You will be thrust right into the heart of your story as soon as you enter the game. Pay attention to the cut scenes, since the information in them is very important. You will have to make decisions from what is said and witnessed. So don’t start a cut scene and then head off to the bathroom. So before you hit Play, go get a drink, stop by the bathroom and read this guide to get you started. This way you are ready to immerse yourself into Star Wars and this great roleplay MMO, The Old Republic.
Star Wars The Old Republic User Interface
Once you get to the interface, take a moment to familiarize yourself. Unlike many games, there is no tutorial to show you how to walk, talk, fight, or manage quests and inventory. TOR throws you right into your story. Don’t get caught in a fight without knowing what your abilities do and how to use them.
- The top center menu bar accesses all the main menu items and vital areas for character management and game options.
- On the left you’ll see your chat area and logs. Chat with other players, ask questions and see gear that’s been looted. Type “/general” to speak to everyone in the zone.
- On the bottom center of your screen is your hot bar and vital combat information. Abilities, hit points and power management are listed here along with your target’s status and strength.
- On the bottom right is the area map and target inspector. See everything from the main map listed just for your immediate area. Access the world map and PVP options here (PVP is only available after 10th level).
- On the top right you will see your quests listed. Double click them to open your journal. Anything in your journal that has the track box filled will show up here.
Read Through You Abilities
- Level: the level at which the ability can be used.
- Name: The name of the ability.
- Activation: The time it takes to activate the ability. Some abilities are Channeled, meaning they start instantly and last for the Channeled duration. You will interrupt the ability if you do anything else during the time a Channeled ability is active.
- Cost: The cost of the power, be it heat, Force or anything else.
- Cool Down: The time you’ll have to wait until you can use the power again.
- Range: How far away you can use this ability. For some, you must be in melee range (4 meters). Others can be used from a distance of 30 meters.
- Description: This is a detailed description of what the power does. Many powers have secondary or alternate effects depending on the strength of the enemies you are fighting.
Class Specific Abilities
The class specific abilities should be listed on the hot bar at the bottom of the screen. There should be at least one ability that doesn’t use one of your resources like the Force or Ammo for those classes that start with a full resource bar and use it as they activate powers. Or an ability that builds your resources up like Rage for the classes that must “work up to” being able to use their powers like a Sith Warrior. You can check this by looking at your resource meter which is below the red hit point bar on the left side of the bottom hot bar.
If you start with a full resource bar, your powers will take away from it. When it is low to empty you will not be able to use some of your powers, such as a Jedi Consular.
If you start with an empty resource bar your powers will build up the bar. Some classes will have to build up this bar in order to use powers, such Sith Warrior.
Some classes will slowly fill this bar. When it is full they cannot use any powers until it goes down some, such as the Bounty Hunter.
This bar will slowly regenerate to your advantage in combat. It will regenerate quickly outside of combat. You can also speed this along by using your resting ability. I would suggest you get in the habit of staying completely “healed and rested”. This is easily done with a few seconds rest between combats. This way you will always be prepared for a tough fight, even if you are not expecting one.
It’s important to understand what you have to do with this bar for your class before you get started.
You should also have an ability you can use on yourself or others to increase your stats in some way. Make sure to keep this buff on you at all times. It is also considered common courtesy to use this on others around you. It can really help when you are just getting going in the game. If you are in a group, everyone in your group will automatically get this buff when used.
There should also be an Ability on the far right side of your hot bar that allows you to call a shuttle to come pick you up and drop you off at one of the local bind points. This can be used every 30 minutes.
Each class has an ability to quickly heal and recover after a fight. Keep it handy – you will use this a lot! It will also help your companion to quickly recover as well.
Time to Actually Start Playing TOR
Using your A/S/D/W keys and your space bar to move, you should start exploring your area. You can also use the mouse to “mouse-look” and just use the W (forward) and S (backwards) keys to navigate. I would suggest the second method as it seems much more natural. Space bar will make you jump and this should be about all you need to start exploring the expanses of Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Use your mission log (L) and your map to find out where you should go. Missions you can collect will show a hollow triangle, while those that are part of your quest show a filled triangle. The map is set up topographically but it can still be hard to navigate around terrain edges. Follow the orange roads near your location and this should help you find what you need.
Whenever you get into a new area, click on the bind point and the Taxi and Speeder droids. This will unlock all your travel points. You’ll want to do this first, before you get distracted by all the new quests. It’s no fun finally getting out to some place only to realize you can’t quickly travel back to where you need to go.
It’s also a great idea to discover the bind points in the cantinas as well, so when you’re done, you can return to the cantina and log out. Then, when you log back in, you will have a green XP bar that will grant you additional XP for a limited time. This is also a good time to repair your gear and sell your trash.
Picking a Fight in TOR
It won’t take long to find things you need to defeat. MoBs (Man or Beast) with red names will attack you if you get too close. The range that they will attack is not very far compared to some games but caution should definitely be taken. MoBs with yellow names will not attack you outright but will attack you if they are attacked in any way. These are often natural creatures of the worlds as well as some NPCs (Non Player Characters) that are spread across the galaxy.
Before you attack, it is a good idea to Con (Consider) the strength of your enemy. Enemies in TOR come in different strengths and powers.
- Weak: These are usually linked to larger groups, so pay attention to any others that may be nearby.
- Standard: These are also usually linked to groups but these groups tend to be smaller.
- Strong: These are usually by themselves because they can offer a challenge to any character of equal level. Be ready for a harder fight as well as some unique tricks from these MoBs.
- Elite: These enemies are incredibly tough and can easily defeat a single character of equivalent level. Make sure you have a group to fight these. If you are a few levels over them you may be able to defeat them solo, but it will be a difficult battle.
- Champion: These enemies are very difficult even for full groups of the same level. They have many more hit points then Elite MoBs. They will hit much harder and if you do not coordinate your attack, you will have little chance for success. Fight these with extreme caution.
- World Boss: These enemies are seriously rough. Bring friends, lots of friends! Each world has its own unique world bosses. Raid groups of the appropriate level will be needed to drop these seriously nasty beasts.
You can tell how strong these enemies are by a quick glance to your radar screen. A plain circle will indicate a weak enemy where an ornate and yellow and white enemy radar will indicate a very powerful enemy. Pay attention to this so you are prepared for the fight you are about to pick!
The most powerful of MoBs will also have the ornate symbols you find on their targeting radar next to their floating names as well. If you see this on their name know that you are in for a good fight!
Many MoBs in Star Wars The Old Republic are tied to a group, or friends, that will help them if they get into a fight. Pay attention to who and what is close before you attack a target!
Enemies of the same type, whether they are humanoid or animals, will often aid their own kind if they get into a fight.
Most MoBs in TOR are well spaced, but there are roamers in some areas. Roamers are MoBs or groups of MoBs that wander around the enemy area. If you happen to initiate combat near another group, or you are running from one group to another, all of them will attack you. So pick your attack timing carefully around roamers, and flee away from enemies instead of through a group of more enemies.
Combat in Star Wars: The Old Republic
So now you know what you might be fighting and if you want to give it a shot. You will notice that your abilities are dark when you are far away from your target. This indicates that you will not be able to use them. Move closer and the abilities will get brighter, letting you know when they can be used.
Whether you are a melee fighter (right up on the enemy) or a ranged fighter (fighting from a distance, as with blasters or the Force), all classes have what I like to call a 1-2 punch. It might take some experimentation, but the goal is to find the right combination of abilities to knock out enemies fast and move onto the next one quickly. Since most enemies come in groups in TOR, it is very important to take a single MoB out fast. The longer they are up, the more damage you will take. Even Weak enemies can kill you if you let them stand around and shoot you long enough.
Once you have found the 1-2 punch, you will be ready to lay waste to your enemies. Most MoBs in the game will drop quickly and efficiently with this combo. I call it the 1-2 because those are the keys to which I map these abilities. Then they are within easy reach of my movement keys. The faster you slaughter, the faster you get XP, the faster you get loot, the faster you get to the next quest, the better you will be at TOR! This training will come in handy when you are ambushed or agro another group of creatures, or you are blasting your way through a hectic and fast Flashpoint quest.
Make sure to heal up between fights by using your ability to quickly heal. These abilities also have fun animations that suit each character class.
As you level, you will get a few more abilities and the abilities you have will rank up. Train these abilities as soon as you can in order to make the abilities you are using even better. Most of your new abilities will be focused toward a specific kind of fight or used for more powerful enemies. For your standard questing, your 1-2 Punch abilities will not likely change. You may use the others here and there, but many have long cooldown timers or are situational and will actually waste time when fighting normal battles in TOR.
Here are a few combat tips to get you started.
- Attack them before they attack you. You can usually get an extra shot or two this way.
- When fighting groups, kill the weakest MoBs first! This might seem backwards but if you fight the hardest enemy, it will take the longest to kill, leaving the weaker enemies more time to hurt you.
- If you have an Area of Effect (AE) ability that hits multiple targets, make sure to target the enemy in the center of the group.
- If you have knockback abilities, be careful not to knock enemies off ledges. They might die, but you also knock off their loot.
- Keep your more advanced abilities in reserve in case you find yourself in trouble. There is nothing worse than being on death’s doorstep, regretting you wasted the one ability that could save you on a Weak enemy and now the cooldown is in progress.
- If you’re going to die… RUN! Watch your path but you can escape. Jump off ledges or other obstacles to slow down your pursuit. Find cover from blaster fire. It will not take long and the enemies will stop chasing you and return where they started.
- Line of sight (LOS) does work to some extent in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Use it if you are in trouble for a few seconds’ break in the fire. It may give you a chance to use a stim, have an ability reset, or come up with a different plan.
- Make sure you have at least a few medical stims on your hot bar where you can use them quickly. Sometimes a quick boost of hit points is all you need to make it through a fight. You will thank me when you get ambushed.
- Keep track of respawns (defeated enemies returning or spawning). Everything in public areas respawns. Most enemies respawn every 3 to 5 minutes, so make sure you pay attention to where these will be happening.
- In private instances (story zones) enemies will not respawn.
- Once you get your companion, send them into the fight first. Let them take the beating!
- If you are more than 5 levels over an enemy’s level you will not get XP for killing them.
- Try to pull difficult enemies away from where they spawn (start). In case you are defeated you will not be raised right there. Some will not move, but most will.
There is a lot more to combat, but I will cover more complex strategies and techniques later. Now, you just need to get in and get to playing! These tips should help you be successful battling the normal MoBs you will encounter throughout the game.
When you are defeated you will be knocked out. A window will open up and ask if you want to be revived there or recall to the nearest medical facility.
If you are deep in a dangerous territory or in over your head, go back to the nearest Medical Facility. This will get you out of that Heroic area you stumbled into without having to deal with being defeated many more times.
If you are happy where you are, take the Medical Droid Revive option and you will be healed right where you were defeated. Once you are on your feet again, you will have a few seconds to find a safe spot. A counter over your head will show you how long you have. Find a spot safely out of the agro range of enemies to recover. Make sure to heal and rebuff yourself. You may even think about using a stim to buff yourself further. Remember, only one stim can be active on you at one time.
Remember to repair your gear, especially if you were defeated, when you get back to town to make sure it all stays in good working order.
Getting Rich in Star Wars: The Old Republic
The best way to get money is to loot everything. Loot it all, loot it all, loot it all! Trash or not, it stacks up and if you do nothing else but loot everything you can get your hands on, you should easily be able to afford your repair costs, abilities, upgrades, and plenty of stims for the road. Under the Game menu in Preferences, select the Control section and make sure Auto Loot on Right Click and Enable Area Loot are checked in order to quickly loot your enemies and those around them.
Now if you want to get a leg up, pay attention to what you are looting. When an enemy is defeated and has items (loot) it has dropped, you will see a pillar of light shine up from the mob. If your graphic settings are very low you won’t see this pillar, just a colored ring around the body. Click the pillar or the ring to see your loot screen, and then click what you want or click the Loot All button at the bottom of the loot window to get everything. Below is a quick table of the different types of loot:
|Grey||Cheap||Very Common||Weak thru Strong||This is all the junk and other trash you pick up from various kills. Have your companion sell it when your inventory gets full.|
|White||Standard||Common||Standard & Strong||This is your standard generic gear that is randomly generated and drops from most MoBs. You can also purchase this level of gear from vendors.|
|Green||Premium||Uncommon||Standard & Strong||These can be named items or randomly generated items. Premium items are the standard level of crafted gear.|
|Blue||Prototype||Rare||Elite & Champion||These items come from very difficult enemies. Prototype items can also be crafted.|
|Purple||Artifact||Very Rare||World Bosses||These items only come from the world bosses.|
When looting, click “Need” on any gear you can use on your character at that time. If you will not be able to use it, click “Greed” or simply pass it to those who can use it. It is considered bad form to take good gear from a player and give it to your companion.
This should give you a quick overview of the loot in the game. The colors of the loot are very helpful in determining what to use, keep and sell. If you are looking to make a little extra money, put the blue prototype items you acquire in the galactic trade center (the auction house). You may even get some responses to adding green premium gear on there. You will likely have more success with weapons than with armor. But if you have the patience to auction all this gear, you can make some nice money on the side.
When you are out just wandering around and exploring, try to take out the harder enemies. It’s good fun to drop a few grenades into a group of weak enemies, but they will not drop anything but trash loot. If you are looking for a little more from your kills, focus on strong and elite enemies when you can. They are much more prone to drop items of value and use than the weaker enemies.
Is That All there is to Star Wars: The Old Republic?
That is definitely not all there is to playing TOR, but it should be enough to get you started. In later guides I will dive into more advanced techniques and tricks to get the most out of TOR. For now, use what I have discussed in this starter guide to get you going. Take your time and get a feel for the game and later we will discuss grouping, advanced tactics, and other ways to make the most out of Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Play smarter, not harder!