“You have taken your first step into a larger world.”
-Obi-wan, Episode IV – A New Hope
Of late, my toon has been racing across the galaxy, conversing with thousands of citizens of the Republic approaching him for help. He has killed countless enemies, gathered, destroyed, pillaged, escorted…and generally had a blast doing it all.
At the pinnacle of it all was his own defining story, a truly epic and heroic tale, of which he was the center of a major conspiracy which drove straight through the heart of the Republic. Not only did he survive the entire ordeal, but in the end he emerged from the ashes of conflict as a true hero of the Republic, and all the glory she stands for.
Then, the unthinkable happened.
Dodd hit level 50. His class story wrapped up shortly thereafter.
As a SWTOR player, this changes the context and psyche of the game considerably. Dodd is still very much the carefree flyboy with a heart of gold that I had intended him to be, however…the class quests and xp grind have both come to a fairly abrupt end. And also, the class story is done. No more Voidwolf chasing me around the galaxy. No more big schemes to thwart. The loading screen, which constantly provided me with an updated SW-themed scroll with Act I, Act II, Act III now reads…”Interlude”.
I found myself quickly asking…ok, what now?
I’m fairly sure as a n00b level 50, others have asked themselves this question, as well as those within the guild who will be getting there shortly. I owe big Props to Dashl for grouping up through several planets, and Jeezbus for running us through several flashpoints. I also freely acknowledge that I devoured this game content in relatively short time and found myself slightly ahead of the leveling curve in comparison to my Alvian guildmates. This was done consciously, for personal reasons I won’t get into here.
So I’m taking the time to document my research on life after level 50, and present it to you, spoiler-free. I’m sure this entry will not necessarily be complete, and perhaps might even become outdated by the time you read this. But here is my best attempt. Here is how to gear up and get ready for Alvis Operations. I admit, we may be getting slightly ahead of ourselves on this one, since they might be a ways off. But it doesn’t hurt to be prepared ahead of time…
Things to remember as a level 50 n00b:
1) You don’t need regular XP anymore, but you will be continuing to gain legacy XP. Keep this in mind if you’re still on Corellia at level 50, on a bonus quest and somehow thinking you still need to kill n mobs of x in total. Bonus quests provide a nice xp boost, but you don’t need xp anymore. So unless you think there is a hint of getting additional credits or commendations from the bonus, ask yourself if this grind bonus quest is worth it for legacy xp, or if it will help you move your character forward in any way. If the answer lies somewhere in the negative, or if you’re uncertain, or just plain bored, you may wish to discontinue the bonus quest and just focus on the overall quest objective.
2) All quests still provide you gear, credits and legacy xp. Average payouts for most Corellian quests are decent in the 6K+ range/quest. So they’re worth doing.
3) Continue to earn as much money as you can. If you go with Speeder 3 training, you’ll need about 500K or so for class training AND speeder 3 training when you hit 50. I was flat broke afterwards and could barely afford fuel costs when I was done on the Republic fleet. Sure, the 1.5 mill speeder which you can buy from vendors might look enticing, but keep in mind this is a vanity item, an expensive one at that, and might take time to grind that kind of cash. For now, speeder 3 and a nice Aratech Dagger will get the job done at 110% speed, quite adequately.
4) This is an MMO. MMO endgames usually involve the eternal quest for better gear until the level cap is raised and more content is added. SWTOR continues to deliver story and purpose to this MMO grind, but overall, the goal as compared to every other MMO remains the same. Get more gear!
5) According to Devs…more moddable endgame gear is on the way. This is a complaint on the forums I’m reading. The best thing about an MMO is that it is ever evolving, patching, ever improving. We’ve only just begun with SWTOR, folks. If there’s something you don’t like about the game…sit tight…chances are the Devs have noticed and are already working on it.
Things to experience at level 50, while your guild is getting ready for Operations:
1) First things first. Help other guildies, to the best of your ability. Class quests and Heroics aren’t always easy, having an extra blaster or saber at their sides will help (not to mention a level 50), and while you won’t earn XP anymore and you’ll be potentially gimping their XP gain for killing the mobs, you will nevertheless earn good karma xp. I’ve had the good fortune of Jeezbus running us through several Flashpoints, and I would say that I am extremely grateful for his assistance. Not only this, but consider the more people hit 50 in Alvis, the more available help you’ll have for some of the more difficult content, just as daily heroics and flashpoints (see below). So help out others and enjoy the content this game has to offer.
2) Gear up, and get ready for endgame PVE content. Here are the known current ways of getting started…
- PVE Repeatable Daily Quests. Without story spoiling, if you’re really stuck…Go back to the Republic Fleet. A Twi’lek located in the Cantina will point you to Belsavis, where you will eventually unlock around 8 repeatable daily quests on that planet, in a level 50 zone. These quests, unlike other regular quests, will provide PVE Commendations (along with credits) which can be traded for PVE items on the fleet. Each quest (there are at least 7) earn 1 commendation and 7150 credits.
- Hard mode flashpoints. Group up and try some of the higher-end flashpoints (Directive 7, The Battle of Illum, or The False Emperor), or redo some of the original content on hard, and nightmare modes. The way these work is that the bosses up to the final boss will drop epic gear, and the final boss will drop a class token. All bosses will also drop Tionese Crystals, which are used in conjunction with other commendations to purchase epic PvE gear from the Tionese vendor on the Fleet. The main disadvantage here is that the gear drops are random, and from what I hear, Bioware still has some patching to do to ensure equal distribution amongst classes. As of today, the endgame loot bags we were promised while the game was in development aren’t there yet.
- Flashpoint Dailies and Weeklies. These are straightforward and gotten from the Fleet. Complete 1/day and 3/week on Hard Mode to get the max reward. Basically you’ll just be doing Esseles to complete this quest.
4) Gear up, and get ready through endgame PVP content. So – yeah. The PVP item purchasing system is a little confusing at first. But it’s pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it. For this, you’ll mainly do PVP Warzones. Lots of them. I’m guessing premades will help a lot in winning if you can find a good group of people who communicate and work well together. Otherwise, be prepared to swallow your pride and lose…repeatedly. I’ve been in about two dozen battlegrounds so far with Dodd and haven’t won one yet. I keep hearing that Republic isn’t that bad, and I’ve probably just experienced a string of bad luck. You might win a bit in the process, and develop l33t skills, pwn teh nub (then go to iHop).
- Grind Warzone Commendations through warzones, and trade them in for Mercenary Commendations at the PVP vendor (at a 3:1 Conversion Rate). Essentially, once you’ve accumulated 800 Warzone Commendations (specifically, 200 Warzone Commendations and 200 Mercenary Commendations), you can start buying Champion and eventually Battlemaster bags once your valor rating is 60. If you’re serious about this grind, you’ll basically want to set aside your tokens until you hit 60 valor so you’re skipping the Champion bags altogether (Rating 140 versus 136). These bags have (at the time of this article) a one in ten chance of dropping random epic items, as well as Champion / Battlemaster tokens which you trade in on the fleet for gear.
- Daily and Weekly PvP Warzone Wins – These two quests are picked up on the Fleet. Win 3 matches a day, and 9 a week. Daily gets you 1 Champion Gear bag, and the weekly gets you 3.
- PVP Dailies – Similar to Belsavis PVE quests, you will also get a quest to head to Illum, and there are daily quests there which also give rewards for completing specific objectives within a PVP zone. The slicing there is excellent, also…incidentally.
5) Crafting. At the time of this article, there aren’t a whole lot of schematics worth crafting for endgame, from the research I’ve done. Nevertheless, it’s still worth investigating and ensuring both you and your companions have the best crafted gear available.
6) Have you discovered all the holocrons and looked at Matrix Cubes yet? If you’re anything like me…you probably rushed through and never bothered. But they will give you a slight extra edge, so look them up on swtor-spy, and get cracking!
7) Do your companions love you, or hate you? Do you care? Do you want them to open up to you more? Romance, and possibly marry them? Try building your relationship with them by offering them gifts, and questing some more with them.
8) Roll an alt! Same server toons earn shared Legacy XP and it’s easy to run some PVE/PVP dailies on your main to get a couple mods and ship some credits to your new toon and blast through crafting much faster.
9) Social Points, titles, space content…there’s so much more the game has to offer.
I might have missed some stuff here, or there may be some clarifications required. Again, I’m still a newbie level 50, and I’m still putting the pieces together. But I hope this helps you, fellow Alvian, to quickly find your way in the universe after you’ve completed the leveling grind.
May the force be with you.