So here’s my thoughts on The Old Republic’s endgame, now that I’ve been playing it for a few weeks. I hit max level on my first (and if history is any guide) only toon on February 11th, about 2 months after I’d started playing and with an ingame time of a little under 7 calendar days. I leveled my toon as a pure evil darkside sith Inquisitor, and my character is a Twi’lek (not that race makes a ton of difference). I mainly stayed away from PvP and I didn’t allow my guild to twink me through everything, I leveled pretty much solely through questing and grabbing a pug when a Flashpoint looked interesting. So what are you supposed to do at level 50, anyway? The short answer is, grind through the gear progression, pretty much like every other MMO. Specifically, you can:
Unlock and run dailies on Belsavis and Ilum
If you’re a player without a guild, this is the fastest way to start picking up some daily commendations, which you can turn in at the rate of 120 per piece of gear and 8 per equipment component (for upgrading weapons), to earn the first tier of PvE gear. Dailies are short missions (5-10 minutes each) that can be repeated once every 24 hours. Between Belsavis and Ilum, once you have unlocked the hubs and depending on how long it takes to find a group of 2-4 to complete some of the Heroic Dailies, as well as factoring in that at least one of them is still broken, you can earn enough Daily Commendations in about 5 days to buy a piece of T1 PvE gear. Multiply that times 9 slots and you could spend a month and a half getting yourself your first set of first tier of PvE gear. However, if you’ve made even a modest attempt to keep yourself geared, as long as you have good gear with level 50 or 51 implants you can start tackling the easier Hard Mode (haha) Flashpoints such as Black Talon, which drop T2 PvE gear- you can essentially skip the first tier of PvE gear, if you want. I also neglected to mention that you can make 7k credits or more per daily, meaning you can easily bank 200k a day just by doing dailies. Personally, I think the dailies get boring, I only get about 90 minutes on weeknights to play and dailies are what I usually do if I can’t find anything with my Guild or PvP. Besides, I am starting to get better gear than the dailies provide so even though it would be nice to have a full set…I don’t need it. It’s purely for the completionist in me or out of boredom that I do dailies any more- frankly, Skyrim is a better use of my scant gaming time, though I do enjoy doing the dailies as they are easy and a good way to meet new people.
Work on obtaining 3 tiers of gear for PvP- Centurion, Champion, and Battlemaster
Get in there and grind, soldier! There are dailies for PvP as well as weeklies, and with a certain number of wins (3) in a day (also 9 in a week), you get a gear bag, which will either contain a piece of champion gear or some Champion commendations and some Centurion commendations, which you can trade in for PvP gear on the Fleet. There are also dailies and weeklies for kills (30 and 130 each award a gear bag). Once you hit 60 Valor (PvP XP, essentially), you can instead choose to receive Battlemaster gear bags, which contain Battlemaster PvP gear. Gotta be level 60 to use those, though. I’ve not played a lot of PvP and so I can’t comment much- though I hear Sorcerors are overpowered and PvP is a mess of stunlocks, so my class will likely get nerfed- but I will say that the gear progression on PvP is super, SUPER RNG-based. If you get lucky you can pimp yourself out in a nice set of Champion gear fairly fast, if you’re unlucky you might open 10 bags in a row and not get a single piece. I don’t have a lot of motivation to play PvP for gear, frankly.
Work on obtaining 3 tiers of gear for PvE- Tionese, Columi and Rakata, Run Hard Mode flashpoints for gear, Run Operations for gear
Once you ding 50, you can start running Hard Mode flash points. The bosses of these drop tokens which are class specific- but not advanced class specific, so you still have a choice how to “spend” that drop- that you can turn into the vendors on fleet for Columi gear. Some of them drop pieces of Tionese gear as well. There are lists on the web of what order to start with, but you should definitely be able to do at least Black Talon as a fresh 50. After you are fairly well geared it’s time to start doing operations, which drop Columi gear and Rakata tokens, and then finally the end of end game is Hard/Nightmare mode Operations, which drop Rakata gear, the highest in the game (unless you count rare, crit-crafted gear that has an extra augment slot). There are currently 7 Flashpoints and 2 operations in the game, with one more of each coming in patch 1.2 (also a new PvP Warzone!)
Collect matrix cube shards to build your artifact and hunt holocrons to increase your stats
For the Pokemon “gotta catch em all” crowd, there are, scattered about the game, matrix cube shards that can be assembled into a powerful artifact, and holocrons that contain + stats to attributes. The most impressive of these is the nearly impossible to obtain (without Ventrilo and the Internet) +10 to all attributes Holocron, which resides on the central meeting place for the two factions. This is most fun with a bunch of buddies and some beers on Ventrilo, and is a great way to see a lot of scenic vistas, and it’s also a great way to satisfy compulsive min/maxers on the Inspect screen. BIG PROPS to my Guild, WTS Deathsticks, PST, on Nadd’s Sarcophagus; I think all officers and many other 50’s have obtained the +10 to All ‘cron through teamwork and copious yelling on Vent.
Reverse Engineer all your crafting recipes/Play the Galactic Trade Network
This should be pretty obvious- and it gets expensive. Gotta spend that 200k a day you make running dailies every day on something, right?
So what do I personally think of the endgame of TOR? Compared to the other MMO’s I’ve played (Guild Wars, EVE Online, TOR), there doesn’t seem to be a lot to do outside of gear progression and PvP. Bioware really, really, really really wants you to roll alts, lots of alts, see all 8 stories alts. I was home sick from work with a 103 degree fever and so I actually got to see the Guild Summit from Austin and every answer was IT’S COMING IN 1.2 or WE’D LOVE TO DO THAT IN THE FUTURE. Frankly, 1.2 needs to add a ton to the game- I personally am waiting to see what the “Events Team” has been working on (supposedly, Bioware-run, gamewide events that affect everyone, think of the Rifts in Rift) to hang on to a lot of subscriptions, with Guild Wars 2 supposedly breaking a lot of paradigms and entering public beta. I really like Star Wars but here’s what my daily play time (outside of Wednesday night Guild Nights, where we do have a ton of fun) looks like:
Go to Fleet and pick up my dailies and/or weeklies if I need them.
Shop for materials and set up some crafting.
Ping general to see if anyone needs a Healer for a HM Flashpoint. Get bored spamming after 5 minutes, leave and go to Belsavis. Alternatively, shut down TOR and go play Skyrim.
Run Belsavis dailies, if it’s a cool group, continue to Ilum dailies. If I’m bored, switch to Skyrim.
Log off (it’s been 2 hours) OR:
Head to the Ilum PvP area and see if there are any Reps there to fight for my Ilum dailies- oh, wait, Ilum is so broken that they are scrapping it with more details coming later THIS YEAR. So there’s even LESS Ilum PvP than there used to be
Queue for Warzones. If it’s anything else but peak time, expect to wait 10-15 minutes with a 90% possibility of getting Huttball. Again. Get bored, log out, play Skyrim.
See what I mean? It gets old after a while. And once those 2 operations go down on Nightmare mode…I worry what will be left. Still and all though, I’m having a lot of fun and don’t feel like the $110 I’ve invested so far has been wasted. Will I re-up my sub? Depends on whether or not 1.2 comes out when they say it will, some time in April. Until then at least, I’m on Nadd’s Sarcophagus and I’m always looking to run a hard mode FP with ya!