Planning while playing
If the start of the game provides quickly nice rewards, the pace of the game will slow down. No surprise, that's a "free" game, but there's cash to get. You'll quickly figure that patience for this game is a requirement (even if you wish to dump thousands of bucks in the hands of the producers).
This article will identify some long term objectives to remember while playing everyday.
The swiss knife, the punchbag, and the overpowered-one
These are not real long term objectives, but they require dedication every day, from the beginning. These 3 guys are among the best characters, so get them as fast as possible.
Qui-Gon Jin is the swiss knife. Very good for arena, raids, galactic war, challenges, etc.. You should really focus all of your cantina currency on this guy before anything else. For F2P players, cantina characters require many weeks to level up. You can't really rush them.
The Royal Guard and Rey
In your early levels, these guys will be available only in hard node missions. They're strong, and require some time to level them up. Take as much advance as possible.
The Royal Guard is a very strong tank with an exquisite feature : he will taunt automagically when one of your other characters gets below 50% health. Neat !
You may buy his shards in the shop with crystals : they're quite rare to get with hard mission nodes, and it's a good way to get him to 5 or 6 stars before your opponents.
Rey hits hard. She hits the hardest, and she will evade attacks That's why you'll need her. She will be available in the guild shop. This will help you level her faster. But you should still continue to farm the hard nodes. Considering her shards are available in the guild shop, don't buy her shards in the crystal shop.
You're working on your arena squad, and the three above characters ? That's nice, but you should get some scoundrels too...
As you're starting the game, credits are not an issue. However as soon as you can fit mods on your characters, you'll see that you can't experiment with Ugnaught anymore.
The credit heist event gives a nice boost to your credit income, but requires an all scoundrel squad. Get them as soon as possible. Stack up your cash, and spend wisely (you may want to read this article about daily income )
Yoda and Palpatine
These two guys are activated should you defeat a scheduled event. There are 7 battles for each of these characters.
You'll need a 5 jedi squad to defeat (and unlock) Grand Master Yoda, and a 5 rebel squad for Emperor Palpatine.
The trick is each battle needs 5 characters with as many stars as the current battle. The fifth battle (requiring 5 stars characters) will let you activate Yoda (or Palpatine).
The last 2 battles will let you upgrade and complete these characters.
What's important to remember is that these event are not always available : you can't rush in a few days a full 7 stars squad. Should you want these guys, start building your squad as soon as possible to be ready when they come !
Mods can totally change an arena battle from "lost" to "easy win". You could stick with health mods, but if you want the best mods with the other set bonuses, you'll need specific squads : Jawas, Jedis, Rebels, Scoundrels, Empire, First Order.
You absolutly can't work on all these squads at the same time. But you should know that these challenges exist. Take a look at the bonus you might need, and choose which one to farm.
Darth Vader is a very resilient character, and the most difficult to obtain.
You'll get your very first shards with the first achievements. But as times will pass, it'll be harder and harder to upgrade him.
The key is in the shard shop : this shop unlocks as soon as you get
Luminara 7* your first seven star character.
In this shop you can convert excess shards from your 7 stars characters, for a new currency (it's a ripp-off obviously).
However this is the only shop with Darth Vader's shards ! As soon as you have your first maxed character from the Galactic War : consider buying him again once a day. Stack up some shard store currency to buy Vader as soon as he pops !
A few word about the General Grievious
As for now, the General Grievious is not worth its cost. He has unique abilities, but none making him irreplaceable. Even if it's a very long term objective, you'll really need the shards for all the other characters and their events.