Star Wars: The Old Republic - Rise of the Hutt Cartel Impressions

The guys over at Massively have already whipped up some initial impressions of Rise of the Hutt Cartel, BioWare Austin's newly released digital expansion pack for Star Wars: The Old Republic. The article is pretty favorable overall, so it'll be interesting to see how the reviews clock in:
Puzzle elements have existed in SWTOR since launch; most of the datacrons require some jumping puzzle elements to retrieve, but some branch into different directions. RotHC goes in a new direction with all of this with the addition of the Macrobinoculars and the Seeker Droid, two new systems that send you across the galaxy to older planets in search of hidden locales and data.

At first glance, these additions seem incredibly simple. You go back to planets you've previously explored, do some searching and figuring out some minor clicking or jumping puzzles, and then you get a quest reward. Nothing ground-breaking. But much like the layout of Makeb, it winds up having a bigger impact than you'd expect, starting with the simple fact that it gives you a chance to do something other than fling yourself against the highest-level enemies in the game. If you want to just quietly search and explore, you've got space to do that.

More to the point, it's fun. The actual combat in these missions is largely perfunctory, but the bits of investigation mean traveling back to worlds you've largely left behind and investigating new elements. It turns older planets from brief waypoints into larger destinations worth exploring and investigating in depth.

And it's optional. If you like these features, they're present, but you aren't missing anything if you don't. There's a reputation attached and plenty to like about the missions, but it's more of a branching option than a mandatory addition.