When Star Wars: The Old Republic’s Legacy of the Sith expansion launched last month, it was a mess. Alongside welcome changes like the class system overhaul were plenty of game-breaking bugs, an amateurish UI update, and a disappointing and brief series of quests that kicked players towards an underwhelming climax.
It was enough to make me take a short break from the game. Despite the delays, it still felt rushed out the door, so I hoped with a bit of time BioWare would be able to hammer things into better shape. That was a month ago, so on the weekend I decided to jump back in and finish up the short campaign. At the very least, I thought, the game-breaking stuff would probably be sorted.
Picking up where I left things, I fought my way to a ship, sat through a cutscene and then found myself deposited back in the area I’d just cleared with a new objective. It was a bit weird that the objective didn’t show up on the map, but I just assumed I needed to have a wander. Which I did. For nearly 20 minutes. It’s a big area. That time was lamentably wasted, because I wasn’t in the right area, nor could I access the right area.
This was a bug I’d encountered at launch, as well, when I found myself trapped inside a small, empty room. I just didn’t realise I’d fallen foul of it again. For some reason the expansion has a tendency to kick you back to an old area after you finish a cutscene, and you simply can’t progress the mission. The solution is simple enough, requiring you to teleport off-world, after which you can rejoin the mission at the last checkpoint. But I shouldn’t need to figure out these workarounds a month after the issue was highlighted.
I encountered this bug a further two times before getting to the end of the expansion campaign, making it four times in total, which feels like a much larger number when you consider the whole thing is over in around two hours. So by the time I reached Darth Malgus for our final confrontation, I was in a shitty mood and eager to be done with it. Unfortunately, Legacy of the Sith had one more surprise in store for me.
When I rushed in to batter Malgus, he killed me instantly. It all happened so fast it didn’t even register as a death—the screen just went black and I found myself at the entrance to the fight again. And this kept happening, always with the same attack. It didn’t make any sense, so I hit up the forums and was not remotely surprised to find that this was another common bug. Essentially, the game thought I fell to my death, as if the attack had knocked me off the edge of the arena, regardless of where I was actually standing.
The only way to avoid this is by standing in front of a pillar and pretty much not moving. This is a big pain in the arse since it means you’ll need to keep taunting Malgus and make sure your NPC allies don’t draw him into a fight in the centre. Easier said than done. One of my allies vanished mid-fight, and then the other dropped below the arena, where he became stuck. So Malgus just kept trying to hit him with the same attack over and over again. The pair of them were locked in this tragic fight for somewhere between 5-10 minutes until Malgus finally keeled over. Talk about an anticlimax.
It’s just wild that players are still needing to ask how they can finish the expansion. Just yesterday another two-page forum thread on the topic appeared. Even though BioWare has shared a solution, it takes some searching to find this information, and it doesn’t work every time. Like other players, I don’t understand why BioWare doesn’t simply deactivate the ability until it’s fixed, instead of forcing players to figure out an exploit.
That these significant, easily replicable bugs are still causing problems a month after the expansion’s launch is pretty troubling, and suggests larger issues at BioWare Austin. If it doesn’t have the resources and staff to fix game-breaking bugs affecting seemingly everyone, it really shouldn’t be maintaining an MMO. It’s easy to say that it shouldn’t have been rushed out the door, but that’s not really BioWare’s call. That’s down to EA, which determines how much to invest in the game and the team. This should be a wake-up call, showing that you can’t half-arse these things, but I’m not convinced the publisher is listening.
A patch is expected on March 22, at least, and a forum post earlier in the month detailed some of the fixes coming with it. Unfortunately, neither of the issues I encountered are included, though the list is not exhaustive. Hopefully they’ll be sorted by then, but even if they are, it’s still been far too long given the severity of the problems.