1. I’d done a ton of reading about the game itself (aside from playing in the beta), but that didn’t mean everyone else had. A lesson of perspective. There were lots of inquiries in-guild about Advanced Classes, Crew Skills, and so on, many of which could be resolved if you knew where to look - but if you didn’t, you could easily be lost. That’s why I’ve been trying to write what seems to me like absurdly basic things on our forums (and encouraging others to do the same); what seems basic to me may be news to someone else. Resources like Anexxia’s SWTOR FAQ are extremely helpful.
2. The Esseles isn’t indicative of other Flashpoints - at all. In retrospect, The Esseles (and, presumably, the Black Talon) are rather strange as far as Flashpoints go, even compared to the very next one available to you. It’s much longer, the fights are much easier, and roles are much less necessary. It’s the difference between night and day; I hope it doesn’t catch people by surprise.
3. Money is simultaneously scarce and yet abundant. Mission Skills can be spendy - but if you can craft the nice things, even now - while prices are unsettled - people will usually buy them. Skills start costing 2k and 3k apiece in the 20s, but you can easily get 30k credits without even trying on a planet like Taris just from questing. I’m not worried about having the credits to buy speeder training next level - but I am glad that I’ve got the STAP available to save me 8000 credits.
4. There are benefits to leveling as a healer, even in a game without a “dungeon finder” feature. Two of the three classes on the Republic side that can level as a healer start with a tank companion. Same goes for the Imps. Leveling as a healer, and learning how to heal, usually means you’re going to be able to solo Heroic 2+ quests while still performing like normal in regular quests. This is also how you’ll learn that yes, Virginia, those healing threat reduction talents are really necessary. (Heroic 4+ is probably a bit out of your reach. Your tank-companion still takes a little too much damage, while not dealing enough of their own.)
5. It seems much easier to end up over-leveled than under-leveled these days. To end up underleveled in the summer betas, you didn’t really even have to try that hard. In the live game, I’m actually wondering exactly how much you’d have to skip out on to end up underleveled. As for me, I’m significantly over-leveled, at least for a while - running the Esseles four times in two days, diligent completion of all available space missions at any given time, completion of every quest on Taris (no matter how much I hated running around Taris), and more has led me to end up on Nar Shaddaa at the high end of its level range - and I’m about to level up again. And I haven’t even done any PvP!
6. The mod system can yield some real flexibility - even in Flashpoints - and make sure nothing goes to waste. An anecdote: in my second Esseles run, the third boss (the first robot-thing on the Imperial ship) dropped a double-bladed lightsaber. I sighed a little - all the stats and such were perfect, a fantastic upgrade for me, except I’m a sage… then I realized every item in that lightsaber was a mod, and my own saber was also moddable. Since there wasn’t a Shadow to take the saber from, I felt no qualms about taking that double-bladed lightsaber, looting it for all its delicious mods, and slapping them into my single-bladed saber for sagecraft!
Also: there’s a fully moddable suit of sand people lookalike armor on Tatooine. You know what to do.
7. Some of the 3D models could use a little help still… but I’m confident BioWare will find some way to make it look good. The most prominent one, at least for me, deals with full-face miraluka headcovers and, presumably, body type 4 males. I’m unable to wear anything with a hood because the headcover pokes through it - it didn’t bother me until I noticed it (it looked vaguely like patches), but now it bugs me to death, so I’m wearing and modding non-hooded garments. It’s also kind of strange with head items - basically they’re applied to the face, but they’re applied underneath the headcover, so they clip through it. And then there’s the old “twitchy lekku” issue that seems to affect a lot of twi’lek NPCs…
8. You can still get into the Collector’s Edition/Digital Deluxe VIP lounge, even if you didn’t buy one of those editions. It’ll just cost you a million credits to do so. And it won’t give you access to the CE vendor, reportedly. But hey, it’s your million credits.