|Star Wars: The Old Republic|
Star Wars: The Old Republic, abbreviated The Old Republic, SWTOR, or simply TOR, is a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game 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 almost $200 million, The Old Republic was first announced on October 21, 2008 and released to the public on December 20, 2011. The game features seventeen planets, eight unique classes, and over 1,600 hours of story, and is the first MMORPG to feature full-scale voice acting. The Old Republic is also accompanied by an expansive multimedia metaseries, including a four-book novel series, three comic series, and a number of short stories and additional content. While subscription originally levels were high throughout early 2012, declining numbers resulted in The Old Republic becoming free-to-play in November of that year. As of February 2013, Star Wars: The Old Republic has received seven major Game Updates, and a digital expansion entitled Rise of the Hutt Cartel was released in Spring 2013.
In 3,681 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 3,643 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. In contrast, 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.
During this time, several influential figures arise on both sides of the conflict. 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.
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.
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 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 coming conflict, the Republic sends military and Jedi reinforcements to openly aid the Balmorran Resistance in liberating the planet. As the fighting on Balmorra heats up,
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.
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.
and the storyline of the Jedi Consular class has players study under Jedi Master Yuon Par and become a Jedi Master themselves. Begins on the Jedi Order's homeworld of Tython.
The Hero of Tython is a powerful Jedi Knight, the former apprentice of Jedi Master Orgus Din, who plays a pivotal role in the conflict with the Empire. After foiling the Dark Jedi Bengel Morr's efforts to destroy the Jedi Order on Tython, Din's apprentice is granted the title of Jedi Knight and sent to Coruscant with the astromech droid T7-O1 in order to identify a dark threat on the capital. Working with the Padawan Kira Carsen, the Knight discovers that the Republic scientist Eli Tarnis is in fact a Sith Lord, and the trio prevents Tarnis from using the Planet Prison superweapon against Coruscant—only to learn that Tarnis gave his father Darth Angral information on all of the Republic's superweapons. A furious Angral declares war on the Republic in an attempt to gain revenge on the Knight for Tarnis' death, and the Knight takes on Carsen as a Padawan while the three work to bring an end to the resultant crisis.
After defeating Angral above Tython, the Knight is granted the title of Hero of Tython, and the Hero is later recruited by Master Tol Braga into a strike team with the purpose of capturing the Sith Emperor himself. Working with the Balmorran Resistance, the Hero recovers a prototype cloaking device similar to the one that guards the Emperor's space fortress and gains a new ally named Doc in the process, and then saves Braga's Padawan Sajar from the dark side on Quesh. Sergeant Fideltin Rusk joins the Hero's crew during a mission to recover the space station's plans on Hoth, but the strike team's mission to confront the Emperor ends with their defeat and corruption. The Hero escapes the Emperor's control with the aid of Master Din's Force ghost and the Emperor's Wrath Lord Scourge, who reveals that the Emperor intends to consume all life in the galaxy through a dark ritual. Along with Scourge and the rest of the Jedi's crew, the Hero foils the Emperor's agents on Belsavis, Voss, and Corellia, preventing the mass murder of thousands of innocents and rescuing the other fallen strike team members in the process. The Knight and crew then infiltrates Dromund Kaas itself while Grand Master Satele Shan leads an invasion fleet against the Imperial capital, and the Hero defeats the Emperor in a final battle with the help of T7-O1 before escaping Dromund Kaas. For the Knight's actions, the Hero and crew are awarded the Cross of Glory, and the Grand Master grants the Knight the title of Jedi Master.
- "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. 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. 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 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.
Designing the ships
Constructing the game
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.
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. 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. 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.
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 August: the San Diego Comic-Con, 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, holocam, 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.
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 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.
On July 10,
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
Game Update 2.1: Customization was announced in a preview video on April 26, and it will introduce the Appearance Designer Kiosk as well as the Cathar race as a playable species. The Kiosk will allow players to change their character's appearance and even their species. 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".
- "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
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
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 Grey 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.
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 retail 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. 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.
In addition to the game's various updates, BioWare has announced a number of upcoming features which, as yet, have had no specific release date beyond sometime in the second half of 2012:
- Adding a new space combat mission titled Space Station Assault
- Super Space Project: a space update which takes a departure from the current space missions.
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.
- Story and Group Areas
- Leveling Up
- Taxis and Quick Travel
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.
- Human, Cyborg, Mirialan, Twi'lek, Zabrak
- XS Stock light freighter
- Gunslinger and Scoundrel
- Human, Miraluka, Mirialan, Twi'lek, Zabrak
- Defender-class light corvette
- Guardian and Sentinel
- Chiss, Cyborg, Human, Rattataki, Zabrak
- Powertech and Mercenary
- Human, Rattataki, Sith Pureblood, Twi'lek, Zabrak
- Assassin and Sorcerer
- Chiss, Cyborg, Human, Rattataki, Zabrak
- Operative and Sniper
- Cyborg, Human, Sith Pureblood, Twi'lek, Zabrak
- Juggernaut and Marauder
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 seventeen 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 seventeen 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 thirteen 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 missions that are "Heroic", meaning that they are best completed in groups and as such their difficulty is increased beyond normal levels.
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. 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. 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 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 3,665 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 theBattle 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 serves as the starting planet for both the Sith Warrior and Inquisitor classes. Events on Korriban within the game are set in 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.
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.
Located in Hutt Space, Quesh possesses a toxic atmosphere that belies the planet's potential value. The chemicals the are buried within Quesh's surface and compose the world's atmosphere are refined by the Republic and the Republic-allied Three Families into valuable adrenals, and players arrive on Quesh just as the Sith Empire launches an invasion.
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 with 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 land at the city of Anchorhead, while Imperials arrive at the Imperial-occupied city of Mos Ila, and players explore the Jundland Wastes and the Dune Sea regions.
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.
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.
- "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.
- 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.
Terror From Beyond
Scum and Villainy
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:
- 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.
The 3:53 minute cinematic trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic, titled Deceived, was released on June 1, 2009 and is the first of its kind for a Star Wars video game. It was directed by Dave Wilson and despite appearances, was not developed by Industrial Light & Magic but in fact by Blur Studio on behalf of BioWare and LucasArts. Narrated by Darth Malgus, the trailer depicts the infiltration of the Jedi Temple by the Sith during the Sacking of Coruscant. An epic battle ensues in which the Jedi are defeated by overwhelming Sith numbers who have allied with both Mandalorians and bounty hunters. The Jedi Temple is summarily destroyed and Coruscant falls.
Fight choreography and motion capture were externally utilized during the creation process while the soundtrack was mixed at Skywalker Sound. The use of concept artwork provided by BioWare together with high-res models of the Jedi Temple and spacecraft from ILM allowed Blur to authentically create a believable trailer firmly rooted in the Star Wars universe. Numerous John Williams themes from the classic and prequel trilogy have been interwoven to create the trailer score. It relies heavily on the themes present in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith as well as a few cues present in Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel, The Sith Lords.
The trailer has been highly praised by both those in the industry as well as by the fans for its technical and aesthetic achievements as well as its creative storyline depiction. However, much debate and criticism has stemmed from the trailer as well. Many have viewed the trailer, being depicted in a time period almost 4000 years prior to the events of A New Hope, as possessing technology and locales too similar to those depicted in the films. This may in fact be a result of the seeming confusion of LucasArts' own marketing manager Roger Evoy’s belief concerning when the game’s events actually take place:
- "[The video games are] set between the two trilogies. Based off some of the inspirations we got from BioWare [the games’ developer], we were able to develop new combat styles and storylines that as far as the Star Wars universe was concerned, were really new and fresh—we’ve never seen a Jedi temple get its butt kicked like this.”"
- ―Roger Evoy
The 5:42 minute cinematic trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic, titled "Hope," was released on June 14, 2010 and is the second of its kind for Star Wars: The Old Republic, after Deceived. Narrated by Jace Malcom, the trailer depicts the Battle of Alderaan.
The 6:20 minute cinematic trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic, titled Return, was released on June 6, 2011 and is the third of its kind for Star Wars: The Old Republic, after Deceived and Hope. Narrated by Satele Shan, the trailer depicts the Battle of Korriban.
The fourth cinematic trailer Star Wars: The Old Republic, HK-51 Revealed was released on July 16, 2012. The trailer depicts the rediscovery of an Imperial freighter containing a group of HK-51 assassin droids, teasing their eventual addition to the game.
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.
"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 3,660 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
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-proudction 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 includes an extensive array of concept art and images, as well as images from the game's pre-production stages and a history of the game's origins and development.
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.
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.
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