SWTOR's Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion patch now in public testing
Star Wars: The Old Republic's Public Test Server updated yesterday with the massive 2.0 patch jumping in from lightspeed prior to the forthcoming Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion. Along with raising the level cap to 55 and continuing your character's story, major ability and stat redesigns also show up across all eight classes.
Each class and their advanced specializations get a new ability to acquire while leveling up. A couple address lingering balance concerns in PVP scenarios—the Sniper/Gunslinger gets a stacking stealth detection effect while in cover, for example—but others bring additional PVE benefits, such as Marauders/Sentinels acquiring a wicked-sounding double-saber throw to deal extra multi-target damage.
A new Operation, Scum and Villainy, is also arriving to dispense the latest tier of gear and weaponry and act as a proving ground for your newfound skills. It features four difficulty modes and seven bosses, a welcome bump in challenge from the relatively brief Terror From Beyond and Explosive Conflict Operations released in earlier updates. Dutiful data-miner Dulfy has additional info on the stats and appearances of the new gear.
The final notable change is a reworking of the Alacrity stat into a universally useful gain for all classes. Instead of its current effect of speeding up cast times for charged and channeled abilities, Alacrity will reduce the global cooldown and activation time of all abilities. It'll be interesting to see the effects of a high-Alacrity setup for quick-hitting classes such as the Marauder/Sentinel or Operative/Scoundrel.
Direct your sensors to the Test Server's lengthy patch notes for more details on the many changes 2.0 implements.