Soloing through SWTOR's Shadow of Revan

Impressions of soloing through SWTOR: Shadow of Revan

Some people question how you can be a solo player in an MMO. To be honest, I, too, question how someone can do the whole game solo, but I do understand the desire to experience the game at your own pace. I believe the creators of Star Wars: The Old Republic understand this, too. Game director James Ohlen said that the biggest thing players wanted was the continuation of Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2. Although part of the SWTOR story did continue the Revan and Exile stories, a lot of players haven't even touched on that storyline.

In a multiplayer game, it's hard sometimes to experience the story solo with all the group-only material. However, Shadow of Revan creates an amazing opportunity for the solo MMO player to really experience the full story it has to offer.

Fair warning: I will not spoil major plot points for the expansion, but I will reveal some key characters in order to talk you through this leveling experience.

The gang's all here


I'm going to assume that your character is level 55. If not, then before you begin to do anything, level up to 55 and play through Chapter 3. There is a story quest about halfway through Rishi that cannot be accessed if you have not completed Chapter 3 of the primary class story.

The second thing I would suggest is that you run through the Revan-related flashpoints. If you're level 55, you can do this solo. The story-mode versions of the flashpoints sit at levels 33 and 37. Obviously, you're not going to gain any XP, but you will gain story experience. Taral V and Maelstrom Prison on the Republic side tell the story of how Revan was released from the Imperial prison. They also explains how he lived for so long. Boarding Party and The Foundry on the Imperial side explain what happened after he was freed.

Manaan Wookiee

Solo flashpoints

Now we start on the actual story for the expansion, but this bit was actually released before the expansion started. It's called Forged Alliance. These four flashpoints lead directly into the Shadow of Revan storyline. If you've done them, before you can skip them, but I would suggest that you don't. Not only would these flashpoints be a refresher of the story so far, but they will help you earn much needed experience points so that you can be level 60 when you finish the expansion.

At first, I was offended by BioWare's implementing solo flashpoints. I believed that it was undermining the very idea of this game being an MMO, and to a point, I still agree. There should be some content that is gated based on the style of gameplay you choose. Unfortunately, the storylines in both the Forged Alliance flashpoints and the expansion flashpoints are so integral to the storyline of Shadow of Revan that to skip them would cause the player to miss major plot points.

BioWare created a very inventive way to handle the solo flashpoints. Instead of completely dumbing down the content -- which probably wouldn't have worked anyway -- BioWare added a second companion to follow you around. Now, I wish we could have picked one of our existing companions to run alongside us through the flashpoint. I would love for my Marauder to be followed around by both Quinn and Vette at the same time, but unfortunately, BioWare stuck us with a droid.

Some people are calling this droid "the Jesus droid" because of its supernatural power to play any role in a group. That means if you're a DPS and you have a healer companion, then the droid can play the role of the tank. Unfortunately, you have no real control over this NPC, and it will choose the role it wants to play on its own, which means that sometimes when you taunt a mob, the droid will taunt it right back off you.

There is also a bit of a complaint about the droid's being too powerful. A guildie tested out just how powerful this droid is by standing himself and his companion in the fire during the Shae Vizla fight, and he never died. It appears that, short of being knocked off the edge of a cliff, he just won't die.

Massassi roar

Chasing Revan

While leveling on Rishi and Yavin, you will be asked to do both of the expansion flashpoints to move the story forward. Of course, BioWare set them up to be solo flashpoints. Be aware that you will not get the option to run them as solo flashpoints until you come to that part in the story. That being said, I suggest that you run them in a group, too. Each run of the flashpoint counts for about a third of your level at 56 and a quarter at 59. It's well worth it.

You will want to be max level before you do the last fight. When I first did the last boss fight, I was underleveled, and it was a bit of a nightmare. It can be done, but it's extraordinarily frustrating, and I died multiple times. Granted, part of that was because I was still figuring out the fight. But overall, I think I would have been better served during the last fight had I been at level-capped.

I ran the leveling process on a couple of characters. I enjoy the story, but I do believe that XP is extraordinarily tight. Too many people in my guild have not been level-capped when they reached the end of the story. In order for me to hit 60 after I finished the story, I had to run dailies. That is exactly why I suggested that you run Forged Alliance content even if you've done it before.

I think the goal of making the content soloable has been achieved. I know many people have complained about the game overall, arguing that it doesn't feel like an MMO. There is some merit to that argument, and frankly the solo parts of this expansion give credence to that stance. But if you really enjoyed the class stories the game launched with, then this expansion is worth the price just to finish everything off.

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