Though it may seem obvious, getting together with some friends when you play this game really sweetens the experience. SWTOR is most effective as a “bro-op” game, where you join some close friends and venture through the game together, leveling and getting better at the game with one another. There’s really nothing else like it. SWTOR in particular has a great system to promote cooperative gameplay by granting bonus experience when you are in a group with people. Say you’re inside a building and have to take out some marauders, not only are you going to get the quest experience and the normal experience for killing the mobs, but you’ll receive and addition siphon of experience just because you’re playing with your friends. On top of the bonus experience, you’ll be able to do Heroic quests that really require more than one person to complete.
Similarly to WoW, SWTOR also focuses more on end game, with questing and leveling just the practice that will teach players how to be effective in late game dungeons or raids. With this in mind, if you progress through the game with some friends, you can already have a group ready to take on these challenges without having to rely on random people you meet along the way. Now, I’m in no way against making friends with random people you meet on your journeys, but for me, MMOs have largely lost the social aspect of the game, which is something SWTOR makes some sort of an effort to revitalize by promoting play with your friends. Sure you can just hop into a random dungeon finder, but I think anyone who has played an MMO will agree with me when I say playing with people you know and creating those memories together is really what makes the MMORPG genre something people keep coming back to.
So, if you’re interested in playing SWTOR when it goes free-to-play in the coming month or so, I highly recommend getting some friends together and checking out the trial. Knowing what you want to do once you actually start the game will make things infinitely easier. Also make sure to get some character names in mind – it’s always the single hardest part about starting a new character.