The Old Republic beginner's guide

Rich McCormick

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The launch of an MMO is a confusing time. The world is fresh and new, and everyone is still learning how to play it. Which is why, now that The Old Republic has launched, we've put together a list of our top 50 tips, learned from hours of beta play to help you get to grips with the new game. For MMO newcomers and veterans alike, we've created a definitive guide to classes, companions, conversations, crafting and every other aspect of the game.

Check inside for the full list of our fifty things you need to know about The Old Republic.

  • 01 Your choice of faction isn't as simple as just goodies and baddies. You're just as likely to meet corrupt Republic politicians as you are to meet hardworking and downtrodden Imperials. You can't change your mind either, so go with whichever matches your long-term ambitions: do you want to be a respected Jedi Master, a feared Darth, or a legendary smuggler?
  • 02 The Old Republic's character progression system provides a wide range of potential roles: three of the four classes can heal, three of the four can tank, and three of the four can deal damage, depending on the advanced class you choose at level 10.
  • 03 Warriors and Knights tank and do melee damage; Inquisitors and Consulars do ranged damage, heal, and can specialise in stealth; Troopers and Bounty Hunters provide fire support and tanking; Smugglers and Imperial Agents heal, provide crowd control, and can specialise in long-range damage, or stealth and melee.
  • 04 Gender has an obvious impact on your character's voice, and each race has a unique cosmetic emote: humans can cheer, cyborgs can scan people, and Twi'leks can dance. Oh man, can those Twi'leks dance.
  • 05 Your starting planet depends on your faction and class. Jedi begin on Tython, which is the current home of the Order; Sith begin at the academy on Korriban, in the ancient excavation that you last explored in the original Knights of the Old Republic. Troopers and Smugglers find themselves in the middle of a civil war on Ord Mantell, and Bounty Hunters and Imperial Agents work for the approval of a crime lord on Hutta.

Every character has a basic ability that fires or swings their weapon.

  • 06 There is no auto-attack: instead, every character has a basic ability that fires or swings the currently-equipped weapon. This is in the '1' slot by default, and any ability in that slot can also be used by right-clicking an enemy in range.
  • 07 Every class has a buff that lasts an hour and significantly increases certain stats. You should always keep this up, and cast it as soon as you enter a group: that way it'll automatically apply to everyone.
  • 08 Imperial Agents and Smugglers play significantly differently to other classes as a result of the cover system. By using your 'Take Cover' ability (F by default) you can crouch or roll behind a handy obstacle, increasing your defensive stats and unlocking coverbased abilities.
  • 09 Both classes should drop into cover first thing in group fights, and when engaging foes at long-range. They soon unlock the ability to drop portable cover. Do this in hard-to-reach places, but you'll still need line-of-sight to shoot.
  • 10 If a conversation choice has a blue or red icon next to it, this means it will earn you Light Side or Dark Side points. These unlock alignment-specific equipment later in the game. Pick a side: there are no rewards for neutrality.

Dark side conversation options include the ability to force choke your enemies.

  • 11 During non-story group conversations, you'll roll a die to determine whether you get to speak. Either way, you'll earn social points used to access new emotes and costumes. If your group makes a Dark Side decision and you choose the Light option, you'll still get Light points, so don't disengage your moral compass.
  • 12 You'll earn planet-specific commendations by doing missions. These are medals specific to a planet that can be traded for high-quality equipment. You can view all of your commendations on the 'Currency' tab in your inventory.
  • 13 TOR is a pretty game, but it can look even better. If your graphics card can handle it, we definitely recommend enabling anti aliasing with some simple tweaks. Click here for our handy guide.
  • 14 Every planet has hidden items called Datacrons. These glowing artefacts offer permanent increases to your stats. Some are found after a few minutes of solo exploration, some require fourplayer cooperation for upwards of an hour to snag.
  • 15 Some items have modification slots for upgrades. These can be tailored to fit your play style – like fitting your lightsaber with a crystal that boosts willpower and subsequently your Force powers.

Some weapons can be upgraded to suit your play style.

  • 16 High-quality modifications can be bought from commendation vendors. The best ones can be crafted after level 10.
  • 17 If a doorway has a red forcefield over it, you're not the right class or on the right mission to enter. Players of other classes can accompany you on your story missions, but you'll need to tick a menu option before players of the same class can join you...
  • 18 ...But other players won't get credit for completion of your story missions. That means all loot and XP is yours. They will, however, get experience from the enemies they kill, and the warm glow that comes from helping a chum.
  • 19 Through story missions and certain achievements, you'll earn titles to indicate that you're a Jedi, a Sergeant, or just very nice. Set these by clicking the arrow next to your character's name on the inventory screen.
  • 20 Missions designated as Heroic are designed for groups. 'Heroic 2+' can be tackled by two or more players and their companions, or soloed by careful players. 'Heroic 4' is intended for a full group of four.

Companions have a specific key stat that affects their skills.

  • 21 You'll receive your first companion around level 8. These are summoned and dismissed using the blue portrait at the bottom-left of the screen. Click the 'plus' icon to see their full range of abilities – here you can set which ones you want them to use.
  • 22 Click your companion's portrait and use the button in the bottom-right to send them to sell your trash loot. They'll return in a minute with your credits, the faithful buggers.
  • 23 Companion customisation items dramatically alter the appearance of your allies. You'll receive one on your starting planet, and others are available from specialist vendors.
  • 24 Each companion has a particular key stat that affects the majority of their skills. You can tell which it is by mousing over each item on their character sheet to see where the bonuses are coming from. Prioritise this stat over all else when looking for equipment.
  • 25 Equipment will change appearance to match the class equipping it. If you give your Bounty Hunter companion a piece of Trooper armour, it'll look handmade rather than shiny and white.
Spend enough time with one companion and love may blossom.

  • 26 Your companion's approval rating changes based on your decisions in conversations. Low approval won't cause them to leave, but you won't get access to their missions. Gift vendors sell trinkets that can save failing relationships.
  • 27 If your companion tells you they want to talk, head to a bar or rest area. You can then talk to them like any other NPC.
  • 28 At the end of your starting planet, you'll receive a very high-quality weapon with four upgrade slots. Hold on to it, and jam it full of upgrades.
  • 29 Your first contact with players from the other starting planet will be on your faction's fleet station. Here you can choose an advanced class and pick your Crew Skills.
  • 30 Each class has two advanced classes, and they change the way you play. The Imperial Agent, for example, can be a long-range DPS sniper or stealthy operative with the option to heal.

Player choices will permanently open or close storylines and affect NPCs.

  • 31 You'll pick up companions along the way, characters you can call on to help you out in fights, chat with on your ship, or get busy with once the day is done. Companions have their own abilities: Crew Skills.
  • 32 Crew Skills are divided into three categories: Gathering, Mission and Crafting. Gathering allows you to harvest resources; mission lets you send your companion off in pursuit of rarer items or dark and light side boosts; crafting lets you create weapons and armour.
  • 33 These categories are further split into subcategories. Crafting Skills include Armormech, Biochem, and Cybertech; Mission skills include Diplomacy and Treasure Hunting. Each skill ties into another: Diplomacy rewards can be used for crafting Synthweaved items.
  • 34 From the fleet station, you can either travel direct to the capital planet or choose to do a Flashpoint: a faction-specific instance designed to be played in groups. These dungeons tell a selfcontained story, but can be repeated if you want to try a different approach or to score more loot.
  • 35 TOR has a greed/need system for loot snaffled during grouped play. It's fine to take loot for your companion, but ask first: players always take priority.

Spending time with a single companion will help develop the story better.

  • 36 At the end of the first Flashpoint, you'll have the choice to proceed to your faction's capital planet or to return to the fleet. If you want to trade in your Flashpoint-specific commendations, go for the latter.
  • 37 The capital planet is where your personal story will really kick into gear, but pay attention: the circumstances affecting your whole faction will be described here, and will impact you and your allies later on.
  • 38 Some zones have world bosses: high-ranked enemies that can drop rare loot and commendations. Ask in general chat to see if any groups are forming to take them down – they'll munch on your bones if you go up against them solo.
  • 39 You'll get your very own ship at the end of the capital planet story arc. Inside you can craft, rest, and talk to your companions. Use the bridge console to travel between every planet in the game. Bring a friend back to your bedroom by grouping with them before entering your class-specific hangar.
  • 40 Your ship comes with a protocol droid. He's useless in battle, but he can undertake missions and crafting on your behalf. Use him if you're keen to free up your main companions for fights.

Some zones have world bosses: don\'t take them on alone.

  • 41 Space missions are accessed through the bridge. These are on-rails spaceflight sessions that net you XP and fleet commendations, used to buy ship upgrades. Daily missions compile several space missions into one, with greater rewards.
  • 42 key stat that affects their skills. Use the space bar to barrel roll during a dogfight, especially when flying into enemy gun batteries. Conserve your missiles for high-value targets and use blasters for everything else. Don't get cocky, kid.
  • 43 Buy all of the ship upgrades available on your capital planet. You may have to hunt around for them, but the missile bay expansion is especially important.
  • 44 Warzones are TOR's PVP battlegrounds. Queue using the icon on the bottom-right of the minimap. Once inside, your stats will be normalised, so the level isn't important – but skills are, and the more advanced you are, the more you'll have.
  • 45 Warzone commendations, earned through PVP can be traded for some powerful equipment at the fleet station. DPS characters in particular can benefit from these, and they're some of the best-looking outfits in the game.

Space combat will be on a fixed course, like Starfox.

  • 46 Use the raid channel to co-ordinate your efforts with the rest of the team. TOR's PVP is objective-based: make sure you know where you're focusing your efforts and when to push.
  • 47 On Alderaan, you have to capture anti-ship gun batteries to take down an enemy cruiser. Agree with your team which of the guns you're going to lock down and which you're going to scrap over. Getting split up will see your flagship brought down before you can say “we can't repel firepower of that magnitude!”.
  • 48 In one of the Warzones, Huttball, you'll help your team deliver a ball into a scoring zone at the far end of the map. It'll add a new ability, 'pass', to your action bar. Use it to throw the ball to a teammate when you get in trouble.
  • 49 The Voidstar Warzone has a long bridge with a drop on either side. It's a bad idea to fight Force users here, as everyone enjoys punting foes into a ravine.
  • 50 Right-click your character portrait and activate your PVP flag in order to fight rival human faction members in normal levelling zones. On PVP servers, it's always on.

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