Throughout the history of SWTOR there has been a rumor of the existence of a Legacy System. No one was sure whether it really existed, was something else taken out of context from a Dev misspeak, or the flights of fancy of fanbois. It was by all intents and purposes the Area 51 of the SWTOR development cycle. Yesterday that changed with a post from James Ohlen which required a bit of clarification from Damion Schubert and Allison Berryman.
James Ohlen started it with this:
This build has our first iteration of the Legacy System! At its core the Legacy system is about allowing players to create a family tree of characters. Family is pretty important to the Star Wars universe, with the Skywalker family having one of the most interesting dynamics in movie history. This version is just the foundational components that we will use to build upon in the future. Here are the features of this iteration:
- Once your character has completed their Chapter 1 storyline, they will be able to choose aLegacy Last Name. This Legacy Last Name must be unique and is shared across all characters on that server – so choose carefully!
- Once you have unlocked your Legacy, any and all characters on that server will now contribute to that player’s Legacy Experience Points. Much like normal experience points, when you reach certain Legacy thresholds, you will increase your Legacy Level.
We already have plans for how we will expand the functionality of the Legacy System in one of our major post-ship patches.
This will include being able to shape your Legacy’s family tree, and give you a reward for all those Legacy Levels.
We look forward to reading your feedback on the Legacy System!
You can choose to do one of the following:
– Display your legacy name as your last name (“Raiel Firewalker”)
– Display your legacy name below your name
The Firewalker Legacy
– or choose to hide it altogether. This choice can differ per character.
These explanations of the Legacy System are obviously not the Legacy System in total, but it has provoked a large backlash over the implementation. The complaints typically fall into a few main themes.
Not All My Characters Have the Same Last Name
The Legacy System seems to promote people forming families within their alts. This works for some people like myself who have their toons being within the same family. But there are plenty of people who want different unrelated characters who would have different surnames. This is especially rue for people playing characters on different factions of different species. Why a Human, a Sith Pureblood, and a Chiss would all share one name ignores cultural naming conventions. Even for people playing the same species and same faction may want to have familial separation from each other.
What if Someone Takes my Surname?
With the requirement that you need a character that is through the first Act (approx level 28-32ish), many people worry about having their desired surname taken by someone who is power leveling through the story instead of allowing the story to progress organically. It is reasonable to expect common Sci-Fi sounding names to grabbed early. Things like Strife, Windrunner, or Starfire sound very Star War-sy and will probably be in the first wave on all servers to be taken.
This has a couple ramifications. First it gives people an incentive to come up with a unique name which is probably a good things. Second is that it will push some people to play the game other than they would have otherwise done with the intention of getting their desired surname first.
I Want to Have the Same Surname as My Wife or Brother
There is a sizable group of players expressing a desire to have their real life families, or friends to form an in game family. This seems pretty reasonable. If for Role Play reasons you and your significant other want to have the same family name, the Legacy System as it currently is set up would impede the ability for people to do that. Either they would have to find similar spellings like Starfire and Starfirre or use accent marks to replicate the name.
Community solutions seem to revolve mostly around the idea of decoupling surnames with Legacy names and they often cite the following example.
The Skywalker Legacy
It allows players to choose whatever last name they want, and even have the same last name as other players, but allows the Legacy to be independent. Personally I’m a bigger fan of this than the proposed implementation. I would like to have a non-unique last name starting at level one instead of wondering until level 30 if someone took my last name. And it makes the Legacy feel more like a clan with varied stories in it.
I am curious though what other features the Legacy system has in store for us. People need to remember that this is just one feature of a much larger system.