One to X: SWTOR, Trove, and Marvel Heroes

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update on this project, but then that’s the nature of pursuing something like this; it takes more than a couple of days to reach max level in an MMO. Last time I had reached level 60 on my first hero in Marvel Heroes and level 50 in Final Fantasy XIV. Since then I’ve more or less abandoned FFXIV but I have continued to work on other heroes in MH2015. I have also stepped back into Star Wars: The Old Republic and Trove where I’m working toward my first max level character in both games. I’m not quite there yet with either, but I’ve made significant progress.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic

My healing Scoundrel was level 35 when the 12x XP kicked in, however during the weeks the buff has been available I haven’t made it very far. I could have easily leveled to 60 by now if I had only been playing SWTOR, but the XP multiplier in addition to my renewed interest in Trove has really killed my motivation to play the Star Wars MMO. However I have made it to level 50, which was the level cap when the game launched. I have a little more of my class story to finish and once I do I’ll move on to Makeb. My plan is to continue this character utilizing the 12x XP so that I can start playing the Shadow of Revan content. Not only would I like to see the new zones, flashpoints, and storyline, but I would also like to start earning the credits I’ll need to raise up an army of alts.

Once I’ve reached level cap on my Scoundrel, the plan is to continue with a second class in the game but this time I may turn off the XP buff, something I never thought I would do. I like the speed of 12x XP but I’d like to experience the planet storylines and I also prefer to diversify my leveling experience with Flashpoints, Warzones, and Galactic Starfighter matches rather than limiting it to just class story. I’m thinking I’ll start a Sage next, or maybe a Sage and a Commando so that I can test out both of the other healing specs in the game.

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Trove

In case you missed it, you may want to check out this post on why I think Trove is such a great game. I’ve been back in the voxel MMO for a couple of weeks now and I’ve made some significant progress toward level 20. My Dracolyte is now level 17 but the progression at this stage is slow going and I’ve spent most of my time lately playing the Candy Barbarian instead. Both have a playstyle I enjoy but right now the Candy Barbarian is by far my favorite. Currently my Barbarian is level 12 and at this rate I may surpass the Dracolyte class and reach 20 for the first time with this sweet warrior.

I’ve mentioned this before but I’m going to say it again, the thing I love about Trove is that the leveling game and the end game are so similar that there is no reason to rush. Once you reach level 10 you have reached “end game.” At that point you can pretty much participate in everything that you will be doing at level 20 with the difficulty level increasing as you go. Thus the first 10 levels are a kind of extended tutorial, giving you time to grow familiar with your class so that once you reach the “Uber” zones (Trove’s high level maps) you have the class knowledge and skill sets to continue the leveling process through end game content.

Marvel Heroes

As I expected, I picked up another hero rather than working toward gearing out my first 60 for end game content. My approach to Marvel Heroes will likely be leveling multiple classes to 60 rather than focusing on what the game offers at max level. Of course, that might change if I find a hero that I like well enough to continue progressing but for now I’m content to continue leveling heroes. After X-23, I started to play Ms. Marvel until the Avengers XP boost was announced. At that point I switched to Black Widow and in a few short weeks I had my second hero up to level 60. This weekend I began playing up to level 10 with the other available Avengers—I have enough eternity splinters to purchase one—and decided unexpectedly on Hawkeye. I had already purchased him along with Black Widow back in December when all heroes were half off (they were only 225 Gs!), so I still have my eternity splinters to spend at a later time.

I actually tried Hawkeye last, assuming there was no way he would be my favorite of the bunch but surprisingly he was. I like the archer/ ranger archetype in general and Hawkeye has a great assortment of trick arrows—explosive, electric, poisonous, etc. The downside is that he runs out of Spirit quickly so I have been maxing out points in his basic attack as much as possible since I am reliant on it for damage. He can also be a little squishy but so long as I leave enough spirit to use his dodge ability to stay at range, I’m usually okay. Plus his Rocket Arrow is powerful enough that I can nearly one shot elites; dead mobs aren’t much of a survivability threat.

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The Future of One to X

Currently I’m pretty content with these three games. Once I’ve reached max level in SWTOR and Trove I plan on leveling multiple classes/ heroes in all three games. I may swap in DC Universe Online for one of the games at some point to finish my level 17 Green Lantern but otherwise there aren’t any games grabbing my attention right now. Rift and The Elder Scrolls Online were on my list, and WildStar might be as well if it does in fact go F2P, but none of these games are attractive enough to set aside what I’m currently playing. If that continues to be the case, then I may retire this idea for now or I’ll continue to cover my progress as I level new classes in SWTOR, Marvel Heroes, and Trove, discussing the differences between the various classes during the leveling process. That could be interesting, but it’s definitely not in line with what One to X was supposed to be.

Nevertheless, I’m happy with the progress I’ve made. Once I finish Trove, SWTOR, and possibly DCUO, that will be five new games in which I have characters at max level. That’s a far cry away from the days when WoW was the only MMO in which I could play end game content. It’s not like I need max level characters in every MMO, only in those that I like well enough that the time invested is worthwhile. If nothing else, I would say focusing on reaching end game in several titles has helped me find the MMOs I like enough to keep playing. Playing until end game while time consuming, is a good way to give a game a fair chance to prove its worth. What I’ve found is that I largely prefer games in which end game is a non-issue like Marvel Heroes and Trove. Ironic, isn’t it? That in my pursuit of reaching end game, I discovered I would much rather play a game without it.

One to X: Finishing What I Have Started

While brainstorming ideas for this blog, one that came to mind was a regular series tracking my progress through several MMOs as I work toward max level. Ever since I began wandering through multiple games I never really made it past the opening levels, generally stopping in the teens and twenties before moving on, always rerolling when returning to previously visited landscapes. That process has left me with quite a few unfinished characters across several MMOs but no opportunity for end game activities in any of them.

One to X is a chance for me to go back through and try to complete what I have started. I won’t be doing this for every MMO I have tried in the past, only for those I enjoyed. And while I may comment from time to time on my progress as I level, I’m mostly interested in writing down a few thoughts about each MMO as I complete the trek to level cap. To begin this series I want to talk about two games in which I recently finished leveling, Final Fantasy XIV and Marvel Heroes 2015.

My journey through Eorzea began back in August or September of last year. When I first purchased the game I created one character—a Thaumaturge—and leveled into the thirties in one go with one detour to earn the fifteen levels needed as an Archer to unlock the Black Mage job. Generally when I start a game I play into the teens on my first class, then try another, and so on. Playing one class into the thirties lead me to think that perhaps I would stick with it to the end for once. Unfortunately, that was not the case and after a couple of months my interest waned.

Since then I’ve returned a couple of times and every time I have started up a new class rather than completing a previously leveled one. The same can be said for this most recent return, however this time I made it all the way to 50 on the Ninja job. One of the reasons I often lose momentum in a game is due to the process of deciding on a class. Final Fantasy does this better than by allowing you to play all classes on one character meaning you do keep some of your progression even when you make a switch. However the initial run of levequests, dungeons, hunting logs, and guildleves needed to power level up to wherever you left off in the story can be grindy.

Nevertheless I pushed through and was able to pick up the main storyline where I had left off. Ultimately I still out-leveled the story and thus while I am technically at max level, I’m not really able to participate in the end game content because I am behind on the story. This is one of my biggest complaints with Final Fantasy XIV—content, systems, and progress in general is gated behind the story. It is clear that Square Enix still considers Final Fantasy XIV a traditional RPG first and an MMO second, and for some veteran players gating every branch of the game behind the storyline progression may be off-putting. At times it has been for me.

This brings up a good question as far as my goals in One to X; am I looking to simply reach max level or do I have a specific progression goal in mind? With Final Fantasy XIV I have decided that for now being level 50 is enough and going forward I will make that decision on a game by game basis. Perhaps once I have a few more characters at max across several MMOs, I’ll circle back through and work on progressing those characters into whatever the end game has to offer.

Which brings me to my other recently achieved max level character, X-23 in Marvel Heroes. I couldn’t tell you when I started playing Marvel Heroes, but I do know my first character was the Human Torch. At first I enjoyed both the game and the hero but quickly I grew tired of both. When X-23 was announced she looked interesting to me and when I discovered she was only going to cost 200 eternity splinters I quickly made the purchase and started anew. It was the best hero purchase I have made (and I’ve made too many).

I have been playing this game off and on in short bursts, but bit by bit I have made progress with X-23 and just this weekend I decided to make the push to 60. The thing I love about Marvel Heroes is that you can really level in several different ways. I’m sure someone somewhere has figured out the optimal way to level, but as for me once I had completed the storyline on normal mode I continued my leveling via legendary quests and grinding in Midtown. Both allow you to get right into the action, and with the amount of story and cutscenes in some of the other games I’m playing, I welcome the shoot first and never ask questions later approach of Marvel Heroes.

Once I reached level 60 I realized how little I knew about this OARPG. There are so many currencies you earn along the way, so many different types of gear (and ways to earn it) that I really wasn’t sure where to begin. After some research this morning I purchased a legendary weapon and began running some of the terminal quests on a higher difficulty level. I know there are raids as well but I’m not sure if that interests me. For now when I play X-23 I’m going to focus on a complete set of level 60 unique gear and leveling my legendary weapon.

But then again, why worry about end game at all? Instead of pursuing the best gear and maxing out every other form of progression as a level 60 hero you can start over with a new one. Another feature I love about Marvel Heroes is that it is possible to treat leveling alts as a kind of end game, and it is supported through several bonuses granted for having multiple high level characters. For me I think this “end game” path is the one I will focus on. Sure, I’ll do a little work on X-23 here and there, but for the most part I plan on leveling a second hero to 60.

Now that I’ve finished leveling in these two games (which were admittedly low hanging fruit) where to next? Well, currently I am playing SW:TOR and this game is an excellent example of one in which I have returned many times and started many classes and characters but never made it further than the teens on any of them. Therefore I think either Iron’weakness, my Jedi Sentinel or Lone’weakness, my soon to be healing Scoundrel will be the next contestant in this One to X project.