Sep 21, 2011

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Breakdown: Questing In The Old Republic

Breakdown is designed to to fill that stressful void while SWTOR.com is down for maintenance. Each Wednesday morning, we’ll look at a topic and try to break it down based on what we know, and what we can expect. In the end, we hope to educate, entertain, and prevent you from having your own Breakdown!

For this edition of Breakdown, we thought we’d try and distill the various types of quests we’ll encounter on our way to saving/destroying the galaxy. First, let’s start off by defining what we know based on information officially released so far.

Please note, if you’re Game Testing, you might be tempted to jump in and add to or correct some of this, but please refrain from doing so… those comments have to be flushed! Onward…

Class Quests

This is interchangeable with “personal story.” There are 8 of these in the game, one for each class (advanced class choice does not affect your story in any significant manner). Each class story is completely unique, and while you may share some side quests or bonus quests with others, your class story is your own. This content is soloable, but you can bring your friends along as well. If you do, any dialog choices you make are all yours, and other players can’t affect it. This would be considered “required” content. If you don’t keep up with your class story, you will not be able to properly advance your character, such as being able to get a starship or missing the chance to get a companion. Also, choices you make can and will in some cases affect your character later in the game… it remains to be seen specifically in how much or in what ways.

Solo Quests

Think of these as “side quests” in the traditional MMORPG sense. These are quests you get that are not part of your main story arc, but give the world context. These quests can be completed solo or with friends. Nothing too different here other than, given it’s a BioWare game, there might be some choices you can make along the way.

World Quests

Described as one-offs or short chains that are easy to pick up and play, and should be able to be completed by any pick-up group (PUG) or players with companions. All classes in a given faction will have access to this content except for the Class Quests.

World Arcs

These are longer, more epic quest arcs that go from 4 to 10 steps or so each. These are also branching quests with big decisions, and they aren’t repeatable, so in order to see all of the content you would have to play through it again with a different character and make different decisions.

Bonus Quests

These are a somewhat new addition to the MMO genre in the way they are implemented. These are your basic “Defeat x/20 Critters.” These quests pop up automatically as you’re out adventuring, and are also completed automatically without having to turn them in.

Heroic Quests

These are more difficult than regular group quests and will often times have challenging bosses at the end. Our best guess is that these are more like “mini-Flashpoints” but in the open world, and may require a more balanced group. Your companion characters are allowed in this content, though it may be more difficult without real player characters.

Story Owner

For Class Quest content, you do not share objectives with other members of the same class, giving each of you a chance to make your own choices. The iteration of the instance you are in is called “Story Owner.” When owner of the instance is “Lord Paladin” then all choices are mine, and we will have to do it again when you are the story owner.

Flashpoints

Flashpoints are instanced, heavily scripted group content  that tell a specific story off to the side. They are repeatable, and likely provide the some of the PvE rewards during the leveling process. These most closely resemble instanced dungeons that you may be familiar with from other games. BioWare has gone back and forth between allowing and disallowing companions in Flashpoints, and we believe that currently companions are allowed in Flashpoints, but group size cannot exceed 4, with or without them.

During the course of a Flashpoint, you will engage in something never before seen in an MMO: Multiplayer dialogue where you get to “roll” against your group-mates to see who wins the chance to answer!

When it comes time in the Flashpoint to make a choice (such as the famous “kill the captain” or the Professor’s infamous “jettison the engineers” example from the Esseles) each player will be presented with their own unique choices, some of which will grant Light side points, some of which will grant Dark side points and both will impact the course that the story goes forward in the Flashpoint – and also potentially later in the game.

These decisions are important to the course that your Flashpoint will take. Choices can lead you down different paths, to fight different bosses, and to create different outcomes later on. For example, if you vent those engineers in the beginning of the Esseles, they may not be around to help you out of a tight spot later in the Flashpoint. If you decide to space them, then you no longer have to take the longer, more difficult road just to save them. We think and hope that Flashpoints will present many difficult decisions such as this one.

One thing we haven’t discussed yet are social points. Social points are rewarded to characters for engaging in group content with multi-player dialogue, and are rumored to be used as a sort of social currency, although not much detail is otherwise available.  Social points are currently believed to be rewarded in all multi-player dialogue, either in Flashpoints or the open world.

In Closing

BioWare’s story and questing system is a deceptively deep and robust system. They have gone to great lengths to create an environment where the driving factor is story, and not “I need 12k experience to get the next level, that’s 10 more quests!” They have also optimized the rewards for questing and made “grinding” mobs a much less efficient way to level.

That’s it for this week’s Breakdown! We hope we’ve helped shine some light on this facet of The Old Republic.  If you have other information (that isn’t under NDA!) or feel we got something wrong, please let us know!  And remember, when the servers go down next Wednesday for maintenance, join us here at Ask A Jedi for another Breakdown!


  1. Well I’m not under NDA, so I can freely say that I read sth about “Class quest will take 10-20% of your time spend on questing, everything else is shared content”. I think it was somewhere at the forums. Still, I think leveling the second character of the same faction can get very redundant.

    But we’ll see….

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