Leveling a padawan guide:
All Jedi xp is earned by using a Lightsaber, period. Your goal is to maximize your saber skills before all others, so that the rest of your skills can be earned more quickly. Whether you try to power-grind it out, or take a more leisurely route, your best bet is to pick a saber style and go straight up that tree. Getting any other skills before you do this just prolongs your grind. Once you get there you will find that other skills can be earned fairly quickly, so stay focused and avoid the temptation to cash in your xp early on. You’ll be glad you did.
Skills and equipment you’ll need:
Essential Foods: Get large supplies of Citros Snow Cakes (improves accuracy), Pikatta Pie (gives you dodge skill), and Vasarian Brandy (mind buff). Note that the “dodge” that the pie gives you is not the Pistoleer/Fencer skill, but a pure defensive modifier anyone can use. Stats on this are usually around 50%, which means that you’re going to get hit about half as much as normal, above and beyond any other defense and mitigation you have. Very Nice!
Other Foods: Synthsteak (reduces damage) is too filling and short duration for steady use, but it’s nice for emergencies. Vercupti, Neutron Pixie, and Muon Gold can also give you a quick boost in an emergency.
Equipment: You will probably need to fall back on your existing non-Jedi skills when you are starting out, so a good set of composite armor will come in handy, along with whatever weapon you use for that prof. A droid or pet to group with will get you a 15% boost in xp. A good set of stimpacks for self-healing is key as well. A set of BE clothing with melee and stun defense, and socketed clothes for whatever defense SEA’s you can get will serve you well.
Non-Jedi Skills: Jedi cannot use any force powers or saber specials while wearing armor of any kind (including mabari shirts and belts), so you will need skills that provide defense, especially starting out when it takes a long time to kill anything. TKA is a popular choice, and the meditation line is quite useful as well. Medic (at least novice) is critical. Scout skills are nice early on as you can harvest all those critters you are killing and make some creds selling it, and the terrain negotiation is nice to have. I found the smuggler skill feign-death to be extremely useful.
A note on Feign-Death: I was a long-time smuggler, and so already had FD when I became a Jedi. The “ethics” of its use in PvP are often debated (I personally don’t have a problem with it), but it is quite useful beyond that, especially for a Jedi, for whom death means hours of wasted xp. Everybody gets in over their head from time to time, and it’s also huge to be able to go afk for a bit if you need to for whatever reason. There isn’t always time to find a safehouse or lake, it’s a good thing to be able to leave your toon without worrying about coming back to a corpse.
Always use Doctor buffs. Entertainer buffs are nice but not really needed until you start using channel force, as long as you have brandy.
Visibility: Here is the "official" Dev statement on visibility, quoting knowledge base article soe12182:
How does Jedi visibility work in regard to Bounty Hunter terminals?
Each of the following Jedi-related actions has an associated Jedi Visibility Modifier:
-Equipping a Lightsaber.
-Initiating Combat with a Lightsaber equipped.
-Using any Jedi-related skills that consume Force power.
All PCs and all non-animal NPCs that observe a Jedi performing any of the above stated actions (observed as defined as within 32 meters) will contribute to an increase in the Jedi's Visibility Value (JVV).
-An opposing faction member who views this action will add the full value of the action to the Jedi Visibility Value.
-A Neutral PC or non-animal NPC will increase the JVV by 50 percent of the action's Jedi Visibility Modifier.
-A same-faction PC or non-animal NPC will increase the JVV by 25 percent of the action's Jedi Visibility Modifier.
Being grouped with a PC or non-animal NPC who is viewing this action has no influence on how Jedi Visibility is obtained.
My experience has been that robes do not cause visibility, although wearing a robe will make it clear to all who see you that you are a jedi. Having your saber equipped near others does not appear to cause visibility, but if you become engaged in combat it will ignite, and that will give you visibility depnding on who is near you.
Solo groups, missions, and wild spawns: Very early on your kills take so long that a solo group is not really needed, and can even hurt you as your missions will spawn more mobs than you can really handle. By the time you get to a 3rd saber box, you will want to get a group whenever possible. If you are lucky, wild spawns can keep you earning xp at a good rate, but you can’t count on this, and it’s possible to spend a lot of time driving around looking for things to kill. For comparison, I’ve posted my average xp rates at each level, your mileage may vary…
Initiate to Novice Saber- (4-6k xp per hour):
You can earn Jedi xp as soon as you complete the 8th padawan trial, and it is reported that you don’t gain visibility as an initiate. Some people advocate earning the 20k you will need for novice saber before finishing the trails to reduce any risk of xp loss from being hunted by BHs. I didn’t go this route, as I wanted to complete the trials first, and if you are wise you will start developing habit of keeping a low profile. In any case the goal is the same: get that first 20k of xp, so you can train the novice Lightsaber box. Without any specials, you will do about 100-150 damage per hit, using the berserk skill from novice brawler will double that. Be sure to remove all armor, including PSGs, ubese shirts, tusken clothing, etc, or your damage output will be about 10-20 per hit. Your robe is not needed at this time, as you are not using any force power and don’t need the regen or the extra points.
What to hunt:
Tatooine- Head to Mos Entha (usually fairly empty) and just north of there you will find a bunch of Scyks (135 xp) and Rogue Banthas (160 xp). The Banthas spawn alone, Sycks don't. You should be able to take 2 or 3 scyks at once. I've been hunting Feral Banthas lately, no missions. They can usually be found around the Espa track in random spawns, and will give 258 xp exactly for about 6 hits to kill.
Corellia-Humbabas seem to be a recommended animal. I know many of them spawn around the Rogue Corsec Base, and you should be able to get missions for them in a group. Dire Cats are viable as well, and not as strong as a humbaba. The males have 1k health and give 220 xp. The females have 800 health and give around 135 xp.
Lok-. Usually the missions are very easy to get from any player city (I don't reccomend Nym's Stronghold, lots of traffic) so just grab flit lairs. They're all fairly weak so they'll be easy saber kills. I've also heard Spined Snake Recluses have around 1.1k HAM and give 130+ xp
Naboo-The easiest thing to kill here seems like standard Shaupauts and Kaadu. The Kaadu gave around 120 xp per, but had near 4k ham. The Shaupaut have around 1400 HAM, and also give around 120 xp.
Rori- At Novice Lightsaber, try the Borgle and Torton POI's for some quick xp towards your next novice box. Make sure that they are empty before you break out your saber. Youcan get some low-level Tattered Torton missions from Narmle as well. Two-shot those for 120-500 xp depending on type and lair.
Dantooine- Quenker missions (6k) are always a good standby.
At 100 solid xp per kill, you have 200 kills to Novice Lightsaber. Most everything you can kill gives at least that much, so it will be a bit less than 200 kills.
Novice saber (~40k xp per buff):
It is important to note that at novice saber, with a generation one saber, your force cost will be around 14 without crystals. If you have a -4 or better crystal/pearl, you can likely do without the other novice boxes for now. If not, pick up as many of the novice disciplines as you see fit to up your force pool and regen. I grabbed the defender and healer boxes, and left it at that. The strategy for Novice Lightsaber to the next skill is to use the saberhit 1 of your choice. It seems the polearm saber will get a bit higher on damage at more or less the same speed as the other styles, but use whatever you prefer. I went double-bladed (as most people seem to), but I suspect the other lines would progress at about the same rate.
What to kill:
Endor- I spent much of my time at novice saber on Endor because there are so many things to kill, and there are many fewer people and NPCs there than on Dantooine. You can get missions for Borgle Life Sappers, Bolle Bol Stompers, and Crazed Gurrecks. I found the Gurrecks to be the best in terms of high xp/low HAM ratio, and they (like the Borgles) have a bug where they agro you one at a time. The Borgle Bats poison, but the poison tics for about 90 at a time so it's nothing major. With meditate in TKA it is easily removed. Avoid Arachnes of all types for a while as they have NASTY poison.
Saber 1 (75k-100k xp per buff):
You’ve got 200k of xp to cash in, which saber to take? Most people take the double-bladed (as did I) because it has an area spin attack, and that seems to offer a quicker xp rate. I found that the spin was too slow and low damage to speed things up; it was quicker to use leghitX at each level to target the action pool and take mobs out one at a time, and again, I suspect the other saber types are about the same. The polearm does have a higher damage, so there is that.
What to kill:
Endor again: Crazed Gurrecks, give around 650 xp per and are easy kills. Only around 6k ham, and you can hit for 1400+ per swing at this point.
Dantooine: Quenkers give around 573 xp per, and die very quickly (4 hits). Savage Quenkers are stronger and give around 753 xp per, AND they don't deathblow.
Saber 2 (120k-175k xp per buff):
If you have great crystals/pearls, you can move up to the 2nd-gen saber here, but most people seem to stick to the 1st gen for the low force cost.
Endor: Crazed Gurrecks, Fierce Borgles, Borgle Life Sappers, and weaker Bark Mites are all within your effective range now. Keep swinging until Saber 3! Random spawns of Bark Mite Hunters give almost 800 xp per and they go down quickly.
Dantooine: Quenkers are still quite nice! Most types of Hurtons can be good xp as well.
Saber 3 (150k-200k per buff):
This is probably the most difficult part of the grind, from a mental standpoint. Looking at that 1.6 million to get to sabers 4 can be very daunting, and at you are looking at 8-10 buff sessions if all goes well. Many players stray from the path here, and cash in xp to buy some other skills. I recommend against this. Your xp rate will jump DRAMATICALLY when you notch that 4th box. Getting a lot of low level skills eats up skill points, meaning you are probably dropping skills you can still use, and ups your bounty payout without increasing your ability to defend yourself. Just tough it out and keep your eyes on the prize. Some people advocate getting channel force here, I think it's a more efficient move to put that off until you get sabers 4 and really need it.
What to kill:
Same as sabers 2. Endor, Dantooine. I tried Dathomir and found it to be a bit too much, plus the danger level is quite high there. Solo groups are now a good option. Corellian War Grondas are another good source of xp..
Saber 4 (250k-300k per buff):
Woot! Congratulations, you have passed the first and most difficult hurdle. How about that frenzy/flurry/dervish? How about that 3rd gen saber? How about all that downtime while you regen your force power? Now we are going to deviate from our path just a bit to get Channel Force (enhancer 0002). This skill lets you convert HAM into force. With a doctor buff you can keep your force bar up, switch to a high cost saber, and deal out serious damage. Dervish does 2.5-4k+ damage (I have occasionally seen hits for over 5k using it), and allows you to really mow through mobs. Solo groups now are a must for maximum xp gain.
After you get channel, it’s back to the saber tree to do the tech line. This adds toughness, block, bleed attacks, and a ranged knockdown. The toughness and block especially help as you get hit less and for less, reducing downtime. Stick with it to tech 4, then craft a new 3rd gen saber.
What to kill—this won’t really change for the rest of the way:
Dantooine: Seething Bols and Voritor Trackers (need solo group to pull these missions)
Endor: Arachnes are now well within your range. Watch the wild lairs which spawn an Arachne Queen and some friends…This is what I do if I am unable to find a solo group.
Dathomir: Surefoot Brackasets, Giant Baz nitches, Rho Kwis, and of course rancor valley…
Beyond saber xx44 (350-400k per buff):
If you followed my plan, you are now 6.6 million Jedi xp into your template, and a pretty powerful PvE machine. With luck and skill you might even be able to take on a Bounty Hunter and live to tell the tale. Where you go from here is up to you. The next boost in your saber skills won’t come until MLS, but that is 9.2 million xp away, so it’s not a bad idea to branch out now and get some other skills in the healing and enhancer lines if you feel the need to. I myself have stayed in the saber tree and am currently filling out the master box, after which I will have maximum DPS, and can proceed on into my template.
Thanks for reading and I hope you found this helpful!