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But I tend not to have such a high level, as I don't exploit the bugs/cheats.  So at the level I finish Onderon, it's easily the best robe I've found, every time.  I've never managed to finish the game above level 25 without cheating.  I don't know how others do it.

 

I think there are three 'levels' to this.

 

(1) Exploring thoroughly and doing optional quests. Some of the optional quests are easy to miss, as are some party member interaction options (upgrading T3 fully, doing the skill training thing with Kreia, getting Force Sight from Visas, and so on). There are also things like that you cannot get the Peragus HK to admit to mimicking the voice of the maintenance officer (?) unless you were able to ID the console in the fuel depot, which you can only do if you sliced the computer console in the medbay earlier. The grand total for this little sideshow is about 800 XP, and stuff like this adds up.

 

(2) Playing in a somewhat XP-aware manner. You get a bit of XP if you disarm or recover mines but none if you blow them up with Stun/Destroy Droid; you get a bit of XP for picking locks but none if you detonate them or bash them open. Mobs are tailored for your character when they are spawned; if you gain levels before you kill them then you get less XP. So it is better to 'do' an area thoroughly before venturing into the next. The worst possible scenario would be briefly touching many areas at low level without harvesting the livestock; this will cost you several levels and it can easily happen if you are replaying the game but unaware of the XP angle.

 

In some cases this can happen naturally in a replay, if you dash around to get some quickie jobs done before you start your 'real' first planet in earnest. E.g. going to Nar Shaddaa first thing after Telos in order to trigger the encounter with the Twi'leks who hint at Atton's past (because you want to convert Atton), perhaps dropping in at the Jekk'Jekk Tarr in order to say howdy to the Lunar Shadow captain, then flying to Dantooine to do the atmospheric sensors quest for some quick cash and retrieving Jorran from the Enclave sublevel for the lightsabre parts. If you do this and stick to the objective that you have in mind - rather than clearing out the areas that you touch - then you won't kill more than a couple Kinrath in the Khoonda Plains and a few Laigreks. But you'll have spoilt several levels worth of XP: Serroco and Exchange thugs in the Nar Shaddaa refugee sectors, the Jekk'Jekk Tarr customers that you'll feed on later when you are officially invited, wildlife in the Khoonda Plains and near the Enclave, Kinrath in the cave proper, a merc and a Mandalorian in the camp near the Enclave, and plenty of Laigreks in the Enclave sublevel.

 

With (1) and (2) you should be able to finish around level 30 without even trying hard.

 

(3) Powergaming to further minimize XP loss and to maximize certain XP gains. By utilizing a few principles to the fullest and finessing things like the time and place of level-ups you can squeeze a bit more XP out of the game, for a finish at level 32..33. But if you touch this dark knowledge then you won't be able to play the game normally ever again - you don't want to tread there unless you've played the hell out of the game already.

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(3) Powergaming to further minimize XP loss and to maximize certain XP gains. By utilizing a few principles to the fullest and finessing things like the time and place of level-ups you can squeeze a bit more XP out of the game, for a finish at level 32..33. But if you touch this dark knowledge then you won't be able to play the game normally ever again - you don't want to tread there unless you've played the hell out of the game already.

 

 

Please master impart knowledge of this "POWA-GAYMING"!!

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(3) Powergaming to further minimize XP loss and to maximize certain XP gains. By utilizing a few principles to the fullest and finessing things like the time and place of level-ups you can squeeze a bit more XP out of the game, for a finish at level 32..33. But if you touch this dark knowledge then you won't be able to play the game normally ever again - you don't want to tread there unless you've played the hell out of the game already.

 

Please master impart knowledge of this "POWA-GAYMING"!!

 

If really you wish to know, open a new thread for the topic and I'll lay everything out. In fact, I have already done so, but the bits and pieces are scattered all over the place.

 

However, the gain from powergaming - perhaps two or three extra levels - is not really worth it unless you have done everything there is to do and you want to try a meta-gaming playthrough like a max-XP run or a min-XP run. This can be interesting in itself and a lot of fun. But once you have meta-gamed you cannot go back to playing normally, much in the same way as it is impossible to 'unlearn' how to read.

 

Utilizing one of the infinite XP exploits (Hssiss, mines) gets you as many levels as you want but it does not spoil the game anywhere near as bad as meta-gaming does.

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For me, power-gaming means playing with the intention of gaining the maximum amount of XP possible. It involves doing every possible side quest, defusing every mine, picking every lock, to that end. I don't tend to do it because it runs counter to the spirit of role-playing - that you have an idea of what kind of person your character is, and choose your actions accordingly. If my character is LS, I will refuse obviously DS quests, and so on. Yes, I suppose that if I were to try powergaming in this way, it would add a few levels by the end of the game.

"An electric puddle is not what I need right now." (Nina Kalenkov)

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For me, power-gaming means playing with the intention of gaining the maximum amount of XP possible.

I agree so far.

 

It involves doing every possible side quest, ...

Disagree. There are plenty of reasons for doing the sidequests that do not break you out of role-playing. A cash-strapped adventurer looks for possible sources of income, a light-side character will usually help because it is the right thing to do, a DS character has a reputation to uphold.

 

... defusing every mine, ...

Replace 'defuse' with 'recover' and I disagree again. Cash isn't exactly plentiful unless you play a DS character, do a lot of swoop racing or play pazaak for money; mines can be converted to cash or components/chemicals, and they can be used to detonate locks or enemies. Recovering mines if it is possible is simply a sensible thing to do.

 

... picking every lock, ...

This is were things become interesting. The line between good adventuring and powergaming is rather murky here. Remember, in our world people tend to things like running rarely because they want to get from A to B quickly (especially if A == B == own front door) but simply for the side-effect of getting back into shape. And the General has a lot of getting back into shape to do, considering her state when she awakes on Peragus.

 

The fact that killing foes can enable you to improve your lock-picking skill and that picking locks can enable you to improve your fighting abilities is an artifact of the XP/level system; however, in a game world with such a system it is somewhat in the self-interest of a character to do things that give XP because it is the only way of training or getting into shape. So, picking a lock just for practice is not necessarily powergaming yet. As I said, the line is rather murky.

 

However, there is no doubt about what this is if you keep Atton at level 6 until your Exile hits level 12 because simple locks are DC26 and hence give 10*level XP up to level 6 and only 5*level after that. There is even less doubt if you leave the lock alone and come back 20 levels later to reap the XP. Note: lock XP in itself is marginal (100 XP for 20 levels deferment) but if the locks are numerous and/or accompanied by mines and repairable droids then the XP gain from deferring the harvest of skill XP can be several thousand for a single area.

 

Another example for a murky distinction between role-playing and powergaming would be a light-side master Marauder ...

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OK, fine. So you're using the term 'power-gaming' to mean attempting to maximise XP while staying within role, and I'm using it to mean disregarding role in order to maximise XP. I see the distinction, but what term would you apply to what I've been calling power-gaming?

"An electric puddle is not what I need right now." (Nina Kalenkov)

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