BioWare have spent millions creating a dynamic and exciting leveling experience and you deserve to enjoy it. Therefore I have spent the best part of the week compiling this resource so that you too can shrug the ‘leveling is such a grind’ feeling and start enjoying the game you play.
Think of a sport, like Rugby, Football or anything else physical. If you’re out of shape and start playing with a team, most of the time you’ll be exhausted just wishing the game would end. However, after a while of sticking with it and as your cardio fitness levels increase, the exhausted feeling will wain and you will be able to focus on enjoying the game and perfecting your abilities.
This is exactly the same in an MMO except with one difference, rather than your enjoyment depending on your fitness levels, it depends on your knowledge of the game and of the leveling mechanisms, so that you can turn the so called ‘grind’ into a dynamic and exhilarating experience involving a variety of different scenarios.
As I said, there are a number of ways to level, though the fastest is definitely questing. Before you can decide how you’re going to level, you need to decide what you want to do. Do you want to level to the top in the fastest time possible? or, do you want to level to the top in the funnest way possible?
If you want to level to the top in the fastest way possible, then Questing is definitely for you. Though if you really want to shoot to the top in days rather than months, I would definitely recommend using some sort of SWTOR Guide.
However, if you want to level to the top in the funnest way possible, then I would suggest you spend your time doing an assortment of the leveling techniques set out in this resource. Be sure to complete your Story Quests, but other than that you can spend your time leveling via any of the methods below.
Questing is the cornerstone of any MMO leveling experience where typically you are asked to either slay a set number of a specific enemy or are requested to collect an array of items and return to the person who gave you the quest.
Quests are given the name Missions in SWTOR. Nowadays, games as high class as SWTOR give you a much more in depth questing experience, including Bonus and Area missions, mini-bosses and long story-driven quest chains.
Questing is by far the fastest way to level in Star Wars: The Old Republic without a doubt. I have tested them all and nothing can get you more experience points (XP) per hour; with possibly the exception of Grinding, though you’ll soon realise why Grinding is very rarely selected.
The logic behind the popularity of questing is both that each quest is somewhat different and you are continuously exploring the game’s lore. BioWare also understood that the majority of players would quest to 50 and therefore built the entire leveling experience around this, lining all of your Story Quests up with the planetary progression in which questing directs you.
Here are a few tips to help you increase your leveling speed while questing:
- Whenever you return to a mission hub, speak to everybody that has a mission waiting to for you to acquire. Complete all of these in the most strategic order you can see by viewing their locations on your map. Once completed, hand them all in at the same time. Repeat this throughout your adventure to level 50.
- Grab every Taxipath you see. In each mission hub there is typically a taxi who you can talk to; when you speak to these taxis you will unlock a new Taxipath that links to any other nearby taxi points you have unlocked. Taxipaths are also the term used to refer to the point at which you can purchase a taxi to another location.
- Make use of your Quick Travel. Every character in the game is equipped with an ability called Quick Travel that allows them to teleport to any bound location on the planet. The ability has a 30 minute cooldown so don’t use it because you have to walk downstairs; use it often but also wisely. Generally once you have finished a set of quests and need to return to the hub to hand them all in is the best time to make use of your Quick Travel ability. Following on from this, Quick Travel requires you to bind yourself to special points scattered around the planets. They are normally located next to Taxipaths and inside Cantinas; be sure to grab them all as you never know when you might need one.
- Complete every stage of the Bonus Missions. While completing your missions you will often receive Bonus Missions which ask you to complete a specific task or kill a desired amount of a chosen enemy. These Bonus Missions can also have multiple stages which ask you to complete different objectives and you progress through them by completing each part in order. Bonus Missions can be a major source of xp and all of that xp is lost if you complete the parent mission first, therefore always complete the Bonus Missions before finishing its parent mission.
- Unless you have a willing friend, skip Heroic missions. These missions are very difficult and always require a team of players. If you have a group ready and waiting or if leveling speed is not an issue then these missions can be very rewarding and fun. Otherwise, I would suggest passing them by because in the time it takes to get a good group and maybe have to go through the trouble of wiping a few times, you could have completed several other solo missions.
Grinding can definitely be a great source of fast xp, yet it is the single most mind-numbingly boring way to level in the game. The process of grinding involves finding an area packed full with enemies, roughly 1-2 levels above your current level, and then continuously slaying them until you gain enough experience to level up. Once you increase in level, you find another area with enemies meeting the criteria and rinse, lather and repeat.
My best advise when it comes to grinding is to use it as a way of gaining fast boosts of experience between completing missions by killing enemies en route to the location of the mission’s objectives or by grinding out the remainder of a level after finishing the quests received from a hub.
Here are a few tips to help you increase your leveling speed while grinding:
- Put some music on. Grinding is naturally an ultra boring thing to do, however it can be a very useful strategy when you fancy listening to your favourite songs, podcasts or documentaries as it does’t require a great deal of thought.
- Try to find an area of enemies that is large enough so that you never have to wait for them to respawn. If this is not possible and you find yourself easily cleaning the place out, try enemies 1 level higher.
- Advoid the Elites and Champions. Elites and Champions are beefed up enemies which take a great deal of skill and firepower to bring down solo and often require 2+ players. Furthermore, even if you can slay these monsters, the combined time taken to defeat the Elite or Champion plus the time required to recharge afterwards will easily exceed the time is takes to kill an equivalent amount of normal enemies in terms of xp.
Flashpoints are SWTOR’s instanced, scripted areas where you enter with a party of players and work as a team to defeat countless enemies and an assortment of different bosses. The first time you run through a Flashpoint you will likely become hooked; they are extremely fun. However, like anything, needing to run the same Flashpoint repetitively for a long period of time before you reach the entry level of the next available Flashpoint soon kills the joy.
Again due to the fun factor involved and that the loot dropped by the bosses is typically the best gear for your level, I would suggest you pass through each of the Flashpoints you encounter on your adventure to level 50 at least once. Purely leveling by completing Flashpoints is definitely a viable option, though it is neither the fastest or the funnest route and is therefore not advised.
Here are a few tips to help you increase your leveling speed while inside Flashpoints:
- Try to group up with friends who understand your playstyle and know whether or not it is your first time inside the Flashpoint. This will make the entire experience more enjoyable as you will almost certainly not receive any grief.
- When grouping with random players, always be respectful and kind. This may be your 20th time inside the Flashpoint but it may also be their first. You had to start somewhere too and a few friendly words now may save you a lot of trouble later.
- Research the tactics used during each of the boss fights prior to entering the Flashpoint for the first time. Bosses become increasingly difficult as you progress through the game and start to require the players to use more advanced tactics including: standing still while the enemy casts a specific spell, dealing with adds at designated times during the fight or killing two bosses within 30 seconds of each other, among others.
Player Versus Player (PvP) combat is one of the fundamental experiences in Star Wars: The Old Republic and easily the favorite past time of many superb players. In the majority of MMOs, PvP designated events, which BioWare names Warzones, are designed in a way that lower level players get destroyed by higher level players. Whereas in Star Wars: The Old Republic, if your character is below 50 your character is buffed with stat enhancers to allow you to at least stand a viable chance.
Warzones in SWTOR are instanced areas where a set number of players fight on teams in objective based matches. You are not competing against computer scripted opponents inside here, you are fighting against real players! Also, the rewards given to you from a successful Warzone are unexpectedly high, in the form of credits, gear and the almighty xp.
Here are a few tips to help you increase your leveling speed while competing in Warzones.
- Always try to win the match so instead of just farming kills, focus on the objective and work with your team. You should be communicating regularly and doing your best to achieve success and greater xp rewards for your time.
- Attempt to avoid the level 50 opponents. There is a significant difference between a level 50 opponent and a level 49 adversary because the level 50 opponent will have unlocked all of his abilities, know his class and how to use its destructive power and may be equipped with a lot of powerful PvP specific gear.
- When you enter your first Huttball game, an ability to pass the ball is placed on one of your action bars. Assign this ability a keybinding and be sure to make use of it during games. If you die with the ball, the other team gains possession, whereas if you pass the ball before your untimely death your team can continue to score. This technique is extremely powerful and should always be made use of.
- Crew Skills can be very beneficial in SWTOR, yet they are a major hindrance when it comes to power leveling. To level at maximum speed I suggest you skip them until 50, however in the name of playing the game to enjoy it and have fun, I suggest that you take a combination of Mission and Gathering skills and only level them by sending your spare companions out on missions. This will allow you to make some credits or stockpile raw materials for your desired Crafting Skill once you hit 50. For a full guide on Crew Skills and to learn how to benefit most from them, check out the SWTOR Crew Skills Guide.
- At levels 25, 40 and 50 you unlock the ability to learn how to ride a speeder; combining this with a purchased Speeder allows you to transverse the planets at an increased rate and therefore allows you to complete quests and ultimately, level faster. Therefore I advise you to purchase the ability and Speeder at each milestone due to the dramatic difference it makes.
- Each time you level up you will have new trainable abilities ready to learn at your class trainer. Often when new players interact with these trainers they read through each ability and purchase the few that sound useful, as if there is a limit on how many they can have. Do NOT do this, make sure you purchase every ability you have available at each level because not only will they always be useful in one situation or another, they will allow you to create and practice your own dynamic and personal playstyle ready for level 50 content, and finally, group members in Flashpoints will expect you to have and know how to use all of the abilities you have unlocked.
- If you go into the game’s preferences menu, there is an option to enable Area Loot. This is a great innovation to the standard looting process, introduced by games of the past. Nevertheless, it is still effective for leveling and ease of playing. When Area Loot is enabled, instead of having to loot all of the enemies you have defeated one by one, you can just loot one and the game will place all of the loot from the surrounding corpses into that one loot window. This will speed up your leveling significantly.