SWG History: Masters of the Wild (chapter 6)
The addition of new content, and significant revamps to classes, continued through 2006 and into 2007. Each of the classes had their abilities tweaked and retweaked, examining components for weaknesses. Chapter updates were themed to not only new content, but to classes as well. As a result players could clearly anticipate when and how their gameplay experience would change. A lack of communication was the ultimate root cause behind the player base’s NGE hatred, and drastic steps were taken to improve those avenues of discussion.
The Galactic Senate, a volunteer group of players chosen to represent various aspects of the game, has been one of their more successful initiatives. Senators maintain a list of ‘top 5’ most pressing concerns. There’s a senator for each class, one for PvP, one for the Storytelling system, and each makes an effort to convey player concerns to the developers. A constant directive from the players, heard over and over again after the NGE, was that there were game elements they really missed. Beast pets, pet training, and BioEngineering were near the very top of that list, and the developers responded.
The Masters of the Wild Chapter reintroduced beast pets and pet cloning with a whole new series of gameplay components. The first expertise system was added to the game specifically for the new discipline of Beast Mastery. Beast Masters could explore entirely new avenues of character development, either training up beasts for combat in the field or developing their scientific skills to clone high quality beasts in a lab. A unique enzyme/DNA sampling mini-game wrapped the system in another layer of gameplay, and presaged other systems that would be added down the line. Other expertise systems are slated to follow Beast Mastery – Droid Commander is likely coming down the pipe before the end of the year.