Star Wars: The Old Republic Creative Director speaks about the game's "next 10 years"

Creative Director Charles Boyd spoke to several outlets about the upcoming SWTOR expansion, the 10th anniversary and the game's future.

BioWare is putting in some serious effort to hype up Legacy of the Sith, the upcoming new expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic. The studio is also celebrating the 10th anniversary of the MMO, and has long-reaching plans for the game's future. However, a number of fans are concerned by some of the changes being introduced in 7.0.

Legacy of the Sith continues the storyline revolving around the return and defection of Darth Malgus, arguably the most iconic character that the MMO spawned. The original poster boy of the game back in 2011, players finally had the chance to face off against Malgus on the planet Ilum years ago before SWTOR got any actual expansions.

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We meet the scarred, cyborg Sith again on Ossus in the lead-up to the Onslaught expansion, and his machinations since that storyline have once again made him the enemy of both factions. Now, Legacy of the Sith will offer some answers about what Malgus is up to - but it will likely pose plenty of its own questions too, since Creative Director Charles Boyd has expressed in multiple interviews that SWTOR still has a long way to go.

Between a 7 minute story overview video and interviews with Gamespot and, the SWTOR team is keen on spreading the news of 7.0 and the 10th anniversary of the game.

After a slump in popularity following the Knights of the Eternal Throne expansion, the release of Onslaught, the launch of the game on Steam and increased attention thanks to the success of The Mandalorian have put the game back into a healthy place, and the team is planning accordingly.

The release date of Legacy of the Sith - which we still don't know, unfortunately - is tactically placed once again to not only coincide with the anniversary, but also with the premiere of The Book of Boba Fett on Disney+ this December, which is expected to drive new players to the MMO keen on living out their fantasies of being one of the top bounty hunters in the galaxy far, far away.

BioWare has also spent the past few weeks explaining some of the upcoming - and pretty major - changes hitting SWTOR as part of the 7.0 update in blogs and forum posts. As far as the hardcore fandom is concerned (meaning frequent forum and r/SWTOR posters, mostly) these changes are quite the mixed bag - but then when has any MMO ever announced an expansion that some vocal haters didn't say would kill the game?

Classes and Advanced Classes are being unshackled from one another, meaning you can play through the "class story" of the Jedi Knight as any of the four force-user classes, meaning that the Hero of Tython can be a Sage or Shadow - and if you alignment dips into the Dark Side, you'll even have access to the Sith specs, and vice versa. Similarly, all non-force user specs will be available to all non-force user classes, meaning we'll actually be able to play as bounty hunters using weapons other than dinky pistols.

Weapons are coming to the outfit designer, and the level cap is being raised to 80. Meanwhile, Legendary items and a new gear progression system is completely changing how players will grind for item rating, and conquests are being overhauled. The Dark versus Light and Renown systems are being retired entirely.

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The changes being introduced to conquests and gearing have resulted in most of the complaints among players, but the staggered item rating increase system as described by the developers indicates that the main gripe people have with the latter is only a temporary one. Either way, if anything this change brings SWTOR more in line with how gearing has worked in MMO games for the majority of the genre's history.

The new operation will be a treat for fans of the original two Knights of the Old Republic games.

Despite the rumblings of a vocal minority, there is excitement among the fanbase and enthusiasm among the developers ahead of 7.0's launch. In one of the interviews, Boyd spoke about the "next 10 years of SWTOR" and it is clear that EA and BioWare have long-reaching plans for the MMO.

More storylines, of course, and more gameplay and modernization improvements as well - we really want to keep our visual quality and user experience feeling fresh and modern as we move into the future. Beyond that, I’m not allowed to say yet, but it’s a big galaxy, so we’re always going to be thinking big for SWTOR’s future!

When the anniversary and expansion updates were first announced in a livestream earlier this year, it was made clear that while gameplay content will fall under the purview of the latter, the former is looking at deeper technical improvements. Not necessarily launching entirely alongside Legacy of the Sith but rather spread out, BioWare is working on modernizing, optimizing, updating and tweaking just about every element of the game, with these changes planned to roll out periodically throughout all of 2022.

What does this entail? We know that the UI is getting overhauled which is bound to offer some performance boosts - the current UI system is very dated, and under-the-hood is a stitched together mess that eats stupid amounts of system resources - and the game is getting sweeping optimization improvements. The team is also working its way through all in-game cutscenes starting with the oldest ones seen in the vanilla game and reworking them to feel less... 2011.

It's fitting that Malgus headlines the 10th anniversary update of a game known for villains coming back from the dead.

Improvements to textures, effects, menu systems and more are expected throughout the next year. On the content side of things, Legacy of the Sith will, at launch, offer players a new planetary area - we're not saying "new planet" because Manaan is already in the game, but in a very limited fashion - as well as a flashpoint. A new operation will arrive in January, and additional content is being spread out across the next year and beyond instead of being dropped as one lump update.

According to Boyd in the interviews, the expansion is building up to something major in the game storyline. Between one planetary area and one flashpoint - the operation won't concern the main plotline - we didn't expect Legacy of the Sith to resolve anything at launch, but we are curious regarding the story implications. What could it be working towards? What is Malgus' plan, and who is the mysterious Darth Nul?

What's certain is that EA and BioWare wouldn't pump the sort of development resources needed for a complete behind-the-scenes technical overhaul of an MMO if they expected it to shut down anytime soon. Legacy of the Sith is expected to come out sometime this December, and we fully expect it to leave us on a cliffhanger or two, but we're eager to see how things develop along the lines of Boyd's plans.

Star Wars: The Old Republic - Legacy of the Sith launches sometime this holiday season.

Aron Gerencser
Gaming at least as long as he's been walking, Aron is a fan of all things sci-fi and lover of RPGs. Having written about games for years, he's right at home reporting most of the breaking news in the industry and covering the happenings of the e-sports world. When not writing, editing or playing, you can find Aron on Facebook.