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There's a handful of things to really consider here. So I've started a list with the main things I think about, there are other, less relevant things, but this is a good start.
1. How long will it take to heal my wounds, my battle fatigue?
2. How long does it take to kill 1 creature that gives 5000xp versus killing 2 that give 2500xp?
3. Can you give up the mission payouts and hunt for wild lairs to maxamize time/experience?
4. Which planet's creatures fit your template best?
5. How much armor do I want to buy?
6. Am I using a good template?
7. Do I take on Creatures, or NPC's?
8. Should I stock up on c-12's?
9. Slice or not sliced?
10. I can't cap xp in one hour, what am I doing wrong?
#1 Many of us have medic/doctor skills, so it is not too big of a deal, and for what its worth, you really don't need the best buffs. I heal my BF when it rises above 600, at which point I am buffing myself for 1200 per stat (maybe 1400 if I put on buff clothes and eat bivoli) but to be truthful, if you back yourself up with some stim b's (or higher if you can use them) and follow the advice in #2, you might get more out of a buff/grind session. It's nice to go out in the field with a mind buff, but timing for me personally usually never works out to available entertainers that are not AFK. If you are like me and hunt on dantooine, then it makes sense to hit the coro cantina and either while waiting to get to dath, or get back to dant, grab a buff.
#2 In the time it takes me to kill 5 rancors with AE attacks, I would have killed 15 brackasets (Brackaset lairs spawn new creatures faster i find, and they drop fast). 5 rancors x 5000xp = 25,000 xp, 15 brackasets x 2850xp = 42,750 xp. Nuff said. Don't take the attitude that if it cons white, its not worth the time. To be honest, if it cons red, its not worth the time. But also, kill everything on the radar.
#3 Mission payouts are nice, but its a real drag to stop the slaughter to drive somewhere to grab another mission. If you need the payout, then hunt on dantooine, grab explorer missions, I don't think the outposts have them so look into player cities. 20k payout for huurton huntress missions, so I'm pretty sure that within 2 trips I will take out 90 of them, so I just keep those missions in the datapad and since I kill everything in site without any prejudice, I will eventually make my money without having to go back and forth to terminals. Explorer missions may not fully cover travel, buffs, new weapons and armor, but they keep the grind moving forward without the need to stop. Or, just grab 2 missions while at the outpost, after you take them out, then go hunting for wild lairs. Mission lairs only spawn 6-9 creatures, and you usually get stuck with a couple babies. So I don't think mission lairs are worth it.
#4 Just because rancors work for swordsman, does not mean they work for everyone. I cannot stress point #2 the most here, if it takes you more than 4-5 hits to kill something, you might be going after things that are not worth it. In my experience, Endor=rifleman, pistol, fencer; Dantooine = pike, tka, carbine, comando; Yavin = pike, pistol, rifle (geo), fencer; Dathomir = pike, tka, 2hand but not so much ranged (many will argue that but I've mastered all the combats and never did well with ranged on dath unless i was grouped with melee) As for BH, go wherever you like, you have weapons that suit most planets, personally, i liked leveling with the LLC on Dathomir taking out rhoa kwi's, this is one exception where LLC4 will let you take these out pretty fast and no matter what anyone says, BH LLC is the fastest XP in this game. I mastered comando in 2 buff sessions using BH LLC (only to find out that the comando weapons were no match to a 35% damage sliced LLC).
#5 Don't forget how much armor you are going to destroy in this process. Ranged, you get the break here, but melee, you're looking at a chest plate repair or purchase after every other buff session, and if you once again, don't follow the advice in #2, you might need a repair or chestplate every buff session. Higher level creatures that cause a lot of wounds also cause a lot of armor damage. Not to mention run-ins with the nightsisters who eat comp armor for breakfast. Their slaves aren't much nicer either, i'll never understand why their CDEF arsonel kills comp armor so well, but it does. You can watch it decay by 5's if you have a group of them shooting at you. Next trip to the village, just watch it in your inventory as you drive by a group of them.
#6 Templates are important here, I like my master doc/master pike, it works well for me but to be honest, i'd like my master doc/2hand sword back. Problem is the amount of xp it will take to get sword back will stop my force grind and since I only have 4 more boxes to master, I don't see a reason to drop everything to "re-template" now. But if I could really drop it all and do whatever I wanted, I would grab BH LLC again. So don't hesitate to weigh up mastering a new template, consider how long it will take you to grind out xp with what you have, how many boxes you need to learn and weight it all up. I am confident that any combat class can cap 900k of weapon xp in an hour. So don't drop TKM because you hear sword is faster, if you can't cap TKM in 1 hour, chances are you won't with sword either. If I felt that buffs were more available, I would definitely go for a dual or triple combat template. 2hand, tkm, rifle would be great. In one buff session I think I could come close to capping 300k of combat, but can't say for sure. But just for reference, if you wanted to swap master elites, you are looking at grinding out 415,000 combat xp and 3,675,000 weapon xp which translates to 260,883 force xp you could have gotten instead of mastering a different elite. Each col in an elite is 1,225,000 weapon xp or 40,833 force xp. The combat xp col is 415,000 combat xp or 138,333 force xp. If you have 3 or more columns that you need to grind, then I strongly suggest changing your template if you are not happy with your current combat class. But at the same time, I strongly suggest picking one that you are familiar with or you will just be stuck in the same boat you're in now.
#7 The magic question, all my advice points to killing creatures, just about everyone who posts will say to kill creatures. Creatures will do less damage overall to your armor, cause less wounds and in the end be easier to farm out. But if you want to farm faction at the same time, you do have the option of converting faction to combat xp 1-1 from a recruiter. If you're neutral, and want cash/loot then try the warren or sennex cave on tat. Spice bunker, garyn raider and many of the others won't be worth the xp/time. You need a place that respawns reasonably fast and I found that the warren is great (at least a couple weeks ago) and the sennex cave is also good. But these will not beat the squill cave or a session on dantooine.
#8 C-12 grenades did not work for me. They might work for you. First, they are kind of rampant with high prices. I saw on the bazaar they are going for 2k for 1 grenade (5 use). These things used to sit on vendors for 2k for a crate of 25. So you decide, how much do you want to invest. If you cap 900k weapon xp once per day, you will learn 4 boxes in 3 weeks. My method with grenades is to throw one at each creature and a couple at the lair. If my normal xp payout for a lair was 250,000 weapon and 25,000 combat, the grenades may have added another 5000 combat. I don't think that it was worth it. Some players macro in grenade tossing and target a lair, click the macro, and come back 10 minutes later. They claim up to 45,000 combat xp using this. I cannot confirm this, so if anyone could comment on that, please help me out here.
#9 I don't bother slicing much of anything anymore. My weapons will decay pretty fast and soon enough I will have a lightsaber, that I can't get sliced. I don't see much difference killing with my LVA that is fresh of the shelf versus one that got a good damage slice and has max of 475. It's up to you, as for armor, that's a different issue. I recomend to at least get an encumbrance slice on your helmet.
#10 Probably nothing. Just because you cannot cap your xp in 1 hour like so many do it does not mean much of anything. Bottom line, are you having fun? If you are, then who cares how long it will take to cap. If you're not having fun, then you have to ask yourself if the jedi grind will be more fun or not. If you're not having fun grinding this out, then I promise you this, you will hate the jedi grind. Imagine if while taking missions on dantooine some BH came up and tipped you over taking away 50,000 of your force xp. Remember, for the first few weeks of the jedi grind (that's if you power grind it) you will be hunting on starting planets with a saber that, at best, has max damage of 175-250. Training sabers do 135 max and you don't even have a special attack to use with it. Speed was 4.5 when I tried it out and if you don't know what that's like, go to brawler 0/2/0/0 and use a looted gaffi stick with 98 max damage unsliced, that will show you exactly what the jedi grind is like for the first month. Oh, don't count weapon xp whilt trying that out either, just count the combat xp since that's the closest example you will find for what its like to grind jedi XP.
Well, if you suffered through reading I hope you were able to take something away from it.
Message Edited by wickedHangover on 09-20-2004 09:03 AM