A few people asked for Sniper leveling tips. It's simpler than you might think.
Feel free to ask questions in the comments section of this post if you encounter a bug, problem, or other roadblock while you're leveling. I'll be periodically checking this post throughout Early Access.
These can be difficult to recognize on earlier planets (i.e.
Origin Worlds, Imperial Balmorra) and much easier to define on larger
planets like Tatooine and Hoth.
Why are quest hubs important and why is it important to know how
they're structured? Well, for one, it can keep you from missing a quest
while you're leveling.
Quest hubs are structured like this: inner regions - to - outer
regions. Pick up quests from the inner section and do quests a little
farther away from the hub in a similar area, then return to your hub and
the quest givers. Move on to another hub, repeat. Be aware of this
structure! For example: If there is a quest-giver outside a cave / area
that you are about to enter for another quest, speak to that questgiver.
The new quest will usually be near the ones you are about to complete.
You can use the "internal-to-external" rule on all planets and it will usually apply to all quests (with more or less travel time invested; at least knowing how quest hubs work, you can make educated decisions about which to complete).
Trick: If you're in a group and you have just completed one or several "open world" quests (i.e. any person of any class can obtain it) you can send one person back to the hub to turn those in. Holocalls are great for this! It'll potentially save the rest of you money and time. "Open world" quests can also be picked up this way. As you can imagine, one of you can travel to the next quest hub while the other person turns things in. You can take turns doing each of the different tasks (this is a good way to help group members stay refreshed). Bear in mind that some physical (i.e. blast this guy!) options will be grayed out for the group member who is not physically present.
Quest Levels and Your Quest Log
NB: You cannot hit mobs five levels above you. Do not attempt to kill mobs or complete quests that con "Red" to you. Deep orange is okay, but
difficult. You will find Red impossible to complete because there is a
mob/enemy five levels or more above you. You can find out what "color"
quests are by opening your quest log with the "L" hotkey. Yellow is about right. Green is easy. Gray is "outleveled" or "beneath you."
Your quest log (as of the launch build) could only hold 25 quests. Keep that in mind while you're leveling.
Travel: Speeder Points and Bind Points
As in most MMOs, travel time and walking distance will play major factors. Here are some important general tips on that front:
SW:TOR has a revamped quick travel system (the button is a circle-looking thing on your hotbars) that allows you to insta-port to any "bind point" you have already visited and "discovered" (you must click on the thing, a notification will appear in your chat window). If you need help finding them, open your map with the "m" hotkey and look at the left side of the big map. It will have a toggle option for "bind points." If there is one nearby in the region, it will show up on your map. Bind points are most often found near medical stations and speeder hubs when you get out into the open world.
Your other option is taking a speeder. Speeder points are relatively intuitive and most of them are located near quest hubs or other places of interest. There is also a map toggle for speeder points. You want to "discover" these at a new hub before you go out questing.
Which to take when? Use quick travel if there is a bind point but not a speeder point near the place you want to go. Remember it has a 30min cooldown, so choose wisely. Sometimes it is better to take a long speeder ride than to blow your quick travel just for the sake of convenience. Other times, like if you've just fought all the way to the back of a dungeon/questing area and don't want to fight out, it can provide considerable relief.
When to upgrade your abilities
Upgrade whenever you reach a new tier of a significant ability that you like to use. Or, if you are out questing, wait until you have finished sidequests at a particular hub, then turn them in, and finally travel back to the main "city" on the planet where your trainer is located. When you level you can check the abilities you will be able to learn by using the "p" hotkey to look at your ability pane. The new "trainable" ones will show as blank white squares at the top of the pane. If something I don't use (ex. Overload Shot) is upgraded, I might not travel back. If there is an upgrade to Ambush I would be strongly motivated to visit my trainer.
Increasing the ranks of your abilities helps them do more damage and will make your questing experience more fun.
Where do I get my Advanced Class?
First, you have to be level 10. You'll get a quest to spec your Advanced Class. The actual trainer will be located right next to your class trainer on the Fleet Station.
Where do I respec?
On the Imperial Fleet. As of launch build, the "skill trainer" (think that's his name) was sitting in the same room as the Guild Registrar. First "box" top right of the Fleet Station's center line (i.e. at the top of the map, just to the right in the "outer" hub).
The most obvious tip is "level in a group." Contrary to popular belief, though, grouping is not always efficient. At the earlier levels when people are less likely to be at the exact same quest hub and you may make better time completing solo content ... solo. You can group the whole way and still be pretty good on levels, but the balance between "solo content EXP amount/efficiency" and "time saved by grouping" is something you'll have to judge for yourself.
The advantages of grouping will be obvious to anyone who plans to play on a PvP server.
Grouping around Nar Shaddaa and beyond (and for Heroics and Flashpoints in between) will net you good EXP and can save you a lot of time and aggravation. Having someone to quest with literally makes the game more fun and interesting thanks to the group conversation system. YMMV, but it was a real breath of fresh air somewhere around Belsavis on my last trip to 50.
If you are looking for a group, there is a purple LFG tag and you can add the names of quests to a small "comment" box that other people can search. Not everyone knows how to use the LFG system, but for those who do this can be a good way to find people.
*See some of my notes on solo leveling for an idea of my preferred quest routes (conceptual, they are guidelines for you to use to help you identify the types of quests you are doing).
I wouldn't repeat them more than twice, but that's me. If a group fails a normal boss more than three times you may want to consider leaving and moving on.
IMPORTANT: READ THIS SECTION.
I soloed 95% of my EXP in almost every test build. Although this information is geared toward solo players, it will help anyone understand more fully "how" they are leveling and can help them make better decisions about which quests to complete and which to skip.
There are two key types of quest you'll get on every planet.
One is your class quest. It'll be labeled as such. You have to finish this in order to progress through your class story. It's fun, so this should be no problem.
The other is a world arc that can either be completed solo or as a group. The world arc quests typically move you between major quest hubs and may require you to complete one or two particular sidequests in order to further advance. World arcs will also unlock valuable "bonus" series quests with high-quality rewards. The world arcs, themselves, also provide nice rewards when you finish them.
Any "regular" quest on a planet not part of class quest or direct world arc is a nonessential sidequest and can be skipped if you feel confident in being able to find a group for Heroic quests later on. If you don't want to wait for a group, do these easier sidequests to make up the EXP difference. It works just fine.
Heroic quests will be prominently labeled as Heroic. The numbers are suggested. Some classes will be able to solo Heroic 2+ quests using only a companion. They will be fairly easy with two people (and not at all challenging with four) until the later levels. Even Snipers can solo many of the Heroic 2+ quests (or used to be able to, don't quote me!) prior to level 30. There are tricks to that, but I'm thinking I've probably given you enough information on class mechanics to figure out how.
Heroics (both 2+ and 4) provide valuable interim leveling rewards, substantial amounts of experience/credits, and are generally good things to do. You don't have to do every Heroic on a planet, though. Heroic quests can also be completed once per day. A long time ago they
were not repeatable. Now they are on a 24 hour lockout. Finding a group
for one of the more popular quests that you have already completed on a planet can
give you an EXP boost. Plus a lot of them have interesting fight
mechanics and/or story background.
Space Combat missions and dailies are also a good source of EXP. Really, any dailies provide a nice bonus (PvP and otherwise). You are rewarded for doing what you like in addition to questing.
You can queue for PvP at level 10 and beyond by clicking the faction symbol on the righthand side of your minimap. If it is glowing, you are queued. If it is not glowing, you are not queued. As of the launch build only four-player groups could queue together. When you want to group with two or three other people, all of you must join a party and none of you can be "solo" queued. If you are, drop the queue and then have your party leader "group queue" you for a WZ. When the WZ ends, all of you will be (or were) dropped from the group. If you want to queue as a group again, you must all drop the solo queue (that is turned on by default when you leave a WZ) and regroup ... then requeue. Be warned that this could have changed since I played last.
Companion storylines (advanced through affection gain) are also good sources of leveling EXP if you have a mission profession that nets companion gifts. This is one compelling reason to spend credits on Investigation (Diplomacy may also get companion gifts, I can't remember) as you level. This method gets more and more effective the higher your level (Agent gets a second companion on Alderaan). If you need to know which companions like which gifts, their respective codex entries can help you take a good guess -- there's a list of the ones I remember at the end of the guide. Some of them may be wrong, but it'll be based on what I can recall.
Area discovery is another way to gain experience if you like to explore maps. They're decent bonuses.
"Lore Objects" are yet another EXP source that rewards explorers and the curious. They are typically flashing "silver" interactable objects in the environment and are not always obvious. For example, on Hutta, there is a wine bottle in the rival Hutt gangleader's palace. Keep an eye out for these as you level.
Most "bonus" quests are unlocked while you're completing a regular storyline quest or sidequest. They are usually of the "kill 10 rats" variety and are exactly what they sound like: bonus. If you are in a group, every member of the group gets "bonus" experience when a member of the group completes a bonus. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.
Any "bonus" quest that has stages (i.e. bonus stage 1, bonus stage 2, bonus stage 3) is worth doing and will provide you with commendation rewards or fairly hefty EXP/credit bonuses. You can skip a single-stage bonus if you want. I would not suggest skipping a multi-stage bonus.
"World" series bonus quests are unlocked after you have finished the major "world arc" quests on a planet. Often they contain an entirely new series of quests directing you to new quest hubs. They can be of varying difficulty levels and level range and the rewards for finishing them are always pretty tempting. Most notably, they also have some of the most interesting (mechanics-wise) quest content outside of Class quests.
Planets and the Galaxy Map
You can find the "recommended" levels for each planet in the "series" by going to your ship and opening the galaxy map at the bridge. Select a region, then either hover over a planet or select that planet in order to see the recommended level range. If you're below that range, you'll feel underleveled (the more you're below, the more you'll feel it). If you're exactly at the lower end of that range, you'll feel on target. If you're one or two levels above the lower level range, you'll feel a little overleveled. The more over, the more you'll feel it. Pretty simple.
IA Companions and Preferred Gifts
(Spoilers in white text in parentheses)
I think "courting" gifts only work on companions you're actively romancing. But I'm not totally sure. When in doubt, just try a type and see if it works! What they say when they don't like things is pretty funny.
Kaliyo - Weapon (most preferred), Underworld Good, Luxury
Vector - Cultural Artifact (most preferred), Imperial Memorabilia (it's funny, he dislikes the Republic stuff!), Luxury
Ensign Temple - Luxury, (Military Gear or Weapon, maybe both?), Imperial Memorabilia
Doctor Lokin - Technology, Military Gear, Imperial/Republic Memorabilia, Underworld Good
(SCORPIO) - Technology, Weapon, Cultural Artifact
Yeah that's all I got for now. Questions? Get stuck? Find a bug? Ask me about it the in the comments. I'll be checking this entry periodically as Early Access begins. I think I covered the most commonly asked questions.