Greetings fellow Star Wars fans! This past weekend I, along with many other excited gamers, was given the chance to beta test BioWare’s Star Wars The Old Republic as they conducted their final stress test weekend before the game’s release this December. This was the second beta test I have taken part in, but this is the first time I have been allowed to write about it. I won’t waste too much of your time with my opinion or first impressions of the game, as you can find countless opinions on the forums, but I will touch on it briefly. The graphics aren’t likely to impress enthusiasts, but the story and gameplay are both solid. Those looking for something dramatically different from the standard MMO style of play might feel disappointed as well, because the game does borrow heavily from others in the genre (just as WoW borrowed from EQ). However, for those of you who have been keeping up with this game and know what to expect, the experience should be extremely satisfying.
As I played in the beta tests, I seemed to notice certain questions and issues being asked or raised again and again in general chat, and decided to type up a sort of starters guide that addressed some of these common questions and issues. You won’t find any amazing, game changing tips or suggestions bellow, but rather things to help your first days in The Old Republic go a bit smoother. These are merely some basic suggestions and tips to get things started, but I hope that any of you who also took part in beta tests will throw in your two cents in the comments bellow. No one likes to run around lost, wonder where they are supposed to go, or waste precious play time trying to figure out something that could have been easily avoided with a bit of guidance.
-Fast Travel and Binding Locations-
Something you will notice right away in Old Republic is that the quick travel, or ‘hearth stone’ system is slightly different from what you might be used to. While most MMO’s allow players to swift travel or teleport to only one bind location on the zone map (normally within a city), TOR lets you quick travel to any binding location you have discovered and bound to your map. In order to discover a quick travel location, you simply click on a glowing computer console that slightly resembles an ATM machine within each area. Afterwards, you can quick travel back to that location from any point on the map.
Binding is a simple thing to do, but it can be easy to forget as you excitedly run off to knock out your first batch of quests on a new character. Remembering to do it can really help save you a lot of time, so always try to click the consoles in the screen shots bellow whenever you see them. It can also be helpful for getting extra rest experience as well, by shuttling you to the local Cantina (rest area) before you log off.
As you complete quests in The Old Republic, you will often be awarded with planetary commendations. These commendations can be traded in at specialty vendors for some great starting gear, normally in the form of a chest piece item. These vendors are normally right beside your class trainer (or at least in the same area), which you will be visiting anyway, so be sure to stop by. My first beta character failed to take advantage of his commendations until he was ready to leave for his third planet. So, try not to make the same mistake.
The game’s world map can actually show you the exact location of every single vendor on the planet by simply selecting ‘vendor’ on the map options to the left. I know blowing things up or questing toward your first light saber is likely to be the primary objective on your mind in your first hours, but be sure to take a look at the vendors as well.
-Ctrl Left Click-
This little tip is a word of caution more than anything, so I will keep it brief. The game has a wardrobe system like in other MMO’s, which allows you to see a preview of what items and weapons might look like on your character. Except in Old Republic, default controls have this function bound to Ctrl Left click rather than right. I say this is a word of caution because if you attempt to preview an item for sale from a vendor with Ctrl Right click, you will buy that item. Which I have done on multiple occasions… fail.
I saw a number of people asking how to train toward their advanced class after reaching level ten. There is actually a short ‘quest’ that you have to pick up on the space station you arrive on after leaving your starting planet (this will be ‘Carrick Station’ for the republic). It can be easy to miss, but simply take the station elevator down to the main level, pull up the map and look for quest givers in the area. The quest will have you talk to the trainer as he or she gives a brief explanation of the two paths you can choose to take. After that, you simply choose the advanced class you wish to pursue, and you are good to go.
-Where Is My Companion?-
This is another question I saw springing up again and again in general chat. To be honest, I seem to remember asking it myself. If your companion character goes missing because you switched zones or logged off, don’t panic. Simply click the blue circle in the bottom left corner (indicated bellow) and you will summon them back to your side. You can also send your companion off to sell your ‘grey’ vendor trash items (which is awesome btw…), and access your crew skills (crafting) from this same lower left panel. On that note, most classes get their first companion around levels 8-11, depending on how quickly you level, and how much you focus on the core story quest.
I hope these tips help some of you on your first days in Bioware’s new MMO. If you were able to secure yourself a pre-release copy then I will be hoping to see you in the Early Access period (which lets you play early and keep your character) on December 15th. Otherwise we will be seeing you on the 20th. Also, as I said in the beginning, if any of you have other suggestions you would like to add to my list, please leave it in the comments bellow. The time is very close my friends; but like Luke, we must learn patience.