So I mentioned last week that I reached the level cap in Star Wars: The Old Republic on one of my characters, specifically my Bounty Hunter. Well immediately after hitting the big 5-0 I logged out and pretty much didn't touch him for the better part of a week. I spent time on all my various alts, even tried to level my Smuggler for a bit (still completely frustrating.) Right now I think it'll either be my Jedi Sentinel or Sith Juggernaut that I focus on next, but that's a topic for another post. No what I want to talk about today is my plan to give the SW:TOR endgame a fair shake and see what life is really like for a level capped character in the game.
For the next week, I plan to play my Bounty Hunter almost exclusively. I'll pop onto my alts for a space mission or two, or to run some missions for my companions, but the majority of my actual game time I will invest in my Hunter. In preparation for this, I spent this past weekend finishing off the Corellia story arc and my class quest. Without spoiling it for anyone, I will say two things in general. First, the conclusion to the class story is pretty satisfying. It felt like a genuine conclusion to the story being told, while at the same time leaving enough "hanging" that picking it up won't be a problem. And second, I would be very curious to see how Corellia plays out for the Republic. This planet isn't a case of Taris/Balmorra. There is one planet and it is the same for both factions. So... how does Bioware reconcile the Imperial story with the Republic one here? I'd really like to find out.
But with that accomplished, I am in a better position to focus on the endgame content without having to worry about those "loose ends." So what is there to do at 50 right now? Well, let's put aside PvP right off the bat. As I've said before in this blog, I don't like PvP. I have nothing against the people who do and I hope that games try to present enjoyable PvP scenarios for them, but personally it just isn't my cup of tea. Raiding is also not on the table, but for different reasons. I am still (unfortunately) guildless, and with my work schedule picking up, it is unlikely I would be able to set aside the "blocks" of time that organized raiding would require. That leaves three things that I can see myself working on this week.
On a personal note, I find the development of daily quests interesting. When I first started playing MMO's six years ago, there wasn't a concept like this out there... at least not in the games that I was playing. Yes there were things that you would do on a regular, even daily basis, but there really wasn't a formal "structure" for it like there is now. At a glance, SW:TOR's take on dailies appears pretty similar to World of Warcraft. Although there are no factions and associated reputations like in WoW, there is a "currency grind" that has you working towards purchasable rewards. SW:TOR has two major hubs for its daily activities, not counting the Fleet hub. There is one set of dailies on the planet Belsavis, and another on Ilum. I have begun working on unlocking the Belsavis series. I want to do that first before traveling to Ilum. So this will probably be what I concentrate on most early in the week.
Flashpoints (Regular and Hardmode)
I would really, really like to see more of SW:TOR's Flashpoints and I am trying to stay positive on this issue. But I am not optimistic in terms of how many (if any) I will get to do this week. On top of not having a guild, I am also faced with the problem of being a DPS spec rather than a tank or healer. And as everyone who plays an MMO knows, DPS is a dime a dozen, especially at endgame. This is not how I anticipated reaching the endgame at first. My plan was for my healing spec'd Smuggler to be my first 50. But as that turned out not to be the case, it is going to be that much more difficult for me to find Flashpoint groups on this character. One option I do have is changing my Bounty Hunter to his healing tree. It is the other tree Mercenaries have access to. So if I really do want to see Flashpoints, that may be what I have to do. I am reluctant though due to the lack of dual spec in the game and I don't want to have to pay to constantly switch between healing and damage to do my dailies and other activities.
I am intrigued by the possibilities of SW:TOR's crafting system. I really like the concept of reverse engineering to create more powerful items, and the ability to create mods to improve existing gear. That said, it is a system I have not really taken advantage of as yet. As I was leveling, I focused my efforts on raising my crafting skills as efficiently as possible. I didn't see the point in trying to reverse engineer something like Reflex Armoring 2 when there are twenty other better versions to make. But now that I am at the top end, it is time to revisit this and start working on obtaining the improved designs of the best mods and armor. Additionally, I have some very nice cosmetic gear sitting in my cargo hold that just need the right mods to be made into some deadly weapons. I am looking forward to spending time on this as a way to improve my character independent of things like gear drops in instances.
Unless something significant happens this week, I don't plan on posting anything more on SW:TOR until this time next week. I want to give this a totally fair shake and as honest an effort as possible. So next Monday, I'll sum up what I think of the SW:TOR endgame, or at least those portions of it that I concentrated on.