I love the FFG Star Wars RPG and am currently playing in 3 bi-weekly f2f games and 1 pbp game. But there is one problem I've kept running into: new characters that join after the campaign has started, either from new players joining, players replacing dead characters, or players wanting something new. My GMs have typically given them XP equal to what the party has earned (for new players), or at a penalty (for replacement characters).
And that's where the problem lies, I think. This is a game designed for incremental XP advancement and we're suddenly giving characters massive XP dumps. This lets them max out key skills and abilities with five yellows right from the go, often outshining those of us that slogged through the XP to get our measly two or three yellows in our core skills. The problem is compounded if said new player/character selects to play something that runs similar to your character. Suddenly your stealthy guy is a bumbling idiot compared to the new kid. It especially shows in combat, where they tend to wipe the floor with everything.
1. One of my early characters came in with a 600 XP. He was a slicer, so I maxed out his computers. I could slice anything.
2. One player, who is a GM now, said "I normally wouldn't make a character like this, but I wanted to break the system" came in with a massively tricked out heavy blaster rifle with autofire maxed out, putting my Driver, who had earned his six yellows in gunnery and his sidewinder blaster rifle, to shame.
3. I've head my stealth-focused character outshined by a new player who decided to play the same type of character.
I could probably come up with more examples. Making enemies that can compete with these can lead to party wipes.
A character with 600 XP earned does not equal a character just given 600 XP to "keep them up" with the rest.
But is the solution to start everyone new at the beginning? Can they keep up in the system with characters with hundreds of XP more than them?