Has the DvL event really been live for four weeks already? How time flies.
I still haven't progressed past the second reward tier, because as I anticipated, the thought of launching myself into Knights of the Fallen Empire for the sixth time has posed a bit of a mental block to me. People tell me that you can space-bar through it all quite quickly if you want, but I don't like doing that, and playing "properly" takes time. I still think that I will get there... eventually.
For now, I've been working on random objectives from the other tiers instead, such as collecting the event datacrons, running flashpoints and participating in warzones and GSF. In terms of getting the rewards this is quite a gamble, because if I run out of steam before the end I won't get anything for those half-completed achievements. But the funny thing is that I'm not even that fussed about the rewards. I simply like the way the event achievements provide that little nudge towards making me jump into content that I haven't done in a while. Like I said before, nearly five years and I never created an Assassin? Madness. Let's look at some of the things I've been doing in the past few weeks then, one character at a time.
Shilu, the Scoundrel
I completed the smuggler story for the third time, thereby making it the class story that I've completed most often. Somewhat to my surprise, I don't have much to say about it. It was pretty much how I remembered it. My only "issue" was that - as I observed previously during the 12x XP event, it's a bit hard to get a "feel" for a character when all you do is the class story and don't gain any sort of connection to what else is going in the world via regular quests. I'm not really sure what sort of person Shilu is, other than vaguely light side.
I hit 65 about halfway through the Rishi storyline and haven't made any further progress on it since then. I do have to say that some of the achievements definitely feel somewhat out of order as they are - for example it makes no sense that hitting level 65 is part of the fourth reward tier, when it's impossible not to hit 65 during the first nine chapters of KotFE, whose completion is a requirement for the third tier.
I've also maxed out all of her crew skills (bioanalysis, biochem and diplomacy), thereby taking my first step towards the "max out all crafting professions" achievement required for the final tier.
Finally, I've also started running hardmode flashpoints with her. My pet tank, who was initially completely uninterested in the event, did a bit of a turnaround now that he is on holiday for a few weeks and levelled an event alt from 1-65 in only three days (less than nineteen hours /played). I joked that he did it purely to tank hardmode flashpoints for me, but joke or not, he has been doing exactly that. We knocked off seven of them in only two nights. We even had some wipes in the process, though overall it has been a fun experience.
The whole thing made me realise that I've barely set foot into hardmodes since 4.0. I think it may have had something to do with the one experience that I do remember, where my Sage - not even 65 yet at the time - ended up in hardmode Blood Hunt with a pug that couldn't even kill the first boss. Our dps seemed really low, but I couldn't be sure that my low level wasn't dragging the group down as well, and after a few wipes I politely bowed out. That probably wasn't representative of the average hardmode pug, but I suppose it did leave a subconscious impression on me...
Shinister, the Assassin
I haven't progressed Shinister's class story beyond Dromund Kaas, and even that I only really did because it's embarrassing to not have a ship. Otherwise she's been levelled entirely via random tacticals, warzones and the occasional GSF match. I've completed the achievements for the latter two, but that hasn't stopped me from continuing to level through them anyway. As I said, I'm clearly treating the DvL achievements as suggestions or prompts rather than as a strict guide on how to play. For the tactical flashpoint achievement I'm only missing Battle of Ilum and Battle of Rishi now, though I'm bound to do the latter once I take Shilu through the second half of Rishi. Through all of this, Shinister has almost hit 65, by which point it will probably be time for her to retire for the time being.
Zeresa, the Commando
Since I enjoyed the whole "levelling through flashpoints and PvP" lark, I decided to roll up another character (again with an eye on the legendary reward tier) to take to level 50 this way at least. I decided on a Republic class to get back to my home faction for a bit after spending so much time on the Assassin as of late, and I opted for a Commando to try out the dps side of life. Shintar has been a healer since the time she originally got to choose her first talent point, and I never respecced her to another role in the entire time that I've been playing - despite of guildies' frequent requests when we were trying to adjust group composition for a more casual ops run. I'd always rather log an alt.
However, I'd be lying if I said that I've never been curious what Commando dps is like, especially since people always talk about how easy it is (cue jokes about "one button wonders"). I can definitely already see where that reputation is coming from, because even without having consulted any kind of guide, it's quite obvious that the single-target rotation is pretty much limited to three abilities, with two of them having a cooldown. My problem is actually finding mobs to practise this on, as anything but a flashpoint boss dies too quickly for me to execute much of a rotation! It does seem like the kind of dps that even I could handle though.
PvP on this character on the other hand has been pretty painful. I thought that Shin was already a popular target as a Commando healer, but being dps you end up getting focused even more because you don't have the heals to keep yourself alive. I remember getting into an arena where - even though I used every single defensive cooldown I had at my disposal at the time (stun breaker, medpack etc.) I only got a single attack off before I died. Not every match has been quite this painful, but it has been the general trend. It reminds me of how "[class] sucks in PvP" is really a remarkably - if not self-fulfilling - then at least self-reinforcing prophecy. Are dps Commandos objectively weak in PvP? Yes. But you know what's worse? The way that this provides the enemy team with unprecedented focus the moment you enter the battlefield. Never mind the enemy healers, everyone pile on the (supposedly) easy kill! Bleh.
Are you still working on the event (if you got into it at all) or are you one of those people who are already completely done with it and are only waiting for KotFE chapter sixteen to be come out to get final completion credit?