Why I hate Leveling In SWTOR

Leveling Strife In Reddit

Reddit is a good place for inspiration when i’m looking for something to write about.  Recently I came across a thread about SWTOR and leveling.  Someone was talking about how they hated leveling.  A person responded to them asking why they even played the game in the first place if they didn’t like leveling.  That ticked me off, and i’m not exactly sure why.  It probably has to do with (some) people’s complete intolerance to accept that someone else might have a different playstyle.  I saw this same selfish attitude a lot on the forums and Reddit when it came to GSF.  People didn’t like GSF, so they said that it was the biggest waste of game development dollars ever.  They didn’t get something they liked, so they were upset.  Now I hate leveling, but if all you ever wanted to do was spend your time leveling 1 to 54 on alts, have at it.  That doesn’t bother me one bit.  I’ll think you’re weird, but i’m sure the feeling would be mutual.

My Leveling Methods

Let me start by saying I feel like SWTOR has one of the best leveling systems to date.  I have done all of the Republic planetary quests in the game with a Jedi Guardian. I’ve also done all the Makeb quests with my Smuggler.  Oricon quests have been repeated several times also.  I’ve done a few planets Sith side as well.  I do have a good perspective on what it means to level through questing.

I’ve been playing since launch and have 4 level 55s.  A Smuggler, Bounty Hunter, Operative, and Trooper.  I don’t want anymore characters, I don’t even play with all four of the ones I have. No other class even remotely interests me.  All four of those characters were leveled through PvP/GSF and class quests. Little to no other questing.

Leveling Is A Means To An End

To me, leveling is a giant waste of time. I am forced to spend X hours ‘leveling’ so that I can get to max level.  I have to keep changing armor, I have to keep running around aimlessly, and I have to keep spending credits.  All this effort will be for nothing once I hit max level.  Only at max level can I begin to work towards my real goals. But again, I have to spend Y hours doing the same thing just to get gear, and then finally spend Z hours working toward my actual goal (1500 wz ranking, clearing top level Ops, etc). I’m OK with Y+Z hours, but wasting X hours ‘leveling’ is aggravating. Leveling should be just enough to learn how to play my character.  I recall a dev post stating rotations were learned in the mid 20s.  So from 25 – 55 you’re just a hamster running on a wheel.

You know when you’re at work, and you’ve done such an awesome job that you’ve finished early…and then as a reward your boss has you clean windows, or stuff envelopes?  Busy work.  That’s what leveling is.  30 levels of busy work.

Barriers While Leveling

Leveling characters is an inconvenience to me in SWTOR mostly because I like to play with friends. It puts a boundary between me and those friends. I don’t want to roll a new character every time I make a new low level friend. We can’t PvP, do Ops or flashpoints together unless I try to power level them which is…not fun, or we happen to be about the same level.  How hard is it to stay the same level?

Trying to juggle online times, staying around the same level, and staying on the same quest stage isn’t feasible. What if one of us decides they don’t like the class and want to reroll? What if one of us has to take an RL break? What if we get a third friend to start playing? A fourth?  It’s like herding cats.

When Leveling Matters Less

SWTOR has only recently started trending towards horizontal development. GSF and KDY are examples of this. Outside of these two, being 55 is the easiest way to be able to group. Blitzing for that goal line is the logical choice for me and many others.  Guild Wars 2 does an amazing job with horizontal development.  Items you gather from level 1 remain useful even at level 80.  You can also group together with friends at anytime, and both of you will not only receive rewards, but feel a little challenge as well.  Enough about Guild Wars 2 though.  If SWTOR continues its horizontal development, I think it will have a bright future.  My solution to the leveling problem is more horizontal development at the earlier stages of the game.

And remember to consider other people occasionally please.  Your opinion is just one in about 7 billion.

3 Comments

  1. Blasphemy! … just kidding. 😛

    I have to admit I do find it kind of odd when people make SWTOR their game of choice if they don’t enjoy levelling, simply because there are other MMOs where you can literally level up without actually playing or start the game by buying a max level character for real money. Why not play one of those games instead, if levelling through loving crafted story content is such a chore? (I suppose in your case the answer might be “because those other games don’t have GSF”, but I’ve seen cases where people haven’t really got a good answer.) Nobody benefits from having all games be the same.

    The thing you also have to consider is that many of us have the mental baggage from having played other MMOs and know what can come of these kinds of complaints. For example I quite used to enjoy levelling in World of Warcraft, however over time the game designers decided that, like you say here, only the gameplay at max level matters, so they kept messing with the rate of levelling to the point where it’s a rushed mess these days, thereby reducing the fun factor for people like me. Nobody likes the thought of seeing their favourite part of the game come to harm just because someone else doesn’t like it. And in SWTOR, the levelling content is many people’s favourite.

    • I don’t mind a little bit of leveling. I don’t want to be thrown into something before I know what my abilities do. I just don’t like leveling for the sake of leveling, and anything beyond 30 is just that. Less if you’ve been playing MMOs forever. Buying a max level character seems like a recipe for disaster in a game like SWTOR. At least until you’ve mastered one. ‘Master’ is of course pretty arbitrary, so people usually stamp ‘max level’ in place of it. I do enjoy the story, minus the traveling part, but that is another rant entirely. While I do love GSF, it’s not anything new or innovative. It’s reskinned warzones with XYZ axes. Friends + GSF make SWTOR my game of choice.

      I have no problem with people that enjoy leveling at all. I do think ‘leveling’ could be put to better use as something else to do in game. Warzones, dailies, flashpoints, and ‘story questing’. I’ve finished my stories after max level on some of my characters. Make it optional, not mandatory. If it’s worth doing, people will do it.

      • I think I’ve finished 6 of the 8 class stories in the game and of those 5 of them are at 55. The class stories in this game is what separated it for me from other leveling experiences. Unfortunately it’s not possible to hit 50 (or 55) just by doing class story quests, so you find yourself ‘spacing’ through the conversations you’ve already seen before just to get to the activity of questing.

        In some cases I leveled strictly through GSF, WZ’s, class story and daily hubs. I do like the various options you have in this game to hit max level, as opposed to the very linear approach a game like WoW has in which you almost have to do typical quests to level as nothing else will provide any worthwhile experience.

        The real problem with this game and with some other MMOs is what to do when the game exceeds 2-3 years old and the majority of the player base is at max level and any new player to the game struggles to find other players to engage in the content with. You can go through entire planets in ToR and not see another soul. That’s the kind of experience you’d want to speed up as it’s counter to the original design of what the game should have reflected, a group leveling experience.

        The class stories are pretty much a single player experience, and in my opinion, finishing those only should give enough xp to hit max level, and every other quest should be optional for rewards and items, not xp.

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