I Don’t Hate SWTOR’s Dark vs. Light Event

Dark vs Light

Why is the light side represented by a Chiss? They can’t even be Jedi/Sith without a legacy unlock.

There’s been quite the kerfuffle (kerfuffle is a great word, by the way) in the Star Wars The Old Republic community about the Dark vs. Light event. Announced last week, it basically gives rewards to players who roll new characters and do certain achievements, rewards, including XP boosting armor and some much sought-after lockbox rewards. Also, perhaps more interesting, based on the total number of players’ light/dark decisions, BioWare will be giving out either a Jedi or Sith companion to players who reach the Eternal tier. Many players claim that it is simply a ploy to get users to subscribe and buy character slots, playing on their fear of missing out on limited time rewards if they don’t. To that I say, of course it is. They have to make money, and if they’re going to give me a companion and a chance at getting Revan outfit pieces without spending millions of credits on the GTN, then I’m willing to subscribe for a month to get the latest chapters of the Knights of the Fallen Empire story.

That said, I can totally understand why these players are upset. I’m a very casual SWTOR player these days; I play only sporadically, and when I do it’s for the story, not for anything that will hold me long term. If this were, for instance, Guild Wars 2, where I already have characters of every class, who are all decently leveled if not capped, I’m sure I would join in the protest. It’s really unfortunate that there’s no reward for veteran players who have already done all of the objectives on the list, but I’m not sure what the alternative was. You can’t just give out all of the rewards on day one to anyone who plays SWTOR exclusively and has a million alts at the level cap. The point of the event is to give players something new to work toward. Plus, if you give a consolation prize (say, the companion and no lockboxes or cosmetics) to everyone who already has both Republic and Imperial characters at 65, there’s inevitably that one guy who will have his characters one level short who will make a big fuss because he wasn’t notified soon enough that he needed to get all of his ducks in a row to get the rewards. You can’t please everyone with this kind of thing, so, sadly, sometimes it’s best not to try. It’s unfortunate that veteran players are getting mostly ignored on this one, but I honestly don’t see a better way.

This isn’t Guild Wars 2, though, it’s SWTOR, the game that rewards altaholism with unique stories for each class and loads of player choice. If any game was going to run an event that encourages rolling new characters, SWTOR is the one to do it. This event is tailor made to get people like me, former players who have lapsed, back into the game to start fresh and hopefully try out the content that they’ve generated since we left. And, you know what? It worked. I’ve been toying with the idea of coming back, and this was the incentive I needed. And, by the looks of it, I’m not the only one. Last night I saw 150-300 people in each of the starting zones.

So, while the event is a little tone deaf toward veteran players, I personally think the Dark vs. Light event isn’t completely awful. Its only purpose is to give new and former players a reason to come back, and I think it has succeeded at that. It’s got me excited about the game again, and I can’t wait to get my armor set and free lockboxes!

SWTOR’s 12x XP: An Altaholic’s Dream

Ricoshay Relaxing
I think the last time I subscribed to a game was early 2012, and before that circa 2009. Now, I’ve suddenly been subscribed to two different MMOs in the span of three months. Fittingly, the last game I was subscribed to was SWTOR, and now BioWare is once again taking my money. This time, however, the Game Tax comes with the perk of a huge XP boost to the class story rewards that allows players to level to 50 exclusively through their story from now until the expansion hits on October 19th. As much as I love the charm of a lot of the sidequests in SWTOR, I have to begrudgingly admit that I agree with everyone who’s saying that the story-only leveling is actually a really nice experience. It feels more like playing a single-player RPG; one main story with only as many sidequests as you choose to do. It’s also great because I can play as many different classes as I want and don’t have to replay the same quests I’ve just done. So far I’ve almost finished my powertech’s class story, and my sorcerer is in her mid 30s. I’m planning on finishing off my operative next, who is around level 40.

A lot of the reason why SWTOR has never stuck for me is that I want to play every class, and I want to simultaneously be at endgame right now and experience as much of the story as I can. So basically this is exactly what I’ve always wanted. I’m not sure if I’d recommend it to someone who’s never played the game, as it kind of rushes you through the learning stages of the game, but as someone who’s played off and on since the beta and dabbled in all of the classes at one point or another, it’s great. I’ve seen some discussion among players of just scrapping the sidequests and keeping the class story XP boost on all the time, probably only for subscribers. I have a hard time being excited about this, because there are a lot of memorable quests and quest lines outside of the class story that I would miss–who can forget the Black Bisector series, or the first time you became a Revanite?–not to mention all of the light/dark decisions, companion affection, and gear drops we’d miss out on (I’ve been living on almost nothing but commendation gear since I subscribed). I know they’re reworking the leveling process for the expansion, but I don’t think they’ll be so lazy as to just leave the boost on all the time. The best solution I’ve heard is somewhere in the middle: boost the XP payout of all of the quests (both class story quests and traditional ones) by 3-5 times and leave them all in. This way you’re still progressing at a more normal rate, but you can pick and choose which quests you want to play. Either way, I’m sure the leveling experience will be better. And if it’s not, they’ll be giving you an insta-60 with the expansion (free with a subscription) so you can skip it entirely. I’m planning to use mine on a Sith Juggernaut, since my old main character was the mirror class on the Republic side, but my new guild is mostly Empire. I’ve never done the Warrior’s story, though, and I’m told it’s pretty good, so it would be a shame to skip it. We’ll see.