29/02/2020

Building Up My Companion Roster

I have a long history of struggling with companion affection in SWTOR. Back when companion story progression was tied to affection I made a post about how I still hadn't finished a lot of companion quests long after I'd completed all the respective class stories because I just couldn't be bothered to gain certain people's affection. Companion story progression getting tied to class story progress was a godsend for me.

Fast forward a few years to 2017, and I wrote about the tedium of levelling companion influence with nothing but gifts. As it happens, Bioware made crew skill missions also award companion influence only two months later, much to my delight.

For a while after that, I ran crew skill missions constantly, just to raise various companions' influence levels. It was really just another way of burning credits on influence - probably not the most efficient one at that - but I really loved that feeling of killing two birds with one stone, raising my companions' influence levels while also gathering crafting materials.

Unfortunately I soon ran into a significant limitation: bag space. Having my inventory fill up at unexpected times because crafting mats were constantly pouring into it on top of whatever else I was picking up was not fun, causing me to eventually abandon the whole thing again.

Now the introduction of the materials inventory in Onslaught has unexpectedly served to revive my interest in this particular pastime, as the spoils of each mission can go directly in there without clogging up my regular inventory. Even better, because crafting materials are actually needed in great numbers and somewhat hard to come by, running missions 24/7 is also worthwhile!


With that in mind, the most pressing question on my mind has now become which companions to level on each character. Thanks to Knights of the Fallen Empire and what followed, all of my characters who've gone through that content have more companions than you can shake a stick at, but you can't send more than eight of them out at once anyway, meaning that you have to make choices about whose influence to level first.

Back in 2017 I just tended to pick the lowest level ones first since I didn't like having anyone sit at level one, but these days there's actually some benefit to having max-influence companions for crafting, so that's become a goal for me. (Technically it was a benefit back then too, but with the exorbitant costs associated with crafting in Onslaught, you really want as many of those crits as possible now.)

It's actually been an interesting thought exercise to pick each character's "favourite" companions. Former class-specific companions are usually a no-brainer if they are still around and I didn't utterly loathe them. And as tired as I got of KotFE over time, one or two of the companions acquired during the Fallen Empire/Eternal Throne story usually make sense as well, depending on the character's preferences.

Then it's simply a matter of who else seems suitable. On my trooper I added Sergeant Rusk to her favourites for example, since he's a Republic soldier too and they should get along swimmingly. I also added HK-51 and Treek, simply because those are companions I haven't bothered to acquire on my other characters so they feel unique to her.

My Sage is trying to get to know Kira because a liberated former child of the Emperor is interesting from a consular's perspective. My Marauder is investing in Scourge because she's intrigued by the fact that he was once her predecessor. My smuggler is levelling up Gault because how could she not want to keep someone with this many underworld contacts close? And so on and so forth.

It's very slow going compared to gift-giving, but I do like watching my selected companions slowly climb in levels, and it tickles my inner roleplayer to imagine my characters' relationships with various companions that don't feature much in the official story. It's like a mini game of my own making.

4 comments :

  1. The diffculty for me is the fact that characters gain their first companions very slowly through their class story - I never seem to find the time to push my crafters through their chapters ^^" There's just always something going on that seems more important - usually guild-shenanigans of some sort.

    My dark(-ish) Jedi Knight for example is my only max-level Armormech and has been stuck with T7 and Kira for... over a year now. Problem being, that this Knight is highly suspicious of droids (you can't read them through the Force) and hostile to all things Sith, including reformed ones like her padawan.

    The cost of crafting (and the need for crafting the new max-level augments) finally made me give up the plan to make Seargent Rusk the max-level comp for this Knight (they are of a similar military mindset) and just level T7 all the way to 50 and Kira to the 30s. And use the companions you get through mail for gathering the low-end stuff.

    I already know that I will be highly annoyed when my knight has finally made her way through FE/ET and is 'blessed' with a bajillion companions, having wasted gifts on people she actually doesn't like.

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  2. Wait, everyone got Kira and Scourge as companions? Ugh. I feel cheated now. I waited all that time without ever touching that "summon old companions" terminal just so the reunion could be a big deal.

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    1. Oh, it is still a big deal! It's just that they are part of the main storyline, which is why they appeared for everyone (similar to Kaliyo, Jorgan, Vette etc.).

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  3. While I don't do this myself, I can see why you do. It makes perfect sense. So many conversations happen in my head only... All worth it!

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