Wednesday, May 6, 2015

In a Galaxy Far Far Away.. you can earn 12x XP.

So right now, through some indefinite amount of time described only as "the fall" Bioware/EA is giving you 12x XP rewards for any story mission you complete. That's right - that's not a typo. TWELVE TIMES. It's pretty remarkable. It's turned on automatically for subscribers, (which I now am, for the time being), but you can buy an item to turn it off if you like.  The interesting thing is, I actually found myself at a conundrum as to whether or not I would leave it on or not. Here's why.

I've been back in Star Wars the Old Republic for just barely a few weeks. I've hit level 24, and am really enjoying playing. I've been doing the story mission and the side mission, feel like I'm levelling at a decent rate, and queuing for flashpoints when I am appropriate level. I even picked up a few heroic pugs here and there. (There's a visual if you take the sentence out of context!)

So in short - I'm having a pretty good time with the game just as it is. I certainly don't feel a rush to get to the end game. For me, for MMO's, the journey is always far more important to me than the destination, as once I reach it it almost certainly means I'll just be moving on to another MMO that I can level in again. So, I had just about convinced myself to turn it off and continue to play the game as it was originally intended.  Until.. last night.

I queued up for the Athiss flashpoint while I was playing. And up until now, for the flashpoints I've done, my average wait time has been around 25 to 35 minutes. Not great, but not undoable. At least you can plan around it. Last night, after sitting in the queue for an hour, I unqueued, as by then I had to go. That was early in the evening, so I tried again when I got on late. Again, an hour in the queue, and I unqueued. And it occurs to me.. no one's doing these low level story flashpoints. Why would they? Right now, it's far more efficient to level up doing story missions than flashpoints. I also noticed a sharp drop in heroic LFG call outs last night - though that may have just been happenstance.

But if there is one fundamental truth you can count on when it comes to MMO's, it is that the vast majority of your player population will follow the most efficient route they can to the end game - especially if that route is well publicized. Regardless of what you personally may desire, the truth is, what the player population is doing has an effect on your gameplay - whether you want it to or not.

So I decided to get on board. Though I enjoy doing flashpoints, I dropped my quests for all of them and my heroics last night, and found the next waypoint on my story mission and set out. I'll do the story missions, and the occasional side quest when it suits me, and level the way they've set out for me to level. When and if I get to the end game, I'll worry about gearing up and learning to play my character in instanced content then. Most of the guides only give rotations for end-game ability setups anyway, so there you go.

So here we go! Expect to be inundated with more screenshots as Kaytte, our tough as nails heart of gold smuggler traverses the galaxy in search of fortune and riches. And occasionally delivering the odd sandwich here or there to some person in need.