I spent this past weekend playing Star
Wars: the Old Republic, while I probably should have been
focusing on Elder
Scrolls Online instead. ESO is the big "buzz" game, and we
like buzz. But SWTOR was having one of their Double XP Weekend events, and
I still have a ton of alts that haven't yet hit level cap. I have 11
characters on Harbinger, and only 2 of them are 55 and geared for
Since my time is fairly divided these days, and I no longer have 80 or so
hours per week to dedicate to one single game like I used to do,
accelerated XP events are a godsend. And I still pay a sub for SWTOR, so I
figured I should take advantage of that. I had 3 characters I wanted to
work on over this weekend: a low-level Sniper, a mid-level Vanguard, and a
I started with the Sniper. He was level 12 when I began, and my goal was
to get him to level 20 so I could finally equip the cool-looking
custom-made sniper rifle I had crafted for him ages and ages ago. He was
still adventuring on Dromund Kaas, which, like Coruscant for the Republic
players, is kind of a "drop-off zone" for people just getting introduced
to the game.
On the one hand, I made it to 20 in no time flat. Double XP from the
event, combined with Cartel Market boosters plus the guild bonus - I was
level 20 well before I finished the planet. The last time I ran through
Dromund Kaas, I was probably level 15 or 16 by the time I got to my ship
and headed off into space.
On the other hand, the event drew in an awful lot of people, and General
Chat was even more hostile than it usually is. General Chat on Dromund
Kaas and Coruscant is kind of nasty at the best of times - it's populated
by the players who are clever enough to have made it through the starter
worlds, but who have no real interest in playing the game all the way
through. Or by players who only made it through the starter planets
because of dogged persistence rather than any kind of skill or intellect.
Or by players who have been involved with the game for a long time but are
bored and looking for a distraction, or a trolly debate about religion
That's at the best of times. At the worst of times, like Double XP
Weekends, the craziness dial is cranked up to 11. It's terribly
entertaining to watch, but if you're actually trying to find group members
for a heroic or, God forbid, asking for advice, it can be frustrating.
It took me a while to find a group for the big 4-man area heroic, and the
group I found for it was less than ideal - brand new F2P players (at least
one of them completely new to MMOs in general; SWTOR was his first) who
had not yet learned about advanced classes.
Again, double-edged sword: on the one hand, it's always good to see new
players joining in because it means your game is continuing to grow. On
the other hand, there's no way you're going to make it through the heroic
alive. My approach was to take a few minutes to mentor the newbies, take
them up to fleet and introduce them to advanced classes, then haul them
back to the heroic area and eat a few deaths while we slogged through it.
The next character I worked on was the high-level Sorcerer. My goal was
to bounce him from level 50 to level 55, and then to get him to Oricon so
he could blast through those quests and get the full set of purple gear.
Makeb is kind of a unique leveling experience, similar to Nar Shaddaa or
Corellia. There's no big, open world to run around and explore - just a
bunch of little "islands" with a few quests on each one. These islands are
more spread out and numerous than Nar Shaddaa neighborhoods, and there are
only 2 or 3 quests on each one. Plus bonus quests, which actually seem to
count for more XP than the normal quests.
Anyway, it makes questing a little bit slower, because you're only doing
2 or 3 at a time instead of 5 or 6. The consumable Enhanced XP buffs are
less effective because you are spending so much more time traveling and
less time turning in quests. I personally found that the heroics were too
time-consuming to be efficient for rapid XP gain, so I ignored most of
them and just focused on the fast soloable stuff.
The Double XP Weekend was good here. The chat wasn't filled with trolls
and I was able to hit 55 well before the end of the planet's storyline,
which meant I could bail on the frustrating boss fight against the Archon
and just book straight to Oricon. But, because I have an army of alts to
level up, and the weekend doesn't last forever, I had to park him there.
The Trooper was my Sunday project. Alderaan is not my favorite planet,
but the enhanced XP meant my character would advance quicker, and the
fights would therefore be made slightly easier. Easier fights means less
time spent on the planet. The Vanguard Trooper started out at level 36,
and my goal was to get him to level 40.
I didn't quite make the goal on this one. Four levels might not seem like
all that much, especially with double XP, but Alderaan is a lot of
walking, and, since he was already over-level for most of the quests
there, XP gain was slow. Ideally, I should have just focused on the class
questline and booked to the next planet, but I wanted to be done with
This character was actually more challenging to level, because he was
already slightly over-level for the quests on the next planet as well.
Balmorra didn't shoot me up through the levels like Dromund Kaas and Makeb
had done for my other toons, and I had to spend nearly all of that
character's money on buying equipment upgrades for his neglected
Double XP can absolutely help with rapid leveling, but it can't fix
months of neglect and crappy decisions. And leveling too fast can make
gearing up a bit of a challenge - you outgrow gear quicker than you can afford
to replace it. This isn't so much of a problem with high-level guys making
that last stretch to level cap because you have an end in sight. But if
you start out at a low level and focus on just that one character, keeping
your gear current can prove problematic. The gaps start getting larger
because you're not earning money or barter stuff any faster.
My three-tiered experience with this Double XP Weekend has given me some
insight on what these events can mean for different kinds of players:
- For new players, fast advancement makes for a more thrilling and
engaging introduction to a game.
- Casual or time-limited players with mid-level characters seem to get
the most benefit from these events. If you can gain two levels in your
limited play-time instead of just one, it puts you that much closer to
your maximum potential and makes your game time more rewarding.
- Alt-junkies like me benefit greatly as well. If you have characters
spread across a broad range of levels and want to get them all up to cap
eventually, these weekends are aces, baby.
- Hardcore players seem to receive the least benefit, or the benefits
they receive seem to be offset more by the drawbacks. Having their game
flooded by noobs and filthy casuals makes it a bit harder to get any
real work done.
- Guild leaders and recruiters may find they have a lot more new people
to pull in. And some of the new blood might even stick around after the
Star Wars: the Old Republic has another Double XP Weekend coming up at
the beginning of May, from May 2 - 5. But they're not limited to just
SWTOR - keep an eye on our news feed for similar events in your favorite
How do you roll during XP-boost events? Let us know in our comments!
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Star Wars: The Old Republic Game Page.