Just a touch over six months after launch, Star Wars: the Old Republic has rolled out its third "major" content patch. Notably absent from 1.3 are a lot of the big things players would expect from a .1 update, such as new endgame Flashpoint or Operation content, a new Warzone, or even new story missions. 1.3 instead seems to focus on broad quality of life and systems changes, of which there are plenty. The long sought Group Finder is in, as well as a Ranked Warzones system and an overhaul to how Augmentation works. Read on for more details!
Possibly the most requested feature since launch (after playable wookiees) has been the now MMO staple of a group finder. TOR's version of the feature is handled very similarly to what we've seen in other MMOs: you enter a cue, selecting Tank, Damage, or Healing as your desired role. When a balanced group of the right level range is found, you are automatically teleported to the location of the mission. The feature can be used for Flashpoints, Story Mode (lowest difficulty) Operations, and the "mini-dungeon" instanced Heroic missions on planets. It also includes a Random Flashpoint option that grants additional rewards.
Unlike games such as WoW, the feature can't currently be used to find groups across servers. Granted, this is likely due to BioWare's ongoing plan to merge all of the game's servers into several, larger "super servers."
1.3 also introduces the much anticipated Ranked Warzones system for PvP, allowing players to compete on ranked teams in the game's existing warzones. Wins will increase your personal and team rating, adding a whole new dynamic to endgame for the most hardcore of hardcore PvPers. Which is to say, considering six of my eight characters are heavy RP carebears, I will probably not get a ton of personal use out of it.
Probably my most appreciated feature of 1.3 is the addition of new Legacy perks that speed the leveling process, letting you get to the well-written class mission goodness while bypassing a lot of the faction quests you've already done two or three times. These perks, unlike all other Legacy unlocks so far, are specific to each character and thus must be re-purchased on each. They include experience point bonuses for Warzones, Flashpoints, Space Missions, Class Missions, and Exploration. Maxing out each (+10% xp) will run you about 275,000 credits (one day of daily missions on a max level character) and require you to be level 25 to purchase the highest tiers.
Kits are now available that add augmentation slots to any piece of gear, allowing players to augment orange cosmetic gear without having to find someone who can crit-craft an augmentable version. The kits are player-crafted only, and made by all of the Crew Skills capable of making the augments themselves prior to 1.3 (Armstech, Armormech and Synthweaving.) The augment slots added are tiered, with the lower-tiered kits only allowing you to add lower-level augments. The price of outfitting a full set of gear with endgame augment slots has been estimated at around 2-4 million credits, depending on the market price on the new, faction-neutral Galactic Trade Network.
While light on beefy content from a thranta's-eye-view, 1.3 has brought significant changes to almost every playstyle in TOR. Whether it's enough to keep the shrinking subscriber base playing until the bigger updates we've been promised for later this year remains to be seen.