something else.
The first update to the game since launch is called Rise of the Rakghouls because it adds in a whole new Flashpoint into the game, one that zombie hunters will appreciate. It seems that the planet Kaon has a slight problem. Their people are getting infected and turning into some creepy dudes and if the disease isn’t stopped, it will spread across the galaxy. Since Kaon is a neutral world in the Tion Hedgemony, both sides are interested in keeping this situation at bay and so they both can send up to four players to fight for their side. If they can save the planet from apocalypse, they might just get Kaon to join a side, something that would be quite helpful. But the way is rather intense and only for experienced players of level 50 or higher. For those not as sure of their skills, there is normal mode and for those who are arrogantly good at what they do, a hero mode is also available.
One of the other new features to the game is the concern that the Hutts may not be as neutral as once thought and both sides fear that they might be planning some universal domination. So the player’s job is to take 8 or 16 of his best men and women and try to confront Karraga at his palace and find out just what he’s up to. This particular operation doesn’t have a level limit, but it does have several difficulty levels like normal, hero and the frightfully devilish nightmare mode.
As we said numerous bugs have been squashed according to developers, as well as some added load balancing of the servers to keep everything running smoothly for as many as possible. There is also now a PvP warzones bracket set at level 50, anti-aliasing to make the lower resolutions look better, and some Open World PvP changes on Ilum too..
The next update, which Bioware says will happen frequently throughout the year to add new adventures and maintain the game, will come in March 2012 and will feature even more game content including another new Flashpoint and Operation.
On a side note, those with high-end PC’s may be a bit frustrated at this point after seeing some great hi-res textures in scenes where characters are limited, but not during regular game play, no matter how much you turn up the juice. This is intentional and not a bug in the software, although they could have been clearer on that and taken out that option. Perhaps they will in the new version. The reason for the switch is that they found out that the high resolution textures that looked so cool were slowing things down, especially in areas where there were a lot of characters within view. So they made the decision to ditch them in order to maintain the proper speed, even though they knew it might offend some who are used to that hi-res look in games (and what they saw in the beta test). They are trying to come up with ways to allow some better graphics (and anti-aliasing is a good start), but those hi-res textures will only be seen in areas that have limited population that can be controlled for now, such as cutscenes and certain private areas, not in standard play. Pity, but a decent compromise.
And that’s about all the news we have for now from the deepest recesses of the MMO galaxy…