The lights are on
Will this holiday mark the beginning of your journey into
Bioware's sprawling MMO? Our extensive beginner's guide offers simple tips to help
get you going.
Trying to offer advice to potential MMO players is tricky,
since there's such a broad spread of experience and background in the genre.
For many players, The Old Republic is the next in a long line of MMO love
affairs. In fact, you've probably been researching the ins and outs of The Old
Republic for months. We figure you're doing pretty well on your own. Move along.
These aren't the droids you're looking for.
However, The Old Republic is likely to attract some new
players into the mix, many of whom might have only dabbled in previous MMOs, or
never played an MMO at all. Whether you love Star Wars movies or BioWare RPGs, playing
The Old Republic might be daunting. Worry not. We've gathered our best
selection of simple tips to help get you started.
The First Steps
First things first – you need to think about a few things
before you get started. If this is your first MMO, that might be unintuitive,
but a lot of your play experience is going to be dictated by your early
The first of these decisions is your server, which should be
influenced by three factors. First, and most important, where are your friends
going to be playing? Second, what style of play are you looking for, PvE
(player versus environment) or PvP (player versus player)? Remember, you can
still engage in player versus player combat on a PvE server, but only when you
opt in. Go on a PvP server and there's always a target on your back. Third,
consider server population – in general, all others things being equal, head
for a server with a lower or medium population, and you'll avoid those
inevitable server queues.
The other big decision in front of you is which faction to
play. Again, make sure and coordinate with your friends. You won't be able to
group up with someone from the opposite faction. Whether you go with the
Imperials or the Republic, your character can go down the light or dark side
path or choices no matter their faction or class. That said, the Empire is
ultimately a militaristic dictatorship led by a horribly evil emperor. The
Republic is a democratic collection of many equal races. You do the math;
Republic players generally work more with traditionally "good" guys, and vice
versa. That said, playing an evil path in the otherwise friendly Republic is
pretty amazing. Likewise, playing an Imperial officer or Sith resisting all the
evil around him in order to the right thing feels pretty darn heroic.
Starting A Character
The other thing you should think about before you actually
dig into the game is your character class. More than other MMOs on the market,
your choice of class will dramatically affect your game experience. Each of the
eight classes has their own storyline, not to mention their own set of powers.
Our recommendation is to consider the Star Wars fantasy that most appeals to
you, and go for it. Are you a Han Solo fan? The Smuggler is your best option.
Darth Vader is the best? The Sith Warrior should fit the bill.
If you're more of a mechanics-focused kind of guy or girl,
you'll also want to consider class role in your choice. The important thing to
understand here is that your class role will be determined at level 10, when
you choose your advanced class. In effect, the game has sixteen distinct
advanced classes, and these subgroups will speak to your abilities, gear, and
what you can contribute to a group.
While the full picture is a little more nuanced, here's the
Bounty Hunter (Mercenary): Damage, Healing; Cool Flavor
Feature: Dual blasters, missiles, and a jet pack are a deadly combination
Bounty Hunter (Powertech): Damage, Tank; Cool Flavor
Feature: Crazy tech armor for the win
Imperial Agent (Operative): Damage, Healing; Cool Flavor
Feature: Stealthy up-close assassin
Imperial Agent (Sniper): Damage; Cool Flavor Feature: Kills
Jedi Consular (Sage): Damage, Healing; Cool Flavor Feature: Force
powers to blow away the opposition
Jedi Consular (Shadow): Damage, Tank; Cool Flavor Feature:
Double-bladed lightsabers look sweet
Jedi Knight (Guardian): Damage, Tank; Cool Flavor Feature: Unyielding
Jedi Knight (Sentinel): Damage; Cool Flavor Feature: Two
lightsabers are awesome
Republic Trooper (Commando): Damage, Healing; Cool Flavor
Feature: Assault Cannons!
Republic Trooper (Vanguard): Damage, Tank; Cool Flavor
Feature: Holds the line against any attackers
Sith Inquisitor (Assassin): Damage, Tank; Cool Flavor
Feature: Darth Maul-style double-bladed lightsaber
Sith Inquisitor (Sorcerer): Damage, Healing; Cool Flavor
Feature: Force lightning!
Sith Warrior (Juggernaut): Damage, Tank; Cool Flavor
Feature: Rage-fueled berserker who can take anyone's punishment
Sith Warrior (Marauder): Damage; Cool Flavor Feature: Two
lightsabers at once
Smuggler (Gunslinger): Damage; Cool Flavor Feature: Two
guns, Old West style
Smuggler (Scoundrel): Damage, Healing; Cool Flavor Feature:
A piece of technology for every occasion
QUICK TIP: Tired of picking up loot? The options menu lets
you set items to auto loot, or to combine all the nearby lootable bodies on
your first pick-up.
QUICK TIP: Datacrons are awesome, and you should look for
them. Keep an eye out for hidden paths that have no clear quest objectives
connected to them. Follow those paths to their conclusions and you might find one
of the hidden datacrons. There are a few of these on each planet. Not only do
these handy little boxes give you an insightful snippet of lore, they also
offer a static, permanent bonus to one of your attributes.
[NEXT UP: What stats are important for your class?]
Email the author Matt Miller, or follow on Game Informer.