Choosing SWTOR Alts
Posted by Player Versus Developer [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 December 2012, 10:48 pm
One of the quirks to SWTOR's new business model is that players who know roughly what their alts are going to be in the future can save some money by subbing up for one month, and using that time to start new characters. 
  • Species locks are not enforced retroactively, so you are free to create premium race characters and keep them after your subscription lapses.  There is also the option to unlock races - including ones that cannot normally be used for all classes - using credits (either directly - for 1.5 million a piece, or for whatever the cash shop unlocks are selling for in your local GTN - as low as 400-600K on my server).  Due to the credit cap, this is also a subscriber-only feature.
  • Non-subscribers cannot mail credits, even within their own legacy.  This is allegedly to deter credit farming on free accounts and more likely to make it harder for non-subscribers to get around the credit cap by shuttling credits to alts.  (You can mail items - one at a time - to your alts and then try to auction them.)  I typically spend around 100K credits setting up a new alt with legacy perks, such as mount access at level 10, entry level affection perks for companions, basic gifts, etc, and this option is not available without a way to send your alt the credits.  (Note that you should check the GTN for mounts before buying one from a vendor.  You may be able to find one of the more common options on sale for less than the 8,000 credits required to buy a standard mount from the vendor.) 
  • Nonsubscribers cannot purchase inventory upgrades using credits, only cartel coins (or GTN purchases of cartel coin unlocks, which will cost significantly more for your first few space increases).  Personally, I don't find that I need more than 40-50 slots, YMMV.
  • TEMPORARY: Currently, non-subscribers are capped from creating more than two characters on their entire account (i.e. NOT per server), but lapsed subscribers can access as many pre-existing characters as they have.  It's somewhat inexplicable that Bioware launched free to play without implementing the item that lets you purchase more slots.  Now they're going to have to spring the restrictions on people down the line.  Note that this bullet will become moot when they do implement the character cap, at which point free players will have the two slots and preferred nonsubscribers will have six.
With all that in mind, I set forth on a side project to start up alts during my one month subscription.  I already had a level 50 Trooper Vanguard (tank) that I really liked and a level 19 Sith Warrior (DPS) alt that I hated because of how much time he spent running between targets that my NPC companion was killing.  I decided to roll through to the six character cap, with the thinking that I won't repeat either of the two archetypes I already had for now.  The good news is that all four alts are ready to go.  The bad news is that now I have to figure out which one(s) to play.  
  1. Amargosa, female Rattataki Sith Sorcerer (caster DPS/healing): Purple force lightning aside, this advanced class is interesting in that it's a ranged DPS with regenerating energy that does not depend on how much energy you have remaining.  All of the other ranged classes use a mechanic where how quickly your ammo/etc regenerates scales with how much you have spent.  One downside - your initial companion appears to actively hate you, which I'm guessing could get old. 
  2. Kalestra, female Mirialan Jedi Consular Shadow (stealth melee/tank): I chose to make this the tank because I think the Jedi ranged caster path - somehow miraculously finding the same sized debris to throw at foes with telekinesis - looks really stupid. On the downside, I didn't like the other melee class because of how quickly individual targets die in this game, so the consular could suffer the same flaw.  Meanwhile, I was initially underwhelmed with all the rambling about the Jedi code on Tython, but the story picked up a bit as the planet's class story unfolds.  
  3. Mirish, female Chiss Agent Operative (healer/ranged DPS): The agent is universally hailed as one of the best storylines, the starting companion is a relatively normal character, and there are a few interesting mechanics going on here including a ranged tree, a stealth melee tree, and full out heals.  One question mark is whether I will start to find the cover mechanic irritating, as right now I seem somewhat limited if I don't have something to hide behind.
  4. Chulak, male Twilek Smuggler Gunslinger (ranged DPS): Almost an afterthought, but one of my favorite stories, with a very good Star Wars feel.  I arguably should have flipped the advanced classes on this pairing, as I'm now lined up to have all three healing specs on the Empire and all three tank specs on the Republic, assuming I ever get that far.  Oh well.  One big downside, though, is that I'm really not all that fond of my starting companion, and apparently I'm stuck with him for a bit.  
And so I'm on the fence.  Ideally, I'd choose one Empire and one Republic representing one each of the two archetypes and then backtrack to deal with the last round.  Or I guess I could in principle give the poor Sith Warrior another chance.  What I don't want to do is level more than one alt on the same faction due to how much content is shared.  It's also unfortunate that I seem to be having so much trouble matching up all three of a class story, gameplay style, and supporting cast that I can live with on the same character.  Ah well, I guess trial and error will eventually prevail - at least I'm not paying by the month at the moment? 



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