To Boost or Not to BOOST…that is the question…..

Since the release of patch 3.2 and the mighty x12 xp boosts for subscribers, I’ve noted a great deal of different opinions on Bioware’s decision to impliment a full summer of fast leveling. Some of my very favorite and very respected blogger’s ( , , , and Star Wars The Old Republic-04-23-2015 17-17-03 ) to name a few, have put across the pro’s and cons of this experience boost. I hesitated posting anything about the x12 as I wanted to be sure of my own thoughts on the matter at hand. To be clear, you must know your own motivation when dealing with such fast leveling in context of the game. There are times it is very handy and times when it is detrimental to the experience of the game pending upon why you play. So here is my take on the bonus and a few possible scenarios as to why or why not use the boost:

– I want one of each class on each faction. I want to experience each Class Storyline to completion, not for skill but simply to enjoy the storyline. In this case, I don’t like to be side tracked with a bunch of side quests that take away the pieces of the puzzle for the story itself. x12 XP is very handy for just experiencing the character POV (point of view) within the context of the entire SWTOR story arch. for this, the boost is pure awesome. Oh, keep in mind you get huge commendation bonuses for class storyline completions as well.

– I have a mid level range character where I understand or have studied the necessary builds and skill rotations. however, I want to get it to level cap so I can pitch in further for my guild OPS/HM FP’s. Great idea to get these alts to cap so they can be useful for end game content! Again, minimal time investment, maximum returns.

Unknown Game-05-03-2015 22-02-27– I am experimenting with new characters and different class builds but if I don’t like it, it won’t hurt too bad to re roll and start over. This honestly doesn’t bother me in the least, I’ve taken characters all the way to LV 50, felt I didn’t enjoy the class and well…kicked them out the airlock for a re roll. Because the XP bonus is there, trying something new but with the same name or look won’t hurt me too bad, especially if I am not having fun and want to try a different specialty. As a subscriber since November of last year, I get a couple of sets of mod-able gear that while not pretty, still effective with minimal investment. Over time, if I decide to keep the character, I can create different outfit looks through the outfit designer tabs which aren’t nearly as huge of a credit sink as I thought they would be.

– Some of my dearest friends have moved to a different server for (XYZ) reasons. I can’t/won’t spend money for the transfer. But I don’t want to loose connection with all the cool people I’ve met. Easy money here, re roll and fast level. It honestly doesn’t take more than 30 minutes to burn through the first 10 levels. Those who are veterans of the game probably have several account bound items they can pull up quickly to assist them in their goals. By level 15 you can buy your first ride and BOOM! You are speeding through levels faster than Han Solo can make the Kessel Run!

– I love to RP, but some of the places my fellow RPer’s go I can’t get to because of my level. Look once you have experienced the Bioware storyline whether major or minor you’ll  want to start creating your own story if you are an avid Star Wars The Old Republic-05-04-2015 7-16-20RPer. If you already know what you want your character to be involved in, boosting up fast allows you to participate in the higher level events.


– I’m new to the game. I don’t understand the how and why of each class. I want to enjoy the ENTIRE story to include all the side quests/planetary quests/Heroics on each planet and get all the possible achievements. In this case, turn off the XP boost once you get to fleet. Then get ready for the long road to High Adventure! Without the XP boost, you can feel you have the appropriate challenge on each planet and the ability to finish every available quest while still earning xp. This is actually important. Part, not all, but part of questing is getting a reward that has meaning.

– I love PvP, but I need to practice my class more and prefer to stay in the War Zones as much as possible to get my twitch down to both science and art. Turn off that xp boost for story classes so you level appropriately and get all the practice time you need killing your fellow players a zillion times over! I did this personally when I rolled my PVP Operative. I am by no means an expert at pvp and need every bit of practice possible with my character to make him the absolute best possible fighter in the warzones. No xp bonus means I can spend far more time in the war zones fighting without worrying about leveling too fast. Conversely I may turn the xp boost back on if say the long haul through Midbie range (lv 30-55) gets annoying. I hit 30, turn the boost back on till I get to say 45 and then turn it back off to get back into the pvp battlegrounds and work from there.

– I’m still an RPer but I want to develop my character’s attitudes/motivations based upon experiences held in game. Each interaction and choice has meaning, even the side quest givers. Hell I even walk from zone to zone instead of speed run or vehicle mount if it’s accessible. Ok, again a case where turning off the XP is a very viable option. This is a long term investment and a serious challenge. I don’t think I’ve run across someone who has actually pulled this off. Variations of this is perma death re rolls…very challenging stuff and very deadly in consequences. But some people like to take it to that level to really immerse themselves into their avatars. Choices they make get more real if a perma death is involved. Now this could be a case of turning on and off pending upon personal progression.

– I’m a crafter and want my crafting to be meaningful to my character. If I out level my skill ability, the crafting means little for me. Well, serious stuff here. If you are boosted in XP and burning through levels, you will without a doubt surpass your crafting skill in ability and make the crafted items irrelevant. In these case, having the boost turned off is preferable.

My point in all of this is whether you choose or not choose to use the xp boost is entirely up to you in personal motivation. Take a moment to examine why you play and quickly you will be able to determine whether the x12 boost is really for you or not. Now I know some hard core end gamers complain that people are leveling so fast that they have no clue how to use Star Wars The Old Republic-05-03-2015 17-24-36their class and it makes doing PUG HMFPs a pain in the ass. True, but then I keep a list of friends who I know will do the job right and a list of people who are useless. To be sure, the standards of my guild are fairly high. I mean they will teach you what you need to know but if you can’t learn you probably won’t be welcome back to any of the OPs events. Not that they are mean, but if you aren’t progressing neither are they. See, that’s how you avoid the speed levelers who aren’t willing to learn thier class, your guild. Get into a good one and you won’t have to worry. But that’s a topic for another day.Till next time, see ya on the high ground!!

Trade and Commerce Blues POST 3.2

Ok, first off, I love the game and nope I’m not rage quitting. But there is a problem that I have with the Post 3.2 changes when it comes to item modification. IT’S DESTROYING THE CRAFTER’S MODIFICATION MARKET ! How so do you ask? Well, here is the deal, end game crafted modifications really aren’t that useful past lv 50 unless you are trying to squeeze and extra point here and there when min/maxing the modifications. The mid-level and low level market for modifications used to be somewhat lucrative, especially for Ear pieces and implants. Patch 3.2 lowered the commendation costs by half for all Mods at the various modification vendors. This really destroys the need for Cybernetics/Barrel Modifications/Enhancements at the low to mid-level range. At LV 50, it’s very easy to get (140) modifications for a complete armor set at an approximate cost of I think 200 or so Basic Commendations. Those modifications will last you easily to Lv 55 and with a little diligence you’ll do the same for Basic Lv 50 Modifications. Where then is the need for Cybernetics/Barrels/Enhancements?

Now Artifice still has a niche for the Implants and I think Relics. But seriously, even if all of the end game mods are useful, the whole crafting process has been thrown on its heels due to the Commendation drop in cost. This isn’t very good trade and commerce practice. In the current state, player made crafted items are decreasing in value and therefore decreases the actual need to gather/craft items. It also hurts the raw material/components trade. What is left for crafters? Well, Orange/Purple Custom gear is one outlet especially now that the Appearance designer has been implemented. I do like the designer implementation and think that it does open up a new market, especially as we start seeing more showcases on the net of creative outfit designs. But this still doesn’t address the core issue of crafting in the game as a whole.

On Ebon Hawk, even a DPS character starting at LV 15 can get between 20-30 Basic Commendations per day by doing a daily KDY run and 1 instance. What this equates to is using the Commendation Vendors twice per 10 levels to completely outfit a full set of modable gear. Done this way, your character/avatar is really set all the way to Lv 50. You no longer need to seek out crafters with the exception of perhaps Ear pieces / Implants / Relics.

So what is the solution? There really isn’t one unless Bio Ware changed a few things dealing with crafting. One would be increase the Vendor mods back to previous prices which would help make crafted items more competitive or attractive to buy. The other is to make crafted item stats more valuable than that of the Vendor Commendation market. Of course you can re-engineer greens to blue and blue to purple. The problem with purples is the amount of re-engineering required to obtain the purple modification and then even worse the no fragging kidding amount of time/cost requirements of finding the purple rare mats to craft the modifications in question. Can it be done? Yes. But the time and cost involved makes it somewhat prohibitive. To counter this, make the crafted blue modifications a little bit better than the vendor commendations and the rares to be equivalent to at least 2 levels higher with specific tertiary stats included (alacrity/accuracy/critical/power etc). This would motivate the crafter to try for said materials and creates a demand in the market for them. The other is to make it easier to find crafting schematics for interesting customizable gear that can be worn for appearance or for modification.

Finally, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF THE FORCE, take gold spammers seriously out of the picture! It’s obvious that because the game can be free to play, gold spammers are rampant. There isn’t an easy solution to this either. I offer two possibilities here. The first is to make earning credits at low levels a lot easier to obtain or at least more lucrative by increasing quest completion credit value. The other method is trading in commendations for credits. Something like this was done on EQ2. There, with so many tokens you can by a bag of platinum coins or other little niceties. Use commendations to do the same in this game. Either of these may bring about price inflation of Cartel bought items that get resold on the open market. But with the advent of the Outfit Designer, Cartel prices are starting to drop on the GTN. I’ve already seen it over the last few days. I’ve also seen green items that look cool get serious resell value.

Ok, I’ve expressed my concerns here. I don’t want my readers discouraged or thinking I hate the game. Point in fact, I love SWTOR and it’s beautiful story telling as wellStar Wars The Old Republic-05-03-2015 17-26-20 as it’s epic scope. Point in fact I’ve gotten Damios up to Lv 55, attended 2 OPS and am going strong. I’ll write more about his exploits on Makeb and then his current adventures on Rishi. Why Rishi? Because that place kicks ass! The pirate’s haven central and I do love the area. So far, it has to be one of my favorite places to adventure.