Was the Makeb Expansion Good Enough?

Archon Makeb

Update 2.1 has been with us for several weeks now, the first expansion to Star Wars: The Old Republic in the more than a year since its launch. For players frustrated at the level 50 ceiling, it offered a chance to play for another 5 levels. The question is, was the expansion too little, too late?

One important thing to remember about the expansion, it wasn’t a continuation of the class stories for the various kinds of characters, Smugglers, Bounty Hunters, etc. Instead it is a single path of extra quests for all, with a couple of side quests tacked on, and a bunch of the replayable “daily” missions.

Another thing that wasn’t delivered was the promise of same-sex companion romances. Characters in SWTOR receive a number of companions as they progress, of both sexes. One of them at atime fights beside you, and in various ways you can earn their “affection” which can offer advantages in the game. These can turn into “romances” with characters of the opposite sex, even leading to in-game marriage, although after the relationship is consummated, the only indication of it is that the companion sends three love letter e-mails. Outside of that, you would never know the companion is your spouse.

For months now, the developers have been promising they would add same-sex relationships. But all that has happened in Update 2.1 is that in every character’s further adventures, they gain a group of non-player character teammates, with the possibility through in-game dialog of flirting with one of the same sex. Apparently if pursued this leads to an animated kiss. In no way is this little flirt comparable to the development and romancing of companions prior to level 50.

There was mixed criticism of the update, many complained that they accomplished the extra 5 levels in a day or two. Others protested that the new levels required more xp to advance than was available in the content on the new planet Makeb. That is, they finished all the content and were still short of 55.

There’s an answer for both problems.

First, it was wonderful for a character stalled at 50 to have 5 more levels. But there’s absolutely no need to rush it. When I reached level 52 on the character I was playing in the expansion, I left Makeb and returned to the two level 50 planets, Corellia and Ilum. Before the expansion. after I had hit level 50, in the middle of my quests on Corellia, I had gone on to Ilum, played for a while, decided it was boring, and just stopped and waited for Update 2.1. So there was lots of content left on both planets, I was two levels above the max there, and gameplay there was easy, and fun.

After I had done about everything I could do on the level 50 planets I returned to Makeb, a couple of levels higher, and resumed the missions there.

The only problem with those missions is that their endings are beyond my kind of gameplay, which is solo PvE (that is versus the game and not fighting other players, which is PvP).

The two side quests involve using a “seeker droid” and a pair of “macrobinoculars”. After long and fun gameplay, one ended up in a mission that had to be done in a group, it was impossible to solo.

The other involved jumping boxes. There is a subgame in SWTOR where you go looking for “datacrons” which can give you extra strengths. This are in hard-to-find places and usually involve complicated jumping from thing to thing, with the risk that if you fall, you have to start over again. I’ve done a few of these, but I don’t really enjoy the jumping or the time it takes. But the end to the Update 2.1 side quest involved a series of jumps that was at least 20 times as hard and long as any I have experienced for datacrons. I must have tried it 30 or 40 times, and after every failure it was back to the beginning.

So that quest ended there.

The final regular quest on Makeb involves taking on an enemy that is so complicated and powerful you almost have to be in a group to do it. I googled for solutions, but those that I found didn’t really seem doable. So that character’s Makeb quests have ended.

The good news is that I have five more characters at level 50 I can take through those final 5 levels. But I’m not sure, having done them once, that I really feel like doing the same thing again several more times. Unlike Star Wars Galaxies, SWTOR is extremely boring when you get to the top level. You just keep doing the same things over and over again, with the only rewards being better armor, so you can do those same missions over and over again easier.

And it would seem we have to wait at least another year for more content…or by then LucasArts’ new owner, Disney, may have just pulled the plug on the game like LucasArts did with Star Wars Galaxies. We might even get a better online Star Wars game.


One Response to “Was the Makeb Expansion Good Enough?”

  1. Pat D. Says:

    Hey, I dont know if you found out how to beat the final bosses on Makeb, but once you get the help, its actually quite easy. I say easy, because you will not find a more ham-fisted RPG player than myself, and I was able to do it for both Empire and Republic sides. (Empire @ 54 and Republic @ 55). I used my tank (Sith Warrior) with a healer for the Empire one, and my stealth guy (Jedi Consular) with a healer for the Republic one.

    IIRC, the key to beating the Empire bot (which IMHO is MUCH harder than the Republic side) is to make sure that you take out the droids recharging him whenever you can at first, and just make sure you can quickly dodge his 1-hit kill beam. At that point, the shields around the one of the 2 generator banks behind the droid should lower so the droid can recharge. At that point, you need to quickly get back there and shut it down.

    Repeat the first step (taking out the recharger droids, dodge) until the 2nd generator shield is down, deactivate it.

    Then, the droid is quite easy to kill, as it can no longer call on replacement recharging droids, and it cannot fire its one-hit kill laser anymore. Just DPS it, and voila, you win. Once I had gotten this help from the swtor forums, it was almost disappointingly easy to win.

    Ditto for the Republic Droid being easy once you know what to do. Key to this one is again, watching for when the one-hit kill is being readied, and staying UNDER the droid while hitting him with everything you’ve got (heroic moment powers help immensely). This droid was MUCH easier to beat than the empire one.

    I actually think the Makeb Empire main story is much more difficult than the Republic one—you have that FINAL boss, and that droid earlier where you have to race around the room, activating panels to damage the droid, while making sure your healer doesnt stand stupidly in the “kill spot” while *YOU* run away from it, *AND* battling the little mini-droids that pop up when you activate the panels.

    The republic was downright easy by comparison.

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