Dark vs. Light: A Study in Fast Experience Gain

The Dark vs. Light has picked up a fair bit of speed on The Red Eclipse, despite the initially overwhelmingly negative response to the Event when it was first announced.

I myself have completed a good portion of the Event already, having completed the first three tiers, as much of Champion and Eternal tier as currently possible (Champion tier is impossible to complete without Chapter XVI of KotFE, and this in turn makes Eternal and Legendary tier impossible), and am steadily working on the remaining aspects of Legendary tier.

At time of writing, I still need to work on getting a Consular, Hunter, Inquisitor, Knight, Trooper, and Warrior up to 50, as well as killing the World and Operations Bosses, completing every Hard Mode Flashpoint, infecting 5 players with the Rakghoul virus, fulfilling 3 Bounty Contracts, and completing 5 GSF Matches.

I will, however, not be pushing forward with the majority of these for the time being. My current goal now is to help friends complete several of their Hard Mode Flashpoint goals, using my primary (and non-Event-eligible) character to this end. Fexiros, the new Gunslinger, is currently being reserved for guild group-found runs; I don't want to risk becoming apathetic due to completing things too early whilst people still need to do Flashpoints!

Outside of this, the rest of the Event has been fairly plain-sailing. Crew Skills are easy to power-level within a single day (Fex has exhausted both his and the Sage's credit supplies in getting all six crafting crew skills to 550), and Levelling is incredibly quick when all benefits are applied.

It is this fast levelling which I shall be focusing on today.


Before I begin, I think I should address how I approach the Levelling process.

I don't deliberately treat it like a race. I do purchase the maximum 30% XP Boosts to Class Missions and Exploration, but this is only because this is something which I used to do back when Levelling was still really tediously slow and old habits die hard where I'm concerned.

As another extension of this, I still do every single side mission whilst I'm still not at max-Level. They serve as an excellent XP-Augmenter, and some of the side missions are still absolutely fantastic. Even though these can be sacrificed without consequence once my characters reach max-Level, I will still put them through my favourite planetary side missions if and when they eventually continue with their class stories.

Whilst Fexiros did skip straight to Shadow of Revan upon hitting 65 after his Tatooine Class Quests, I normally try to stay away from skipping things in their entireties. It may take months to complete the story of a new and persisting character whose story I have an all-too-good memory of (at this point my only weak spot is Trooper, so new-Trooper will probably be the first to be continued), so outside of Fexiros, any Event Alts who are staying around will be left on their class-story path once they reach Level 50 and possibly picked up later.

If they survive, that is. I'd imagine that the Warrior, Inquisitor, Knight, and Consular will all be deleted as soon as their duty is done.

Whilst I do strive to get my characters levelled as quickly as possible, doing so will mean that I can just 'cruise' along the rest of their story without feeling pressured to do things as quickly as possible when I do return to complete it. Notably, both of my previous max-Level Agents hit max-Level (then 55) before even so much as starting Chapter 2 of their class story, and yet I still returned to complete it even though absolutely everything was grayed-out at the time.

Fex was only skipped to get Shadow of Revan, Ziost, and Knights of the Fallen Empire done to allow me to focus on other things. I am pleased to not to have to deal with Risha and Corso anymore, though...


So, now that you know how I approach Levelling in-general, it's time to touch on just how fast Levelling can be, and oh good Lord it can be fast.

With the highest possible XP-gain - appropriate 30%, 25% General, and 50% Armour XP (although this can temporarily only be completed up to 40%) boosts - XP just flows. Since 4.0, it has always been possible to hit Level 18 before you even reached the Fleet by doing everything on the starter-planet, but with the armour added on top of the other boosts, you'll now hit the twenties.

There are a couple of anomalies to watch out for whilst Levelling, though.

As many people have mentioned already on the Forums and Reddit and such-places, the Warzone, Stronghold, and Crew Skill introductory missions (as well as the WZ Daily and Weekly) are not at all scaled to your Level. They grant XP equivalent to Level 55, which absolutely catapults characters through the Levels.

In the Flashpoint The Foundry, defeating Revan of course now causes a big ol' crate of loot to drop from the sky. Because opening one of these counts as killing it, it grants XP. The 'problem' with this is that it's a Level 60 crate, even in Solo and Tactical Mode, which - of course - means that it grants a shedload of XP without batting an eyelid.

The vast majority of multi-stage bonus missions scale to the Level of the Planet rather than your own Level once you complete the first stage. Considering that the only four I have found which are completeable actually give more XP than fully-boosted Class Missions, perhaps this isn't a bad thing.

So far, the four which I have found which do work have been the Bonus in the first area of Republic Taris which eventually ends in killing Skull Eater, the one-time Bonus associated with the Comrades in Arms Heroic on Imperial Balmorra, the Bonus associated with the A Pound of Flesh Heroic on Imperial Nar Shaddaa, and the Bonus associated with finding Darth Silthar in the Sand People caverns on Imperial Tatooine.

The Tatooine Heroics - for whatever reason - grant exponentially more Bonus XP, granting only slightly less than the overall mission completion, than any other mission in the game or at least those which I've encountered thus far.

I originally thought that this was due to hitting Level 61 beforehand, which of course changes the rewards anyway, but after encouraging a recently-Level 61 friend to do my research for me on earlier planets (neither Fex nor new-Sniper Paveria were eligible for the earlier Weekly Heroics by the time I noticed this), I can confirm that it's just Tatooine. I don't know whether any other planets beyond Tatooine do this, but it's interesting to note regardless.

Some generic Bonus missions are very screwy with how they handle XP. The most notable case I've found is the Infinite Engine mission on Imperial Nar Shaddaa. Completing the Bonus mission for this - killing 15 Droids - causes the Bonus to complete twice, with the second 'turn in' granting the same amount of XP as the overall mission.

Rather confusingly - and I have absolutely no idea why - completing this Bonus mission also seemed to cause Pav to completely bypass Level 57 and go to Level 58 from Level 56. It wasn't a visual bug either; she continued on to Level 59 afterwards as if nothing out-of-the-ordinary had happened.


XP gain is just absolutely laughable nowadays, even if you're trying to power-level or not.

Whilst this does make for a relatively quick-and-painless grind for the Event, it's still absolutely out-of-control compared to what it used to be like. Granted, it is possible to slow it down considerably by only doing the Class and planetary quests, but doing so means that you do miss out on several entertaining 'Exploration' missions.

Level-Scaling is an absolute godsend for this new Levelling process. It would be absolutely infuriating if you continued to level quickly due to vastly-increased XP numbers only to constantly run into gray missions until near the very end of your present planet arc.

Regardless of how people choose to Level their characters nowadays, it can't be denied that the grind is far simpler than it used to be, although this does have the incredibly adverse effect of making the game too easy. Chapter 1 bosses would never expect to meet your high-level ability rotation!

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