I felt when SWTOR launched that the leveling experience, or more specifically the leveling speed, was a bit off. You raced forward too quickly for the first 20-ish levels, then the last 10 levels or so it was a bit too slow. Maybe that’s the standard progression model for MMOs but in a game with story as a major focus it seemed a bad model to follow. I’ll note here that the whole time I rarely played without rested experience as I wasn’t playing that intensively.
Now as I play through the early levels as a free to play ‘preferred’ account holder, I’m finding the pacing seems better. We receive no rested experience bonus as free to play players so that is probably part of it, also we’re not in a guild so lack the 5% bonus that guild membership brings.
So far we’ve done all the class and planet missions we’ve come across (with one single exception on Coruscant) plus at least one run of each heroic.
So contrary to the usual complaints about free to play, and the SWTOR free to play model, I’d suggest this does put the rate of experience gain more in the control of players than the subscriber version of the game.
We’re accumulating XP buff consumables at a slow but steady pace, so we can save these all up for the last 5 or so levels when the experience required really ramps up steeply. Others may choose to use them right away to rush to the cap, or save them to skip past a less-favoured planet as quickly as possible. The point here is that players can choose when to use this boost in a more concentrated form, rather than the usual rested or not rested system.