Hyperspace Beacon: Five reasons to love SWTOR's Bounty Contract Week

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Hyperspace Beacon Five reasons to love Bounty Contract Week
If you missed the first Bounty Contract Week for Star Wars: The Old Republic, never fear because it's on its way here again -- today, in fact. I didn't really talk about this event when it first came out because I was too busy talking about the free-to-play experiment, and frankly, I thought the event was pretty straightforward fun and didn't need too much explanation. That was before I spent a week actually participating in the Bounty Contract event. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I actually enjoyed the new content.

The basic premise for this SWTOR event centers around the Bounty Brokers Association. This organization, totally made up by BioWare, is overrun with the number contracts that it needs fulfilled and is willing to pay anyone for completing the bounties. (To be fair, that's not too much different than a normal bounty contract, but let's just run with it.) Participants can complete one standard contract and one kingpin contract a day per character level 15 or higher. Players travel to one of eight planets (two Republic-only planets, two Empire-only planets, and four shared planets), hunting down eight different henchmen and eight different kingpins. Players earn credits, experience, reputation, achievements, and titles.

Let me give you my top five reasons for loving Bounty Contract Week.

Hyperspace Beacon Four reasons to love Bounty Contract Week
Hyperspace Beacon Four reasons to love Bounty Contract WeekIs it really crazy that one of my favorite things in Bounty Contract Week is a reputation reward? Maybe, but I'm willing to accept a little crazy now and again. Some of my friends on the Republic side of the game have called the hat the cowboy ninja hat because the hat also has a wrap that covers the character's mouth. I'm willing to live with that if I get one of the coolest looks in all of Star Wars.

Any Star Wars fanboy would agree that Boba Fett and Darth Vader have two of the most memorable looks in the Star Wars movies, but in the Clone Wars series, Cad Bane reigns supreme. I don't usually like to emulate other characters' looks in game, but I don't mind a tribute from time to time. And because of the Bounty Contract week, my Imperial Agent (and my new Smuggler, who looks exactly the same) now has one of the coolest outfits in the game.

Hyperspace Beacon Four reasons to love Bounty Contract Week
As anyone who plays an MMO for an extended period of time will tell you, events get monotonous if you do them too many times. I love raiding in SWTOR. It's fun, I get to hang with friends, and it's challenging. But if I did the same raid week after week, day after day, then it would not be as much fun. We raid two nights a week, and if I did more than that (which I know some guilds do), then I would definitely get bored of it really quickly.

The Bounty Contract Week allows me to break from my normal routine. Because these bounties take up good chunk of my playtime when I want to do them, I don't have time to fall into my routine gameplay, keeping it fresh for when I am able to get back to it.

Hyperspace Beacon Five reasons to love Bounty Contract Week
Yes, another reward. But have you seen the HK-51 skin? Until recently, my HK-51 looked just like every other HK droid in existence, and frankly, it looked silly for other players to run around with the exact same droid I have. Of course, the Czerka reputation vendor also sells an HK-51 skin, too, but it's not nearly as well-designed as the Bounty Hunter version. Just take a look at it:

Hyperspace Beacon Five reasons to love Bounty Contract Week
You can't tell me that you don't want one.

Hyperspace Beacon Five reasons to love Bounty Contract Week
In order to do the quests, you have to be high enough in level to get your ship, but that's not really too much to ask considering that you have to be able to travel to multiple planets. Unlike the Gree event, in this event you don't have to be high-level to accept the bounty-contract quests . As I said earlier, you need only be level 15 to accept a bounty contract, which should only take you a day or two to reach if you've never played before.

On top of that, the bosses scale to your level and are actually a bit challenging at times. The kingpin bosses are meant for a group, and you're likely to be flattened if you don't have at least one other person with you to help you out. But the henchmen can be a challenge, too. The first time I faced D-3X on Alderaan on my mid-level, madness-specced Assassin, I had to have a friend come help me out. Eventually, I could face him on my own, but I did love the bit of frustration and challenge of actually facing a boss that made me think instead of being a faceroll.

Hyperspace Beacon Five reasons to love Bounty Contract Week
Lastly, I enjoy exploring, but I do have a bit of a hard time doing it just so I can make a bit of map reveal itself. Bounty contracts give me a reason to step off the path of level progression. For instance, I have completed the quests on Hutta multiple times. In fact, at this point, I have the 1-10 leveling down to a science on that starter world, but would you believe that the kingpin bounty contract led me to a place on the map that I had never been before? I ran into the same thing on Tatooine and Alderaan. I was amazed.

BioWare, take note: This is the type of event I want to see in the future. Thanks, Hall Hood, for writing some the stories of the questlines (the dialogue in the cutscenes clearly has his signature on it). And to the rest of the developers, thanks for making this event and its rewards enjoyable.

If you want a detailed guide for hopping through each of the events of Bounty Contract Week, Dulfy created an amazing walkthrough of all the quest, achievements, rewards, and titles. I'll see you all next week.

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 larry@massively.com. Now strap yourself in, kid -- we gotta make the jump to hyperspace!
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