Star Wars: The Old Republic is now three months old, and many players have reached maximum level on at least one character. During the leveling process, the story component of the game takes center stage, leading players through the galaxy as they fulfill their destiny and play the lead role in what is often a very compelling experience. However, what happens once players reach level 50 and the story is over? Aside from the obvious activities (such as PvP and Operations), we explore other things people can do to keep themselves entertained at max level. In addition, with the highly anticipated 1.2 update now available on the Public Test Server, we will look at how some of these things will change once that update is live.
Things To Do
Probably the most popular end-game activity, the instanced PvP matches provided by Warzones allow players to hop right in and go head-to-head against fellow players in a variety of gameplay settings. Yes, the current implementation of Warzones can lead to some lopsided matches. And, yes, it's not unusual to have an unfortunate streak of bad luck in these matches, particularly if a player is queuing by themselves. However, Warzones do provide tangible progressions with the Commendations system and Valor ranks. Warzone experiences can vary greatly depending on server and faction, as servers with imbalanced populations will find the more heavily populated side getting a steady dose of Huttball.
What changes with 1.2 - Update 1.2 introduces Ranked Warzones, which players can queue up for solo or with a group of up to eight players. Ranked Warzones will provide new rewards with access to new PvP gear.
While Huttball is currently the only Warzone that allows for matches between teams made up of the same faction, this will change with the 1.2 update. With 1.2, both Voidstar and the new Warzone, Novare Coast, will allow for intra-faction battles.
There are also several changes to how the rewards and gear will work in the 1.2 update. A new tier of entry level PvP gear, called the Recruit set, has been made available for credits, which should allow fresh level 50s to gear up for PvP with much less pain. War Leader gear, the new top tier for PvP equipment, will be available for purchase with Ranked Warzone Commendations.
Other new Warzone related features include new badges, the ability to kick AFK players, a higher commendation cap, and adjustments to how objective based scoring is handled.
Obviously, the population of Ilum has died down a bit with some of the recent changes. Experience will vary from server to server, but it can still be pretty fun when there is PvP action going on there. It could be worth checking out on your server to see if there is fighting still happening on Ilum.
What changes with 1.2 - The Ilum PvP daily and weekly missions will be removed from the game. This means there is even less incentive for players to go to Ilum to PvP.
Open World PvP
This only applies to PvP servers. True open world PvP is often overlooked and forgotten about very easily, and obviously you have to find enemies at a particular time and place for this to be fun for more than 2 minutes. Even on PvP servers, shared planets between factions do not have very much overlap between their quest areas, so the chance of stumbling across random spontaneous PvP is less frequent than might be expected.
One of the most fun times I've had in SWTOR so far was when a guildmate was leveling through Voss at the Voss Temple place, was getting camped by a group of Republic players, called for help, and a guildmate and I raced there to help him. What unfolded was some good old-fashioned no holds barred world PvP. Both sides saw additional players in the area jump into the fray, and the battle raged back and forth for a solid twenty minutes straight, with dead players charging right back into the battle. The fight ended when one side had fought their way to the medical droid where the enemy was reviving, and the defeated players finally stopped immediately rezzing back to another death.
The Outlaws’ Den area on Tatooine has been put to good use on some servers, with some groups even organizing PvP tournaments in this free for all PvP zone. This is another situation where the experience will vary from server to server, and it is worth noting that this zone is also available on PvE servers.
What changes with 1.2 - The introduction of the Legacy system and corresponding Legacy abilities can lead to some more complicated (and possibly imbalanced) world PvP situations. This was brought up by a player at the recent Guild Summit, and BioWare responded by acknowledging that this was a possibility and something to be expected in the “wild west” environment of open world PvP.
A quick travel item is now available to allow players to get to the Outlaws’ Den area with ease. This should make it more convenient for interested players to get to the somewhat remote location of the area.
The ability to bypass orbital space stations when traveling between planets should make it easier and faster to get to where the action is happening.
If you do not know what Datacrons are, they give permanent stat increases. As well as permanent stat increases, some give Matrix Shards that players can combine into powerful relic items. Datacrons are one-time use items and scattered throughout the galaxy, often in hidden or hard to reach places. There are tons of guides out there to help, from those that give general locations to step-by-step exact walkthroughs on how to get these.
What changes with 1.2 - While there have yet to be any official reports from the Public Test Server, it’s not impossible to think BioWare could add new Datacrons to the world as they add new areas. A likely candidate for hunting could be the new Corellia daily mission area.
Raise Companion Affection
Each class finishes with five class specific companions, each of which has their own storyline as you level up and raise affection with them. Some are even romanceable with the possibility to marry. Many of the story lines are interesting. It seems like one companion per class give actual real quests that ask you to travel around and do stuff with them. For Imperial Agents, the Kaliyo story really delves deeply into her background and takes the player across the galaxy as they deal with specters from her past. These types of stories are much more immersive than the “fade to black” type transitions that are used for the majority of companion cutscenes.
What changes with 1.2 - The cooldown for giving gifts to companions has been removed and has been replaced with a three-second activation upon using the gift. This will speed up how quickly you can raise affection. They have also made companion gifts stackable, which is a nice change of convenience, especially for those with Crew Skills that return gifts.
Play the Auction House (aka Global Trade Network)
The game’s economy is still very young and is far from stabilizing. It is not very hard to make a good amount of cash if you know what to buy and sell at what prices. However, SWTOR does not currently support add-ons that would do the market calculations automatically for you as some other games have. Players have to figure out for themselves what is profitable, which you means there are less people doing it. Just to give you an idea of how volatile the market is, two nights ago there were zero Corusca Gems on the AH. I listed two for 18k each. Both sold almost instantly. I listed two more for over 20k each. Both sold overnight. Yesterday? At least a dozen of them available, with the lowest listed for 7k credits. Within 24 hours, there was a 13k price difference. That is a big difference and demonstrates just how volatile the market can be right now. It is not hard to take advantage of this to make yourself some cash, especially with Legacy coming up and several rewards unlockable with credits.
What changes with 1.2 - The 1.2 update is bringing about dozens of changes to Crew Skills, including craftable augments, crafted critical orange armor containing augment slots, new schematics, changes to reverse engineering, and more. No doubt, the economy will see some significant shifts in supply and demand once the update goes live. The opportunity to work the market and make credits will no doubt be there, but the tactics will likely change.
Four-man Normal Flashpoints
Good for newly minted level 50s or those who are unsure of their gear standing for Hard Modes. There are four "end game" level 50 flashpoints that players can face and are somewhat challenging in normal mode. Moreover, they are all fun and have good story components. I would say Battle of Ilum and The False Emperor are almost "must do" to get the overall story line wrapped up the way it is supposed to be.
What changes with 1.2 - A new level 50 Flashpoint, Lost Island, will be introduced. It will be a continuation of the story that began with the Kaon Under Siege flashpoint that was included with the 1.1 game update.
Four-man Hard Mode Flashpoints
For those players at level 50 who are ready for that next challenge. Some of these can be quite hard, but the rewards are good as well and can help get you ready for Operations.
What changes with 1.2 - The new level 50 Flashpoint, Lost Island, will include a Hard Mode for players looking for a greater challenge.
Yes, dailies can feel "grindy" if you try to do them every day. But the fact is there are several different types - solo PvE ones on Belsavis and Ilum, group Heroic PvE ones on those same two planets, PvP ones, space ones, flashpoint ones - that you can mix it up and slowly build up some of the rewards over a period of time. Not to mention this is probably the best way for a new level 50 to gear up quickly - buying mods for armor and weapons with the Daily Commendations. Oh, and you make a decent amount of cash by doing them too.
What changes with 1.2 - More dailies become available with the introduction of the “Black Hole” area on Corellia. Black Hole Commendations gained from a new weekly quest allow players to purchase new items, including schematics for high-end color crystals.
Planet Bonus Series Quests
For lower level planets, the rewards are not going to mean much (if anything). However, if you are like me and just wanted to get off certain planets as soon as possible during the leveling process, you probably skipped the bonus series. I have heard and read that the stories for some of these are good, so if you like the story, it might be worth going back and finishing those. Several of them also reward orange modifiable gear, so there just might be a new look available through these as well.
What changes with 1.2 - It does not appear that BioWare will change the bonus series quests with the 1.2 update.
Obviously, how often this occurs is limited to how often we have 8 or 16 people available and willing. Operations offer the ultimate "end game" experience for max level players, and offer three different difficulty modes - Normal, Hard, and Nightmare. Not to mention 8 versus 16 man versions are pretty different experiences.
What changes with 1.2 - A new tier of Operations introduced, starting with the first new raid, Explosive Conflict. The Operation continues the story that began with the Karagga’s Palace Operation and includes five brand new boss encounters for groups of 8 and 16 players. The new Operation brings with it new rewards of all shapes and sizes.
Also with 1.2, BioWare is renaming the "Normal" Operation mode to "Story" mode. The difficulty of this mode will not change.
Codex/Lore Object Hunting
The Codex is an in-game system that tracks pieces of lore revealed through exploration and gameplay. It also keeps track of achievements, such as titles earned, objectives completed, and bossed defeated. Some Codex entries are automatically unlocked through normal gameplay as players progress through their class story. Others are far more difficult to track down, requiring travel to remote locations or clicking on hidden Lore Objects to reveal the entry. For achievement junkie completionists, trying to discover as many Codex entries as possible is another activity available at max level.
What changes with 1.2 - There will no doubt be new Codex entries in the 1.2 update to cover the new Flashpoint and Warzone, and it is likely there could be new discoveries in other areas as well, such as the new daily mission area on Corellia.
When rumors popped up that a magenta crystal was available in game through unconventional means, players sprang into action to try to track it down. After much experimentation and creative thinking, the method of unlocking the crystals was revealed. Though the mystery is no more, following the steps to obtain the crystal can still be a fun group activity.
What changes with 1.2 - The patch notes have said a Tauntaun vanity pet would be available on Hoth, but the means of acquiring it remain a mystery. This gives players another puzzle to solve. The speculation and theories have already begun on the official forums, with Georg Zoeller keeping a close eye and offering some vague hints. There could potentially be other unannounced puzzles in the 1.2 update.
Every major planet has a world boss NPC that BioWare designed for a group of players to get together and take down. The level and difficulty of these bosses varies from planet to planet. The Primal Destroyer on Belsavis drops the crafting schematics for the magenta color crystal.
What changes with 1.2 – BioWare introduces a new world boss with the 1.2 update. The “Nightmare Pilgrim” is a new world boss located on Voss designed for 16-person groups. This new boss has an interesting mechanic that requires all group members to have purchased an item to avoid being one-shot killed. Currently on the Public Test Server, players can purchase the item for 30 Daily Commendations.
At level 50, space combat offers only a handful of missions that grant rewards. The rewards include credits, Legacy experience points, Daily Commendations, and Fleet Commendations. New armor sets available for purchase with Fleet Commendations were quietly added to the game during a recent minor update. These sets allow you to look more like the Republic and Imperial pilots that have become familiar in the Star Wars universe. These armor sets also include an orange moddable belt, something that is widely considered rare right now. Get to work on those space dailies and you can own your very own orange belt.
What changes with 1.2 - The 1.2 update includes a few minor tweaks to space, but nothing that will dramatically change the amount of content or space combat experience. Daniel Erickson has hinted at a secret space related project, but that will come in a future update, whatever it may be.
SWTOR offers a variety of activities for players to participate in once they hit maximum level and finish the story component of the game. Players gain Legacy experience through participation in most of these activities, and the rewards for those Legacy levels will be a large part of the 1.2 content. While some of these types of gameplay might not appeal to all players, there seems to be enough variety for everybody to find something they enjoy and get a good amount of play out of it. The 1.2 update offers promising changes and enhancements to several features and will hopefully provide players with the additional content they have anticipated.