Subscribers can access the new Section X area for free, and free or preferred accounts can access it for 600 Cartel Coins. The Republic previously abandoned exploration of this area of Belsavis until recent intelligence placed minions of the Dread Master in the area. That, along with the recent discovery of the transport ship known as The Fatality, has piqued both the Republic's and Empire's interest in the area.
Players have two major tasks in the area: The long awaited HK-51 companion quests start here, and a new set of level 50 daily quest are found here. Let's take a moment to examine those two major aspects of Update 1.5.
Credits earned: 67427
Time: 45 minutes
Since Section X is a daily quest area, it's only appropriate that we guage the experience against the other daily quest areas. Four months ago (has it really been that long?) I wrote a Hyperspace Beacon explaining just how easy it is to make money in The Old Republic just by doing dailies. As I said in the Easy Money Hyperspace Beacon, efficiency is key. And as of right now, it takes me about 45 minutes to complete the Section X dailies. If we were compare that to the other dailies, Section X would rate the lowest on the credit-per-minute scale. Ilum rates the highest at approximately 4,200 credits per minute. I earned 67,427 credits in Section X, which includes selling junk and completing all the solo quests. That means Section X generates 1,498 credits per minute.
These statistics would make you question doing the Section X dailies at all. However, those quest offer the biggest daily comm rewards. Each solo quest that you turn in will grant three daily comms, whereas the other daily areas offer only one daily comm. So which area you tackle depends on the reason you're doing the dailies. If it's to gain daily comms, then you definitely want to do the Section X dailies, but if you're looking to earn money, then the other daily areas are clearly more efficient. I would put it last on my list.
As for the quests themselves, I'm a torn as to what I think of them. On the one hand, these quests are dailies, so gathering and turning in these quests should be quick, but on the other hand, I miss the connection I had with quests that had dialogue and cutscenes. The HK-51 questline (that we will talk about in depth in just a bit) had its fair share of cutscenes, but the dailies had zero -- not even for the heroic like the Black Hole daily area did. Although I applaud the efficiency, I felt I lost an emotional connection to the quest. Unless I go back and look at the quest text, I'm not really sure what the Aurora Cannon quest is really about because I just clicked on the terminal to pick it up.
Although it took me 45 minutes to complete the quests, it's possible to shave a bit off that time if the spawn rate of the Republic Marksmen was increased in the Target Misfire questline. On the east side of the Section X map sits a cave with a Republic facility inside. If multiple people are inside, as they were this weekend, then finding Marksmen will be difficult. However, the first group at the entrance to the cave has three Marksmen; you could get lucky and find all airstrike codes in the first group. I did these quests four times this weekend, and I was able to get all three of those Marksmen to drop the codes only once. The other times, they were already killed by someone who was there before me (or only one dropped).
It's obvious that BioWare spent some time readying the quests to gain HK-51. The questline mixes solid mechanics with immersing cutscene dialogue. And I am completely in love with HK-51 as a companion, even on my DPS character.
The first quest is a heroic in the northwest corner of Section X. General Avrun (Bren if you're Republic) instructs you to search The Fatality for the HK droids. You make a deal him to let you have one if you are able to retrieve all the parts. This takes you on a quest to find pieces to repair the droids, including a trip to the derelict ship The Theoretika.
The Theoretika quest requires at least two players, but truly there is only one fight in the whole ship. The rest is a series of puzzles to unlock each level of the ship until you get the bridge. When my group completed this last week, we did it without any guides or cheats. And I think we actually got more out of the questline trying to figure out everything for ourselves. I would recommend doing it that way. The surprises and rewards will have a greater impact if you don't know they are coming.
Finding the other parts are not too difficult, just a bit time-consuming. The piece on Dromund Kaas seems to be the most difficult because the search area is the most expansive. Both Darth Hater and Dulfy have a walkthrough for the HK-51 quest. If you haven't completed it yet, I'd suggest doing it now.
As for the companion himself, I use him all the time for solo content even though I play a Marauder. HK uses many abilities similar a Sniper or a Gunslinger, but he's quite mobile. And he has stealth. That's right: stealth. It's great to see him turn invisible and smack down an enemy. But that's not his best ability. When he has assisted in killing five enemies, he's granted an out-of-combat ability called Assassinate. It takes six seconds to cast this ability on an enemy, but if you pull it off, that enemy is instantly dead. Personally, I hit one enemy for 66,000 HP. That will easily one-shot a silver mob.
Have you finished the HK quests? Do you have the companion? What do you think? And what about the new daily quests? Are they fresh enough to hold your interest until the next batch of content in a couple of weeks?
The Hyperspace Beacon by Larry Everett is your weekly guide to the vast galaxy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, currently in production by BioWare. If you have comments or suggestions for the column, send a transmission to firstname.lastname@example.org. Now strap yourself in, kid -- we gotta make the jump to hyperspace!