SWG History: A Collection of Heroes (chapter 7)
Though Beast Mastery was a welcome addition to the game, a refreshing pre-NGE component that players deeply cared for, other systems have had a greater impact on overall gameplay. Two such systems were bundled together for the Chapter 7 release, A Collection of Heroes. That one patch, added to the game late last year, has had a revitalizing effect on player morale the ‘purpose’ of a player’s time in Star Wars Galaxies.
Collections are one of the most popular elements of modern SWG gameplay, offering players combat-based and exploration-based objectives to keep their time in-world fulfilling. They’re essentially an Achievements-style system, sending players to the far-flung reaches of the galaxy on mini-quests of infinite variety. One set of collections has you seeking out rare weapons secreted in inconspicuous places. Another asks you to kill a simply ridiculous number of Womp Rats, the fuzzy nuisances that plague the deserts of Tatooine. Completing collections earns players experience points, titles, and in some circumstances even loot. The best collections offer beautiful pieces of art or sculptures that can be featured inside a player’s house.
Paired with the solo-play oriented Collections was the introduction of what SWG calls Heroic Encounters. They’re instanced missions, intended for high-level group play and offering some of the most difficult challenges in the game. Each is as intensely Star-Warsy as the developers can make them, pitting players against well-known foes like IG-88, lore-based threats like a Dark Witch of Dathomir, and even bringing the hilarious character HK-47 of KOTOR fame. Additional encounters have been added in subsequent patches, adding in an encounter with a Star Destroyer gone rogue and the deadly/unpredictable Sith Lord Exar Kun. The rewards for completing these encounters are substantial, with a token currency being exchangable for the proverbial ‘phat loot’.
Future additions to the game will build heavily on these two systems, with players expecting new Collections and Heroic Encounters in every Chapter push. The next announced Heroic Encounter is mind-blowing for players old and new: the Battle for Hoth. Of course, new story and lore elements are terrific, but there’s still systems work to be done.