Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Bonus XP and maxing out companion affection with gifts

This post is a bit of an update on what I'm doing in SWTOR at the moment, including information on using bonus XP and low level gifts to boost up a new companions affection quickly.

With the server transfers opening up last week I finally managed to get two of my other characters over to my main server. The characters I have right now are:
Level 50 Miraluka Jedi Consular Shadow who is blind and cannot be seen
Level 50 Jedi Guardian who looks just like me, or a fitter version of me
Level 40 Smuggler gun-slinger with a cyborg eye-patch for the win
Level 20 Miraluka Sith Warrior, and I'm sick of people asking me where I got my helmet from that looks like glasses
Level 22 Trooper Comando, and why does anybody like to heal? I am finding this character almost painful
... and a couple of level 1s.

They are all on the same server (now). What I'm planning on doing is having one of each style spec. So my Jedi Knight is a Guardian and my Sith Warrior is a Marauder. My Jedi Consular is Shadow and my Sith Inquisitor will be a Sorcerer. That's the plan. So in the end I will have played every style of advanced class.

PvP vs PvE

Pre-patch 1.2 I leveled my Shadow up to 50 mainly through PvP. But post-1.2 I'm finding the going is a bit slow. I am having a blast on my Sith Warrior and it's real fun to PvP with but the PvP rewards have been nerfed to the extent that it's a lot faster to PvE level, especially if you're stacking your bonus XP like I am.

Stacking bonus XP

What I mean by stacking bonus XP is that I'll let a character sit and max out their bonus XP for a few days whilst I play with another character. With five characters on the go it's really easy to spend 100% of your game time leveling with bonus XP. PvP is way slower than this.

Note to self: remove the Ratghoul customization if you plan on making out with your companion

Maxing affection with new companions

The other thing I'm doing with all my alts is maxing out affection with a companion as soon as I get them. Using the Companion Items Vendor on my fleet station, I start by purchasing 50 or 60 level 1 gifts which that particular companion loves. (Check what they like in our Companion Lists) These cost 200 each. I pop that gift in the number 1 spot and turn on a repeating macro on my G19 keyboard, so that every four seconds a gift is presented to the companion. So in four minutes they get 60 gifts they like. As soon as they reach around 3000 affection they stop liking the level 1 gifts and then require the level 2s. Another 40 or so level 2s will take your companion to just over 5000 affection.

What I found after leveling 3 level 50s (2 in live and 1 on beta) is that at the end of all your mission lines, most companions are sitting on 4000 - 5000 affection. By starting them off with the cheap gifts from the vendor and getting them to the 5000 mark before you even start using them on missions, means that at the end when you do reach level 50 they will be maxed or close to it.

Every companion costs about 60-70 000 to get started in this way. So this is impractical for a new player. But anybody who has got level 50 alts knows how easy it is to make 60-70K. To try and bump them up once they have reached 6-7000 affection with gifts ends up costing a lot more because the higher level gifts cost more. Best case scenario, if you're getting your gifts through missions, you're looking at 2-2.5K each. After you have topped up your companion to about 5000 affection, then take them to the cantina or ship and start their missions. You will see your affection go up approximately an extra 1000 just from the first group of missions.

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  1. Thank you! Really nice information

  2. Assuming your companion has a favorite gift, you can buy 63 level 1 gifts and get the companion from 0 Affection to just over 4,000 using all level 1 gifts from the vendor. It's the cheapest way to get to 4k affection. You should skip the level 2 gifts all together unless you're willing to spend good credits on small but expensive returns. You're better off at that point relying either on questing to raise affection or using Rank 3-5 gifts that you receive from mission quests or find for cheap prices on the GTN.

    1. To expand a bit, the rank 2 gifts cost 3x as much as the rank 1 gifts, but do not give 3x as much Affection when getting up to 4,000. Even if the rank 1's are giving you a seemingly small amount of affection, they're still more cost effective than rank 2s.