- +2% Bonus to healing received
- +1% Bonus to surge (affects critical multiplier)
- +20 Presence (improves all Companion stats)
- Heroic Moment, normally a 20 minute cooldown that lasts 1 minute, now lasts 24 seconds longer and has a cooldown that is two minutes shorter. (This will be a more significant buff when I complete Chapter 3 on one or more classes for bonus abilities.)
- Trooper Class Buff: +5% endurance (grants HP) to any class that does not already have the trooper/bounty hunter buff from another source (e.g. party member, drive-by buff from a player, being a trooper/BH)
- Trooper emote
Part of the reason why I was able to top out two of my five companions immediately upon starting Chapter 3 (required to unlock all conversations) was through efforts to min-max companion affection using some web resources (note: links contain companions' names, if you still think that's a spoiler).
Dulfy's guide contains two crucial pieces of information - each companion's favorite gifts and how much total affection each companion needs to cap out. My strategy was to throw tier 1 gifts that each companion views as a "favorite" at them as soon as possible until each companion hits 6000 affection. (Psynister has some tips on how to deal with the handful of characters who do not have any "favorite" gifts.) I wasn't quite able to afford this much of a headstart on all of my companions because this was my first character, but this is a huge bonus for the ones that I was able to pursue - said companions only needed 2000-3500 to the maximum required affection, rather than 8000-9500 that companions starting from scratch require.
Beyond 6000 affection, gifts begin to become costly - the tier 2 vendor gifts cost three times as much and are only good for 19 affection once you're above 6000, while higher end gifts are more difficult to obtain (or costly on the exchange). Assuming that you don't have indefinite numbers of credits to throw at this problem, the solution is questing with a site such as TORhead open so that you can always determine which dialog choices will award the most affection. This approach does mean spoilers, but it can make a huge difference - picking the correct dialog with the correct companion out can be worth over a hundred points, where the incorrect companion gets absolutely nothing for the same amount of work.
I suppose such is the paradox of removing choices that irreversibly affect gameplay - when all that are left are "moral" choices that your companions will always forgive by spending credits on gifts, these reversible choices are what is left to min-max.
P.S. In principle, Human is the optimal race for a first character in SWTOR because it is the only race that has any non-cosmetic benefit - another 100 points to presence (which is almost exclusively a solo stat). However, I opted to go with more interesting races instead, as the human racial unlock is the cheapest to purchase. I'm already over halfway to the requisite 500K credits and at Legacy level 3 out of a required 5.
P.P.S. EA's press conference at E3 announced what sounds like a mini-expansion to SWTOR. Perhaps it's early yet, but I have not seen the word "free", which makes me think that they plan to be the latest MMO to suffer extreme backlash for attempting to charge for content within the first year of service. Dulfy reports that there was a survey that may have been attempting to determine pricing/features for this update. One intriguing item was the idea of including game time in the price of the mini-expansion. Depending on pricing, this could be a good thing (effectively free for subscribers, while console players who are more tolerant of non-subscription DLC get some time to use the content Bioware is potentially selling) or a bad thing (forced to buy game time along with the thing as a way to inflate the price).