Level 22. That was the arbitrary block between me and wearing armor in Star Wars Galaxies. Not level 10. Not level 15. Not level 20. Not even a weird number like level 9. Level 22.
To say that this week in the game was a little annoying is an understatement if I’m perfectly honest. It wasn’t all because of that restriction, however, but it was the final straw for me. Before that little bit of discovery, I was tasked with following up on the Legacy quests on the Legends rogue server, which kind of laid bare just how old this game really feels. Or, at least, how old its NGE combat really feels.
For the past several levels, I’ve had four buttons to press, three of which involve various ways to fire my pistol and a weak self-heal skill. This makes combat pretty rote in a very short order, especially since the lowbie visual effects for Bounty Hunter combat are practically non-existent.
The Legacy questing – an SOE creation from the NGE era – was as on-rails as advertised by Bree, which helped me sort of gird myself for the ride, mercifully. The storyline was just as forgettable as other themepark MMOs I’ve played either for this column or in my spare time, with nothing that surprised me or drew me in under any circumstances. It was familiar, to be sure, which is a good onramp for people who have never played this game before or are scared of sandboxes, but even with that in mind it’s hard to find much to recommend with the Legacy quests.
One reason for this is the way level progression feels. On the one hand, the Legacy quests are excellent for earning XP, with nearly every single major quest step seeing me earn a level, but on the other hand, the raw stat points earned while gaining levels and feeding points into the Expertise tree feel extremely incremental, with no real noticeable ramp-up in my character’s power. Furthermore, earning levels opened up the ability to do more things, but it didn’t really open up new skills; it mostly just gave me new ranks of the same three attack buttons, which also didn’t feel like upgrades.
Another reason the Legacy quest ride ended up being annoying is because I’m on freaking Tatooine. Look, I don’t care that it’s an iconic Star Wars location. It’s a desert. A desert. There’s not much you can do that makes a desert interesting. Because it’s a desert. Tweeting droids and laser blasters don’t really make that less boring.
Finally, this circles back around to that armor wearing thing I led with. The infinitesimal power improvements as I went from Legacy quest to Legacy quest didn’t really keep pace with the damage my character was forced to absorb, and since none of the quests were rewarding me with armor, I pretty much was getting to a point where I was getting purely outgunned. Perhaps it’s because I was pouring a lot of my Expertise points into making my pistol and carbine attacks cost less stamina (supposedly, it sure didn’t feel like it), but it got to a point where individual fights were getting extremely hairy. I’m pretty sure I’d be falling over dead a lot more frequently were it not for the healing items that Bree had crafted for me.
After a certain point, I stopped chasing the Legacy quests and elected to run a few of the mission terminal missions in order to break up the tedium. I understand that these missions are relatively lucrative and once served as the backbone for combat progression before the NGE, but I found them pretty boring as well, as they all pointed me at some sort of critter lair that had to be destroyed, managing respawning enemies that chased me down because I was shooting up their home. This only exacerbated how weak my character felt. At least doing these a few times got me to that stupid magic number, but it just served to bring the problems I was having under a harsher light.
So was it worth it in the end? Did getting to wear armor make a difference. Yes. My goodness yes it did. The moment I was able to don some armor, I took on an enemy that was three levels higher than me — an act that’s tantamount to suicide in old MMORPGs like this — and was met with hardly any danger. To be fair, though, it’s most likely because the armor I was wearing was extremely good. Bree makes some very good equipment, friends.
Even so, “boring” is the best word for my experience this week. It was just boring. Utterly, drainingly, soul-crushingly boring. If it weren’t for the fact that I was following Bree’s advice to level up an Entertainer alt and found huge amounts of delight in playing that profession, I might have been even less enthused to try SWG then I already am. But I will be pressing on because it still feels like there’s a lot going on here – but I also think it is time for a change.
In the interest of shaking things up, this week’s poll has a couple of choices lined up. I apologize that it’s another two-choice poll, but the Legacy quests are not holding a lot of surprise for me, and I think you all deserve to read about something new. With that in mind, I’m thinking of doing one of two things: either burning up my level 90 boost (aka eating the cookie) and seeing what things are like at the level cap, or taking a break from combat and taking a look at crafting and housing things. Time to choose my fate.
What should I try out next in SWG?
- Crafting and housing. Get pastoral. (68%, 121 Votes)
- High-level stuff. Eat the cookie. (32%, 56 Votes)
Total Voters: 177
Polling will once more warp up at 1:00 p.m. EDT this coming Friday, June 11th. In the meantime, I’ll still probably take a few more nibbles of the Legacy quests just to see how much a difference being able to wear armor makes, but I have to admit that Tatooine is getting to me. Probably because of all the sand. What with it being all coarse and rough. Also, it gets everywhere.