SWTOR: a fresh look at 50

Dipping a toe back in the level 50 waters in SWTOR I’ve found to my surprise that there’s still some nice meaty story content for me to play through. I unsubbed from SWTOR last summer just before Guild Wars 2 launched. At the time I’d hit level 50 cap and was feeling the pressure to gear-up and start on the heroics->operations treadmill.

Ilum...

Ilum…

Coming back to the game I’m not quite ready to drop $20 on the expansion; so I logged on my main and wandered around to see if there was anything to do since I’d already finished my consular storyline. Turns out there is because I didn’t rush to do ‘end game’ solo content last summer. First stop Ilum!

Ilum is the PVP planet of SWTOR, so on face value I wouldn’t have ever gone there. However like all planets in the game there’s a planetary story arc as well (for each faction). So I’m now two zones into the world doing a mix of planetary missions and dailies. The dailies are there to earn commendations, but they are still content, so worth exploring at least once!

Screenshot_2013-04-17_17_39_52_148789

I love the cold, night-time landscapes of Ilum -¬†there’s a stark beauty to the world. The story is interesting, although I feel like I’ve skipped something – probably due to not having played through the last few flashpoints prior to coming here (no spoilers as usual). One very neatly illustrated point in the planetary arc is that choices, sometimes, do have quite an impact on a gameplay session. Without going to heavily into spoilers, I was given options while planning an ¬†assault on an Imperial base. These choices could have just been the usual RP & light side/dark side options.

Concussions missiles are this year's "hard diplomacy" option of choice

Concussion missiles are this year’s “hard diplomacy” option of choice

Imagine my delight when a rather ‘practical’ decision I made ended up giving me some surgical air strikes to reduce the groups of ‘silver elite’ opponents I had to plough through to get to the big bad guy at the end! So for all those who say (usually on forums) that the choices in SWTOR never make any real in-game difference, well perhaps they do but you haven’t noticed…

I know that there are also Belsavis and Corellia (a k a Black Hole) level 50 stories and dailies to look at so potentially that’s two more story arcs I haven’t as yet explored. I’m now about 70% into level 50, since my experience bar has unlocked even without the expansion. This could be a good strategy to avoid the issues others have written about that the expansion content isn’t necessarily enough to get them to the new level 55 cap. I wonder if it’s possible to reach 55 without even setting foot on Makeb?

So for now, my plan is to put off buying the expansion at least until I have played through Ilum/Belsavis and Corellia.

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3 Responses to SWTOR: a fresh look at 50

  1. Shintar says:

    Hm, I don’t recall there being any major story prerequisites to the Ilum story. You just get a breadcrumb quest from the fleet that the Empire is up to shenanigans again. It’s more the other way round, that the Battle of Ilum and False Emperor flashpoints make no sense if you haven’t done the Ilum story quests (as they are a direct continuation).

    You’ll be able to get to within one experience point of dinging 51 without owning the expansion. :)

    And I’m pretty sure you could easily get to 55 without Makeb, because there are so many other sources of experience at 50. On expansion release day, my pet tank just ran a couple of flashpoints and warzones and hit 53 before we even set foot on the new planet. Last week I also gained almost a full level on an alt just from doing a level 50 operation. Good times. :)

    • Telwyn says:

      Ah, for a minute I thought the experience wasn’t locked. Weird that you can almost ding 51 though! In which case I’ll probably end up buying the expansion regardless just so I don’t “waste” potential XP. Without massive spoilers, the story seemed to address the “situation of the Empire and Darth Malgus”; I assumed this was the topic of the last few flashpoints perhaps or an early operation I’ve never seen?

      • Shintar says:

        Yes, that’s what the aforementioned flashpoints are about, but the Ilum quests come first and the flashpoints are the follow-up.

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