The current trend with my health is that my Fibromyalgia pain levels are getting worse, despite my medication only getting stronger. We are applying to get me into the local Pain Management Clinic at our nearest hospital to see if they can do something that my regular doctor can’t. As explained in my first post on SWTOR as a distraction, gaming is my main way to escape how I feel. Or, on really bad days, the way I make the day go faster so sleep time arrives quicker. Due to the degeneration of my health how I play games is having to change (whether SWTOR or LotRO for that matter). So I have started a slow levelling experiment in SWTOR!
SWTOR Character Classes I Can’t Play Anymore
When you’ve invested hours, days, months or even years into building a character, facing their deletion isn’t easy. But I have had to be practical about this. If playing a certain fighting style hurts, I shouldn’t play that. And with our Fibro Jedi Youngling, coming around the end of October, the time I have available for gaming will reduce especially in the first couple of years. So I need to reduce the number of characters I have.
Based on this I have identified classes I can’t realistically play:
- Jedi Guardian – Tank Stance (and I tried the Guardian class in LotRO and it hurt too, so I stopped).
- Sith Juggernaut – Tank Stance
- Smuggler Scrapper
- Trooper Vanguard
- Agent Operative
Basically, any up-close-and-personal classes are too painful. Here are some of the characters I have had to delete so far:
Ranged or Hybrids are Fine
So, classes that are either exclusively ranged, or hybrids are fine. By hybrids I mean those that have both melée and ranged attacks. Jedi Shadows have both (even the Tank setup), as does the Sith Inquisitor. Bounty Hunters I have set up are mostly ranged with a few close-range attacks for those swarming mobs!
I had to delete one of my longest-standing alt, my Light Side Sith Juggernaut Schlektani. Thankfully @GulJarol told me go get this character’s appearance settings so I could recreate him in a different class:
— Quinnette (@GulJarol) September 1, 2016
So I did just that. As it would be weird making him anything other than Sith, I simply chose Inquisitor rather than Warrior class.
I have chosen a DPS Class: Madness Sith Assassin. Tanks and Healers can make battles long and drawn-out, so I went for DPS. The Madness Assassin is, I believe like the Serenity Jedi Shadow and sports a balance between ranged and melée abilities.
Slow Levelling: Rage against the Machine
From the Start-at-Level-60 Tokens, to the Dark vs Light Event, to XP Boosts, much of SWTOR seems aimed at making people level as fast as possible. If any of you tuned into OotiniCast Episode 276 you’ll have heard I’m not a fan of “power levelling”. I find anything that encourages rushing can also cause muscle tension. So I decided I didn’t want to power level.
The aim of this Experiment: to see if playing slower, on a mostly ranged character, is actually more relaxing.
To avoid power-levelling – i.e. to focus on slow levelling I intend to:
- Not join a guild: Being part of a guild usually grants 10% XP Bonus
- Avoid using any XP Boosts (I’ve already ditched 5 of them by Level 15)
- Battle through any Heroics, as these grant a lot of XP
- Not do any Flashpoints, for the same reason
By avoiding Heroics and Flashpoints (at least until I reach Shadow of Revan), I also avoid content that is more intense. The only thing I can’t control is the effect of SWTOR’s Level Sync.
Other Slow Levelling Advantages
I have recently re-added ‘Show Exploration Missions’ on a number of characters to just slow down the rate of progression, at least where story-progress is concerned. As well as being, hopefully, more relaxing, other advantages of slow levelling are:
- A Variation in Content: As you’re not just repeating the class-story over-and-over, side quests (Exploration Missions) open up a wider array of content. This makes gaming time more varied.
- Free Gear: By doing the planetary story arc, and side quests, you’re often granted free gear – earpieces, implants and relics, for example.
- Time to Stop and Stare: Something I refer to from time-to-time on Twitter. Taking screenshots and taking in the scenery. There’s no rush, so I hope to enjoy the journey.
- Increasing the number of Common Data Crystals earned: side quests earn between 1 and 5 Common Data Crystals, so work as a replacement for the ones I won’t be earning in Heroics.
- Crafting for the Level: By not being forced to keep ahead of the curve in crafting, I can gather on the planets I’m taking slowly and craft gear appropriate for the level I am at.
Things like this, are what I mean by taking time to “Stop and Stare”:
SWTOR Slow Levelling Diary
I decided to make this post more dynamic, along the same lines as my Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Fibromyalgia post. That way I can let you know how I’m getting on!
Level 22: 11hrs 30mins
By just taking my time, doing Story and Planet Arcs and many exploration missions, I still hit Level 22 (or thereabouts) at the 11.5hours mark. This took my Sith Inquisitor to Balmorra. So far, it’s definitely slower and more relaxing. And I’m using Synthweaving in place of using Heroics for gear. Here are a few screenies of my progress to this point:
Level 30: [Time to Follow]
I completed the Balmorra Story Arc and the Balmorra Bonus Series. That brought me to Level 30. Admittedly this is by the end planet number three, but the pace of gaming is much slower and I’m enjoying that. Onto Nar Shadaa!
TL;DR Slow Levelling in SWTOR
I have stopped doing this slow levelling test now. The reason is that SWTOR isn’t built for it. I played 19 hours on this character and hit L31 due to Level Sync. Your choices in SWTOR are:
- Consume Content Slowly – and level quickly
- Consume Content Quickly – and level slower (e.g. just do class missions)
You cannot consume content slowly and level slowly. Add onto that DvL XP increase gear, XP Boosts and double XP events and it just feels like the developers want you to hit end game as fast as possible.
As to the Fibromyalgia side of this test? I have an L65+ Trooper and an L65+ Sage that haven’t finished their class story. I’m going to do that, and all planetary arcs and exploration missions. The level doesn’t matter. Once you have increased stats that aren’t affected by level sync (e.g. Critical and Alacrity), the game play isn’t as intense anyway. So I don’t need a specific test character for this.
It’s a shame you can’t turn off level sync on a per-character basis. For whatever reason BioWare/EA have developed a game where hitting L70 happens as fast as possible. So that’s what we live with.
Rest in Peace, Slow Levelling.