Next week the first major content patch for The Old Republic goes live, sporting a slew of fixes, changes, and additions to BioWare's MMO. In preparation for the January 17 update we talked to Gabe Amatangelo, Lead Flashpoint, Operation, and PvP Designer for Star Wars: The Old Republic about what this (and the next few) updates will bring.Flashpoints and OperationsIn terms of content, the largest addition in Rise of the Rakghouls is the new level 50 Flashpoint and Operation. The Flashpoint is called "Kaon Under Siege," and it's focused on level 50 players exclusively (with a normal and hard mode available). Kaon is the first of a two-part story arc, with Republic and Imperial players racing to eliminate a rakghoul outbreak while attempting to forge an allegiance with the Tion Hegemony for their side. Amatangelo told us that Kaon Under Siege would have an emphasis on story, fitting more in line with the instanced missions like Black Talon than Hammer Station, and that, moving forward, BioWare would be focusing more on the story-based Flashpoints based on the community's response. The Operation, which is made for either eight or 16 players, is called Karagga’s Palace, and is a continuation of one of the Operations that shipped with the game. Players will be going head-to-head with the Hutt Cartel, eventually confronting Karagga the Hutt himself and answering, once and for all, what fighting a Hutt is like (the answer, in case your wondering, involves a massive robot). "One of my favorite bits is the reaction shot in the cinematic," Amatangelo said, "where Karagga is coming onto the scene. It does a reverse shot of the player and the jaw sort of drops as a shadow looms over you as you're looking up. It's pretty funny." Player-versus-player combatAmatangelo said that the team was pleasantly surprised by how popular the game's PvP was, with over half of the population actively participating in player-versus-player combat. This revelation has led to BioWare speeding up some of the plans it had for PvP. "It was so exciting for me, I just had a grin from ear-to-ear," he said. "It helped me convince my bosses to get more traction going in those directions." The 1.1 update lays the groundwork for some of the future additions to the PvP, including a separate Warzone bracket for level 50 players and some changes to Ilum, the end-game PvP planet. There are also some other changes in the January 17 update to Hoth and Voss, with the shuttle room in Dorn Base Command Center on Hoth being changed to a non-contested territory and Ka on Voss being made into a PvP Sanctuary. Past Rise of the Rakghouls After going through all of the enhancements in Rise of the Rakghouls we talked a little about future updates, including the content patch following 1.1. Currently scheduled for a March release date, 1.2 (as we're guessing it will be called) will add new Flashpoints, Operations, WarZones, and new game systems. It also may see the beginnings of the Legacy system updates, something that may help the end-game dramatically. While Amatangelo couldn't actually confirm a date for Legacy upgrades he did say that BioWare would be adding them in the "near future." Other wants, like UI customization, are also in the pipeline, as are some changes for Warzones that make us excited (awarding medals for scoring points in Huttball? Yes please!). Bug fixes, changes, and patch notesBut, as we said in our review, there's work to be done in The Old Republic besides throwing new content on top of the pile. There are balance issues, content problems, and bugs that need to be fixed. To see how large of a chunk patch 1.1 took out of the game's problems click over to the next page for the full patch notes, taken right from the Public Test Server. They might change by the time they go live, but it should at least give you a good idea of what updates are coming your way... ---*---*---*--- Page Break : 1 ---*---*---*--- GeneralAnti-aliasing is now available and can be enabled in the preferences menu. Classes and CombatGeneralHealing caused by crowd control abilities no longer generates threat.Tooltips for abilities modified by skill points now display correct damage values. Guard This ability now transfers to a new friendly target without requiring deactivation on the previous target.Activating this ability while targeting a guarded or invalid target will still toggle the Guard ability off.A distinct visual effect is now present on characters using Guard on another character, and another effect is now present on the guarded character if they leave Guard’s range.TauntA new visual effect has been added to the user and the target of the Taunt ability for the duration of its effect.Jedi ConsularProject: This ability no longer shakes the screen of onlookers. ShadowBattle Readiness: Now allows Combat Technique to trigger once every 3 seconds.Combat Technique: Healing received through Combat Technique has been increased, scales properly at higher levels, and can only be triggered once every 4.5 seconds.Slow Time: This ability’s damage has been increased by 15% and it now slows the movement speed of all affected targets.Jedi KnightForce Leap: This ability no longer functions on Portable Holo Dancers.Sith Inquisitor AssassinDark Charge: Healing received through Dark Charge has been increased, scales properly at higher levels, and can only be triggered once every 4.5 seconds.Overcharge Saber: Now allows Dark Charge to trigger once every 3 seconds.Wither: Damage has been increased by 15% and it now slows the movement speed of all affected targets.Sith WarriorIntercede: This ability no longer functions on Portable Holo Dancers.Shatter: this ability’s tooltip now correctly reflects its damage; damage from this ability has not been adjusted.Imperial AgentBug FixesCorrected an issue where activating cover, using Explosive Probe, and then using Snipe could cause Snipe to be interrupted.Bounty Hunter GeneralIncendiary Missile: This ability is no longer misclassified as an Area of Effect ability. Companion CharactersGeneralC2-N2 and 2V-R8 no longer vocalize crafting commentary during combat.The Carbonized Stream companion ability no longer breaks prematurely.CompanionsKira CarsenFixed an issue that caused players to be unable to progress in Kira’s affection conversations. Players previously affected by this issue can now speak to Kira and progress normally.Bug FixesCompanions will now sell trash items when requested, regardless of group size.Companion healing abilities no longer apply a permanent green effect on the character.Fixed an issue that caused Companion Characters to sometimes have the incorrect appearance in cinematics. Crew SkillsBug FixesCorrected an issue that prevented recently completed Crew Skill missions from showing up in the next list of available missions.Fixed a bug that could cause Crew Skills a character didn’t have to appear in the Crew Skills window.Players can no longer loot harvesting nodes they do not have the appropriate Crew Skill for after a group member harvests (but does not loot) a node. Flashpoints and OperationsGeneralA new level 50 Flashpoint, Kaon Under Siege, is now available for play in Normal and Hard Modes!The Gav Daragon and the Ziost Shadow have been expanded to accommodate the Kaon Under Siege gateway.The difficulty of some non-boss enemies in Flashpoints has been adjusted.Enemies now drop credits more frequently in Flashpoints.FlashpointsCademimuGeneral Ortol’s rocket fire damage no longer occurs when the rocket is not active. The Black TalonSome enemies in this Flashpoint are no longer invisible. The FoundryCorrected an issue that could cause the final boss to become stuck at 10% health. The Battle of IlumKrel Thak’s Allied Weequay Pirates have had their toughness reduced in Hard Mode. The False EmperorThe Sith Entity’s affliction ability now properly deals damage in Hard Mode.HK-47 now has the correct amount of health in Normal Mode.OperationsEternity VaultPlayers are now able to successfully loot the chest after defeating the Infernal Council.Perimeter Defense Cannons have been re-tuned and have improved targeting behaviors.Soa’s Mind Trap and Force Throw abilities no longer target the same player multiple times; they now target every player in the group once.Ball lightning enemies summoned by Soa deal damage in a smaller radius.The Annihilation Droid’s rocket burst attack no longer deals double damage in 16-player Operations.Soa now summons fewer ball lightning enemies during the final round in 16-player Operations. Karagga’s PalaceFour new bosses can now be battled by players in Karagga’s Palace!Players no longer get stuck attempting to exit the Karagga’s Palace phase.Bug Fixes FlashpointsCorrected an issue that prevented some enemy NPCs from spawning in Flashpoints.The correct error message now displays when a player attempts to enter a different Flashpoint than the rest of the group.Flashpoint gateways no longer display as orange in incorrect circumstances.Fixed an issue that prevented Flashpoint difficulty from being set properly.Fixed an issue that caused mapnotes directing players to some Flashpoints to not appear correctly.Corrected map issues that made locating mission objectives on the Gav Daragon difficult.Fixed an issue preventing some players from opening a chest after a boss fight if the group was previously defeated by the boss. ItemsGeneralAn Item Modification Table has been added to the Supplies areas of the Republic and Imperial Fleets. PvPBattlemaster Gear Tokens have been converted into Battlemaster Commendations, which can be used to purchase any Battlemaster gear. This allows players to purchase any piece of gear instead of requiring them to purchase the piece indicated by the token.Battlemaster Bags now contain Battlemaster Commendations instead of Battlemaster Gear Tokens. They still also contain Champion Commendations. Missions and NPCsGeneralAll Bonus Series missions and their required missions can now be abandoned.Certain Wampas on Hoth that were preying on lower-level characters have had their level reduced.MissionsImperialPressure Points: The Lerantha Lurker no longer engages players in combat before completing its spawn sequence.Geroya be Haran: Objectives related to this mission now glow when selected.In Cold Blood: Enemies that use Armor Piercing Cell during this mission no longer each stack a debuff on the player.Shadow Spawn: The Sith Spawn no longer knocks players down for longer than intended.Thuggish Behavior: Corrected an issue that could cause the player to remain stuck in combat during this mission. The required kills to complete this mission have been reduced.RepublicClimbing the Ladder: A conversation related to this mission no longer ends prematurely.Droid Clean Up: Corrected an issue that caused the bonus mission to persist in the player’s mission log.The Summit: The difficulty of the encounter with Sidone has been reduced.Vivicar Awaits: Lowered the amount of enemies that attack the player during the step “Find a Way Past the Force Field.”NPCsBug FixesJilcoln Cadera’s abilities now correctly take into account whether a player is immune from knockbacks.The “Primal Destroyer” World Boss on Belsavis is now “Overwhelming” as intended.The World Boss “The First” on Dromund Kaas no longer inhibits Bounty Hunter’s Rapid Shots, and Imperial Agents will no longer be knocked out of cover during combat with it.PvPGeneralThe shuttle room in Dorn Base Command Center on Hoth is no longer considered contested territory.Ka on Voss is now a PvP Sanctuary.WarzonesLevel 50 players now participate in their own Warzone bracket and will not be matched with lower-level players.IlumThe daily and weekly mission objectives in Ilum now require defeating enemy players and/or collecting armaments from the center objective.Players now gain increased Valor from player kills in Ilum.Players now gain increased bonus Valor for kills based on the number of objectives controlled by their faction.Increased bonus Valor is now granted for player kills when defending an objective your faction owns.A notification is now displayed when a player gains Valor.Three new respawn points have been added for each faction.Companions are now restricted from the PvP objective area on Ilum.Notifications are now displayed when enemy players are close to an objective.Bug FixesGeneralThe scoreboard value for “Highest Protection Per Single Life” now functions correctly.Players who have left a Warzone can no longer receive an MVP vote from teammates.Your PvP status will now be toggled automatically upon leaving a PvP region.Additional feedback is now provided when a player attempts to toggle their PvP flag.The Bolster tooltip now more accurately represents the buff’s effects. HuttballCorrected a rare issue that could cause the Frogdogs to be declared the winner in a 0-0 match even if the Rotworms held the ball last. IlumMountable turrets in Ilum no longer deal damage to targets behind them or outside their range.Turrets no longer immediately dismount the player after use. UIMapsFixed a bug that prevented the minimap title from displaying when loading into the game or refreshing the UI.Corrected an issue that caused some mapnotes to disappear from the minimap when other mapnotes were updated.ItemsItem hyperlinks now display stats for crafted research items properly.Item hyperlinks no longer display erroneous additional information relating to schematics when examined.Attempting to place a non-mission item into the mission inventory now displays an error message.Dragging equipment onto the character paper doll no longer prompts an item deletion notice. Items dragged to the paper doll are now equipped if possible.Item set bonuses now appear on the tooltip when viewing an item on a vendor.Items that can be modified now display with the correct loot color in the loot roll window.Comparative tooltips now correctly display stat differences when mousing over items in the Crew Skills window.Bug FixesFixed the tooltip display for ability cooldowns over one hour in length.The interface for splitting stacks of items now displays correctly.Servers that are online now always display on top of servers that are offline in the Server Select screen.Corrected a typographical error in the “Additional Commands” context menu option.Players nearby a player who achieves a new Legacy level no longer receive the Legacy level-up notification.Legacy name display preferences now persist when travelling between planets.A new confirmation dialogue now appears when submitting spam reports in game.Sorting now works correctly in the Guilds tab. Miscellaneous Bug FixesThe owner of a holocall conversation is no longer shown in the last frame of the cinematic.The spacebar button is now recognized when a player presses it to progress after a loading screen even if the spacebar button has been re-bound.Additional issues that could impact performance on Taris have been addressed.Vanity pets can no longer be considered targets for any abilities.Corrected an issue that could cause some preferences to reset to defaults upon area transitions.An Aim Datacron on Ilum is now accessible and no longer repeats its initial cinematic once used.A Datacron on Coruscant is no longer blocked by unintentional collision.