When Star Wars: The Old Republic's Legacy update launched last week, players didn't know that it was carrying a secret payload. Sudden world events have been cropping up in BioWare's MMO since yesterday, when a news broadcast warned players to stay away from Tatooine.
The Rakghoul plague, which BioWare invented for the original Knights of the Old Republic, is the closest thing Star Wars has to a zombie apocalypse (with some
). Infected beings rapidly turn into hulking monsters, and a single scratch is enough to transmit the virus to a new carrier.
The plague has been a major part of SW:TOR's ongoing storyline - it's the focus of Kaon Under Siege and The Lost Island, the two flashpoints to be added after launch - but yesterday's extra step has come as a surprise.
Just north of the Republic outpost in the Dune Sea on Tatooine is a crashed ship surrounded by Rakghouls. Visiting this area will grant you the first in a chain of new daily quests available for levels 25+ - if you're advanced enough to be levelling on Tatooine, you'll probably be able to make your way through the short quest chain. Either way, the event is drawing a lot of interest and it shouldn't be hard to find a group.
Players can also be infected by the Rakghoul virus which if not treated causes them to explode violently, spreading the plague to anyone in the vicinity. You can make yourself temporarily immune with a vaccine sold by all medical droids, and quarantine droids are in place in all major starports to prevent the virus from spreading.
Enterprising players are already finding ways to transmit the infection via fast-travel and warzones, however, so expect the worst if you hang around on the fleet station. It's not all bad, though: exploding is one of the key ways to earn new Rakghoul DNA items, which can be traded for exlusive lightsaber crystals, companion customisations, and a mini-Rakghoul pet.
The mechanics of the outbreak strongly resemble World of Warcraft's infamous
Corrupted Blood incident
, except in this case it's not a bug. We'll be keeping an eye on SW:TOR as the event develops, and check back later today for a full guide to getting the new loot.