Monday, January 18, 2016

SWTOR: Duo

I stopped playing Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) for a few weeks after finishing the Shadow of Revan expansion with my Jedi. I've picked it back up recently in large part because a friend of mine (we'll call him "L") has done the same.
My trooper on the right, L's Jedi on the left.
As I've mentioned in previous posts, I haven't done much grouping in my travels through SWTOR. This time, though, my friend and I decided to start a couple of characters together and play them through the story-line together. L is playing a Jedi Knight, and I'm a Republic Trooper. That's a whole different beast than grouping up with random people.

Over the holidays, there was a sale on a 60-day subscription code, which I picked up and activated just recently. L had already subscribed, so both of us could take advantage of the subscriber benefits. This helped out mostly in terms of being able to use quick travel often, letting us avoid some of the worst of the "run across the map" scenarios.

Playing as a duo highlights some of the best and worst of SWTOR. It's nice to have someone else there to experience the story, and you get to see their character's personal story-line as well as your own. You can also do the "heroic" multi-player missions easily. On the other hand, the combat is even less impressive with two people. Wiping out entire sections of the map is incredibly easy, even the "heroic" portions, as you play through the various planets across the galaxy. One reason for this is that there's no scaling of enemy difficulty - you see the same bad guys whether you're alone or in a group. Another is that you gain levels incredibly quickly when doing all the missions, and are very soon at or above the maximum level for the zone.

The exception to the "combat is easy" rule is when running a Flashpoint, which we've done a couple of times. We did the Hammer Station Flashpoint when we were both only level 20, and with just the two of us. It's designed for four players, and everything (including us) is scaled up to level 65. That was a challenge, especially the final boss, who took a good number of attempts to defeat. Although had we recruited two more people, or been higher in level, I doubt it would have been nearly as difficult.

I'm enjoying playing SWTOR as a duo with L, but as with my solo experience, it's more because of the story than the actual gameplay. I expect we'll make it through the story-line, but not sure how much longer we'll continue after that.

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