I finished up Ilum on my Imperial Agent the other day and I dinged level 56. Now, when Ilum was released the level cap was 50, it was raised to 55 for Rise of the Hutt Cartel. I’d accidentally leveled past a whole expansion worth of content.
This really made me think. Sure I watch the XP bar sometimes because I like the whoosh of the ding, I also like to make sure I’ve not screwed up somewhere and I am the right level for the planet. However, aside from that I quest for the story and the levelling is very much a byproduct. That explains how I managed to accidentally level a lot higher than intended.
Now I am a subscriber. I know that the xp is throttled somehow for preferred/f2p and so their experience would be different. However, from my perspective since the launch of Fallen Empire I get experience from everything and it’s awesome. The bar just jumps and it’s effortless, I’m just playing the game and the level is secondary, it’s unimportant, it really ceases to matter.
Streamlined and improved
Swtor still gets a lot of bad press but the quality of life changes they’ve made with Fallen Empire are noticeable, and I’m still not out of the ‘basic game’. The 12x experience boost for subscribers was retired, this allowed people to just do the class quests and level to 50. Well, they made the planet quests simpler by separating out the story arc from the bonus quests, and they made the story arc plus class quests enough to level. I remember back with my Bounty Hunter, I was doing all the quests and I got stuck half a level short from my next planet. I managed to fix it by (rather appropriately) taking part in the Bounty Hunter event.
I remember reading that they’d nerfed companions, as they’d boosted them too high with the launch of the expansion. However, they are still more than powerful enough to do the job. Plus, I can now pick my favorite companion and change their skillset (tank/heal/dps) based on encounter, or just what I need. No more getting stuck with the irritating companion because my character needed a healer and they were the only one.
Something else they’ve done is shifting levels so they are in line with the planet. You get to keep all your abilities but your level is lowered to be two levels higher than the planets maximum. For example Tython, the level is shifted down to 12. This means that level really does cease to be important as everywhere is always equally dangerous. That really helps with immersion because it makes sense. Why would people/animals be so much less dangerous on one planet than another?
When I leveled characters in Warcraft, whatever I did to level I did for the experience. I never did an activity just because I wanted to do that. The levelling in that game was never a byproduct, it was the end goal. Now how much that was mentality and how much that was to do with the game I don’t think I’ll ever know.
The little things
Something else that’s worth mentioning when it comes to Warcraft is flying mounts. For the first time yesterday when playing Swtor I thought to myself “I wish I had a flying mount”. It wasn’t to make a journey faster, it wasn’t for convenience or efficiency. I was on Alderaan and I was marveling at how amazing it looked, all the trees and the mountains, that broken stone bridge – I wanted to see it all. I wanted a flying mount for just a second so I could go sightseeing.
Oh that’s another quality of life change Swtor made some time back, automatic knowledge of all flight points. That plus the quick travel ability and really getting around is not a problem. I don’t think I’ve mentioned lately how much I love the phasing. Run through a green wall and that instance is all mine, no loading screen, no waiting for respawns.
I think I mentioned in a previous post a moment of absolute clarity I had while playing my Imperial Agent. I’d knocked an enemy off the platform I was fighting on. This soldier ran round and up the ramp opposite, stopped and started firing at me. I fired back and killed him, I fired from one platform to another. There were no line of sight issues, it just worked and the animations of the abilities were perfect. For just a moment I felt like the agent I was playing.
They really nailed the abilities for the classes. I was playing the Sith Warrior and I felt like a force user. I watched as I battled another Sith. Now, the lightsabers weren’t exactly clashing but if I looked just right, they almost looked like they were and all of the moves were fluid, they were just what I would expect from Sith and Jedi. I had all the stereotypical abilities, I confess despite being a light side Sith force choke is a favourite of mine – very Darth Vader.
In another previous post I talked about roleplay. I don’t roleplay and never have but I do have a personality for each of my characters.
– Bounty Hunter is all about profit but that doesn’t come before honor.
– Jedi Knight is sometimes practical and grey and started out as a bit of a merc but went a bit heroic at the end.
– Imperial Agent is a classic self serving secret agent, the only side they are on is their own but they will usually do the right thing so long as it doesn’t cost them.
– Sith Warrior is grey, all about balance, on the light side for a Sith, more Revan than anything I guess.
– Jedi Consular I based on Obi-Wan, completely light side, the only relief from the unending goodness is slight tendency towards sarcasm.
I don’t have any other characters yet so I haven’t officially decided how I will play those. However, I’m thinking the Smuggler will be Han Solo like (obviously), the Trooper perhaps based a little on Jack O’Neill and the Sith Inquisitor? That has to be full on crazy dark and evil, just for the fun of it.
I don’t really do much outside of the conversation. I don’t dismount until the game forces it when I enter buildings because it’s faster, I sprint everywhere rather than walk etc. However, yesterday another player was making their way through the same tunnel I was. Rather than run on ahead and leapfrog past one another, killing the groups of mobs, I leapt into battle alongside them. They had tagged the mobs so I got nothing but that wasn’t important, it wouldn’t have been right to have left them fighting alone. I don’t know whether they felt the same, or just thought they should return the favour but we cleared the rest of the tunnel together.
I love it when the exact number of quest objectives is the same as the number of ‘things’ that are available. For example, cages to release prisoners. I don’t like it when I finish the quest but I look around and I’m not done. That only happens with outside world quests which is another reason to really love the green phase story areas.
You know I think I might be ‘for the Empire’ because I do enjoy playing Empire characters more than Republic. That is probably why I have completed 3/4 of the Empire classes and only 1/4 of the Republic. I’m just over halfway through my Jedi Consular and he’s so good it’s a little boring. Being a hero is not all it’s cracked up to be, I don’t know the Empire just seems more engaging.
I suppose I could add on to the end of this post a bit of a ‘progress report’. Well I’ve completed Ilum on both Empire and Republic. I have four ‘completed’ classes and the Jedi Consular is halfway there, leaving three more classes left. I got Rise of the Hutt Cartel, Drummond Kaas Revan quest line, most of the solo flashpoints and then Shadow of Revan to do before I get to Fallen Empire.
Considering how much I prefer playing Empire to Republic, I’m thinking I should probably leave the Sith Inquisitor to last, a bit like dangling a carrot. Not that I don’t want to experience all of the class quests because I do. However, Jedi Consular is not that engaging and I don’t know what Smuggler or Trooper is going to be like. I’ll probably do the Republic solo flashpoints as part of the ‘levelling’ to skip some of the planet quests, rather than repeat them three times in a row. They are the same quests after all, for all that the quest givers react to the characters differently – which I still think is really awesome.
I might well do the same with the Empire flashpoints, two birds one stone so to speak. Then it’ll just be the expansions left. Imperial Agent for Empire, Jedi Knight for Republic – probably. I do like my Sith Warrior but then we’ve already established I’m partial to the Empire.
I want to level another Sith Warrior, go all dark side this time but I won’t do that for a bit. I’ll let the memory of the quests fade a little first. I got the Togruta unlock so I might use that species. I still have Miraluka and Sith Pureblood that I haven’t used but the Sith Pureblood is ugly and the Togruta is more fun. My only trouble will be deciding which look to use, I have three picked out that I think are great already. I know there’s also a Cathar unlock but I haven’t bothered with that because they are ugly too.
Then there’s still more to the game. Strongholds, space battles (not Galactic Starfighter which makes me sick, but the old style one which I think is super fun) and perhaps codex and datacron hunting. Oh and not to forget the events which I’ve mostly ignored, plus a new Fallen Empire chapter every month.
There’s still a lot of fun to be had in a galaxy far, far away.