Star Wars: The Old Republic, simply known as SWTOR or TOR, is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that was 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 over $200 million, Star Wars: The Old Republic was first conceived in 2005 as an MMORPG follow-up to BioWare's previous video games, the popular Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, and the game was first announced on October 21, 2008. The game itself was released to the public on December 20, 2011, and The Old Republic is accompanied by an expansive metaseries of Star Wars multimedia, including a four-book novel series, three comic series (Threat of Peace, Blood of the Empire, and The Lost Suns), and a number of short stories, as well as additional content.
Star Wars: The Old Republic succeeded Sony's Star Wars Galaxies as the main Star Wars MMORPG, and Galaxies went permanently offline shortly before The Old Republic was released in December 2011. Set over three hundred years after the events of the Knights of the Old Republic games, The Old Republic features seventeen fully explorable planets, eight unique classes divided into the Galactic Republic and Sith Empire factions, and over 1,600 hours of story in addition to over a dozen group Flashpoints and Operations, and it is the first MMORPG to feature full-scale voice acting. The game features extensive references to pre-existing Star Wars continuity, and introduces thousands of new characters, locations, items, groups, and events to the Star Wars universe as it depicts the conflict between the Republic and the Empire. With the discarding of the Expanded Universe on April 25, 2014, Star Wars: The Old Republic is the only remaining source that continues to produce Legends information aside from the official Star Wars Blog.
Over one million subscribers registered in the first three days following The Old Republic's release, and over a million had begun to play The Old Republic by December 26, making it the fastest-growing subscription MMORPG in history. The Old Republic has received generally positive reviews from critics, with a score of 85 on the review aggregation website Metacritic, though it has received some criticism by players for the lack of late-game content, which has led the game's developers to focus on the addition of upper-level content in many of their updates. Due to declining subscription numbers during the summer of 2012, The Old Republic introduced a Free-to-Play option in November 2012, and the game's first digital expansion, Rise of the Hutt Cartel, was released in April 2013. The Old Republic has received several dozens major content updates so far, and the second Digital Expansion, Galactic Starfighter, was released to free-to-play users in February 2014. Galactic Starfighter was released to active subscribers on December 3, 2013, and was released to Preferred Status players on January 14. A third Digital Expansion, Galactic Strongholds, was released in August 2014, and a fourth expansion, Shadow of Revan, was released on December 9. With the next two digital expansions: Knights of the Fallen Empire (October 27, 2015), and Knights of the Eternal Throne (December 2, 2016), the game took a narrative twist, focusing on a new faction, the Eternal Empire. On April 13, 2019, it was announced that a seventh expansion would be coming to the game, titled Onslaught. Onslaught was released on October 22, 2019.
- 1 Opening crawls
- 2 Synopsis
- 3 Gameplay
- 3.1 User interface and gameplay
- 3.2 Classes and playable species
- 3.3 Planets and quests
- 3.3.1 Alderaan
- 3.3.2 Balmorra
- 3.3.3 Belsavis
- 3.3.4 Corellia
- 3.3.5 Coruscant
- 3.3.6 Darvannis
- 3.3.7 Dromund Kaas
- 3.3.8 Hoth
- 3.3.9 Hutta
- 3.3.10 Ilum
- 3.3.11 Iokath
- 3.3.12 Korriban
- 3.3.13 Makeb
- 3.3.14 Manaan
- 3.3.15 Nar Shaddaa
- 3.3.16 Odessen
- 3.3.17 Ord Mantell
- 3.3.18 Oricon
- 3.3.19 Quesh
- 3.3.20 Rishi
- 3.3.21 Taris
- 3.3.22 Tatooine
- 3.3.23 Tython
- 3.3.24 Voss
- 3.3.25 Yavin 4
- 3.3.26 Zakuul
- 3.3.27 Ziost
- 3.4 Daily Mission Areas
- 3.5 Space battles
- 3.6 Flashpoints
- 3.7 Operations
- 3.8 PvP and Warzones
- 3.9 Crew Skills
- 3.10 Legacy
- 3.11 Galactic Reputation
- 3.12 Guilds and Strongholds
- 3.13 Free-to-Play
- 3.14 Cartel Market
- 4 Development
- 5 Release and additional content
- 5.1 Initial release and regional expansions
- 5.2 Weekend Passes, Trials, and Free-To-Play
- 5.3 Continued promotion and events
- 5.4 Game updates
- 5.4.1 Game Update 1.1: Rise of the Rakghouls
- 5.4.2 Game Update 1.2: Legacy
- 5.4.3 Game Update 1.3: Allies
- 5.4.4 Game Update 1.4: Terror From Beyond
- 5.4.5 Game Update 1.5: HK-51 Activated
- 5.4.6 Game Update 1.6: Ancient Hypergate
- 5.4.7 Game Update 1.7: Return of the Gree
- 5.4.8 Game Update 2.0: Scum and Villainy
- 5.4.9 Game Update 2.1: Customization
- 5.4.10 Game Update 2.2: Operation Nightmare
- 5.4.11 Game Update 2.3: Titans of Industry
- 5.4.12 Game Update 2.4: The Dread War
- 5.4.13 Game Update 2.5: Galactic Starfighter Subscriber Early Access
- 5.4.14 Game Update 2.6: Galactic Starfighter
- 5.4.15 Game Update 2.7: Invasion
- 5.4.16 Game Update 2.8: Spoils of War
- 5.4.17 Game Update 2.9: Galactic Strongholds Early Access
- 5.4.18 Game Update 2.10: Forged Alliances
- 5.4.19 Game Update 3.0: Shadow of Revan Early Access
- 5.4.20 Game Update 3.1: Conflict on Rishi
- 5.4.21 Game Update 3.2: Rise of the Emperor
- 5.4.22 Game Update 3.3: Grand Togruta Celebration
- 5.4.23 Game Update 4.0: Knights of the Fallen Empire
- 5.4.24 Game Update 4.1: Anarchy in Paradise
- 5.4.25 Game Update 4.2: Disavowed
- 5.4.26 Game Update 4.3: Visions in the Dark
- 5.4.27 Game Update 4.4: Profit and Plunder
- 5.4.28 Game Update 4.5: Mandalore's Revenge
- 5.4.29 Game Update 4.6: The GEMINI Deception
- 5.4.30 Game Update 4.7: The Battle of Odessen
- 5.5 World Events
- 5.6 Digital Expansions
- 6 Reception
- 7 Continuity
- 8 Legacy
- 8.1 Cinematic trailers
- 8.2 Galactic Timeline
- 8.3 Comic series
- 8.4 Novel series
- 8.5 Short stories
- 8.6 Reference and game guides
- 9 Cover gallery
- 10 Credits
- 11 Appearances
- 12 Bibliography
- 13 Notes and references
- 14 External links
- "Thus began the unprecedented stalemate. The Jedi reconnecting with their roots, the Republic nursing its wounds, the Sith consolidating their power in a galaxy divided between darkness and light."
- ―Jedi Master Gnost-Dural
In 3681 BBY, a reconstituted Sith Empire, the survivors of the Old Sith Empire that lost the Great Hyperspace War over a thousand years earlier, return to the larger galaxy under the leadership of an immortal Sith Emperor and invade the Galactic Republic, sparking the Great Galactic War. Though the Empire achieved many victories in the early years of the conflict, the Republic eventually rallied and won several hard-earned victories, which caused the war to drag on for a total of twenty-eight years. Finally, in 3653 BBY, the Empire attacked the Republic capital of Coruscant in what became known as the Sacking of Coruscant and forced the Republic to accept the Treaty of Coruscant, ending the war and beginning a tense Cold War. The Republic and the Jedi Order rebuild and recover over the next decade, while the Empire secures the territory gained during the war and rebuilds their war machine in preparation for the inevitable resumption of hostilities. By 3643 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 Ord Mantell is embroiled in the Separatist War, a civil war between the Republic-backed but corrupt government and the Mantellian Separatist Movement, which unbeknownst to the Republic is receiving aid from the Sith Empire. Some of the fiercest fighting centers on the island of Avilatan, which is home to the Republic garrison Fort Garnik and a number of separatist bases, but many Mantellians are forced to become refugees as the war drags on.
While making a delivery to Ord Mantell, a smuggler is double-crossed by the criminal Skavak, who steals the smuggler's ship. The smuggler works with local crime lord Viidu and his lieutenants, including the native farmboy Corso Riggs, to track down Skavak, and in the process the smuggler deals significant damage to the separatists' operations. The search culminates in a raid on the separatist stronghold, but Skavak is already on his way to Coruscant with the smuggler's ship, thanks to Viidu's traitorous lieutenant Syreena.
Around the same time, the elite Special Forces unit Havoc Squad is on Ord Mantell, and its newest member joins the squad's search for a missing ZR-57 orbital strike bomb that has been stolen by the separatists. Working with the other members of the squad, the Republic trooper closes in on the bomb, eliminating several of the separatists leaders in the process, but the rest of the squad goes missing in the separatists' volcano stronghold—and when the trooper rushes to the rescue of Commander Harron Tavus and the rest of the squad, the soldier finds that Tavus and the others are traitors who defect to the Empire. With the Republic's recent successes against the separatists, the separatists are forced on the defensive and ultimately defeated. The surviving members of the movement flee offworld, finding sanctuary with Chornarov, the corrupt and power-hungry governor of the Republic planet Cademimu V.
After the destruction of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant during the Sacking, the Jedi Order retreated to its recently rediscovered homeworld of Tython in the Deep Core. There, they train a new generation of Jedi and rediscover their past amongst Tython's verdant forests and mountains, though the violent Flesh Raiders pose a threat to both the Jedi and the illegal Twi'lek settlers of Kalikori village.
The new Padawan of Jedi Master Yuon Par discovers that an ancient teaching hologram has been stolen from Tython's ruins and traces the theft to a villager named Nalen Raloch, but Raloch uses his newfound Force-sensitivity to try and kill the apprentice. Studying the recovered hologram, Par and her student discover the existence of the Fount of Rajivari, a collection of knowledge left behind by the ancient Jedi Master Rajivari. Joining forces with the Trandoshan hunter Qyzen Fess, the apprentice locates the Fount—discovering it to be Rajivari's own Force ghost—and prevents a now-insane Raloch from destroying the ancient Forge that the Order used to construct lightsabers, thereby earning the rank of Jedi Consular—but Master Par succumbs to a mysterious illness just after her student is promoted.
A newly arrived initiate proves vital in halting an invasion of the Tythonian Gnarls region by the Flesh Raiders, defeating the Dark Jedi Callef, who was leading them in a duel. The Jedi is taken on as a Padawan by Master Orgus Din, and the two investigate the Flesh Raiders' recent activities. When Din and his student discover that Din's former apprentice Bengel Morr is leading the Flesh Raiders, the Jedi launch attacks on the Flesh Raiders across Tython, but Din is captured by Morr after he is betrayed by Kalikori village. His apprentice—after escaping another trap set by the villagers—pursues Morr with the astromech droid T7-O1 and ultimately defeats him in battle at the Forge, rescuing Din and earning the rank of Jedi Knight.
On the Sith world of Korriban, Sith acolytes study at the Sith Academy and compete to become the apprentices of powerful Sith Lords. Excavation of the tombs in the Valley of the Dark Lords continues, despite the prevalence of creatures such as shyracks, k'lor'slugs, and tuk'ata, and a group of rebellious slaves has taken refuge in one of the tombs. Some of the Academy's instructors, disgusted by the Empire's recent decision to allow slaves and aliens to be trained as Sith, do their best to ensure purity in the blood of their students A recently arrived slave joins a group of acolytes under Overseer Harkun, who is determined to see the slave fail, and the acolytes undergo a series of tests in the Academy and amid the tombs of the Valley. Harkun's students are competing to become the apprentice of the Sith Lord Zash, and the overseer is enraged to witness the slave complete each test perfectly—so he arranges for two acolytes to kill the slave and thereby assure that the pureblooded acolyte Ffon Althe becomes Zash's apprentice. Harkun's attempt fails, and the slave also manages to awaken the Dashade Shadow Killer Khem Val, who is forced to swear loyalty to the acolyte after being defeated. Impressed by the acolyte's accomplishments, Zash takes the former slave as her apprentice, though the apprentice is quickly caught up in the rivalry between Zash and her superior, Darth Skotia.
Around the same time, a new acolyte is placed under the tutelage of Overseer Tremel, who seeks to use his new student to destroy the acolyte Vemrin—a potential apprentice to the Sith Lord Darth Baras. Tremel's student completes each of the tests set by the overseer, but Baras confronts the acolyte and reveals that Tremel is rushing the student's instruction to achieve his own goals. At Baras's instruction, the acolyte turns on Tremel and slays him, earning Baras's favor and becoming a possibility for a new apprentice. The acolyte's final test is to retrieve an ancient lightsaber from the tomb of the Sith Lord Naga Sadow, and after using the Twi'lek treasure hunter and slave Vette to navigate the tomb, the student defeats Vemrin and secures a place as Baras's apprentice.
The industrial planet Nal Hutta, adopted homeworld of the Hutt species, is rife with crime and conflict between rival members of the Hutt Cartel, including Voontara Fa'athra and Suudaa Nem'ro. The native Evocii species, who have long been disenfranchised by their Hutt rulers, struggle alongside Human and alien workers as they toil in the toxic swamps and industrial facilities that crowd the planet's surface, though some mercenaries, criminals, and radical Evocii wage guerrilla wars against the Hutts and anyone else they encounter. As the Great Hunt, a major Mandalorian bounty hunting competition, draws near, the veteran hunter Braden mentors a young hunter and seeks to secure sponsorship from Nem'ro the Hutt in order for his protege to enter the competition. With the help of Braden, a young slicer named Mako, and Braden's associate Jory, the hunter tracks down and kills the criminal Vexx—but returns to find Braden and Jory murdered by a rival hunter named Tarro Blood. Despite their deaths, the hunter and Mako continue their efforts to secure sponsorship, completing a number of bounties for Nem'ro. However, Nem'ro double-crosses the hunter, giving his sponsorship to a Trandoshan named Rarsk and challenging the hunter to go and take the sponsorship from Rarsk. Nem'ro is greatly pleased by the hunter's success in doing so, and agrees to officially sponsor the hunter in the Great Hunt, which will begin on the Imperial capital of Dromund Kaas.
Also in Nem'ro's industrial town of Jiguuna, an operative of the Sith Empire's Imperial Intelligence is tasked with securing an alliance between the Empire and Nem'ro, who a powerful member of the Hutt Cartel. Adopting the identity of the notorious pirate known as the Red Blade, the agent attempts to earn the trust of Karrels Javis, one of Nem'ro's lieutenants, and completes a number of sabotage missions against the operations of Nem'ro's rival Fa'athra. However, the agent is forced to find a new ally when Javis's sons are involved in an incident with a Sith that leaves one son dead and the other crippled, and Javis is eliminated as a loose end. The Rattataki mercenary Kaliyo Djannis becomes suspicious of "the Red Blade," but allies herself with the agent nonetheless upon discovering the operative's true allegiance, and aids the agent in manufacturing evidence that Fa'athra is colluding with the Republic. Nem'ro is successfully persuaded into allying with the Empire, and though the real Red Blade arrives on Hutta shortly before the agent departs, the operative kills the pirate to secure the operation, and is recalled to Dromund Kaas with Djannis.
Grand Moff Rycus Kilran is eager to restart the war, and his efforts to recapture a defecting Imperial general is a success despite the loss of a number of ships to Republic forces under Grand Master Satele Shan. Kilran's efforts to capture the Republic ambassador Vyn Asara by attacking the transport Esseles fails, however, forcing Imperial spokespeople to deny the Empire's involvement in an effort to distance themselves from the incident. 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 Hammer Station and attempts to expand their territory, 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 stolen Republic warship Allusis; both governments send strike teams to destroy Clan Varad and take control of the Allusis.
The Republic capital of Coruscant is still recovering from the Sacking a decade prior, and though Supreme Chancellor Dorian Janarus and Senator Vanara Kayl have led efforts to rebuild Galactic City, gangs such as the Migrant Merchants' Guild and Black Sun control entire sectors of the capital, and the Coruscant Security Force receives no help from the Imperial-backed vigilante group known as the Justicars' Brigade. Unbeknownst to the Republic, the Empire has more than just monetary influence on the capital: Imperial forces are searching the ruins of the Jedi Temple for artifacts and knowledge left behind in the building's destruction.
Yuon Par's apprentice, now a full-fledged Jedi Consular, comes to Coruscant in search of the Noetikons, ancient Jedi artifacts that could prove vital in healing Par of the mysterious illness that struck her on Tython. Fighting through various elements of Coruscant's underworld to retrieve the three devices across Coruscant, the Consular consults the Noetikons and learns of a shielding technique that successfully heals Par of her illness. However, the threat does not end there: it soon becomes apparent that the "Dark Plague" that had afflicted Par has also infected several Jedi Masters across the galaxy.
Havoc Squad's newest member, who is now the only remaining loyal member of the unit, is recalled to Coruscant with Lieutenant Aric Jorgan by General Elin Garza of SpecForce Division. There, the loyal trooper is given command of the unit as a lieutenant, Havoc Squad is reformed with the trooper and Jorgan as its first members, and Garza tasks the squad with hunting down the traitors amid an inquiry by the Galactic Senate into the recent mass defections in SpecForce. Following leads on the traitors' allies across Coruscant, Havoc Squad finally locates and defeats Jek Kardan, one of the founders of Havoc Squad and Tavus's mentor, but is then sent to rescue Senator Zorin Krasul when he is kidnapped by the Havoc traitor Wraith. Havoc Squad manages to rescue Krasul from the space station Port Raga, though the unit fails to capture Wraith.
The smuggler whose ship Skavak stole on Ord Mantell pursues the "Jackal of the Stars" to Coruscant with Corso Riggs, who sets up a meeting with the gambler and information broker Darmas Pollaran in hopes of locating Skavak. With Pollaran's help, the smuggler and Riggs chase down leads on Skavak's location in various districts of the galactic capital, tangling with the Migrant Merchants' Guild and Black Sun in the process. After pursuing a lead in Justicar territory, the duo learn of a meeting between Skavak and Imperials in the Works region; the pair crash the meeting, but Skavak escapes in the confusion. However, Skavak lets slip the location of the smuggler's ship, and the captain beats Skavak back to the freighter—only to find a mysterious woman named Risha waiting in the hold.
Orgus Din and his student, now a Jedi Knight, are called to Coruscant to aid in the search for a mysterious darkness that the Jedi have sensed on the capital. However, the young Knight soon becomes involved in the efforts to retrieve the stolen Planet Prison superweapon as well as its creator, Doctor Eli Tarnis, from various gangs across the city. To the Republic's surprise, it soon becomes apparent that Tarnis is actually a Sith Lord who has infiltrated the Republic's superweapon development program, and the Knight joins forces with Padawan Kira Carsen in a race against time to prevent Tarnis from using the Planet Prison against Coruscant—but the Knight's success comes with a cost: Tarnis's father Darth Angral declares a personal war on the Republic in response to his son's death at the Jedi's hand. Taking on Carsen as a Padawan, the Knight is sent to Ord Mantell to investigate an Imperial listening post, where T7-O1 and the Jedi recover information on something called the "Desolator" that Angral is building.
In contrast to Coruscant, the Imperial capital of Dromund Kaas remains largely under the firm rule of the Empire, though a number of growing threats have begun to undermine Imperial authority. The secretive Order of Revan seeks to spread their philosophies throughout the Empire despite the Dark Council's dedication to eradicating the group, and the Sith Lord Qet's effort to construct a monument to his master Vowrawn went awry when the slave workers launched a rebellion. The Sith Lord Grathan has recently declared himself the thirteenth Dark Council member, and has fortified his estate with a veritable army. The wild animals that inhabit Dromund Kaas's dark jungles still pose threats outside of the walls of Imperial cities such as the capital of Kaas City, and the Dark Temple—a Sith structure that was used to contain powerful artifacts and the bodies of the Emperor's enemies before it was sealed hundreds of years earlier—has been breached by a group of arrogant Sith Lords who quickly met their death inside; the power of the dark side has unleashed madness and unspeakable horrors from within the forbidden structure, and the Empire is struggling to contain the Temple's influence.
On Dromund Kaas, Braden's protege arrives along with a half dozen other hunters to learn that there is one spot left in the Great Hunt. Assigned a handler named Crysta Markon, the hunter is tasked with hunting down three targets on the Imperial capital in order to qualify for the Grand Melee that will decide who enters the Hunt. Tarro Blood, who has already secured a place in the Hunt, repeatedly attempts to sabotage his rival, but despite the interference the hunter successfully completes the three contracts: a Republic noble named Altaca, Grathan's apprentice Vereta Fraabaal, and the commander of an Imperial team sent into the Dark Temple. The hunter emerges victorious in the Grand Melee, securing the last spot in the Grand Hunt, and successfully steals a D5-Mantis Patrol Craft to use as the hunter's own ship as part of a Great Hunt tradition.
Upon arriving at Imperial Intelligence, the Intelligence operative is debriefed by Keeper, the head of Intelligence's Operations Division, and meets Darth Jadus, the Dark Councilor who commands Imperial Intelligence. Assigned a handler in Watcher Two, the agent and Djannis are tasked with rooting out a terrorist cell that is supposedly planning an attack on Dromund Kaas, and interrogation of rebel slaves points to a scientist named Theovor Mindak who is in the service of Lord Grathan. With the help of Mindak's daughter Samara, the operative infiltrates Grathan's estate and learns from Mindak that the terrorists plan to detonate the power conduits beneath the Dark Temple—a detonation that would severely damage Kaas City. The operative successfully stops the terrorists, but the terrorists strike a blow against the Empire nonetheless: Darth Jadus and thousands of people are killed when Jadus's flagship is destroyed by terrorists led by the mysterious "Eagle." The operative is then promoted to the rank of Cipher Agent, and "Cipher Nine" is tasked with rooting out and destroying the Eagle's terrorist network.
- "Seven battle cruisers are en route to disputed sectors. They will reclaim our territories within the hour. Imperial Intelligence has arrested over nine hundred dissidents on Sullust and Bothawui. The dissidents will be tried, judged and executed. This is a warning to those who oppose us—and an invitation to those who would join us. The Empire abides by the Treaty of Coruscant. But should the Republic begin the war again, we will strike without mercy… and the time for choosing sides will be over."
- ―An Imperial propaganda speech broadcast near the end of the Cold War
The planet Taris was destroyed three hundred years earlier by the Sith Lord Darth Malak, and the once great city-world was turned to ruins that have been overgrown by Taris's recovering ecosystem in the last few centuries. In the absence of settlers, Taris's environment has recovered from years of industrial pollution, though some of the planet's wildlife has been affected by the pollution and radiation. The Republic has recently begun a resettlement initiative under the Taris Reconstruction Authority and Governor Leontyne Saresh, though pirates, scavengers, corruption, rakghouls, and a number of other setbacks have impeded progress. 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. The Jedi Knight and company are sent to Taris to locate Doctor Nasan Godera, a brilliant Republic scientist who quit the Republic in disgust after the Sacking of Coruscant; however, Imperial Intelligence is already one step ahead of the Knight, forcing the Jedi to pursue Intelligence's Watcher One across Taris in a race to locate and then rescue Godera from the Empire. The Knight succeeds, but not before Watcher One is able to extract valuable information from the scientist on the subject of superweapons.
The first of the infected Masters is the Kaleesh Cin Tykan, who had been assisting the Republic in the exploration and resettlement of Taris with his Padawan Aris Vauranelle before he was overcome by the plague's madness. Tracking down Tykan, the Consular rescued Tykan's expedition from the death-trap he had led them into, and discovered that Tykan intended to destroy Taris's ruined reactors and infrastructure in order to wipe out the resettlement project. The Consular foiled Tykan's efforts, however, ending the Jedi Master's madness.
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 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 to be rogue agents.
Balmorra is also the site of one of the Great Hunt targets—each competitor in the Great Hunt is assigned a target that they must eliminate or capture, but they must also compete against another hunter who is given the same target. Mako and the hunter's first target is Admiral Ivernus, who is stationed at Balmorra but never leaves his flagship, so the pair offer their services to Lieutenant Major Pirrell, a subordinate of the admiral, in hopes of getting close to their target. Pirrell uses the bounty hunter to sabotage various Imperial operations on the war-torn world in order to discredit his incompetent superior Colonel Sartius, and his plan successfully brings the admiral to the capital of Sobrik. Pirrell's Cathar companion Murghir reveals herself as the hunter's competition and tries to take down Ivernus, but the hunter kills both Ivernus and Murghir in the firefight and advances in the Great Hunt.
As the first step in tracking down the culprits responsible for the Dominator's destruction, Cipher Nine is sent to Balmorra and tasked with infiltrating a cell of terrorists led by the mysterious Gray Star. With the help of Sanju Pyne, Cipher Nine performs several missions for the resistance in order to win the trust of Gray Star's lieutenant Chemish Or; however, Or becomes suspicious of Pyne and kills him. Cipher Nine's cover remains intact, and Or sends the operative to extract Gray Star from the Balmorran Arms Factory—where the operative learns that Gray Star is a soldier in the Republic Army, and successfully eliminates the resistance leader.
The moon of Nar Shaddaa is a hotbed of covert activity, as the Hutts' 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 (SIS) 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 criminal organizations for control of Nar Shaddaa, and the Empire's rule over parts of the moon is challenged by many of the immigrants and war refugees who inhabit areas such as the Corellian and Duros Sectors.
General Suthra dispatches the Jedi Knight to Nar Shaddaa to secure the Power Guard Project, an experimental supersoldier program run in secret by the Republic on the moon, and the Knight works with the local Strategic Information Service agents to track down the SIS agent Galen, who went missing while searching for the program. However, the Knight soon discovers that Angral's apprentice Sadic has taken control of the program, leading the Knight to pursue Sadic and the Power Guard program across the moon. Sadic destroys the SIS base with Power Guards, but the Knight nonetheless tracks him back to the prison district of Shadow Town, where Sadic—who has undergone the Power Guard process himself out of a desire for power—is killed by the Jedi.
Nar Shaddaa is also the location of the Jedi Master Duras Fain, who is suspected of being infected with the Dark Plague and responsible for the fanatical criminal cult known as the Guiding Hand that has recently come to power on Nar Shaddaa. The Jedi Consular seeks out Master Bakarn's contact, the eccentric scientist Tharan Cedrax and his holographic assistant Holiday, and rescued Cedrax from a Guiding Hand attack in the Nikto Sector. With Cedrax's help, the Consular infiltrates the tech specialists known as the Red Light Lancers, and ultimately tracks down Fain in Shadow Town. Thanks to Cedrax's inventions, the Consular resists Fain's mind control attempt and defeats the crazed Jedi Master before freeing him from the effects of the plague—and the cured Fain reveals that the infected Masters were part of an ill-fated expedition to the planet Malachor III in their youth.
The hunter's next target is on Nar Shadda: the Eidolon, a notorious assassin who heads the Republic-allied Eidolon Security company. With the help of a Hutt Cartel lieutenant named Gele'ren and Mako's childhood friend Anuli, the hunter attacks the Eidolon's corporate holdings in an attempt to draw the target out. The hunter's competition, a clan of Ugnaughts, are easily dispatched, but the Eidolon kills Anuli and leaves assassin droids to kill the hunter. To the Eidolon's surprise, Mako and the hunter survive and pursue him to a safe house, where they successfully take down their target.
After Sadic's defeat, General Suthra dispatches the Knight and Kira Carsen to meet with a potential defector named Admiral Hacklin, but the meeting is a trap set by Valis, a "Child" of the Sith Emperor. Valis seeks to recapture Carsen, herself a former Child who escaped the Empire, though Valis is defeated by the two Jedi.
After Cedrax joins the Jedi Consular's crew on Nar Shaddaa, the Jedi rushes to defuse the situation aboard the Republic vessel Carida, where a Jedi Knight named Laranna Fain—Duras Fain's daughter—has seemingly gone insane. After fighting off an Imperial ambush during which Fain had been injured, the Carida had been visited by a mysterious Jedi Master who "healed" the injured Jedi and departed—after which Fain started attacking everyone. The Consular ultimately heals Fain of the plague's influence, and learned that the "Jedi Master" responsible for the plague is actually a Jedi-turned-Sith named Vivicar who can only infect those he has personal contact with.
After taking down the Eidolon, the hunter and Mako are surprised to be recalled to Dromund Kaas by Huntmaster Assistant Lek, who sends the pair on a discreet assignment to locate and eliminate a slicer who stole the Great Hunt target list and is auctioning it on Nal Hutta. Before his death, the slicer reveals he was hired by a Mandalorian, and the hunter suspects Tarro Blood, whose targets were excluded from the stolen list.
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.
Sent to Tatooine, the hunter is tasked with tracking down the notorious Devaronian conman Tyresius Lokai, but an attempt to capture Lokai—who is posing as "Gellar Roing"—in the Mos Ila Spaceport sees Lokai escape. Learning that the other competitor targeting Lokai, Veeboo Lunx, was bribed by Lokai to drop out of the Hunt after shooting down the conman's ship, the hunter tracks down and eliminates Lunx before pursuing Lokai across the desert. Lokai is unable to repair his damaged ship before the hunter arrives, but after a firefight, Lokai offers his services to the hunter and uses a genetically identical body double as proof of Lokai's death. Changing his name to Gault Rennow, the Devaronian joins the hunter's crew.
The Jedi Knight's next assignment is to locate the Shock Drum weapon on Tatooine, but like the Power Guard Project, the Shock Drum has already been seized by Angral's apprentice Praven. The honorable Sith challenges the Jedi to a duel for the Shock Drum control codes, as he finds Angral's command to activate the seismic superweapon to be dishonorable. After the Jedi emerges victorious, the Knight rushes to save Carsen's former Jedi Master Bela Kiwiiks, who Angral ordered Praven to leave for dead with the Shock Drum; fighting through the fearsome creatures known as sand demons, the Knight manages to rescue Kiwiiks and disarm the Shock Drum before it destabilizes the planet's core.
The Consular's next mission is to find and cure Master Eriz Vossan on Tatooine, and the Jedi retraces Vossan's steps in hopes of locating the Jedi Master. The Consular encounters a group of Jawas whom Vossan had visited, only to find that the Jedi had convinced them to try and take control of the desert with war droids. The Consular soon discovers that Vossan, in his madness, believes Tatooine's Sand People to be "the ultimate warriors," and that Vossan has gone in search of a particularly warlike tribe. The Consular finds Vossan deep in the desert with the Sand People, and after healing the Master, learns more about the expedition to Malachor. The Padawans who went to Malachor had been overcome by something evil they discovered, and in their haste to escape, one of the Padawans, Parkanas Tark, was left behind by his fellows.
The Core World of Alderaan, a founding world of the Republic, suffered the loss of its Queen Silara Panteer and her son Gaul Panteer, Alderaan's Senator, not long after the Senator declared Alderaan's independence following the Treaty of Coruscant. The death of the Panteers led to a crisis of succession that gave way to a three-way civil war as the formerly exiled House Thul returned with Imperial backing and General Bouris Ulgo declared himself king before wiping out the Panteers. Houses Thul and Ulgo are opposed by the Republic-allied House Organa, and they all vie for supremacy as the minor houses ally themselves with the various factions. To make matters worse, amid the political conflict, hives of the insectoid Killik species have awoken across Alderaan and are wreaking havoc.
On Alderaan, the Jedi Consular searches for Master Sidonie Garen, who was tasked with arranging a peace conference between the houses before she became infected with the Dark Plague. Upon discovering that Alderaanian law barred the Consular from attending, the Jedi allied with the lesser House Teral and became their advocate in order to attend the conference, aiding them against House Rist and securing an alliance with House Organa. At the conference, Garen's madness led her to try and sabotage the proceedings to incite war, but the Consular was able to restore order and end Garen's plans.
The Knight arrives on Alderaan in search of the Jedi's former Master Orgus Din, who had also vanished while securing the Death Mark laser—an orbital satellite meant to end the civil war by strategic assassination. With the help of a Republic scientist named Aleyna Hark, the Knight is able to locate Din and rescue him from the remains of the Death Mark research facility, only to find that Hark is a spy in the service of Angral's apprentice Nefarid—and Hark is marking targets for Nefarid to kill with the Death Mark. After preventing Hark from killing Duke Horis Thul, the Knight tracks down and defeats Nefarid, but at the same time, Master Din is killed during an attempt to infiltrate Darth Angral's ship.
With the Great Hunt drawing to a close, the hunter's next target is on Alderaan: Duke Corwin, the Durasteel Duke. The hunter seeks out Corwin's last known location—the noble family House Girard—and is recruited by Corwin's cousin, Baron Zacar Girard, to act as Girard's advocate in exchange for aid in the search. Tracking down the duke by tracing coded messages left in museum relics, the hunter pursues Corwin to House Rist but arrives only to find that Corwin had already escaped to House Organa's protection. The hunter continues the pursuit nonetheless, but finds that the Duke is in fact dead and is being impersonated by his sister Muriel for the sake of a treaty. The hunter turns in the duke's corpse, successfully earning a place in the final round of the Great Hunt.
Governor Chornarov's corruption attracts the attention of the Republic, which begins an investigation into his actions; however, when the Republic is prepared to arrest him, the governor makes his move. Broadcasting live on the Holonet, Chornarov declares Cademimu's independence from the Republic, and his Cademiman Guard—many of whom are former members of the Mantellian Separatist Movement—institute martial law on the planet. Cademimu is incredibly valuable to the Republic war effort, as it is the site of missile depots that supply Republic forces along the entire Celanon Spur trade route. Chornarov's actions draw the attention of both the Republic and the Empire, and both groups dispatch strike teams to the planet in order to take back control of the planet's missile depots and thereby allow a naval fleet to enter the system. Chornarov's subordinate General Ortol, the leader of the Guard, is killed during the fighting, and the planet falls to one of the galactic powers.
As the galaxy approaches war, the Republic forms a new squadron known as the Coruscant Aegis that sees service during both the Cold War and the Galactic War. The Coruscant Aegis rescues a Republic transport in the Fondor system, defends the personnel of a SIS listening post in the Syvris system when they are forced to evacuate, and destroys an Imperial space station in the Llanic system that was developing a poison known as Ziroxin-12. When an Imperial staging point is discovered in the Balosar system, the Republic sends the Coruscant Aegis to destroy the space station, and they also defeat the Empire's Razor Shyracks squadron and their leader, the Sith Lord Kestas Rone, over the planet Javaal. In the Archenar system, the Aegis eliminates a group of Imperial fighters that has been preying on Republic supply transports in Hutt Space, and also spearhead an assault on the damaged warship Overlord over Makem Te when its commander, Moff Jocend is forced to retreat there after a failed attack on Republic borders. Just before open war, the squadron defends a neutral space station from Imperial attack in the Pakuuni system, foiling the Empire's efforts to blame the Republic. In the ice rings of Kovor, the Aegis defeats an Imperial force led by the pilot Tervor Jheran when Jheran attacked a Republic squadron and attempted to frame them for breaking the Treaty. The squadron also destroys the Rancor's Claw squadron in a dogfight amid the asteroids of the Drexel system during the final days of the Cold War.
Around the same time, the Empire forms the elite Empire's Fury squadron, which sees action across the galaxy. One of the squadron's first missions is the destruction of a Republic listening post in Hutt Space, and the Empire's Fury also emerges victorious when they engage the Republic's Solar Thrantas squadron and its Jedi leader, Nezhel "Sunsport" Othren, over the planet Saleucami. When a Republic fighter wing is sighted over the Imperial agriworld Nez Peron, the Empire's Fury is deployed to wipe out the starfighters for entering Imperial space, and the squadron also leads the assault on the Republic warship Enkindle over Sarapin Four after the Enkindle is damaged in a confrontation with the Imperial dreadnought Tears of Taris. The Empire's Fury also rescues Imperial Intelligence agents who are fleeing Republic forces in the Jabiim system. The Empire's Fury squadron sees action against the Republic-sympathizing Ezran pirates in the Ezran system when the Empire learns that the pirates are sheltering Republic operatives, prompting the Empire's Fury to wipe out the pirates. When Major Boro Fareed agrees to defect to the Empire, the Empire's Fury is sent to rescue his shuttle from Republic forces in the Taspan system and escorts the defector to safety. When Republic forces attack an Imperial manufacturing station in the Skaross system in violation of the ceasefire, the Empire's Fury wipes out the bombers and saves the station from the rogue Republic attackers. The Empire's Fury wipes out Republic-sponsored pirates who are setting up a minefield in the Polith system, destroys the elite Sullustan bomber squadron known as the Ash Angels when they go rogue and attack Imperial forces in the Outer Rim, and wipe out a Republic border patrol that the Empire lures away from Republic space into the ice rings of the planet Mugaar.
The Republic does not have to wait long for Darth Angral's next move—using a tracking device planted by Din before his death, the Republic locates Angral's warship in the Uphrades system, but when the Knight arrives there, the fertile agriworld Uphrades has been utterly devastated by some kind of combination of the stolen superweapons. The Knight and company rescue the stricken medical frigate Daybreaker from an Imperial attack and learn from the survivors that Angral has combined the stolen superweapons into a single ship-mounted weapon: the Desolator. Having tested the Desolator on Uphrades, Angral sets his sights on Tython itself, and the Knight's crew arrives in the Tython system as the Desolator recharges for an attack. Slipping aboard the Oppressor, the Knight and Carsen disable the Desolator's reactors before facing Angral himself on the ship's bridge. However, the Emperor seizes control of Carsen briefly and orders Angral to kill the Knight. Angral falls in battle to the Knight and Carsen, but the Emperor fully possesses Carsen and attacks the Knight with Angral's fallen weapon. As the Oppressor begins to disintegrate under Jedi bombing runs, the Knight helps Carsen purge herself of the Emperor's influence, and the two escape the doomed warship. In the aftermath of the battle, Carsen is elevated to the rank of Jedi Knight, and Din's former student is named "the Hero of Tython."
Studying what they know about Vivicar, the Council determines that Vivicar is likely Parkanas Tark himself, out for revenge against those who left him on Malachor—and Yuon Par something more: Malachor III was the resting place of Terrak Morrhage, the original creator of the dark plague. Using the connection forged by the plague between herself and Tark, Par attempts to track Vivicar's location, and she is successful despite a brief possession by Vivicar. The Consular travels to Vivicar's location, a ship drifting in deep space filled with brainwashed Republic soldiers, and confronts the Sith Lord. However, Tark is revealed to be nothing more than a vessel for the spirit of Terrak Morrhage, which had been awoken by the Padawans on their expedition, and despite his being defeated in a duel with the Consular, Morrhage reveals that he is infecting hundreds more Jedi Masters with each passing moment. Should Vivicar die, the infected would die as well, so the Consular instead uses the shielding technique on Vivicar, freeing Tark and forcing a weakened Morrhage to vanish while also freeing the infected. In the aftermath, Tark goes into self-imposed exile on Tython, and the Consular is granted the rank of Jedi Master and the title of Barsen'thor, or Warden of the Order.
With the Corwin bounty finished, the hunter is contacted by former Grand Champion Hedarr Soongh, who warns the hunter that Tarro Blood's allies are gathering on Nar Shaddaa to plan an attack. Heeding the advice, the hunter disrupts Blood's allies' plans, but Soongh is killed in the chaos. The final target in the Great Hunt is Master Kellian Jarro, a Jedi Master commanding the Republic cruiser Aurora, and the final competitor is Tarro Blood. Blood has already been captured, and has warned the Aurora of his competitor's impending arrival. Despite the forewarning, the hunter is able to board the Aurora and locate Jarro, killing Blood on the way. After taking down the Jedi Master, the hunter destroys the Aurora and is crowned the Grand Champion of the Great Hunt.
- "The danger to Tython is over, but we're getting fresh reports of hostilities all over the galaxy. Another war with the Empire seems inevitable."
"Darth Angral was the spark that lit the flame. Even in failure, he inspired the Sith to violence."
- ―General Var Suthra and Master Bela Kiwiiks
In the aftermath of recent events—particularly the open war that Darth Angral waged against the Republic—the Treaty of Coruscant has begun to disintegrate, and the Sith Empire launches an invasion of Taris, seeking to destroy the work done by the Republic's recent reconstruction efforts. Darth Gravus and his forces establish a garrison in the Brell Sediment and steadily drives the Republic back towards their initial settlement of Olaris, demoralizing the fierce Cathar settlers and destroying many of the facilities and colonies established by the Republic. As the invasion continues, Olaris itself is invaded, and the Republic is forced into a mass evacuation of their colonists. Similarly, the Republic sends their forces to support the Balmorran resistance in driving the Empire off of Balmorra. Despite the resistance's resentment of the Republic for abandoning them at the end of the last war, they work with the Republic Military in retaking much of the planet, and the Balmorran Arms Factory itself is recaptured amid significant Imperial losses on other fronts.
The new Grand Champion is soon summoned to a meeting with by Mandalore the Vindicated himself, where the hunter is introduced to the past Grand Champions and sent on a mission for Mandalore: hunting down the Sithspawn Akure on Dromund Kaas. While doing so, the hunter encounters a young Mandalorian named Torian Cadera. The Grand Champion is inducted into the Mandalorians by Mandalore, and given access to the exclusive Blacklist of bounties.
Amid the growing unrest, the Jedi Master Oteg is visited by a mysterious Force ghost who informs him of a powerful Jedi held prisoner by the Emperor in the Maelstrom nebula. To navigate the notoriously dangerous nebula, a computer built by the Gree species is required; Oteg therefore gathers a team of powerful Republic operatives to retrieve the computer from the Imperial outpost on the planet Taral V. Oteg then leads the First Expeditionary Fleet in an assault on the Imperial Fifth Fleet that is guarding the Maelstrom Prison while his operatives board the station and fight their way to the prisoner, killing Grand Moff Rycus Kilran in the process. The prisoner is in fact the Jedi Master Revan, kept alive for the last three centuries by the Emperor, and after he is freed, Revan decides to bring the war to an end by eliminating the Sith Empire permanently. To that end, he takes control of the long-lost Rakatan space station known as the Foundry, which he puts to use in manufacturing an army of extermination droids to wipe out the Empire. Revan's freedom incites the Emperor to war, as Revan had been manipulating the Sith ruler through their mental bond and making the Emperor delay his plans for galactic annihilation. Learning of Revan's intentions, Darth Malgus gathers an Imperial strike team that captures the Republic ship Dorin's Sky, which is then used to bypass the Republic blockade around the Foundry. Malgus's operatives proceed to board the Foundry and fight through the Republic forces and Foundry droids aboard the station, and Revan is defeated in a final battle after which he disappears in a flash of light.
During the invasion of Taris, the Grand Champion pursues the first bounty from the Blacklist: Jicoln Cadera, an exiled Mandalorian rival of Mandalore and an initiation of sorts—not one of the two dozen hunters who have tried to capture Cadera in the decade he's been on Taris have succeeded, and not all returned alive. The hunter soon discovers that someone else is hunting Cadera—his son Torian, who seeks to kill his father and restore his clan's honor. With Torian's help, the hunter pursues Cadera across Taris, and though Torian is injured in a confrontation with Jicoln, he succeeds in injuring his father in return. Tracking Cadera, the Grand Champion corners him in one of his scattered camps and takes him down, earning Torian's respect and leading the young man to join the hunter's crew.
On the adrenal-producing world of Quesh, Moff Dracen seeks to force the Republic to break the Treaty outright and officially launch the growing Galactic War. As a result, his forces sabotage Republic adrenal operations on the planet, a campaign that ends with the death of two of the three members of the Three Families—the Hutts working with the Republic to produce adrenals on Quesh. The survivor, Broga Masrii, allies himself with the Empire, but returns to the Republic when Dracen seizes Broga's Palace. General Korvan leads the Republic Military in combating the Empire on Quesh as the war begins, and his forces successfully infiltrate Broga's Palace and capture Dracen—but Korvan is betrayed by his subordinate and Broga is captured by the Empire. Broga is rescued, but the two galactic powers continue to struggle for control of the valuable planet.
The Grand Champion receives a job offer from AdasCorp to be their corporate spokesperson, but a meeting on Quesh turns out to be something completely different—a trap set by the SIS and the Jedi that the hunter barely escapes.
Another battlefront where the Empire prepares for full-fledged war is the ice world of Hoth, which was the site of a major fleet battle in the last war and is now littered with the valuable wreckage of dozens of prototype vessels. Hoth becomes the site of a three-way battle between the Republic, the Empire, and the White Maw pirate group, as the Republic struggles to drive back the powerful White Maw and the Empire seeks to bog down the Republic war effort here. The Empire hopes to force the Republic to devote more and more of their resources to Hoth, thus weakening the Republic for the Empire's coming offensive.
Despite the Quesh incident, the hunter's crew nonetheless pursues another target from the Blacklist—the Trandoshan pirate Reneget Vause on the planet Hoth. With the help of a Jawa scavenger named Blizz, the hunter tracks down Vause, but the pirate sees the Grand Champion as unworthy to fight him and leaves. Blizz helps the hunter find and eliminate a number of Vause's rivals in the White Maw organization in order to prove the Champion's worthiness, and after taking down Vause's friend Ki-Ta Kren to draw him out, the hunter successfully defeats Vause. As the group departs Hoth, Blizz joins the hunter's crew.
As war breaks out, the Coruscant Aegis defends a space station in the Kalee system whose personnel want to defect, and they also destroy the Sith Lord Javis Koldor's flagship Scream of Ragnos over the Unknown Regions world of Zosha. When Mandalorians attempt to blockade the Hydian Way as they did in the Great Galactic War, the Coruscant Aegis is sent to smash the blockade and reopen the route. The squadron also sees action against Mandalorians in the Unknown Regions' Impossible Sector, where they destroy another Mandalorian attempt at a blockade and restore the flow of goods to the Republic through the sector.
In the early days of the renewed war, the Empire's Fury is called into service at Aeten II in the Unknown Regions when traitors aboard the space station Kilran's Lance disable the facility's defenses just as the Republic attack; along with the Imperial fleet, the squadron drives back the Republic and secures the station. The Empire's Fury also proves essential in the destruction of the famous Republic capital ship the Intercessor above the planet Vondoru, aiding the Imperial fleet against Republic reinforcements. When the Republic manages to blockade the main supply rout to the Chiss Ascendancy, the Empire's Fury is sent to smash the minefield blockade and reopen the supply lane to the Empire's allies.
The insectoid Colicoids, famed weapon-makers who have remained neutral thus far, issue a challenge to both the Republic and the Empire: a contest of military might, the winner of which receives an exclusive contract with the Colicoids. Both governments send small strike forces to the Colicoid's battleground in the Outer Rim, and the two groups of combatants face off against Colicoids and advanced droids and weapons of their making. As promised, the victor receives the contract with the Colicoids.
Amid the growing conflict, an Imperial ship makes a bold strike at the heart of the Core Worlds—the Jedi enclave on the planet Rhinnal is destroyed, and the Republic frigate Toron Voq is obliterated when it tries to investigate. In its last moments, the Toron Voq relays images of a Sith dreadnaught, albeit an outdated model. However, the Republic intercepts Imperial communications that reveal it is not the Empire behind the attack: over the last few days, the same ship has been attacking the fortresses of non-pureblood Sith Lords. The ship is the Red Reaper under the command of the pureblood Sith Lord Darth Ikoral, who is obsessed with blood purity and has not been seen since he left on a mission to locate other purebloods outside of the Empire seventy years earlier. The Red Reaper soon strikes again at Chandrila, but strike forces sent by both galactic powers board the Red Reaper in orbit, and Darth Ikoral is killed in the fighting.
Impressed by the newest Champion's successes, the other Grand Champions arrange a party on Nar Shaddaa—but the hunter arrives to find the other Champions dead, killed by a Jedi-lead strike team that reports to the same mysterious Jedi behind the Quesh trap. The Jedi seeks to bring the hunter to justice for Jarro's death and the Aurora's destruction, and Chancellor Janarus himself announces a massive bounty on the hunter, framing the Grand Champion for dozens of crimes. As the Empire publicly distances itself from the Champion, the hunter is ordered to report to the Sith Lord Darth Tormen, who forcibly enlists the services of the hunter but promises revenge against the Jedi who framed the Champion—Jun Seros.
- "… the Emperor and his proxies have made their intent clear. Their fleets are entering the Core systems. They have broken the Treaty of Coruscant. Along the Mid Rim, they herd our people into makeshift prisons out of fear of rebellion. Unspeakable crimes have been committed. Survivors in the Mid Rim report the near-wholesale slaughter of colonies. Surrender isn't enough--they only want death. Their captives--our surrendered colonies—are going silent. Let there be no mistake: we are at war."
- ―Chancellor Janarus officially dissolves the Treaty of Coruscant
With Revan seemingly dead and open warfare breaking out across the galaxy, the Empire's forces directly invade the Mid Rim, and Chancellor Janarus officially dissolves the Treaty of Coruscant in response to the Empire's invasion and war crimes. The Empire pushes their forces even further in an invasion of the Core Worlds, seizing the planet Corellia with the help of the Corellian Council. However, the Corellian invasion is kept secret in its early stages, as the war's focus is still in the Outer Rim—unknowingly directed by the Sith Emperor.
The Hero of Tython finally breaks free from the Emperor's mental control and, with the surprising help of Lord Scourge, escapes back to Tython. Scourge reveals to the Jedi Council that the Emperor intends to commit galactic genocide—through a powerful Sith ritual, he will consume all life in the galaxy—but he needs a sacrifice of planetary proportions to begin. With Scourge as an uneasy ally, the Knight and crew head to the Republic prison planet of Belsavis, where the Emperor has manipulated the Empire into invading the Republic prison complex as his agent Executor Krannus works to destroy the world.
Ace and crew meet with Darmas Pollaran and Senator Dodonna aboard Port Nowhere, and they both pledge their help to the smuggler's efforts to take down Rogun the Butcher. The first step is to locate Rogun's former mentor Ivory, a crime lord imprisoned on Belsavis, and so the smuggler sets out for the prison world.
An ancient Rakatan prison world upon which the Republic built their own secret prison, Belsavis was kept hidden from the Empire, but they learned of the planet's location when Ivory contacted them on a stolen transmitter. The Empire arrives and promptly bombards the planet, damaging much of the prison and releasing the facility's inmates—criminals who immediately begin to riot with the aid of the Empire. Beyond that, the Empire seeks to free the six Sith Lords known as the Dread Masters, and numerous Imperial task forces are sent in to locate and free them. As the chaos spreads throughout the planet, it is soon discovered that the Empire's bombardment damaged the Rakatan prison as well, and the strange Esh-kha species is unleashed from the planet's depths along with monstrous Rakatan creatures. The Esh-kha even kidnap the Dread Masters, but the Empire frees them nonetheless. The Republic also foils the Esh-kha's plot to free the mysterious World Razer entity from its imprisonment.
Finding Grand Master Shan's Jedi contact dead, the Hero enlists the criminal-tunred-honorary-guard Pak Taldine's help in tracking down Krannus; the Executor's subordinates and members of his death cult slow down the Jedi, but the Hero catches up to Krannus in the Rakatan prison known as the Tomb and prevents him from detonating the prison's hyperspace-powered central power core.
Darth Tormen seeks to suppress the growing resistance to Imperial rule on Corellia, but first hires the Grand Champion to eliminate two potential threats to his plan. The first is on Belsavis: Zale Barrows, a former Republic privateer who now works as the unofficial "ferryman" for Belsavis prison. Barrows was unable to leave Belsavis before the Imperial invasion, and the hunter arrives in the early stages of the battle as the Empire seeks to free strategically important prisoners and incite rioting. With the help of an aggressive Houk prisoner named Skadge, who blames Barrows for his imprisonment, the hunter pursues Barrows deeper and deeper into the prison facilities, until the Champion and Skadge finally catch up to him in the Tomb. Skadge exacts his revenge on Barrows and joins the hunter's crew as they depart Belsavis—only to find that one of the group has been kidnapped. A ransom message lures the Grand Champion to Hoth, where the hunter defeats the kidnappers and learns that they are members of the GenoHaradan group.
The Core World of Corellia has suffered under Imperial occupation since the dissolution of the Treaty of Coruscant, as the Dark Councilor Darth Decimus organized an invasion that cut off all communication with the Republic. However, the Corellian people have resisted the Empire's rule, and battles rage throughout the capital of Coronet City and the outlying regions as the Green Jedi and the Corellian Security Force lead the Corellians in waging guerrilla war against the Empire. The Republic soon manages to establish a foothold in the Blastfield Shipyards and lends their support to the Corellians.
With the support of the Rift Alliance, the Voss, and the Esh-kha, the Barsen'thor sets out for Corellia, and at Janarus's request, the Jedi's forces intercept and stop an Imperial fleet led by the dreadnaught Javelin from reaching Corellia.
With Redrish and Barrows eliminated, Darth Tormen summons the Grand Champion to Corellia for his plan to crush the Corellian people's spirit. He identifies a number of high-profile targets who are influential in the Corellian resistance, and sends the hunter to capture them alive: Chairman Harlon Fane of the Corellian Corporate Council, the Selonian rebel Shrona Bel-Il, and CorSec Commissioner Jonah Carter. Tormen then forces his prisoners to formally surrender to the Empire, and the Imperial puppet Prime Minister Cal Falcone officially submits to Imperial rule. Just as Tormen planned, the surrender spurs the Republic to mobilize a fleet to aid Corellia, and both Jun Seros and Chancellor Janarus accompany the fleet. After killing Jun Seros and avenging the other Grand Champions, the hunter infiltrates the Chancellor's vessel and assassinates him, dealing a severe blow to Republic morale.
In the following days, the Republic elects Leontyne Saresh as Janarus's successor in an emergency session, and she continues to send reinforcements to Corellia—but Decimus's forces smash the Republic forces and eliminate the entire Green Jedi Council, driving the Republic back to the Blastfield Shipyards.
Chapter 3 Epilogue: The Ilum Front
- "Fellow Sith. Citizens of the Empire. Too long the strength of the Empire has been beholden to the in-fighting of the Dark Council and the disappearance of an apathetic Emperor. Sith, children of Sith and warriors everywhere, I declare a new Empire, open to all who long for conquest, freedom from inhibition and the right to follow their passions."
- ―Darth Malgus declares the New Empire
Despite their heavy losses on Corellia, the Empire continues to press the offensive against the Republic—Grand Moff Ilyan Regus initiates Operation Dark Ice, a plan to use crystals from the planet Ilum to create a fleet of stealth ships. Supreme Commander Rans works to counter the Empire's plans on Ilum with the support of alien allies such as the Wookiees, Kaleesh, and Ongree, and the Battle of Ilum rages across the once serene ice world. Regus's forces strike blows against the Republic when they slay Jedi Master Jaric Kaedan and Admiral Shai, but the Republic—aided surprisingly by Darth Malgus—retake the captured Ilum Temple and also slay Darth Arho, Darth Baras's successor on the Dark Council.
To the surprise of both the Republic and the Empire, Darth Malgus broadcasts a declaration of a New Empire—one that embraced allies of any species, and would be free of the infighting and petty bickering of the Sith Empire. Malgus then reveals that he has in fact secured many Adegan crystals for his own stealth armada, and seizes the fallen Emperor's space station as his own. Malgus's lieutenant Darth Serevin leads a massive invasion of Ilum, turning the conflict into a three-way war. However, Serevin is slain in an assault on Malgus's base, Fort Barrow, along with many of Malgus's alien allies. The Empire and Republic then besiege Malgus the Betrayer's space station, but he unveils the technical prowess of his Anomid allies and uses powerful flux cannons to attack the enemy fleets.
Enemy forces board the space station and fight their way through Malgus's forces, removing the flux cannons from Malgus's control and also destroying a repaired HK-47. Malgus's New Imperial Guard is unable to prevent the invaders from reaching the throne room, and Malgus himself confronts his enemies in a titanic battle—one that ends with Malgus falling to his death as the space station comes under fire from both the Republic and the Empire. Malgus's short-lived rebellion nevertheless severely affects the Empire's ability to wage war, as much of their forces defected to the New Empire. Along with the loss of most of the Dark Council to both the Republic and infighting, the Empire begins to struggle to maintain their offensive against the Republic.
During the fighting on Belsavis, bombardment unintentionally breaches a section of the ancient Rakatan prison—a section known as the Eternity Vault. Realizing that they may have unleashed something that even the Rakata wished to keep locked away, both groups send forces to seal the vault. Battling through Rakatan defenses and powerful prisoners, the true threat in the vault is revealed: the Rakatan warlord Soa, who falls after a titanic battle.
Amid the galactic conflict, the vengeful Tionese scientist Sannus Lorrick unleashes the rakghoul plague upon the Tion Hegemony, an independent sector in the far reaches of the galaxy and Lorrick's home before he was exiled for conducting deranged experiments on sentient beings. Lorrick arranges for unsuspecting pilots to ferry the virus to worlds across the Hegemony, and an infected risp carried by the smuggler Zama Brak brings down the passenger liner Stardream over Tatooine, forcing both the Republic and the Empire to quarantine the planet as the virus infects the native wildlife and settlers.
The galactic powers investigate the outbreak on the planet Kaon and learn of Lorrick's hand in the crisis, prompting an all-out assault on Lorrick's island laboratory on Ord Mantell to end the threat that the insane scientist posed. Lorrick is killed during the fighting, ending his plans for the conquest and destruction of the Tion Hegemony.
Sensing the Emperor's apparent death, the Dread Masters decide to break from the Empire, as the one being worthy of their loyalty is no longer at its head. Using their powers to manipulate minds through fear, the Dread Masters acquire a growing force of Imperial soldiers and ships and begin to attack the edges of Hutt Space, wielding Force phantoms and driving their enemies insane with fear in order to eliminate any opposition. Threatened, the Hutt Cartel's Supreme Mogul Karagga orders his forces to expand the borders of Hutt Space to make up for the lost territory, and he severs ties with the Empire after the mysterious attackers are identified as Imperial ships. This decision and the Hutt annexation of ten neutral systems on the Republic–Hutt border draw the attention of both the Empire and the Republic, and when Karagga attacks the Republic and the Empire's emissaries, a battle ensues that ends with Karagga's death.
However, the Dread Masters's role in the recent events are unknown to both the Republic and the Empire as the two galactic powers continue to war. When extensive deposits of baradium are discovered on the planet Denova, the Republic hires the mercenary army know as the Warstalkers, led by the Trandoshan Kephess, to secure the world due to manpower shortages. The Empire invaded the planet as well, but three months into the fighting, the Dread Masters took control of both the Warstalkers and the Imperial soldiers on Denova, manipulating their minds and conscripting them to their cause. Kephess is transformed into the Dread Masters's "vessel," their chosen instrument to spread chaos and terror, and the situation on Denova devolves into a three-way battle between the Republic, the Empire, and Kephess's forces. Kephess and his subordinates are finally killed by strike teams sent by the Republic and the Empire, but the Dread Masters reveal themselves to both governments and declare that they are loyal only to themselves, secretly resurrecting Kephess and shaping his body into a monstrous form.
The Dread Masters' next action is to invade the Gree world of Asation, which is home to the powerful Grand Hypergate; Kephess leads the Dread Masters' forces in securing the hypergate, and the Gree soon seek help from the galactic powers as creatures from other dimensions threaten to overrun them. Imperial and Republic forces drive back the invading creatures, and when Kephess unleashes an enormous monstrosity—Lotek'k, the Terror From Beyond—from the hypergate, it is driven back to its home dimension and Kephess is killed.
Despite their defeat, the Dread Masters' forces transmit the secrets of Gree technology back to their masters.
Their role in recent events exposed, the Dread Masters mobilize their forces—now known as the Dread Host—and dispatch them to Section X, the site of the original prison on Belsavis and where the Dread Masters were kept for part of their imprisonment. The Host has a number of goals: acquisition of Rakatan technology such as the powerful Aurora Cannon, recruitment from those imprisoned there, and securing the formidable HK-51 series assassin droids that their apprentice once tried to use to free the Sith Lords decades ago. The Dread Host is unable to secure the droids, which are stored in the apprentice's crashed warship, and the Republic and the Empire also succeed in foiling the Host's other plans.
Determined to save the Empire, Darth Marr adopts Malgus's pro-alien philosophy and institutes reforms in the Empire, allowing aliens such as Cathar and Kaleesh to serve in the military in order to restore their military strength. His attempt to secure the loyalties of Darth Karrid, Malgus's former apprentice and commander of the powerful superweapon-ship Ascendant Spear, by elevating her to the Dark Council fails thanks to Operation End Game, a joint operation conducted by the SIS and the Jedi Order. The Empire suffers significant losses in the process, both because of the Republic and because of further infighting, and Minister of Logistics Davidge warns him that the Empire will soon collapse if something is not done to secure new resources.
Chapter 4: Rise of the Hutt Cartel
- "Why worry about a future threat when the Republic is on the verge of taking Korriban?"
"Because what no one knows is this: The Hutts chose Makeb not for its wealth, but for a substance called 'isotope-5'—a mineral capable of twisting gravity and electromagnetic fields. The Hutts have kept it a secret, but one gram could provide a near-infinite power source. Isotope-5 could remake the Hutts into a force to rival the Republic."
- ―Darth Marr briefs his operatives
In the wake of Karagga's death, the Hutt Toborro seizes the leadership of the Hutt Cartel, establishing himself as the new Supreme Mogul with Szajin, as his right-hand man. Seeing the Empire weakened, Toborro decides to continue Karagga's campaign of expansion, but with the planet Makeb at the heart of a new era of Hutt conquest—for Makeb is home to deposits of the incredibly rare and powerful mineral known as isotope-5. Isotope-5 is capable of warping electromagnetic and gravitational fields, and a gram of the substance can generate immense amounts of power. Toborro therefore pays off Makeb's defense force, the mercenary army known as the InterStellar Regulators, to help the Hutts conquer the world, and the Cartel blockades the Makeb system as Toborro begins to mine the isotope-5 in Makeb's core without any regard for what it would do to the planet.
Upon learning of the Hutts' actions, Chancellor Saresh consults with the Jedi Order and learns that the Hutts will likely try to continue their conquests if they are not stopped, so she pledges Republic aid to the citizens of Makeb. Saresh's forces make contact with Shalim Avesta, leader of the Makeb resistance and the planet's de facto Head of State, and help him rescue his niece Lemda, who is a geophysicist who was captured by the Regulators after she discovered that Toborro's drilling will cause the planet to break apart. After breaking into the Hutt Embassy in Makeb's capital Talaos City, the Republic forces and the Makeb resistance learn of the Ark, an enormous vessel being constructed inside the hollow Giant's Spear mesa that will ferry Toborro, the other Cartel personnel, and their isotope-5 stores off of the planet when the planet begins to break apart. The Republic and resistance forces promptly seize the Giant's Spear and the Ark, repurposing the vessel to carry Makeb's civilians as a true ark to safety.
A furious Toborro unleashes the Regulators against the Avesta Plantation, but the Republic forces head off the Regulators on the Fingers mesa and also destroy the Storm Carrier warship, killing the Regulator Vice-Commandant Grevin in the process. Toborro then reveals that the Ark is powered by isotope-5 before sending his Regulators to attack the settlement of Tarlam along with isotope-5 droids, powerful war droids powered by isotope-5, though the Republic and the resistance evacuate Tarlam's civilians to the Ark. Desperate for a fuel source to power the Ark, the Republic and resistance forces assault the Sanctuary research complex in order to locate Dr. Juvard Illip Oggurobb, a Hutt scientist and the creator of the Ark and the isotope-5 droids. The Republic forces are able to successfully locate Oggurobb with the Hutt's help in bypassing the Sanctuary's security systems, as Oggurobb wishes to defect to the Republic because he has realized Toborro has gone insane.
Oggurobb confirms that Toborro possesses the fuel rods, but warns the Republic that the Hutt leader has increased mining operations to maximum levels—an action that will result in the destruction of Makeb long before the civilians are evacuated. Republic forces then disable several mining platforms and vent the planet's core, reducing the buildup of heat and the seismic activity, giving them more time. Around the same time, most of the leaders of the Hutt Cartel, having come to recognize that Toborro has gone insane, approach Shalim Avesta and the Republic with a request to board the Ark. The Republic convinces Avesta to allow the Hutts aboard the Ark in exchange for an alliance between the Hutt Cartel and the Republic, gaining the Republic a new ally in the ongoing war. Using a secret entrance provided by Oggurobb, Republic forces infiltrate Toborro's Palace and search for the fuel rods, confronting the mad Cartel leader. Toborro unleashes a powerful isotope-5 droid known as Toborro's Glittering Fury upon the intruders, but after it is defeated, the Hutt commits suicide by igniting his isotope-5 stockpiles in an attempt to kill the Republic forces. However, the Republic forces escape with the fuel rods before the palace's destruction and return to the Ark, where the fuel rods are installed and the Ark is launched just as the Giant's Spear collapses.
The Hutt Cartel is ordered to supply a new home and credits to the people of Makeb as part of their alliance with the Republic, but the Republic is surprised to see that Makeb's destruction did not come to pass—unbeknownst to them, Darth Marr's Imperial strike team was able to prevent the planet's destruction. As the crisis passes, it is discovered that Regulator holdouts are still alive down on the surface with thousands of civilians who were believed to be dead, leading Supreme Commander Malcom to devote Republic forces towards rescuing the people and securing the still-valuable world.
During this time, the forces of the Dread Masters acquire the Seeds of Rage—powerful dark-side machines constructed by the Sith Lord Fulminiss—when they convince a guard to help steal them from the Arcanum, the Sith Emperor's secret storehouse of Sith artifacts and dark-side experiments. The Dread Masters bury the Seeds on planets across the galaxy so that they can sow fear and darkness as the Seeds warp the environments around them, prompting both the Arcanum's keeper Darth Acina and the Jedi Master Cedral Gend to recruit help in locating and recovering the Seeds. However, the Sith Lord Tagriss leads a raid on the Arcanum after learning of the station's location, wreaking havoc and making off with the powerful Darkstaff. The Seeds are recovered from the planets where they have been buried, and the Darkstaff eventually traced to the Dread Guard on Belsavis—the Dread Guardsman Varrow has been experimenting with the weapon, but is ultimately defeated, and the Darkstaff vanishes. Tagriss is tracked down to an abandoned temple on Ilum, where he is experimenting with the Seeds of Rage; Tagriss's death ends the threat that the Seeds pose to the galaxy.
When the Mandalorian warlord Rimark captures the plans for the Republic's secret mining facility known as the Void Anvil, the Coruscant Aegis is deployed in the Thanium sector to prevent Rimark from selling them to the Empire, and they also head up a preemptive strike against the Sith Lord Darth Ordrem's fleet in the Baros system. The Coruscant Aegis defends the Republic's Ardis Outpost from an Imperial attack, destroys the Empire's Regnant Station refueling outpost, wipes out Imperial starfighters and prototype satellite-controlled mines in the asteroids of the New Cov system, and also defends the Republic's prototype bomber, the Gilded Meteor, on its test flight through the Ferra sector when the Empire attacked it over Hypori.
The Mandalorian warlord Varek Tarn manages to steal the plans for the Imperial shipyard Sovereign Forge and attempts to sell it in the Cha Raaba system, though the Empire's Fury prevents the sale of the plans to the Republic, and the unit also eliminates the Republic's Captain Duma and his plans to hunt down the Empire's top pilots. The Empire's Fury protects the D-1Z prototype bomber from Republic forces on its maiden voyage over the planet Lorta, destroys the Republic refueling station known as the Far Cradle in the Unknown Regions, defends the Empire's Kabal Station from Republic attack in the Outer Rim, and also wipes out the Republic's attempt to lay mines in the Bimmiel system and thereby restores Imperial traffic through the Kanz sector.
Amidst the conflict, the SIS and the Dark Council learn of a new threat—the legendary superspy known only as the Shroud has resurfaced, having gone independent after being hired by the Hutt Cartel to gather information for their planned invasion of Makeb. While the SIS discovers the Shroud's activities through standard intelligence-gathering, the Empire—still without an intelligence organization—instead receives the Shroud's lieutenant Evie Bo, who fled the Shroud's organization. SIS agent Deena Riss spearheads efforts to track down the Shroud and his agents in hopes of foiling whatever attack on the Republic the spy has planned, while Darth Mortis's operatives do the same, and it is soon discovered that the Shroud intends to use hyperspace beacons to crash remote-piloted capital ships into both Kaas City and Galactic City. The Shroud's efforts are ultimately foiled, though Evie Bo is killed and the Shroud survives thanks to body doubles.
In the midst of the Hutt Cartel's break for power, Dread Master Styrak initiates his own effort to advance the Dread Masters' cause. Styrak gathers an army of mercenaries on the desert planet of Darvannis in Hutt Space, though the mercenaries and the galaxy at large believe they have been gathered to work for the Hutt Cartel. The Republic learns of the threat thanks to the GenoHaradan, while Moff Varnus Orlec learns of the arms bazaar and mercenary recruitment when the Empire captures the smuggler Shaedo ferrying ordnance to Darvannis. The governments send in strike teams to disrupt the gathering and eliminate the threat they represent, and Styrak is ultimately defeated and killed in a battle with the invaders. At Styrak's death, the other Dread Masters take their fallen comrades' power, and the Sith Lords begin to advance their plans to destroy the galaxy.
Chapter 4 Interlude: The Dread War
- Raptus: "We felt our brother's doom on Darvannis. We felt peace. When we have enslaved the galaxy, slaughter will follow."
- Calphayus: "Birth. Pain. Fear. Death. The cycle of existence."
- Bestia: "Oblivion will overtake all that is. At the end, we too will taste death's solace."
- ―The Dread Masters[src]
In light of the incident on Tatooine involving the Imprisoned One, and the Empire's attacks on Czerka's Corellia facilities, the Republic decided to seize the company's assets and property in an effort to nationalize the collapsing and corrupt organization. Negotiating a deal with the Republic, Czerka submitted to the Department of Adjudication's investigations and the Republic takeover. The Empire began their own negotiations with Czerka's Weapons Division chief operating officer Eva Kaayz. However, Czerka Special Executive Rasmus Blys—who replaced Yem Leksende after the man's death aboard the Star Chamber—refused to submit to the Republic and sent his remote research facility, CZ-198, into lockdown. Blys activated a prototype security system called the Vigilant, prompting the Republic to send in forces to breach and secure the facility; the Empire also sent in their own forces to capture CZ-198 in hopes of sealing the deal with Kaayz. CZ-198's defenses are unable to hold against the invaders, and Blys unleashes a number of strange experiments against the attackers in a failed attempt to drive them back. Blys is killed, but in his dying moments he unleashes the Vigilant—a massive Flesh Raider who has been merged with the facility's security systems. The Vigilant primes the facility's core to explode, prompting the invaders to head deeper into the facility and battle the Vigilant's droid forces. The Vigilant is ultimately defeated, averting the facility's destruction, and the Republic and Empire continue to battle for control of CZ-198.
When the SIS learns of the Dread Masters' base on the moon Oricon—having sent an independent operative undercover in the Dread Host—the Republic organizes a large fleet supported by Jedi to bombard the moon. However, the Dread Masters overwhelm the fleet from orbit with their power, and Master Ogan-Dei marshals the remaining members of Strike Force Oricon on Oricon's surface, though many of their forces are driven insane before the Jedi can shield the soldiers. The Empire also sends a task force under Lord Hargrev, who shields his own forces from the Dread Masters's fear powers. Republic and Imperial forces battle crazed soldiers, Jedi, and Sith as well as the Dread Host; after one faction disables the security around the Dread Fortress, the Dread Masters broadcast their plans to seed the planets of the galaxy with exotic technology and biological weapons that will drive the galaxy insane with fear. The Dread Masters's enemies, determined to stop the mad Sith Lords, storm the Dread Fortress and confront the Dread Masters directly. Brontes is the first to fall, slain by her enemies in defense of the fortress, and the other Dread Masters are defeated in battle as the Dread Palace, the inner sanctum of their fortress, is besieged. However, the four remaining Masters—Bestia, Tyrans, Calphayus, and Raptus—retreat to the heart of the Palace and, supported by the spirits of the fallen Styrak and Brontes, clash with their enemies in a final battle. The Dread Masters ultimately fall, and their mad plan to destroy the galaxy is brought to an end.
With the threat of the Dread Masters eliminated, the Republic and the Empire return their attention to each other, and full-fledged war resumes among the galactic powers. Admiral Zasha Ranken of the Imperial Forward Command formulates a plan to take Kuat Drive Yards, a major shipyard that supplies the Republic Navy, and Admiral Bey'wan Aygo of the Republic First Fleet rallies his forces to defend Kuat and its shipyards from the Imperials. Starfighters clash in engagements across the Kuat sector as the two factions vie for control of KDY.
Chapter 5 Prelude: Forged Alliances
- "There's something in the Force that I've never felt before. It exists nowhere and everywhere at once. Writhing, growing. I think I sense this 'growth' because I'm tied to it somehow, maybe by association to Darth Arkous. I think… I think the Empire's in terrible danger."
- ―Lana Beniko
Darth Arkous, the successor to Darth Arho as head of the Sphere of Military Offense, learns of a hole in Tython's defenses and plans an assault to take the Jedi Temple. However, at the same time, SIS agent Theron Shan and Colonel Rian Darok plan a massive assault to take Korriban and the Sith Academy. Both attacks are simultaneous and successful. The Empire's assault lays waste to the Gnarls region and the Jedi Temple, and many Jedi—including Master Oric Traless of the High Council are killed. Arkous's subordinate Lord Goh locates Arkous's true objective: something powerful hidden in the Jedi Council's vaults. On Korriban, Republic forces overrun the Valley of the Dark Lords and take the Sith Academy, defeating the Dark Councilor Darth Soverus in the process. Defeated, Soverus rants about an old man and a vision before the Jedi commander Jensyn cuts him down. Darth Arkous is enraged to learn of the Republic's attack on Korriban, and the Empire's forces land in force on the planet to retake the Sith Academy. Despite the heavy Jedi presence, the Empire retakes Korriban and the Academy, though the dying Jedi commander Jensyn cryptically warns the Sith that "it is happening." Lana Beniko suspects Arkous of an ulterior motive when she realizes his true goal in attacking Tython, and senses an unknown presence somewhere within the Force. At the same time, Shan warns Darok of the attack on Tython, sparking a Republic counterattack that overwhelms the Imperial invaders. Similar to Beniko, Theron Shan is suspicious of Colonel Darok's motives.
Their suspicions are soon confirmed: Beniko and Shan both track their quarries to the ocean world of Manaan, where they are set to visit Genetics Laboratory G-1 on the ocean floor. In their search, Shan and Beniko encounter each other, and enter an uneasy alliance as they pursue the traitors who orchestrated the attacks on Tython and Korriban. Their allies pursue Arkous and Darok to the underwater facility, where it is discovered that they have hired the Selkath scientist Gorima to create cybernetic soldiers using Rakata technology stolen from the Jedi and Sith. Arkous and Darok are part of the Order of Revan, albeit a radical new version that has members in both the Republic and the Empire, and the two escape before bringing down the facility on their pursuers. Shan and Beniko's agents escape the laboratory with the help of the Sith and the SIS agent, and recruit the Wookiee smuggler Jakarro—who was also left to die by the conspirators—in their search for the Revanites. The group's search leads them to the Rakata homeworld of Rakata Prime, where the Revanites have begun embedding pieces of the Star Forge in their conscripts for the Infinite Army. The allies destroy the Army in its infancy and take down Arkous and Darok atop the Temple of the Ancients, but the true leader of the Revanites arrives with a fleet of warships—Revan himself, reborn after his earlier defeat. Revan bombards the Temple with his fleet, and though the allies escape the planet nonetheless, the Revanites among the Empire and the Republic put out bounties on Shan, Beniko, and Jakarro, forcing them to go into hiding.
Chapter 5: Shadow of Revan
Beniko and Shan's investigations soon uncover Revanite activity on the planet Rishi, a pirate haven above the galactic plane, and they find links between the Nova Blades pirate gang and the Revanites. Dismantling of the Nova Blades' operations and command structure leads to the discovery that Revan has gathered a fleet hidden on Rishi, and that the Nova Blades have been raiding Republic and Imperial fleets in order to modify their patrol routes and thus force a confrontation between them above Rishi. Shan is captured by the Revanites and tortured by his ancestor, who unsuccessfully attempts to turn the agent to his side before Shan is rescued. Beniko and Shan's group is unable to prevent the resulting battle between fleets commanded by Darth Marr and Grand Master Shan, but after disabling the Revanites' signal jammer on Razorback Island, Beniko and Shan are able to report the situation, and the Republic and Imperial forces disable the Revanite traitors among them.
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, and 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 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. Later updates to the game added the Appearance Designer Kiosk, allowing players to redesign their character's appearance for Cartel Coins, and an Outfit Designer addition to the Character Sheet menu that allows players to use the appearance of certain pieces of gear while retaining the stats of the gear they currently have equipped.
A major part of The Old Republic is the ability to join groups of other players and participate in group missions to take on more powerful enemies and gain greater rewards. One player is designated the leader of the group, with the ability to add new members, and the Group Finder feature helps link players from all across the server who are looking to group together for specific planets, Flashpoints, or Operations. Defeated characters and chests can be looted for credits and equipment, and equipment, gear, and other items can be purchased for credits at the dozens of vendors that are present throughout each planet and hub. A large number of Stims Vendors and a set of Crew Skill Trainers were created for each planet, but many of them were ultimately removed from the final release of the game. When a player gains a new level, they will often unlock new abilities that must be trained at the various Class Trainers that are scattered across the planets and fleet hubs. Abilities generally fall into three categories: General, which includes abilities that are usable by all classes; Class, which are abilities that can be trained by that specific class; and Advanced Class, which are abilities that are only usable by the player's advanced class. With the 12x class experience boost that preceded the Digital Expansion Shadow of Revan, training costs were removed for subscribers using the boost, and shortly after the expansion's launch developers decided to remove training costs entirely.
When a player loses all of their health, they are defeated and their equipment takes damage. Players can choose to wait a brief period of time to summon a medical probe, which will revive them in the same place and give them several seconds of stealth so that they can heal, or they can choose to be revived at the nearest medical center. However, the amount of time one must wait to use the medical probe ability increases after each use until a player revives at a medical center, at which point the time is reset, and Free-to-Play players are unable to use the probe unless they purchase or acquire items that grant them a limited number of uses. Within The Old Republic, there are restricted areas known as "Phases" that are separated from the rest of the game environment by either green or red walls of light. Class Phases are restricted to a specific class and are the sites of specific class missions and cutscenes, and Group Phases are areas where group missions occur. Players must form groups to bring other players into their Class Phases, and two players who are not in a group together will unable to enter the same version of a Group Phase and therefore be unable to see each other. Some missions are "Heroic," meaning that they are best completed in groups, and as such their difficulty is increased beyond normal levels.
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 ten different species available, though each class is restricted to only four or five by default. Players can unlock the ability to create characters with the other locked species as they progress through the game with that species in another class. The species initially available were the Chiss, cyborgs, Humans, Miraluka, Mirialans, Rattataki, Sith Purebloods, Twi'leks and Zabrak (of which, only Humans, Cyborgs and Zabrak are available to non-subscribers), although later updates added Cathar and Togruta as playable species, purchasable through Cartel Coins. With Game Update 3.0, the skill tree system was removed and replaced with the Disciplines System, which adds three Disciplines—named after the original skill trees for each advanced class—that supply players with new skills and abilities in a more level-oriented fashion. Instead of using skill points to purchase abilities and perks from one of the three available trees, which forced players to buy unwanted perks in order to reach perks on higher branches, players choose one Discipline and spend their points on perks and abilities that are designed specifically for that advanced class. In addition to active and passive abilities, Disciplines included utility selections that are a mixture of old abilities and skills from the original system as well as new perks.
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.
The Smuggler class is the long-range covert class for the Republic faction, serving as the counterpart for the Imperial Agent class and favoring blaster weaponry, stealth abilities, and healing. The Smuggler's advanced classes are the Scoundrel, which focuses on healing and stealth, and the Gunslinger, which wields two blasters and focuses on damage, and both utilize the cover mechanic to fire on their enemies from relative safety. The Ranged Damage Gunslinger uses the Saboteur skill tree, which adds explosives and advanced technology abilities for prolonged fighting, and the Sharpshooter tree, which works on precision and high-damage attacks, and the two advanced classes share the Dirty Fighting tree which focuses on general damage and avoiding the enemy's attacks. The Scoundrel is designated as Close-Quarters Damage or Medicine/Healing, and the class makes use of either a single blaster or scattergun while using the healing-based Sawbones and stealth-based Scrapper skill trees. Only the Human, Cyborg, Mirialan, Twi'lek, and Zabrak species were initially available for the Smuggler though all species are now available, and the Smuggler uses a XS stock light freighter as their starship. The Smuggler's companions are Corso Riggs, Risha, Bowdaar, Akaavi Spar and Gus Tuno,
The Jedi Knight is the second Force-using class for the Republic faction, and focuses on lightsaber combat with Force powers as a secondary asset. Players choose between the Jedi Guardian and Jedi Sentinel advanced classes, which focus on heavy armor and dealing damage respectively. Guardians, which wear heavy armor and carry a single lightsaber, are classified as Melee Tanks or Melee Damages, and they make use of the Vigilance and Defense skill trees. These trees teach single-blade combat and defensive abilities respectively, and the Force technique-centered Focus skill tree is shared by both Guardians and Sentinels. Sentinels are classified only as Melee Damage and make use of two lightsabers, forsaking the ability to use heavy armor in exchange for increased damage. The Sentinel's Watchman skill tree adds to the player's single-blade offensive potential, while the Combat tree teaches general combat to help quickly eliminate enemies. Only the Human, Miraluka, Mirialan, Twi'lek, and Zabrak species were initially available for the Jedi Knight, though all species are now available. The Knight class receives a Defender-class light corvette as their personal vessel just as the Consular does, and the Knight's five companions are T7-O1, Kira Carsen, Doc, Fideltin Rusk, and Lord Scourge.
The Bounty Hunter is the Empire's long-range tank class and counterpart to the Trooper, focusing on blaster weaponry, armor, and damage-dealing equipment and abilities. The Bounty Hunter advanced classes are the Powertech and the Mercenary: the Powertech wears heavy armor and shielding and focuses on defensive tactics, while the Mercenary focuses on overwhelming force, using missiles, blasters, and an array of other weapons. The Powertech can be classified as a Ranged Tank, Ranged Damage, or Close-Quarters Damage, and uses the Shield Tech and Advanced Prototype skill trees to boost one's defensive technology and to heighten the versatility of the player's gear and skills respectively. The Firebug skill tree, which focuses on missiles and flamethrowers, is shared between the Powertech and Mercenary, and the Mercenary makes use of the Arsenal and Bodyguard skill trees to focus on their rocketry or healing respectively. The Chiss, Cyborg, Human, Rattataki, and Zabrak species were available for this class initially, though the other species are now available. The Mercenary can be classified as Ranged Damage or Medicine/Healing. The Bounty Hunter uses a D5-Mantis Patrol Craft as their personal vessel, and the class's companions are Mako, Torian Cadera, Gault Rennow, Blizz, and Skadge.
The Sith Inquisitor is one of the Empire's Force-using classes and counterpart to the Jedi Consular class, focusing on Force powers over lightsaber combat. The Inquisitor's advanced classes are the Assassin, which uses a double-bladed lightsaber and stealth abilities, and the Sorcerer, which relies on offensive Force powers and healing. The Assassin is classified as either a Melee Damage or Melee Tank, and uses the Deception and Darkness skill tress, which add stealth abilities and defensive abilities respectively, and the Assassin shares the Force-focused Madness skill tree with the Sorcerer. The Sorcerer carries a single lightsaber in combat, serves in a Ranged Damage or Medicine/Healing role, and can access abilities from the Lightning skill tree or the healing-focused Corruption skill tree in addition to the Madness tree. The Human, Rattataki, Sith Pureblood, Twi'lek, and Zabrak species were available for the Inquisitor initially, though the other species are now available. The Inquisitor receives a Fury-class interceptor as a personal starship like the Sith Warrior, and the class's companions are Khem Val, Andronikos Revel, Ashara Zavros, Talos Drellik, and Xalek.
The Imperial Agent class is the long-range covert class for the Empire, favoring stealth abilities and healing in addition to blaster weaponry. The advanced classes of the Imperial Agent class are the Sniper, which utilizes a long-range blaster file and improved probes to focus on damage, and the Operative, which focuses on healing and stealth. Both advanced classes utilize the cover mechanic to fire on their enemies from relative safety, and the two share the Lethality skill tree that benefits the Agent's toxin and poison skills. The Ranged Damage Sniper uses the Markmanship skill tree, which adds long-distance damage abilities from behind cover, and the Engineering tree, which benefits the Sniper's probe droids to damage enemies and aid the player. The Operative serves as Close-Quarters Damage or Medicine/Healing, and the class makes use of vibroknives, blaster, and improved darts while benefiting from the stealth-based Concealment tree and the healing-based Medic tree. Only the Chiss, Cyborg, Human, Rattataki, and Zabrak species were initially available for the Agent though all species are now available, and the Smuggler uses an X-70B Phantom-class prototype as their vessel. The Agent's companions are Kaliyo Djannis, Vector Hyllus, Eckard Lokin, Raina Temple, and SCORPIO.
The Sith Warrior class is the counterpart to the Jedi Knight class, the primarily combat-based Force-using class of the Sith Empire. The advanced classes of the Warrior class are the Juggernaut and the Marauder, which focus on heavy armor and damage respectively, and the Juggernaut uses heavy armor and a single lightsaber while the Marauder uses two lightsabers. The Juggernaut serves as a Melee Tank or Melee Damage and uses the Vengeance skill tree, which focuses on powerful attacks, and the Immortal skill tree, which grants defensive abilities and bonuses; both advanced classes also access the Rage skill tree that benefits Force powers. The Marauder, on the other hand, is a strictly Melee Damage class, and accesses the heavy attack-focused Annihilation tree and the Carnage tree that benefits attack speed. The Cyborg, Human, Sith Pureblood, Twi'lek, and Zabrak species were originally the only species available, though the other species are now available, and the Warrior uses a Fury-class interceptor as their starship. The Sith Warrior's companions are Vette, Malavai Quinn, Pierce, Jaesa Willsaam, and Broonmark.
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 nineteen 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 nineteen 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 sixteen 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 a number of Heroic Missions. A nineteenth planet, Oricon, was added in Game Update 2.4. Oricon differs from other planets in that while it includes a world arc, it lacks a spaceport and has Daily Missions instead of normal side quests.
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 with a cooldown time, and taxi speeders, which allow cheap travel between bases with no cool-down time for a small number of credits. With Game Update 3.2, the taxi and Quick Travel systems were altered; all taxi waypoints are now unlocked upon first arriving on a planet, Quick Travel points unlock upon approaching them rather than after interaction, and the cooldown for Quick Travel is reduced to six minutes without any perks. 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 civil war by the events of The Old Republic, and as such it is classified as an independent planet in the "Coreward Worlds" region. Alderaan is a world of verdant forests and valleys, snowy mountains, and rivers and lakes. 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 Organa during Alderaan's world arc, while Imperials aid the House 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 and 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 and 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 arcs begin 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 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 after the events of the Imperial world arc 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 and 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 desert planet of Darvannis in the Outer Rim is where the Hutt Cartel built up its military during the Galactic War.
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 within the planetary-wide jungle that players can explore once they 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 3665 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 and 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 Voontara 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 the Battle 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 planet of Iokath is located in the Iokath system in Wild Space, and was once home to the Iokath species before their extinction. The planet was added in the Knights of the Eternal Throne story update in 2017.
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, as the starting planet for both the Sith Warrior and Inquisitor classes, the planet is intended for players up to Level 10. Events on Korriban within the game are set in the Sith Academy and the Valley of the Dark Lords, the site of many tombs of ancient Sith Lords, and the Sith Academy's Dark Council Chambers is the setting for the final mission of both Sith classes. Korriban is also the site of the Korriban Incursion Flashpoint, which sees the Valley of the Dark Lords and the Sith Academy become a battlefield. Many of Korriban's NPCs appear as enemies during the Republic version of the Flashpoint.
Makeb is a resort world in the Mid Rim that was settled during the Mandalorian Wars, and the planet has a unique topography: Makeb is covered by towering mesas that reach thousands of meters into the air, and many of the mesas are breaking apart thanks to the Hutt Cartel's mining operations. The powerful mineral isotope-5 also warps the planet's atmosphere, preventing most starships from entering the atmosphere. A Level 50–55 world that is introduced in the Digital Expansion Rise of the Hutt Cartel, Makeb features lengthy world arcs for each faction, as well as plenty of daily and Heroic missions and even a mini-Operation, Toborro's Courtyard. The Republic world arc deals with rescuing Makeb's citizens and ends with the planet's apparent destruction, but Makeb somehow stabilizes before the planet entirely breaks apart. The Imperial storyline, which deals with the Empire's covert efforts to secure isotope-5 and therefore restore their advantage in the war, reveals the reason behind this, as Imperial players manage to stabilize the planet's core and prevent its destruction.
Manaan is an ocean world located in the Inner Rim that is home to the Selkath species and the source of the healing kolto. It was bombarded by the Sith Empire during the Great Galactic War, and the Selkath went into isolation as a result. It only recently reestablished contact with the rest of the galaxy, building the Mercantile Plaza to facilitate outside trade—but the Order of Shasa rules the planet with an iron fist. Manaan was first introduced in Update 2.9 and appears beyond the edge of the map in the Coreward Worlds region, but only features a Flashpoint Vendor, story area, and the entrance to the Depths of Manaan Tactical Flashpoint.
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 and 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 planet of Odessen is located in Wild Space, and has a balance in the Force. It becomes the headquarters of the Eternal Alliance during the events of the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion, the update in which it was added.
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 be 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.
Oricon is a moon on the edges of the galaxy that is saturated with the dark side. A new Level 55 story area and Daily Mission Area introduced in Update 2.4: The Dread War, it is the site of the Dread Fortress, the seat of the Dread Masters' power. Just prior to the players' arrival, a Republic fleet has been destroyed over the moon, littering the region around the Dread Fortress with starship wreckage and possessed soldiers. Oricon features world arcs for each faction and a number of daily missions, and the world arcs lead directly into the Dread Fortress and Dread Palace Operations. Each faction's camp features a communications beacon that players must interact with to be picked up by their ship, which otherwise remains outside of the debris field around the moon. When upcoming content was leaked in 2012, an early version of the Oricon storyline was included in the plans for Update 1.5—a single Operation entitled "The Dread Masters" that would take players to the planet in a story phase, similar to other Operations, without a Daily Area.
Located in Hutt Space, Quesh is a planet that possesses a toxic atmosphere which belies the world's potential value. The chemicals that compose Quesh's atmosphere and are buried in Quesh's surface, which were brought to the surface during the Quake millennia earlier, are refined by the Republic and their allies the Three Families into valuable adrenals. Players arrive on Quesh just as the Empire has launched an invasion, and while the planet possesses a world arc, it is rather short and each class only has a single mission there. Imperial players aid Moff Dracen's efforts to draw the Republic into open war and eliminate the three Hutts who make up the Three Families, and the Republic storyline—which occurs chronologically after the Empire storyline—deals with General Korvan's efforts to drive Dracen and his forces off Quesh.
Rishi is a tropical planet located on the edge of the galaxy that is notorious as a haven for pirates. Added in Game Update 3.0 as part of the Digital Expansion Shadow of Revan, Rishi is an ocean world dotted by islands, and is home to the Rishii species and large numbers of pirates—including the Nova Blades. The majority of Shadow of Revan's story content occurs on Rishi, including two Flashpoints and an Operation, and players battle the Nova Blades, other pirates, native wildlife, and the Order of Revan in their efforts to stop Revan from wiping out major Imperial and Republic fleets.
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 Levels 18 and 22 and is visited at the beginning of Act I. The planet's world arc deals with the Taris reconstruction effort, a government program under the leadership of Governor 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 the fates of the Outcasts. Imperial players arrive at the beginning of Act II, between Levels 32 and 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 and 28. Republic players visit the city of Anchorhead, while Imperials land in the occupied settlement of Mos Ila, and players explore the Jundland Wastes and Dune Sea regions—both of which originated are locations that originated in the first Star Wars films. Other elements from the original movies are also present, such as the Tusken Raiders, Jawas, and the sarlacc pit. Both the Republic and the Empire's world arcs deal with an abandoned Czerka Corporation excavation project in the Dune Sea; players work with either the SIS or the Imperial Reclamation Service as they locate the excavation and discover that Czerka found a Rakatan device—a device that contained a Rakata known as the Imprisoned One. Other missions on the planet involve Tusken Raiders, Jawas, or the various pirate groups and mercenaries throughout the desert. Tatooine was the primary focus of the Rakghoul Pandemic World Event, as the crashed Stardream spread the rakghoul plague across the world.
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. Tython also features some of the earliest appearances of materials related to the Je'daii Order, the Jedi's predecessors. During the Assault on Tython Flashpoint, Tython is invaded by the Empire, and numerous Tython NPCs are present as enemies during the Imperial version of the Flashpoint.
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 and 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.
The fourth moon of the gas giant Yavin Prime, Yavin 4 is a jungle world that was the hiding place of Naga Sadow after his defeat in the Great Hyperspace War. Added as part of Shadow of Revan, it is inhabited by the descendants of Sadow's Massassi warriors, and is the site of the Imperial Guard Academy. After Revan's defeat at Rishi, the Revanites invade Yavin 4 so that Revan can resurrect the Sith Emperor's spirit from its hiding place on the moon, and players aid a coalition of Republic and Imperial forces in battling the Revanites. The Temple of Sacrifice Operation is part of the main storyline for Yavin 4, but players can instead complete a number of daily missions for coalition forces, and the expansion's storyline culminates in a final battle against Revan himself.
Zakuul is a planet located in Wild Space, home of the Eternal Empire.
Ziost is an ancient and frigid world that was the capital of the first Sith Empire and the adopted homeworld of the Sith species after their original homeworld of Korriban became their tombworld. The playable areas of Ziost center around the city of New Adasta, and includes elements from the novel The Old Republic: Annihilation. Ziost first appears in Star Wars: The Old Republic in Update 3.2: Rise of the Emperor, released on April 28, 2015. Ziost was released in two stages; the first is a storyline continuing the events of Shadow of Revan, and sees players attempt to disrupt the former Sith Emperor's possession of most of the population. The second, which was released on May 4, sees Vitiate wipe out all life on Ziost; as a result, the previous areas of Ziost become inaccessible and a new Daily Area opens up with missions dealing with the aftermath.
Daily Mission Areas
Daily Mission Areas are small environments in which elder game players can complete a series of Daily Missions, missions that are repeatable once per day, with a Weekly Mission that rewards players who complete all of the Daily Missions in the area once per week. So far, there are three Daily Mission Areas, all of which are accessible by shuttles on various worlds or terminals on the Fleet.
- The Black Hole is an antimatter refinery on Corellia that has become a three-way battleground in the aftermath of the Republic's victory in the Battle of Corellia. A corrupt Corellian politician named Harmon Torvix has seized control of the vital region, and Imperial forces have remained on Corellia in order to seize control of the Black Hole while Republic forces battle to break Torvix's hold on the region.
- Section X is located on Belsavis and is the original site of the Belsavis prison, and though it was abandoned when the prison expanded, it was also the site where the Dread Masters were originally imprisoned before being put into stasis. In Section X, both Republic and Imperial forces battle the Dread Guard as the Dread Masters' servants attempt to wreak havoc in the area and unearth technology and creatures that should remain buried.
- CZ-198 is a small moon located in the Unknown Regions that is Czerka Corporation's premier research facility. Following the Republic's seizure of Czerka's assets, Czerka personnel loyal to Special Executive Rasmus Blys refuse to allow either the Republic or the Empire to take the facility. CZ-198 was introduced in Game Update 2.3: Titans of Industry, and features entrances to the two Czerka Flashpoints; the storyline involving the Flashpoints introduce players to CZ-198.
Basic Space Combat
- "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 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. With Update 1.6, a number of Heroic Space Missions were introduced for each faction, which are available starting at Level 50 and are recommended for players who have purchased Level 7 ship upgrades from the Cartel Market.
Ships, Crew, and game modes
- "It is fast, furious dogfighting action where you get to choose your style of play by selecting the Starfighter that is right for you, be it Scout, Strike Fighter or Gunship (or all of the above!), blowing up your enemies, and then using Requisition (experience) to upgrade and customize your ships."
- ―Blaine Christine
The Free-to-Play Digital Expansion Galactic Starfighter introduces player vs. player space combat in the form of 12v12 dogfight matches, as well as a variety of features to accompany the core combat element. Gameplay and the user interface are significantly different from ground gameplay, as well as the traditional space combat. Three initial starship classes were announced for Galactic Starfighter: the Scout, Strike Fighter, and Gunship, and a fourth—the Bomber—was released when the expansion went live in February.
- Scout Class Starfighters have high speed, high maneuverability, and a boost ability, and possess Rocket Pods in addition to their blaster cannons. Team-oriented Scout ships such as the Republic's default NovaDive or the Empire's default S-12 Blackbolt can use a number of devices, such as a Slicing Device to scramble an enemy's navigation systems and tag their location, or a Sensor Beacon to help track the enemy's movements. Other Scout ships, such as the Flashfire and the S-13 Sting, are designed for ship-to-ship combat. They exchange some of their maneuverability and speed for heavier firepower—they feature Rapid-Fire Laser Cannons and Cluster Missiles to overwhelm the shields of enemy fighters, and have access to the Blaster Overcharge and Booster Recharge systems. Scout Class Starfighters were based on the A-wing and the TIE interceptor. Another Scout model is the IL-5 Ocula, also known as the IL-5 Skybolt for the Republic; they are acquired exclusively through the Cartel Market.
- Strike Fighters are ships designed to take on both stationary objectives and other starships, balancing firepower and maneuverability. Strike Fighters rely on the ability to equip and swap between either two primary or two secondary weapons depending on the specific class of ship. The FT-8 Star Guard and the F-T6 Rycer, the default Strike Fighters, are both capable of swapping primary weapons, which include Quad Lasers and Ion Cannons, and secondary weapons include Cluster Missiles and Concussion Missiles. Some Strike Fighters also feature Directional Shields, which can be toggled to specific directions; the primary threat to Strike Fighters is being disabled by an Interdiction Drive or Sabotage Probe from enemy Scouts and Gunships. The F-T2 Quell and FT-6 Pike, which are purchasable with Fleet Requisition, carry two different types of missiles, and the TZ-24 Enforcer/Gladiator model is available for purchase in the Cartel Market.
- Gunships are the third class of ship, and each Gunship features at least one long-distance Railgun with a zoom firing mode available. Some Gunships can swap between different Railguns: the Ion Railgun drains the enemy's power, the Plasma Railgun inflicts heavy damage over time, and the Slug Railgun penetrates enemy shields. Gunships survive best when they remain hidden, as they cannot move when using the Railgun, though they can still turn and strafe. Gunships can use a variety of shields as well—the Feedback Shield charges the ship's shields with energy and releases it upon enemies when hit, and the Fortress Shield can double a ship's shields but render them motionless. The Rotational Thrusters allow Gunships to quickly rotate under fire, and the Interdiction Drive boosts a ship's speed and cripples the enemy's speed to allow for getaways. The GSS-3 Mangler and SGS-45 Quarrel were originally the only model of gunships currently available for the Empire and Republic respectively, though the SGS-S1 Condor and GSS-4Y Jurgoran models—Skirmisher Gunships with Railguns and missile-focused loadouts—were added in Game Update 2.8.
- Bombers are a fourth class of ships that was introduced in the full launch of Galactic Starfighter in February 2014. The Empire's B-4D Legion and Republic's Warcarrier both carry a drone turret and missiles, while the Empire's M-7 Razorwire and Republic's Rampart Mark Four are designed as minelayers. Both models are available to unlock with a number of Fleet Requisition.
- A fifth ship role, the Infiltrator, was originally planned to launch as part of Game Update 2.8, but it was eventually scrapped before it even reached the Public Test Server. The Infiltrator ship role would have been a stealth ship, but the role was delayed indefinitely in early 2014 as the developers shifted gears to focus on the coming expansions.
Components are the basic building blocks of a starfighter; every ship can be equipped with five major components and four minor components. The major components grant weapons and active combat abilities, and minor components grant passive boosts to various statistics. Ships start out with one default component in each slot, though each slot has a number of different options that can be unlocked and used, and each ship has a different set of components that can be equipped. Each component has three to five tiers of upgrades that can be purchased to increase its effectiveness or add additional functionality. Major components have two upgrades in the higher tiers that offer different improvements, allowing for players to construct unique ships. All unlocks and upgrades for starships are purchased with Requisition, a new form of currency that is earned by completing Starfighter battles—participation is rewarded by Requisition, the winning team receives a large bonus, and individual actions can result in Requisition as well. Each ship in a player's hangar has a pool of daily Requisition, like the rest experience gained from waiting in a cantina or safe zone, and the daily Requisition doubles the rate at which a ship earns Requisition until that pool is used up. Once a ship has been fully upgraded in each component, the ships is considered Mastered and will earn Requisition at a higher rate. Requisition is divided into Ship Requisition, which is tied to specific ships, and Fleet Requisition, which can be used on any of a player's ships. Ship Requisition can be converted into Fleet Requisition by spending Cartel Coins.
Galactic Starfighter also introduces Crew Members—companions that man players' starships. Each faction has a set of four entirely new Crew Members, and players can also use their class's companions as Crew Members. For a Requisitions fee, players can also unlock the companions of other classes. Crew Members serve two primary purposes: Copilots and Support Crews. Crew Members serving on a player's Support Crew work on ships while they are not in combat, and each Crew Member fills on of the four slots: Offensive, Defensive, Engineering, and Tactical. Each companion or Crew Member has a specialty, and they grant a unique combination of two passive bonuses when assigned. Copilots are chosen from the four current Crew Members on the Support Crew, and each copilot grants a different active ability in addition to their passive bonuses when selected as the copilot. The four Imperial Crew Members are Aven Geth (Engineering), MZ-12 (Offensive), Salana Rok (Tactical), and Writch Hurley (Defensive), while the Republic Crew Members are Ashy (Engineering), B-3G9 (Offensive), Kendra Novar (Tactical), and Oro Wogawa (Defensive).
Galactic Starfighter currently features two modes: Domination and Team Deathmatch. Domination involves a series of objectives that must be captured and defended, and teams gain points for maintaining control of an objective. Team Deathmatch pits teams of players against one another in battle, and features power-ups that can be found in the environment. Currently, two maps have been introduced to the game: Lost Shipyards, which is both a Domination and Team Deathmatch map, and the Domination map Kuat Minedrome; the Domination map Denon Exosphere was added in Update 2.7.
User interface and gameplay
- "From the start, we wanted to make sure that we nailed the feel of 'free flight' Star Wars space combat, so we've taken great pains to get the controls just right. It is flat out fun to simply fly your ship through the battle zones we've created. The Scout feels zippy and maneuverable, the Strike Fighter nails the all-purpose combat role, and the Gunship is really, really good at picking off targets from long range then relocating to the next cover point to keep out of harm's way."
- ―Blaine Christine
The content for Galactic Starfighter centers around the primary menu, which is accessed by pressing the H key or an icon on the minimap, and the menu features five tabs: Ships, Components, Cosmetics, Crew, and Launch. The Ship tab organizes ships under each of their respective types, and at the time of Early Access, there are a total of 14 ships available with 10 additional ships planned for release in February. The Components tab allows players to select components for their starship out of their currently unlocked components and install them, and the Cosmetics tab is used to alter cosmetic details of the ship such as paint jobs and the color of weapon discharges. The Crew tab allows players to choose which Crew Members or companions they want to use as their Support Crew, and the Launch tab enters a player into the queue for a match. The heads-up display in combat is largely similar to the basic interface of ground gameplay, though the minimap is moved to the upper right corner and displays the entire battlefield regardless of the player's position. Next to the map is the scoreboard, which also features icons for objectives; the icon's color indicates which team controls the objective, and dots surrounding the main icon indicate how many turrets remain around the objective. The firing arc is located in the center of the screen, and features orange, purple, and blue curved bars on the left and right sides of the circle. The orange bar on the left measures the weapon power pool, while the purple bar on the right measures the engine power pool. The blue bar on the right indicates the speed at which the ship is traveling, and a smaller circle—the missile targeting reticle—is located within the larger firing arc; players must keep enemy ships within the smaller reticle to fire missiles, and within the larger circle to target them with cannons.
In the bottom left corner of the screen, there is a circular display with an icon of the player's ship surrounded by two rings. The rings, which are divided into two sections to signify forward and rear shields, changes color to indicate how much damage has been taken. If the shields are completely depleted, they do not regenerate. The ship icon in the middle represents hull integrity, and changes color depending on how damaged the ship is. To the right of the display are three bars that represent power conversions; the F1, F2, and F3 keys can switch the conversions between Blaster, Shield, and Engine power conversions. On the bottom of the screen, a simplified quickbar that displays six buttons allows players access to the ship's abilities. Slots 1–4 are mapped to the number keys 1–4, and the remaining two abilities are mapped to the left and right mouse buttons. Abilities vary between ships and components, though the left mouse button is always blaster fire and the right mouse button is for missiles, rockets, or railguns. In combat, distant enemy ships are framed by small square boxes with the player's name above them, and if a player manually selects them or uses the tab button to lock on, a targeting reticle appears as well as a circle indicating their project flight path. Once the enemy is in missile range, the targeting reticle turns red, and if the enemy is in blaster range, the targeting reticle and circle both turn red. Gunships also feature sniper-like scopes for their railguns, and the scope indicates how charged the railgun is.
Movement is controlled by the keyboard: the W and S keys are acceleration and deceleration, the A and D keys are roll left or right, the X key stops the engines, and the space bar engages the afterburners. Holding the Shift key with W or S strafes up or down. The camera can also be shifted to various modes—holding down the F key engages the free-look camera that does not move the ship, while holding the Z key frees the mouse cursor from the camera. Holding the C key shifts the camera to look at an enemy target, and the Tab button cycles the targeting system through nearby enemy players. The E key allows for manually targeting an enemy near the mouse cursor, and R targets the enemy player who just hit the player. Sensors also play a key role, with four sensor attributes whose range vary between different ships: Sensor Detection, Sensor Dampening, Sensor Communication, and Sensor Focus Range. Sensor Detection. Sensor Detection determines how far away an enemy ship can be detected, while Sensor Dampening reduces the distance from which an enemy can detect the player; the range of an enemy's Sensor Dampening is subtracted from the player's Sensor Detection to determine the actual range of the player's sensors in regard to that enemy. Sensor Communication determines how far away friendly ships can broadcast detected enemy ships—friendly ships within an ally's Sensor Communication range can see all of the enemy ships that the ally has detected.
Outside of the class storylines and the standard side missions, The Old Republic also features over a dozen Flashpoints: four-person missions that take groups of players to specifically designed story environments where they face large numbers of enemies, alignment choices that affect the Flashpoint's storyline, a series of powerful bosses, and a number of puzzles that require multiple players. Of the twenty-two Flashpoints currently available, eight of them are restricted by faction, with two starting Flashpoints for each faction and a set of four interconnected Flashpoints divided between the Republic and the Empire, as well as the new Flashpoints that are part of the "Forged Alliances" arc. With Game Update 2.6, a new type of Flashpoint known as Tactical Flashpoints have been introduced. Tactical Flashpoints are role-neutral, allowing for any combination of classes to play alongside one another instead of requiring healers and tank, and are bolstered and level-neutral, allowing for players of different levels to complete the Flashpoint. Game Update 3.0 added one-time solo versions of the Forged Alliances and Shadow of Revan Flashpoints, allowing players to complete the Forged Alliances storyline and play through the expansion on their own; in the solo mode, players are assisted by a companion and a powerful support droid.
- 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 Coruscant 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cademimu is a shared Flashpoint designed for players around Level 29. The planet Cademimu V, a Republic missile depot located at a vital point along the Celanon Spur hyperlane, is in chaos after its corrupt governor Chornarov declared the planet's independence and imposed martial law with the help of the surviving members of the Mantellian Separatist Movement, whom Chornarov had been sheltering after the movement's defeat. Republic and Empire players are dispatched to the planet to seize control of the missile depot before a fleet from the opposing faction arrives, and the Flashpoint ends after the players defeat the Mantellian war criminal General Ortol and take control of the depot.
- Taral V is a Republic Flashpoint designed for players around Level 33 and is the first in a series of four interconnected Flashpoints that focus on the Jedi Master Revan. At the request of the Jedi Entity, the ghost of Meetra Surik, the Jedi Master Oteg summons the players to his flagship and dispatches them to recover a Gree computer from an Imperial military base on the planet Taral V. The computer is needed to navigate the Maelstrom, a nebula where the Entity claims that a powerful Jedi prisoner is being held. The players infiltrate the base and successfully retrieve the computer despite Grand Moff Rycus Kilran's attempts to kill them, and Oteg's fleet prepares to assault the Maelstrom prison.
- Maelstrom Prison is the second Republic Flashpoint in the series of Flashpoints dealing with Revan, and it is designed for players around Level 37. Having acquired the means to safely navigate the Maelstrom on Taral V, Master Oteg leads his fleet to the prison at the nebula's heart so that the players can board the station and free the prisoner. As they fight through the prison's defenders and inmates, Grand Moff Kilran arrives and engages the Republic fleet, and he himself confronts the Republic team aboard the prison. After defeating Kilran, the players free the prisoner and learn of his identity as Revan, and after the Republic fleet escapes, the Jedi Master decides to pursue his own war against the Empire.
- Boarding Party is the first Imperial Flashpoint in the Revan series, and while it is designed for players around Level 33, chronologically it occurs after the Maelstrom Prison Flashpoint. The Empire has learned of Revan's plans to use the Rakatan space station known as the Foundry to produce an army of war droids to use against the Empire, and they decide to sneak through the Republic blockade around the Foundry by sending the players to capture the Republic frigate Dorin's Sky. Players lead the Imperial boarding party in capturing the vessel and defeating its crew so that it can be used as a Trojan Horse against the Republic blockade.
- The Foundry is the final Flashpoint in the Revan series, and is designed for players around Level 37 as the Imperial counterpart to the Maelstrom Prison Flashpoint. Picking up where Flashpoint: Boarding Part left off, the Flashpoint sees players board the Foundry and fight their way through the army of droids and Republic soldiers inside. In the process, the players learn that Revan intends to unleash his droids upon the galaxy to purge all those of Sith descent, and after defeating Revan's assassin droid HK-47, the Imperials engage the Jedi Master himself in a battle to the death. A defeated Revan vanishes in a flash of light, and Darth Malgus claims the Foundry for the Empire.
- Colicoid War Game is a shared Flashpoint designed for players around Level 41, and it is unconventional in regards to other Flashpoints in that it is an open-air environment with good visibility. The insectoid Colicoids have typically remained neutral in galactic conflicts while they sell their powerful weapons and technology to both sides, but they have recently decided to align with either the Republic or the Empire. To decide which faction, the Colicoids are hosting a war game on a remote asteroid in the Outer Rim, and the Republic and the Empire send players to compete in the games. After surviving several waves of Colicoids in the Hive Battleground arena, players must then complete a hazard course that features multiple mini-bosses, and the third and final part of the Flashpoint is a confrontation with the Annihilator 6K-A2 war droid.
- The Red Reaper is a shared Flashpoint designed for players around Level 45. Seventy years earlier, the pureblood Sith Lord Darth Ikoral departed on a campaign to locate other Sith purebloods as part of his obsession with genetic superiority, and he has returned aboard his flagship Red Reaper with an army of Sith to purge the galaxy of lesser beings. The Red Reaper's attacks on both Imperial and Republic forces lead the two governments to dispatch strike teams to board the Red Reaper during its attack on the planet Chandrila, and players fight through Ikoral's pureblood disciples as they head into the depths of the vessel. The Flashpoint ends after a confrontation with Ikoral himself.
- Directive 7 is a shared elder game Flashpoint designed for players at Level 48. A faction of renegade droids calling themselves Directive 7 have rebelled against organics and established a base on the moon of Zadd, from which they plan to eradicate all biological life. After several Republic colonies and an Imperial fleet succumb to the rebellion, an anonymous traitor leaks information to both galactic powers on the rebellion. Players are sent to infiltrate the movement's base on Zadd, and after fighting through the rogue droids, they encounter their droid informant and rush to halt the rebellion's leader—a massive computer intelligence known as Mentor—from unleashing a virus to turn every droid in the galaxy to the movement's cause. The Flashpoint ends after Mentor's destruction.
- The Battle of Ilum is a shared elder game Flashpoint designed for players at Level 50 or higher. At the end of both the Republic and Imperial world arcs on Ilum, Darth Malgus declares a New Empire in the absence of the Sith Emperor; his New Empire welcomes aliens as well as humans, and Malgus seizes control of the missing Sith Emperor's space station to use as his own. With allies like the Kaleesh, Ongree, the Anomid Schism Collective, and many other species, Malgus' forces invade the embattled world of Ilum and turn it into a three-way war. As a result, the players are sent by their respective factions to recover one of Malgus' stealth ships in order to board the Emperor's space station, and the players fight their way through Malgus' alien allies amid the chaos of the battlefield. The Flashpoint ends when players defeat the Sith Lord Darth Serevin and secure the stealth ship.
- The False Emperor is a shared elder game Flashpoint, designed for Level 50 and higher players, and continues the story from the Battle of Ilum. Taking the stealth ship acquired in the Battle of Ilum Flashpoint, players board the Emperor's space station and fight their way through the New Empire's soldiers and alien allies. When they encounter the Schism Collective's leader Arkis Wode, players are forced to fight a rebuilt and reprogrammed HK-47, and then fight their way through the New Imperial Guard to Malgus' throne room. In the final fight with the self-declared Emperor, the players' faction gains the upper hand in the space battle outside, and Malgus is defeated and falls into the depths of the dying station just before the players escape to safety.
- Kaon Under Siege was the first new Flashpoint to be introduced to the game after its release, and it is an elder game Flashpoint designed for players at Level 50. As part of Update 1.1: Rise of the Rakghouls, the Flashpoint sees players travel to the planet Kaon in the Tion Hegemony, which is currently experiencing a rakghoul outbreak of unknown origins. Players initially help the Kaon forces maintain the quarantine, but as the rakghoul threat spreads, players fight their way into the heart of Kaon City to find where the outbreak originated, battling through swarms of rakghouls in the process. After defeating a trio of powerful rakghoul soldiers in a Kaon spaceport, players encounter a smuggler named Melarra who unknowingly brought the rakghoul plague to Kaon, having been hired for a delivery by Doctor Sannus Lorrick on Ord Mantell.
- The Lost Island was added in Update 1.2 as a sequel to Kaon Under Siege, and the Flashpoint is designed for Level 50 players as it picks up where Kaon Under Siege left off. In order to put a stop to Lorrick's plans to use the rakghoul virus as a weapon to conquer the Tion Hegemony, players storm his remote island laboratory on Ord Mantell, fighting their way through the wildlife that has been mutated by Lorrick's experiments. Fighting through the mutated creatures and Lorrick's defense droids, players defeat the mutated savrip known as Project Sav-Rak, as well as other twisted experiments and rakghoul-infected soldiers that Lorrick has been experimenting on before finally confronting the doctor himself. Lorrick uses his subordinates, whom he infected with the virus after they rejected his intentions with the rakghoul virus, as weapons against the players before injecting himself with the virus, and the Flashpoint ends with Lorrick's death.
- Czerka Corporate Labs is an elder game Flashpoint designed for players at Level 55, and is the first in the Czerka Flashpoint arc. Players enter the Czerka research facility CZ-198 and are forced to fight through Czerka security forces as they descend through the Atrium and down into the rest of the facility. Refusing to allow either the Republic or the Empire to take his company, Rasmus Blys continues to send security forces to stop the players as they fight to reach Blys himself in his private labs where he has been experimenting on Flesh Raiders from Tython. Blys is killed in the ensuing confrontation that ends the Flashpoint, but not before he activates the living security system known as the Vigilant, leading to the events of the second Czerka Flashpoint.
- Czerka Core Meltdown is an elder game Flashpoint designed for players at Level 55, and picks up where the previous Czerka Flashpoint left off. The Flashpoint sees players enter the biological weapons research division of CZ-198, where they are forced to fight their way through security droids and various enhanced animals in the Green Habitat Zone, Desert Habitat Zone, and Jungle Habitat Zone. Players then confront the Vigilant, the biologically enhanced Flesh Raider that serves as CZ-198's security system. Fighting through Flesh Raider guards to reach the Vigilant, players destroy the Vigilant's computer systems before fighting the monstrous creature itself.
- Kuat Drive Yards is a Tactical Flashpoint introduced with Game Update 2.6 as a tie-in between Galactic Starfighter and the ground game. The Flashpoint assigns players two of five potential gameplay scenarios and three final bosses, allowing for a wide variety of experiences, and pits players against enemies from the opposing galactic faction. Completing the Flashpoint earns Reputation with either the Republic First Fleet or Imperial Forward Command, and a new area has been added to the Fleet to tie into the Flashpoint. Kuat Drive Yards focuses on the shipbuilding corporation and shipyards of the same name, which Imperial Admiral Ranken attacks in hopes of securing the facilities for the Empire. However, the Republic's Admiral Bey'wan Aygo seeks to defend the shipyards against the Empire's assault. Republic players work to secure KDY against the Imperial invaders, while Imperial players work to take control of the facility's defenses.
- Assault on Tython is a Tactical Flashpoint released with Game Update 2.7 that is set on Tython. Along with Korriban Incursion, which occurs simultaneously with Assault on Tython, the two Flashpoints mark the beginning of "Forged Alliances," the major storyline for Star Wars: The Old Republic in 2014. On the Imperial side, Darth Arkous orchestrates an attack on Tython, and players fight their way to the Jedi Temple and capture it, defeating Jedi Master Oric Traless in the process. The Republic version occurs after Korriban Incursion, and sees players retake Tython and the Temple from Arkous's lieutenant Lord Goh. With Game Update 3.0, a one-time solo version of the Flashpoint was added for the Forged Alliances storyline, as well as a Hard Mode of the Flashpoint.
- Korriban Incursion is a Tactical Flashpoint released with Game Update 2.7: Incursion that is set on Korriban. Along with Assault on Tython, which occurs simultaneously with Korriban Incursion, the two Flashpoints mark the beginning of "Forged Alliances," the major storyline for Star Wars: The Old Republic in 2014. The Republic version sees Colonel Darok's forces attack Korriban, where players fight their way up the Valley of the Dark Lords and take the Sith Academy, killing the Dark Councilor Darth Soverus. Conversely, Imperial players retake the Valley and the Academy, fighting through Jedi and Republic forces and killing the Jedi commander Jensyn. With Game Update 3.0, a one-time solo version of the Flashpoint was added for the Forged Alliances storyline, as well as a Hard Mode of the Flashpoint.
- Depths of Manaan is a Tactical Flashpoint released with Game Update 2.9 that is set on Manaan, the ocean world from the original Knights of the Old Republic video game. Part 2 of "Forged Alliances," the Flashpoint sees Theron Shan or Lana Beniko send players to Manaan to track down Colonel Darok or Darth Arkous, both of whom had ulterior motives in planning the attacks on Korriban and Tython. The search takes players to Genetics Laboratory G-1 on the ocean floor, where they fight through security forces and the Force-wielding Order of Shasa before discovering that Arkous and Darok are allies in the Order of Revan and have come to acquire the Selkath scientist Gorima's work on their Infinite Army. The pair escape and destroy the station, but players fight through the station forces and escape with the help of Beniko and Shan, who are revealed to have become allies in their hunt for the traitors. With Game Update 3.0, a one-time solo version of the Flashpoint was added for the Forged Alliances storyline, as well as a Hard Mode of the Flashpoint.
- Legacy of the Rakata is a Tactical Flashpoint released with Game Update 2.10 that is set on Rakata Prime, the homeworld of the Rakata from Knights of the Old Republic. As the finale of "Forged Alliances," the Flashpoint sends players to the planet in pursuit of Arkous and Darok, who have begun to create their Infinite Army in the Revanite-controlled Temple of the Ancients. Players fight through a Rakata village, defeating War-Chief Rehkta, and then through the ruins surrounding the Temple before facing Commander Rand and his Infinite Army recruits. The final fight of the Flashpoint is against Arkous and Darok, but after their deaths, a Revanite fleet arrives; with Revan as its commander. Revan bombards the Temple as players escape, ending the Flashpoint. With Game Update 3.0, a one-time solo version of the Flashpoint was added for the Forged Alliances storyline, as well as a Hard Mode of the Flashpoint.
- Blood Hunt is a Tactical Flashpoint added in Shadow of Revan that is part of the expansion's storyline, and thus includes a solo mode. Having learned of a clan of Mandalorians who broke ties with the Revanites, players travel to Tracyn Island to meet the Mandalorians, but their leader "Torch" forces players to face a number of challenges in the form of fearsome creatures. After defeating three of the challenges—two sets of six are alternated between playthroughs—and a pair of Mandalorian warriors, players battle Torch herself, who is revealed to be the legendary warrior Shae Vizla.
- Battle of Rishi is the second of two Tactical Flashpoints added in Shadow of Revan, and is the final part of the Rishi storyline. Having learned of a jammer on Razorback Island that is blocking all attempts to warn the Republic and Imperial fleets above Rishi of the Revanites in their midst, players storm the island and battle through the Order of Revan's forces in order to reach and deactivate the jammer. Like Blood Hunt and the Forged Alliances Flashpoints, Battle of Rishi includes a solo mode as part of the expansion's storyline.
In addition to Flashpoints, The Old Republic includes a number of Operations, which are mission events similar to Flashpoints but require groups of either eight or sixteen players. Operations are designed to be significantly more challenging than Flashpoints.
- Karagga's Palace, also known as Hutt Hospitality, is one of The Old Republic's two original Operations that were designed for Level 50 players. While the introduction varies slightly between the factions, the Operation centers on the Hutt Cartel's recent military expansion and their severing of ties with the Sith Empire. Players are sent to Karagga's palace on the planet of Hutta to demand a meeting with the Supreme Mogul of the Cartel in order to gain answers, and the players are forced to battle the Cartel forces defending the facility. While fighting through the palace, players encounter a number of powerful bosses: the rancor Bonethrasher, bounty hunters Jarg and Sorno, the Kintan crusher Foreman Crusher, and Karagga himself in an enormous war droid. After defeating Karagga, the players learn that the Cartel's actions were incited by a recent series of attacks on Cartel space. The Operation's storyline links together several plotlines within The Old Republic, as the Sith Lords known as the Dread Masters are responsible for the attacks on the Cartel, and Karagga's death leads to the ascension of his successor Toborro in Rise of the Hutt Cartel.
- Eternity Vault is one of the two original Operations designed for Level 50 players. Republic and Imperial players are sent to the planet Belsavis when their respective factions realize that a Rakatan prison known as the Eternity Vault has been broken open by recent fighting. The players' warship is shot down over Belsavis, forcing them to board escape pods, and players approach the Eternity Vault on foot amid a snowstorm. After defeating the Annihilation Droid XRR-3 at the gates of the Eternity Vault, players make their way deeper into the Eternity Vault, fighting various droids and creatures as they go before encountering the massive Gharj creature in a lava cave. After defeating him, players bypass the puzzle defenses of the prison and then confront the Infernal Council, a group of Sith imprisoned in the Vault. The final boss is the gargantuan Rakata Soa, the Infernal One, who was imprisoned in the Eternity Vault by his own species. The Operation ends with Soa's defeat.
- Explosive Conflict was the first Operation to be added to the game after the initial release, and it focuses on the planet Denova, which hosts large reserves of the valuable explosive material baradium. Several months prior, the Republic hired the Trandoshan warlord Kephess and his Warstalkers mercenary army to secure the planet, but Kephess recently declared himself rogue along with the Imperial forces who were fighting the Warstalkers on Denova. The players are sent to investigate the reason behind Kephess's betrayal, and they fight through Kephess's forces and rogue Imperials upon arriving on Denova. After defeating Kephess's lieutenants Toth and Zorn, players continue onward and encounter the powerful tanks Firebrand and Stormcaller. The Operation's third boss is the former Imperial Colonel Vorgath, and the final boss is Kephess himself. Kephess is slain, but the Dread Masters reveal themselves to the players and their respective faction after the fight, explaining that Kephess was their puppet and this was only the beginning. Kephess is also resurrected by the Dread Masters, who withdraw their pawn for use in future plans.
- Terror From Beyond is an Operation added as the main focus of Game Update 1.4. The Operation takes place on the Gree planet of Asation, which has recently been overrun by monstrous otherworldly creatures and rogue Gree defense droids; an unknown force seeks to take control of the ancient hypergate on the planet. Players battle through hordes of enemies to reach the hypergate, where they battle a resurrected Kephess and the Dread Guard. However, once their servants are defeated, the Dread Masters activate the hypergate, unleashing Lotek'k—the Terror From Beyond. The creature from another dimension is battled in a series of strategic waves, and the Operation ends with Lotek'k's defeat.
- Scum and Villainy, also known as Legions of Scum and Villainy, is a tie-in operation released alongside Rise of the Hutt Cartel, taking place on the desert world Darvannis—where the Hutt Cartel is apparently assembling an army. Players are sent in to destroy the army before it can take form, and they battle through the harsh desert and sandstorms before reaching the settlement of Oasis City. Fighting mercenaries and a number of bosses, such as the battle droid TITAN 6 and a large reek, the players then battle the four most powerful warlords who are being recruited. However, once the warlords are defeated, it is discovered that the true influence behind the mercenaries is the Dread Master Styrak. Styrak is defeated in a climatic battle. after which the Operation comes to an end.
- Dread Fortress is the first of the two operations added in Game Update 2.4 as the finale of the Dread Masters storyline. After completing their faction's series of story missions on Oricon, players can participate in the Operation, which sees the players besiege the Dread Fortress. Battling through the structure's defenders, including a number of powerful bosses, the players breach the fortress and encounter the Dread Master Brontes in the heart of the compound. Brontes serves as the Operation's final boss, and the Operation ends with her defeat. A Nightmare Mode for the Dread Fortress Operation was added in Game Update 2.7.
- Dread Palace is the direct continuation of Dread Fortress, and sees players assault the Dread Masters' sanctum, the Dread Palace. As the players proceed through the palace, they encounter the remaining Dread Masters—Bestia, Tyrans, and finally Raptus—who serve as the Operation's bosses. Each Dread Master presents a different battle with its own challenges, and the final boss of the Operation is the Dread Council: the four Dread Masters fight the players together, and also receive aid from the spirits of Styrak and Brontes. After a lengthy battle with the four Sith, the players emerge victorious, and the Operation ends with the Sith Lords' defeat. A Nightmare Mode of the Dread Palace Operation was added in Game Update 2.8.
- The Ravagers is a standalone Operation introduced in Shadow of Revan that takes place on the planet Rishi, and sees players battle the pirate group known as the Ravagers. Recruited by Ruugar, the former captain of the Ravagers, to kill his former second-in-command Coratanni, players attack the Ravagers's hideout. After defeating a number of members of the Ravagers, players battle Coratanni as the final boss of the Operation. In the weeks following Shadow of Revan's release, The Ravagers suffered from a major exploit that allowed players to access the loot at the end of Operation without playing through the Operation itself; the exploit was later fixed, and BioWare will take action against players who used the exploit.
- Temple of Sacrifice is an Operation added in Shadow of Revan that sees players besiege the temple of the same name in an effort to stop Revan from resurrecting the Emperor. Temple of Sacrifice is a part of the main story on Yavin 4, but players can choose to complete a series of daily missions instead of the Operation in order to advance the storyline. In the temple, players fight through bosses such as the Massassi warrior Malaphar the Savage and powerful Revanites before confronting Revan himself atop the temple. At Revan's defeat, the artifact needed to restore the Emperor is destroyed and Revan flees to a nearby temple, where he is confronted in the final mission of the expansion.
In addition to the Operations, there are a number of standalone Operation bosses that can be battled in groups. The Gree analyst droid Xenoanalyst II, which is located aboard the Gray Secant during the Relics of the Gree World Event, can be fought by groups of players who achieved Friend status with the Gree Enclave and can board the Gray Secant. Another boss is the Golden Fury, an advanced isotope-5 droid that can be battled in the Toborro's Courtyard mini-Operation on Makeb. The Lair of the Eyeless is a new minor Operation added with the Rakghoul Resurgence; players can battle the massive rakghoul known as the Eyeless.
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 were a total of five Warzones, and Update 2.4 introduced the sixth type. Update 2.4 also removed 8-vs.-8 Ranked Warzones, as there was not enough demand for games to fill up. With Game Update 3.3, the PvP gear system was overhauled to eliminate the hard-to-acquire Ranked Warzone Commendations, with the prices for both standard and higher tier gear being drastically reduced.
With the launch of Game Update 2.4.3, the developers ended pre-season for Ranked PvP, and began Season One for Ranked PvP. Intended to last around six months, Season One featured web-based leaderboards that included players' ranked and solo ratings, and players' performance in Ranked matches affected their standings in the season. The end of the season saw different tiers of players receive unique rewards. Season One ended with Game Update 2.7 in April 2014, and players who achieved one of the five tiers received exclusive rewards. Season 2 was shorter, lasting around three months compared to Season 1's 21-week span, and featured ranked PvP quests. Season 3 began with Game Update 2.10 and ended in December with Game Update 3.0, and Season 4 started with Game Update 3.1 in February 2015. Season 4 lasted roughly three months before ending in Update 3.2, and Season 5 began immediately afterwards without a pre-season.
- The Civil War is an objective-based Warzone that occurs during Alderaan'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. A new Huttball Warzone, Quesh Huttball Pit, was introduced in Game Update 2.7; the map is significantly different than the original, with a new layout and new traps.
- 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.
- Warzone Arenas are a new type of Warzone introduced in Game Update 2.4: The Dread War that are basic player-vs.-player combat with two teams of four players. A Last Team Standing type of Warzone, Arenas task players with the elimination of the other team. Three "Arenas of Death" were introduced in the update: Corellia, a farm on Tatooine, and an Orbital Station, which all lack the environmental hazards common to other Warzone types. If neither team is victorious after a certain amount of time, a toxic gas cloud known as Sudden Death will gradually envelop the Arena from the edges in; Sudden Death takes players out of stealth and into combat, and applies a damage-over-time effect. A new Warzone Arena, Makeb Mesa, was added with Update 2.5.
One of the major uses of companions is the Crew Skills feature, where you can send your inactive companions on missions to retrieve items or construct items. Players can have a maximum of three Crew Skills at any time, and Crew Skills fall into three categories: Gathering Skills, Crafting Skills, and Mission Skills. Mission Skills allow players to send their companions on various assignments that can result in a variety of rewards, including credits and alignment points. Diplomacy, Investigation, Treasure Hunting, and Underworld Trading are the four Mission Skills. The four Gathering Skills—Archaeology, Bioanalysis, Scavenging, and Slicing—allow players and their companions to gather various resources that are scattered across the various planets, and players are also able to send their companions on missions to acquire rare resources.
There are six Crafting Skills, each of which allows players to create different types of items, and each Crafting Skill has a recommended Mission and Gathering Skill that helps players make the most of their Crew Skills. Armormech deals with the creation of armor, while Armstech and Synthweaving deal with weapons and robes, and Cybertech allows players to fashion components for droids and high-tech armors. Artifice allows players to craft lightsaber crystals and other components, and the sixth and last Crew Skill, Biochem, deals with the creation of stimulants, biological implants, and medpacs. Rise of the Hutt Cartel raised the Crew Skill level cap from 400 to 450 with Advanced Crew Skill training, and Shadow of Revan raised it again to 500 with Expert training.
- "One of the most iconic aspects of Star Wars™ is the family dynamic between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. In Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, you will be able to create your very own Skywalker-like family dynasty through the Legacy System, unlocking new skills, items, and other character options that were previously unavailable."
- ―Overview of the Legacy System
The Legacy System was introduced in Game Update 1.2, and allows players to link their characters on the same server together with a family tree and Legacy name—equivalent to a surname—and, as of Update 1.3, purchase special abilities and bonuses, some of which are restricted to each character and some of which are shared across a player's Legacy. The Legacy System was the first feature to allow players to play species other than the preset species for each class, as players unlock the ability to use a species in any class if they reach Level 50 with that species. Players gain Legacy experience in the same way they do normal experience, though the amount is significantly lower, and certain abilities require specific Legacy levels to unlock. The Reputation system was added to the Legacy System in Game Update 1.7, and the ability to use HK-51 as a companion is shared across Legacy if a player unlocks the companion in a specific faction.
Game Update 2.0 greatly expanded the Legacy System with the addition the Legacy Achievement system. Legacy Achievements are a means of recognizing accomplishments and milestones for a player's Legacy, and can be completed by any player in a Legacy. Each Achievement has a specific task or set of tasks that the player must accomplish; these range from exploring every area of a planet, collecting all of a planet's Codex entries, defeating certain numbers of enemies in an area, reaching maximum alignments, completing specific class or Heroic missions, and a variety of other tasks. Legacy Achievements are permanent once completed, and reward players with Prestige points that can be viewed by other players. Some Achievements also reward players with Cartel Coins, credits, or items. When Update 2.0 was released, the Legacy Achievement system contained more than 2,000 individual Achievements dived into seven categories—Companion, Flashpoint, Legacy, Location, Operations, Player Vs. Player, and Space—though the system did not take into account progress made before the release of the system. The system did take into account the progress players had made in unlocking Codex entries, however, and later updates and events have added additional achievements relating to their own content.
- "In a time of widespread conflict and political strife, disparate organizations throughout the galaxy seek allies in the struggle for peace… or conquest. Reputation measures how your character is perceived by these organizations it reflects the prestige you've earned through your heroic contributions to each cause."
- ―Jesse Sky
With Game Update 1.7, the Galactic Reputation system was introduced to the game. Reputation, which ties in with the Legacy System in that it is bound to a player's Legacy instead of a single character. Players are able to gain Reputation with various factions and organizations by completing different missions or activities, and players gain Reputation Ranks with specific groups upon gaining enough Reputation with that group. Different Reputation Ranks have different rewards, unlocking titles and allowing players to trade with special vendors, and the number of Reputation points that can be gained per week is limited to a certain amount. With the initial release of the system in Update 1.7, there were six groups with which players could gain Reputation—two neutral, and two for each faction.
The Voss are a neutral organization, and players from both the Republic and the Empire can gain Reputation with the Voss by completing Heroic missions on Voss. The Gree Enclave is also a neutral organization, but players can only gain Reputation by completing missions and defeating bosses during the recurring Relics of the Gree event. Players gain Reputation with either the Republic Hyperspace Armada or the Imperial First Mobile Fleet by completing Hard Mode Space Missions, and completing Section X daily missions helps players gain Reputation with either the Imperial Guard or the Republic's Fifth Assault Battalion. A seventh group was added a short time later—players gain Reputation with the Contraband Resale Corporation by purchasing Contraband Packs from the Cartel Market. With the release of Game Update 2.0 and Rise of the Hutt Cartel, three more organizations were added: players gain Reputation with Galactic Solutions Industries by completing various missions on planets across the galaxy with their macrobinoculars and seeker droids, and Imperial and Republic players gain Reputation with either the Citizens of Makeb or the Makeb Imperial Forces respectively by completing missions on Makeb. Update 2.3 and the Bounty Contract Week event also added additional Reputation factions: the Bounty Supply Company, which rewards players who purchase Bounty Packs on the Cartel Market; the Bounty Brokers Association, which rewards players who complete contract missions during Bounty Contract Weeks; and the Adjudicators and Imperial Ordnance Acquisition Corps reward Republic and Imperial players respectively when they complete missions on CZ-198.
With the addition of Oricon in Update 2.4, Republic players now gain Reputation with Strike Team Oricon and Imperial players with the Dread Executioners for completing Daily Missions on Oricon as well as the world arc. Update 2.5 added The Hyland Organization for Rakghoul Neutralization, or T.H.O.R.N., which corresponds to the Rakghoul Resurgence World Event. Update 2.6 added three new organizations for Galactic Starfighter—the Republic First Fleet, Imperial Forward Command, and the Interplanetary Component Exchange— while Update 2.9 added Binary Star Realty for Cartel Market content related to the Galactic Strongholds expansion. Update 3.0 added the Coalition Forces on Yavin 4 and the People of Rishi for the two new worlds added in Shadow of Revan, as well as the Freebooter's Trade Union for Shadow Packs in the Cartel Market. Esstran Exports is a new Reputation group added in Game Update 3.2 that will correspond to the Explorer's Packs.
Guilds and Strongholds
- "We wanted to provide our players the choice of living in some of the most desirable locations available, each having an iconic look and feel. When you first arrive in your new Stronghold you will notice how each detail within your Stronghold perfectly fits the appropriate thematic feel of the corresponding planet where it is found. From there, we wanted to make sure that decorating your Stronghold would be easy, intuitive, and most importantly fun!"
- ―Producer Jack Wood
Like many MMORPGs, Star Wars: The Old Republic allows players to band together in guilds that are more permanent than standard groups. Guild members can share funds amongst themselves and use a private chat channel for their guild, and guild members typically band together for raids or other group activities. Guild have been a function of the game since launch, but the Galactic Strongholds Digital Expansion added additional functionality and events for guilds. The expansion's primary focus was the new feature of Strongholds' Strongholds are customizable buildings that serve as a player's home base and place to display trophies and other items. Currently, four strongholds have been added: the Coruscant Skyrise Apartment, the Dromund Kaas Apartment, the Nar Shaddaa Sky Palace, and the Tatooine Homestead. Unlocked at Level 15, Strongholds are shared among a player's Legacy, and players can own more than one Stronghold. Each Stronghold has a unique floor plan with between eight and twelve rooms, and the rooms vary in layout and size. Additional rooms after the first room must be purchased with credits or Cartel Coins. Players can also share their Strongholds with other players by giving them an invite or a key, or by sharing it on the Pubic Listing. Strongholds also feature Legacy Storage, which allows players to share items with characters in their Legacy in either faction.
Decorations are an entire new type of item that has been added to vendors and enemies throughout the game, as well as rewards for Crew Skills, PvP, Reputation, and more. They are placed in decoration "hooks" on the walls and floors in Edit Mode. Decorations are shared among a player's Legacy, and feature an unlock count—players must have unlocked a decoration five times in order to place five of those decorations. An initial unlock increases a Legacy's Prestige score by 100, and each additional unlock by 2. For The Old Republic's third anniversary in December 2014, the Dromund Kaas and Coruscant Strongholds were made available at the price of 3 credits, and a new stronghold is due to be added in early 2015.
With the launch of Galactic Strongholds, guilds have two choices as to where they can establish Headquarters—they can choose a Guild-owned Stronghold or they can purchase a Flagship. Flagships are either Valor-class cruisers or Harrower-class dreadnoughts depending on the guild's faction, and serve as mobile meeting places for guilds that can be placed in the orbit of various planets. Galactic Strongholds also introduced Conquests, guild-centric events where guilds compete for control of a planet by completing various weekly objectives. The guild with the highest ranking at the end of the week will conquer the planet they have invaded.
- "The first core rule is that we want to be sure that players can reach level 50 without paying a cent, if so desired. The final design meets this requirement: Free-to-Play players can play levels 1 through 50 and enjoy the vast majority of the classic storyline and side quests during their journey. […] The second core rule is that subscribers should not experience any degradation of their gameplay experience. Those of you who are still paying a monthly fee should still get the same gameplay experience and you won't find anything taken away from you and the gameplay that you currently enjoy. Furthermore, we really wanted to be sure that in no way would subscribers feel they needed to make purchases from the Cartel Market in order to be competitive in the game."
- ―Damion Schubert
With the Free-to-Play system, there are restrictions that separate players from Subscribers in terms of gameplay, though many of the restrictions can be bypassed or removed through consumables that can be purchased on the Cartel Market. Players who purchase the game, a Cartel Coin Card, or anything from the online store are granted Preferred Status, which removes some of the restrictions. Any player who has ever paid a monthly subscription at any point in time is automatically granted Preferred Status. Free-to-Play gamers can only access the Sprint and Emergency Fleet Pass abilities at Level 10, and are unable to access bank storage or Secure Trading without purchasing Cartel Market consumables. Players can only train one Crew Skill, have a 200,000 credit cap, and have a restricted chat system as well as access to only two item listings on the Galactic Trade Network. Free-to-Play gamers can only receive in-game mail, and can only have two character slots with only three species options.
Preferred Status players, on the other hand, can access the Sprint ability immediately, and are permitted two Crew Skills and access to the Bank system as well as a credit cap of 350,000. Preferred Status also grants access to Secure Trading, full chat, mail, five Galactic Trade Network listings, and six character slots instead of two. Both Free-to-Play and Preferred Status players are unable to access Operations, and can only play five Warzones, three Flashpoints, and three Space Missions per week. They possess a reduced inventory, a longer cool-down on the Quick-Travel ability, and a delayed access to mounts and speeders, and their ability to use medical probes for instant respawn is reduced to only five times. Both player types cannot normally equip most advanced gear or receive high numbers of commendations, and Subscribers receive a discount on items from vendors and removing modifications from armor. Preferred Status and Free-to-Play players also are restricted to only two quickbars, and do not receive rest experience from waiting in safe areas like Subscribers do.
The Cartel Market is a in-game marketplace introduced alongside the Free-to-Play system that allows players to purchase rare items, gear, and abilities using Cartel Coins. Subscribers receive monthly amounts of Cartel Coins as a reward for paying for the game, and Free-to-Play gamers are able to purchase many of the features and abilities exclusive to subscribers, such as access to Flashpoints, PvP, medical probes, and reduced cooldown on abilities, for a fee of Cartel Coins. The Cartel Market also features Packs, which are sets of items that are randomly selected from an assortment for each Pack, and so far there have been three Shipments: Cartel Packs, Contraband Packs, and Bounty Packs. A number of items in the various Packs have been gear sets for the companion characters from the original Knights of the Old Republic games. The four Cartel Packs in Shipment One were introduced over the course of Updates 1.5 through 1.7, and they were removed from the Cartel Market on June 11, 2013. Shipment Two's Contraband Packs were added over the course of Updates 1.7.2 through 2.2.2, and the first Bounty Pack—the Freelancer's Bounty Pack—was added in Game Update 2.3.1. The Collections system was recently added, which allows players to track which items they have received from the Cartel Market and also share those items among their Legacy. In November 2013, a feature was added that allows players to purchase Cartel Coins in-game.
- "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 an MMO followup to their smash hit Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR), 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 the 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 1970s. 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 concept, 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 distinguish 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 custom 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 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 after a fan poll to determine the new name, 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 an 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 artists 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. Ord Mantell was originally chosen based on the writers' desire to have a planet with a corrupt yet Republic-allied government. 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 Hutt. 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 on established continuity that stated Hoth was heated by internal volcanic rock, and geographical features to break up the endless snow. The selection of Hoth was influenced by the writers' desire to showcase the Empire's efforts in draining the Republic's resources for war, and the planet presented a proper environment to do so.
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 when the designers complained about their inability to create it in three dimensions, 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's 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.
For the planet Alderaan, the game designers recognized the importance that Alderaan's destruction played in A New Hope, and so they sought to create a world that would show the wonders and beauty of what was lost to the Death Star. Taking inspiration from Alderaan's depiction in Revenge of the Sith, as well as from the Swiss Alps and Scandinavian countryside, the game artists sought to create a crisp and bright planet—though the amount of snow that was used came as a shock to the world designers, including director Brad Prince. However, Prince quickly relented on the issue when he saw the finished product. Alderaan's castles, with their seemingly impossible architecture and soaring spires, were meant to create a medieval but also fantastic feel, and the designers chose to include the Killiks—an insectoid species native to Alderaan that originated in the Expanded Universe's Star Wars: The Dark Nest Trilogy.
Coruscant, the capital of the Republic, was the first city-world that the team attempted to design in late 2008, and the planet's unique environment presented a challenge that the designers were unprepared for: as Coruscant was a ecumenopolis built from enormous skyscrapers, the designers were unable to shape the planet by lifting and manipulating the digital terrain before placing objects. Coruscant was therefore entirely created using objects, and the team developed a workaround for the major rendering cost of such a technique—they created a small of set of reusable objects and set pieces which had wildly different looks on their sides. The technique, which was also used by Industrial Light & Magic to construct the Death Star in A New Hope, allowed the designers to build a city using only a small set of objects and maintain the variety expected while keeping framerate low.
The planet Voss, which was created for The Old Republic as an entirely new world, was developed in 2008 in order to give a home to the Mystics—a potential Force-using character class that had been discarded during early production as too alien and requiring too much explanation. The writers asked the artists to place the Voss, the Mystics' species, somewhere isolated and overwhelmed, so the artists developed the mountaintop city of Voss-Ka as the single settlement of the Voss, surrounded by ruins left behind by the Voss as they were forced back by the hostile Gormak species. Ancient Sith and Jedi ruins dotted the far reaches of the planet, and the artists were proudest of the Nightmare Lands: a corrupt region of the planet where a darkness was spreading throughout the area. The designers developed the technology of the Gormak specifically to contrast with traditional Star Wars technology, giving the Gormak tech a molded and precision-cut feel that differs from the more machine-made technology of the galaxy.
Belsavis, a planet created in the 1995 novel Children of the Jedi, was chosen by the designers when they came across the planet and what little physical description there was about it in the Holocron, the continuity database of Lucas Licensing. Daniel Erickson and other designers were excited by the description of Belsavis as an ice planet with rifts and ravines home to jungles that were warmed by volcanic vents, and Clint Young's design for the world was shaped by the idea that Belsavis was a prison planet. Young based his designs in the planet's ice fissures, surrounded by massive glaciers, and added large chunks of floating planet life—by-products of the heated air produced by the melting glaciers—to give the planet a surreal feeling and a sense of constant, small movement.
The artists first began visualizing the moon of Nar Shaddaa in early 2009, and they based the world off of the numerous depictions that Nar Shaddaa has received in various LucasArts video games. Nar Shaddaa was designed as a mixture of Coruscant and a seedy Las Vegas, with holographic signs, neon advertisements, extravagant parties, and floating casinos and pleasure barges. The planet Balmorra was used by the art team as a testing ground where they developed the various effects and environmental details that they later used on the other war-torn planets in the game. Using Balmorra as a sandbox, the team worked out the flight paths for background ships that would fly over head, created enormous turbolaser batteries continually firing at targets, and laser shields that were bombarded by missiles in real time. Balmorra was also where the designers worked out all of the issues and problems that came up while creating said effects, such as how it took them half a dozen versions of the missile shield to come up with a version that did not affect framerate.
The toxic planet of Quesh is an original world created by the artists, and the team started out by envisioning what the wet and murky wasteland planet had been before the Quake—the seismic event that had brought the toxic gases to the surface and ravaged the world. Taking into account the fact that the planet's original flora and fauna had been killed off, the designers added skeletons of massive creatures amid the poisonous marshes, mines, and production factories on Quesh. When the writers first decided to use Ilum, an ice planet similar to Hoth that was first shown in the 2003–2005 Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoon, they believed that the planets had sufficient visual differences: while Hoth was a snowy planet with large flat spaces and low snowbanks, Ilum was a jagged world of crystals, ice, cliffs, and drops. The artists, however, disagreed, as Hoth had been developed beyond what the writers had initially envisioned; so the artists approached Erickson with the idea of creating Ilum at night to differentiate the two worlds. The artists based their ideas on nighttime in Antarctica, where the visibility is such that one can see for miles, and the environmental art team's first design of Ilum earned the approval of everyone else on the project.
For the planet Corellia, the artists found that the planet's capital of Coronet City was very different from Nar Shaddaa and Coruscant: the city featured wide roads, green gardens and parks, and a public transit system amid towering skyscrapers and buildings. Part of the early goal for the planet was to show the conflict between the Corellian mindset and how Corellians lived—while Corellians are considered to be some of the most self-interested people in the galaxy, they have set aside wide swaths of land for parks and have blocked developments of their city, and Coronet as a whole is a well-functioning metropolis. The designers started by laying out Coronet City as it originally appeared before the Imperial invasion, and then the artists began to destroy the city, adding the war-damage effects developed for Balmorra and Ord Mantell.
Designing the ships
- "Oh, man, starships. That's the greatest thing in the world. Giving the player a starship is so Star Wars. Having your own mobile house is just awesome. It's as if you're in the movie."
- ―Brad Prince
Originally, the game designers intended to create three ships: one for the Republic, one for the Empire, and one for the underworld Smuggler and Bounty Hunter classes. However, as the concept art developed, it soon became clear that the Trooper would need a military vehicle, the Bounty Hunter would most likely not use a smuggler's freighter, and that the Imperial Agent would need a unique and non-Sith starship. Therefore, the designers decided to give each class their own unique ship, though it was eventually decided that the Sith and Jedi classes would share their respective ships, bringing the total number to six. Ryan Dening led the designing of the player starships, with Dening and the other artists first sketching rough exterior shots and experimenting with scale while imaging what each vessel would be used for. Once the basic design was chosen, the artists would then add in details such as landing gear, engines, ramps, weaponry, and other elements, all the while working to ensure that the vessels belonged in the Star Wars universe.
Constructing the game
For the levels in the Digital Expansion Galactic Starfighter, the creative team first collaborated in brainstorming what type of environment they wished to create, and they typically relied on iconic locations and scenes from the movies for inspiration—the Lost Shipyards map was designed with the idea of weaving through asteroids and blasting through an unfinished capital ship. The base design for the map layout was the next step, and scaling was critical: the ships in the expansion are smaller than player characters, allowing the developers to create larger environments relative to the players in order to maximize space. The designers then created a 2D map of the environment which indicated where points of interest and spawn points would be located, and the different ship types are tested to ensure that no type has a major advantage. The artists then expanded on the map to construct the environment, and visual effects and sound design are added to make the level immersive. After a test of the ships in the environment again, levels undergo a great deal of playtesting that sees the developers move or remove environmental objects to create a better level.
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. While a release was planed as early as 2009, slow development saw it slipping to 2010, and later 2011, leaving EA executives disappointed and pushing for BioWare main studio at Edmonton to fill the gap. Mark Darrah, Dragon Age series executive producer, would later reveal that Dragon Age II saw its scope greatly diminished, and it's development time cut to sixteen months, as a result.
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.
Tython, Korriban, Ord Mantell, and Hutta were the first planets to be announced for The Old Republic, around April 2009. On September 18, Coruscant was added to the "Planets" section of the Holonet, followed by Balmorra on October 16, Alderaan on November 27, Tatooine on December 18, and Dromund Kaas on January 8, 2010. The Trooper and the Bounty Hunter classes were added to the Holonet at the end of May 2009, and they were joined by the Smuggler on June 15, the Sith Warrior in late August, the Jedi Knight in late October, and the Imperial Agent in early November. The final classes, the Jedi Consular and the Sith Inquisitor, were added shortly after each other in early December. Taris and Belsavis were revealed on February 12 and March 12 respectively, and they were followed by the new planet Voss on April 9, Hoth on May 21, and Nar Shaddaa on July 30. The final three planets to be announced were Corellia on September 10, Ilum on October 8, and Quesh on January 21, 2011. The Rattataki species were revealed as a playable species in May 2010, while the Chiss and the Twi'lek species were announced in June, and the Mirialan, Miraluka, Zabrak, and Sith pureblood species were all announced on August 6.
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 Old Republic: Deceived, a second tie-in novel by Paul S. Kemp, was released on March 22, 2011 and focuses on the events surrounding the Deceived trailer. The Old Republic's Codex feature was announced on May 6 in a Developer Blog, which gave an overview of the system and encouraged players to seek out the entries in the game. 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. 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.
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 July and August: the San Diego Comic-Con, where the "Join the Fight" trailer premiered, 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, 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, holocamera, 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 Studios.
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 one-month subscription cost $14.99, while three-month and six-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 November 12–13. 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 15, Star Wars Galaxies, a Star Wars MMO produced by Sony Online Entertainment, was taken offline permanently after eight years of availability in preparation for The Old Republic's release.
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. BioWare and LucasArts issued a press release 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 release date of March 1 was announced for Australia, New Zealand, 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 April 5–9, April 19–23, and May 17–21. BioWare and LucasArts also announced a Friends Trial for The Old Republic on April 3, which allowed players to invite up to twenty-five friends to participate in a seven-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.
Only July 10, 2012, BioWare announced a Free Trial for The Old Republic as a prelude to their upcoming Free-to-Play option. In the Free Trial, players are able to play through the Prologue of all eight classes and also experience a Flashpoint and Warzones. In June 2012, the Free Character Transfer service was announced, allowing players to transfer their characters to higher population servers, and a reward of a Gannifarl pet and 25 Black Hole Commendations was added in July to entice players to transfer. In September, The Old Republic's servers were consolidated, reducing the number of servers from 215 to only eight American and eight European servers. Players whose Legacy or character names were already taken on their new servers were required to change their names to a unique name.
On July 31, 2012, due to dropping subscription numbers, BioWare announced a Free-to-Play option that would be implemented in the fall of that year. Free-to-Play gamers are able to play free up to Level 50, but there are gameplay restrictions that limit the cooldown of abilities and players' access to other content such as Flashpoints and Warzones. The Free-to-Play system was accompanied by the introduction of the Cartel Market, which allows players to spend real-world money on items and gear, and also allows Free-to-Play gamers to purchase the abilities and gameplay access that are restricted to subscribers. Free-to-Play was officially launched on November 15, a week after the release date was announced, and former subscribers who reactivated their subscription received Complimentary Cartel Coins as part of the game's Rewards Program.
Continued promotion and events
On October 18, 2012, the first Star Wars: The Old Republic Free-to-Play Insider Preview was released on the official site. The video, which was narrated by various game producers, gave insights into the upcoming Free-to-Play option, as well as insights into the latest news and information on the game as a whole. The second video, released on November 8, focused on the Cartel Market system and the new items that would be available in the Market. The third video was released on December 20, 2012, and focused on various updates that had been made to "Preferred Status" since the release of the Free-to-Play system, and showcased new items available on the Cartel Market for the holidays. However, with the fourth installment on February 11, the series was renamed to the Star Wars: The Old Republic Insider, and the video showcased new Valentine's Day–themed items in the Cartel Market as well as the upcoming Game Update 1.7
The name was further shortened to The Old Republic Insider with the fifth video on March 14 that showcased the Contraband Packs and the upcoming Game Update 2.0, and the numbering was dropped in favor of labeling the episodes by month in the April 26 installment that showcased the Cathar and Game Update 2.1. In the July 5 edition of the Insider, the upcoming Game Update 2.3 was highlighted, as well as the soon-to-be-introduced Ewok companion Treek. On October 10, 2012, the Star Wars: The Old Republic Community Cantina Tour was announced: a series of meet & greets with The Old Republic's community team and developers. Beginning on October 11 at the New York Comic Con, the Cantina Tour began visiting various cities on a roughly monthly schedule, and attendees received flash drives with exclusive looks at forthcoming content. In early 2015, the Cantina Tour added a reward system where players who attend will receive exclusive vehicles from the Prinawe family, which they can then share with up to five friends.
A fourth tie-in novel for the game, The Old Republic: Annihilation by Drew Karpyshyn, was released on November 13, 2012, and focuses on Theron Shan, Gnost-Dural, Satele Shan, and Jace Malcom. On September 10, it was announced that active subscribers would receive Rise of the Hutt Cartel for free as a subscriber benefit starting on September 12. In conjunction with this, a new limited time rewards program was announced on September 12, lasting through October 20: players who purchase subscriptions or who were currently subscribers on October 20 received a special JA-3 Subversive Battle Droid Mini-Pet and a JA-3 Subversive Speeder. On October 18, it was announced that a system would be implemented to deal with the problems relating to inactive accounts and names: to free up names that have been taken by inactive accounts, around 36% of inactive characters were flagged for rename, allowing other players to choose those names. Level 30 and above characters were excluded from this, as are Subscribers, and November 12 was the target date for the renaming. In 2014, it was also announced that developers would now host a weekly community live stream.
A recurring promotion are Double XP weekends, and the Cartel Market began running regular sales that bring back previously removed items and packs. For each anniversary of The Old Republic's launch, exclusive items and rewards were released to players; the first anniversary saw fireworks given out to players and a contest for the best celebration moments held, and the second anniversary was celebrated with exclusive starfighter paint jobs and fireworks. The third anniversary event, which ran between December 16, 2014 and January 12, 2015, saw the cost of the Coruscant and Dromund Kaas Strongholds lowered to 3 credits and new decoration rewards added. In celebration of the Star Wars holiday May 4, players with an account were rewarded with the MT-4T Astromech Droid pet and a Double XP weekend, and 2015 saw the M4-1S Astromech Droid given out to players. The May 4 promotion also readded the 12XP boost for subscribers that lasted until fall 2015.
In addition, a number of statistics were released: as of November 2014, over 57 million characters have been created in The Old Republic—17 million of which were Jedi—with 1 million active players and 1,790,161,8666 PvP kills since the game's launch. The statistics also included a breakdown of those characters by class—8,646,835 Sith Warriors, 9,314,029 Jedi Knights, 7,030,465 Bounty Hunters, 6,128,504 Republic Troopers, 5,873,759 Imperial Agents, 5,546,405 Smugglers, 8,567,354 Sith Inquisitors, and 8,804,362 Jedi Consulars. Over 4 billion non-player characters have been killed since the game's launch, and players have spent a total of 635 million hours playing The Old Republic; the first player to reach level 50 took 59.47 hours to do so. The most popular lightsaber color in the game at the time was the Advanced Black-Yellow Fortitude Crystal, and the total number of player ships was 6,824,056.
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 the new 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 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 subterranean 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
- "We are thrilled to release Game Update 2.1: Customization today. This update introduces many highly requested and anticipated features to Star Wars: The Old Republic. As the name indicates, Game Update 2.1 is all about giving players the freedom to customize their characters to fully immerse themselves in their personal Star Wars saga."
- ―Cory Butler
Game Update 2.1: Customization was first announced on April 26 in a video that previewed the addition of the Cathar as a playable species. The April edition of The Old Republic Insider, released the same day, gave further information on the update, announcing the addition of the Appearance Designer Kiosk as well as upcoming Cartel Market items. The Kiosk allows players to completely recreate their character's appearances in exchange for Cartel Coins, and the addition of Dye Modules allows players to change the colors of any crafted gear above Level 15. The update was released on May 14, and included the addition of the Collections Interface, which allows players to unlock Cartel Market items for their entire account at a discount price. Additionally, with the release of Update 2.1 players are now able to purchase a variety of Convenience Services, including Character Rename, Legacy Rename, and Guild Rename, in the Cartel Market.
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 rideable Hutt mount known as the "Huttese Transporter."
Game Update 2.2: Operation Nightmare
- "Put your guild's coordination and skill to the ultimate test as you conquer twelve nightmarish bosses on the planets of Asation and Darvannis in two newly upgraded Level 55 Nightmare Mode Operations coming soon in Game Update 2.2: Operation Nightmare. Fight for a chance to earn a brand new set of Kell Dragon gear, the most powerful PvE gear available, along with two new stunning vehicles."
- ―Announcement for Update 2.2
Game Update 2.2: Operation Nightmare was first announced on May 24 during Bruce Maclean's "Summer of SWTOR" announcement, and it was released in two parts. The first, Update 2.2, added a Nightmare Mode for Terror From Beyond, as well as new guild bonuses, two new vehicles, and the Kell Dragon PvE gear set. Underworld Gear crafting was also added in the first part, and the second part—Update 2.2.2—added a Nightmare Mode to Scum and Villainy. Update 2.2 was released on June 12, though Update 2.2.2 was not released until July 10.
Game Update 2.3: Titans of Industry
- "Titans of Industry is a new story arc encompassing two new Flashpoints at level 55: Czerka Corporate Labs and Czerka Core Meltdown. These Flashpoints can be accessed by traveling to a small daily mission area, CZ-198 via your ship or the Priority Transport Terminal."
- ―Bruce Maclean
Game Update 2.3: Titans of Industry is a Czerka-themed update that was first announced during Bruce Maclean's "Summer of SWTOR" announcement on May 24 and released on August 6. The update went live on the Public Test Server on June 28, when it was announced that the update would be centered around three main additions: a new Level 55 daily mission area and two new Flashpoints. The mission area is the moon of CZ-198, which is the site of a major Czerka Corporation facility that has recently entered an emergency lockdown, while the Flashpoint: Czerka Corporate Labs and Flashpoint: Czerka Core Meltdown deal with various crises at the facility. In the July edition of The Old Republic Insider, it was revealed that Update 2.3 would include a new Ewok companion named Treek that would be available for all classes, and on July 5 the new recurring Bounty Contract Week was announced, as was the addition of the Cartel Bazaar areas to both factions' fleets.
With the release of Game Update 2.3, Tauntaun Mounts are added to the game, and three new organizations—the Adjudicators, the Ordnance Acquisition Corps, and the Bounty Brokers Association—are added to the Reputation system. Update 2.3 also saw a reworking of the game's visuals with new palette graphics, with every planet's environment receiving alterations in their color schemes to better reflect the planet and to create contrast between different regions. The Czerka storyline of Titans of Industry was planned as far back as the 2012 leak, which included the introductory conversations for the update's storyline.
Game Update 2.4: The Dread War
- "This is our biggest Game Update since 2.0 and includes a story mission area with new missions on a new moon, two entirely new Operations, all new 4v4 Warzone gameplay and Arenas, class balance changes, three new sets of gear comprising some of the most powerful equipment in the galaxy, and new vehicles and mount rewards!"
- ―Bruce Maclean
Game Update 2.4: The Dread War, promoted as the "Last Chapter in the Dread Masters Saga," was first mentioned on July 16 when developers confirmed a variety of features that would be introduced in the update, and the update went live on the Public Test Server a month later on August 16, followed by the update's official release on October 1. In a press release on September 12, BioWare announced that Update 2.4 would be released on October 1. Update 2.4 centers on the final confrontation with the Dread Masters, who have retreated to their Dread Fortress on the moon of Oricon, and the two new Operations: Dread Fortress and Dread Palace. Oricon is a new story mission area with a world arc for each faction and additional Level 55 Daily Missions, and two Reputation organizations for Oricon have been added: the Republic's Strike Team Oricon and the Empire's Dread Executioners.
Update 2.4 also introduces the new Warzone Arenas, which are Last Team Standing Warzones that pit teams of 4 players against each other in battles to eliminate the opposing team, with a best of three rounds per match. The first three "Arenas of Death," as the Warzones are called in-game, are on Corellia, Tatooine, and an Orbital Station. Update 2.4 also sees the removal of 8v8 Ranked Warzones, as the limited number of eight-player groups willing and able to play in those matches made 8v8 Ranked matches very rare. Warzone Arenas are restricted to subscribers as of Update 2.4, though a removal of this restriction and an additional Warzone Arena map are planned. Three additional gear sets and a number of new vehicle and mounts are added in the update, and the update included a variety of minor changes to the various advanced classes in order to better balance gameplay.
Game Update 2.5: Galactic Starfighter Subscriber Early Access
- "The no-longer-super-secret space project has been revealed at last! We are working hard to bring you the Galactic Starfighter™ free Digital Expansion in February, but on December 3rd we are planning to open it up to Subscribers with Game Update 2.5: Galactic Starfighter Subscriber Early Access. Also in Game Update 2.5 we'll have continued class balance updates and an all new PvP Warzone Arena, the Makeb Mesa Arena."
- ―Bruce Maclean
Game Update 2.5: Galactic Starfighter Subscriber Early Access was first announced in a blog update about the holiday plans for The Old Republic on October 18, 2013 with a release date of December 3. The bulk of the update focused on the addition of the Digital Expansion Galactic Starfighter, which was made available to subscribers. Game Update 2.5 also included class balance changes and the Makeb Mesa PvP Warzone Arena. Two maps for the Galactic Starfighter Domination game mode were made available—Lost Shipyards and Kuat Mesas—and a new Reputation organization, The Hyland Organization for Rakghoul Neutralization (T.H.O.R.N.) was added.
Game Update 2.6: Galactic Starfighter
- "For those of you who haven't yet experienced Galactic Starfighter, now is the perfect time. Starting today, anyone with an account can log into the game and immediately access all that Galactic Starfighter has to offer. We have many new additions and improvements to the game including a brand new role in the Bomber and a new gameplay mode, Team Death Match!"
- ―Jack Wood
Game Update 2.6: Galactic Starfighter was announced in a Developer Tracker post on January 2, 2014, and was the official launch of Galactic Starfighter on February 4, 2014. The update added a number of new content elements, including the gunship for Free-to-Play players, a new Gunship variant, and two new Bomber variants for a total of six new ships. A DPS boost was implemented for Operatives and Scoundrels, and a number of combat modifications were added for Mercenaries, Commandos, Sorcerers, and Sages. The update went live on the Public Test Server on January 10, including a new Tactical Flashpoint: Kuat Drive Yards that is role-neutral, the Team Deathmatch mode for Galactic Starfighter, and a number of new improvements for the expansion.
Game Update 2.7: Invasion
- "A new story arc begins with Forged Alliances: Part I, which includes two new level 55 Tactical Flashpoints: Assault on Tython and Korriban Incursion. This epic new storyline for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ introduces two major characters – Theron Shan and Lana Beniko. The three part story will continue to be expanded throughout the year culminating in an incredible finale."
- ―Bruce Maclean
Game Update 2.7: Invasion was first announced on February 3, 2014 with an intended release date of April 8, and went live on the Public Test Server at the end of February, at which time the update's name was announced. The update included two new Tactical Flashpoints—Assault on Tython and Korriban Incursion—that are the start of "Forged Alliances," a year-long storyline that sees the Republic and the Empire confront one another directly. Other content included a Nightmare Mode for the Dread Fortress Operation, a new tier of gear, the new Domination map Denon Exosphere for Galactic Starfighter, and a new Huttball Warzone, Quesh Huttball Pit. The update also featured combat changes to a majority of the sixteen advanced classes.
Game Update 2.8: Spoils of War
- "With this update we hope to give you plenty of different activities to while away your summer. We're kicking things off with some increased Galactic Starfighter rewards – you'll get double Fleet Requisition & Credits for completing GSF matches. This will last 3 weeks until 2.8.1 hits, at which time we'll switch our focus over to Warzones and double your Commendations & Credits for completing those matches."
- ―Andrew Horwitz
Game Update 2.8: Spoils of War was first announced on February 3, 2014 with an intended release date of June 10, and was touted as the largest game update since the game launched. As of February, known content for the update included a Nightmare Mode of the Dread Palace Operation, and new ships and a new Ship Role for Galactic Starfighter. However, the expansion's release was later postponed until June 28 to give the developers more time to complete the stronghold content. Subscriber Early Access for Galactic Strongholds was planned to be launched with Update 2.8, but was delayed until Update 2.9's release on August 19. Update 2.8 first went live on the Public Test Server on May 1. The update's name was revealed on May 14, when the Festival of Splender in-game event was also announced along with a new group-finder for Story Mode Operations, and a new variant for the Gunship and the Bomber classes. Game Update 2.8 was accompanied by three weeks of double Fleet Requisition and credit rewards for completing Galactic Starfighter matches, after which the rewards shifted to Warzones. The Rakghoul Resurgence event was supposedly discontinued, though other events such as a July 4 Double XP Weekend, the Relics of the Gree, and Bounty Contract Week returned in the summer. The update also introduced NPC models for a number of alien species, including Klatooinians, Snivvians, Ishi Tib, and Aqualish.
Game Update 2.9: Galactic Strongholds Early Access
- "The introduction of Galactic Strongholds brings you a multitude of new features that have never been seen before in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™! Galactic Strongholds fulfills your dreams of owning your own home in the Star Wars™ universe, establishing your own Guild Headquarters in one of our four Stronghold locations, or conquering the galaxy in a formidable Guild Flagship!"
- ―Jack Wood
Game Update 2.9: Galactic Strongholds Early Access was first announced on April 23, 2014 as the launch date for Subscriber Early Access to the new Galactic Strongholds Digital Expansion. The expansion's launch was originally planned for June, but delayed so the team could add additional features. It was released on August 19, 2014, and featured the launch of both Galactic Strongholds and the Depths of Manaan Tactical Flashpoint, which continues the Forged Alliances storyline. The Flashpoint is accessible via the new "planet" of Manaan, which appears on the galaxy map but currently only features a vendor and the Flashpoint entrance. Ranked Arena Season 2 also came to an end with Update 2.9, and the new GSI Satellite Support Service was launched on Makeb, boosting armor ratings and giving additional bonuses.
Game Update 2.10: Forged Alliances
- "Don't miss out on the epic finale to the 'Forged Alliances' storyline with the release of the new Legacy of the Rakata Flashpoint, now live! Discover the mysteries of the historic planet of Rakata Prime, a tropical world largely covered in oceans, home to the Rakata species and also referred to as the 'Unknown World.'"
- ―Game Update 2.10 announcement
Game Update 2.10: Forged Alliances was first mentioned in the exclusive content given to fans who attended the Cantina Tour at August's Gamescom 2014, and the Cantina Tour at PAX Prime 2014 a few weeks later set the update's release date as September 9. The finale of the "Forged Alliances" storyline, Update 2.10 introduces the new Tactical Flashpoint: Legacy of the Rakata, which sees players pursue Colonel Darok and Darth Arkous to Rakata Prime. The update also featured a significant amount of class combat changes that were kept back from Update 2.9 due to technical reasons. Ranked Warzone Arena Season 3 began with the update, as did the September instance of the Bounty Contract Week event.
Game Update 3.0: Shadow of Revan Early Access
- "Of course, we haven't left out the usual accoutrements you'd expect from an expansion of this magnitude. The first thing you'll notice when you log into the game is the new Disciplines system. This has replaced the old Skill Trees system in favor of a more streamlined and user friendly system that allows you to experience the core of your character's Class very early on in the game. From there, the game opens up into the Forged Alliances prelude, where you are able to play single-player versions of the Forged Alliances Flashpoints on Tython, Korriban, Manaan, & Rakata Prime."
- ―Andrew Horwitz
Game Update 3.0: Shadow of Revan Early Access was first announced alongside Shadow of Revan on October 6, 2014, with an intended release date of December 2 in order to coincide with the release of Early Access for Shadow of Revan. In addition to the Digital Expansion, which adds the two new worlds of Rishi and Yavin 4, the two new Flashpoints Blood Hunt and Battle of Rishi, and the new Operations Temple of Sacrifice and The Ravagers, Game Update 3.0 introduced the new Discipline system, which replaced the prior Skill Tree system for advanced class skills. New content included solo versions and Hard Modes for the four Forged Alliances Flashpoints, a new level cap of 500 for Crew Skills, and the end of Ranked Arena Season 3, and the Bounty Contract Week also returned at the full launch of the expansion. Update 3.0 also saw the launch of a new visualization system called Effect Procs, which highlights hotbar buttons to show which abilities are "powered up" by active effects.
Game Update 3.1: Conflict on Rishi
- "Rally three of your most trusted allies and return to the dangerous pirate haven of Rishi to fight through Level 60 Hard Mode versions of the two newest story-driven Flashpoints, Blood Hunt and Battle of Rishi. Plus, compete for glory and new rewards in PvP Season 4 – all in Game Update 3.1: Conflict on Rishi!"
- ―Update 3.1 announcement
Game Update 3.1: Conflict on Rishi was first announced in January 2015 with an intended release date of early February, and was released on February 10. The update's primary addition is Hard Mode versions of the Battle of Rishi and Blood Hunt Flashpoints from Shadow of Revan, and the start of Season 4 for the Ranked Warzones, which lasted roughly three months before ending with Game Update 3.2. The new Massassi Gear Set, two new walkers, and several decorations were added as rewards for the new Hard Mode Flashpoints.
Game Update 3.2: Rise of the Emperor
- "Unleashed from his sanctuary on Yavin 4, the former Sith Emperor has now struck the Imperial world of Ziost. Using his immense power in the dark side of the Force™, he has dominated the minds of the planet's Imperial troops--as well as an elite cadre of militaristic Jedi--and has set them against the populace, engaging in a bloody slaughter. Join with allies Lana Beniko and Theron Shan to stop the Emperor's terrifying assault in Game Update 3.2: Rise of the Emperor!"
- ―Update 3.2 description
Game Update 3.2: Rise of the Emperor was first announced in January 2015, and was released on April 28. PvP Season 4 ends with Game Update 3.2, and Season 5 launched without a preseason like previous iterations. The update's main focus is Ziost, a new Daily Area with a storyline that continues the events of Shadow of Revan and centers on the former Sith Emperor's actions after Yavin 4. The finale to the Ziost storyline was not made accessible upon the update's release; the endgame became available on May 4 as part of the celebration of Star Wars Day, and opens up the Daily Area version of Ziost. The update was preceded by a series of short stories released on the game's official website, introducing the Sixth Line and expanding on the stories of Theron Shan and Lana Beniko.
Game Update 3.3: Grand Togruta Celebration
Game Update 3.3: Grand Togruta Celebration was first officially announced in a developer Livestream on June 3, 2015, and was released on July 22, 2015. It features the addition of the Togruta as a playable species and a new Stronghold on Yavin 4. The update also featured an extensive overhaul of the PvP gear system—removing Ranked Warzone Commendations, which were required to purchase the high-tier PvP gear and were much harder to earn. Existing Ranked Commendations were converted to standard Warzone Commendations, and the prices for both tiers of PvP gear were drastically reduced. Players also gained the ability to transfer Warzone Commendations between their characters, and the Commendations limit was raised from a maximum of a few thousand to 200,000. Additional improvements and tweaks to the PvP rewards and elements of warzones were included in the update.
Game Update 4.0: Knights of the Fallen Empire
Game Update 4.0: Knights of the Fallen Empire was first mentioned on June 12, 2015, and was released on October 20, 2015. The update replaces the four primary stats Strength, Willpower, Cunning and Aim with a new single stat called Mastery. Flashpoints and Operations have been updated, with many new modes added for older Flashpoints and a new Flashpoint called "Star Fortress." Furthermore, subscribers now have the option to start their game at level 60. The primary addition to this update is the new Knights of the Fallen Empire storyline, available at level 60 (only for subscribers). Knights of the Fallen Empire continues from the events of Rise of the Emperor. The new storyline also adds new companions. A new planet, Zakuul, is also available for all players.
Game Update 4.1: Anarchy in Paradise
Game Update 4.1: Anarchy in Paradise was released on February 8, 2016 and mainly added a new chapter for the Knights of the Fallen Empire storyline, featuring the mercenary Firebrand, along with the two new Alliance Alerts, "Arma Rasa" and "Little Boss." Crew Skills were also revisited.
Game Update 4.2: Disavowed
Game Update 4.2: Disavowed was released on March 8, 2016. The update added an eleventh chapter for the Knights of the Fallen Empire storyline, allowing the player to battle alongside Major Aric Jorgan. The update also saw the return of the "Relics of the Gree" and "Bounty Contract Week" Events.
Game Update 4.3: Visions in the Dark
Game Update 4.3: Visions in the Dark was released on April 5, 2016 and added the twelfth chapter of the Knights of the Fallen Empire storyline. The chapter focuses on the confrontation between the player and Emperor Valkorion. The update started Ranked Warzone Arena Season 7 and added the new Warzone: Odessen Proving Grounds and the new Warzone Arena: Rishi Cove Arena. The update also allowed PVE and PVP players to play together, with the new gameplay option "Focus." The Bounty Contract Week Event also returned. Players were also able to now unlock additional Strongholds.
Game Update 4.4: Profit and Plunder
Game Update 4.5: Mandalore's Revenge
Game Update 4.6: The GEMINI Deception
Game Update 4.7: The Battle of Odessen
- "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 outbreak 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. 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.