Old-School Galactic Traversing: An Extreme Response to Increased Convenience

Games such as SWtOR really like to push convenience to an almost luxurious degree. In some regards it's useful, such as 4.0's unlocking all speeder points to a planet, and other times it's downright annoying. For example, I simply can't count how many times my Guild has formed up an Ops group for an Operation that launches from the Gav Daragon and somebody - who knows full well how to get to the Gav - has simply requested a Summon. 

This increased convenience has also removed a part of the charm from certain systems of the game. The biggest sore point for some is the fact that the 'rite-of-passage' nature of finding Datacrons on newer characters has been severely lessened, particularly for veteran players, due to the stat-granting ones all now being Legacy-wide. I myself feel they should introduce some small incentive for people to do them again on additional characters, but I sincerely doubt we'll ever see such things implemented.

The other day I was asked to transport a guildie to Iokath so she could farm the Grade 10 Archaeology materials there, since  she had yet to start the associated story on that character, and she commented that it had been a long time since she had manually boarded somebody else's ship.

This comment resonated with me as it touched ever-so-briefly on something which I have been taking some small issue with over the past couple of months. Outside of some very specific circumstances travelling around the galaxy is now incredibly simplistic. Sure, we've had the Daily Transport terminals and various Legacy Perks for instantly hopping to certain places for several years but now we can just instantly hop to every planet or be parked directly outside a Heroic mission just with a couple of clicks.

This is all well and good, but it pretty much negates one of the biggest joys of being inside of the Star Wars universe; owning our very own starship. With the exception of the levelling story and starting some questlines, the ship is almost entirely superfluous nowadays. Not even the combat-modifiable Training Dummy is unique to the ship anymore, courtesy of the Rishi Stronghold including one.

Indeed, it's got to the point where you don't even need a ship to travel to the majority of places in the in-game galaxy since the Heroic transportation items work whether you own one or not. This particular instance has resulted in another one of my guildies not having a ship on the majority of his former Dark vs. Light characters which he had levelled using Heroics alone the moment he could get off the starting planets. This is something of a nuisance since when we're doing something as a Guild he nearly-always chooses to wait for a Guild-ship Summons and that just doesn't work when he's using one of these shipless characters.

I will see him get a ship for all of these characters before the game is done.

I myself had been more-or-less completely ignoring the ships, save for the rare combat-parse, for the longest time until something happened in August. The Manaan Stronghold broke. My Guardian had been calling it her home and for an entire month she found herself without access to her cargo bays on the top floor. 

I could have done a couple of things here. I could have simply taken her to Tatooine or Rishi, my faction-neutral Strongholds, or I could have simply placed copies of the bays on the lower floors of Manaan thus ensuring that she could still have used it. However, since neither Stronghold really had 'her' personal flair, I chose to do something else entirely: use her starship. 

So for a month she called her ship her home, using it to travel around the galaxy 'properly' rather than simply teleporting using the galaxy map. I absolutely loved it. It reminded me very much of the early days of SWtOR when doing this sort of thing was the only option. Convenience be damned, I still love actually seeing the approach to every planet rather than just a loading screen. 

Since this time I've taken things massively to the extreme. While my characters still live in their Strongholds while being logged off the amount of 'convenient' things they do is extremely limited. I now take them down to the planet itself to board their starship in the 'proper' way when I take them out and about and whenever I'm on a planet the only automatic travel options I try to take are the speeder points. Otherwise it's travelling on-foot or by mount the entire time.

I think my recent re-indulgence in Skyrim is fairly responsible for this.

That's not to say that I've been entirely immune from speeding things up. Mainly this occurs when an Ops group I'm a part of is moving from one planet to another to complete stuff quickly, but there are some times when I'm on a planet like Iokath or Hoth that I just don't want to run through a landscape of mobs to get to the nearest available speeder point. I also can't avoid using the personal Stronghold panel to get to Tatooine since the Stronghold terminal on Tatooine itself is (logically...?) placed in a location where you can't travel to anywhere from.

More than anything, this approach is incredibly relaxing. It's exactly the same reason why I love the GSI missions, since I can take as much time as I want and need to do various activities while also drinking in the in-game scenery while travelling between various Dailies and Heroics. There are some in-game days when there's nothing better than just spending an hour or so doing quests in a relaxed manner.


As much as it may seem, I don't have too much of an issue with increased convenience. I do feel that there is such a thing as too much convenience, but this is very much a personal take on the situation at hand. I know a lot of people absolutely love being able to hop around the galaxy at a moment's notice, but for me it's resulted in a very noticeable dearth in charm as time has gone on. 

Maybe I'm more of a role-player at heart than I realise. 


  1. Glad our little adventure inspired you to post. :P It's certainly an interesting idea to take the more scenic route more often. I have to admit I do like seeing the planetary approach/lift-off cinematics as well, but what I don't like is the extra loading screen from going via the ship. I was also never very fond of hanging out on the ship, not even back in the day - always preferred the fleet.

    People's laziness when it comes to guild ship summons is another story. Wonder what competition for world bosses and such would be like if we didn't have that functionality! It seems hard to imagine now that once upon a time, every single person in the ops group had to leg it to the Nightmare Pilgrim themselves...

    1. I've got about five post ideas (that many is a rarity these days!) brewing before 5.10 launches and hopefully gives me a lot more; this was just the easiest of them to write quickly. :P

      I'm okay with Summons being used for ease-of-access to world bosses and the like. Heck, I'm nearly always one of the first to head to a set location and send the Summons out. It's just when it comes to locations that really shouldn't need it, that's when it really get on my nerves.

      At least Nightmare Pilgrim is a relatively quick to reach World Boss, being central to the map and somewhat close to both camps. It's not like Toxxun, R4-GL, Snowblind, or Plaguehorn where one faction has a greater Quick-Travel point (or Heroic transport) proximity to the boss than the other or Lucky or where neither faction can get particularly close automatically.

  2. That's an interesting take, I think my opinions are mostly contrary though.

    On the topic of Datacrons... sure, if you've been playing since launch then you kinda have time to get bored from time to time and maybe want to do this again... but as someone who returned after many years and is just now trying to ramp up any kind of completion for anything... if this was per-character I would simply not do it, I guess - not at all. I'm not even done completing all of them once.

    And for the travel... yes, I like the starship and I love how you use it on your journey from ~18 to 50, and also a bit beyond until Rishi and Yavin. But if I'm max-level and not really doing linear content, but more like zipping from one end of the galaxy to another... I am SO glad about the quick travel options. Downtime from transportation, or mounting up and going somewhere.. that's what I absolutely hate most about MMOs. This started before I even started with WoW, there it intensified.. and in SWTOR it's even worse (probably because mobs dismount you much easier :P). I'd rather be ganked on a PvP server (that's only #2 on the list of stuff I hate in MMOs) than having to ride anywhere or having to use planetary stations with 3 loading screens, like Quesh and Hoth and whatnot. I don't enjoy the scenery in a "stopping and smelling the flowers" sense. I guess I just ride through and notice only a little if it's nice - it's not really being lazy or that gogogo mentality. I could literally bite my fingernails off if I need to mount up and travel somewhere for 15 mins straight.

    But yeah, I could totally live with using the ship more - if it landed on the planet and not on an orbital station and also if I could at least port to somewhere sometimes. I think the 0 minute cooldown Quick Travel was a bit much, to be honest.

    1. Nothing wrong with a bit of contrary opinions. I fully-acknowledge my own views on this subject are very particular and not going to be easily-shared in their entirety. :)

      There are many times when I like not having to do Datacrons anymore - mainly when I try jumping and realising I'm not very good at it! It was only when I started taking some people who are starting out on their Datacron collections to some of the locations that I began feeling a pang of sadness about no longer having a reason to do them myself.

      Yeah, the amount of loading screens and whatnot for planets like Quesh are more than a bit excessive at times. I'm not at all a fan of the jarring transition from using a spaceport planetside to using an orbital station and catching a shuttle, and again Quesh is a particularly bad offender in this regard especially on Impside.

      Basically, screw Quesh.

      That is something which I really love about most of the post-expansion planets. With the exception of Makeb and Ziost you land directly on them without any additional padding time, and it's very welcome.