I'm now the proud owner of a max level character of each of the four Republic base classes! My smuggler hit a bit of a snag after the levelling duo of which she was one half was dissolved and I didn't feel like playing her for a while, but recently the bug bit me again and I decided to get back into the action to work on those last couple of levels to fifty.
Here's me dinging conveniently just as I was finishing up my class quest. I don't consider "me shooting some droids" to be a spoiler.
I'm kind of proud of myself for managing to level as a gunslinger, as I'm generally addicted to playing support classes, so a character that can't do anything but dps would usually be anathema to my play style. I did learn to enjoy it over time though, even if cover remains a somewhat clunky mechanic to me. I remember instantly disliking it when I first encountered it on my Imperial agent, and while it gets a lot better once you spec into an advanced class whose abilities beef up its utility, part of the nuisance factor remains. Nothing quite like "taking cover" by accidentally rolling into an additional group of mobs, or landing in a spot that gives such good cover that you can't even see your enemy and thus can't shoot. Today I also ran False Emperor and on the last boss it was absolutely maddening how my character insisted on rolling off behind some box every time I just wanted to hunker down on the spot and use my knockback. I can't hit him from over there, you numpty! Do I have to nail your feet to the floor or something?
Anyway... smuggling! I really liked the smuggler story, even though I originally expected it to be my least favourite Republic class. There's a reason I left rolling a smuggler until last: the smuggler archetype just never really appealed to me that much. Actually levelling one certainly changed my perspective on that though. I really liked how it felt quite different compared to all the other class stories that I've played through so far: a lot more humorous and light-hearted, full of snark and flirting, but still appropriate for the setting. Act I in particular was absolutely brilliant, with a villain you just love to hate and a strong motivation for your character that always keeps you keen on finding out what'll happen next. If I had to criticise anything at all, it would be that I felt that the story lost some of its charm and momentum from Act II onwards - the more you got involved with the Republic instead of doing your (supposedly) freelance thing, the more your character felt like just another Republic mook instead of a truly free agent.
I also really liked all of my companions - except maybe Akaavi, because she creeps me out a little. Every time she says "my guns itch" I can't help thinking that it must be some kind of strange euphemism for something. Still, where on other characters I mostly stuck to one or two favourite companions while levelling, my smuggler took all of her friends out for a spin when she got the chance (though in everyday play, I found that gunslinging worked best with a tank by my side). A captain adding to her crew also felt like a really natural way of acquiring companions, second only to the trooper assembling her squad. The only slightly silly thing about the whole process was just how far they went with the "making every smuggler feel like Han Solo" idea. A wookie's one thing, but then Risha's story... that was so over the top it was pretty ridiculous.
I'm not sure how I would rank the smuggler story compared to the other classes that I've already played, as it just feels so different - but it's definitely up there near the top somewhere.