25/05/2020

A Quest A Day Keeps The Story Underway

I've previously talked about how disconnected story and character progression have become in SWTOR over the years. With level sync in place, that's not exactly a problem per se, but if you're like me and enjoy both story content and character advancement being dished out simultaneously, being forced to choose one over the other at times can be a bit of a downer.

Having seen all the stories in game multiple times at this point, I pretty much always choose progression over story repetition if I have to. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that I'm entirely happy with this. It just feels wrong somehow to have character advancement and plot so wildly out of sync on some of my characters, e.g. to have them barely having left their starter planets story-wise while wearing endgame gear and doing hardmode content.

For quite some time now, my everyday play involving character progression has more or less been dominated by Conquest. I just enjoy watching that bar fill up from a variety of activities. Unfortunately, story content was rather at odds with Conquest until recently. When Bioware made the change to translate any XP-granting activity into also awarding Conquest points, it became viable to hit your target on a character by just doing story, but the whole system also felt unbalanced because the actual objectives were largely pointless.

The launch of Onslaught managed to make Conquest objectives meaningful again, but this also meant that trying to hit Conquest primarily through story content (which had few to no objectives attached to it) was very slow. Occasionally there'd be a bit of synergy between some Conquest events and certain levelling content, e.g. if there was an objective to kill mobs on Nar Shaddaa and you were on just the right step of your class story... but again, it wasn't great. Some class stories actually don't even require you to do that much killing for example.

One thing I really like about the last Conquest revamp is that they added daily repeatable objectives to do any quest and kill mobs for all the planets, and from what I've seen so far they seem to be there every week. This has been a great incentive to dig up some of those perpetually neglected alts with stalled story progress and put work into them again, one quest at a time. Finally, another way of combining story advancement and character progression (in the form of Conquest).


Shin-dow the Shadow does stuff on Tatooine. Only took me about four years to get here...

Mind you, it remains a bit awkward just how quickly the bar fills up - e.g. I'll do one class story quest on Balmorra for two days in a row and then I'm pretty much there already, at which point it's time to log off that character and not come back until Tuesday (when Conquest resets) for the next installment. It's a very choppy way of experiencing the story, but then it's not as if anyone is forcing me to do it this way, nor is it my first time doing any of these storylines, so I have a pretty good idea what's happening in each one anyway. At least the incentive to work on them again at all has made things on the levelling story front more interesting to me than they've been in a while.

3 comments :

  1. I like to think that SWTOR made a good decision at the start to run 3 streams of quests - class, planet, filler. FF14 was wise to focus on the MSQ line (also only having 1 character helps).

    Consider WoW's convoluted storyline, which is absolutely impossible to play through today. Hell, there's a clear indicator of the mess when you reach a zone and see Chromie, who teleports you to different version of the zone depending on where you are in the story.

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  2. I was SO happy about this - it does make you feel ready to do more story, and there is also the infinitely repeatable for story that helps... Now I no longer need to feel I'm "neglecting" things when I decide to do story.

    Then again, if you're doing story and leveling, it goes by so quickly that last Tuesday I was doing Korriban story (from lvl1, idk if cq has already restarted, I think I rolled it in during the pause) and by the time I went to bed I was a level 19, leaving Korriban, and with whooping 80K Cq points - a waste, as it was not guilded. BUT I was able to just get there, entranced in story.
    Last week I rolled a new BH, she got conquest before she reached DK as well... And, also, unguilded. Uugh.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, that's what I meant with that last paragraph about the bar filling up too quickly... I hate "wasting" points so I tend to switch to playing a different alt once it's full, but that means I get to make very little progress on each individual character each week!

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