Thursday, December 29, 2011

SWTOR mid-level

I'm 80 hours into Star Wars: The Old Republic, level 30, and I'm still loving it. One can probably level a lot faster than I did, but I'm not at all in a hurry, and rather spend time trying out different features like crafting and space combat instead to rushing to the level cap. I also want to do *all* the quests, and some planets like Taris really have a lot of those.

In any case one is forced to see all the major places, as the class quest is strictly linear. Your only option is whether or not to do all the side quests, and the heroics, and the flashpoints. "Heroics" in SWTOR are relatively small instances with hard mobs usually requiring a group, albeit not always a full one. Flashpoints are more similar to traditional dungeons, with trash mobs, boss mobs, and the need to bring a full group.

While doing all this stuff in Coruscant and Taris, I had the feeling I was outleveling my main quest line. Especially by doing the bonus series of quests on Taris; obviously if a quest series is *labeled* "bonus series" by the game, it isn't strictly necessary to do it. On the next planet, Nar Shadaa, the bonus series is several levels above the rest, and is better kept for later.

So now I'm on Tatooine, and the difficulty level of the solo leveling game is going up. That is a good thing. By level 30 you are supposed to know how to play your class; if you die to a bad pull, it is your own fault, and it teaches you to play better. Star Wars: The Old Republic has a very good system of normal, strong, elite, and champion mobs, where the normal mobs are just cannon fodder which serves to make you feel powerful. My artillery wielding trooper can often kill a full group of normals with a single mortar attack, and if they don't die from that a hail of bolts quickly finishes them. The challenge is in the harder mobs, which of course also drop the better loot. Even if not asked by a quest, I do try to kill elite and champion mobs I encounter, because they usually drop green or even blue gear, while the normal mobs often drop nothing at all, or just vendor junk.

After Tatooine I still have to do Alderaan, which I hear is even harder, to finish chapter 1 of the game. I will then get my legacy surname. Up to now the game is excellent value for money, especially since the holidays allow me to play more than my usual 20 hours per week. And if the endgame at the level cap isn't to my liking, well, I already rolled a Jedi Knight who will go for the dark side.

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