07/11/2014

My Second Sorc - A 12x XP Story


This is Dormaba. She was one of my earliest alts, probably the fourth of fifth character I ever created. I had heard some good things about the Sith inquisitor story at the time and came up with a character concept for a light side Sith. Of course, when my character opened her mouth for the first time, I had to discover that it didn't matter what you said, the voice actor for the female inquisitor managed to make all of it sound incredibly snarky, which wasn't really what I'd had in mind. I knew that my character probably wasn't going to manage anything better than a neutral attitude before I'd even left Korriban. I quite enjoyed the Sith starter planet, but towards the end of Dromund Kaas my enthusiasm abruptly fizzled out. Look for artifacts for my master, without even knowing what and why? Meh. Eventually I managed to continue the story anyway, but it was in very rare and small bursts of gameplay. Nearly three years later, Dormaba was still only level 30 and had yet to set foot on Alderaan. I didn't help that I had rolled up another Sorcerer in the meantime and actually levelled that one to the cap.

Cue this whole 12x XP thing.

My initial impressions of it were humorous. Gaining nearly a full level just for handing in a single quest is pretty silly. I tried to mix things up a bit by doing some exploring in between class missions, but quickly found myself frustrated by how much travelling I had to do compared to engaging in actual gameplay. When you do all of the missions on a given planet you're generally forced to travel around in a small-ish area and get several quests done at once. When you're just following your class story on the other hand, you're constantly moving from map to map, to the point where you almost spend more time travelling than actually playing through the story.

I also noticed that my XP gains were wacky in more than one way. The floating text, the listed XP reward in the mission window and in the chat box almost never seemed to agree on a number, and sometimes it seemed to bug out completely, granting me little to no XP at all. Other people agreed with me on the forums that there seemed to be some sort of bug, while some claimed that it was just a graphical glitch. I think that if I was supposed to earn enough XP to earn a level and then I didn't actually level up, there's more than a UI malfunction going on - unless someone has actually been able to gain levels by resetting their UI or relogging.

Due to this I was falling somewhat behind as I was approaching level 40 and did the Quesh planetary storyline to bolster my experience gains a little. (Plus you can't go down on Quesh without picking up the starter mission to this chain, and I hate abandoning quests.) Around this level I also noticed that my gear was starting to seriously fall behind and that it had a very noticeable effect. I managed to catch up a little by spending some planetary commendations, but it was never quite enough. After a while I started to find gold mobs hard to kill, and later even silvers. I think the only thing that kept me afloat was my 700+ presence stat, which loses some of its potency by the higher levels but still provides a significant advantage compared to a character that doesn't have that additional companion power to fall back on.

The final boss fight of my class story was a real endurance test considering how underpowered my character was, which wasn't helped by the fact that Khem Val, my companion of choice, insisted on running into the circles of Bad that the boss kept placing on the floor throughout. In the end it was easier to just put Khem on passive every so often and kite the boss around the room on my own.

Money and crew skills were also an issue. I managed to stay on top of my artifice since I had materials stocked up on my other characters that I could fall back on, but I think that if I hadn't had that stockpile saved up, it would have been a pain to gather enough materials while levelling so quickly. It was also costly. While it helped that skill training was free, training crafting schematics was a considerable drain on my finances. I thought I was doing okay, hovering between 100k und 200k credits for the longest time - until I hit 400 artifice, went to train all the new schematics and suddenly found myself completely broke before I had even learned everything. I couldn't even afford to fly to the next planet to continue questing there. That was rather awkward.

Gameplay was engaging enough, as I specced my little Sorc into the lightning tree, dps being something that I had never seriously tried on either my Sage or my other Sorc. I used to joke that Sorcerers were boring, with all their abilities being lightning, lightning and yet more lightning, but there was actually something pretty satisfying about being able to get several quick zaps off in a row.

I also had time to really pay attention to the story and found myself wondering whether I was going to feel differently about it the second time around. (You may or may not recall that the inquisitor story wasn't one of my favourites.) The answer is pretty much no. If anything, the highs were a little less impressive the second time around since the surprise effect was gone, while all the times my character was cringing in pain and falling over were all the more noticeable. As I still don't have the guts to make a character go full-on dark side, my floundering around on neutral ground didn't seem to result in any noticeable differences in the story either - until the end, where my almost perfectly grey Sith was given a different honourary name by the Dark Council than my light side inquisitor, which I thought was neat.

Continuing to Makeb was pretty funny. If at all possible, the XP gains there seemed even more insane than the class story ones had been (even if they are supposed to be based on the same multiplier). The GSI support satellite system was a godsend and underlined just how undergeared my character was, considering that her health more than doubled every time I clicked on that shiny console. Suddenly things died at a speed and with an ease that was much closer to what I was used to, and it was nice. Relogging outside of a base and suddenly losing the buff in the middle of enemy territory was scary though.


I also enjoyed visiting Makeb again, somewhat to my own surprise. Immediately after 2.0 I kind of overdosed on it, with too many of characters having gone there in too short a period of time, but returning to it after a bit of a break, I enjoyed the story again, as well as just looking at the environment with its wacky beasts and strange flowers. (Balloon plants?) The moment I hit 55, my motivation to keep questing took its usual nosedive though.

Overall it was a pleasant enough experience and nice change of pace, though I do think there are definite disadvantages to levelling a character this way, aside from things like the financial issues I already mentioned. Spending all your time in class story phases feels lonely as you rarely encounter other players, and personally I felt that limiting myself to the class story resulted in me getting less of a "feel" for the character than usual. All those light and dark side decisions you get to make in the side stories really help with shaping a character's personality.

5 comments :

  1. I have leveled an operative from about 20ish, and a Jugg from lvl 1. During my sorc leveling I found at least one glitch with the xp. The numbers on the screen were correct, however it did not translate to my xp bar. Then I turned in another quest and got way more xp than I should have. So I guess that made up for that. While leveling a BH at about lvl 15 I turned in the first class quest on the planet and only got 7xp. The next quests I turned in seemed to be back to 12x xp.

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    1. If you go over +6 to the mission (i.e., level 37 doing a level 30 mission), you get zero XP, which is then multiplied by the 12x boost, and then forced to a minimum of 6xp, which XP boosts will modify to 7. I would think that your first class quest on DK would be more than level 8, though; I don't remember off the top of my head, and work blocks enough 'game' sites for me to be unable to check.

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    2. There's definitely something else going on though... on my Sorc it seemed that all the missions where the 12xp was screwed up were ones that completed on my ship - everything else was fine.

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  2. The 'hit level 47, go to Makeb' diversion has sidetracked me with my Sorceror, but there are things about the Inquisitor storyline that are severely annoying. Take the entirety of Chapter 2; you're running around collecting Force ghosts so that you have enough power to take on Darth Thanaton, but not _once_ during that process do you ever _use_ any of that power, so you'd discover the drawback to binding more than one ghost at a time (the consequences of which Thanaton had conveniently removed from available writings so you wouldn't know you were making a mistake beforehand) _before_ it bit you in the ass when you confronted him?

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    1. I think the Sith inquisitor story can pretty much be summed up as "always lagging a step behind". No matter what your character does, it never seems to be completely thought through, and you keep getting caught unawares - not once or twice, but many times.

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