Star Wars looms close and the hype is at an all time high. As we get ready to move our forces into this new opportunity I’d like to share what I’ve learned from beta. Hopefully these insights I’ve acquired will help the rest of you tackle the learning curve. In many respects Star Wars plays a lot like World of Warcraft, however it’s important to not let the familiarity pull the wool over your eyes in terms of subtle differences.
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Questing vs PvP
Everyone wants to know about this and the answer is simple; questing is superior. It’s more profitable, it yields better xp per hour and in the terms of your class quest it’s necessary. If you intend to PvP to level expect to be broke and expect to fall behind the questers. There is an exception to this rule. In the 10-20 level range the xp from PvP is decent (possibly even better than questing). However, I don’t recommend overdoing it on the PvP but I do recommend doing enough to purchase your level 20 pvp gear. Your PvP gear will have item modification slots and I’ll explain why this is awesome later. I don’t recommend overdosing on PvP at low levels for this one reason: You need to complete your class quest during this period of the leveling process in order to acquire your spaceship.
Item Modifications & How To Get Them (questing cont’d)
Do not underestimate the value of an item with item modification slots. These items are far more useful to you than items with set properties. It doesn’t take much time to out-level your gear but it can take a lot of time (and credits) to find new level appropriate gear. Lucky for us BioWare has implemented a gear system that allows us to circumvent the need to grind flashpoints for gear. This system comes in the forms of item modifications. There are three basic item mods for armor; armoring, enhancement, and mod. Your weapon also has these mods plus a hilt or barrel mod depending on whether you use a lightsaber or a blaster. This is why I recommend acquiring your lvl 20 PvP gear, it’s an easy way to acquire armor with item modification slots.
So now you have modifiable gear, how do you update it? Well it’s pretty simple all you need to do is find new modifications! These are available through crafting, the galactic trade network, mob drops, and of course questing. As with leveling, questing is the superior way acquire your item modifications. Not only will this be a cost free way to acquire mods, it won’t stunt your leveling as crafting would. Each new zone you arrive at will have a currency associated with it called “zone name” commendations. This is a zone specific form of purchasing power. The main hub of each of these zones will have two vendors you can spend your commendations at, one with equipment and one with item modifications (occasionally they will have a commendation vendor for ship mods). Assuming you have gear with item modification slots (because I told you like 2 paragraphs ago to get this gear) your commendations will be better spent on item modifications. You will augment your stats far more for far less commendations than you will via armor purchases. I highly recommend checking these vendors as soon as you arrive in a zone. The mod prices will never change it’s 2 commendations for a mod or enhancement and 7 for an armoring. In some cases there may be a piece of equipment with all three of those mods for cheaper than the 11 commendations but it’s pretty rare.
Side Note: Acquiring Commendations
Commendations are provided as rewards from questing as well as dropping off mobs throughout the zone. I believe (but have no real data to confirm) that the tougher mobs such as Champion or Elite have a higher chance of dropping commendations. Quest rewards will routinely ask you to choose between a green item, a random roll box, and a commendation. Take the commendation! The only time you want to pass on a commendation is when the quest reward is an item with mod slots that you or your companion can use or when the quest reward is an item modification. One commendation can’t buy one item mod, so the mod is more valuable.
Treat Your Companion Like a Second You
This should be obvious but it feels like players routinely ignore their companions. If you keep their gear up to date (using the same means you’ve been using to keep your own up to date) they will make questing much easier. I love leveling as a healer, I don’t know why but I always do it. Having a beefed up tank companion that did all the work for me while I healed him provided for hands down the best experience I’ve ever had leveling as a healer. It allowed me to focus on what I want to focus on; healing!
Other Miscellaneous Things to Know
Relics: These are available at the Republic Fleet from the Lightside and Darkside vendors starting at level 20. Relics are effectively trinkets from WoW, they are damn useful and they are often overlooked.
Respecing: There is an NPC in Coruscant at the Senate Plaza. He is in the back near the Galactic Trade Market (auction house). There is no way to change Advance Classes, that choice is permanent. Otherwise respecing is pretty standard issue, the cost doubles each time you use it.
Speeders: The skill for speeders costs 40,000 credits. If you quest to level 25 you should easily cover that cost. There is a speeder vendor at the Republic Fleet and I also found vendors on Tatooine and Alderaan. The Tatooine and Alderaan vendors had alternate colors and speeders that the Republic Fleet vendor did not have.