Monday, January 2, 2012

Stats and gear in SWTOR

I must say that I find the stats in SWTOR somewhat weird. SWTOR uses a system in which 4 of the stats are ONLY ever useful for the 4 character classes on each side. If you find an item with +aim on it, only bounty hunters and troopers get any benefit from it. And as you can't group with members of the other faction, in a group situation where such a +aim item drops, it is clear that only the troopers in the group should roll on it.

That poses 2 questions: First about the name: Why not simply name those stats after the classes they are for? A +trooper stat would be clearer than a +aim stat. The same item, if viewed by a member of the imperium could be shown as +bounty hunter. And second: Why can other classes even roll need on items that are so clearly only useful for specific classes? There is no "this is a hunter weapon" discussion in SWTOR. A jedi knight rolling on a +aim item is most certainly ninjalooting it. At best he is rolling for it for an alt, but whether people should be allowed to roll need on gear for alts is a very different discussion.

EA made a press release in which they mentioned that already 850,000 Sith Warriors and 810,000 Jedi Knights have been created. Total number of players hasn't been announced, except that it is over 1 million, with one site using sales charts to calculate a first week sales figure of 1.68 million. But of course many people made several characters and aren't playing them equally often, so for the moment it isn't too clear how the republic / imperium balance, and the class balance are working out. From what I can see in the auction house (Galactic Market) on my server, there are significantly less smugglers / imperial agents around than other classes. As items for the 4 classes apparently drop equally often, that results in a surplus of +cunning items for sale.

Apart from the problems of class balance, the group size of 4 combined with the extremely class specific stats would enable the formation of groups with one player from each class. That could theoretically lead to loot drama free groups, in which every item drop would clearly be assigned to only 1 player. So the SWTOR system is a simplification in that respect. But as an old school RPG player I have to wonder whether that actually still is a stat system.

Kudos, by the way, to the system of how SWTOR hands out quest rewards. In World of Warcraft any given quest gives the same loot for everybody doing that quest. So if that quest reward is a two-handed sword and you play a mage, you're out of luck. SWTOR does it better, in that you are only offered items which either you or your companions can actually equip. And most of the time you can choose between such items, or a commendation token, so even if you already have better gear than what is offered as reward, you can still get something useful. I find that a much better system.

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