I feel kind of funny creating a new blog and then not actually updating it for a week, but I've been busy with work (retail right after Christmas = bleh) as well as simply enjoying the game for its own sake.
My trooper hit level 31 today after a bit less than two weeks of playing, which almost feels a bit fast, but I think part of that is due to the fact that I play grouped the vast majority of the time and group bonus experience is simply insane. Our little trooper team outlevelled an entire world pretty much by accident (weren't we supposed to go to Taris? oops), so we only popped over there briefly to do our local class quest and pick up our newest companion. To be fair though, we did do a lot of random mob killing and flashpoints in-between... either way, that just means that whenever I level another Republic character, they'll have an entire planet of adventures ahead of them which I haven't even seen yet.
I think it's interesting that a lot of bloggers seem to have concerns that even if they are enjoying the game right now, they'll probably run out of things to do a month or two from now. I definitely can't see that happening to me. For comparison, I played WoW for over nine months before I even started to raid, and I played a lot. Somehow there always seemed to be something to do back in the day, whether it was doing extra quests, exploring, gathering money for an epic mount, working on my professions or running instances with friends. Just from what I can see now, SWTOR seems to be shaping up to offer a similar kind of experience to what I used to love back then, and I think it will keep me busy for quite a while. I do think the guild that I'm in intends to raid eventually, but I'm not too bothered about that right now. We'll see - there are definitely enough other things to keep me occupied.
First off, there's my class quest to finish. Considering the way it has been progressing in relation to my level so far, this will likely happen some time after I hit the level cap.
Then there are my companions, whom I'd really like to be friends with, but I've made very little to no progress with that so far. I'm currently taking Aric everywhere and he's starting to grow on me, but still, he only just gave me his first companion quest. The others simply get to hang out on the ship and receive the occasional gift, but the feeling's not really there. I reckon that getting to know them properly is going to be a time-intensive process. I've also caught myself wondering what it would be like to level another trooper and make another companion my "main" who gets to go places with me, because I'd like to see how that changes the quest experience.
Then there are my crew skills. I've been trying to level them as I go along and on the whole it's been working well, but some of them have started to fall behind a little, and catching up will take time as well - quite literally, as missions and crafting take longer the higher your skill gets. Apparently there are some things about the system that are kind of wonky right now, but I think it's a fun enough mini-game, and the ability to reverse engineer everything into blue and purple versions of the same item may have limited usefulness but is a completionist's dream. Got to discover them all!
Money matters, which is something that I've found really refreshing. I've actually had to sometimes decide to put certain things on the backburner for a bit in order to afford something else that I wanted; for example I temporarily stopped training new skills and running crew skill missions at level 20 to save money for my first speeder, like the little helpful "beginner's tip" window suggested. Incidentally, that was incredibly well timed, because I started saving as soon as it popped up at 20 and ended up with pretty much exactly the right amount for my speeder plus training once I hit 25. Uncanny. I can already see a lot of money sinks that I can't afford right now but that I will enjoy working towards in the long run, such as more bag and bank space.
Finally, exploration also looks like it will be incredibly rewarding in the long run. I haven't really focused on it much right now, just making sure that I uncovered all the major areas on the map on each new planet, but I've only seen two holocrons (hidden items that give permanent stat boosts) so far and I'm sure that there are much more. My brother back in Austria, who plays too, actually talked to me on the phone about this one holocron on top of a sandcrawler on Tatooine and how you had to jump off a balloon to get it and I was just like... "What?" I hadn't even been to Tatooine yet by that point and had no idea what he was talking about; it just sounded mad. I still haven't looked into the details yet, but I heard someone talk in Tatooine general chat about how he and a Sith Warrior were staring each other down on the balloon and it just sounded funny. It feels like there's a whole world of crazy holocron-hunting hijinks out there, waiting to be discovered.
And then of course, there'll be flashpoints with friends. The other night I actually went back to the Esseles to help out a low-level friend and an alt who didn't have a single healing ability between the two of them. It wasn't exactly a boost, but I was certainly too high level to get any great benefit out of it - still, it felt good fun and I got to mock the goodie-two-shoes Jedi for trying to reason with a Sith. I mean, really? It's nice to experience group content for the fun of it again instead of grinding currency with strangers, and I expect to get a lot of mileage out of that even past the level cap.
There's a lot to look forward to in this galaxy far, far away... what are other people's long-term goals?