Friday, November 6, 2015

SWTOR: The Greatest Bounty Hunter in the Galaxy!

Just about everyone my bounty hunter meets in Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) these days is either deathly afraid or excited to meet the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy. Winner of the Grand Hunt! Survivor of innumerable ambushes! Rescued the Sith Lords known as the Dread Masters! A little ego-stroking is nice and all, but I think they may be laying it on a little thick. On the other hand, the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy does get the interesting jobs.

Since my last SWTOR post, Eltaix has progressed to level 50. She's been to Hoth, which was cold and mostly empty; Belsavis, a prison planet; and Corellia, the corporation-dominated merchant world. The Empire needs help crushing someone everywhere, of course: Republic fighters, corporate merchant marines, escaped prisoners, local aliens, you name it. A bounty hunter more interested in profit than ethics can do very well.

Doing all this hasn't gotten much more difficult. I'm constantly being offered upgraded gear from mission completions, so I haven't had to go out of my way to find better equipment. None of the standard enemies pose any real challenge, to the point where I'll occasionally fight a couple of enemy groups at once just to add a little interest to the combat. I did learn the hard way what a world boss looks like, though; I'll be giving those a wide berth in the future.

My ship is started to feel a little crowded, because as I go through all these interesting adventures, I'm collecting companions. As you go through your character's story, you'll meet quite a few folks that want to tag along. I've collected four now (five if you count my ship's droid). Honestly, I haven't paid much attention to any of them except Mako, who was my bounty hunter's first companion. In some cases that's because they're kind of annoying (Gault Rennow, Skadge); in others, because I just haven't taken time to see what all they have to offer (Blizz). Once I take care of the story-lines for my own character and Mako, it might be interesting to go back and see what the others are up to.
Mako and Eltaix on Correlia. And some random Sith guards.
The free-to-play account credit limit is 200,000, which doesn't take long to reach. For a while I didn't really have anything to spend those credits on, but then I discovered the Legacy system screen. The game had shown me a tutorial pop-up about it a while back, but it mostly talked about how Legacy levels benefited multiple characters on your account, so I'd assumed it wasn't useful while I had only one character. It turns out, though, that once you've gained a few legacy levels (this happens same as normal character levels, just slower), you're able to buy various perks with credits (or real money, of course). That solved my credit glut, by spending it all unlocking things like increased companion favor and quick travel to my home world.

Speaking of free-to-play, yes, I'm still working my way along without subscribing. I actually intend to do so at some point - I've enjoyed this game enough that I'd like to support it. But I haven't done it yet for two reasons. First, I'm curious to see how far I can reasonably get without paying anything. I'm going to finish out Eltaix's class story-line before I subscribe. (Edit: Originally I thought I could get her to 60, but F2P caps at 50.) Second, I tend to avoid subscriptions until I can get the most out of the time I'm paying for. It's not strictly necessary, but I feel better if I'm maximizing the benefit I get out of the paid time. So I expect that eventually I'll subscribe for a month or two, maybe advance Eltaix to 65, and try out another class or two.

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