|Star Wars: The Old Republic|
Star Wars: The Old Republic, commonly abbreviated as The Old Republic, SWTOR, or simply TOR, is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game that was produced and released by BioWare, a subsidiary of Electronic Arts. Developed over the course of more than five years by BioWare Austin and LucasArts at a cost of over $200 million, Star Wars: The Old Republic was first conceived in 2005 as a MMORPG follow-up to BioWare's previous video games, the popular Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, and the game was first announced on October 21, 2008. The game itself was released to the public on December 20, 2011, and The Old Republic is accompanied by an expansive metaseries of Star Wars multimedia, including a four-book novel series, three comic series, and a number of short stories as well as additional content.
Star Wars: The Old Republic succeeded Sony's Star Wars Galaxies as the main Star Wars MMO, and Galaxies went permanently offline shortly before The Old Republic was released in December 2011. Set over three hundred years after the events of the Knights of the Old Republic games, The Old Republic features seventeen fully-explorable planets, eight unique classes divided into the Galactic Republic and Sith Empire factions, and over 1,600 hours of story in addition to over a dozen group Flashpoints and Operations, and it is the first MMORPG to feature full-scale voice acting. The game features extensive references to pre-existing Star Wars continuity, and introduces thousands of new characters, locations, items, groups, and events to the Star Wars universe as it depicts the conflict between the Republic and the Empire.
Over one million subscribers registered in the first three days following the The Old Republic's release, and over a million had begun to play The Old Republic by December 26, making it the fastest-growing subscription MMORPG in history. The Old Republic has received generally positive reviews from critics, with a score of 85 on the review aggregation website Metacritic, though it has received some criticism by players for th lack of late-game content, which has led the game's developers to focus on the addition of upper-level content in many of their updates. Due to declining subscription numbers during the summer of 2012, The Old Republic introduced a Free-to-Play option in November 2012, and released two digital expansions, Star Wars: The Old Republic: Rise of the Hutt Cartel and Star Wars: The Old Republic: Galactic Starfighter in April 2013 and February 2014 respectively. As of December 2013, The Old Republic has received thirteen significant content updates.
In 3681 BBY, a Sith Empire under the leadership of an immortal Sith Emperor returned to the larger galaxy and launched an assault on the Galactic Republic, sparking the Great Galactic War. The conflict lasted for a total of twenty-eight years, with the Sacking of the Republic capital of Coruscant forcing the Republic to submit to the Empire's demands and sign the Treaty of Coruscant. The galaxy then enters a tense Cold War, with the Republic rebuilding and the Jedi Order retreating to the homeworld of Tython after the destruction of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant while the Empire secures their domain and prepares for the eventual resumption of hostilities.
By 3643 BBY, the tensions between the Empire and the Republic have begun to boil over, and proxy and side conflicts occurring across the galaxy only serve to inflame these hostilities. The planet of Ord Mantell is embroiled in the Separatist War between the Republic-backed government and the Mantellian Separatist Movement, and the Empire is manipulating and aiding the separatists in order to weaken the Republic. On Ord Mantell, a smuggler is double-crossed by the criminal Skavak, and wreaks havoc in the workings of the Mantellian Separatist Movement while pursuing Skavak in an effort to retrieve the smuggler's ship. Around the same time, the newest member of the Republic's elite Havoc Squad pursues a powerful ZR-57 orbital strike bomb stolen by the separatists, only to discover that the rest of Havoc Squad has turned traitor and joined the Empire. The Jedi Order still cautiously explores the ancient ruins of Tython, though conflicts with illegal Twi'lek settlers and Tython's native Flesh Raiders pose threats to the Order's rebuilding. On Tython, the apprentice of Jedi Master Yuon Par foils the insane villager Nalen Raloch's attempts to start a war between Kalikori Village and the Jedi, and not long afterwards, the new Padawan of Master Orgus Din defeats the Dark Jedi Bengel Morr and prevents him from leading an army of the native Flesh Raiders against the Order.
Imperial Intelligence works to secure their alliances with the Hutts while bounty hunters across the galaxy enter into the Great Hunt, though the Evocii species has begun to rise up against their Hutt oppressors on Nal Hutta. On Hutta, the retiring bounty hunter Braden is murdered by Tarro Blood, a competitor of Braden's protege in the bounty hunting competition known as the Great Hunt, but despite Blood's interference the other hunter secures a place in the opening rounds of the Great Hunt. Around the same time, an agent of Imperial Intelligence, operating under the identity of the Red Blade, successfully secures an alliance between the Empire and the Hutt Suudaa Nem'ro. While factions among the Sith of the Empire seek to purge Korriban of impure and alien blood, the lives of many apprentices are claimed by rivalries or the dangers that lurk within the ancient tombs into which they are sent. Two powerful Sith acolytes make names for themselves at the Sith Academy on Korriban—a young Sith Warrior defeats all other competitors to become the apprentice of the Sith Lord Darth Baras, and a talented Inquisitor rises from the chains of slavery to claim an apprenticeship under the Sith Lord Darth Zash.
Grand Moff Rycus Kilran is eager to restart the war, and attacks the Republic transport Esseles in order to capture the Republic ambassador Vyn Asara. Kilran's efforts failed, however, and Imperial spokespeople denied the Empire's involvement, though the Grand Moff's attempt to capture or eliminate a defecting Imperial general ends in success when he separates the warship Brentaal Star from the rest of a Republic convoy and arranges for his forces to board the vessel. In the aftermath of the Sacking of Coruscant, the Coruscant Security Force struggles against the violent criminal organizations that control much of Coruscant's depths. Imperial soldiers are also secretly at work in the shadows of the ruined Jedi Temple, and spies among the Galactic Senate and the Republic government seek to weaken the Republic from within. Yuon Par's apprentice, now a fully-fledged Jedi Consular, comes to Coruscant in search of the Noetikons, ancient Jedi artifacts that could prove vital in healing Par of the mysterious illness that struck her on Tython. Fighting through the underworld elements to retrieve the three devices across Coruscant, the Consular consults the Noetikons and learns of a technique that successfully heals Par of her illness.
Orgus Din and his student, now a Jedi Knight, are called to Coruscant to aid in the search for a mysterious darkness that the Jedi have sensed on the capital, but the young Knight is soon embroiled in an all-out race against time to stop the Republic scientist Tarnis when the man reveals his identity as a Sith Lord and tries to use the Planet Prison superweapon against Coruscant. Recalled to Coruscant, the new Havoc Squad—consisting only of its leader and Lieutenant Aric Jorgan—are tasked by General Elin Garza with hunting down the Havoc traitors. Hunting down leads on the traitors' allies across Coruscant, Havoc Squad finally locates and defeats Jek Kardan, one of the founders of Havoc Squad, but are then sent to rescue the Republic Senator Zorin Krasul when he is kidnapped by the traitorious Wraith. The smuggler from Ord Mantell continues the hunt for Skavak and the captain's stolen starship, chasing the criminal across Coruscant while battling various gangs and even the Empire before finally recovering the smuggler's ship.
In contrast to Coruscant, Dromund Kaas remains under the firm rule of the Empire, though threats such as a slave rebellion, the mysterious Order of Revan, and unspeakable horrors unleashed from the recently-opened Dark Temple serve to undermine Imperial authority. The Emperor has not been seen since before the Treaty of Coruscant, and despite their traditional infighting the Dark Council continues to oversee the day-to-day running of the Empire.
On the planet Taris, Governor Leontyne Saresh leads the Taris resettlement initiative in rebuilding the shattered city-world that was devastated by the Sith Lord Darth Malak three hundred years earlier. However, the initiative is imperiled by the presence of Imperial operatives, mercenaries, pirates, the planet's hostile wildlife, and the mysterious and deadly rakghoul species. The Republic Military maintains outposts in the wilderness, though it is unsafe for colonists to travel outside of the Republic Resettlement Zone, and the initiative's headquarters at Olaris is frequently besieged by rakghouls. In the far reaches of the world, Republic scientists also make a disturbing discovery—a new species of rakghoul called the nekghoul has evolved, one that is Force-sensitive and intelligent. Governor Saresh struggles to stamp out corruption in the military and civilian forces across Taris, and thanks to her efforts and her dedication to the cause, the initiative is making more progress than it has in the last decade.
The planet Balmorra is suffering under an Imperial occupation that has lasted for almost three decades, and much of the world's infrastructure and surface is heavily damaged from the years of warfare. The Imperials are fighting an ineffective battle against the Balmorran Resistance, though the rebels lack the strength to drive the Empire off of their homeworld themselves. However, the Republic Military and the Jedi Order have begun secretly lending their support to the resistance, and despite the Balmorrans' resentment of the Republic's abandonment of their planet at the end of the Great War, they have begun to make progress—but the arrival of Darth Lachris, the new Sith governor, begins an increased crackdown on the resistance. Lachris's forces uncover and foil a Republic invasion attempt, forcing the Republic to declare that the Jedi and Republic Military forces who participated were rogue agents.
The moon of Nar Shaddaa is a hotbed of covert activity, as the Hutt's neutrality forces both the Empire and the Republic to coexist in a relatively peaceful fashion there. In the shadows, however, the Republic Strategic Information Service and Imperial Intelligence are locked in a battle for supremacy, and the Empire maintains secret facilities such as the prison district of Shadow Town. Gangs such as the Kintan Kings battle the Exchange, the Hutt Cartel, and other organizations for control of Nar Shaddaa, and the Empire's rule is challenged by many of the immigrants and war refugees who inhabit areas such as the Corellian and Duros Sectors.
The desert world of Tatooine is another world where the Empire and the Republic work behind the scenes to gain an advantage over each other, with the Republic supporting the civilian inhabitants of Anchorhead and other settlements, while the Empire has established a garrison in the town of Mos Ila. The Imperial Reclamation Service scours the desert for artifacts, and the Republic Military and the Imperial Military are forced to engage pirates, the native Sand People, mercenaries, various alien species, and Tatooine's hostile wildlife. The Czerka Corporation uncovers a powerful artifact of the Rakata species in the Dune Sea, sparking a race between the two galactic powers to take control of the artifact or to destroy it before its influence spreads. A similar situation arises when a Republic survey team accidentally awakens the servants of the mad Sith Lord Vodal Kressh on Athiss, though either the Republic or the Empire is able to destroy Kressh's servants and end the threat his power poses to the galaxy.
The historical peaceful planet of Alderaan is engaged in a devastating civil war over who will succeed Queen Silara Panteer on the Alderaan throne. Panteer's son, Prince and Senator Gaul Panteer, withdrew Alderaan from the Republic after the Treaty of Coruscant, but he was negotiating for the planet's return only a few years later when he was murdered. The Queen's death not long afterwards sparked turmoil among the noble houses of Alderaan, and the return of the Imperial-sponsored House of Thul led Bouris Ulgo—a former Republic general who was sickened by the infighting—to declare himself king. Ulgo's claim was not recognized by many of the houses, and three factions emerged in the resultant civil war: House of Ulgo, the Imperial-allied House Thul, and the Republic-allied House Organa. To make matters worse, several hives of the insectoid Killiks have awoken and are wreaking havoc across Alderaan. Republic and Imperials lend aid to their Alderaanian allies in an effort to secure Alderaan's throne and allegiance, and King Ulgo is eventually deposed by one of the galactic powers in order to secure the support of the royal House Panteer.
Amid the many proxy conflicts, the Empire and Republic begin to engage each other in encounters that come closer and closer to open war. The xenophobic Advozse Hegemony acquires the powerful battle station known as the Hammer and attempts to launch a campaign of expansion, but the galactic powers dispatch forces to destroy the station. A similar conflict arises when the Mandalorian Clan Varad begins terrorizing the Outer Rim with the Republic warship Allusis; both governments send strike teams to destroy Clan Varad and take control of the Allusis. After the Separatist War ended in the separatist movement's defeat, Governor Chornarov of the Republic missile depot Cademimu V offers them sanctuary and uses them to declare Cademimu independent. The Republic rushes to reclaim the Cademimu missile arrays, as the Empire sees the uprising as an opportunity to strike a blow against the Republic and gain powerful weapons.
As months pass, a number of conflicts—including the Sith Lord Darth Angral's war on the Republic and a covert Republic operation in the Vesla system—has the galaxy spiraling toward war. In preparation for the growing conflict, the Republic sends military and Jedi reinforcements to openly aid the Balmorran Resistance in liberating the planet. Despite resentment of the Republic among the Resistance, the two groups work to drive the Imperials off of Balmorra, caputring a number of Imperial outposts and pushing the Empire back towards the city of Sobrik and the Sundari Flatlands. As the fighting on Balmorra heats up, the Republic forces make headway against the Imperial occupation, seizing or destroying the powerful Barrager weapon and attacking the Balmorran Arms Factory.
The Empire, meanwhile, secures its territory by invading Taris, destroying much of the progress made by the Republic resettlement initiative and returning the planet to its previously ruined state as a homage to Darth Malak and the power of the Sith.
Amid the growing unrest, the Jedi Master Oteg is visited by a mysterious Force ghost who informs him of a powerful Jedi held prisoner by the Emperor in the Maelstrom nebula. To navigate the notoriously dangerous nebula, a computer built by the Gree species is required; Oteg therefore gathers a team of powerful Republic operatives to retrieve the computer from the Imperial outpost on the planet Taral V. Oteg then leads the First Expeditionary Fleet in an assault on the Imperial Fifth Fleet that is guarding the Maelstrom Prison while his operatives board the station and fight their way to the prisoner, killing Grand Moff Rycus Kilran in the process. The prisoner is in fact the Jedi Master Revan, kept alive for the last three centuries by the Emperor, and after he is freed, Revan decides to bring the war to an end by eliminating the Sith Empire permanently.
To that end, he takes control of the long-lost Rakatan space station known as the Foundry, which he puts to use in manufacturing an army of extermination droids to wipe out the Empire. Revan's freedom incites the Emperor to war, as Revan had been manipulating the Sith ruler through their mental bond and making the Emperor delay his plans for galactic annihilation. Learning of Revan's intentions, Darth Malgus gathers an Imperial strike team that captures the Republic ship Dorin's Sky, which is then used to bypass the Republic blockade around the Foundry. Malgus's operatives proceed to board the Foundry and fight through the Republic forces and Foundry droids aboard the station, and Revan is defeated in a final battle after which he disappears in a flash of light.
An Imperial force under the command of Moff Dracen invades the toxic planet of Quesh, the source of valuable chemicals that can be refined into military adrenals, in order to force the Republic's hand and draw them into full-fledged war. On the ice planet Hoth, the Republic and the Empire battle each other and the White Maw pirates in a struggle to salvage the wreckage of the dozens of vessels that crashed on Hoth's surface in the Battle of Hoth two decades earlier. However, the Empire's true purpose is to engage the Republic in an war they cannot win and thereby tie down the Republic's resources on Hoth.
Amid the growing conflict, the Hero of Tython is recruited by Jedi Master Tol Braga to join a strike team of Jedi with the purpose of capturing the Sith Emperor himself, and the strike team pursues missions on Balmorra, Quesh, and Hoth as they gathered information on the Emperor's personal space fortress. However, when the Jedi board the fortress and confront the Emperor, they all are defeated and corrupted to the dark side by the Emperor's indomitable will. Havoc Squad is recruited by General Garza to take part in an upcoming mission to eliminate the Empire's Gauntlet superweapon, and in preparation Garza dispatches the unit to Balmorra and Hoth to recruit new members and bring the unit to full strength. After a side mission to Quesh, Havoc Squad joins other Republic units in boarding the Gauntlet and destroying it, though their success incurs the wrath of the Imperial General Arkos Rakton.
Amid the galactic conflict, the vengeful Tionese scientist Sannus Lorrick unleashes the rakghoul plague upon the Tion Hegemony, an independent sector in the far reaches of the galaxy and Lorrick's home before he was exiled for conducting deranged experiments on sentient beings. Lorrick arranges for unsuspecting pilots to ferry the virus to worlds across the Hegemony, and an infected risp carried by the smugger Zama Brak brings down the passenger liner Stardream over Tatooine, forcing both the Republic and the Empire to quarantine the planet as the virus infects the native wildlife and settlers. The galactic powers investigate the outbreak on the planet Kaon and learn of Lorrick's hand in the crisis, prompting an all-out assault on Lorrick's island laboratory on Ord Mantell to end the threat that the insane scientist posed. Lorrick is killed during the fighting, ending his plans for the conquest and destruction of the Tion Hegemony.
Sensing the Emperor's apparent death, the Dread Masters decide to break from the Empire, as the one being worthy of their loyalty is no longer at its head. Using their powers to manipulate minds through fear, the Dread Masters acquire a growing force of Imperial soldiers and ships and begin to attack the edges of Hutt Space, wielding Force phantoms and driving their enemies insane with fear in order to eliminate any opposition. Threatened, the Hutt Cartel's Supreme Mogul Karagga orders his forces to expand the borders of Hutt Space to make up for the lost territory, and he severs ties with the Empire after the mysterious attackers are identified as Imperial ships. This decision and the Hutt annexation of ten neutral systems on the Republic–Hutt border draw the attention of both the Empire and the Republic, and when Karagga attacks the Republic and the Empire's emissaries, a battle ensues that ends with Karagga's death.
However, the Dread Masters's role in the recent events are unknown to both the Republic and the Empire as the two galactic powers continue to war. When extensive deposits of baradium are discovered on the planet Denova, the Republic hires the mercenary army know as the Warstalkers, led by the Trandoshan Kephess, to secure the world due to manpower shortages. The Empire invaded the planet as well, but three months into the fighting, the Dread Masters took control of both the Warstalkers and the Imperial soldiers on Denova, manipulating their minds and conscripting them to their cause. Kephess is transformed into the Dread Masters's "vessel," their chosen instrument to spread chaos and terror, and the situation on Denova devolves into a three-way battle between the Republic, the Empire, and Kephess's forces. Kephess and his subordinates are finally killed by strike teams sent by the Republic and the Empire, but the Dread Masters reveal themselves to both governments and declare that they are loyal only to themselves, secretly resurrecting Kephess and shaping his body into a monstrous form.
In the wake of Karagga's death, the Hutt Toborro seizes the leadership of the Hutt Cartel, establishing himself as the new Supreme Mogul with Szajin, as his right-hand man. Seeing the Empire weakened, Toborro decides to continue Karagga's campaign of expansion, but with the planet Makeb at the heart of a new era of Hutt conquest—for Makeb is home to deposits of the incredibly rare and powerful mineral known as isotope-5. Isotope-5 is capable of warping electromagnetic and gravitational fields, and a gram of the substance can generate immense amounts of power. Toborro therefore pays off Makeb's defense force, the mercenary army known as the InterStellar Regulators, to help the Hutts conquer the world, and the Cartel blockades the Makeb system as Toborro begins to mine the isotope-5 in Makeb's core without any regard for what it would do to the planet.
Upon learning of the Hutts' actions, Chancellor Saresh consults with the Jedi Order and learns that the Hutts will likely try to continue their conquests if they are not stopped, so she pledges Republic aid to the citizens of Makeb. Saresh's forces make contact with Shalim Avesta, leader of the Makeb resistance and the planet's de facto Head of State, and help him rescue his niece Lemda, who is a geophysicist who was captured by the Regulators after she discovered that Toborro's drilling will cause the planet to break apart. After breaking into the Hutt Embassy in Makeb's capital Talaos City, the Republic forces and the Makeb resistance learn of the Ark, an enormous vessel being constructed inside the hollow Giant's Spear mesa that will ferry Toborro, the other Cartel personnel, and their isotope-5 stores off of the planet when the planet begins to break apart. The Republic and resistance forces promptly seize the Giant's Spear and the Ark, repurposing the vessel to carry Makeb's civilians as a true ark to safety.
Around the same time, the Dark Councilor Darth Marr learns of Makeb's valuable isotope-5 resource and dispatches a small strike team to secure the isotope-5 reserves for the weakening Empire.
A furious Toborro unleashes the Regulators against the Avesta Plantation, but the Republic forces head off the Regulators on the Fingers mesa and also destroy the Storm Carrier warship, killing the Regulator Vice-Commandant Grevin in the process. Toborro then reveals that the Ark is powered by isotope-5 before sending his Regulators to attack the settlement of Tarlam along with isotope-5 droids, powerful war droids powered by isotope-5, though the Republic and the resistance evacuate Tarlam's civilians to the Ark. Desperate for a fuel source to power the Ark, the Republic and resistance forces assault the Sanctuary research complex in order to locate Dr. Juvard Illip Oggurobb, a Hutt scientist and the creator of the Ark and the isotope-5 droids. The Republic forces are able to successfully locate Oggurobb with the Hutt's help in bypassing the Sanctuary's security systems, as Oggurobb wishes to defect to the Republic because he has realized Toborro has gone insane.
Oggurobb confirms that Toborro possesses the fuel rods, but warns the Republic that the Hutt leader has increased mining operations to maximum levels—an action that will result in the destruction of Makeb long before the civilians are evacuated. Republic forces then disabled several mining platforms and vented the planet's core, reducing the buildup of heat and the seismic activity, giving them more time. Around the same time, most of the leaders of the Hutt Cartel, having come to recognize that Toborro has gone insane, approach Shalim Avesta and the Republic with a request to board the Ark. The Republic convinces Avesta to allow the Hutts aboard the Ark in exchange for an alliance between the Hutt Cartel and the Republic, gaining the Republic a new ally in the ongoing war. Using a secret entrance provided by Oggurobb, Republic forces infiltrate Toborro's Palace and search for the fuel rods, confronting the mad Cartel leader. Toborro unleashes a powerful isotope-5 droid known as Toborro's Glittering Fury upon the intruders, but after it is defeated, the Hutt commits suicide by igniting his isotope-5 stockpiles in an attempt to kill the Republic forces. However, the Republic forces escape with the fuel rods before the palace's destruction and return to the Ark, where the fuel rods are installed and the Ark is launched just as the Giant's Spear collapses.
The Hutt Cartel is ordered to supply a new home and credits to the people of Makeb as part of their alliance with the Republic, but the Republic is surprised to see that Makeb's destruction did not come to pass—unbeknownst to them, Darth Marr's Imperial strike team was able to prevent the planet's destruction. As the crisis passes, it is discovered that Regulator holdouts are still alive down on the surface with thousands of civilians who were believed to be dead, leading Supreme Commander Malcom to devote Republic forces towards rescuing the people and securing the still-valuable world.
During this time, the forces of the Dread Masters acquire the Seeds of Rage—powerful dark side machines constructed by the Sith Lord Fulminiss—when they convince a guard to help steal them from the Arcanum, the Sith Emperor's secret storehouse of Sith artifacts and dark side experiments. The Dread Masters bury the Seeds on planets across the galaxy so that they can sow fear and darkness as the Seeds warp the environments around them, prompting both the Arcanum's keeper Darth Acina and the Jedi Master Cedral Gend to recruit help in locating and recovering the Seeds. However, the Sith Lord Tagriss leads a raid on the Arcanum after learning of the station's location, wreaking havoc and making off with the powerful Darkstaff.
The Old Republic does not dramatically diverge from traditional MMORPG gameplay. Players control an avatar in third-person view, interacting with the various elements of the game world and other players, and earn their own starship as part of their class story, which functions as an in-game base. Player-versus-player combat occurs in warzones, either Jedi vs. Sith or Republic vs. Sith Empire. However, BioWare has emphasized the story element of the game, something that the company feels is lacking in other MMORPGs. New characters are required to choose to align with one of two factions waging war on each other—the Galactic Republic or the Sith Empire. Several gameplay elements differ between the factions, such as story and available classes.
User interface and gameplay
In The Old Republic, players control their character in a third person view that is framed by the user interface, or UI. While each player can customize their UI, the standard interface features the primary quickbar, an easy-access area for players to place their preferred abilities and attacks, at the bottom of the screen. On the left side of the primary quickbar, a portrait of the player character is featured with their name, class, level, health, and their resources—which vary between Force power, energy, ammunition, or other options depending on the player's class. The right side of the quickbar features a portrait and health bar for whichever character or enemy is currently selected by the player. Effects that are currently active on the player or the targeted enemy are featured above the health bar. Characters are controlled by the W, A, S, and D keys, while the abilities in the player's primary quickbar are accessible by the number keys and the - and = keys. Various other hotkeys allow the player access to different menus and features.
The bottom right corner of the screen is occupied by the mini-map, which can be expanded and customized to show different types of vendors and NPCs. The bottom left corner features a smaller quickbar, portrait, and health bar for the player's current companion, which can be expanded to access the full range of the companion's abilities. The middle right edge of the screen will highlight new tutorials that have become available to the player, and the upper right corner is occupied by the mission tracker. The tracker will display the name and objectives of as many of the player's current missions as can fit. In the middle of the screen's upper edge is the menu panel, which allows access to the Character Sheet—where the player can modify the weapons and gear currently equipped to their character and companion—the Inventory, the Abilities menu, the Skill Tree menu—where players can spend the skill points they receive for leveling up on additional abilities and bonuses—as well as the Mission Log and the Options menu.
The final part of the interface is the chat window, which is locate in the upper left corner and can be customized to show chats with various groups of users. Further customization of the UI can add additional quickbars, as well as move the location of the other parts of the interface. In conversations, players watch cinematics until they reach a decision point, at which time they can select one of either two or three dialogue options. Some dialogue options will reward the player with light side or dark side alignment points, and some options cause players to lose or gain affection with their current companion.
A major part of The Old Republic is the ability to join groups of other players and participate in group missions to take on more powerful enemies and gain greater rewards. One player is designated the leader of the group, with the ability to add new members, and the Group Finder feature helps link players from all across the server who are looking to group together for specific planets, Flashpoints, or Operations. Defeated characters and chests can be looted for credits and equipment, and equipment, gear, and other items can be purchased for credits at the dozens of vendors that are present throughout each planet and hub. When a player gains a new level, they will often unlock new abilities that must be trained at the various Class Trainers that are scattered across the planets and fleet hubs. Abilities generally fall into three categories: General, which includes abilities that are usable by all classes; Class, which are abilities that can be trained by that specific class; and Advanced Class, which are abilities that are only usable by the player's advanced class.
When a player loses all of their health, they are defeated and their equipment takes damage. Players can choose to wait a brief period of time to summon a medical probe, which will revive them in the same place and give them several seconds of stealth so that they can heal, or they can choose to be revived at the nearest medical center. However, the amount of time one must wait to use the medical probe ability increases after each use until a player revives at a medical center, at which point the time is reset, and Free-to-Play players are unable to use the probe unless they purchase or acquire items that grant them a limited number of uses. Within The Old Republic, there are restricted areas known as "Phases" that are separated from the rest of the game environment by either green or red walls of light. Class Phases are restricted to a specific class and are the sites of specific class missions and cutscenes, and Group Phases are areas where group missions occur. Players must form groups to bring other players into their Class Phases, and two players who are not in a group together will unable to enter the same version of a Group Phase and therefore be unable to see each other. Some missions are "Heroic", meaning that they are best completed in groups and as such their difficulty is increased beyond normal levels.
Classes and playable species
Within Star Wars: The Old Republic, there are a total of eight classes divided between the two factions, Republic and Imperial, and each class has two advanced classes. If players choose to side with the Galactic Republic, they can decide whether to be a Jedi Knight or Consular of the Jedi Order, a Republic trooper, or a smuggler. For the Sith Empire faction, players can choose between a bounty hunter, Imperial Agent, Sith Warrior, or Sith Inquisitor. When creating a character, there are nine different species available, though each class is restricted to only four or five by default. The species include the Chiss, cyborgs, Humans, Miraluka, Mirialans, Rattataki, Sith Purebloods, Twi'leks, Zabrak and Cathar.
The Trooper class is the primary long-range class for the Republic faction, and utilizes a variety of blaster weaponry depending on the player's advanced class. Players initially chose between a Cyborg, Human, Mirialan, or Zabrak before the release of game Update 1.2, and the two advanced classes for the Trooper are the Vanguard and the Commando. Vanguards are classified as Ranged Tanks or Close-Quarters Damage, and are equipped with rifles, melee weapons, and shield generators. The second advanced class, the Commando, is classified as either Ranged Damage or Healer, and they carry large assault cannons as their primary weapon. Both advanced classes share the Assault Specialist skill tree, which teaches the use of explosives and grenades, and the Vanguard's Tactics and Shield Specialist trees deal with close-range combat and shielding respectively. For the Commando, the Combat Medic tree boosts healing abilities, and the Gunnery tree aids in maximizing the damage dealt by assault cannons. The Trooper class starts on the planet Ord Mantell and receives a BT-7 Thunderclap as their personal vessel. The class's five companions are Aric Jorgan, M1-4X, Elara Dorne, Tanno Vik, and Yuun.
The Jedi Consular class is one of the two Force-using classes for the Republic faction, and primarily focuses on the use of Force powers for offense and defense over the use of a lightsaber. Players choose between the Jedi Shadow and Jedi Sage advanced classes. Shadows are classified as Melee Damage or Melee Tanks, and they make use of the Infiltration and Kinetic Combat skill trees. These trees teach stealth abilities and double-bladed lightsaber combat respectively, and the Shadow shares the Force power-based Balance skill tree with the Sage. The Sage advanced class is classified as either Ranged Damage or Healing, and they can train in the Telekinetics skill tree, which benefits offensive Force powers, or the Seer tree, which supports healing and protection, in addition to the Balance skill tree. Only the Human, Miraluka, Mirialan, Twi'lek, and Zabrak species were available for the Consular class initially, though the Legacy System unlocks the other species. Like the Jedi Knight class, the Consular receives a Defender-class light corvette as their personal vessel. The Consular class's five companions are Qyzen Fess, Nadia Grell, Zenith, Tharan Cedrax, and Felix Iresso.
The Smuggler class is the long-range covert class for the Republic faction, serving as the counterpart for the Imperial Agent class and favoring blaster weaponry, stealth abilities, and healing. The Smuggler's advanced classes are the Scoundrel, which focuses on healing and stealth, and the Gunslinger, which wields two blasters and focuses on damage, and both utilize the cover mechanic to fire on their enemies from relative safety. The Ranged Damage Gunslinger uses the Saboteur skill tree, which adds explosives and advanced technology abilities for prolonged fighting, and the Sharpshooter tree, which works on precision and high-damage attacks, and the two advanced classes share the Dirty Fighting tree which focuses on general damage and avoiding the enemy's attacks. The Scoundrel is designated as Close-Quarters Damage or Medicine/Healing, and the class makes use of either a single blaster or scattergun while using the healing-based Sawbones and stealth-based Scrapper skill trees. Only the Human, Cyborg, Mirialan, Twi'lek, and Zabrak species were initially available for the Smuggler though all species are now available, and the Smuggler uses a XS stock light freighter as their starship. The Smuggler's companions are Corso Riggs, Risha, Bowdaar, Akaavi Spar, and Languss Tuno,
The Jedi Knight is the second Force-using class for the Republic faction, and focuses on lightsaber combat with Force powers as a secondary asset. Players choose between the Jedi Guardian and Jedi Sentinel advanced classes, which focus on heavy armor and dealing damage respectively. Guardians, which wear heavy armor and carry a single lightsaber, are classified as Melee Tanks or Melee Damages, and they make use of the Vigilance and Defense skill trees. These trees teach single-blade combat and defensive abilities respectively, and the Force technique-centered Focus skill tree is shared by both Guardians and Sentinels. Sentinels are classified only as Melee Damage and make use of two lightsabers, forsaking the ability to use heavy armor in exchange for increased damage. The Sentinel's Watchman skill tree adds to the player's single-blade offensive potential, while the Combat tree teachs general combat to help quickly eliminate enemies. Only the Human, Miraluka, Mirialan, Twi'lek, and Zabrak species were initially available for the Jedi Knight, though all species are now available. The Knight class receives a Defender-class light corvette as their personal vessel just as the Consular does, and the Knight's five companions are T7-O1, Kira Carsen, Doc, Fideltin Rusk, and Lord Scourge.
The Bounty Hunter is the Empire's long-range tank class and counterpart to the Trooper, focusing on blaster weaponry, armor, and damage-dealing equipment and abilities. The Bounty Hunter advanced classes are the Powertech and the Mercenary: the Powertech wears heavy armor and shielding and focuses on defensive tactics, while the Mercenary focuses on overwhelming force, using missiles, blasters, and an array of other weapons. The Powertech can be classified as a Ranged Tank, Ranged Damage, or Close-Quarters Damage, and uses the Shield Tech and Advanced Prototype skill trees to boost one's defensive technology and to heighten the versatility of the player's gear and skills respectively. The Firebug skill tree, which focuses on missiles and flamethrowers, is shared between the Powertech and Mercenary, and the Mercenary makes use of the Arsenal and Bodyguard skill trees to focus on their rocketry or healing respectively. The Chiss, Cyborg, Human, Rattataki, and Zabrak species were available for this class initially, though the other species are now available. The Mercenary can be classified as Ranged Damage or Medicine/Healing. The Bounty Hunter uses a D5-Mantis Patrol Craft as their personal vessel, and the class's companions are Mako, Torian Cadera, Gault Rennow, Blizz, and Skadge.
The Sith Inquisitor is one of the Empire's Force-using classes and counterpart to the Jedi Consular class, focusing on Force powers over lightsaber combat. The Inquisitor's advanced classes are the Assassin, which uses a double-bladed lightsaber and stealth abilities, and the Sorcerer, which relies on offensive Force powers and healing. The Assassin is classified as either a Melee Damage or Melee Tank, and uses the Deception and Darkness skill tress, which add stealth abilities and defensive abilities respectively, and the Assassin shares the Force-focused Madness skill tree with the Sorcerer. The Sorcerer carries a single lightsaber in combat, serves in a Ranged Damage or Medicine/Healing role, and can access abilities from the Lightning skill tree or the healing-focused Corruption skill tree in addition to the Madness tree. The Human, Rattataki, Sith Pureblood, Twi'lek, and Zabrak species were available for the Inquisitor initially, though the other species are now available. The Inquisitor receives a Fury-class interceptor as a personal starship like the Sith Warrior, and the class's companions are Khem Val, Andronikos Revel, Ashara Zavros, Talos Drellik, and Xalek. The Inquisitor class has been criticized by players as being overpowered, as Sith Inquisitors are considered to far more effective in PvP Warzones than other classes.
The Imperial Agent class is the long-range covert class for the Empire, favoring stealth abilities and healing in addition to blaster weaponry. The advanced classes of the Imperial Agent class are the Sniper, which utilizes a long-range blaster file and improved probes to focus on damage, and the Operative, which focuses on healing and stealth. Both advanced classes utilize the cover mechanic to fire on their enemies from relative safety, and the two share the Lethality skill tree that benefits the Agent's toxin and poison skills. The Ranged Damage Sniper uses the Markmanship skill tree, which adds long-distance damage abilities from behind cover, and the Engineering tree, which benefits the Sniper's probe droids to damage enemies and aid the player. The Operative serves as Close-Quarters Damage or Medicine/Healing, and the class makes use of vibroknives, blaster, and improved darts while benefiting from the stealth-based Concealment tree and the healing-based Medic tree. Only the Chiss, Cyborg, Human, Rattataki, and Zabrak species were initially available for the Agent though all species are now available, and the Smuggler uses an X-70B Phantom-class prototype as their vessel. The Agent's companions are Kaliyo Djannis, Vector Hyllus, Eckard Lokin, Raina Temple, and Scorpio.
The Sith Warrior class is the counterpart to the Jedi Knight class, the primarily combat-based Force-using class of the Sith Empire. The advanced classes of the Warrior class are the Juggernaut and the Marauder, which focus on heavy armor and damage respectively, and the Juggernaut uses heavy armor and a single lightsaber while the Marauder uses two lightsabers. The Juggernaut serves as a Melee Tank or Melee Damage and uses thne Vengeance skill tree, which focuses on powerful attacks, and the Immortal skill tree, which grants defensive abilities and bonuses; both advanced classes also access the Rage skill tree that benefits Force powers. The Marauder, on the other hand, is a strictly Melee Damage class, and accesses the heavy attack-focused Annihilation tree and the Carnage tree that benefits attack speed. The Cyborg, Human, Sith Pureblood, Twi'lek, and Zabrak species were originally the only species availabe, though the other species are now available, and the Warrior uses a Fury-class interceptor as their starship. The Sith Warrior's companions are Vette, Malavai Quinn, Pierce, Jaesa Willsaam, and Broonmark.
Planets and quests
- "When you get in the game and you walk outside for the first time, you realize that you're in this gigantic Star Wars universe on this huge planet. Not only are you going to be running around for hours, [but] knowing that there's a dozen other planets to explore is overwhelming. Just the scope of the exploration is going to be hundreds of hours of Star Wars geekdom right there."
- ―Orion Kellogg
Star Wars: The Old Republic features a total of nineteen planets and two "hubs", and the galaxy map is divided into five regions: the "Coreward Worlds", "Distant Outer Rim", "Hutt Space", "Seat of the Empire" and the "Unknown Regions". Two of the nineteen planets, Dromund Kaas and Coruscant, are the capitals of each faction, and as such are only accessible by their respective faction. The only exception to this rule is the Jedi Knight class, which visits Dromund Kaas during the final mission of the class storyline, but otherwise Coruscant is only accessible by Republic players and Dromund Kaas by Imperials. Four planets serve as starting worlds for two classes, and like the rest of the planets in The Old Republic, they offer a number of secondary side missions that can be completed by any class in addition to the class storylines. The sixteen planets that are not starting worlds or capitals also offer a world arc of interconnected missions, and all of the planets in the game offer a number of Heroic Missions. A nineteenth planet, Oricon, was added in Game Update 2.4. Oricon differs from other planets in that while it includes a world arc, it lacks a spaceport and has Daily Missions instead of normal side quests.
Each planet's map is divided into different sections for ease of use by players, and players must explore the terrain and discover each of these sections' own areas to remove the shroud from their map. Bases and points of interest also feature Quick Travel points, which allows players to use a Quick Travel ability that lets them instantaneously travel back to the location from any place on the map but has a 30 minute cool-down, and speeders, which allow cheap travel between bases with no cool-down time. Additionally, players can use taxi services to travel between waypoints for a small number of credits. Both factions also maintain a "Republic Fleet" or "Imperial Fleet", which consists of a central space station—Carrick Station for the Republic and Vaiken Spacedock for the Empire—and two additional warships, which serve as hubs for Flashpoints and Operations. Carrick Station and Vaiken Spacedock possess the same layout and features, with the only difference being the aesthetic design themes that are unique to each faction.
A peaceful and beautiful planet located in the Core Worlds and long considered to be the Republic's soul, Alderaan is a Level 28-32 world that is embroiled in a brutal brutal civil war by the events of The Old Republic, and as such it is classified as an independent planet in the "Coreward Worlds" region. Alderaan is a world of verdant forests and valleys, snowy mountains, and rivers and lakes. Accessible by both Republic and Empire players, it serves as the third or fourth planet in Act I of class storylines depending on whether players visit Alderaan or Tatooine first. Republic players work with the Republic-allied House of Organa during Alderaan's world arc, while Imperials aid the House of Thul, and both factions' arcs end with a confrontation with Bouris Ulgo, the self-proclaimed King of Alderaan.
Balmorra is a world of rocky canyons, cliffs, and plateaus in the Colonies region, and it is one of two worlds in The Old Republic that presents different environments for the two different factions alongside Taris. Classified as an independent planet that lies within the galaxy map's "Core Worlds" region, Balmorra is visited by Imperial players between Levels 16-20, and the world arc and other missions deal with the continued fight against the Balmorran Resistance that has lasted since the Great Galactic War. While Imperial players visit Balmorra at the beginning of Act I, Republic players do not come to Balmorra until the start of Act II, when the beginning of the renewed war has prompted the Republic to send military aid to the resistance. Level 32-36 players work alongside the Republic Military and the resistance to drive the Empire off of Balmorra, though the events of the Jedi Consular storyline on Balmorra sees the ultimate defeat of the Empire and Balmorra's Sith governor, Darth Lachris.
An ice world located in the Outer Rim Territories, Belsavis is designed for players between Levels 41-44 and is situated in the "Distant Outer Rim" region on the galaxy map. It is the first main planet visited during Act III of all class storylines, and is the site of a secret Republic prison complex that has been set up in the tropical rifts that dot the planet's surface in addition to numerous Rakatan ruins. The planet is designated as a Galactic Republic world, and the primary world arc begins just after the Empire invades Belsavis—an action revealed during the Jedi Knight storyline to have been orchestrated by the Sith Emperor. In the primary world arc, Imperial players work to aid the invasion in the outer sections of the prison, but as they proceed deeper into the Rakatan section known as the Tomb, players aid the Empire in freeing the powerful Sith Lords known as the Dread Masters. The Republic world arc and secondary missions focus on containment of the prisoners and combating the Empire's invasion, though the later stages see players work to prevent the release of the entity known as the World Razer.
While Coruscant was considered to be the Republic's heart and Alderaan its soul, the planet Corellia was said to embody its sense of adventure and independence. A famous Core World with a storied history of spaceflight and independence, Corellia is a Level 47-50 planet located in the "Coreward Worlds" and is allied with the Republic. However, by the events of the game, Corellia is suffering under a lengthy and brutal invasion led by Darth Decimus, and Imperial players work to aid the occupation and defeat the native Green Jedi and Republic forces as the Republic Military begins to marshal its forces for a counterattack. The Republic arc, on the other hand, sees players aid that same struggling counterattack after the events of the Imperial world arc and eventually defeat three members of the Empire's ruling Dark Council—Darth Hadra, Darth Acharon, and Darth Decimus—in the fight to liberate Corellia. Later content confirms the Republic victory on Corellia, though the end-game Daily Mission area known as the Black Hole is set on Corellia in the aftermath of the battle. Corellia is the last planet of Act III for all classes, with Ilum containing only a world arc and secondary missions in addition to its PvP content.
The sprawling city-world that is the capital of the Galactic Republic, Coruscant is located in the "Coreward Worlds" region and is intended for players between Levels 10-16. Coruscant, Corellia, and Nar Shaddaa, as cosmopolitan planets with subzones scattered throughout the wide expanses of their cities, do not feature a traditional world map as the other planets do, instead showing an overview of the city with only the names and general outlines of each subzone along with any undiscovered speeder locations. By the time of the game, Coruscant is still suffering from the effects of the Sacking of Coruscant, and while the Senate Tower has been rebuilt along with the more prominent sections of the capital, the Jedi Temple remains in ruins and regions such as the Old Galactic Market are overrun by criminals.
The storm-wracked jungle world of Dromund Kaas serves as the capital of the Sith Empire out in the Outer Rim Territories, with the metropolis of Kaas City serving as the site of the Imperial Citadel and the seat of Imperial power. First visited by Imperial classes after the completion of their storylines on their respective starting worlds, Dromund Kaas is intended for players between Levels 10 and 16, and falls within the "Seat of the Empire" region on the Galaxy Map. Kaas City, the Dark Temple and Lord Grathan's estate are among the few locations that are not jungle when players arrive on Dromund Kaas, and the varied wildlife is a constant threat to any who leave the safety of Kaas City.
A frigid planet located in the Outer Rim, Hoth was the site of the final stages of a furious space battle in 3665 BBY, which left dozens of wrecked vessels scattered across the surface and forming the region known as the Starship Graveyard. Intended for players between Levels 37-41, Hoth is classified as contested due to the three-way battle between the Empire, Republic, and White Maw pirates, and it is located in the "Distant Outer Rim" region. The planet is the third that players visit during Act II of their class storylines, and the world arcs center around aiding either aiding the Republic against the Empire and White Maw or ensuring that the Republic continues to expend resources on an unwinnable battle on Hoth.
Nal Hutta, known simply as Hutta by the time of The Old Republic, is the swampy and foul world that serves as the headquarters of the Hutt Cartel in Hutt Space. Dominated by toxic marshes, squalid settlements, and the opulent palaces of various Hutts, Hutta serves as the starting planet for the Imperial Agent and Bounty Hunter classes and is intended for players up to Level 10. The game's events occur in and around the city of Jiguuna and the palaces of rival Hutts Suudaa Nem'ro and Fa'athra, and many of the secondary missions focus on either the crime lords' rivalry or the native Evocii's resistance against their Hutt oppressors. Hutta is also visited by the Sith Warrior class during Act I, when they confront Jedi Master Nomen Karr in a final battle.
A remote ice world located in the Unknown Regions, Ilum is considered to be a sacred world for the Jedi Order, and by the time of The Old Republic it has been invaded by the Empire. Designed for players who have completed their class storylines and reached Level 50, the contested planet of Ilum is split into two sections: the Eastern Ice Shelf, which features a number of missions for each faction, and the Western Ice Shelf, which is the site of an open player-versus-player area. The world arcs for both factions on Ilum lead directly to the Battle of Ilum Flashpoint, which sees groups of players fighting against the forces of Darth Malgus' New Empire. During the Relics of the Gree World Event, the Gree scientific vessel known as the Gray Secant appeared over the northern section of the Western Ice Shelf and began to alter the environment, facilitating the construction of numerous Gree structures and unleashing hostile combat specimens and security droids into the area. Ilum's PvP zone was also involved in the event, with several of the Event's Daily missions occurring within the area.
The site of the Sith Academy, Korriban is the homeworld of the original Sith species and later became the first Empire's tombworld. Located in the "Seat of the Empire", Korriban was reclaimed by the Empire at the beginning of the Great Galactic War—an event depicted in the Return cinematic trailer—and, as the starting planet for both the Sith Warrior and Inquisitor classes, the planet is intended for players up to Level 10. Events on Korriban within the game are set in the Sith Academy and the Valley of the Dark Lords, the site of many tombs of ancient Sith Lords, and the Sith Academy's Dark Council chamber is the setting for the final mission of both Sith classes.
Makeb is a resort world in the Mid Rim that was settled during the Mandalorian Wars, and the planet has a unique topography: Makeb is covered by towering mesas that reach thousands of meters into the air, and many of the mesas are breaking apart thanks to the Hutt Cartel's mining operations. The powerful mineral isotope-5 also warps the planet's atmosphere, preventing most starships from entering the atmopshere. A Level 50-55 world that is introduced in the Digital Expansion Rise of the Hutt Cartel, Makeb features lengthy world arcs for each faction, as well as plenty of daily and Heroic missions and even a mini-Operation, Toborro's Courtyard. The Republic world arc deals with rescuing Makeb's citizens and ends with the planet's apparent destruction, but Makeb somehow stabilizes before the planet entirely breaks apart. The Imperial storyline, which deals with the Empire's cover efforts to secure isotope-5 and therefore restore their advantage in the war, reveals the reason behind this, as Imperial players manage to stabilize the planet's core and prevent its destruction.
The moon of Nal Hutta in the Y'Toub system of Hutt Space, Nar Shaddaa is a decadent and crime-ridden version of Coruscant. Intended for players between Levels 20-24, Nar Shaddaa is officially a neutral world and is visited by both Republic and Imperial players after either Taris or Balmorra in Act I, though the only location accessibly by both factions in the Promenade shopping complex. As a city planet, Nar Shaddaa lacks a cohesive world map, and each faction explores a number of subzones that are directly adjacent to the other faction's areas. Nar Shaddaa was a major location in the Grand Acquisitions Race World Event alongside Dromund Kaas and Coruscant, with several of the nine items required for the event located in the moon's various districts.
The starting planet for the Trooper and Smuggler classes, Ord Mantell is a Mid Rim world that is dominated by oceans, islands, and larger continents. The events of the game occur on the island of Avilatan, and Ord Mantell is considered to a Republic-allied planet that lies within the northern section of the "Coreward Worlds". As a starting planet, it lacks a main world arc, but the isle of Avilatan is embroiled in a fierce civil conflict known as the Separatist War between the Republic and a Mantellian Separatist Movement that objects to the rampant corruption that plagues their planet's government. The Trooper and Smuggler class storylines result in the near destruction of the Separatists, which in turn leads to the events of the Cademimu V Flashpoint.
Oricon is a moon on the edges of the galaxy that is saturated with the dark side. A new Level 55 story area and Daily Mission Area introduced in Update 2.4: The Dread War, it is the site of the Dread Fortress, the seat of the Dread Masters' power. Just prior to the players' arrival, a Republic fleet has been destroyed over the moon, littering the region around the Dread Fortress with starship wreckage and possessed soldiers. Oricon features world arcs for each faction and a number of daily missions, and the world arcs lead directly into the Dread Fortress and Dread Palace Operations. Oricon lacks a spaceport: each faction's camp features a communications beacon that players must interact with to be picked up by their ship, which otherwise remains outside of the debris field around the moon.
Located in Hutt Space, Quesh is a planet that possesses a toxic atmosphere which belies the world's potential value. The chemicals that compose Quesh's atmosphere and are buried in Quesh's surface, which were brought to the surface during the Quake millennia earlier, are refined by the Republic and their allies the Three Families into valuable adrenals. Players arrive on Quesh just as the Empire has launched an invasion, and while the planet possesses a world arc, it is rather short and each class only has a single mission there. Imperial players aid Moff Dracen's efforts to draw the Republic into open war and eliminate the three Hutts who make up the Three Families, and the Republic storyline—which occurs chronologically after the Empire storyline—deals with General Korvan's efforts to drive Dracen and his forces off Quesh.
A city-planet destroyed early in the events of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Taris has slowly crept back to life over the last three centuries, resulting in an urban wasteland that is gradually being reclaimed by nature. Located in the "Seat of the Empire," Taris is designed for Republic players between Level 18-22 and is visited at the beginning of Act I. The planet's world arc deals with the Taris resettlement initiative, a government program under the leadership of Governor Leontyne Saresh, and the vicious rakghouls are among the wildlife encountered on Taris' surface. The wreck of the Endar Spire is one of many references to the events of Knights of the Old Republic that are present on Taris, such as a mission investigating the fates of the Outcasts. Imperial players arrive at the beginning of Act II, between Levels 32-36, and they work with the Imperial invaders in order to destroy the resettlement initiative and return Taris to its previous state of devastation.
A desert planet in the Outer Rim Territories, Tatooine is visited by players halfway through Act I, between Levels 24-28. Republic players visit the city of Anchorhead, while Imperials land in the occupied settlement of Mos Ila, and players explore the Jundland Wastes and Dune Sea regions—both of which originated are locations that originated in the first Star Wars films. Other elements from the original movies are also present, such as the Tusken Raiders, Jawas, and the sarlacc pit. Both the Republic and the Empire's world arcs deal with an abandoned Czerka Corporation excavation project in the Dune Sea; players work with either the SIS or the Imperial Reclamation Service as they locate the excavation and discover that Czerka found a Rakatan device—a device that contained a Rakata known as the Imprisoned One. Other missions on the planet involve Tusken Raiders, Jawas, or the various pirate groups and mercenaries throughout the desert. Tatooine was the primary focus of the Rakghoul Pandemic World Event, as the crashed Stardream spread the rakghoul plague across the world.
The ancient homeworld of the Jedi Order, Tython is a fertile and mountainous planet located in the Deep Core. Rediscovered by Satele Shan shortly after the Treaty of Coruscant, Tython is inhabited by the savage Flesh Raiders and an illegal colony of Twi'lek Pilgrims, and serves as the starting planets for the Jedi Knight and Jedi Consular classes. As a starting planet, Tython lacks a world arc, though the majority of the planet's missions deal with the Flesh Raiders or various problems relating to the Jedi Order or the Pilgrims, and Jedi players return to Tython frequently during their later class Arcs. Tython also features some of the earliest appearances of materials related to the Je'daii Order, the Jedi's predecessors.
A mysterious planet located in the Tion Cluster, north of Hutt Space, Voss is home to two species: the Force-sensitive Voss, and the hostile and far more numerous Gormak. Voss is the second planet visited during Act III, and is designed for players between Levels 44-47. The Voss are a neutral species, and the planet's world arcs deal with both the Republic and the Empire trying to win the Voss' allegiance and therefore the aid of their prophetic abilities. However, both factions discover the truth of the Voss' origins—they were a splinter group of Gormak who were trained by Jedi and underwent radical evolutionary changes—after defeating the Gormak king Jokull and confronting the dark entity Sel-Makor, and they can choose whether to reveal the truth to the Voss or keep it secret in order to ensure an alliance.
Basic Space Combat
- "In keeping with the original Star Wars films, the Space Combat system in Star Wars: The Old Republic is designed to make travel times literally fly-by, while combat runs and space battles put you in the pilot's seat for a fast-paced and highly cinematic experience. Like Luke Skywalker in the original assault on the Death Star, you'll also discover that even a lone starship can change the course of galactic history."
- ―Space Combat Overview on the Holonet
Star Wars: The Old Republic features a number of space combat missions, where players pilot their ship on a pre-determined path in locales across the galaxy. Players cannot change their ship's course, though they are able to move up-and-down and side-to-side within the screen in order to avoid obstacles, such as asteroids or enemy vessels. Ships are equipped with laser cannons, accessible with the left mouse button, and a limited number of missiles, accessed by the right mouse button, and the space bar causes a barrel roll. Players' shields only regenerate when the ships are not firing cannons, and damage taken while a ship's shields are gone destroys a ship's armor. Upgrades of various levels will increase a ship's ability to hold its own in combat, and Game Update 1.6 introduced Levels 6 and 7 ship upgrades to go along with the new Heroic space combat mission. Upon receiving their ship, Republic players are recruited into the Coruscant Aegis squadron, while Imperial players become members of the Empire's Fury squadron, and the two squadrons serve as story background for the missions. All space combat missions are based on three basic scenarios: attacking an enemy space station, escorting a friendly vessel to safety, and attacking an enemy fleet. All space stations are of the same model, though the enemy targets and friendly vessels vary from level to level, and various bonus missions may completed as well. Completing space combat missions, as well as any of the repeatable daily missions available to either faction, rewards players with Fleet Commendations that can be spent on various ship upgrades. With Update 1.6, a number of Heroic Space Missions were introduced for each faction, which are available starting at Level 50 and are recommended for players who have purchased Level 7 ship upgrades from the Cartel Market.
Ships, Crew, and game modes
- "It is fast, furious dogfighting action where you get to choose your style of play by selecting the Starfighter that is right for you, be it Scout, Strike Fighter or Gunship (or all of the above!), blowing up your enemies, and then using Requisition (experience) to upgrade and customize your ships."
- ―Blaine Christine
The Free-to-Play Digital Expansion Galactic Starfighter introduces player vs. player space combat in the form of 12v12 dogfight matches, as well as a variety of features to accompany the core combat element. Gameplay and the user interface are significantly different from ground gameplay, as well as the traditional space combat. So far, three starship classes have been announced for Galactic Starfighter: the Scout, Strike Fighter, and Gunship, and a fourth—the Bomber—will be released when the expansion goes live in February.
- Scout Class Starfighters have high speed, high maneuverability, and a boost ability, and possess Rocket Pods in addition to their blaster cannons. Team-oriented Scout ships such as the Republic's default NovaDive or the Empire's default S-12 Blackbolt can use a number of devices, such as a Slicing Device to scramble an enemy's navigation systems and tag their location, or a Sensor Beacon to help track the enemy's movements. Other Scout ships, such as the Flashfire and the S-13 Sting, are designed for ship-to-ship combat. They exchange some of their maneuverability and speed for heavier firepower—they feature Rapid-Fire Laser Cannons and Cluster Missiles to overwhelm the shields of enemy fighters, and have access to the Blaster Overcharge and Booster Recharge systems. Scout Class Starfighters were based on the A-wing and the TIE interceptor. Another Scout model is the IL-5 Ocula, also known as the IL-5 Skybolt for the Republic; they are acquired exclusively through the Cartel Market.
- Strike Fighters are ships designed to take on both stationary objectives and other starships, balancing firepower and maneuverability. Strike Fighters rely on the ability yto equip and swap between either two primary or two secondary weapons depending on the specific class of ship. The FT-8 Star Guard and the F-T6 Rycer, the default Strike Fighters, are both capable of swapping primary weapons, which include Quad Lasers and Ion Cannons, and secondary weapons include Cluster Missiles and Concussion Missiles. Some Strike Fighters also feature Directional Shields, which can be toggled to specific directions; the primary threat to Strike Fighters is being disabled by an Interdiction Drive or Sabotage Probe from enemy Scouts and Gunships. The F-T2 Quell and FT-6 Pike, which are purchasable with Fleet Requisition, carry two different types of missiles, and the TZ-24 Enforcer/Gladiator model is available for purchase in the Cartel Market.
- Gunships are the third class of ship, and each Gunship features at least one long-distance Railgun with a zoom firing mode available. Some Gunships can swap between different Railguns: the Ion Railgun drains the enemy's power, the Plasma Railgun inflicts heavy damage over time, and the Slug Railgun penetrates enemy shields. Gunships survive best when they remain hidden, as they cannot move when using the Railgun, though they can still turn and strafe. Gunships can use a variety of shields as well—the Feedback Shield charges the ship's shields with energy and releases it upon enemies when hit, and the Fortress Shield can double a ship's shields but render them motionless. The Rotational Thrusters allow Gunships to quickly rotate under fire, and the Interdiction Drive boosts a ship's speed and cripples the enemy's speed to allow for getaways. The GSS-3 Mangler and SGS-45 Quarrel are the only model of gunships currently available for the Empire and Republic respectively.
- Bombers are a fourth class of ships that will be introduced in the full launch of Galactic Starfighter in February 2014. The Empire's B-4D Legion and Republic's Warcarrier both carry a drone turret and missiles, while the Empire's M-7 Razorwire and Republic's Rampart Mark Four are designed as minelayers. Both models will be available to unlock with a number of Fleet Requisition in February.
Components are the basic building blocks of a starfighter; every ship can be equipped with five major components and four minor components. The major components grant weapons and active combat abilities, and minor components grant passive boosts to various statistics. Ships start out with one default component in each slot, though each slot has a number of different options that can be unlocked and used, and each ship has a different set of components that can be equipped. Each component has three to five tiers of upgrades that can be purchased to increase its effectiveness or add additional functionality. Major components have two upgrades in the higher tiers that offer different improvements, allowing for players to construct unique ships. All unlocks and upgrades for starships are purchased with Requisition, a new form of currency that is earned by completing Starfighter battles—participation is rewarded by Requisition, the winning team receives a large bonus, and individual actions can result in Requisition as well. Each ship in a player's hangar has a pool of daily Requisition, like the rest experience gained from waiting in a cantina or safe zone, and the daily Requisition doubles the rate at which a ship earns Requisition until that pool is used up. Once a ship has been fully upgraded in each component, the ships is considered Mastered and will earn Requisition at a higher rate. Requisition is divided into Ship Requisition, which is tied to specific ships, and Fleet Requisition, which can be used on any of a player's ships. Ship Requisition can be converted into Fleet Requisition by spending Cartel Coins.
Galactic Starfighter also introduces Crew Members—companions that man players' starships. Each faction has a set of four entirely new Crew Members, and players can also use their class's companions as Crew Members. For a Requisitions fee, players can also unlock the companions of other classes. Crew Members serve two primary purposes: Copilots and Support Crews. Crew Members serving on a player's Support Crew work on ships while they are not in combat, and each Crew Member fills on of the four slots: Offensive, Defensive, Engineering, and Tactical. Each companion or Crew Member has a specialty, and they grant a unique combination of two passive bonuses when assigned. Copilots are chosen from the four current Crew Members on the Support Crew, and each copilot grants a different active ability in addition to their passive bonuses when selected as the copilot. The four Imperial Crew Members are Aven Geth (Engineering), MZ-12 (Offensive), Salana Rok (Tactical), and Witch Hurley (Defensive), while the Republic Crew Members are Ashy (Engineering), B-3G9 (Offensive), Kendra Novar (Tactical), and Oro Wogawa (Defensive).
So far, only the Domination game mode has been introduced to Galactic Starfighter. Domination involves a series of objectives that must be captured and defended, and teams gain points for maintaining control of an objective.
User interface and gameplay
- "From the start, we wanted to make sure that we nailed the feel of “free flight” Star Wars space combat, so we’ve taken great pains to get the controls just right. It is flat out fun to simply fly your ship through the battle zones we’ve created. The Scout feels zippy and maneuverable, the Strike Fighter nails the all-purpose combat role, and the Gunship is really, really good at picking off targets from long range then relocating to the next cover point to keep out of harm’s way."
- ―Blaine Christine
The content for Galactic Starfighter centers around the primary menu, which is accessed by pressing the H key or an icon on the minimap, and the menu features five tabs: Ships, Components, Cosmetics, Crew, and Launch. The Ship tab organizes ships under each of their respective types, and at the time of Early Access, there are a total of 14 ships available with 10 additional ships planned for release in February. The Components tab allows players to select components for their starship out of their currently unlocked components and install them, and the Cosmetics tab is used to alter cosmetic details of the ship such as paint jobs and the color of weapon discharges. The Crew tab allows players to choose which Crew Members or companions they want to use as their Support Crew, and the Launch tab enters a player into the queue for a match. The heads-up display in combat is largely similar to the basic interface of ground gameplay, though the minimap is moved to the upper right corner and displays the entire battlefield regardless of the player's position. Next to the map is the scoreboard, which also features icons for objectives; the icon's color indicates which team controls the objective, and dots surrounding the main icon indicate how many turrets remain around the objective. The firing arc is located in the center of the screen, and features orange, purple, and blue curved bars on the left and right sides of the circle. The orange bar on the left measures the weapon power pool, while the purple bar on the right measures the engine power pool. The blue bar on the right indicates the speed at which the ship is traveling, and a smaller circle—the missile targeting reticle—is located within the larger firing arc; players must keep enemy ships within the smaller reticle to fire missiles, and within the larger circle to target them with cannons.
In the bottom left corner of the screen, there is a circular display with an icon of the player's ship surrounded by two rings. The rings, which are divided into two sections to signify forward and rear shields, will change color to indicate how much damage has been taken. If the shields are completely depleted, they will not regenerate. The ship icon in the middle represents hull integrity, and will change color depending on how damaged the ship is. To the right of the display are three bars that represent power conversions; the F1, F2, and F3 keys can switch the conversions between Blaster, Shield, and Engine power conversions. On the bottom of the screen, a simplified quickbar that displays six buttons allows players access to the ship's abilities. Slots 1-4 are mapped to the number keys 1-4, and the remaining two abilities are mapped to the left and right mouse buttons. Abilities vary between ships and components, though the left mouse button is always blaster fire and the right mouse button is for missiles, rockets, or railguns. In combat, distant enemy ships will be framed by small square boxes with the player's name above them, and if a player manually selects them or uses the tab button to lock on, a targeting reticle will appear as well as a circle indicating their project flight path. Once the enemy is in missile range, the targeting reticle will turn red, and if the enemy is in blaster range, the targeting reticle and circle will both turn red. Gunships also feature sniper-like scopes for their railguns, and the scope indicates how charged the railgun is.
Movement is controlled by the keyboard: the W and S keys are acceleration and deacceleration, the A and D keys are roll left or right, the X key stops the engines, and the space bar engages the afterburners. Holding the Shift key with W or S will strafe up or down. The camera can also be shifted to various modes—holding down the F key engages the free-look camera that does not move the ship, while holding the Z key frees the mouse cursor from the camera. Holding the C key shifts the camera to look at an enemy target, and the Tab button cycles the targeting system through nearby enemy players. The E key allows for manually targeting an enemy near the mouse cursor, and R targets the enemy player who just hit the player. Sensors also play a key role, with four sensor attributes whose range vary between different ships: Sensor Detection, Sensor Dampening, Sensor Communication, and Sensor Focus Range. Sensor Detection. Sensor Detection determines how far away an enemy ship can be detected, while Sensor Dampening reduces the distance from which an enemy can detect the player; the range of an enemy's Sensor Dampening is subtracted from the player's Sensor Detection to determine the actual range of the player's sensors in regard to that enemy. Sensor Communication determines how far away friendly ships can broadcast detected enemy ships—friendly ships within an ally's Sensor Communication range can see all of the enemy ships that the ally has detected.
Outside of the class storylines and the standard side missions, The Old Republic also features over a dozen Flashpoints: four-person missions that take groups of players to specifically-designed story environments where they face large numbers of enemies, alignment choices that affect the Flashpoint's storyline, a series of powerful bosses, and a number of puzzles that require multiple players. Of the eighteen Flashpoints currently available, six of them are restricted by faction, with two starting Flashpoints for each faction and a set of four interconnected Flashpoints divided between the Republic and the Empire.
- Flaspoint: The Black Talon is the starting Flashpoint for the Imperial faction, intended for players at Level 11 who have just completed their starting planet. Players board the Gage-class transport Black Talon in order to travel from Vaiken Spacedock to Dromund Kaas, but are recruited by Grand Moff Rycus Kilran in order to stage a mutiny against Captain Revinal Orzik. After taking control of the Black Talon, players comply with Kilran's original orders to Orzik and attack the Republic warship Brentaal Star, and eventually board the enemy vessel in order to capture or kill the Imperial defector known as the General. A Hard Mode for the Flashpoint is available at Level 50.
- Flashpoint: The Esseles is the Republic counterpart to Flashpoint: The Black Talon, as it is intended for Republic players around Level 11 who have just completed their starting planet. Players board the Republic transport Esseles, bound for Coruscnat from Carrick Station, and are forced to defend the vessel from Imperial boarders when Grand Moff Kilran attacks the Esseles with his flagship the Emperor's Glory. Kilran is seeking Ambassador Vyn Asara, who is secretly aboard the Esseles, and players must board the Emperor's Glory in order to disable the ship's tractor beam and free the Esseles. A Hard Mode of this Flashpoint is available for Level 50 players.
- Flashpoint: Hammer Station is the first Flashpoint that can be undertaken by both factions, and it is intended for players around Level 17. The Advozse Hegemony, a radical xenophobic splinter faction of the Advozse species, has acquired the long-lost Republic battle station known as the Hammer, and players board the station above Saleucami in order to destroy the station and prevent the Advozse from bombarding Saleucami's surface with asteroids. Both factions proceed along the same path through the station, and the Flashpoint ends after a confrontation with the Advozse Battlelord Kreshan and the station's destruction.
- Flashpoint: Athiss is a shared Flashpoint intended for players around Level 21. A Republic archaeological team has gone missing on the ancient Sith planet of Athiss, where the mad Sith Lord Vodal Kressh made his sanctuary, and the archaeologists unknowingly invoked the wrath of Kressh's followers. Republic and Imperial players respond to a distress call and fight through Kressh's followers to finally confront the Prophet of Vodal Kressh and destroy Kressh's relics to end the threat they pose.
- Flashpoint: Mandalorian Raiders is a shared Flashpoint designed to be undertaken by players around Level 25. It centers around the Mandalorian Clan Varad and their theft of the powerful Republic warship Allusis, which they are using to terrorize the Tamarin sector. Players from both factions board the Allusis and fight through the forces of Clan Varad, but unlike other Flashpoints, players encounter their opposite number—one of the bosses of the Flashpoint is a four-person strike team composed of the opposite faction's four different classes. The Flashpoint ends after the defeat of Clan Varad's leader, Mavrix Varad.
- Flashpoint: Cademimu is a shared Flashpoint designed for players around Level 29. The planet Cademimu V, a Republic missile depot located at a vital point along the Celanon Spur hyperlane, is in chaos after its corrupt governor Chornarov declared the planet's independence and imposed martial law with the help of the surviving members of the Mantellian Separatist Movement whom Chornarov had sheltering after the movement's defeat. Republic and Empire players are dispatched to the planet to seize control of the missile depot before a fleet from the opposing faction arrives, and the Flashpoint ends after the players defeat the Mantellian war criminal General Ortol and take control of the depot.
- Flashpoint: Taral V is a Republic Flashpoint designed for players around Level 33 and is the first in a series of four interconnected Flashpoints that focus on the Jedi Master Revan. At the request of the Jedi Entity, the ghost of Meetra Surik, the Jedi Master Oteg summons the players to his flagship and dispatches them to recover a Gree computer from an Imperial military base on the planet Taral V. The computer is needed to navigate the Maelstrom, a nebula where the Entity claims that a powerful Jedi prisoner is being held. The players infiltrate the base and successfully retrieve the computer despite Grand Moff Rycus Kilran's attempts to kill them, and Oteg's fleet prepares to assault the Maelstrom prison.
- Flashpoint: Maelstrom Prison is the second Republic Flashpoint in the series of Flashpoints dealing with Revan, and it is designed for players around Level 37. Having acquired the means to safely navigate the Maelstrom on Taral V, Master Oteg leads his fleet to the prison at the nebula's heart so that the players can board the station and free the prisoner. As they fight through the prison's defenders and inmates, Grand Moff Kilran arrives and engages the Republic fleet, and he himself confronts the Republic team aboard the prison. After defeating Kilran, the players free the prisoner and learn of his identity as Revan, and after the Republic fleet escapes, the Jedi Master decides to pursue his own war against the Empire.
- Flashpoint: Boarding Party is the first Imperial Flashpoint in the Revan series, and while it is designed for players around Level 33, chronologically it occurs after the Maelstrom Prison Flashpoint. The Empire has learned of Revan's plans to use the Rakatan space station known as the Foundry to produce an army of war droids to use against the Empire, and they decide to sneak through the Republic blockade around the Foundry by sending the players to capture the Republic frigate Dorin's Sky. Players lead the Imperial boarding party in capturing the vessel and defeating its crew so that it can be used as a Trojan Horse against the Republic blockade.
- Flashpoint: The Foundry is the final Flashpoint in the Revan series, and is designed for players around Level 37 as the Imperial counterpart to the Maelstrom Prison Flashpoint. Picking up where Flashpoint: Boarding Part left off, the Flashpoint sees players board the Foundry and fight their way through the army of droids and Republic soldiers inside. In the process, the players learn that Revan intends to unleash his droids upon the galaxy to purge all those of Sith descent, and after defeating Revan's assassin droid HK-47, the Imperials engage the Jedi Master himself in a battle to the death. A defeated Revan vanishes in a flash of light, and Darth Malgus claims the Foundry for the Empire.
- Flashpoint: Colicoid War Game is a shared Flashpoint designed for players around Level 41, and it is unconventional in regards to other Flashpoints in that it is an open-air environment with good visibility. The insectoid Colicoids have typically remained neutral in galactic conflicts while they sell their powerful weapons and technology to both sides, but they have recently decided to align with either the Republic or the Empire. To decide which faction, the Colicoids are hosting a war game on a remote asteroid in the Outer Rim, and the Republic and the Empire send players to compete in the games. After surviving several waves of Colicoids in the Hive Battleground arena, players must then complete a hazard course that features multiple mini-bosses, and the third and final part of the Flashpoint is a confrontation with the Annihilator 6K-A2 war droid.
- Flashpoint: The Red Reaper is a shared Flashpoint designed for players around Level 45. Seventy years earlier, the pureblood Sith Lord Darth Ikoral departed on a campaign to locate other Sith purebloods as part of his obsession with genetic superiority, and he has returned aboard his flagship Red Reaper with an army of Sith to purge the galaxy of lesser beings. The Red Reaper's attacks on both Imperial and Republic forces lead the two governments to dispatch strike teams to board the Red Reaper during its attack on the planet Chandrila, and players fight through Ikoral's pureblood disciples as they head into the depths of the vessel. The Flashpoint ends after a confrontation with Ikoral himself.
- Flashpoint: Directive 7 is a shared elder game Flashpoint designed for players at Level 48. A faction of renegade droids calling themselves Directive 7 have rebelled against organics and established a base on the moon of Zadd, from which they plan to eradicate all biological life. After several Republic colonies and an Imperial fleet succumb to the rebellion, an anonymous traitor leaks information to both galactic powers on the rebellion. Players are sent to infiltrate the movement's base on Zadd, and after fighting through the rogue droids, they encounter their droid informant and rush to halt the rebellion's leader—a massive computer intelligence known as Mentor—from unleashing a virus to turn every droid in the galaxy to the movement's cause. The Flashpoint ends after Mentor's destruction.
- Flashpoint: The Battle of Ilum is a shared elder game Flashpoint designed for players at Level 50 or higher. At the end of both the Republic and Imperial world arcs on Ilum, Darth Malgus declares a New Empire in the absence of the Sith Emperor; his New Empire weclomes aliens as well as humans, and Malgus seizes control of the missing Sith Emperor's space station to use as his own. With allies like the Kaleesh, Ongree, the Anomid Schism Collective, and many other species, Malgus's forces invade the embattled world of Ilum and turn it into a three-way war. As a result, the players are sent by their respective factions to recover one of Malgus's stealth ships in order to board the Emperor's space station, and the players fight their way through Malgus's alien allies amid the chaos of the battlefield. The Flashpoint ends when players defeat the Sith Lord Darth Serevin and secure the stealth ship.
- Flashpoint: The False Emperor is a shared elder game Flashpoint, designed for Level 50 and higher players, and continues the story from the Battle of Ilum. Taking the stealth ship acquired in the Battle of Ilum Flashpoint, players board the Emperor's space station and fight their way through the New Empire's soldiers and alien allies. When they encounter the Schism Collective's leader Arkis Wode, players are forced to fight a rebuilt and reprogrammed HK-47, and then fight their way through the New Imperial Guard to Malgus's throne room. In the final fight with the self-declared Emperor, the players' faction gains the upper hand in the space battle outside, and Malgus is defeated and falls into the depths of the dying station just before the players escape to safety.
- Flashpoint: Kaon Under Siege was the first new Flashpoint to be introduced to the game after its release, and it is an elder game Flashpoint designed for players at Level 50. As part of Update 1.1: Rise of the Rakghouls, the Flashpoint sees players travel to the planet Kaon in the Tion Hegemony, which is currently experiencing a rakghoul outbreak of unknown origins. Players initially help the Kaon forces maintain the quarantine, but as the rakghoul threat spreads, players fight their way into the heart of Kaon City to find where the outbreak originated, battling through swarms of rakghouls in the process. After defeating a trio of powerful rakghoul soldiers in a Kaon spaceport, players encounter a smuggler named Milarra who unknowingly brough the rakghoul plague to Kaon, having been hired for a delivery by Doctor Sannus Lorrick on Ord Mantell.
- Flashpoint: The Lost Island was added in Update 2.2 as a sequel to Kaon Under Siege, and the Flashpoint is designed for Level 50 players as it picks up where Kaon Under Siege left off. In order to put a stop to Lorrick's plans to use the rakghoul virus as a weapon to conquer the Tion Hegemony, players storm his remote island laboratory on Ord Mantell, fighting their way through the wildlife that has been mutated by Lorrick's experiments. Fighting through the mutated creatures and Lorrick's defense droids, players defeat the mutated savrip known as Project Sav-Rak, as well as other twisted experiments and rakghoul-infected soldiers that Lorrick has been experimenting on before finally confronting the doctor himself. Lorrick uses his subordinates, whom he infected with the virus after they rejected his intentions with the rakghoul virus, as weapons against the players before injecting himself with the virus, and the Flashpoint ends with Lorrick's death.
- Flashpoint: Czerka Corporate Labs is an elder game Flashpoint designed for players at Level 55, and is the first in the Czerka Flashpoint arc. Players enter the Czerka research facility CZ-198 and are forced to fight through Czerka security forces as they descend through the Atrium and down into the rest of the facility. Refusing to allow either the Republic or the Empire to take his company, Rasmus Blys continues to send security forces to stop the players as they fight to reach Blys himself in his private labs where he has been experimenting on Flesh Raiders from Tython. Blys is killed in the ensuing confrontation that ends the Flashpoint, but not before he activates the living security system known as the Vigilant, leading to the events of the second Czerka Flashpoint.
- Flashpoint: Czerka Core Meltdown is an elder game Flashpoint designed for players at Level 55, and picks up where the previous Czerka Flashpoint left off. The Flashpoint sees players enter the biological weapons research division of CZ-198, where they are forced to fight their way through security droids and various enhanced animals in the Green Habitat Zone, Desert Habitat Zone, and Jungle Habitat Zone. Players then confront the Vigilant, the biologically-enhanced Flesh Raider that serves as CZ-198's security system. Fighting through Flesh Raider guards to reach the Vigilant, players destroy the Vigilant's computer systems before fighting the monstrous creature itself.
In addition to Flashpoints, The Old Republic also includes a number of Operations, which are mission-events similar to Flashpoints but require groups of either eight or sixteen players, and Operations are designed to be significantly more challenging than Flashpoints.
- Operation: Karagga's Palace, also known as Hutt Hospitality, is one of The Old Republic's two original Operations that were designed for Level 50 players. While the introduction varies slightly between the factions, the Operation centers on the Hutt Cartel's recent military expansion and their severing of ties with the Sith Empire. Players are sent to Karagga's palace on the planet of Hutta to demand a meeting with the Supreme Mogul of the Cartel in order to gain answers, and the players are forced to battle the Cartel forces defending the facility. While fighting through the palace, players encounter a number of powerful bosses: the rancor Bonethrasher, bounty hunters Jarg and Sorno, the Kintan crusher Foreman Crusher, and Karagga himself in an enormous war droid. After defeating Karagga, the players learn that the Cartel's actions were incited by a recent series of attacks on Cartel space. The Operation's storyline links together several plotlines within The Old Republic, as the the Sith Lords known as the Dread Masters are responsible for the attacks on the Cartel, and Karagga's death leads to the ascension of his successor Toborro in Rise of the Hutt Cartel.
- Operation: Eternity Vault is one of the two original Operations designed for Level 50 players. Republic and Imperial players are sent to the planet Belsavis when their respective factions realize that a Rakatan prison known as the Eternity Vault was been broken open by recent fighting. The players' warship is shot down over Belsavis, forcing them to board escape pods, and players approach the Eternity Vault on foot amid a snowstorm. After defeating the Annihilation Droid XRR-3 at the gates of the Eternity Vault, players make their way deeper into the Eternity Vault, fighting various droids and creatures as they go before encountering the massive Gharj creature in a lava cave. After defeating him, players bypass the puzzle defenses of the prison and then confront the Infernal Council, a group of Sith imprisoned in the Vault. The final boss is the gargantuan Rakata Soa, the Infernal One, who was imprisoned in the Eternity Vault by his own species. The Operation ends with Soa's defeat.
- Operation: Explosive Conflict was the first Operation to be added to the game after the initial release, and it focuses on the planet Denova, which hosts large reserves of the valuable explosive material baradium. Several months prior, the Republic hired the Trandoshan warlord Kephess and his Warstalkers mercenary army to secure the planet, but Kephess recently declared himself rogue along with the Imperial forces who were fighting the Warstalkers on Denova. The players are sent to investigate the reason behind Kephess's betrayal, and they fight through Kephess's forces and rogue Imperials upon arriving on Denova. After defeating Kephess's lieutenants Toth and Zorn, players continue onward and encounter the powerful tanks Firebrand and Stormcaller. The Operation's third boss is the former Imperial Colonel Vorgath, and the final boss is Kephess himself. Kephess is slain, but the Dread Masters reveal themselves to the players and their respective faction after the fight, explaining that Kephess was their puppet and this was only the beginning. Kephess is also resurrected by the Dread Masters, who withdraw their pawn for use in future plans.
- Operation: Terror From Beyond is an Operation added as the main focus of Game Update 1.4 .
- Operation: Scum and Villainy
- Operation: Dread Fortress
- Operation: Dread Palace
PvP and Warzones
Star Wars: The Old Republic features two different styles of player-vs.-player combat, or PvP: Warzones and open-world PvP zones. Two open-world zones, the Outlaw's Den on Tatooine and the Contested Zone on Ilum's Western Ice Shelf, are accessible through general exploration and are open to all players.
Warzones are accessible only through the Warzone queue system, which allows players to enter Warzones with other players from the server and return to the same location after the Warzone is completed. As of Game Update 1.6, there are a total of five Warzones, and Update 2.4 introduced the sixth type. Update 2.4 also removed 8-vs.-8 Ranked Warzones, as there was not enough demand for games to fill up.
- The Civil War is an objective-based Warzone that occurs during the planet's civil war, and features three gun emplacements situated in a valley with a ship for each faction hovering at either end of the valley. Teams of eight players takes speeder bikes down from their faction ships to the valley's surface, where they battle the opposing team for control of the three emplacements. An emplacement under one faction's control inflicts periodic damage on the other faction's transport, and the warzone ends when one faction's ship is destroyed.
- The Voidstar is a conquest Warzone that takes place on the Voidstar, a recently rediscovered Imperial prototype warship. One team of eight players attempts to fight their way to the ship's datacore while the second attempts to stop them, and the teams then switch places. Players must plant bombs on one of the two blast doors for each of three rooms, and if the players reach the final room before the timer runs out, they attempt to access the datacore. If the second team succeeds in opening a chamber that the previous team did not, the Warzone ends with the second team's victory.
- Huttball is a capture-the-flag style Warzone set on Nar Shaddaa, where teams of eight players attempt to carry the Huttball to the opposing team's endzones. The arena features acid pits, elevated walkways, pits, and flame-jets, and the team with the highest score wins when the Warzone timer ends. Players are able to pass the ball between their team, and players steal the ball from opposing players by killing them in combat.
- Novare Coast is an objective-based Warzone introduced in Game Update 1.2, and it occurs on the Novare Coast of Denova. Teams of eight players attempt to take control of the three gun emplacements in order to destroy the other team's base, which unlike the Alderaan Warzone is located directly adjacent to the battlefield. When players of the same faction face each other, the Warzone is described as a live-fire simulation of the battle on Denova.
- Ancient Hypergate is a unique Warzone introduced in Game Update 1.6, and it sees players battling on the planet Seline to take control of a set of two energy pylons. By taking control of the pylons, each eight-player team is able to activate the nearby Hypergate for their faction and summon reinforcements that wipe out the opposing team.
- Warzone Arenas are a new type of Warzone introduced in Game Update 2.4: The Dread War that are basic player-vs.-player combat with two teams of four players. A Last Team Standing type of Warzone, Arenas task players with the elimination of the other team. Three "Arenas of Death" were introduced in the update: Corellia, a farm on Tatooine, and an Orbital Station, which all lack the environmental hazards common to other Warzone types. If neither team is victorious after a certain amount of time, a toxic gas cloud known as Sudden Death will gradually envelop the Arena from the edges in; Sudden Death takes players out of stealth and into combat, and applies a damage-over-time effect.
With the launch of Game Update 2.4.3, the developers ended pre-season for Ranked PvP, and began Season One for Ranked PvP. Intended to last around six months, Season One will feature web-based leaderboards that will include players' ranked and solo ratings, and players' performance in Ranked matches will affect their standings on in the season. The end of the season will see different tiers of players receive unique rewards.
Daily Mission Areas
Daily Mission Areas are small environments in which elder game players can complete a series of Daily Missions, missions that are repeatable once per day, with a Weekly Mission that rewards players who complete all of the Daily Missions in the area once per week. So far, there are three Daily Mission Areas, all of which are accessible by shuttles on various worlds or terminals on the Fleet.
- The Black Hole is an antimatter refinery on Corellia that has become a three-way battleground in the aftermath of the Republic's victory in the Battle of Corellia. A corrupt Corellian politician named Harmon Torvix has seized control of the vital region, and Imperial forces have remained on Corellia in order to seize control of the Black Hole while Republic forces battle to break Torvix's hold on the region.
- Section X is located on Belsavis and is the original site of the Belsavis prison, and though it was abandoned when the prison expanded, it was also the site where the Dread Masters were originally imprisoned before being put into stasis. In Section X, both Republic and Imperial forces battle the Dread Guard as the Dread Masters' servants attempt to wreak havoc in the area and unearth technology and creatures that should remain buried.
- CZ-198 is a small moon located in the Unknown Regions that is Czerka Corporation's premier research facility. Following the Republic's seizure of Czerka's assets, Czerka personnel loyal to Special Executive Rasmus Blys refuse to allow either the Republic or the Empire to take the facility. CZ-198 was introduced in Game Update 2.3: Titans of Industry, and features entrances to the two Czerka Flashpoints; the storyline involving the Flashpoints introduce players to CZ-198.
One of the major uses of companions is the Crew Skills feature, where you can send your inactive companions on missions to retrieve items or construct items. Players can have a maximum of three Crew Skills at any time, and Crew Skills fall into three categories: Gathering Skills, Crafting Skills, and Mission Skills. Mission Skills allow players to send their companions on various assignments that can result in a variety of rewards, including credits and alignment points. Diplomacy, Investigation, Treasure Hunting, and Underworld Trading are the four Mission Skills. The four Gathering Skills—Archaeology, Bioanalysis, Scavenging, and Slicing—allow players and their companions to gather various resources that are scattered across the various planets, and players are also able to send their companions on missions to acquire rare resources. There are six Crafting Skills, each of which allows players to create different types of items, and each Crafting Skill has a recommended Mission and Gathering Skill that helps players make the most of their Crew Skills. Armormech deals with the creation of armor, while Armstech and Synthweaving deal with weapons and robes, and Cybertech allows players to fashion components for droids and high-tech armors. Artifice allows players to craft lightsaber crystals and other components, and the sixth and last Crew Skill, Biochem, deals with the creation of stimulants, biological implants, and medpacs.
- "One of the most iconic aspects of Star Wars™ is the family dynamic between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. In Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, you will be able to create your very own Skywalker-like family dynasty through the Legacy System, unlocking new skills, items, and other character options that were previously unavailable."
- ―Overview of the Legacy System
The Legacy System was introduced in Game Update 1.2, and allows players to link their characters on the same server together with a family tree and Legacy name—equivalent to a surname—and, as of Update 1.3, purchase special abilities and bonuses, some of which are restricted to each character and some of which are shared across a player's Legacy. The Legacy System was the first feature to allow players to play species other than the preset species for each class, as players unlock the ability to use a species in any class if they reach Level 50 with that species. Players gain Legacy experience in the same way they do normal experience, though the amount is signficantly lower, and certain abilities require specific Legacy levels to unlock. The Reputation system was added to the Legacy System in Game Update 1.7, and the ability to use HK-51 as a companion is shared across Legacy if a player unlocks the companion in a specific faction.
Game Update 2.0 greatly expanded the Legacy System with the addition the Legacy Achievement system. Legacy Achievements are a means of recognizing accomplishments and milestones for a player's Legacy, and can be completed by any player in a Legacy. Each Achievement has a specific task or set of tasks that the player must accomplish; these range from exploring every area of a planet, collecting all of a planet's Codex entries, defeating certain numbers of enemies in an area, reaching maximum alignments, completing specific class or Heroic missions, and a variety of other tasks. Legacy Achievements are permanent once completed, and reward players with Prestige points that can be viewed by other players. Some Achievements also reward players with Cartel Coins, credits, or items.
When Update 2.0 was released, the Legacy Achievement system contained more than 2,000 individual Achievements divded into seven categories—Companion, Flashpoint, Legacy, Location, Operations, Player Vs. Player, and Space—though the system did not take into account progress made before the release of the system. The system did take into account the progress players had made in unlocking Codex entries, however, and later updates and events have added additional achievements relating to their own content.
- "In a time of widespread conflict and political strife, disparate organizations throughout the galaxy seek allies in the struggle for peace… or conquest. Reputation measures how your character is perceived by these organizations it reflects the prestige you've earned through your heroic contributions to each cause."
- ―Jesse Sky
With Game Update 1.7, the Galactic Reputation system was introduced to the game. Reputation, which ties in with the Legacy System in that it is bound to a player's Legacy instead of a single character. Players are able to gain Reputation with various factions and organizations by completing different missions or activities, and players gain Reputation Ranks with specific groups upon gaining enough Reputation with that group. Different Reputation Ranks have different rewards, unlocking titles and allowing players to trade with special vendors, and the number of Reputation points that can be gained per week is limited to a certain amount. With the initial release of the system in Update 1.7, there were six groups with which players could gain Reputation—two neutral, and two for each faction.
The Voss are a neutral organization, and players from both the Republic and the Empire can gain Reputation with the Voss by completing Heroic missions on Voss. The Gree Enclave is also a neutral organization, but players can only gain Reputation by completing missions and defeating bosses during the recurring Relics of the Gree event. Players gain Reputation with either the Republic Hyperspace Armada or the First Mobile Fleet by completing Hard Mode Space Missions, and completing Section X daily missions helps players gain Reputation with either the Imperial Guard or the Republic's Fifth Assault Battalion. A seventh group was added a short time later—players gain Reputation with the Contraband Resale Corporation by purchasing Contraband Packs from the Cartel Market.
With the release of Game Update 2.0 and Rise of the Hutt Cartel, three more organizations were added: players gain Reputation with Galactic Solutions Industries by completing various missions on planets across the galaxy with their macrobinoculars and seeker droids, and Imperial and Republic players gain Reputation with either the Citizens of Makeb or the Makeb Imperial Forces respectively by completing missions on Makeb. Update 2.3 and the Bounty Contract Week event also added additional Reputation factions: the Bounty Supply Company, which rewards players who purchase Bounty Packs on the Cartel Market; the Bounty Brokers Associaton, which rewards players who complete contract missions during Bounty Contract Weeks; and the Adjudicators and Ordnance Acquisition Corps reward Republic and Imperial players respectively when they complete missions on CZ-198. With the addition of Oricon in Update 2.4, Republic players now gain Reputation with Strike Team Oricon and Imperial players with the Dread Executioners for completing Daily Missions on Oricon as well as the world arc.
- "The first core rule is that we want to be sure that players can reach level 50 without paying a cent, if so desired. The final design meets this requirement: Free-to-Play players can play levels 1 through 50 and enjoy the vast majority of the classic storyline and side quests during their journey. […] The second core rule is that subscribers should not experience any degradation of their gameplay experience. Those of you who are still paying a monthly fee should still get the same gameplay experience and you won’t find anything taken away from you and the gameplay that you currently enjoy. Furthermore, we really wanted to be sure that in no way would subscribers feel they needed to make purchases from the Cartel Market in order to be competitive in the game."
- ―Damion Schubert
With the Free-to-Play system, there are restrictions that separate players from Subscribers in terms of gameplay, though many of the restrictions can be bypassed or removed through consumables that can be purchased on the Cartel Market. Players who purchase the game, a Cartel Coin Card, or anything from the online store are granted Preferred Status, which removes some of the restrictions. Any player who has ever paid a monthly subscription at any point in time is automatically granted Preferred Status. Free-to-Play gamers can only access the Sprint and Emergency Fleet Pass abilities at Level 10, and are unable to access bank storage or Secure Trading without purchasing Cartel Market consumables. Players can only train one Crew Skill, have a 200,000 credit cap, and have a restricted chat system as well as access to only two item listings on the Galactic Trade Network. Free-to-Play gamers can only receive in-game mail, and can only have two character slots with only three species options.
Preferred Status players, on the other hand, can access the Sprint ability immediately, and are permitted two Crew Skills and access to the Bank system as well as a credit cap of 350,000. Preferred Status also grants access to Secure Trading, full chat, mail, five Galactic Trade Network listings, and six character slots instead of two. Both Free-to-Play and Preferred Status players are unable to access Operations, and can only play five Warzones, three Flashpoints, and three Space Missions per week. They possess a reduced inventory, a longer cool-down on the Quick-Travel ability, and a delayed access to mounts and speeders, and their ability to use medical probes for instant respawn is reduced to only five times. Both player types cannot normally equip most advanced gear or receive high numbers of commendations, and Subscribers receive a discount on items from vendors and removing modifications from armor. Preferred Status and Free-to-Play gamers also are restricted to only two quickbars, and do not receive rest experience from waiting in safe areas like Subscribers do.
The Cartel Market is a in-game marketplace introduced alongside the Free-to-Play system that allows players to purchase rare items, gear, and abilities using Cartel Coins. Subscribers recieve monthly amounts of Cartel Coins as a reward for paying for the game, and Free-to-Play gamers are able to purchase many of the features and abilities exclusive to subscribers, such as access to Flashpoints, PvP, medical probes, and reduced cooldown on abilities, for a fee of Cartel Coins. The Cartel Market also features Packs, which are sets of items that are randomly selected from an assortment for each Pack, and so far there have been three Shipments: Cartel Packs, Contraband Packs, and Bounty Packs. A number of items in the various Packs have been gear sets for the companion characters from the original Knights of the Old Republic games. The four Cartel Packs in Shipment One were introduced over the course of Updates 1.5 through 1.7, and they were removed from the Cartel Market on June 11, 2013. Shipment Two's Contraband Packs were aded over the course of Updates 1.7.2 through 2.2.2, and the first Bounty Pack—the Freelancer's Bounty Pack—was added in Game Update 2.3.1. The Collections system was recently added, which allows players to track which items they have received from the Cartel Market and also share those items among their Legacy. In November 2013, a feature was added that allows players to purchase Cartel Coins in-game.
- "At the time, BioWare was known for KotOR. Baldur's Gate and such were big games, but KotOR was the one that broke out, made people more aware of the BioWare name. We felt, Why not look at that as an opportunity?"
"We loved working in the Star Wars universe and working with LucasArts on Knights of the Old Republic. We felt that setting an MMO in that time frame would be something really special. The earlier prehistory of the movies is rich with lots of Jedi, lots of Sith, lots of unexplored territory."
- ―Rich Vogel and Ray Muzyka
In 2005, the video game company BioWare secured funding from a private equity fund, Elevation Partners, that would allow them to build a new studio dedicated to developing a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, as their recent game Neverwinter Nights had driven the company towards exploration of the MMORPG genre. BioWare founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk were then approached by Rich Vogel and Gordon Walton, both of whom were veteran MMO developers, at the Game Developers Conference in 2005 with the idea of building a BioWare MMO. Vogel and Walton were based in Austin, Texas and had previously worked on Star Wars: Galaxies, the first Star Wars MMO. When asked, Vogel and Walton agreed to head and build the studio that came to be known as BioWare Austin, and the two worked to gather a team of talented game developers from around Austin, which was already a central location for MMO development beyond BioWare. While Vogel and Walton began to gather recruits from Austin, Muzyka and Zeschuk selected personnel from their Edmonton studio, including James Ohlen and two of the senior designers on Dragon Age: Origins, Daniel Erickson and Emmanuel Lusinchi. The first team meeting took place in an Austin hotel with Muzyka, Zeschuk, Ohlen, Erickson, Lusinchi, Vogel, and Walton, and the group was joined by its lead concept artist Arnie Jorgensen, art director Jeff Dobson, and a former technical director named Bill Dalton.
BioWare explored a variety of ideas and options before settling on a MMO followup to their smash hit Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, as BioWare was primarily known for the game's success, and the chance to work with LucasArts and play off of KotOR's success was a large incentive. LucasArts was also looking to expand in the MMO genre, hoping to go beyond their current game Star Wars: Galaxies, and BioWare reached out to LucasArts in 2006 with the idea of collaborating on an MMO set in the Old Republic era. Former LucasArts producer Jake Neri said that BioWare's initial proposal was strong from the outset, and both companies agreed to the project quickly. On March 13, 2006, BioWare announced that they had begun development on an unnamed MMO at BioWare Austin, though they did not reveal the name or their collaboration with LucasArts.
Once the collaboration was decided, the two companies immediately began to gather their production teams at LucAsts and the new BioWare Austin studio. As with Knights of the Old Republic, BioWare was responsible for the bulk of the game's development, handling all of the script writing, character and environment designs, world building, animation, programming, and the construction of the game's technical systems. LucasArts provided its experience in audio design to help make the game the first fully-voiced MMO, and their team was lead by audio director Darragh O'Farrell, video director Wiliam Beckman, and producer Orion Kellogg. By the game's release, LucasArts had cast, directed, recorded, and edited more than three thousand lines of dialogue, and music supervisor and staff composer Jesse Harlin worked alongside seven other composers to create more than six hours of original orchestral and cantina music. Jake Neri and associate producer Tim Temmerman coordinated between the two companies, approving content, providing ideas and feedback, and ensuring that tthe game met with both player expectations and Lucasfilm's approval. The pair also worked with Lucas Licensing to ensure that the game meshed with current continuity.
On BioWare's end, the first objective was to bring the writing team together in Austin, as the game would be voice-acted and translated into multiple languages and the fundamentally story-driven games that BioWare produced meant that everything else waited for the writers. Daniel Erickson reviewed thousands of candidates, putting them through a vetting process using both story writing and level creation in Neverwinter Nights. As the writing team developed, Jorgensen and Dobson began to experiment with concept art, and the decision was made that the game would be stylized: it would be accessible for Star Wars fans with little MMO experience, have high-quality graphics, and be able to cope with the addition of further post-release content. Another of Dobson's main purposes was to make the game look distinct, and the art team experimented with various looks such as muscle-bound comic book characters, "dark age" Jedi, and even retro outfits and hairstyles from the 1970's. Dobson's team finally decided on a style that was slightly exaggerated but felt hand-painted to the design crew. By 2006, both LucasArts and BioWare had their teams in place, and the two companies felt they had a coherent view on the game's development and could begin working on it.
Creating The Old Republic
- "MMOs can be a bit intimidating to some players, but a great, story-driven RPG—especially one based in the Star Wars universe—is way more compelling and accessible. Players who have dreamed of a great Star Wars story where they are the hero are going to have the chance to be that hero in The Old Republic."
- ―Dallas Dickinson
When creating The Old Republic, BioWare and LucasArts considered the four "pillars" of successful role-playing games: exploration, combat, advancement and/or customization, and story. The first pillar, exploration, was considered to be the easiest in conecpt, as it was decided that players would be able to travel between over a dozen worlds. These worlds would be a mixture of planets from KOTOR, the Expanded Universe, the films, and new worlds. As for the second pillar, both LucasArts and BioWare agreed that combat in the game would have to be fast-paced and immersive like a console game. Both companies wanted to deliver combat that was distinctly Star Wars in nature, and their desire to disntinguish it from other MMO's led to the development of innovations such as the "cover" system. As for the third pillar of customization and advancement, James Ohlen set high goals for the game from the very beginning of the project. Each class needed its own set of companion characters, ship, and a large number of customs weaponry and equipment. However, the fourth pillar was the main focus of both BioWare and LucasArts, as story was an integral part of BioWare's previous games, and few MMO's truly focused on advancing a story more than the other pillars. According to Dallas Dickinson, BioWare Austin's director of production, the addition of the story pillar to The Old Republic was a goal of the project from the very beginning, and they aimed to make the story into the driving force behind the game.
Adding to their focus on story, BioWare and LucasArts chose to include the light- and dark-side alignment system from the previous Knights of the Old Republic games. However, initial attempts to transfer the system directly from the first KotOR game proved unworkable, as the system's critics complained about the ultra-polite conversation requirements for gaining light-side points, and The Old Republic would not have a save function to allow players to go back and choose different options. As a result, BioWare decided to make the alignment system more action-based, allowing players more freedom of speech and making their actions more important. This allows Jedi players to become dark-side characters and Sith to become light-side characters without overly affecting the story, as openly declaring one's opposing allegiance to their faction would have consequences on the story. The addition of full voice-acting for the game allowed the developers to create complex, emotional conversations and added a depth to characters that was not seen in any other MMO at the time.
- "The great thing about Star Wars is that there's all kind of lore that does go back that far. What we endeavored to do was find the lore that fit and put it together in a way that made sense for an MMO."
- ―Ray Muzyka
In early 2007, the developers began to build the game's core systems, and stage one of development resulted in a prototype of blaster, melee, and Force combat with basic character and creature movement. From there, the team continued to work on the development tools while also adding in the conversation system, maps, journals, and social systems and further developing the game's combat system. The next stage saw the designers working on the game's more complicated technical issues, such as how instances—the spaces in the game where players or groups would be separated from their fellows and allowed to experience their own story—would work.
By 2007, the concept artists had begun work on the game's environment and characters, and the writers were constructing the overarching story that the game would occur within. Under the guidance of James Ohlen, the writers worked to maintain the existing events of the Old Republic era while also creating new content, and the team soon realized that The Old Republic would have more content than all of the other Old Republic sources combined. As a result, BioWare and LucasFilm made the decision to place The Old Republic three hundred years after the events of Knights of the Old Republic II, giving the writers room to create new stories while also staying true to the established continuity. In creating The Old Republic, the writers followed several overriding principles: the game needed to feature an easily understandable galaxy-wide conflict in the classic vein of Star Wars, and the game's events needed to both fit into the established Expanded Universe and also bridge the gap between the Knights of the Old Republic games and the New Sith Wars.
To make the Sith faction easier to understand, the writers decided to trace their Sith Empire all the way back to the original Sith Empire, as the "Sith" who followed the fall of the Empire were actually fallen Jedi or other plot devices that they viewed as too complicated for new players. The Empire was also made distinct from the Galactic Republic through a number of ways; the aesthetics of the two factions were designed to be as distinct as the composition of each government's people. Both the Empire and the Republic incorporated themes from the movies and Expanded Universe content that would occur in the aftermath of the game, as the writers knew that the Empire would have to eventually collapse and they wanted players to recognize the fact that the two would eventually merge into the Republic of the prequel era. Other than the pureblood Sith who occupied the highest levels of Imperial society, the vast majority of the Empire's population was made to be Human in order to contrast the relatively diverse Republic.
Making the classes
- "I've been trying to make massively multiplayer games for twenty years. There is a very real problem in actually having a heroic arc [in which you] can grow from being a fledgling to fighting truly epic battles against epic adversaries. In Star Wars you start as a Padawan, you grow, you fight bad guys, they feel tough, you feel heroic. By the end of the experience you're fighting AT-ATs and rancors and these other big experiences that come from the Star Wars universe. Star Wars is about the only thing that even comes close to fantasy in terms of providing a great heroic arc."
- ―Damion Schubert, BioWare Principal Lead Systems Designer
Once the general environment and conflict of the game was in place, the writers and designers then began to work on the character classes. Inspired by the origin stories from BioWare's Wikipedia:Dragon Age, the writers decided early on that each class would receive its own unique story that would span the entirety of the game. The designers and writers soon realized that this would require an immense amount of content for each class; with the decision to grant each class their own ship, companion characters, and gear, the developers decided to limit the number of classes to eight. However, each class would be split into two distinct advanced classes, resulting in a total of sixteen different classes from a gameplay standpoint but only eight storylines. In creating concepts for the classes, the developers asked themselves what Star Wars fans would expect and what MMORPG fans would expect. The team quickly abandoned the idea of basing the classes on the traditional RPG trio of healer, tank, and damage-per-second classes, instead looking for inspiration in the Star Wars universe and intending to merge the RPG classes later on.
As a result, The Old Republic's classes were inspired by a number of traditional archetypes within the films. Emperor Palpatine served as the basis for the Sith Sorcerer class, though the name was eventually changed to Sith Inquisitor and the Sorcerer became one of the Inquisitor's advanced classes. Darth Vader inspired the Sith Warrior class, while his light-side counterpart Anakin Skywalker and son Luke Skywalker were the archetypes of the Jedi Knight class. The Jedi Wizard class, which was later renamed the Jedi Consular, was inspired by Yoda, and the Smuggler and Bounty Hunter classes were based on Han Solo and Boba Fett. Clone troopers inspired the Trooper class, but the writers struggled to create an eighth class that would represent the Empire without copying the Trooper. The Imperial Spy, later titled the Imperial Agent, was the result of their discussions, and the writers initially intended to base the Agent's storyline on the famous series of James Bond spy movies before senior writer Alexander Freed proposed an alternate path. Freed, who eventually wrote most of the Agent storyline, instead pitched the class as more along the lines of the TV action series 24 and the spy thriller Bourne Identity. The resultant storyline was not based directly on a character from the films, but instead took inspiration from elements such as Darth Maul's tracking technology, the Bothan Spynet, and the infiltration of Jabba's Palace in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
The Jedi Warden and Sith Assassin classes were eventually incorporated into the game as advanced classes for the Jedi Knight and Sith Inquisitor, and the Gray Jedi-esque Mystic class was adapted into the Voss species when the writers finalized the eight classes for the game. The next step for the writers was to flesh out the galaxy that the classes would occur within: preparation for the Trooper storyline saw the development of the Republic and Imperial Militaries as well as their cultures, organization, and history. Similarly, the creation of the Imperial Agent class led to the development of Imperial Intelligence and its counterpart, the Republic Strategic Information Service. The Smuggler class quickly developed into an action-comedy that the writers felt would not have been able to exist as a singular RPG, though they felt that it was a good representation of their initial goals. For both the Smuggler and Bounty Hunter classes, the writers created a fully-fleshed out underworld that could support both classes, and the affection for the Mandalorian culture that many of the writers had led to the Mandalorians' prominent presence within The Old Republic.
After developing the histories and backgrounds for the classes, the developers then determined each class' combat abilities and style of play. In an attempt to avoid limiting gameplay options for players, the team chose not to assign each class to only one of the three RPG archetypes and instead gave them a specific style of combat. These styles allowed each of the classes to fill more than one of the RPG classes, and the developers made sure that Force-using classes would not able to overpower others by balancing the different classes. The Trooper and Bounty Hunter classes were granted powerful weapons and armor to compensate, while the Agent and Smuggler received cover and stealth abilities in addition to specialized gear.
The outfits for the Jedi Knight classes were primarily inspired by the armored robes worn by Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars: Clone Wars series, and Arnie Jorgensen designed the Knight's various attire to mirror the player's progression from Padawan to Jedi Master by gradually applying armor and archaic designs to gear at different levels. In contrast, the Jedi Consular class was originally intended to be reminiscent of a ancient and powerful wizard. Jorgensen's first concept was a fusion of technology and a "wild man in the desert" image, though the final designs moved away from this idea and became more elaborate and formal. However, Jorgensen's designs were incorporated into higher-level player-versus-player gear. The Trooper class was heavily influenced by stormtroopers, snowtroopers, scout troopers, and clone troopers, with additional inspiration coming from the outfits of Rebel soldiers and starfighter pilots. Jorgensen drew on the appearance of plasteel armor from the films to create the outfits for both the Trooper class and other Republic military personnel, and the specialized cold-weather trooper armor seen on Hoth and Ilum was inspired by Ralph McQuarrie's unused concepts from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. The Smuggler's appearance was intended to convey a scavenger feel, with the idea that smugglers would gather various pieces of gear from different sources as they traveled the galaxy. In designing the class, Jorgensen drew on a wide variety of films in the various adventure genres.
For the Bounty Hunter class, the artist drew on a wide array of characters from the films to create a battle-worn and improvised look that also featured powerful armor and weaponry. The Imperial Agent was designed to convey intrigue and a clandestine air, as spies were unable to openly display their skills or allegiance but also had to retain functionality in their gear. The Sith Warrior class was largely inspired by the armor of Darth Vader, as armor was an essential part of the class's design, and the final designs were intended to remind players of the famous Sith Lord. While Trooper and Bounty Hunter armor was intended as protective, the artists designed the outfits for the Sith Warrior to convey the idea that they were essentially torture devices. Further inspiration came from concept art for villains from the films, and the art team frequently consulted the various The Art of books for the prequel trilogy. In a similar fashion, the Inquisitor class was designed to convey a sense of horror and inspire fear, and the artists drew inspiration from the Hellraiser movie franchise and Wayne Barlowe's artwork in Barlowe's Inferno. To distinguish the class from the Sith Warrior, the artists incorporated technological elements and color palettes of black and violet.
Building the worlds
- "We have this giant canvas of known world we can use. But what's awesome is that, given the time frame of the game, we can take those expectations and expand on them. We can give fans something new and exciting."
- ―Senior World Designer Shawn Ketcherside
When it came to choosing the worlds that would be included in The Old Republic, the designers and writers sought out worlds that originated in a wide variety of sources. Some of the planets would be from the films, some from Knights of the Old Republic, a number of obscure Expanded Universe worlds, and several brand new planets to round out their selection. The planets would also have to be visually unique and also offer the opportunity for good storytelling. The first two worlds to be conceptualized by the artists in 2007 were Korriban and Tython, and the writers were largely responsible for the design of the planets on account of the detailed design documents they wrote for each world. Each set of documents was passed to Jeff Dobson, the game's art director, and then given to the concept artists. Under the leadership of senior concept artist Clint Young, the artists would then give life to the worlds, and the two teams constantly exchanged feedback and information throughout the creative process.
Before actually adding details to the worlds, the artists completed a series of color studies—often over a dozen a day—in order to determine the color palettes for each world. From there, the artists gradually added details to each successive sketch until they finally decided on a final version. For familiar worlds such as Tatooine, Hoth, and Coruscant, the artists worked to stay true to the established visions of the planets but also give the players new content. Brand-new worlds allowed the artists more freedom, but often meant that the team had to spend more time on making sure that the planets felt like they belonged in Star Wars. The completed concepts were sent to the writers, who added additional details such as the lightning towers on the storm-shrouded world of Dromund Kaas, and such additions occasionally led to the creation of new missions based on those details.
When concept work began in 2007, Korriban was the first planet to be designed, and Jorgensen's first paintings of the Sith Academy and Korriban's sunset led the artists to decide that each world needed strong and specific lighting. As a result, time-of-day changes were eliminated, and each planet received a specific and distinct look that was unique. The second planet to be conceptualized was Tython, and the artists were forced to develop it completely from scratch as the planet had not been depicted in any previous Expanded Universe source by that time. Tython was intentionally designed to convey a mixture of beauty, awe, and fear, but the planet's mountainous terrain proved difficult for the artists initially. In early 2008, the artists began work on Ord Mantell, another planet that had very few visual appearances for the artists to reference. Ord Mantell was originally chosen based off of the writers' desire to have a planet with a corrupt yet Republic-allied government. The artists initially began with an endless sea dotted with numerous craggy islands, and then applied bomb scarring to the terrain while also adding broken ships and damaged structures. The team's intention was to display the effects that war could have on an environment, but also to show that small pieces of beauty still existed within the region.
Nal Hutta proved a challenge for the artists, as it had been consistently depicted as a vile and disgusting environment for anyone but the Hutts. In order to make players want to be there, the team mixed the imagery of Jabba's Palace with a color palette that was described as "pea soup and barf", and the addition of factories and sewage pipes highlighted the Hutts' disregard for the environment while also giving players recognizable geography amid the swamps. Hoth was another challenge—in all previous sources, it had been depicted as flat and inhospitable with little to no life. As that would have been unappealing to players, Jorgensen's first concept design featured an expansive starship graveyard, and the artists soon added other features such as military bases, mountains, and pirate outposts. Further additions included volcanic mountains, based off of established continuity that stated Hoth was heated by internal volcanic rock, and geographical features to break up the endless snow. The selection of Hoth was influenced by the writers' desire to showcase the Empire's efforts in draining the Republic's resources for war, and the planet presented a proper environment to do so.
While designing Tatooine in early 2008, the artists relied on the significant visual content from the films, but also drew from Expanded Universe literature to add oasis and patches of fertile vegetation. The artists also worked to ensure that Tatooine incorporated the game's specific aesthetic style, resulting in a world that was not quite as bleak and gritty as the one that appeared within the films. Dromund Kaas previously appeared in the 1998 video game Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith, and the planet's historic ties to the dark side and the Sith led the writers to select it for the Sith Empire's capital. The concept artists approached the design of the planet with the idea that the Sith had subjugated Dromund Kaas, and the planet was actually rebelling against its inhabitants. Clint Young intended to showcase the fact that Dromund Kaas was originally lush and beautiful before the arrival of the Sith, and he twisted the shapes present within his reference imagery of canyons and forests to create a planet that was not completely corrupted.
Young's concept art for Taris featured a post-apocalyptic world that was strewn with wreckage and the remains of the buildings destroyed in the bombardment three centuries earlier, but the design proved unwieldy for members of the design team. Andrew Collins described Young's design as being similar to a floor upon which a child had dumped a bucket of LEGOs, and when the designers complained about their inability to create it in three dimensions, the planet artists responded to the critiques by scaling back the destruction and trying a new tactic. The artists and designers treated the playable environment as the basement of Taris' city, building a series of pylons and plates that had originally supported the enormous buildings. However, Taris seemed incomplete to the designers, and was therefore set aside until later. When they returned to Taris, Collins, Dobson, and Jorgensen once again started from scratch beyond that first version, shutting down their other projects and spending six months working on new terrains and textures for the world. Jorgensen added vines and foliage to the plate structures in order to show that the planet was creeping back to life, and Collins varied the architecture and added new layers to make the wreckage more real. The final touch to the design was the addition of enormous, twisted metal beams that showed the ruined city-world's superstructure, and the artists then felt that they had captured Taris correctly.
For the planet Alderaan, the game designers recognized the importance that Alderaan's destruction played in A New Hope, and so they sought to create a world that would show the wonders and beauty of what was lost to the Death Star. Taking inspiration from Alderaan's depiction in Revenge of the Sith, as well as from the Swiss Alps and Scandinavin countryside, the game artists sought to create a crisp and bright planet—though the amount of snow that was used came as a shock to the world designers, including director Brad Prince. However, Prince quickly relented on the issue when he saw the finished product. Alderaan's castles, with their seemingly impossible architecture and soaring spires, were meant to create a medieval but also fantastic feel, and the designers chose to include the Killiks—an insectoid species native to Alderaan that originated in the Expanded Universe's Dark Nest Trilogy.
Coruscant, the capital of the Republic, was the first city-world that the team attempted to design in late 2008, and the planet's unique environment presented a challenge that the designers were unprepared for: as Coruscant was a ecumenopolis built from enormous skyscrapers, the designers were unable to shape the planet by lifting and manipulating the digital terrain before placing objects. Coruscant was therefore entirely created using objects, and the team developed a workaround for the major rendering cost of such a technique—they created a small of set of reusable objects and set pieces which had wildly different looks on their sides. The technique, which was also used by Industrial Light & Magic to construct the Death Star in A New Hope, allowed the designers to build a city using only a small set of objects and maintain the variety expected while keeping framerate low.
The planet Voss, which was created for The Old Republic as an entirely new world, was developed in 2008 in order to give a home to the Mystics—a potential Force-using character class that had been discarded during early production as too alien and requiring too much explanation. The writers asked the artists to place the Voss, the Mystics' species, somewhere isolated and overwhelmed, so the artists developed the mountaintop city of Voss-Ka as the single settlement of the Voss, surrounded by ruins left behind by the Voss as they were forced back by the hostile Gormak species. Ancient Sith and Jedi ruins dotted the far reaches of the planet, and the artists were proudest of the Nightmare Lands: a corrupt region of the planet where a darkness was spreading throughout the area. The designers developed the technology of the Gormak specifically to contrast with traditional Star Wars technology, giving the Gormak tech a molded and precision-cut feel that differs from the more machine-made technology of the galaxy.
Belsavis, a planet created in the 1995 novel Children of the Jedi, was chosen by the designers when they came across the planet and what little physical description there was about it in the Holocron, the continuity database of Lucas Licensing. Daniel Erickson and other designers were excited by the description of Belsavis as an ice planet with rifts and ravines home to jungles that were warmed by volcanic vents, and Clint Young's design for the world was shaped by the idea that Belsavis was a prison planet. Young based his designs in the planet's ice fissures, surrounded by massive glaciers, and added large chunks of floating planet life—by-products of the heated air produced by the melting glaciers—to give the planet a surreal feeling and a sense of constant, small movement.
The artists first began visualizing the moon of Nar Shaddaa in early 2009, and they based the world off of the numerous depictions that Nar Shaddaa has received in various LucasArts video games. Nar Shaddaa was designed as a mixture of Coruscant and a seedy Las Vegas, with holographic signs, neon advertisements, extravagant parties, and floating casinos and pleasure barges. The planet Balmorra was used by the art team as a testing ground where they developed the various effects and environmental details that they later used on the other war-torn planets in the game. Using Balmorra as a sandbox, the team worked out the flight paths for background ships that would fly over head, created enormous turbolaser batteries continually firing at targets, and laser shields that were bombarded by missiles in real time. Balmorra was also where the designers worked out all of the issues and problems that came up while creating said effects, such as how it took them half a dozen versions of the missile shield to come up with a version that did not affect framerate.
The toxic planet of Quesh is an original world created by the artists, and the team started out by envisioning what the wet and murky wasteland planet had been before the Quake—the seismic event that had brought the toxic gases to the surface and ravaged the world. Taking into account the fact that the planet's original flora and fauna had been killed off, the designers added skeletons of massive creatures amid the poisonious marshes, mines, and production factories on Quesh. When the writers first decided to use Ilum, an ice planet similar to Hoth that was first shown in the 2003-2005 Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoon, they believed that the planet's visual differences—while Hoth was a snowy planet with large flat spaces and low snowbanks, Ilum was a jagged world of crystals, ice, cliffs, and drops. The artists, however, disagreed, as Hoth had been developed beyond what the writers had initially envisioned; so the artists approached Erickson with the idea of creating Ilum at night to differentiate the two worlds. The artists based their ideas on nighttime in Antarctica, where the visibility is such that one can see for miles, and the environmental art team's first design of Ilum earned the approval of everyone else on the project.
For the planet Corellia, the artists found that the planet's capital of Coronet City was very different than Nar Shaddaa and Coruscant: the city featured wide roads, green gardens and parks, and a public transit system amid towering skyscrapers and buildings. Part of the early goal for the planet was to show the conflict between the Corelian mindset and how Corellians lived—while Corellians are considered to be some of the most self-interested people in the galaxy, they have set aside wide swaths of land for parks, have blocked developments of their city, and Coronet as a whole is a well-functioning metropolis. The designers started by laying out Coronet City as it originally appeared before the Imperial invasion, and then the artists began to destroy the city, adding the war damage effects developed for Balmorra and Ord Mantell.
Designing the ships
- "Oh, man, starships. That's the greatest thing in the world. Giving the player a starship is so Star Wars. Having your own mobile house is just awesome. It's as if you're in the movie."
- ―Brad Prince
Originally, the game designers intended to create three ships: one for the Republic, one for the Empire, and one for the underworld Smuggler and Bounty Hunter classes. However, as the concept art developed, it soon became clear that the Trooper would need a military vehicle, the Bounty Hunter would most likely not use a smuggler's freighter, and that the Imperial Agent would need a unique and non-Sith starship. Therefore, the designers decided to give each class their own unique ship, though it was eventually decided that the Sith and Jedi classes would share their respective ships, bringing the total number to six. Ryan Dening led the designing of the player starships, with Dening and the other artists first sketching rough exterior shots and experimenting with scale while imaging what each vessel would be used for. Once the basic design was chosen, the artists would then add in details such as landing gear, engines, ramps, weaponry, and other elements, all the while working to ensure that the vessels belonged in the Star Wars universe.
Constructing the game
For the levels in the Digital Expansion Galactic Starfighter, the creative team first collaborated in brainstorming what type of environment they wished to create, and they typically relied on iconic locations and scenes from the movies for inspiration—the Lost Shipyards map was designed with the idea of weaving through asteroids and blasting through an unfinished capital ship. The base design for the map layout was the next step, and scaling was critical: the ships in the expansion are smaller than player characters, allowing the developers to create larger environments relative to the players in order to maximize space. The designers then created a 2D map of the environment which indicated where points of interest and spawn points would be located, and the different ship types are tested to ensure that no type has a major advantage. The artists then expanded on the map to construct the environment, and visual effects and sound design are added to make the level immersive. After a test of the ships in the environment again, levels undergo a great deal of playtesting that sees the developers move or remove environmental objects to create a better level.
Announcement and promotion
BioWare was purchased by Electronic Arts in October 2007, and LucasArts posted a joint press release with BioWare a few weeks later that announced the two companies were cooperating on a future project. An alleged former employee of LucasArts emailed the gaming blog Kotaku with the information that BioWare's project was actually Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 3, a sequel to the 2004 video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.
In June 2008, Electronic Arts' CEO John Riccitiello mentioned at a stock conference that the game was intended for a release in either 2010 or 2011, though the MMO and the joint project with LucasArts were not confirmed to be one and the same until July 17 when Riccitiello mentioned that one of their two upcoming MMORPGs was in cooperation with LucasArts, and the game was set for release sometime in 2009. Lucasfilm Ltd. had filed applications for the registration of "Star Wars: The Old Republic" and "The Old Republic" as trademarks on July 3, 2008, and on October 7 both LucasArts and BioWare issued an invitation to the press to attend an event on October 21 about "the game that has been rumored about for years," and the two companies then revealed The Old Republic to the public. Doctor Ray Muzyka announced during the event that The Old Republic was combining BioWare's storytelling abilities with LucasArts in order to add a fourth pillar of story to the traditional three gameplay pillars of MMO's–combat, exploration, and character progression. Doctor Greg Zeschuk, Muzyka's co-founder of BioWare and fellow EA vice president, stated that Star Wars: The Old Republic was set approximately three centuries after the original Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
In February 2009, the official site began publishing the webcomic Threat of Peace, which depicted the Sacking of Coruscant and the days afterwards as the galaxy settled into the Cold War. Every other Friday, Dark Horse Comics released the next 3 pages of the webcomic, and the webcomic's third Act came to an end in January 2010. On March 27, the first entry in the Galactic Timeline series of videos was released on the site. The series, which featured the Jedi Master Gnost-Dural reviewing the history of the Great Galactic War and the Sith Empire, received a new entry every two months until February 2011, when the Timeline was discontinued after the twelfth entry on the Great Hyperspace War. At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June 2009, BioWare and LucasArts premiered the first trailer for The Old Republic, a nearly four-minute-long cinematic trailer entitled Deceived. Developed by Blur Studio with the help of Skywalker Sound, Deceived was rendered entirely in photo-realistic CGI, and it depicted the fall of the Jedi Temple during the Sacking of Coruscant. Deceived received praise from both fans and industry critics, though LucasArts' marketing manager Roger Evoy caused confusion when he claimed that The Old Republic was set between the prequel trilogy and the original trilogy in an interview.
Tython, Korriban, Ord Mantell, and Hutta were the first planets to be announced for The Old Republic, around April 2009. On September 18, Coruscant was added to the "Planets" section of the Holonet, followed by Balmorra on October 16, Alderaan on November 27, Tatooine on December 18, and Dromund Kaas on January 8, 2010. The Trooper and the Bounty Hunter classes were added to the Holonet at the end of May 2009, and they were joined by the Smuggler on June 15, the Sith Warrior in late August, the Jedi Knight in late October, and the Imperial Agent in early November. The final classes, the Jedi Consular and the Sith Inquisitor, were added shortly after each other in early December. Taris and Belsavis were revealed on February 12 and March 12 respectively, and they were followed by the new planet Voss on April 9, Hoth on May 21, and Nar Shaddaa on July 30. The final three planets to be announced were Corellia on September 10, Ilum on October 8, and Quesh on January 21, 2011. The Rattataki species were revealed as a playable species in May 2010, while the Chiss and the Twi'lek species were announced in June, and the Mirialan, Miraluka, Zabrak, and Sith pureblood species were all announced on August 6.
On September 29, 2009, it was announced that BioWare would begin accepting applications for game testers. However, the sheer volume of applications they received over the course of the next 24 hours forced the company to shut down The Old Republic's website temporarily. The site was brought back up not long afterwards, and applications were once again accepted for game testing. Blood of the Empire, a second series of webcomics set during the Great Galactic War, premiered on the official site in April 2010 and ran for the rest of the year. The second trailer for the game, a six-minute video entitled Hope that featured the Battle of Alderaan, was released on June 14, 2010 and was also developed by Blur Studio. Almost a month later, the first tie-in novel for the game, Fatal Alliance, was published. The official site underwent another update in October 2010, and BioWare began to actively promote the game and give insight into the upcoming features at that time. The Holonet, a section of the site devoted the game's storyline and history, was regularly updated with additional content, including biographies on influential characters such as Supreme Chancellor Janarus, Darth Jadus, and Satele Shan. In the regular Fan Friday events, the site highlighted fan art and fan fiction created by users on the site's community forums, and also released new concept art, avatars, and information on upcoming events.
Over the course of 2011, the developers released a number of "Developer Blogs," "Studio Insiders," and other news articles to give an inside look into the creation of The Old Republic. In March, Star Wars: The Old Republic was featured at a booth at the gaming convention PAX East, and the world premiere of gameplay for Flashpoint: Taral V and Tython were showcased at the event. Star Wars: The Old Republic: Deceived, a second tie-in novel by Paul S. Kemp, was released on March 22, 2011 and focuses on the events surrounding the Deceived trailer. The Old Republic's Codex feature was announced on May 6 in a Developer Blog, which gave an overview of the system and encouraged players to seek out the entries in the game. On June 6, the third trailer for The Old Republic, Return, was released, featuring Darth Malgus, Satele Shan, and the fall of Korriban at the beginning of the Great Galactic War. The Lost Suns, the third comic series to tie in to the game, was released starting June 8, and the series further explored the game's setting.
In early June, The Old Republic was also featured at E3 2011 in Los Angeles, and around that time, the gaming equipment company Razer announced they would be producing The Old Republic-themed gaming mouses, keyboards, and headsets. The Old Republic was made available for pre-order in late July, just before it was featured at a number of gaming conventions in July and August: the San Diego Comic-Con, where the "Join the Fight" trailer premiered, GamesCon 2011, and PAX 2011. In September, Doctors Muzyka and Zeschuk announced the game's launch dates for North America and Europe at the 2011 Eurogamer Expo, and beta testing for the game began in the weeks afterward. The Old Republic was featured again at other conventions such as NYCC 2011 and Paris Games Week in October, and the countdown to the game's release was marked by an increase in the number of behind-the-scenes videos, images, and information. In October and November, The Old Republic continued their Pre-Launch Guild Program by allowing players to finalize their guilds before the game's launch. A third tie-in novel, Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan, was released in November and revealed the fates of Revan and Meetra Surik, the player characters from the previous Knights of the Old Republic games, while also setting up the events of The Old Republic and giving further backstory.
Release and additional content
Initial release and regional expansions
- "This is an incredible moment for everyone at BioWare and our partners at LucasArts who have dedicated their lives to build this extraordinary game. We appreciate the patience from the millions of fans who have been waiting for the game’s release."
- ―Doctor Ray Muzyka
Star Wars: The Old Republic was first made available for pre-ordering on July 22, 2011, and BioWare announced three editions of the game for purchase: a Standard edition, a Digital Deluxe edition, and a Collector's edition. Pre-ordering any of the three editions gave the player seven days of early access to the game as well as a special color crystal that changed the color of any weapon to yellow-black. The Digital Deluxe Edition included a flare gun, training droid, HoloDancer, holocamera, and a Single Trooper Aerial Platform. The Collector's Edition included all of those items as well as a Minimech CE Mouse Droid and access to an exclusive in-game Collector's Edition store. The Collector's Edition also included merchandise outside of the game; the edition came in a large box that included a metal CD-ROM case, a copy of The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural, the game's soundtrack, a map of the galaxy, a security key fob, and a statue of Darth Malgus produced by Gentle Giant Studios.
In September 2011, Doctors Muzyka and Zeschuk announced a North America launch date of December 20 and a European launch date of December 22 for The Old Republic at the 2011 Eurogamer Expo in London, England. A 1-month subscription cost $14.99, while 3-month and 6-month subscriptions cost $13.99 and $12.99 respectively. A revised release date of December 20 for Europe was later announced on October 14. The Old Republic ran a series of beta testing weekends during October, November, and December leading up to the game's release, with their largest Beta Testing Weekend occurring on November 12-13th. On December 7, players who had pre-ordered The Old Republic were allowed to pre-load the game in preparation for the start of Early Game Access on December 13. On December 15, Star Wars Galaxies, a Star Wars MMO produced by Sony Online Entertainment, was taken offline permanently after eight years of availability in preparation for The Old Republic's release.
On December 19, the day before The Old Republic went live, Doctors Muzyka and Zeschuk personally went to the Best Buy store in Union Square, New York City, to sell the first copy of The Old Republic. The day of the game's release, a large number of fans dressed up as Sith and Jedi, including one as Darth Malgus, and conducted a "freeze mob" fight in New York City's Times Square—an event which reached over 1.6 million views on YouTube by the end of the week afterwards. Over one million players had registered by December 23, resulting in a large strain on BioWare's servers in the first few days, though the company believed that most of the issues had been resolved by the 23rd. By December 26, over a million players had begun playing The Old Republic, with a total of over 60 million hours of gameplay logged by the servers—making The Old Republic the fastest-growing subscription MMORPG in history. A press release was issued by BioWare and LucasArts on December 26 thanking fans and announcing various statistics about player activity, such as the fact that over 850,000 Sith Warriors and 810,000 Jedi Knights had been created by players in the last week.
On February 14, 2012, a released date of March 1 was announced for Australia, New Zealend, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Weekend Passes, Trials, and Free-To-Play
On March 13, BioWare announced the start of Weekend Passes for The Old Republic, a system in which non-subscribers could participate in a free trial between Thursday and Sunday. The first Weekend Pass ran from Thursday, March 15 to the early morning of Monday, March 19, and a second Weekend Pass was announced on March 20 that lasted from March 22 through March 26. Further Weekend Passes ran between April 5-9, April 19-23, and May 17-21. BioWare and LucasArts also announced a Friends Trial for the The Old Republic on April 3, which allowed players to invite up to twenty-five friends to participate in a 7-day trial of The Old Republic. The Friends Trial was restricted to the four Origin Worlds, though players could continue their storylines if they subscribed to the game. Players who participated in the Friends Trial received an exclusive Kurtob Alliance Speeder in July.
Only July 10, 2012, BioWare announced a Free Trial for The Old Republic as a prelude to their upcoming Free-to-Play option. In the Free Trial, players are able to play through the Prologue of all eight classes and also experience a Flashpoint and Warzones. In June 2012, the Free Character Transfer service was announced, allowiong players to transfer their characters to higher population servers, and a reward of a Gannifari pet and 25 Black Hole Commendations was added in July to entice players to transfer. In September, The Old Republic's servers were consolidated, reducing the number of servers from 215 to only eight American and eight European servers. Players whose Legacy or character names were already taken on their new servers were required to change their names to a unique name.
On July 31, 2012, due to dropping subscription numbers, BioWare announced a Free-to-Play option that would be implemented in the fall of that year. Free-to-Play gamers are able to play free up to Level 50, but there are gameplay restrictions that limit the cooldown of abilities and players' access to other content such as Flashpoints and Warzones. The Free-to-Play system was accompanied by the introduction of the Cartel Market, which allows players to spend real-world money on items and gear, and also allows Free-to-Play gamers to purchase the abilities and gameplay access that are restricted to subscribers. Free-to-Play was officially launched on November 15, a week after the release date was annoucned, and former subscribers who reactivated their subscription received Complimentary Cartel Coins as part of the game's Rewards Program.
Continued promotion and events
On October 18, 2012, the first Star Wars: The Old Republic Free-to-Play Insider Preview was released on the official site. The video, which was narrated by various game producers, gave insights into the upcoming Free-to-Play option, as well as insights into the latest news and information on the game as a whole. The second video, released on November 8, focused on the Cartel Market system and the new items that would be available in the Market. The third video was released on December 20, 2012, and focused on various updates that had been made to "Preferred Status" since the release of the Free-to-Play system, and showcased new items available on the Cartel Market for the holidays. However, with the fourth installment on February 11, the series was renamed to the Star Wars: The Old Republic Insider, and the video showcased new Valentine's Day-themed items in the Cartel Market as well as the upcoming Game Update 1.7
The name was further shortened to The Old Republic Insider with the fifth video on March 14 that showcased the Contraband Packs and the upcoming Game Update 2.0, and the numbering was dropped in favor of labelling the episodes by month in the April 26 installment that showcased the Cathar and Game Update 2.1. In the July 5 edition of the Insider, the upcoming Game Update 2.3 was highlighted, as well as the soon-to-be-introduced Ewok companion Treek.
On October 10, 2012, the Star Wars: The Old Republic Community Cantina Tour was announced: a series of meet & greets with The Old Republic's community team and developers. Beginning on October 11 at the New York Comic Con, the Cantina Tour traveled to Austin, Texas in November, New Orleans in December, Paris and London in February, San Francisco in March Dallas in May, Los Angeles in June San Diego in July, and Chicago in August 2013. The Cantina Tour also visited Germany and Seattle in August. The Cantina Tour returned to the New York Comic Con in October 2013, and will visit San Francisco, California in November.
A fourth tie-in novel for the game, Star Wars: The Old Republic: Annihilation by Drew Karpyshyn, was released on November 13, 2012, and focuses on Theron Shan, Gnost-Dural, Satele Shan, and Jace Malcom. On September 10, it was announced that active subscribers would receive Rise of the Hutt Cartel for free as a subscriber benefit starting on September 12. In conjunction with this, a new limited time rewards program was announced on September 12, lasting through October 20: players who purchase subscriptions or who are currently subscribers on October 20 will receive a special JA-3 Subversive Battle Droid Mini-Pet and a JA-3 Subversive Speeder. On October 18, it was announced that a system would be implemented to deal with the problems relating to inactive accounts and names: to free up names that have been taken by inactive accounts, around 36% of inactive characters will be flagged for rename, allowing other players to choose those names. Level 30 and above characters are excluded from this, as are Subscribers, and November 12 is the target date for the renaming. A new Double XP weekend will also be implemented that will run during Thanksgiving weekend from November 27 through December 2.
Game Update 1.1: Rise of the Rakghouls
- "A mysterious outbreak of Rakghouls threatens the worlds of the Tion Hegemony, a strategically important sector of the galaxy that has remained neutral to both Republic and Imperial advances. Now Republic and Imperial forces race to the besieged world of Kaon to eliminate the threat, desperate to secure the allegiance of the Tion Hegemony for themselves…"
- ―Game Update 1.1: Rise of the Raghouls patchnotes
Game Update 1.1: Rise of the Rakghouls was the first regularly-scheduled content update for The Old Republic, and it was announced on January 13, 2012. The update more than tripled the size of the Hutt Hospitality Operation, adding four new bosses to the group mission. The update also introduced a new Flashpoint entitled Kaon Under Siege, where players travel to the planet Kaon and fight through an outbreak of rakghouls. Originally slated for release on January 17, the update was delayed until the following day for unknown reasons.
Game Update 1.2: Legacy
- "The galaxy is in turmoil. War rages across countless worlds as Republic and Imperial forces struggle for control of critical resources. Amidst the chaos, threats emerge from all sides. The planet Denova, known for its extensive deposits of baradium ore, has been seized by a band of mercenaries and veteran Imperial defectors with mysterious motives. If they are not dislodged, the explosive arsenal they can create will give them the power to destroy any armed force – Republic or Imperial. On Corellia, a corrupt councilor attempts to maximize hypermatter profits by playing both sides of the conflict, and the crazed mastermind behind the Rakghoul outbreak, discovered on Ord Mantell, continues to threaten the lives of all sentient beings in the galaxy…"
- ―Game Update 1.2 patchnotes
Game Update 1:2 Legacy was the second regularly-scheduled content update for The Old Republic. After significant pre-release promotion beginning on March 8, Legacy was released on April 12, 2012. As an April Fool's joke, BioWare announced a new mini-game entitled Ship Droid, where the player would assume control of the steward droid on their character's vessel, and stated that it would be part of Game Update 1.2 along with a new "Etiquette Points System". However, the new article was later given an "april fool's" tag and revealed to be a hoax. The update's primary addition was an overhaul of the game's Legacy System, including improvements that allowed players to build a family tree of characters as well as the implementation of new abilities and awards for players through the Legacy System. Update 1.2 also introduced the Flashpoint: The Lost Island, a sequel to Kaon Under Siege, as well as a new Operation entitled Explosive Conflict and a new player-vs.-player warzone named Novare Coast.
Game Update 1.3: Allies
- "Game Update 1.3 is focused around the new Group Finder function, which will help you find other players to group up with for Flashpoints and Operations easily. In addition, the Legacy System has been updated with purchasable character perks. Leveling a new Legacy character can now be customized to your preferred play style."
- ―Press release for Update 1.3 playtesting
Game Update 1.3: Allies was first announced by BioWare on May 23, and was released on June 26. The update introduced Adaptive Gear, specialized gear that allowed players to appear as Republic troopers, Imperial soldiers, Sand People, and more. Allies also added the ability to craft and sell kits that unlocked augmentation modification slots on weapons. The update also added new character perks to the Legacy that add experience bonuses to various parts of The Old Republic, but the update's primary addition was the Group Finder tool, which allowed players to find groups to participate in Flashpoints and Operations more easily.
Game Update 1.4: Terror From Beyond
- "In "Terror from Beyond", you will be called upon to face a mysterious new threat that has emerged from one of the most obscure places in the galaxy: the Gree planet of Asation. The Gree have been safeguarding ancient technologies on the planet for centuries, but seemingly on its own one of the technologies, called a "Hypergate" has been activated. Terrible creatures have begun emerging from this Hypergate, and the Gree fear the worst is yet to come. You must travel to Asation, close the Hypergate, and defeat whatever evil it has unleashed. Get ready to face the most challenging enemy yet. A true Terror From Beyond!'"
- ―Developer Dispatch
Game Update 1.4: Terror From Beyond was first announced unofficially in a Developer Blog entry on August 30 by Jesse Sky, where it was stated that the Operation Terror from Beyond would be included as one of its features. This was later followed by an official announcement, including a list of features, on September 12, 2012. The update was officially released on September 26, 2012. The update introduced the Terror from Beyond Operation, which is set on the Gree world of Asation and deals with the actions of the Sith Lords known as the Dread Masters. Completing the Operation and defeating its five bosses helps players acquired the Dread Guard gear, which was the most powerful gear to date. Update 1.4 also introduced customization for the player's companion characters, allowing players to match their companions' outfits to the item in their chest slot and also hide their headgear. The update included a new emote feature for player characters, allowing players to set their characters' facial expressions, and the Group Finder tool received further tweaks and functionality. An early announcement also revealed that the visual quality of The Old Republic's shadow effects had been greatly improved, as the developers chose to completely rewrite the coding of the game's shadows.
Game Update 1.5: HK-51 Activated
- "With this Game Update, we are extremely proud to bring you the re-imagination of one of our favorite characters from the universe of the Old Republic. BioWare has a long history of memorable companion characters, not the least of which is HK-47. With the release of Game Update 1.5, all players will have access to the newest model of this infamous Assassin Droid – HK-51. You begin your adventure to find HK-51 in the new mission area called Section X and must complete a set of compelling missions to ultimately unlock HK-51 for use as a fully featured companion character."
- ―Executive Producer Jeff Hickman and Senior Producer Blaine Christine
Game Update 1.5: HK-51 Activated debuted on the Public Test Server on October 11 without much previous promotion, though the introduction of HK-51 had been hinted at as early as July 16 when the trailer HK-51 Revealed was released. The update went live on November 15, introducing a number of major changes for the game. A new companion, HK-51, was made available for all classes, and the Section X daily mission area on Belsavis was added alongside a "Nightmare Mode" of Operation Explosive Conflict. The Old Republic introduced its full free-to-play option as well as the new Cartel Market in Update 1.5, giving both subscribers and non-subscribers the chance to purchase unique items and in-game bonuses in exchange for Cartel Coins. On a technical note, the update also featured improvements in the visual quality of the game's foliage, as developers chose to add a translucency effect to foliage so that plans would glow when hit by light. The resultant effect improved the game's visual quality without affecting framerate.
Game Update 1.6 Ancient Hypergate
Game Update 1.6: Ancient Hypergate debuted on the Public Test Server on November 20, less than a week after the roll-out of Game Update 1.5, and the update was officially released on December 11. Update 1.6 introduces the new Ancient Hypergate Warzone and six new Heroic Space Missions for both factions, as well as Grade 7 Starship Upgrades to help players complete the new missions. To celebrate the game's upcoming anniversary, Life Day-themed gear and fireworks were added for a limited time, and certain tiers of the game's PvP gear system were altered. Also included in the update was a number of new tooltips to recommend gear quality, as well as clearer explanations of the rewards that can be earned in group quests.
Game Update 1.7 Return of the Gree
- "Furthermore, the introduction of the Gree event also introduces our new event philosophy, one of recurrence. All events we run will be designed with the possibility that they may be reactivated again, and, while the Gree's time on Ilum will be limited, we are already making plans for them to revisit multiple times over the course of this year alone. As we add additional events with this philosophy, The Old Republic will feel like a dynamic, ever changing universe for players to explore."
- ―Lead Designer Daimon Schubert and Executive Produce Jeff Hickman
Game Update 1.7: Return of the Gree, which was first announced on January 11, was released on February 12 and centers around the Relics of the Gree World Event on Ilum. The Game Update also introduced the Galactic Reputation system, which ties in with the Legacy System and allows players to complete various missions for different organizations—ranging from factions in the Empire and the Republic to species such as the Voss and the Gree—in order to gain Reputation with the factions. Through the Reputation system, players can unlock mini-pets, gear, and Legacy Titles, which are titles that can be used by any character in your legacy and are shown alongside your character's title in their nameplate.
Game Update 2.0: Scum and Villainy
- "Today we are a proud studio having delivered what we believe is our most ambitious update to date: our first Digital Expansion: Rise of the Hutt Cartel and Game Update 2.0: Scum and Villainy. This update is a big one – it centers upon the new story planet of Makeb, but also includes an increase in the level cap, all-new mission types, and a new major systems such as Achievements."
- ―Daimon Schubert
Game Update 2.0: Scum and Villainy went live on the Public Test Server on February 20, 2013, and was released to the public on April 9 in order to coincide with the release of Rise of the Hutt Cartel for players who have pre-ordered the expansion. With the release of the update, Planetary Commendations have been consolidated into one type, and Elder Game Commendations have been reworked in order to reduce confusion. New Basic Commendations are earned through Level 51+ activities, while Elite Commendations are earned from Level 55 Flashpoints and Ultimate Commendations from Level 55 Operations. Additional items, included Sith armor inspired by the Deceived trailer, have been added to the Cartel Market, and players in guilds now gain a 5% experience gain bonus. Priority Transport Terminals have also been added to both factions' fleets, allowing easier access to the daily mission areas.
Furthermore, Game Update 2.0 introduces Operation Scum and Villainy, where players travel to the new planet of Darvannis. All Flashpoints and Operations now reward players with improved gear, and Level 55 players can now participate in Hard Mode versions for Flashpoints Hammer Station, Athiss, Mandalorian Raiders, and Cademimu as well as Nightmare mode for Operation: Terror From Beyond. Another major feature is the addition of the Legacy Achievements system, which introduces over 1,900 Achievements that players can earn on any character in their Legacy. Achievements can grant rewards, including Cartel Coins and new titles. However, some features included in the update, such as the increase in level cap to 55 and the addition of macrobinoculars and seeker droids, are reserved for players who have purchased Rise of the Hutt Cartel.
With the release of Update 2.0, the combat system for all classes has been overhauled. The Alacrity stat has been altered to increase the activation speed of abilities and resource regeneration, which also has the effect of speeding up combat animations. Shields and the Accuracy stat have also been altered, increasing their importance and usefulness to many classes. The skill trees for all classes and advanced classes underwent significant changes, with more than half of the abilities and skills having been either replaced or altered. In the second week after the release of Update 2.0, a series of Developer Blogs were posted on the game's official site in order to give players more information on the changes for each class.
Game Update 2.1: Customization
- "We are thrilled to release Game Update 2.1: Customization today. This update introduces many highly requested and anticipated features to Star Wars: The Old Republic. As the name indicates, Game Update 2.1 is all about giving players the freedom to customize their characters to fully immerse themselves in their personal Star Wars saga."
- ―Cory Butler
Game Update 2.1: Customization was first announced on April 26 in a video that previewed the addition of the Cathar as a playable species. The April edition of The Old Republic Insider, released the same day, gave further information on the update, announcing the addition of the Appearance Designer Kiosk as well as upcoming Cartel Market items. The Kiosk allows players to completely recreate their character's appearances in exchange for Cartel Coins, and the addition of Dye Modules allows playeres to change the colors of any crafted gear above Level 15. The update was released on May 14, and included the addition of the Collections Interface, which allows players to unlock Cartel Market items for their entire account at a discount price. Additionally, with the release of Update 2.1 players are now able to purchase a variey of Convenience Services, including Character Rename, Legacy Rename, and Guild Rename, in the Cartel Market.
Game Update 2.1 was originally announced as "Dance of the Hutts" as part of an April Fool's joke on The Old Republic's official site. The proposed update would have featured a new PvP area entitled "Toborro's Shakedown" in which players would hold dance-offs against each other, and also a ride-able Hutt mount known as the "Huttese Transporter".
Game Update 2.2: Operation Nightmare
- "Put your guild's coordination and skill to the ultimate test as you conquer twelve nightmarish bosses on the planets of Asation and Darvannis in two newly upgraded Level 55 Nightmare Mode Operations coming soon in Game Update 2.2: Operation Nightmare. Fight for a chance to earn a brand new set of Kell Dragon gear, the most powerful PvE gear available, along with two new stunning vehicles."
- ―Announcement for Update 2.2
Game Update 2.2: Operation Nightmare was first announced on May 24 during Bruce Maclean's "Summer of SWTOR" announcement, and it was released in two parts. The first, Update 2.2, added a Nightmare Mode for Operation: Terror From Beyond, as well as new guild bonuses, two new vehicles, and the Kell Dragon PvE gear set. Underworld Gear crafting was also added in the first part, and the second part—Update 2.2.2—added a Nightmare Mode to Operation: Scum and Villainy. Update 2.2 was released on June 12, though Update 2.2.2 was not released until July 10.
Game Update 2.3: Titans of Industry
- "Titans of Industry is a new story arc encompassing two new Flashpoints at level 55: Czerka Corporate Labs and Czerka Core Meltdown. These Flashpoints can be accessed by traveling to a small daily mission area, CZ-198 via your ship or the Priority Transport Terminal."
- ―Bruce Maclean
Game Update 2.3: Titans of Industry is a Czerka-themed update that was first announced during Bruce Maclean's "Summer of SWTOR" announcement on May 24 and released on August 6. The update went live on the Public Test Server on June 28, when it was announced that the update would be centered around three main additions: a new Level 55 daily mission area and two new Flashpoints. The mission area is the moon of CZ-198, which is the site of a major Czerka Corporation facility that has recently entered an emergency lockdown, while the Flashpoint: Czerka Corporate Labs and Flashpoint: Czerka Core Meltdown deal with various crises at the facility. In the July edition of The Old Republic Insider, it was revealed that Update 2.3 would include a new Ewok companion named Treek that would be available for all classes, and on July 5 the new recurring Bounty Contract Week was announced, as was the addition of the Cartel Bazaar areas to both factions' fleets. With the release of Game Update 2.3, Tauntaun Mounts are added to the game, and three new organizations—the Adjudicators, the Ordnance Acquisition Corps, and the Bounty Brokers Assocation—are added to the Reputation system. Update 2.3 also saw a reworking of the game's visuals with new palette graphics, with every planet's environment receiving alterations in their color schemes to better reflect the planet and to create contrast between different regions.
Game Update 2.4: The Dread War
- "This is our biggest Game Update since 2.0 and includes a story mission area with new missions on a new moon, two entirely new Operations, all new 4v4 Warzone gameplay and Arenas, class balance changes, three new sets of gear comprising some of the most powerful equipment in the galaxy, and new vehicles and mount rewards!"
- ―Bruce Maclean
Game Update 2.4: The Dread War, promoted as the "Last Chapter in the Dread Masters Saga," was first mentioned on July 16 when developers confirmed a variety of features that would be introduced in the update, and the update went live on the Public Test Server a month later on August 16, followed by the update's official release on October 1. In a press release on September 12, BioWare announced that Update 2.4 would be released on October 1. Update 2.4 centers on the final confrontation with the Dread Masters, who have retreated to their Dread Fortress on the moon of Oricon, and the two new Operations: Dread Fortress and Dread Palace. Oricon is a new story mission area with a world arc for each faction and additional Level 55 Daily Missions, and two Reputation organizations for Oricon have been added: the Republic's Strike Team Oricon and the Empire's Dread Executioners.
Update 2.4 also introduces the new Warzone Arenas, which are Last Team Standing Warzones that pit teams of 4 players against each other in battles to eliminate the opposing team, with a best of three rounds per match. The first three "Arenas of Death," as the Warzones are called in-game, are on Corellia, Tatooine, and an Orbital Station. Update 2.4 also sees the removal of 8v8 Ranked Warzones, as the limited number of 8-player groups willing and able to play in those matches makes 8v8 Ranked matches very rare. Warzone Arenas are restricted to subscribers as of Update 2.4, though a removal of this restriction and an additional Warzone Arena map are planned. Three additional gear sets and a number of new vehicle and mounts are added in the update, and the update included a variety of minor changes to the various advanced classes in order to better balance gameplay.
Game Update 2.5: Galactic Starfighter Subscriber Early Access
Game Update 2.5: Galactic Starfighter Subscriber Early Access was first announced in a blog update about the holiday plans for The Old Republic on October 18, 2013 with a release date of December 3. The bulk of the update focused on the addition of the Digital Expansion Galactic Starfighter, which was made available to subscribers. Game Update 2.5 also included class balance changes and the Makeb Mesa PvP Warzone Arena. Two maps for the Domination game mode were made available—Lost Shipyards and Kuat Mesas—and a new Reputation organization, The Hyland Research Organization for Rakghoul Neutralization (T.H.O.R.N.) was added.
Other Upcoming Content
There is a variety of content that the developers of The Old Republic have confirmed to be in development, but without a release date.
The gameplay in the upcoming digital expansion, Galactic Starfigther will feature regular content updates, including new Ship PvP maps, and a fourth starfigther class, the Bomber. The new class will be released when the expansion goes live in February for Free-To-Play players.
A new "dynamic, role neutral" flashpoint, Kuat Drive Yards will be added to the game near the release of Galactic Starfighter in February. A Starfighter area will also be added to the Republic and Imperial fleets. 
In addition to the more major content updates, The Old Republic also features frequent additions of items such as clothing, pets, weapons, and vehicles to the Cartel Market.
- "Attention Republic citizens. The Health and Safety Council has updated its recommendations for dealing with extreme cases of rakghoul plague. Anyone who has suffered a full-body genetic mutation from rakghoul plague is now considered a high-risk threat to anyone nearby. As there is no cure for this disease once genetic mutation is complete, citizens are advised to employ lethal force to prevent further infections. If you are unable or unwilling to use lethal force, please contact Republic Military representatives. They will assist you."
- ―Republic news reporter
The game's first World Event, Rakghoul Outbreak, began on April 15, 2012. Centered on Tatooine, the event introduced a number of limited time missions that dealt with the otubreak of the rakghoul plague on the planet, and locales such as Mos Ila and Anchorhead received environmental changes such as debris from the infected cruiser Stardream and special containment soldiers. The Stardream itself could be found in the northeastern corner of the Dune Sea region, and Codex entries revealed the history of the crash and also linked the event's origins with the recently-released Operation: Lost Island. Players earned special commendations for completing the daily missions, and the commendations could be spent at special vendors to purchase items that included new green-black color crystals, a Rakling pet, and rakghoul-styled customizations for companion characters. Players could also be infected with the rakghoul plague, and would die from the illness if not treated.
On April 20, five days into the event, BioWare released the in-game news report by the Republic News Network as a promotional video on the game's official YouTube channel. The video gave an overview of the threat the rakghoul plague posed to the galaxy, and the news report ends when a bystander succumbs to the plague and is shot by Republic Military personnel The event came to an end on April 24, and the missions, the Stardream and other event-related game features were removed at that time. However, the vendors for the event commendations remained in place to allow players to still redeem those commendations that they had not yet spent.
The Grand Acquisitions Race
- "Recently, Chevin slaves and emissaries have been seen contacting mercenaries, scavengers and other underworld figures. All Imperial citizens are urged to—"
"Greetings from the Chevin Conglomerate. Our eternal purpose: to provide personal enrichment opportunities. All other claims are libelous. The Grand Acquisitions Race has begun. Profit opportunities are extensive for individuals capable of interstellar travel. Others need not apply."
- ―The Chevin Conglomerate interrupts an Imperial News Network broadcast
BioWare launched the game's second World Event, The Grand Acquisitions Race on August 14, 2012. For the second event, BioWare preceded launch with the debut of the Imperial News Network in-game report on the game's YouTube channel. The event's story ties into the overall story arc involving the Gree species, with the mysterious Chevin Conglomerate of Vinsoth announcing a galaxy-wide quest for artifacts so that they can appease the coming Gree fleet. In-game, their search manifested as a scavenger hunt for event-specific items in exchange for reward tokens which could be used to buy new items. The search involved nine artifacts, many of which could be found on Nar Shaddaa, while other artifacts were located on neutral worlds or each factions' capital. The event concluded on August 21, 2012.
Relics of the Gree
- "Elation progresses throughout the Enclave: Gray Secant, an ancient starship crafted by revered Gree ancestors, has reappeared from its multi-millennial task of exploration! Gray Secant has chosen the world you call Ilum for its next site of analysis. The intricacies of your culture's warfare dominate its interest. The Enclave deems you essential for analysis by Gray Secant. Join us on Ilum! Demonstrate combativeness for Gray Secant, and Gree technologies will be given in return!"
- ―A Gree transmission
The Old Republic's third World Event, Relics of the Gree, was announced on January 11, and it is a sequel to the events of the Grand Acquisitions Race. Relics of the Gree is a recurring event that initially ran from February 12 through February 26, and it focuses on the arrival of the Gree starship known as the Gray Secant on the Western Ice Shelf. The Western Ice Shelf was redone as part of the event, and a number of new Gree-themed daily missions were added to the region as part of the event. Players who participated in the event and completed the daily missions earned Reputation with the Gree Enclave as part of Update 1.7's new Reputation system, and players with high enough Reputation could purchase exclusive gear from vendors who remained on Ilum even after the event ended. As a recurring event, Relics of the Gree returned to the game between March 12 and March 26 as part of The Old Republic's "March to Makeb" promotional campaign, and was brought back between May 21-28 and July 23 through August 6. The World Event will also be brought back in December 2013.
Bounty Contract Week
- "Got blasters? Get credits!"
- ―The Bounty Brokers Association
Bounty Contract Week is a new monthly event that was introduced with Game Update 2.3 and lasts an entire week. First announced on July 5, Bounty Contract Week is centered in the new Cartel Bazaar sections of the faction fleets, and is presented in-universe as a list of contracts posted by the Bounty Brokers Association in the Bazaar for targets across the galaxy. The contracts outlines information on the target, contact information for the client, and underworld contacts who can aid players, and the targets are chosen from criminal elements and other law-breaking individuals. High-profile targets are designated as "Kingpins" and can be hunted through Kingpin Contracts, authorization for which can be purchased in exchange for five completed bounty contracts. Every day, a player may sign up for one standard and one Kingpin contract, and the contract's completion requires the target's death or capture—but players will also be rated on their resource-handling aptitude and their investigative skills. Contracts are available at Level 15, and each contract will scale its difficulty and rewards to the player's level. The first Bounty Contract Week began on August 14 and continued for seven days, and the second occurrence of the event ran from September 10 through September 17. Bounty Contract Week returned October 15 through October 22, and will also return on November 12, 2013.
Rise of the Hutt Cartel
- "The Hutts will not be allowed to expand their dominion at our expense."
- ―Supreme Chancellor Leontyne Saresh
The game's first Digital Expansion, Rise of the Hutt Cartel, was first announced on December 18, 2012, with an intended release in the spring of 2013. Rise of the Hutt Cartel introduces a new dual-faction planet, Makeb, upon which the players battle the forces of the Hutt Cartel as the organization attempts to become a third galactic power. The expansion also increases the level cap to Level 55, and is offered for a regular price of $19.99, though subscribes were initially able to pre-order the game for only $9.99. On January 23, it was announced that players who preorder the expansion would receive three exclusive in-game items: a holostatue of the Hutt Dr. Juvard Illip Oggurobb, a Makrin Seedling Mini-Pet, and the "Scourge of the Hutts" title.
Further Developer Blogs, Updates, and trailers in March gave further information on Makeb and its history, and on March 12 The Old Republic announced Double XP weekends as part of their "March to Makeb" promotion. During the final three weekends of March and the first weekend of April, players were able to gain double the amount of experience so that they could reach Level 50 in time for the release of Rise of the Hutt Cartel, and the Relics of the Gree event was re-released to further entice players. Finally, on March 25, BioWare and LucasArts announced a release date of April 14 for Rise of the Hutt Cartel, and Game Update 2.0 would be released on April 9 to accompany the opening of pre-order early access to the expansion. Starting September 12, 2013, Rise of the Hutt Cartel is now free for subscribers as a subscription benefit.
Galactic Starfighter is the second Digital Expansion for The Old Republic, and it was first officially announced on October 8, 2013 with an intended release to the general public in February 2014. Galactic Starfighter was first conceived shortly after the release of The Old Republic, but before the developers could define what the expansion would actually look like, the project was put on hold in favor of additional content and the Free-to-Play system. It was not until August 2012 that the developers resumed work on identifying how they wanted to approach space content. Comments and requests by fans factored into the discussion, and the developers soon established two main factors: free-flight space combat and ship customization. The developers soon decided to pursue player-vs-player combat instead of developing a large open world with story content and massive capital ships, and work started on the expansion's development.
Prior to the official announcement, Galactic Starfighter was teased as the "Super Secret Space Project." It was first mentioned in the second LiveStream Event on November 29, 2012, and was described as "something that is a departure from our normal space game." It was not mentioned again until August 2013, when a teaser video was shown at the Community Cantina Tour in Seattle. The video, framed as footage from a surveillance droid in space and an audio report by an agent of the Shroud addressed to the Shroud, describes the agent's findings that the Republic and the Empire are gathering their naval forces. A Republic fleet attacks an Imperial shipyard, and the video shows gameplay footage of Liberator-class starfighters and Mark VI Supremacy-class starfighters dogfighting before the surveillance droid is destroyed. No other information about the feature or its release date was announced during the Cantina Tour.
Galactic Starfighter is be a Free-to-Play expansion that centers around the addition of player-vs-player space combat to the game. Galactic Starfighter features variety of unique starships divided into three types, customizations and upgrade options for those ships, and multiple gameplay modes and battle zones, including 12 v. 12 space battles. Early Access to Galactic Starfighter for active subscribers began on December 3, 2013 when Game Update 2.5 went live, and Preferred Status Players will receive it on January 14; the expansion will be made available to Free-to-Play gamers on February 4. Subscribers will also receive exclusive paint jobs, two pilot suits, two titles, and the maximum leveling and progression benefit available—a benefit which can also be gained through the purchase of a Starfigher Pass in the Cartel Market. Preferred Status Players will receive two pilot suits and an exclusive title., and any player who is a subscriber by November 1 will receive an exclusive Gunship unlock with custom paint jobs.
References to other works
- "You must understand, the head of Darth Bandon is a priceless artifact. He was the Sith Lord who murdered one of Alderaan's noblest sons. Centuries ago, Trask Ulgo bravely sacrificed himself in combat with Darth Bandon. Trask's martyrdom saved the Galactic Republic. […] Trask's death was a noble sacrifice. It allowed a powerful Force user to live who eventually went on to destroy the evil Darth Malak."
- ―Peema Ahuff
As the successor to BioWare's Knights of the Old Republic and Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, The Old Republic borrows heavily from the content of those two games, as well as the Tales of the Jedi and Knights of the Old Republic comic series. The Old Republic is set three hundred years after the two KOTOR games, and the planet of Taris—which was destroyed in the beginning of Knights of the Old Republic—is gradually recovering from the destruction. The Endar Spire, the starting ship for the first game, can be found on Taris's surface where it crashed following the beginning of the game. The rakghoul creatures from Knights of the Old Republic are present, and several side missions in The Old Republic tie in to optional side quests from Knights of the Old Republic, confirming the outcomes of the original quests as canon. Similar to Taris, the planet Alderaan is home to numerous references to other continuity: the Alderaanian noble House Ulgo includes the character Trask Ulgo from Knights of the Old Republic, and the insectoid Killiks as well as Houses Organa and Thul are all elements that have been part of Star Wars canon for over a decade.
The Sith Empire present in The Old Republic is established by the survivors of the Great Hyperspace War, the conflict depicted in Tales of the Jedi: The Fall of the Sith Empire, and both the planet Korriban and the Sith Inquisitor storyline include major characters and elements from Tales of the Jedi: The Golden Age of the Sith and The Fall of the Sith Empire, such as Horak-mul, Naga Sadow, and Marka Ragnos. The various ti-in materials—the novels, comics, Timeline videos, and other content—describe the backstory of the galactic powers and the game's conflict, and several major characters from The Old Republic are introduced in the comics and novels: Satele Shan, Darth Baras, Orgus Din, Darth Angral, Braden, Darth Thanaton, Jaric Kaedan, Elin Garza, Nasan Godera, Bela Kiwiiks, and Darth Marr are among the major characters that originated outside of the game itself.
The "True Sith" that Kreia describes in The Sith Lords are established to the reconstituted Sith Empire, and the tie-in novel Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan bridges the gaps between Knights of the Old Republic, The Sith Lords, and The Old Republic, explaining what happened to Revan and Meetra Surik—the protagonists of the first two games—and how they end up appearing in The Old Republic. Revan himself receives a multitude of references throughout The Old Republic: Revan's Cross of Glory, a complex on Nar Shaddaa established by Revan, Revan's mask, and the Order of Revan are just some of the references to the Jedi Master within The Old Republic. Revan himself appears in the game, serving as the focus of four interconnected Flashpoints that also include an appearance by Meetra Surik's Force ghost and a Rakatan space station known as the Foundry, a station similar to the Star Forge of Knights of the Old Republic.
The character of Satele Shan, the Jedi Grand Master, was first introduced in the Threat of Peace webcomics, and she is the descendant of Revan and the companion character Bastila Shan from Knights of the Old Republic. The Noetikons, holocron-like devices that appear in the Jedi Consular storyline, feature a number of characters from Tales of the Jedi and Knights of the Old Republic, though some characters, such as Arca Jeth and Bastila Shan, feature altered character models because of differences in graphics. The Old Republic's metaseries also retcons the story behind Revan and Malak's fall to the dark side, establishing that they were corrupted by the Sith Emperor and sent back to the Republic as his agents before they broke free from the Emperor's mental control. The Republic Fleet hub Carrick Station is a reference to Zayne Carrick, the protagonist of the Knights of the Old Republic comics series, and the two ships in the hub—the Gav Daragon and the Telos—are callbacks to the Tales of the Jedi character and the planet in The Sith Lords.
The Old Republic features an in-game Codex, a database of information on the Star Wars universe, whose entries are unlocked through various quests, exploration, and discovering attribute-boosting datacrons. Each datacron unlocks one of almost 90 Galactic History entries, which cover the history of the galaxy from the Celestials to the end of the Great Galactic War. Through the Galactic History entries, The Old Republic effectively summarizes most of the content that has been introduced in that span of time, covering previously-established continuity while also expanding on lesser-known points and introducing new content. Other entries in the Codex also give background on various locations, species, characters, items, and events in the game, summarizing preexisting information and establishing new content.
The Crewskill system, particularly the mission crewskills, is a major source of references to older continuity. Events, characters, and locations from Tales of the Jedi and the Knights of the Old Republic games and comics, such as the bombing of Socorro, the attack on Dantooine, the Telos Academy, the destruction of Peragus, the companion character Mical, and the Mandalorian scientist Demagol are referenced in the Crewskill missions, which borrow from all manner of sources in the Expanded Universe. Planets, locations, and cultures from a wide variety of sourcebooks, novels, comics, and other materials are touched upon, and the game also introduces a large number of locations and characters to canon through the Crewskill missions.
Many of the planets in The Old Republic originated in prior sources, and some had never been visually depicted before. The planet Belsavis was first introduced in the 1995 novel Children of the Jedi, but aside from scattered mentions, the planet was largely undescribed in pre-existing continuity. The designers chose to use Belsavis after coming across the planet in the Holocron, and they expanded on the description of Belsavis as an ice world with rifts in its surface that were home to jungle areas warmed by volcanic vents. The planet Oricon, which is a Daily Mission Area in Update 2.4, was only mentioned in a web enhancement for the Star Wars Roleplaying Game by Wizards of the Coast, and Ord Mantell and Tython had been mentioned or appeared frequently in various novels but had never been visually depicted to the extent they are in The Old Republic.
The planet Deralia, which was originally mentioned in Knights of the Old Republic, saw its first appearance in a Jedi Consular class mission, and the Gree world of Asation originated in a HoloNet News issue that was released in 2002 as a tie-in to Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Saleucami, Chandrila, and the Tion Hegemony are all locales that have previously appeared in Star Wars content, and the planet of Athiss was previously only mentioned in the Tales of the Jedi Companion sourcebook. The planets Quesh and Voss, however, are entirely new planets in Star Wars continuity, and a number of other planets that appear in Flashpoints, Operations, and class missions—including Zadd, Darvannis, and Denova—were created for The Old Republic as well.
Contradictions and errors
- "This map was a bear. You'll find lots of little islands of exploration and odd peninsulas to reflect the fact that so many worlds we were once told were charted, founded or settled late in galactic history have shown up in the eras explored by the various Knights of the Old Republic tales. In the final days of work on the Atlas, a good chunk of "blue" space had to be hastily turned turquoise to account for two things: the forthcoming The Old Republic MMO and its new origin story for the Hydian Way, and the mention of the Minos Cluster in an online comic connected to the game."
- ―Jason Fry, on the Galactic Explorations map
With the number of references to other continuity in The Old Republic, there have been some errors and conflicting details. One of the issues is the planet Hoth, which is the site of a large ship graveyard and a significant number of military structures; some fans argued it should not have been included because it was largely unexplored before the Battle of Hoth in 3 ABY. In Knights of the Old Republic, the Endar Spire explodes just after Revan and Carth Onasi escape, but the ship appears largely intact on the surface of Taris in The Old Republic. Similarly, the character Brejik in Knights of the Old Republic is a hostile swoop rider who is killed by the player shortly before the bombardment of Taris, but The Old Republic's Codex introduces a swoop rider named Milos Brejik who survived the bombardment and helped other survivors scavenge food.
The Old Republic also includes the Chiss species, a culture from the Unknown Regions that had previously been established as isolationist and largely unknown to the galaxy, and the Sith Empire is allies with the Chiss Ascendancy. The layout of the Valley of the Dark Lords on the planet Korriban is significantly different than how it appears in the Knights of the Old Republic games, though the games themselves conflict with Tales of the Jedi, the novel Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, the video game Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, and various other sources. There is a further discrepancy between Knights of the Old Republic and The Old Republic in one of the Taris side missions: the Outcast Rukil stated that it would take weeks or months to reach the Promised Land from the Taris Undercity, but The Old Republic reveals that the Outcasts made it to the Promised Land before the bombardment of Taris.
The Old Republic was the first Star Wars product to touch upon the origin of the Jedi Order in any specific fashion, establishing the characters of Garon Jard, Rajivari, Ters Sendon, and Cala Brin as the members of the first Jedi Council and describing the Force Wars as a conflict between the Jedi and Rajivari's followers. However, the comic series Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi, which is set in the Before the Republic era and deals with the Je'daii Order—the Jedi Order's predecessors—began shortly after the release of The Old Republic, and it presented a largely different origin of the Jedi, with the Je'daii Order developing a philosophy of balance between the light and dark sides, and their Je'daii Council did not include any of the characters introduced in The Old Republic. The sixth issue of Dawn of the Jedi featured an appearance by Rajivari, starting the process of reconciling the two conflicting sources.
A further contradiction between Dawn of the Jedi and The Old Republic deals with the origin of several species, including Twi'leks and Zabraks. The Rakatan device known as Mother Machine on Belsavis identified itself as being responsible for the creation of the Twi'leks, Zabraks, Esh-kha, and other species in an effort to restore the Force-sensitivity of the Rakatan species as the Infinite Empire collapsed. However, Dawn of the Jedi contradicts the Mother Machine, showing an advanced Twi'lek civilization on their homeworld of Ryloth as well as a pre-existing Zabrak species in 36,453 BBY, thousands of years before the Infinite Empire's collapse. The 2010 novel Red Harvest by Joe Schreiber, a prequel to his earlier novel Death Troopers, is stated to occur in the year 3645 BBY, shortly before the events of The Old Republic. However, the novel makes very little mention of the Great Galactic War, the Cold War, or any of the other events or backstory from The Old Republic, and the character Hestizo Trace makes a mention of an intact Jedi Temple on Coruscant—eight years after the Temple's destruction and during a time period in which the Jedi Order had relocated to Tython.
The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance was released early in the development of The Old Republic, and as a result the novel is not based on the finalized version of the game's setting. Almost all of the game's characters, events, and other elements have been virtually ignored by The Old Republic and all other material in the metaseries, and conflicts have arisen between the novel and the game. The four Jedi Council members introduced in the novel—Wens Aleusis, Nikil Nobil, Oric Traless, and Giffis Fane—have been effectively ignored by The Old Republic, which introduced an entirely new Council. Satele Shan's Padawan Shigar Konshi and the novel's other main characters, excluding the Grand Master herself, have yet to be involved or even appear outside of Fatal Alliance. The novel also introduces the Duros Supreme Commander Stantorrs, but The Old Republic directly contradicts Stantorrs' existence by stating that the Human Rans has been Supreme Commander since the beginning of the Great War.
However, some elements from Fatal Alliance have been retained: Elin Garza was briefly mentioned in the novel, and both the Justicars' Brigade and Larin Moxla's former unit, Blackstar Squad, make appearances in the game. The Star Wars: The Old Republic Encyclopedia attempted to reconcile the different compositions of the Jedi Council by establishing that there were twelve members, which allowed the four Council members introduced in Fatal Alliance to be members of the Council at the same time as those who appeared in The Old Republic. Fatal Alliance featured a ship named the "Kuat D7," a designation that ultimately became the D5-Mantis Patrol Craft produced by Kuat Drive Yards that serves as the player ship for the Bounty Hunter class. The novel also mentioned "B-28s", a starfighter whose name eventually became the B28 Extinction-class bomber. Similarly, The Old Republic: Deceived introduced the Corellian XS freighter, as well as the "BT7 Thunderstrike"—an early name for the Trooper class's BT-7 Thunderclap.
The Republic engineer Lem Karner states that he served on the front lines at the Battle of Bothawui, of which there were two during the Great Galactic War. The first battle was a strictly naval engagement, but the second battle, while a ground engagement, ended with no Republic survivors. To date, it has not been identified which battle Lem Karner served in. The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural establishes the date of the Battle of Hoth as 3665 BBY, in the middle of the Great Galactic War. However, the Imperial Agent storyline involving the Shadow Arsenal erroneously claims that the Battle of Hoth occurred at the end of the war by placing Colonel Laren Omas's death—which occurred during the battle—at the very end of the war. The Agent storyline also uses an Imperial transport as the Republic officer's shuttle, the Starbreeze. In The Old Republic, the companion character T7-O1 claims that he was constructed 150 years earlier, but T7's Holonet entry and the Star Wars: The Old Republic Encyclopedia both contradict this, stating that he has been active for over two hundred years. The Arkanian Jedi Arca Jeth appears in hologram form in The Old Republic, but his appearance is that of a Human, as there is no character model for an Arkanian in the game.
The Hydian Way had previously been established to have been charted by Freia Kallea around 3000 BBY, but this date was pushed back to around 3700 BBY for The Old Republic so BioWare could use the hyperlane. Daniel Wallace and Jason Fry, the authors of the 2009 reference guide The Essential Atlas, learned of the retcon late in the publication process, but they were able to accommodate the change by altering the dates in the Atlas's section on the founding of the Hydian Way. Also, the Atlas's map of galactic explorations had to be revised, with sections of the galaxy changed from having been explored between 3000–1000 BBY to between 5000–3000 BBY instead, allowing planets in those regions to be used in the game.
Certain entries of the game's Codex contradict pre-existing continuity, though only in minor details. The Codex entry "Galactic History 07: The First Spaceflights" states that Coruscant did not send out any colonists until the collapse of the Infinite Empire, but previous sources have established that the Humans sent out a number of colony ships that settled worlds such as Alderaan, Corellia, and the Tion Hegemony hundreds of years before the Empire's collapse. "Galactic History 19: The Pius Dea Crusades" claims that the Pius Dea's rule came to an end when a new Chancellor was elected, but the Pius Dea Era actually ended with the Seventh Alsakan Conflict, which was followed by the Jedi Council's installment of Grand Master Biel Ductavis as Chancellor. However, Ductavis was not introduced until the release of The Essential Guide to Warfare in April 2012, which ignored the Codex's account of the Pius Dea in favor of a new story.
The Codex entry "Galactic History 03: The Battalions of Zhell" erroneously claimed that the Zhell, the precursor Human species, banded together into the Battalions of Zhell after they were attacked by the rival Taung species following an enormous volcanic eruption, when in fact the Zhell were united and were fighting the Taung well before the volcano's eruption. The Codex entry "Galactic History 31: The Ritual of Nathema" discusses the Ritual of Nathema, an event that first appeared in The Old Republic Revan, but claims that the event was celebrated by Imperial historians. The Old Republic: Revan contradicts this, stating that the Emperor erased all mentions of his homeworld from Imperial history to conceal how he gained his power. When the character of Darth Acina was introduced in Rise of the Hutt Cartel, her Codex entry originally stated that she was the successor to Darth Hadra as head of the Sphere of Technology. However, the novel Star Wars: The Old Republic: Annihilation, which was released prior to Rise of the Hutt Cartel, had already established Darth Karrid as Hadra's successor. This error was pointed on the forums of The Old Republic's website to the writers, and Charles Boyd ensured in the next patch that the Codex entry was corrected to say Karrid instead of Hadra.
|Star Wars: The Old Republic|
|GameRankings||83.87% (46 reviews)|
|Metacritic||85 (73 reviews)|
|GamesRadar||8 out of 10|
|PC Gamer (US)||93/100|
Star Wars: The Old Republic has received generally positive reviews from critics, with a score of 85 on the review aggregation website Metacritic and a 83.87% on GameRankings Both the gaming magazine PC Gamer, which gave The Old Republic a score of 93/100, and the gaming channel G4TV, which gave the game a review of 5/5, praised the game's voice acting, story, and amount of content available, and the media website GameTrailers gave a score of 8.6/10. The Old Republic received a 9.0/10 "Amazing" rating from the entertainment website IGN.com while the website GameSpy gave it a 4/5, criticising the game's "standard kill and fetch" quests while praising the storylines and companion system. GamesRadar gave The Old Republic a score of 8/10, calling it "an extremely satisfying experience that sets the stage for a bright future," while Eurogamer, GameZone, and GamesSpot also gave a 8/10, with GameSpot saying "SWTOR isn't the next step in online role-playing games. Instead, it's a highly entertaining refinement of what has come before it."
Star Wars: The Old Republic won Best MMO of the Year at GameSpy's 2011 Game of the Year Awards, and the news channel MSNBC declared The Old Republic to be the Game of the Year. In 2012, The AbleGamers Foundation awarded The Old Republic as their Mainstream Game of 2011 on account of the game's ability to accomodate gamers with special needs. The Foundation praised the accessibility options in the game's features, including subtitles, queueable actions, multiple action bars, built-in mouse sensitivity, as well as auto-looting and area looting.
The TV show The Big Bang Theory featured The Old Republic in the episode "The Weekend Vortex" on March 8, 2012, where the show's four main characters spend the weekend playing The Old Republic. The episode showed clips of the game itself, and the show often has a copy of The Old Republic: Revan visible in the background of the set. Several LEGO sets based on The Old Republic have also been produced: one features a Fury-class Imperial interceptor and includes Darth Malgus with two Sith troopers, and a second features a Liberator-class starfighter—referred to as a "Republic Striker Starfighter"—with minifigures of Satele Shan, Jace Malcom, and T7-O1. A "battle pack" including a speeder, several Imperial troopers, and several Republic soldiers has been released, and the most recent set has been a Defender-class light corvette—described as a "Jedi Defender-class Cruiser"—that includes a Sith Warrior, Kao Cen Darach, a Sith trooper, and a Mirialan Jedi Consular.
- "Our time has come. For 300 years, we prepared. We grew stronger. While you rested in your cradle of power, believing your people were safe... and protected. You were trusted to lead the Republic—but you were deceived, as our powers of the dark side have blinded you. You assumed no force could challenge you...and now...finally...we have returned."
- ―Darth Malgus during the invasion of the Jedi Temple
The first cinematic trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic, a 3:53 minute video entitled Deceived, was released on June 1, 2009 at E3 2009. Developed by Blur Studios with the help of Skywalker Sound, Deceived is rendered in photo-realistic CGI and depicts Darth Malgus leading a Sith attack on the Jedi Temple during the Sacking of Coruscant. Malgus and his lover Eleena Daru enter the Temple shortly before a shuttle of Sith crashes into the structure, and in the resultant fight, the Mandalorian Shae Vizla disables the planet's security grid while Malgus's Sith massacre the Jedi and Malgus himself kills Jedi Master Ven Zallow just before the Sacking begins. The trailer is narrated by Malgus, and it received praise from both fans and industry critics. An interview with Roger Evoy, LucasArts' marketing manager, led to confusion as to the game's chronological setting, as Evoy erroneously stated that the game was set between the original and prequel trilogies of movies. This also led some fans to criticize the trailer's technology, as it appeared rather similar to that of the prequel trilogy almost 4,000 years later. Fight choreography and motion capture for the trailer were externally utilized during the trailer's creation, while the soundtrack was mixed at Skywalker Sound, and BioWare and Industrial Light & Magic provided concept art and high-res models of the Jedi Temple and spacecraft so that Blur Studio could create a believable trailer. Decieved also recevied a follow-up novel, Star Wars: The Old Republic: Deceived, which expands on Malgus's role in the Sacking and the events that followed the attack.
- "For centuries, Alderaan stood as a beacon of hope in the Republic. But the Empire came, and with one savage strike, brought Alderaan to her knees. Now, time is running out as few are left to face the enemy. For those that remain, there is but one choice. We must fight—to victory, or death—for the Republic! […] While the sacrifices are heavy, we fight knowing that a single spark of courage can ignite the fires of hope, and restore peace across the galaxy."
- ―Jace Malcom
The second cinematic trailer for The Old Republic, Hope, was released on June 14, 2010, and the six-minute video was also developed by Blur Studio. Hope depicts the Battle of Alderaan, a major battle in the Great Galactic War, in which the Republic's elite Havoc Squad leads a suicidal charge against Darth Malgus and a significantly larger force. Havoc Squad, led by Captain Jace Malcom, has the element of surprise, but they soon begin to fall against the Sith and their more numerous Imperial soldiers. However, the arrival of the Jedi Knight Satele Shan sees Malcom rescued from execution and the two join forces to defeat Malgus, leaving the Sith buried beneath an entire mountain of rubble as the Republic forces claim victory. Hope's events were expanded on in the fourth The Old Republic novel, Annihilation, which explains that Shan had come to Malcom's rescue because of a Force vision and that the two began a secret affair in the aftermath of the battle that results in Shan's son Theron before the Jedi breaks it off. Shan's appearance was radically different than how she appeared in the online comics, and this led to some confusion as to whether the game occurred ten or thirty years after the end of the Great Galactic War.
- "Korriban, ancient birthplace of the Sith. We believed ruins were all that remained of their evil empire."
- ―Satele Shan
Return is the third cinematic trailer for The Old Republic, a 6:20 minute video that is set in the year 3681 BBY and depicts the Battle of Korriban, the beginning of the Great Galactic War. Released at E3 2011 on June 6, Return features appearances by a number of characters from the earlier trailers: Satele Shan and Jace Malcom from the Hope trailer, as well as Darth Malgus from both Hope and Deceived and the astromech droid T7-O1 who briefly appeared in Deceived and is a companion character for the Jedi Knight class. In Return, a Sith armada attacks the Republic space station above the Sith homeworld of Korriban in order to reclaim the planet, and Jedi Master Kao Cen Darach attempts to escape the station and warn the Republic with his apprentice Satele Shan, the Republic trooper Jace Malcom, and the smuggler Nico Okarr, though Shan and Darach are forced to battle a young Malgus and his master Vindican to escape. In the fighting that follows, Shan, Malcom, and Okarr escape to the Republic, while Malgus slays his Master after killing Darach as the Sith fleet claims Korriban.
- "All these years lost, the most dangerous machines in the galaxy."
The fourth cinematic trailer for The Old Republic, HK-51 Revealed is a 1:53 minute video that was released on July 16, 2012. The trailer, which was part of the advertising campaign for the release of Game Update 1.5: HK-51 Activated and the addition of HK-51 as a companion character, depicts a group of renegade Sith Lords' rediscovery of a crashed Imperial freighter on what is revealed in-game to be the planet Belsavis. As the narrator speaks, various views of the ship's insides are shown, revealing dozens of HK-51 assassin droids in storage, and one of the assassin droids activates as the video comes to a close. The trailer was first shown to journalists at E3 2012, where a portion of the video was aired, and the trailer was officially premiered at San Diego Comic-Con and on the game's official website in July.
The Galactic Timeline is a series of a dozen in-universe videos presented as historical records made for the Jedi Archives by Jedi Master Gnost-Dural. Beginning with the first entry on the Treaty of Coruscant, which was released on March 27, 2009, the videos described the history of the Republic, the Empire, the Jedi and Sith, and the recent Great Galactic War. The videos were released approximately every two months and continued in chronologically reverse order, with the first six entries dealing with the Great War and the following six gradually moving backwards in history. The Timeline was brought to an end following the release of Timeline 12: The Great Hyperspace War on February 11, 2011, though a seven additional videos were originally planned that would have chronicled history as far back as the discovery of the Force on Tython. The series was discontinued on account of the developers' belief that the videos were becoming less relevant to the game. The videos are still available on The Old Republic's official site, which also presents the headings and dates for the seven unreleased videos.
Threat of Peace
Blood of the Empire
Star Wars: The Old Republic, Blood of the Empire was the second arc in the Star Wars: The Old Republic comic series, and as it was developed far closer to the game's release date, its artwork and story elements resemble those of the game far more closely than Threat of Peace. Written by Alexander Freed and pencilled by Dave Ross, Blood of the Empire was released in three issues, all of which were published over several months in 2010. Seven pages would be released every other Friday on the game's official site for a total of 28 pages per issue. The three issues of the webcomic were later published as comic issue by Dark Horse in the months after the completion of the webcomic.
The Sith apprentice Teneb Kel, after leading the Sith to victory on the planet Begeren in 3678 BBY, is recalled to Dromund Kaas to stand before the Dark Council. Kel is forced to fight his master Lord Calypho, who had committed transgressions against the Empire and the Dark Council, and Kel is then tasked with hunting down the Emperor's apprentice Exal Kressh. Along with his Abyssin slave Maggot, Kel follows the Emperor's instructions to search for Kressh in the Lenico system, but when he encounters Kressh, she easily defeats him and destroys the space station they are on before escaping. Kel makes it to his ship, but Maggot is forced to land the damaged craft on the desert world of Lenico IV. Still injured, Kel heads out to salvage the wreckage of the crashed station to repair his ship, but he collapses and is forced to make camp. Kel then experiences a Force vision of an armored figure named Darth Thanaton and Kressh, who explains how the Emperor seeks to create unknowing agents of his will across the galaxy.
Upon awakening, Kel is confronted by the Jedi Master Jerbhen Hulis, who is also seeking Kressh, and the two ally briefly to rescue the surviving colonists and salvage the parts Kel needs. The Sith assassin then pursues Kressh to Korriban, where Kressh has given the Republic inside information so that they will attack the planet and she can infiltrate the Sith Academy to destroy the machines the Emperor will use to create his "children." Kel and Kressh battle once again in the depths of the Academy, and Kel emerges victorious, but he kills Maggot after the Abyssin overhears their discussion of the Emperor's plans in order to keep them secret. When he returns to the Dark Council, Kel blackmails the Council into making him a Darth—Darth Thanaton—in exchange for the knowledge of the Emperor's children.
Blood of the Empire saw the debuts of the X-70B Phantom, Darth Marr, Darth Vowrawn, and a number of other characters who later appeared in The Old Republic. The concept of the Emperor's Children is a major plot point in Act III for the Jedi Consular, and Teneb Kel is a recurring antagonist as Darth Thanaton for the Sith Inquisitor. Blood of the Empire also saw the first visual depiction of the Sith Emperor, though some confusion arose from his appearance as a Human despite Drew Karpyshyn's statement that the Emperor was biologically a Sith Pureblood. This contradiction was later resolved with the introduction of the Emperor's Voice, the host body that the Emperor possessed to preserve his true form.
The Lost Suns
Star Wars: The Old Republic, The Lost Suns was the third arc in the Star Wars: The Old Republic comic series, but The Lost Suns was released as a five-issue miniseries that did not continue the previous arc's numbering. The Lost Suns was released by Dark Horse Comics during summer and fall 2011, and the series retained the creative team from Blood of the Empire as they developed a story set in Act I of The Old Republic itself.
In 3643 BBY, the Republic Strategic Information Service agent Theron Shan is sent to retrieve the Jedi Master Ngani Zho, who has reappeared on the edges of Imperial space as a vagrant after a decade of absence. Theron is the son of Grand Master Satele Shan of the Jedi Order, but he was raised by Zho so that Satele could remain a Jedi during the war, and Theron's lack of Force-sensitivity saw him become a SIS agent instead of a Jedi. Accompanied by the Twi'lek smuggler Teff'ith, who Shan had captured on a previous mission, Shan tracks down Zho on the planet Taris just before the Sith Knights of the Sith Lord Darth Mekhis attempt to capture the Jedi Master. Despite Zho's mental instability, Shan investigates the Imperial-held Vesla system at Zho's insistence, where the trio discover that the Empire has constructed the Sun Razer: a massive space station that feeds on stars to construct massive ships and superweapons.
The group is captured by the Empire before they can relay their findings, and though Teff'ith remains hidden, Zho and Shan are subjected to interrogation and torture. However, Shan frees himself and Zho, and along with Teff'ith, the three decide to destroy the Sun Razer and escape. Zho is slain defending Teff'ith from Imperial forces as the two try to return to their ship, and Shan's attempt to assassinate Darth Mekhis in the Sun Razer's control room results in his capture—but Shan outwits the Sith and defeats Mekhis and her subordinates before he deactivates the Sun Razer's shields, exposing it to the system's star. Shan and Teff'ith escape the Sun Razer as it is destroyed, and the two go their separate ways as Shan returns to Coruscant and delivers information on the superweapons constructed by the Sun Razer. He also visits Tython, where he reports Zho's death to Satele Shan but does not identify himself as her son.
The Lost Suns features numerous references to elements in The Old Republic, with the name-dropping of several major characters in the various class stories such as Rogun Matt'rik, Harridax Kirill, and Nasan Godera, and the members of the Jedi Council appear in a flashback scene to the Battle of Rhen Var. The events of the Trooper and Jedi Knight storylines in Act I are also mentioned, and the characters of Theron Shan, Teff'ith, and the then-unnamed SIS Director, who was later identified as Marcus Trant in the Star Wars: The Old Republic Encyclopedia, all played major roles in the novel Star Wars: The Old Republic: Annihilation.
Star Wars: The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance is the first novel in the Star Wars: The Old Republic novel series, and it was written by Sean Williams. Released on July 20, 2010, Fatal Alliance had been planned since at least November 2008, and is set shortly before the events of the Prologue in The Old Republic. The novel's eight main characters—Grand Master Satele Shan, her Padawan Shigar Konshi, Republic soldier Larin Moxla, the smuggler Jet Nebula, Imperial operative Ula Vii, Mandalorian Dao Stryver, the Sith Lord Darth Chratis, and his apprentice Eldon Ax—correlate to the eight playable classes in The Old Republic.
The novel centers around an auction conducted by the Hutt Tassaa Bareesh on the planet Hutta, and the various individuals who are sent to the auction. Grand Master Shan sends her Padawan, Shigar Konshi, to Hutta after he denied the chance to take the Jedi Trials by the Jedi Council, and Konshi is accompanied by the disgraced Republic trooper Larin Moxla, who met Konshi when the two battled the Mandalorian warrior Dao Stryver on Coruscant. The Imperial agent Ula Vii, who is undercover as an aide to the Supreme Commander, also travels to Hutta to attend the auction, and the Sith Lord Darth Chratis takes his apprentice Eldon Ax to Hutta to secure whatever Bareesh is selling. However, the auction turns into a firefight, and it takes a turn for the worse when the subject of the auction—replicating hexagonal droids that are generated by a metal machine—escapes Bareesh's vault and attacks those in the palace.
In the resultant chaos, Vii, Konshi, and Moxla escape with the smuggler Jet Nebula, who had brought Bareesh the machine that produced the fastbreeder droids after discovering it in the remains of the destroyed ship Cinzia, and Konshi traces the source of the droids to the planet Sebaddon. Dao Stryver manages to steal the Cinzia's navicomputer from Bareesh, while Eldon Ax—determined to pursue Stryver and complete her mission to kill him—uses one of the defeated droids to trace them back to Sebaddon. The three groups converge on Sebaddon with Republic and Imperial fleets, and Stryver brokers an alliance between the two enemies in order to eliminate the threat of the fastbreeders. Master Shan and Darth Chratis exchange apprentices as a measure of faith between the two as the allies launch their assault on Sebaddon, and Shan and Ax discover the source of the hex droids: they were created by Ax's own mother, Lema Xandret, and they are being controlled by a clone of Ax. Though the clone dies when they free her from her containment tank, Ax takes control of the fastbreeders and destroys them after eliminating her own master, and the alliance between the Republic and the Empire dissolves.
Fatal Alliance has largely been ignored by later material, includiing The Old Republic itself, as various elements of the novel conflict with the game and other materials. The character of Supreme Commander Stantorrs has been preempted by The Old Republic's Rans, and none of the various Dark Councilors and Jedi Council members introduced in Fatal Alliance have appeared in The Old Republic. While most of the novel has been ignored, some elements were retained by the game: the Justicars, Blackstar Squad, Fa'athra the Hutt, and various ships have been included in The Old Republic.
Star Wars: The Old Republic: Deceived
Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan is the third novel in the The Old Republic novel series, and it was written by Drew Karpyshyn, one of the writers for both Knights of the Old Republic and The Old Republic. Released on November 11, 2011, The Old Republic: Revan focuses on the titular character and also the Jedi Exile, the heroine of Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords—a previously unnamed character who the novel names as Meetra Surik. Revan is divided into two parts, and serves as a bridge between the two Knights of the Old Republic games and The Old Republic, and also establishes the fates of Surik, Revan, and a number of other characters from the first games while setting up the society of the Empire and the story of several Flashpoints.
Part 1 begins in 3954 BBY, two years after the events of Knights of the Old Republic, and sees Revan—now married to Bastila Shan—suffering from nightmares of a storm-covered world that are fragments of the memories lost after his amnesia two years earlier. Seeking the aid of Canderous Ordo in an effort to recall his memories of the Mandalorian Wars, Revan also seeks out Meetra Surik, but finds that his former lieutenant has disappeared after she was cut off from the Force at the Battle of Malachor and exiled by the Jedi. Ordo discovers that the Mandalorians are searching for Mandalore's Mask, the symbol of their culture's leadership that Revan hid at the end of the Mandalorian Wars, on the planet Rekkiad, and the two set off for Rekkiad in the Ebon Hawk with T3-M4 while a pregnant Shan stays behind. At the same time, the Sith Lord Scourge arrives on Dromund Kaas, having been recalled to the capital by the Emperor himself to investigate the recent assassination attempts on the Dark Councilor Darth Nyriss. Scourge is entangled in a game of political intrigue and subterfuge as he searches for the truth, and despite the efforts of his rivals among Nyriss's subordinates, Scourge discovers that the Dark Councilor Darth Xedrix is responsible.
Scourge kills the elderly Xedrix in battle himself, but finds that it was all a test on Nyriss's part: she arranged the attempts herself to draw attention away from a conspiracy against the Emperor among the Dark Council, and she takes Scourge to the Emperor's long-lost homeworld of Nathema to induct him into the group. Revan and Canderous help Clan Ordo locate the Mask, but Canderous's wife Veela is killed in a battle with the two when she tries to kill "Revan the Butcher." Discovering a datacron in the tomb of an ancient Sith Lord where Revan hid the Mask, Revan's memories begin to come back, and he departs for the planet Nathema after convincing Ordo to become Mandalore the Preserver. However, Revan arrives at Nathema around the same time as Nyriss and Scourge, and the Sith capture Revan after causing the Ebon Hawk to crash on Nathema. Revan is held prisoner and interrogated by Scourge and Nyriss for the next three years.
Part 2 begins in 3950 BBY, shortly after the end of The Sith Lords, by which time Bastila Shan has given birth to a son named Vaner. Meetra Surik and T3-M4, who repaired the Ebon Hawk on Nathema and then sought out Surik—actions which lead to the beginning of The Sith Lords—seek out Shan to learn of Revan's disappearance, and the two retrace his travels to Nathema, where Surik learns how the Emperor killed every living thing on his homeworld to make himself immortal and seize control of the shattered Sith Empire after the Great Hyperspace War a thousand years earlier. Traveling to Dromund Kaas, Surik sets about trying to locate and rescue Revan, and she recruits an unlikely ally in Scourge, who has come to believe in Revan's power and thinks he is the only one capable of eliminating the Emperor. Exposing Nyriss's conspiracy to the Emperor as a distraction, Scourge, Surik, and T3-M4 then rescue Revan from his cell in Nyriss's stronghold, and the three then make their move against the Emperor. However, during their battle with the immortal Sith, Scourge foresees that it is the destiny of another Jedi to end the Emperor, and he betrays his allies by killing Surik to ensure that he will be able to aid that Jedi in the future. For his loyalty, Scourge is made immortal and appointed as the Emperor's Wrath while Revan is imprisoned and kept alive by machines and Sith alchemy while he fends off the Emperor's mental probes. Fifty years later, Revan and Bastila's son has had children of his own, and an elderly Bastila still waits for her lost husband to return when his mission is completed.
The Old Republic: Revan sets up the storyline for the Jedi Knight's Acts II and III, introducing Scourge and establishing the backstory of the Sith Emperor. The novel also develops the society, structure, and history of the Empire, and Revan's fate sets up the events of the four Revan-focused Flashpoints in The Old Republic. Though Revan identifies the Jedi Exile's name, The Old Republic does not use "Meetra Surik" in any of the Codex entries that detail the events of Revan or in any of the conversations that mention the Exile, and the novel was the first to confirm that Revan and Bastila Shan began a family, officially linking the two as a couple and establishing Satele Shan as Revan's descendant.
Star Wars: The Old Republic: Annihilation is the fourth novel in the Star Wars: The Old Republic series, and is the first to be set chronologically after the game's main storyline. Annihilation was written by Drew Karpyshyn and released on November 13, 2012, but it was originally unconfirmed as to where the novel falls in the timeline. When Rise of the Hutt Cartel was released, the Codex entry for Darth Acina claimed that she was Darth Hadra's successor instead of Darth Karrid, though this was later remedied, placing Annihilation between the Battle of Ilum but before the events of Rise of the Hutt Cartel. Annihilation focuses on a number of primary characters: Theron Shan and Teff'ith from The Lost Suns, Gnost-Dural from the Galactic Timeline videos, and Satele Shan and Jace Malcom from The Old Republic and its cinematic trailers.
In 3667 BBY, in the aftermath of the Battle of Alderaan, Satele Shan succumbs to her feelings for Jace Malcom and the two begin a secret relationship. Shan soon becomes pregnant, but she breaks off their relationship out of concern that Malcom's dark emotions—he is consumed by anger and a desire to destroy the Empire at any cost—will affect her and their child. Shan goes into hiding with the help of Ngani Zho and gives birth to a son she names Theron, though she gives Zho her child to raise and returns to the fron to serve the galaxy. In 3640 BBY, the Empire is reeling from the recent death of the Emperor, the loss of many Dark Council members, Darth Malgus's betryal, and other defeats. After much struggle, Darth Marr convinces the rest of the Dark Council to accept the Falleen Darth Karrid, Darth Malgus's former apprentice and the commander of the powerful warship the Ascendant Spear, as the successor to the recently slain Darth Hadra, head of the Sphere of Technology. SIS agent Theron Shan interrupts an undercover Republic operation on Nar Shaddaa, prompting Director Marcus Trant to recall him, though Supreme Commander Jace Malcom—who is unaware that Shan is his son—requests Shan for a special assignment: the destruction of the Ascendant Spear.
Theron develops a plan known as Operation End Game, which he and Jedi Master Gnost-Dural are tasked with carrying out. During this time, Malcom realizes that Shan is his son, though their "reunion" ends badly when Shan brushes off his father's attempt to take interest in him. Gnost-Dural and Shan infiltrate the planet Ziost with the hep of Teff'ith and the Old Tion Brotherhood smugglers, where they steal one of the Empire's black cipher encryption devices from the offices of Minister of Logistics Davidge. Shan and Gnost-Dural then board the Imperial space station Reaver Station in an attempt to board the Ascendant Spear, but when Shan witnesses a news report about Moff Nezzor's attack on the agriworld Ruan, he confronts Malcom over the fact that he is willing to sacrifice worlds to the Empire in order to keep the Republic's capture of the black cipher secret. Angered, Shan develops a plan to force the Ascendant Spear to the planet Duro, where Nezzor plans to attack next, so that the Republic can defeat both threats.
Theron sends Teff'ith to carry a message to his mother Satele, hoping that she can convince Malcom to send the fleet to Duro, while he and Gnost-Dural board the Ascendant Spear—and Gnost-Dural engages Karrid, his former apprentice, and is capture by her so that Shan can infiltrate the ship's systems. The Grand Master convinces Malcom to bring the fleet to Duro, where the Republic quickly destroys Moff Nezzor's fleet just as the Ascendant Spear arrives—as Gnost-Dural had convinced Karrid into believing the Republic had laid a trap for her there. As the Spear attacks the Republic fleet, Shan begins to hack the ship's systems, interfering with Karrid's mental control of the ship, and Gnost-Dural frees himself and engages Karrid's apprentices. Shan manages to kill Karrid, leaving the Spear dead in space, and Malcom's forces destroy the warship and rescue Gnost-Dural and Shan from an escape pod. In the weeks that follow, Shan begins to open to his father.
Annihilation directly references several elements from The Old Republic, such as Darth Malgus's betrayal on Ilum, the death of the Emperor, and the death of three Dark Councilors on Corellia. The novel was the first to give a name to the SIS Director, who had previously gone unnamed in The Lost Suns; however, the novel did contradict the game and the rest of the metaseries by claiming that the Battle of Alderaan occurred thirty years prior to the novel in 3670 BBY. Annihilation also reveals Theron Shan's father to be Jace Malcom, expanding on the events of the cinematic trailers in which Satele Shan and Malcom appeared. Marcus Trant and Theron Shan have both been featured in promotional material framed as official SIS reports that were released to lead up to Rise of the Hutt Cartel.
"The Old Republic: Smuggler's Vanguard" is a short story by Robert Chestney that was released exclusively on StarWars.com on March 25, 2010, though it was republished on October 1 on the Del Rey website. Set approximately 3660 BBY, the story focuses on the Mirialan smuggler Hylo Visz, who is a major character in the second entry in the Galactic Timeline series. The story opens with Visz performing a job for Barrga the Hutt, delivering a shipment to Corellia on her ship Crimson Fleece, but Visz is accompanied by Barrga's enforcers Musk and a Weequay. The two enforcers stun Visz and cut her out of the deal with the Rendili Vehicle Corporation, but Visz escapes from the Fleece's cargo hold in time to witness the deal. The Fleece is destroyed by explosives after it takes off, as Rendili is double-crossing Barrga, and Visz searches the facility for a way to escape before discovering a prototype corvette. Visz steals the corvette from its Jedi pilot and renames the vessel the Vanguard, which she later uses in the breaking of the Blockade of the Hydian Way. "Smuggler's Vanguard" introduces the Defender-class light corvette, the ship for both Jedi classes in The Old Republic, though the story initially described it as a Vanguard-class. The Encyclopedia later resolved this contradiction by naming Visz's ship as the Vanguard.
The Third Lesson
"The Old Republic: The Third Lesson" is a short story by Paul S. Kemp that was published on March 2, 2011 in Star Wars Insider 124. Set in the aftermath of the Battle of Alderaan, the events of which were depicted in the Hope trailer, the story reveals that Darth Malgus survived Satele Shan's attack and was evacuated from the battlefield. However, Malgus senses the presence of a Jedi in the ruins below him as his shuttle crosses Alderaan, and the Sith Lord forces the pilot to stop in order to defeat the Jedi. As he engages the Zabrak Jedi in battle, Malgus's thoughts return to his childhood as Veradun, when his adoptive father showed the youth his private zoo. While fighting the Jedi, Malgus remembers three lessons that his father taught the young Veradun: savagery was only useful if controlled, trust no one, especially those who appeared to be weak, and that sometimes, there was only an empty cage. Back in the present, Malgus is able to defeat his opponent despite the presence of a second Jedi named Vorin, as the Sith senses Vorin's presence and quickly kills him. The story closes with the death of the Zabrak Jedi, as Malgus continues to ponder his father's third lesson.
The Last Battle of Colonel Jace Malcom
The Last Battle of Colonel Jace Malcom is a short story by Alexander Freed that appeared in Star Wars Insider 137 in October 2012, and serves a lead-in to the novel Star Wars: The Old Republic: Annihilation. The story details Colonel Jace Malcom's assignment on the planet Kalandis Seven, where he is advising Sergeant Shanra Immel and her squad as they are tasked with placing homing beacons in the nearby Imperial-controlled spaceport so that the Republic's starfighters can bomb it through the planet's fog. Immel's squad suffers casualties as they head toward their objective, and Malcom volunteers to infiltrate the Sith command ship as a distraction. His efforts result in the death of the Sith commander and the destruction of the command ship, and he is saved from falling to his death by a Jedi Knight's shuttle. The Knight informs Malcom that he is beiing recalled by Supreme Chancellor Saresh, and the Jedi takes the soldier back to Coruscant. Malcom is promoted to Supreme Commander by Saresh between the events of The Last Battle and Annihilation, and the story's events fall between the end of the Battle of Corellia and the beginning of Rise of the Hutt Cartel.
Reference and game guides
The Art and Making of Star Wars: The Old Republic
The Art and Making of Star Wars: The Old Republic is a reference guide that features pre-production art and behind the scenes information on Star Wars: The Old Republic as it chronicles the game's creation. A 150-page hardcover book released in November 2011, The Art and Making was written by Frank Parisi and head writer Daniel Erickson, and features a foreword by the writers of the popular webcomic Penny Arcade. The book covers the entire history of The Old Republic up to its release, covering the game's early days as a non-Star Wars game concept, the inspirations behind the designs of characters, classes, and locations in the game, and more, including a number of passages written by members of the game's writers and designers. The book includes an extensive array of concept art and images, as well as images from the game's pre-production stages—including the first concept image from the non-Star Wars game idea and the first piece of concept art developed for the game as The Old Republic. 
The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural
The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural is a limited-edition book written by Robert Chestney that was released as part of the Collector's Edition package for Star Wars: The Old Republic. A hardback book with 111 pages, the book represents an in-universe work of the same name, in which Master Gnost-Dural gives his first-person account of his apprenticeship, the Great Galactic War, and the Cold War. Much of the art in the journal is actually concept art by Arnie Jorgensen, Sperasoft Studies, Clint Young, and other project artists, and the book expands upon the information introduced by Gnost-Dural's Galactic Timeline videos. The journal also features annotations by Grand Master Satele Shan, which give further information and her perspective on events of the war. Master Gnost-Dural later appears as a major character in the novel The Old Republic: Annihilation, though he did not make it into the video game itself. The Journal is notable in that in attempts to reconcile the contrasting appearance of Satele Shan in the Threat of Peace comics; the Journal features several images of the events of Threat of Peace, but depicts Satele Shan as she appears in The Old Republic and the cinematic trailers instead of the early design she appeared as in Threat of Peace before her appearance was finalized.
Prima Official Game Guide
Prima Games released their Official Game Guide for Star Wars: The Old Republic on December 20, 2011, to coincide with the game's release. A paperback guide with 352 pages, the guide features annotated versions of most of the game's maps, with vendors, quest givers, and other map icons identified with icons. While not entirely comprehensive, the game guide also gives an overview of each class and recommendations on how to proceed while playing each of the classes.
Star Wars: The Old Republic Encyclopedia
The Star Wars: The Old Republic Encyclopedia is a 352-page reference guide for Star Wars: The Old Republic that was released on October 15, 2012. First previewed at Celebration VI in August 2012, the Encyclopedia is written by several of the game's writers, and features new information on many of the game's characters and locales while also summarizing the events of the game's classes. Like The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural, the Encyclopedia makes use of concept art and images from the game's development, and the guide covers not only the game but all of the metaseries for The Old Republic, referencing people, events, and other elements that have appeared in the comics and novels. The sections of the Encyclopedia that covered the class storylines utilized images from the game with the characters—whose species, gender, and physical appearances have not yet been established in canon—but Senior Writer Hall Hood confirmed that the depictions were not meant to be canonical.
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