What with the 12x experience boost, carving through the levels is somewhat a breeze. Let me rephrase that a tad actually. The 12x experience boost transforms SWTOR into 3 parts; first is the actual story, second is the stat race and third is the travel experience.
The actual story is pretty neat, per class. I just finished a Sith Warrior (let’s say ~12 hours) all the way through and I’m of the opinion that the story was written to be played light side. At least the key moments seem to fall well into that line. There were a few spots where I had to pick the dark side, to keep the semblance of a bad guy but overall, the light side choices weren’t so much super good guy as they were “I don’t really care what happens”. Which is sort of a better super villain if you ask me. I’ve done the Sith Inquistor and preferred that story mind you, even though it was more rote. Sith Warrior is just ho-hum quests, until the final act.
The stat race is something else. In most MMOs you can get by with straggling gear. Say the average power curve is 200. If you’re missing 20, then no big deal, stuff is just a tad harder. SWTOR don’t play that way chump! Scaling of power seems to be based on a variance of norm rather than an absolute number. What that means is that if you are slightly above average in stats, then you just run over everything. Slightly under and you’re in for a rough time. Every 10 levels I had to do a full restock. Every 5 was a top up. Considering I’m doing about 3-4 quests per world, that’s a fair top up. It’s not the end of the world, I had a 55 on the fleet who could mail me supplies. It put me out of pocket maybe 50K for the whole thing, though by the time I hit 55 I was near 400k in cash. (note: sell everything on the GTN, if it doesn’t go on first pass, vendor it)
The travel time is the odd one and to me shows where the game was stretched. The first 3/4 of the worlds are great, playing more like a spiderweb than a linear path. Belsavis and Voss though, wowza. Belsavis I must have spent 30 minutes just travelling between 2 quests. Thank goodness I unlocked quick travel with Legacy, so that my ports back to the ship were quick. Voss was less about travel and more about poor quest design. I mean Bears, Bears, Bears was the thing here. Like, have me do the 4 things at once rather than just ping back continually. Ugh. 47 thankfully came quickly and off I went.
So the optimal leveling path, as I see it, is as follows:
- Always log off in a rested exp zone
- Use the Cartel EXP boosts. You’ll start getting them as rewards near level 20. Pop them before you turn in a quest, as that’s when it really matters.
- Avoid all the other quests. Seriously. The only one you must take is the one on the Quesh stardock, that’s it.
- 1-47, do the core world quests.
- 47+ head to your ship to start Makeb. For the love of poop, use the GSI terminal on the stardock. I went from 750 strength to nearly 2500 from the boost that terminal gave. Very good odds you’ll be stuck on the Armageddon quest to hit 55. Which is the worst of the Makeb quests, hah!
- When you complete a quest, use the Personal Holocron (Teleport)
- Have someone on the fleet who can buy stuff for you and sell stuff if your bags are too full. A level 15 is fine and with this boost takes about an hour
- Commendation aren’t worth it, in my opinion. Get the lockboxes are quest rewards if gear isn’t an option. Sell it.
For $15, I got a good story, got to see some nice scenery and avoided a ton of content. But, I learned to play the class much better because of the crappy gear differential. I am a firm believer that this model is more effective than simply selling max level characters. In that model, I have no idea how to play the character, no idea what’s going on and I’m just sitting in no-man’s land at max level. Two separate ways to get to the same goal but vastly different.