10/03/2014

Levelling My 10th Alt

I currently have nine characters at the level cap, five on Republic side and four on Empire. I thought that my little Shadow tank was going to be next to make it up there - and she still might - but the levelling duo of which she is a part has stalled as of late, so I'm not sure anymore. On the other hand I've been playing my baby Vanguard a fair bit recently and have been enjoying it. I liked the play style well enough when I levelled up my Powertech, and now I have the bonus of getting to play as my preferred faction as well. For a change of pace I've been levelling as Tactics, which is almost too good to be true in that I do great damage but can also slap on Ion Cell to get an almost guaranteed insta-pop for flashpoints and tank them with no problems (at least at my current level).

One of the criticisms that sometimes gets levelled at SWTOR is that when it comes to levelling by questing, the game is very linear. While you have some freedom in which missions to pick up and which ones to skip, there aren't really multiple levelling paths you can take - the order of planets is always the same and if you're doing your class story you'll have to visit each of them at least once. Picking up the same side missions every time you're there can get tedious even if you quite liked them the first time around, especially if it hasn't been very long since your last alt came through. Fortunately side missions aren't the only source of XP, and you can mix it up by simply doing completely different things. (OotiniCast had a story the other day about someone levelling a character from one to 55 purely by playing Galactic Starfighter. He didn't even pick an advanced class until he hit the level cap!)

Personally I've been breaking things up on my Vanguard like this: I do visit every planet, but I only do my class story in terms of solo quests. I do cruise around to explore though, gathering materials with my crew skills and picking up the local datacrons.


As I do this, I keep an eye on general chat for LFG requests for heroic missions. I suppose you could qualify those as side quests as well, but since many of them are so challenging and you never know what kind of group you're going to get, I haven't tired of repeating them yet. Doing a [Heroic 4] with a group that has no healing abilities or crowd control certainly holds your attention! Since almost all of them are shareable, I don't even have to worry about picking them up myself... just wait for someone to be looking for more for a level appropriate one and join in. They give great experience too - I love finishing a heroic bonus and seeing four different XP numbers pop up: one for my own quest completion and three for the other group members doing the same.

Between heroics, I queue for the occasional flashpoint. While they are fairly easy for the most part, they give some nice loot for your level, and if you pick up the Searching for Allies and Emerging Conflicts missions that go with them, each run nets a pretty good chunk of XP as well.

Alternatively, there is always PvP. While it's no secret that I enjoy PvPing at max level, it always delights me to see how different it can feel at a lower level. It's a bit like playing with a handicap, missing all kinds of abilities and cooldowns that you're used to, but in some ways that only makes the game more interesting. Scoring in Huttball is a real challenge for example, since nobody can stay alive under fire for very long, so you pretty much have to set up a pass chain or else. Unlike the PvP at max level, the lower level game also isn't nearly as gear sensitive, so you can always jump in wearing whatever quest gear you've just picked up. You can tell that players love this because often when I check to see how many warzones are running during the more quiet times of the day, there are more low level games than max level ones going on.

How are other people mixing things up while levelling?

4 comments :

  1. I like Heroics and FPs for side boosts while leveling. The only drawback is that unless you're doing a Heroic 2+ or the WB, those methods can take a while. I'm not complaining, mind you, but I realize that hopping on for 1/2 hour at a time isn't conducive to getting a Heroic 4 completed in time before I have to go back to work.

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    1. True, it's no way to speed-level, but after all the point of the exercise is to have fun, not to get to max level as quickly as possible. :)

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    2. Unfortunately, there's still the perception that you're not having fun unless you're at the level cap and doing progression raiding.

      I think that SWTOR is in the great sweet spot right now, because the "I'm bored!" crowd has moved on,leaving the people who enjoy the type of MMO that SWTOR is (story driven and leveling oriented) to play around.

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  2. I have much the same mix. Currently leveling a Guardian (second time through the knight story, after my sentinel), and did just the class quests after Taris, and skipping the bonus series completely. I largely ignore the H4 requests though, instead just doing class quests before heading to the fleet for some PvP, GSF and time permitting some FPs as well. Currently, the latter is a bit of a problem, as I have gotten to the point of having Taral V unlocked, but usually not enough time available to complete a full run through it.

    I mostly enjoy PvPing at this level, though it's a bit of a mixed bag at times. There have been plenty of WZs in the middle bracket that were lost due to rookie mistakes (all guards at mid in civil war heading off to chase people going for grass, allowing the stealther to cap mid, for instance), but the same also goes the other way, fortunately.

    In the end, it's still a great game, and with the large selection of classes and advanced classes, the replayability of the game is quite good.

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