January 20th, 2012 by Vera Cannon
Author: Anima Lucat
Price: 29.99 USD
Authors: Anima Lucat, Traci Behringer, Matthew Suttles, Scott Campbell
Price: 89.99 USD
After hearing them getting recommended a number of times I finally decided to give Killer Guides a try. ‘Recommended a number of times’ is probably a slight understatement: Nearly half the blogs I’m following seem to have tried them already (or seem to endorse them at least), with the majority of them coming away with a very positive impression. I might be jumping a little on the bandwagon here, but I’m sure I wasn’t the only one when I talked about the announcement of SWTOR’s release date or beta phases either. So here goes my personal take on Killer Guides:
They currently seem to offer 18 different guides (a leveling guide, a credits guide and 16 advanced class guides) for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Looking at their other games that seems to be pretty much the norm for them. Nice change from the one-size-fits all strategy and leveling guides you usually get stuck with. It probably caters even more to SWTOR than other games, given the quest lines for each individual class (makes me wonder though how much overlap there is in a game like Aion where every single class on one faction goes through the same content…).
Based on my experience with the game so far, I was looking for some new ideas on crew management (left them on auto-pilot most of the time in the past), trade skills (still unsure what makes the most credits really) and of course on how to level up my character faster. Thus I decided to go with their general guide. It turned out upon checkout they actually offer you to get all guides for SWTOR in one bundle at a 90%(!) discount … tempted, but there’s no way I can fit 18 reviews on the blog. After paying via PayPal, I received an e-mail right away with my login details for their member area where I was able to download the guide.
To make a long story short: It’s really good.
I’ve been quite involved with SWTOR for a number months and soaked up pretty much all I could find in the game, on other blogs, and during (a lot of) hours spent on the forums. Yet, what first stood out, was that the guide tended to have some advanced advice in even some of the most basic sections that I hadn’t heard of before. I’m not sure if they had some inside access or just had a lot more people working on this than appears, but the depth and extent of the provided strategies is staggering. Of course some sections like a guideline on character creation were not really earth-shattering, but about 10 minutes into the guide I was actually taking notes(!) on things to try next time I logged in.
The crew management section is solid. It gave me a pretty good idea on how I could improve the performance of solo and duo play. It left me with quite a few new tactics that actually did improve the rate at which I got through missions and other content. Same goes for the equipment section – again some new ideas and pointers that probably will get me another 20% extra out of my character. Not the world, but at this rate, it seriously adds up. The provided strategies are actually geared towards different levels, so there’s something for newbies as well as for the end game.
Which brings me to the heart of the guide: The leveling section. I never heralded big hopes for landing a server first, but given the level of detail here, I’m actually tempted to give it a serious shot (of course me posting this review isn’t really helping this, but I figure I have somewhat of an advanced start). I always thought that SWTOR leveling was rather intuitive with the main class-line laid out in front of you and lots of other missions on the way. Turns out, that you can actually save quite a bit of time by being selective about which extra content you take up and which you pass on. And then there’s those missions that seem confusing at first, but are actually great experience and gear upgrade sources if you don’t have to spend time figuring it out for yourself.
Last but not least there’s a credit section. I was mostly curious about making extra cash through crew skills along the way instead of becoming a credit-amassing Hutt. Thus I figured the credit section in the general guide would suffice (versus the full-fledged credits guide that Killer Guides also offers). To my surprise it turns out there are better money-making options along the way than putting your companion to work. Don’t get me wrong, the guide has a great section on crew skills, but ultimately it recommends other strategies to optimize your income while leveling up. From what I tested so far that holds true – I guess it does (literally) pay to listen to others (or at least read them) every now and then.
In summary, I’m quite happy with the $29.99 I spent on the guide. It’s a solid piece of reference that starts with the basics and goes on to provide a wealth of advanced advice that most veteran SWTOR players could learn quite a bit from. The contained leveling guide is far beyond any other leveling guide I’ve come across and that alone is probably worth the money already. Maybe I should have gone with the full bundle right away (give that it is the same price as 3 individual guides), but later on you’re always wiser. If you want to give Killer Guides’ strategy and leveling guide a shot yourself, you can find it here.