Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The SWTOR Leveling Experience, Levels 1 - 10

My first experiences in SWTOR began in the beta 2 weeks prior to launch.  I had initially been invited to join earlier but thought I would wait for launch and avoid any disappointment. Whilst I had faith in Bioware, I had bad experiences with other MMOs and decided I would just wait and see what would happen.  I finally decided to take up the option for the open beta after hearing a lot of discontent with the WoW die hards saying what a poor game SWTOR was looking to be. To me this could mean only that it was looking to be a decent game and this encouraged me to take advantage of the open beta and take a look for myself.

I decided very early that I wouldn't try to rush through and level as fast as I could as a lot of people in betas are inclined to. So instead I would take a look at every class and look at the dynamics and gameplay of each class. 

The first 10 levels of every character are extremely diverse and the story content of all 8 character classes was extremely unique and very well thought out. The play style of each of the 4 characters in each faction is also quite interesting and whilst a lot of people will say this is a WoW clone in the combat arena, I couldn't disagree more heartily. I feel that the differences are amazing and the only way you will learn these is playing for yourself.  I didn't want to make this a guide on how to play, guides like these have been posted all over YouTube and if you want a step by step guide then you are losing the experiences and surprises in the game. This is more about what information is important, and what you might like to know without any spoilers.

Combat very early on is, as you would expect, limited to a couple of hotkeys, but knowing exactly the function of each ability is invaluable. Making certain you understand what each hotkey is for should be the very first thing you do and as you level, read and invest a little time in looking at your abilities to know what they can do. Whether or not you chain keys for higher damage or just spam a single button, early combat is really quite easy and does not make it a difficult game for the novice player. This gives you the ability to become immersed in the story and develop your skills as you go.  By about level 4 or 5 you will have 6-7 abilities which you can use to your own play style.

Questing [editor's note: it's called Missions in SWTOR you old WoW player!] is amazingly simplified in SWTOR. Your objectives are placed straight onto your minimap and the primary zones are slightly linear to allow the learning experience to progress. What a lot of experienced MMO players fail to realize is that with each new game release there is an over-abundance of new players who really have no idea what they are doing. The beginning quests for each class begins with, why your character is where they are and their immediate goals.  This leads on to a primary class quest beginning with ACT 1 and leads you into an immersing story line which is both interactive and entertaining.  Side quests are abundant and are pretty much the meat and vegies for leveling.  Not once have I had to grind or worry about not being too low to do my quests.  

Dark side vs light side
One of the first things I noticed, while getting engaged in each story line, were the light and dark side options. As a general rule I decided that if I wanted to be dark I would play dark.  I was playing light then I chose light side options.  There were no exceptions and I found by level 10 I was easily past the first tier of dark or light side points. Choosing a combination did not seem very important as it seemed to balance you closer back to a neutral option.  This may be tempting for the role players out there who are not swayed by the choices they make. 

People have heard all about companions and these in my view are a game-changing asset whether you like to play solo or with friends. Group partys are limited to 4 members which includes the use of  companions. Since beginning the actual game I have leveled with my close friend Jean (ingame name) and the 2 of us with our companions have been, for lack of a better term, "tearing it up".  I cannot stress this enough.  LEARN how to use your companions. This is vital. 

Social points
This brings up another extremely important facet of the game that a lot of people are not taking so much notice of yet, "Social Points".  Whilst you are grouped with a friend or any other person and you do quests not related to your private class quest, you will gain social points for each interaction within quest dialogue. for example, whenever you are talking to a quest giver and make a choice within this conversation you will receive points which accrue and give you access to superior (both looking and functional) equipment. 

Finally as the beginning zone draws to a close, your primary class quest becomes more prominent and those initial desires seem to be coming to fruition, for example, if you're Jedi / Sith type character your lightsaber looks to be closer at hand.

What I would dearly love to recommend is that you try to do every quest and explore these beginning zones thoroughly. This will make for a much more enriching experience and will allow you whether you are an experienced MMO player or a complete beginner, a fantastic experience which you will thoroughly enjoy. 


  1. Nice post Clint welcome on the team!

  2. Really enjoy your guides, and the entire site in general!

  3. The only thing I could say that is "WORTH" using a guide for is to locate the "Datacrons" These are hidden all through out the game and they give you permanent stat boosts and other things like Data Crystals that can be used for other secrets. Other than that, like you said.. Tottaly don't use a guide. Don't skip the quest scenes enjoy this game for what it is!