SWTOR'S Problem. And a solution?
Ops are generally the “big kids playground”. You can easily play through the story (or at least the end of it), watching your character mature into a hugely powerful Warrior. You’re the best! You’re an Emperor, you can take on ANYTHING! Here we have an experience which I’m sure many players encounter:
Ohh look, an “operation”! What’s one of them? Sounds like an extended mission chain of…. Ahh. Right. So, I can’t get in here without paying? Very well then. *pays BW*
Off we go with this cool story climax! This first mob looks a bit daunting, but I’m sure my Super Powerful jedi and invincibility-ticket healing companion will be just f-
*Return to medcentre*
Ok, so it’s group content then. Time to show these noobs how it’s done!
*Many. Hours. Later.*
Most people don’t speak my language. Half of them can’t even access the mission but try to join anyway… People keep disconnecting!
I’ve been trying to get a group for hours and it keeps falling apart.
At last! A group of 8 people who all seem to know what we’re doing. I keep dying, but it must be a rubbish healer. At least I can revive inside the mission area and it only takes ten minutes to catch back up with the group!
First boss! Time to get Rekt M8!!
*Group wipes at 90%*
Just play it calm, must have just been bad luck. Let’s go again.
*Boss bugs and resets at 12%*
*Three people quit*
Not to worry, we can just find some more worthy replacements with group finder.
*Many. More. Hours. Later.*
Still missing a member but we will make do.
*Getting towards the final boss*
Ahh sorry guys I’ve got work. Gotta dash! GL HF xD
[Whether you are this person, or someone in their Ops group, we all know what it’s like]
So what’s the problem?
Regardless of whether you are an experienced, long term player, or a new fan, there are so many barriers to stop you from enjoying the climatic content at the end of certain game sections. RotHC, Dread War x2, SoR, the Rak Plague, Gree… And now Iokath too.
While not all of these ops are overly important to the plot, it feels very disappointing to have that incomplete mission at the end of your campaign, knowing that you will most likely never complete it.
“Just find a raiding guild” you say. Fair enough. But what if your life schedule means you can’t commit to being there at 8pm next Tuesday? What if you have a bad internet that makes you DC/lag every so often because of the intensity of 8-man combat, and you keep getting kicked? What if you waste hours and hours of your time waiting for a group that never forms?
If the Commander/Emperor of the Eternal Alliance is going to take on a big enemy, who are they going to take? A bunch of strangers?
No! They would take Theron, Lana, Torian or Vette, Jorgan, Kaliyo, Niko, Shae and/or some Alliance troops.
Why the hell do we not have a solo option? With no gear or xp reward. Just purely so we can experience the story without the unnecessary hassle of arranging actual, useless human beings to help us?!
When you get to the end game, we spend more time PREPARING to play the game than we do playing it.
Shadow of Revan was a good example. They gave the final battle a solo option, where the other NPC characters come to help. It may have been prefaced by a cutscene of a battle that we couldn’t take part in, but at least there was something!