5.2: War for Iokath Stream Thoughts

Yesterday, BioWare revealed details of 5.2: War for Iokath. It looks to be one of the more detailed patches we've had for some time, so let's get cracking with analysing each of the details.


The most minor update which has been confirmed is that all ten Uprisings which are in the game currently will receive a Master Mode. Despite their previous assertions, the developers confirmed that they are going to be including new mechanics (and changing/removing older ones) for this new difficulty mode, which I am very interested in seeing. We have received no indication that there will be any new ones for the time being, so time will tell as to whether or not all we've got is all we're going to get for these.

Anyway. As the patch name indicates, we get to revisit Iokath in what is actually a small-scale story update (at least it isn't another Chapter...). If you can't remember why Iokath couldn't be revisited before, ARIES's superweapon had discharged a shedton of radiation upon its second activation at the end of Chapter V: Ascension, but now the planet is safe to explore again.

However, the Alliance isn't the only party interested in this world; the Republic and the Empire, headed by Jace Malcom and Empress Acina, respectively, are there, too. Rather than be a third wheel, we can be directly involved in the conflict between the two by choosing which side to support in the conflict, which is a choice which may also have consequences later on.

One of the more immediate consequences of our decision is that we get the support of either Imperial Officer Malavai Quinn or former Havoc Squad specialist Elara Dorne. I'll certainly be very interested in seeing how many people - even on Republic characters - choose to forgo Dorne in favour of finally being able to execute Quinn. 

Once the main story of 5.2 is completed, there are two things to start getting involved in. The first of these is the new Daily zone on Iokath. It is currently unknown whether this area will be similar to Oricon, where the story missions became the Dailies, or Ziost, where the required story missions and Dailies were completely separate. 

Beyond this, Iokath brings with it something many people have been clamouring for for a long time now: a new Operation! Or, rather, the first boss out of five, with the remaining four to be released throughout the year. As far as we know about the story, another superweapon (what, you haven't tripped over your three superweapons today? Slackers) has been activated, and is going to eradicate not only the Eternal Alliance, but the forces of the Empire and the Republic as well if it is not destroyed.

Like many people, I would have undoubtedly preferred to receive all five bosses at once, but based entirely on how they presented their options - release them as they're completed bit-by-bit or wait until the end of the year and release them in one go - I think they made the most sensible choice of the two. At least this way there are going to be elements of progression throughout the year, since each boss will acquire a Master Mode version whenever its successor is made accessible. Sure, it will take a long time to clear the entire instance, but at least we can see the encounters as they come.

Plus, I'd rather receive one bugged fight than an entire Operation filled with five rushed and buggy fights. 

I do find it especially interesting how the first confirmed boss is named "Tyth". This heavily implies that the remaining bosses will also take their names from the Pantheon of Zakuulan Old Gods, which leaves Aivela, Esne, Nahut, Scyva, and Izax as probable follow-ons. If this is correct, then this is really interesting, since it indicates that the creators of the Eternal Fleet and the Gravestone had far more involvement with Zakuul than we previously thought possible. 

Meanwhile, Zildrog feels left out because he now seems to be the only Zakuulan myth to not have any ties outside of Zakuul.


All in all, 5.2 does look solid. I'm really looking forward to reuniting with Dorne - it just seems right that she'd be handpicked by Malcom given her harsh dismissal by Saresh - and Quinn and continuing the story in a smaller way, especially since Iokath seems to be taking a similar approach to Oricon, which was one of my favourite story-cum-group-content updates.

I'm also curious to see what the Master Mode Uprisings are like, particularly since they're going to be changing and adding mechanics as they see fit. Much better than just simply making things hit harder but otherwise keeping them the exact same. 

As for the new Operation, obviously I'm very pleased and enthused about something new. Sure, it could have been handled better, but as far as I'm concerned it could also have been handled worse. I'm very interested in seeing how the fights play out as they come, particularly since the Tyth fight was apparently designed by the person who designed the Temple of Sacrifice Revan fight...

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