I mentioned that level 31 was a turning point for my Imperial Agent Operative. The Cull skill rather drastically changed my playstyle from healer to damage dealer and it’s a world of difference. Alderaan gave me a ton of headaches because my damage was so atrocious. 31 pops around and boom, I blink and they drop. Such a drastic shift in power is really quite odd. That said, I’m at-level for the content I’m playing and the Operative is supremely squishy. There’s a get outta dodge move that gets me into stealth but that assumes I remember to click the darn button. Often times, the enemy suddenly enrages when they are at 15% and then proceeds to take off 25% of my life per hit. I don’t quite get that. The item level disparity is also an issue, due to the accelerated leveling. I’m part of the way through Belsavis, with Voss and Corellia to go following. I’ll need to re-equip one more time before 47, then the Makeb power boost will be enough to get me through. It’s odd really, going from 700 in a stat to 2500 through a buff…curious to how Revan will address this rather massive gear gap. I still remember my WoW-BC days where it felt like you were attacking with a tissue.
The other interesting part, the one thing that the interwebs seems to agree upon, is that the Imperial Agent storyline is amazeballs. I mean, head and shoulders above the rest. This is the only storyline where I was actually presented with a choice that I had to think about. All the other stories, in order to stick in character, each choice was evident. Shock this guy, shoot that one, save the other. They had little to no consequence other than some numbers on my alignment sheet. There was just no nuance where the difference between light and dark was actually grey.
This is not true for the Imperial Agent. You spend nearly the entire game as a double agent, playing one person against another. Your choices matter greatly in that you can nearly completely avoid conflict with the appropriate choices. And those choices are equally present in light and dark. Example. The Hoth questline has you meet with a corrupt officer and pirates. You can join either side, defeat them both or play them each against the other. I helped the pirates then cleaned up shop. The choices are even more interesting at the end of Act 1 and Act 2. I mean they really define your character, their place in the world and the events from that point forward. And it isn’t like it’s one decision but a bunch of them to get on a path to the end.
I’ve been a fan of Bioware for a very long time. Their writing style and multiple choices with impact has always been a draw for me. SWTOR has, at face, that type of structure. But being an MMO, it’s not like you can wipe out an entire planet. So the rest of the storylines I’ve played, the choices were small and contained. The IA storyline is removed from the rest. It’s like comparing a Dan Brown novel to Isaac Asimov. You just don’t. It’s like I’m playing a completely different game and I’m enjoying the heck out of it.