Everything you wanted to know about SWTOR’s legacy system, but were afraid to ask

It’s “damn long post” day here at the Pot. Fortunately, it’s also “damn awesome post” day.

Whether you play SWTOR or not, the chances are you’ll have heard something about their Legacy system, wherein playing one character unlocks advantages for your other characters, starting with a surname. But whether you play SWTOR or not, the chances are you’re also a bit confused about what Bioware are doing with legacies, and their upcoming legacy perks system, which sounds like anything from an awesome addition to an incoming trainwreck depending on the person describing it, the current level of available information, and the phase of the moon at the time.

But have no fear! Psynister has been collecting information, collating it, and carefully considering whilst he’s at it, and today he’s brought us what can only be described as a Legacy megapost

Legacy Class Abilities: This feature unlocks a signature ability from a class that you have leveled to 50 and makes it available on your Heroic Moment spell’s cooldown for the alts that have it. Examples they gave included the Bounty Hunter’s Flamethrower and the Sith Warrior’s Force Choke ability. It was confirmed in a recent Q&A that the ability that is unlocked is specific to each class, you do not get to simply pick an ability from the class you want and run with it. So if you level a Sith Warrior to 50 then you get Force Choke and that’s it, you don’t get to pick a different spell from the Warrior.

Species Unlocked: Once you level a character of a given species to level 50, that species becomes unlocked for all other classes (once you have this feature unlocked, of course). It also unlocks things like the Cyborg’s implants which vary from one class to another to be unlocked for all Cyborgs you roll.

This caused a bit of an uproar in some of the player base who feel that racial restrictions are required for them to have canonical immersion. It’s an opinion that’s completely valid, and one that I absolutely hate.

Personally, I hate having unnecessary restrictions for the sake of immersion in a game. Not being able to roll the character I want to roll isn’t immersing, it’s frustrating. Racial restrictions are a feature that I personally feel should have become a thing of the past in gaming as a whole back when Dungeons & Dragons did away with it decades ago. You want conflict? Do it with organizations and allegiances, not races.

It sucks that this has to be unlocked with a legacy feature rather than being a base part of the game, but at least the functionality will exist. (Blizzard, I hope you’re taking notes.)

Species-Specific Buffs: Upon reaching level 50 with a given race, you’ll receive an attribute bonus on all of your alts. The example given was that having a level 50 Human would give you a bonus to Presence. There’s a big fuss brewing about this one as there will inevitably be some guilds that require you to have the best buffs in order to be members or raid with them. I have no interest in being a part of a guild that does that in the first place, so I couldn’t possibly care any less about that potential “drawback” of the feature. Even if it’s just a small buff, like +3 Presence, the fact that you get a buff by leveling a certain race to level 50 is going to make some people feel forced to level a character they may have no interest in leveling simply to obtain that buff.

It might look like I’ve just quoted about half the post there. I assure you, I haven’t – there’s a lot more where that came from.

Psynister is doing something interesting here, writing an analysis post at the same time as a guide post, and it works very well. He needed to educate his readers about all the subtleties of the Legacy system in order to fully discuss it, and where many of us might simply give up and assume our audience could read about it elsewhere, he steps up to the challenge. In doing so, he writes a tremendously interesting piece – whether you’re a SWTOR player or not, I recommend reading it, if only to get some insight into the places that Bioware are taking their MMO, and by extension MMO design as a whole.

Do you think the SWTOR legacy perks system will be a success?