Monday, December 12, 2011
Less than a day until TOR's early access program begins! Ha, maybe then I'll have some actual content :)
*ahem* Anyway, I was talking to a guildmate the other day and he brought up how much he always hated the leveling process in MMOs. I realized that I always leveled pretty quickly and had a lot of fun doing it so I thought I could share some tips about how to make leveling fly by.
Immerse yourself in the story: This may feel kind of stupid and pointless for a lot of us who don't RP, but it actually helps a lot with the tedium of leveling. At its core, TOR is just an MMO like any other and there are only so many different ways that quests can be set up. BioWare spent a great deal of effort making the storylines engaging. If you let yourself really start feeling your character and his story you'll be a lot less annoyed when you turn in 50 bear livers for a quest and get a follow up asking for 60 bear asses.
Level crew skills as you go: Some people like to skip crew skills while they grind their way up, figuring they will be able to level faster if they put off crew skills until 50. In my experience, these people do not level significantly faster than your average craftsman. In fact, they often level slower because they get bored more easily with the whole leveling experience and then get bored AGAIN when they try to just sit down and rush their crew skills at level 50.
Use companions you genuinely like: Anyone who played KotOR will understand this tip. Running around with companions you hate makes you want to tear your hair out every time they interact with you in a cutscene or try to talk to you. NO JUHANI, I DON'T CARE THAT YOUR PEOPLE WERE MASSACRED! JUST GO KILL THINGS AND STOP TRYING TO TALK TO ME! On the flipside, having companions that you really like will make you want to play more just to find out their backstories and build friendships. I would play for hours extra just to unlock the next dialogue with Mission Vao or Carth Onasi without feeling bored in the slightest.
Change up how you level: While I will happily quest all day long, I know not everyone enjoys it as much as I do. If you find yourself hating all the quests you are doing, take a break! Go queue for a warzone (little icon next to the minimap) and get some PVP action going! Warzones are fairly short, a lot of fun, and can reward you with experience and gear for doing them. Or if there is another planet you could quest on, go there and quest instead! Some areas just rub people the wrong way. I was not a fan of Balmorra when I went there, but I was a huge fan of Nar Shaddaa. There are enough sidequests in this game that you can drag out the planets you like and rush through the ones you don't without hurting your leveling speed.
Tank when you can: If you are reading this blog, you are probably one of us martyr-types who actually likes taking a beating for your comrades. Go out and tank flashpoints whenever you are on level for them. Group with guildmates if you want a low stress and fun run, with randoms if you want to build tanking flexibility and skill. The Black Talon flashpoint is available to us in the same zone we get Powertech training and it offers a lot of very nice gear for Bounty Hunters.
Practice heat management: Heat is a strange resource. It is better to get used to how it works during leveling when you have fewer abilities to manage. For those who have not experienced heat, you start with 0 heat and gain heat with every ability you use. If you hit 100 heat, you overheat and cannot use any abilities for a few seconds. Heat dissipates at 5 heat/second as long as you stay under 40 heat. This rate drops to 3 heat/second between 40 and 80 heat, and goes to 2 heat/second above 80 heat. Try to hover around 40 heat while you play for maximum damage output. Make use of Rapid Shots to control your heat gain. Spamming abilities and stacking heat will build bad habits for you later on.
The main thing idea that I want you to come away from this is: if you get bored, go do something else for a while. There are many different ways to level and they are all productive. Don't feel like you have to complete every quest in an area you hate, max your professions are level 20, or get every item from every flashpoint. Spread things out, keep yourself entertained, and you'll be level 50 and running operations in no time flat.