We brought you a review of SWTOR a few months ago, but we had yet to really experience much of the end game content. Well, now we’re making up for that. Our newest writer, Evan Reedy, has his review on the end game content of SWTOR. Be sure to let us know how you feel about the SWTOR endgame in the comments, and give Evan a warm welcome!
After having played through Star Wars the Old Republic (SWTOR) from Apprentice to Darth, I’ve encountered many different mechanics within the game that I love, hate and am intrigued by. While leveling you get to experience the quests, the skills, the flashpoints and the story of each individual class molded by wonderful voice acting. However that’s only part of the game.
Once you reach the maximum level of 50, you kind of run out of things to do. You can always go back and complete all the quests you missed, you can run daily quests. Sure you can partake in some Player Versus Player action and you can level up skills and professions or you could find groups for higher level flashpoints. But none of this has delved beyond the surface of the water (which coincidentally neither can you, in SWTOR you can’t swim). Once you’ve obtained the highest level, you are put on repeat until you find something new, and yes raiding also becomes a repeat process after a point but it’s something new and exciting until the diminishing returns kicks in.
A raid is basically a larger, more difficult and more important flashpoint. What is a flashpoint? Well, a flashpoint is a separate instance within the game that takes you somewhere relevant to part of the story. This could mean that you’re going off on a quest to disable a mining operation on an asteroid with a group of fellow Republic Alliance members, or possibly Hijacking a Republic cruiser with a few Imperial buddies. These instances are mini-stories, the entire game is voice acted, and each of these flashpoints tells a part of the Old Republic story that is relevant in it’s own way to the canon of the game. Taking that into consideration, a raid is something on a much larger scale. Where in a flashpoint you could be stopping a gang of thugs and cutting down their rebellious leader, in a raid you might be making your way down a forgotten tomb in order to stop the ever growing power of an old god or some sort of super being or even the leader of a major faction.
There are two end game Operations in SWTOR at the moment. Karagga’s Palace, where you fight your way to take down a leader of the Hutt Cartel on Nal Hutta. And The Vault of Eternity, where you work your way through an old ruin in order to destroy a powerful ancient being called Soa. Each of these Raid Operations has it’s own story to go along with the bosses within, as well as some hilarious music. Along with having multiple Operations to take part in, there are three different modes in which to play through them. You can set the Ops to Normal, Hard and Nightmare modes. All of which have a different aspect to add. From Normal to hard, the mobs within hit a bit harder and have a bit more health, however the loot gain is also a bit better. From Hard to Nightmare the mechanics change a bit as well as the health and damage output is increased. Where as in the Normal and Hard modes you can Crowd Control or CC (which consists of stunning, sleeping, “sapping”, or any other means of incapacitating an enemy), in Nightmare mode all of that is taken away and you’ve got to figure out how to work around that. Also each boss has maybe one or two new dance moves that you’ve got to tango with.
Now, I enjoy raiding very much. It’s one of my favorite aspects of any MMO. That being said, no game has it perfect and especially not a game that’s release date was just 4 months ago. In the beginning, more so than with later patches and expansions, each game has some bugs that hinder, or completely halt gameplay until it’s fixed and Star Wars is no exception. Since I’ve started raiding, I’ve noticed a plethora of bugs and glitches, more so now than while I was leveling. Not only with PvE but also in PvP there are aspects that need repair, and balance
The Old Republic has thrown a curveball to the PvP community, however slight the change up may be. While you’re leveling from 10 to 49, you’re able to que for PvP matches with anyone that’s in that level range. “But Evan, that can’t be! That’s so unfair! If I was lvl 49, I would just hunt out all the level 10′s and make them regret being birthed!”. Au Contraire. The Bioware team has made it so that anyone within that large bracket has their stats, and skills and talents buffed up and averaged out as if they were all level 49. A very interesting, and albeit cool aspect. It makes it challenging and fun. To be able to go in as a level 12 and kill someone who is 30 levels higher than you makes you a bit full of yourself, and it feels great.
Now, at level 50 it’s a whole different ball game. There is no averaging percentages and damages. If you are undergeared, you will most likely die quick and often. Yes, it’s unbalanced but in time that changes, as the reward system allows for you to gain an advantage or at least play catch up. And yes sometimes the population doesn’t allow for the Republlic to always fight the Imperials, but Bioware has made it so that in those situations you can always fight a team from your own faction.
My Thoughts: I love the thought of going into an instance with a big group of people and fighting difficult bosses or extremely large groups of enemies. The reward is always loot, but for me I enjoy the accomplishment and the challenge each new fight presents. When entering a raid for the first time, I’m excited and usually I’ve researched the boss fights before hand so I don’t look like an ass when I’m the only one standing in fire. I pride myself on being a great player, and when I get the opportunity to surround myself with other good players for one purpose I get pumped. We’re going to kill a giant beast, or solve this puzzle, or battle a Rancor like Luke Skywalker (Yes I realize that it takes 8-16 people to kill this rancor when Luke did it all by himself). At this point, I have all of the loot I need or want, and I’m just playing because I’m still interested, I want to help others get the chance to see the end and kill all the bosses. So far I’ve seen all of the bosses in each Operation on each of the three difficulties, and I’ve enjoyed every encounter no matter how many glitches we came across!
Having raided in other MMO’s, this game looks promising. They’ve got all the same problems of every game in it’s early stages e.g. bugs, glitches etc. but they’ve learned some lessons that the other games had to experience first hand. They’re adding mechanics that came only in expansions and patches of other games. It’s like SWTOR has gotten a head start even though it began so much later. I’m ready to see the future of this MMO, and from what I can tell it looks bright.
The PvP isn’t as much of a focus point for me. But because it’s fun and I love a challenge, I do it anyway and have a blast every time. It’s fun to be able to queue up with or without friends and go destroy some “Rep’s” and sometimes I can hunt down my own guild mates just to gloat about it later. It’s very enjoyable and the time spent playing whether in PvP or PvE is all time well spent.
All in all, I’m loving the end game aspect of SWTOR just as much as I enjoyed the process of getting there. It’s keeping me attentive, and it’s got me continuing to log in day after day. I’m looking forward to the many patches and content updates in the future! And yes that last picture is my Character