Join the Battle Between Good and Evil in the Star Wars Universe!
Numerous choices await you as you create your own story in Star Wars: The Old Republic (TOR). Will you rise through the ranks of the Empire as a Sith Warrior and take over the galaxy? Is your path more suited to the wise but powerful Jedi Consular, using your Force powers and lightsaber to defend freedom and save the Republic?
Official video showing cut scenes from the game and The Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion
Perhaps your path is more suited to the gritty Bounty Hunter or carefree Smuggler, using your guns and pure skill to blaze your own way through the different star systems. Whether you play as a Twi'lek Trooper or a Chiss Imperial Agent, the Star Wars galaxy calls out for you to join the battle with your own story.
The Twilek Smuggler is a popular race/class combination on the Republic side
The Old Republic Story
The BioWare creators have done an outstanding job of weaving individual class stories into the overarching main game story. For those familiar with BioWare's first Star Wars game, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the game is set about 300 years after the events in that game, and about 3,000 years before the events in the Star Wars movies.
One of the fantastic opening cinematic movies (no the real game doesn't look like this )
The Republic is reeling from a devastating attack on Coruscant, including the destruction of the Jedi Temple. The Treaty of Coruscant, forced on the Republic by the Empire, is now in jeopardy as Darth Malgus attempts to subvert the Emperor, grab control of the Empire, and take over the Republic. Grandmaster Jedi Satele Shan has the daunting task of leading the Jedi and assisting Republic leaders in gaining the support of unaligned systems while battling Imperial forces. Whether the Republic or the Empire succeeds depends on you.
Jedi Grandmaster Satele Shan is one woman you don't want to mess with
A Fantastic Story-Driven MMO With Plenty of Action
The Old Republic is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). You'll see a lot of emphasis on story and questing as you fly through the galaxy. BioWare has done a fantastic job not only with the story writing, but also with full voice acting to immerse you fully into gameplay. If you want to play an evil, self-serving Sith or a good-natured smuggler, you can. Your dialogue choices and the actions you take will have an impact on how your character's story turns out at the end of the game.
At various points in the game you will choose between 3 choices like this that will affect things like your Lightside or Darkside alignment
TOR uses a skill-based combat system, meaning you'll add skills to use in battle as you level up. Some skills coordinate better when used with other skills, so there is a bit of a learning curve if you want to fight in the nightmare mode operations at end-game, but most gameplay is not hard.
Every character has a skill tree like this one where you can customize and strengthen your abilities
Multiple Server Options to Fit Your Play Preference
While TOR leans more towards a player-versus-environment (or PvE) style of play where you primarily fight computer controlled opponents, there are player-versus-player (PvP) opportunities, and not just on servers designated as PvP servers.
For those who are on PvE servers, Warzones and certain open areas on worlds like Tatooine and Ilum allow you to fight other human players The play in PvP can be intense compared to PvE, but it comes with some nice rewards. Anyone who is level 10 and higher can queue up for Warzones.
A look at one of the PvP Warzones called the Voidstar. Here a Republic commando fights against an Imperial team.
If you enjoy a lot of role-playing and immersing yourself deeply into your character, create a character on a role-playing server. You'll find more players staying 'in character' on this type of server than the pure PvP or PvE servers.
Like other MMOs, this game encourages you to team up with other players. Flashpoints and Operations encourage group play. TOR gives all players credit for their choices, even if only one player's choices is shown cinematically.
While you can play the game solo and simply join a pick-up group (called PUGs) for group content, you may want to join a group of like-minded players. Joining or creating a guild in game is easy. BioWare offers a section on their SWTOR forum for guilds to advertise for new members. New players can also post a thread stating they are looking for a guild to join. Whether you're a hardcore progression raider or a casual player who can only play a limited time, it's easy to find a group that matches your interests.
A guild getting ready to fight one of the bosses in the operation Terror From Beyond
Classes: It's All About Choice
There are eight classes to play, four each for the Republic and Empire. Each class has a unique storyline of its own, and they are all quite different. At level 10, you'll choose between two additional advanced classes.
#1 - Jedi Consular
As either a Sage or as a Shadow, you're a Jedi who masters Force powers to help allies and fight enemies. Sages can specialize in doing damage or healing, while the more stealthy Shadows use Force powers and a double-bladed lightsaber to send enemies to their doom.
Official video gives you an idea of what the Consular is all about and the advanced classes available
#2 - Jedi Knight
You serve the Jedi by honing your combat skills to the maximum. You're a master of the lightsaber, driving back the Empire. You'll serve either as a heavily-armored Guardian leading the charge, or as a Sentinel who wields two lightsabers in order to damage foes rapidly.
Jedi Knight character progression and advanced classes trailer
#3 - Smuggler
As the dual-gun wielding Gunslinger or the more stealthy Scoundrel, you've chosen to side with the freedom in the Republic, so long as you can keep your ship.
Smuggler character progression and advanced classes trailer
#4 - Trooper
As a member of the Special Ops unit, Havoc Squad, you'll fight on the front lines. As a Vanguard, you'll be one of the leaders on the battlefield, and as a Commando you'll provide ranged damage with a massive assault cannon, or serve as the unit's combat medic.
Trooper character progression and advanced classes trailer
The Empire has four classes that mirror the Republic's four, but the storylines are unique to the Imperial faction. These classes serve the Sith and the Empire in different ways.
#1 - Sith Inquisitor
As a specialist in the darker Force powers, you'll use your skills as the stealthy Assassin who wields a double-bladed lightsaber, or as the Sorcerer who electrocutes enemies while healing your allies and yourself.
Sith Inquisitor character progression and advanced classes trailer
#2 - Sith Warrior
Potent lightsaber tactics are your secret to survival and domination. As a Juggernaut, you'll focus your rage and strength to overwhelm your enemies, and as a Marauder you'll use two lightsabers to bring the pain to your foes.
Sith Warrior character progression and advanced classes trailer
#3 - Imperial Agent
Whether you ferret out secrets as the stealthy but deadly Operative, or eliminate 'problems' as the sharpshooting Sniper, you'll be serving the Empire as an elite intelligence officer.
Imperial Agent character progression and advanced classes trailer
#4 - Bounty Hunter
A master of a variety of heavy arms, you'll hunt down the enemies of an Empire, for a price. You can choose to pursue your bounties as the heavily-armored Powertech with a flamethrower, or you can follow the path of the Mercenary, with pistols, missiles, and some medicine to keep you going when other hunters might fall.
Bounty Hunter character progression and advanced classes trailer
The advanced classes alter how you play the class you choose at character creation. For instance, a Jedi Consular Sage might specialize in healing, while a Jedi Consular Shadow can play more as a damage-dealer or even a secondary tank.
Each advanced class has three skill trees that you can follow, and re-specialization in those skill trees are allowed. This gives you plenty of choices, particularly if you like to change things up depending on the mission.
You'll select a species at character creation. These include humans, Twi'leks, Zabraks, Chiss, Miralukans, Sith Purebloods, Mirialans, and Cyborg. Races don't give extra stat bonuses and are purely cosmetic. You don't have to worry about picking the 'right' species for your class.
Each class receives five companions during the game. Companions have their own story arcs. You will be able to gain or lose affection with them based on your actions and conversation choices.
A Republic Trooper and companions (minus the old lady)
Tons To Do - Pick An Activity That Suits Your Interests
There's more to life than questing or whacking on enemies in PvP. TOR offers a variety of other things for you to do.
- Do you like playing the market and making tons of credits? You'll find plenty of trading opportunities on the Galactic Trade Network, or GTN.
- Do you want to see the sights? TOR rewards you with experience points for exploring all areas of a planet. Hunting for the elusive datacrons can help boost your character stats, too.
- Did you love the trench run dogfights at the end of Star Wars? Check out the space battles once you get your ship.
- Are you a crafter at heart? There are multiple crafting skills you can pick up, with each crafting specialty offering dozens of recipes. Since your companions do the crafting for you, you don't have to stand at a station forging armor and rifles for hours on end.
A good look at PvE space combat with actual gameplay footage
If you enjoy social interaction, head to the Republic or Imperial Fleet Stations. Many guilds host special events, with everything from scavenger hunts to speeder races to conga line dancing.
A Solo Game in a Multiplayer Package
Companions help not only with crafting, but also with your quests and class story missions. Quests can be done with up to four in a party, and your companion counts as a party member. Companions comes with their own unique skills. They can be equipped with weapons, armor, and items just as your own character can.
Republic Trooper and companion Elara Dorne take out a rancor
For those who enjoy a more solo player experience, you'll find your companion can get you through most or all of your class missions and planet quests. If you enjoy always seeing the outcome of your personal dialogue and quest actions, going solo is the best way to go. That way, the non-player characters react only to your selections and not other players' options.
If you don't mind seeing how other players respond to quest options, and you enjoy a more social experience, then group play is for you. You'll receive credit for the dialogue and mission options you personally have chosen, even if another player's conversation is chosen (by a weighted random roll) for the responses that play out on screen. While some of the Flashpoints can be done solo, most will require joining a group, and all Operations require a full party for best success. The PvP Warzones are always a group effort.
Developer commentary giving you a look at the first boss phase in the operation Eternity Vault
Who Can Play?
As an MMO, TOR is available only for the PC. It's rated for teens and older, though the game is highly playable whether you're 13, 33, or 83. It's available with both free-to-play (F2P) and subscription options.
Free-to-Play Pros and Cons
Official video detailing what you get as a free to play player
Like any MMO, the subscription is the gold-standard for play. If you want to experience absolutely everything in game, that's the route to go.
The F2P option is still an excellent value, however. This route is best if you're a more casual player, have time limits on gaming, or don't need all the subscription bells and whistles. You'll have to purchase Cartel Coins to use in game to unlock the features you want, like removing credit caps and Warzone restrictions or increasing your inventory space and species options.
Expansions like Rise of the Hutt Cartel provide more content and a higher level cap for those who pay for access
If you are a hardcore PvPer, you may find the F2P cap on Warzones too restrictive, so PvPers may want to consider subscribing. The full class storylines, which are the most important in TOR, are open to all players. The strongest feature of the game will be free for everyone to enjoy.
What's Special About Star Wars: The Old Republic?
TOR won numerous awards in 2010, 2011, and 2012 for Best MMO, Best Online Game, Best RPG, and Best PC Game. While some of the questing is standard MMO fare (go to place X and pick up Y item), this game is unique for the depth of storytelling and outstanding voice acting. Every line of dialogue in game is fully voice-acted.
Star Wars The Old Republic received a score of 8 out of 10 from GameSpot
BioWare has done an excellent job of taking the typical MMO quests and weaving them into class and game stories in a way that makes you feel like you're making key contributions to the fate of the galaxy. The bottom line is still this, however: it's fun, it has lightsabers, and it's Star Wars.
- How to Choose a Class - this guide helps you decide what character type to pick that best suits your interests and playing style
- Player vs Player Guide - essential overview of all the different options in SWTOR for you to compete against other players
- Guild Overview - essentials on starting, joining, and running a successful guild
- Tython Walkthrough (Jedi Consular) - a walkthrough of the opening Republic planet Tython for a Jedi Consular character
Beginner Class Guides
Learn the essentials of each beginning class including fighting tips, stats to boost, gear choices, earning money, companions, and more.
- Jedi Knight
- Jedi Consular
- Republic Trooper
- Imperial Agent
- Bounty Hunter
- Sith Warrior
- Sith Inquisitor
Advanced Class Guides
Recommended skill builds, ability rotations, gearing and leveling, companions, PvP, and more