SWTOR: The Care And Feeding Of Level 50s

February 6, 2012

About a year ago, I made myself a promise that with any subscription MMO to which I commit myself, I will not quit or be distracted by other online games until I hit the level cap. As it were, it was one way for me to give the game a chance to show me the goods, but ultimately it also became a pretty effective way to deal with my case of altitis and gamer ADD.

Anyway, the point: I hit level 50 in Star Wars: The Old Republic around a week back, making my Jedi Knight the latest addition to my stable of level-capped MMO characters. So, at least I’ve accomplished one of my goals.

Where did I go from there? Well, in this strange universe where BioWare is apparently biased against Jedi and makes random decisions to make their lives miserable, I had to finish my class storyline before even having any ability to make a decision for myself. It was something I planned on doing anyway, but I was a little baffled as to why Jedi Knights and Consulars had to do this first in order to even open up the Belsavis dailies, whereas my Trooper guildies were already off and doing them without having to conclude their storyline and well before hitting level 50! And yes, I was a bit annoyed too, as I am whenever choice is taken from me, but I suppose Jedi are held to a higher standard?

Oh and speaking of dailies, long time readers will know how I feel about those. I already do enough real-life chores in my day, and it’s ironic to hop online in my spare time and have to do virtual chores as well. And yet, I’m PvE focused, so when the level progression stops it’s time to work on gear progression, and that’s the way SWTOR works as well. About two hours to hit up and do the Belsavis and Ilum quests, earn daily commendations, buy gear and mods with said commendations, work at it until you are geared enough to do hard mode flashpoints.

Already I’m seeing players in general chat LFM for these hard modes, more often than not calling for those interested to have so-and-so amount of health along with a sundry list of requirements. This is probably the most disconcerting thing of all (though I admit this is a bit of a moot point, since you’d have to lobotomize me before I agree to PuG a hard mode at this stage).

Mind you, that we’ve come all this way to do the same old dance is less of a complaint, and more of my own personal observation. I understand that end game is hard to shake up, and there’s probably no safer route than to go with player expectations and what they’re familiar with. I’m going through the steps myself. This is life at 50.

But hey, there’s always alts — and SWTOR has the advantage of seven other storylines to experience, and at least now I can start a new character guilt-free.


  1. I have to say, I’m a bit disappointed with the daily quests part of my brand new 50 experience. It is so typically MMO. Why bother having an NPC voice the quests if they are the same, go rescue Pilot X, go kill Sith Lords XYZ, over and over again. I found myself very let down that a logical way to do the same thing day after day wasn’t written by the otherwise brilliant writers? Why not, “this is a dangerous area and we lose pilots there all the time, please go rescue one of them for us today” to at least attempt to hide the fact that you are repeating yourself? I was really disappointed to find myself killing the same 3 Sith Lords in a game that went out of its way to hide the fact that we were a legion of players killing the same backstabbing enemies throughout my leveling experience.
    I’m in the grind to operations gear, and a bit behind the power curve for most of our 50s, so I’m having a hard time staying motivated to do it and not just say never mind to raiding for a while and level up more alts first.

    • I know exactly the quest you’re talking about. Dailies in general don’t work well when you’re selling the “story” because of the repetition, but that rescue-the-pilot quest was especially stupid because it’s so in-your-face. It’s the same droid asking for help, the same dude you bring the supplies to. He must be the worst pilot in the galaxy. You said it, it was disappointing. The writers put all this work into creating a story, but miss out on making the premise behind the dailies at least believable? It just doesn’t jive.

  2. Somehow i am glad i am far from 50, only lvl 27 on my smuggler, but i am allready fearing the endgame. I mean it’s what i have been doing in WoW for i don’;t know how long. Constantly trying to get better gear to be able to do the harder mode dungeons/raids.

    I really hope they’ll be adding more stuff later on to do at 50 besides dungeons/raids.
    But i still have some way to go to 50 and like you said there’s alts, plenty of other storylines to enjoy 🙂
    And i am still saving the datacrons (i only have one) and i think there are probably plenty of codex entries i missed.

    • Yep, in the sense the gear progression in SWTOR doesn’t stray too far from WoW. It’s unfortunate that after so long, MMOs still don’t have a clear alternative to this process of gear grinding, but I concede it’s probably the most viable one we have now. I think it’s only a matter of time something else will come about.

      As of now, I’m also hoping they’ll add more stuff at 50. Besides hunting for codex entries and datacrons, there’s not much else in terms of exploration and side activities for players to do at 50, without turning to repeatable content (ie. dailies, warzones, space combat, etc.)

      • Actually, look back before you look forward. Asheron’s Call didn’t have dailies or a static gear grind. It took 2 years for the first player to get to cap, another year or two before servers saw more than a gaggle of capped toons at a time. The daily quests and reward system is a symptom of the whole notion that a game which doesn’t end must have an end game. Well, that and the fact that players have been pushing the developers to flatten and shorten the leveling curve with each successive generation of MMOs.

        Quite frankly any game where the progression is completed in roughly 2-3 weeks, or even 1-2 months, for most reasonable players they should just chuck the whole notion of progression from the start, give everyone full-power toons and design their systems around that starting point.

        If progression is going to be in an MMO it should be on the order of several months as the minimum to several years on the outside. IE, time enough that all but the most dedicated, has-nothing-else-to-do-in-their-life, plays-24-7 player could achieve before several content releases come out to expand both the current progression as well as extend it further out.

        We already have games which show this long view in action. Asheron’s Call, already mentioned, is one example. EVE Online is another.

  3. I haven’t hit 50 yet in SWTOR, but I don’t have very high hopes for it personally. I might spend some time gearing up through dailies, but really the endgames of almost every MMO I’ve ever played tend to bore me to tears. The amount of time it takes to make progress on your gear tends to exceed my patience and spare time. That said, I’m looking forward to running alts a lot more in SWTOR than in most games I’ve played.

    • That’s why leveling is my favorite part — at least the first time you do it, everything is fresh. You get to enjoy the new places and new stories as you progress and in a way there’s always something to look forward to — whether it’s the next level or a new ability or the next zone. In many of my MMO experiences, all that comes to an abrupt halt at level cap. In the handful of games I can come up with off the top of my head, they always fall back on repeating content.

  4. I am ok with how it is being handled presently. What I was looking for from TOR was a return to the halcyon days of WoW during the first half of Burning Crusade. I want a decent set of dailies. I want interesting instances which require a modicum of thought and player coordination to complete. I want something my wife is comfortable playing with me. TOR delivers.

    Which isn’t to say that what TOR delivers is all I want from MMOs. Just that from the pre-release days, especially after my 2 beta weekends, I knew the style of game Bioware wanted to deliver and was fine with it.

    What I want from MMOs is something that no themepark can deliver and, quite frankly, has not yet been tried for various reasons. Even then, if the perfect MMO came out I would not expect all MMOs to follow suite. I would still want my themepark circa WoW early-BC MMO to exist in some form or another.

  5. What I don’t understand is why they limited the dailies to Belsavis and Ilum only. Hoth has a level 48/49 bonus area, and Voss a 47/48 one. I don’t know anyone who needed these bonus missions to get to 50. They should just make Hoth and Voss’ bonus series for level 50, have them grant daily tokens, and then give each planet a longer cooldown to reset plus larger numbers of awarded tokens per mission.
    At least then we would be doing one of four planets each day, instead of the same two planets every day.

  6. Congratulations on hitting 50, even if that means that you have now reached the endgame. There has to be something better than heroics, raids, and dailies, right? /sigh

    So, since which class are you taking to the cap next?

  7. You are hitting the dailies at just the right time (at least if you plan to run the PvE flashpoint “hard mode” dailies).

    With the latest patch, Bioware increased the reward for daily HMs to 3 columi commendations, 7 tionese commendations per (up from 1/3 measly commendations per day), and they have increased the reward for the weekly HM quest to 10/20 per week (up from a laughable 3/5).

    Getting more commendation reward for time spent was a change that was sorely needed (used to be it would take months to have enough commendations to get anything).

    I have to admit, I am just a little sad that Bioware didn’t absolutely destroy the old system of endgame grinding and conjure something new, but I am starting to wonder if anyone ever will, in all honesty.

    I do have high hopes that Bioware will put in alternative paths for those who do not wish to farm flashpoints forever – or at least provide some distraction.

    Distractions are needed. The grind gets old – and it will with SWTOR at some point. It is unavoidable. But a good assortment of distractions can go a long way (guild ships, more guild functions, customizeable ship interiors, cantina activities, world events, more ingame pets, more ingame titles, etc). I expect Bioware to touch on some by March, and hope to see even more as time goes on.

    Having said all that, as a person with a level 50, myself, I will say the grind is not wearing on me in SWTOR as much as it has in other games. There could be any number of reasons for that, but it has not gotten me to a worn out state.

    Now I am going to cross my fingers that Bioware puts in some fun side activities before it does (wear on me). 🙂

  8. Ah! Super jealous. Must go play now.

    😉 Congrats!

  9. I’ve been 50 for a while myself, but I’m still working on finishing the class story. Not because I need to for the dailies, but because I want to see what happens to the characters I’ve been interacting with. Once that’s done, I think I’m going to do an alt or two or move on to other games. You comment about LFM’s already starting to list requirements makes me want to avoid any of the endgame dailies, at least outside of the guild.

    • After doing EV normal mode last night with a character who wasn’t fully 126 geared out, I’d have to say we’re making things too hard for ourselves. As far as I could see, I was keeping up just fine with the people who had spent a lot of time doing daily quests and PVP for gear sets. One night of an operation and I had a two piece set bonus going. Now, I’d done a few days of daily quests and had upgrade a bunch of mods in my gear, plus made my level 50 relic, but I don’t think Operations in normal mode are inaccessible to brand new 50s the way we may be used to from other games. I think people are making Ops too easy by pushing for fully decked out 50s to start them.

  10. Haven’t even gotten to the end chapter one on either my solo or SLC main. Headed right after this. The only thing I want from end-game for my Assassin is the Imperial pilot gear that requires Social III. I can run the easy mode FPs to get the social points for that.

  11. Congratulations madam! Now quit SWTOR while there is still hope for you!

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