SWTOR Tips for New Players

Star Wars: The Old Republic is an incredibly fun game to get into. The cutscenes are some of the best you’ll find in any online game, and the class stories will take you on a journey to a long, long time ago, set in a galaxy that exists thousands of years before the Star Wars movies take place. In the game you can play as one of eight classes, each one with a unique story and combat style, that range from the clever and cunning Imperial Agent to the noble and powerful Jedi Knight. Whether you’re new to online gaming or have more experience, if you enjoy Star Wars, I would definitely recommend trying out Star Wars: The Old Republic. In fact, when current Old Republic players were asked if they think SWTOR is worth trying, a large majority answered YES! If you’re looking to get into the game, here are some new player tips that are great for newbies and returning players.

Character Creation Tips

  • Before you make your SWTOR account, you can use a subscribed friend’s referral link so you can get some free goodies ingame. If you are returning to the game after a break and have subscribed in the past but aren’t subscribed right now, you can also use a referral link to get a free 7 days of subscription – use them well!More information about referral links. 
  • Be aware of what’s available when choosing a server. At the time of making this guide the developers are getting ready to merge the servers to make it easier for players to play together. If you are in North America and live towards the east, you’ll want to choose the Star Forge Server. If you live near the west you’ll want to choose the Satele Shan Server. If you live in Europe and speak English, you’ll want to choose Darth Malgus, if you speak French choose The Leviathan) and if you speak German choose Tulak Hord. All east coast servers will now be merged into Star Forge, all west coast servers are being merged into Satele Shan, the European language servers are being merged into one server each respectively.
  • Choose a class that seems interesting to you – there is no “best class” and they are fairly well balanced. The most commonly chosen classes are the Jedi Knight followed by the Sith Warrior. If you need more help choosing a class, I’ve made a guide about Which Class Should I Play?
  • Be aware that only certain advanced classes can heal or tank… So if you want to play those roles, make sure to pick a class and advanced class that allows you to choose those roles. All classes can be DPS, which means they focus on dealing damage, but only Smuggler Scoundrels, imperial operatives, Jedi consular sages, sith Inquisitor sorcerers, trooper commandos and bounty Hunter mercenaries have the ability to heal, and only Jedi consular shadows, sith Inquisitor assassins, Jedi Knight guardians, sith warrior juggernauts, trooper vanguard and bounty Hunter powertechs have the ability to tank. Ooof that’s a lot of info, just look at the chart instead. That doesn’t mean it’s the only thing those advanced classes can do – you can switch between being a healer and DPS or tank and DPs on those advanced classes.
  • You can NOT change your character’s class or advanced class after you choose it. You will only be able to change your specialization within that advanced class, for example from DPS to healer. This specialization is called your combat proficiency and each advanced class has three to choose from. Players often swap between them for fun or to help fill the needs of their group when playing together.
  • On a free to play account, you will only have access to playing three races – humans, cyborgs and zabraks. There’s a variety of ways to unlock the other races – but all of them are difficult to do on a free to play account. Your species does not have a major affect on the game, so pick the one that interests you the most. Subscribing unlocks more options, others can be unlocked through playing the game, and others like the Cathar and Togruta can only be purchased on the cartel market or from other players with credits. If you want to know more about unlocking races and your character’s appearance, I’ve got a guide about Character Appearance.
  • If you reach dark side level one or higher, your character’s appearance might start to change including their eye color and skin color. This darkside corruption can be toggled on and off from your character sheet, but to turn it on and off, you’ll need to press the tiny icon of a piece of armor to access the setting.
  • When choosing a character name, you can have a space in it to make a first and last name. You can also use up to two apostrophes and one dash in your character name.
  • Some players also use accented symbols to get their “dream” name if it’s already taken, but these symbols can make it difficult for other players to message you or invite you to their group as they can’t be as easily typed as normal letters. Chart of accented characters 
  • Each class has its own storyline, and each faction has its own storyline per planet. If you are on a free to play account with a limit of 4 characters, I’d recommend choosing one Imperial character and one Republic character, so you can explore both sides of the planetary stories instead of doing the same one twice on the same faction
  • You are limited to 4 characters per server on a f2p account… But you could make 4 more characters on another server, 4 more on the next, and so on. Keep in mind though, your characters on different servers don’t share anything together – they are completely separate. At the time of making this guide there will be only 5 servers, so if you plan on playing exclusively free-to-play, you’ll want to pick your twenty characters wisely. You can make 1 of each class simply by playing on 2 servers.
  • If you are playing with a friend, make sure to choose characters on the same server and same faction, or you won’t be able to play together. It’s also recommended to pick two different classes that start on the same planet. Those pairs include picking a smuggler and trooper, picking a Jedi consular and Jedi Knight, picking a sith warrior and sith Inquisitor, or picking an Imperial agent and bounty Hunter to play together.

In-game Tips

  • The game uses cutscenes to advance the story, and the choices you make can affect your storyline. If you accidentally make a wrong decision or didn’t like your conversation choice, you can quickly press ESC quickly to exit and re-do the cutscene, as long as the cutscene hasn’t ended yet.
  • If the cutscene has already ended and you really don’t like the choice you made, in some situations, you can open up the quest log and reset the quest as long as you aren’t currently located in an active phase and don’t mind restarting the quest from the beginning.
  • Once you are in game and can run around, the first thing you’ll want to do is open your map by press M, then check the box that says”Show Exploration Missions”. This will allow you to see all the extra bonus quests in the game. They are hidden and deactivated by default. Conversely, if you only want to see the most important quests, only follow the quests that have purple symbols on the map and over quest giver’s heads.
  • As you run around, you might occasionally get stuck in things like rocks or trees. If your character ever gets stuck, open the chat window by pressing ENTER and type /stuck to get teleported away. Try not to get stuck in the same place again, because this /stuck function has a 2 minute cooldown.
  • Free to play players can not use chat to talk to other players until level 25. This restriction mainly ecists to keep spammers out of the chat chanels. Don’t worry, level 25 comes pretty quick and you should reach it by your second or third planet.
  • The only way Republic and Imperial players can talk to each other in the open world is the /say channel. So if you’re on a Jedi and want to say hi to a nearby sith, type in /say or select it from the yellow speech bubble drop down menu on the bottom left of the chat menu before you type your greeting to them.
  • While running from quest to quest, press the num lock key on your keyboard to auto-run. You can then use your mouse to adjust the direction you’re running in.
  • Your legacy is something shared between all your characters… So when you finish the first chapter of your story and a panel pops up asking you to choose your legacy name.. choose wisely! This name doesn’t have to be unique, unlike character names. You can change it later, but it’s a fairly expensive thing to do.
  • There are tons of hidden achievements to find and explore while you are levelling on a planet. If you enjoy achievements, they can be found in your legacy panel, which can be accessed by hovering over the symbol of a person on the menu and then choosing “Legacy”, or by pressing “Y” on your keyboard. You can do some achievements all on one character like finding hidden datacrons and lore objects, while others like the kill x amount of monsters achievements are meant to be done across many characters
  • This is what a lore object looks like. It’s something in the open world that’s glowing blue, that ISN’T a part of your quests. Every one of these you find unlocks a lore entry you can read.
  • Every planet you visit while doing your main class quest has hidden Datacrons that boost your stats across all your characters on your server. Some can be tough to find, and others send you on jumping puzzles. To see which datacrons you’ve found, look in your legacy panel under the global unlocks section near the top if the list.
  • This is the sound a datacron makes *sparkle sparkle sparkle* if you hear it, there’s a datacron nearby
  • Once you are out in the open world, you will want to choose your combat proficiency before jumping into a fight. To open your combat proficiency menu, press K for kombat or choose combat proficiencies under the icon of a person in the menu.
  • If you want to change your combat proficiency later, you’ll need to go to the combat section of the republic or imperial fleet which you gain access to around level 10 to 15. You’ll want to speak to a rodian with title of “Skill Mentor” located in one of the corner rooms. The Republic Skill Mentor is named Leuro-Khian, & the Imperial Skill Mentor is Assistant Kunoa.
  • As you level up, you’ll be able to gain more abilities by talking to the abilities trainer. Take the time to hover over and really read each ability to find out what it does – it’s easier to learn your abilities as you get them, instead of trying to learn them all at the end!
  • Some abilities are meant to be used defensively. Figure out which ones those are so you can use them in a pinch.
  • To quickly switch between enemies, press the tab key on your keyboard. There’s s also a setting called “Auto Target Closest Enemy” you can toggle in your settings, in the Controls section under general.
  • If you are on a free to play account and your character is defeated, think wisely about whether or not you want to use your Combat Probes to revive yourself in the exact place you died. You can access unlimited medical probes up until your character reaches level 10, at which point, you will only get a total of 5, for the rest of the game! Return to the med center if you know it isn’t too far of a walk, instead. Subscribers can revive​ in place an unlimited amount of times, but there’s a cooldown if you try to use it too many times in a row.
  • While you’re running around picking up loot, you may find it useful to go into your settings and turn on “Enable Area Loot” and “Auto-loot on right click”. These are both toggleable by press ESC Escape, Preferences, at the top of the controls section.
  • If you are playing a Jedi or a Sith, you’ll get your first lightsaber around level 10 at the end of your first planet… Enjoy slashing things with your practice sabre in the meantime.
  • If you are playing a Sith, there’s a quest on Korriban called Jailbreak that lets you help a Jedi captured by the Sith – he sends you to find his belongings. His lightsaber can be hard to find – if you can’t find it, kill THIS GUY who will drop the lightsaber.
  • Heroic quests are designed for a groups for 2 to four players. But if you’ve got up to date gear and your companion is set to heal, then you might be able to do Heroic 2’s alone, just be careful though!
  • Most heroic quests on planets are repeatable once per day. The easiest way to pick up previous heroics is from a terminal on the fleet in the combat training section – these heroics will also have a fast travel button when they are showing in your quest tracker.
  • The planets Taris and Balmorra both have a bonus set of quests of that can only be picked up once you’ve finished the main class story. These are located near the Spaceports where you load in. Other planets also have bonus series quests but they can’t be started until level 60 or later.
  • Want to travel around the Galaxy quickly? You can open the Galaxy map by pressing Shift+M, or by pressing the icon of a galaxy near your minimap. Note that travelling this way sometimes doesn’t trigger quest requirements, and if it doesn’t just go back to your ship and travel to the planet manually.

Companion Tips

  • You’ll get your first companion on your first planet, and they’ll start off as a healer so they can keep you alive, but you can always switch​ their role by right clicking their portrait.
  • All companions start off equal, so bring along the one you like best. While you are levelling, the most recent companion you got is the one most likely to have a unique line during a cutscene, so if that’s important to you, use your companions in the order you get them.
  • If your companion dies in combat, just dismiss them and re-summon them – it’s quicker than reviving them and healing them.
  • Companion gear doesn’t matter – it’s just for looks and won’t make them stronger. A companion’s strength is based on their Influence with you, and grows when you bring them along for conversations, crafting, and by giving them companion gifts.
  • As you quest you’ll pick up items along the way – some of them will be trash that is meant to be sold to a vendor for credits. All vendors have a button you can press to quickly “sell trash”
  • You can also send your companion to go and sell trash for you, instead of having to wait until you are near a vendor if your inventory is starting to get full. Right click your companion’s portrait to send them to sell trash.

Credits Tips

  • If you’re on a free to play account, you’ll eventually reach the credit cap of 200,000 credits. Any credits you earn beyond point that get stored in your escrow – you don’t lose them, but you can’t access them until you subscribe. Don’t worry though, you probably won’t even come close to this cap until level 40 or higher.
  • There’s not a lot to buy with credits while you are leveling up – I recommend saving your credits for later, either to buy nice looking cosmetic items or useful unlocks. Due to their restrictions and credit cap, free-to-play players can only access a few of the special legacy unlocks. These legacy unlocks require a specific legacy level – as you play on any of your characters on your server, you contribute towards your shared legacy level. Legacy levels don’t come quickly, especially for free to play players – for example, at level 31 I’m still at legacy level 1. The unlocks I recommend players save up for and eventually buy are:
    • Under Character Perks in the Legacy Panel, these perks apply only to your individual character…
    • Basic Field Repair droid for 50,000 credits at legacy level 5 so you can sell stuff and repair your gear on the fly
    • A Field Mail Droid, which also costs 50,000 credits for legacy level 10 and allows you to access mail wherever you are
    • Field Respec which costs exactly 200,000 credits and allows you to change combat proficiencies on the fly at legacy level 10
    • There are a lot of other really useful unlocks, but they aren’t acessible until later legacy levels or are very expensive and new players likely won’t be able to unlock them for a while.
  • If you are on a free-to-play account, you may pick up cool pieces of purple-bordered gear that say they require artifact authorization to equip – you can not equip it unless you are subscribed or have purchased the expensive artifact unlock. The good news is you don’t need great gear to do your class story – you can choose to sell that purple-bordered item or save it for if you subscribe later.. but you’ll likely out level it quickly.
  • Once you reach the fleet at about level 10, you’ll be able to buy and sell things on the GTN. Good things to sell include unbound gear, crafting materials, and companion gifts you don’t plan on using.
  • To search the GTN for a specific item you already own, shift left click the item while you have the GTN open – it will copy the items name into the search box. This is a great way to find out what something is worth and how much you should sell it for.
  • you can click the up and down arrows on the price and unit price on the GTN to sort by price and see the lowest prices
  • It’s not recommended to buy any gear with stats from the GTN until you hit max level, because you outgrow gear quickly and credits come a lot faster at max level
  • on a free to play account, you can’t unlock a speeder that allows you to travel faster until level 25. There are two places to get an inexpensive speeder – check the GTN under the category Mount then sort from lowest to highest, and also check the speeder vendor in the Galactic Trade Market section of the fleet, who has speeders for as low as 8,000 credits.
  • You can also gain a free speeder from running The Esseles or The Black Talon in story mode, the first flashpoint you gain access to around level 10 on the fleet.
  • Here’s a fun trick – You can type the old republic credits symbol in chat by Holding down ‘Alt’ and use numpad to type 0164

Gear Tips

  • If you are finding your gear is at a low level and the gear you’re getting from questing isn’t keeping up, go to the combat section of the fleet. There will be vendors that sell armor modifications for a wide variety of levels
  • Armor modifications ingame are called Armorings, Modifications, Enhancements, and Barrels and Hilts. These are bits and pieces with stats attached to them that you can put into your armor to make it stronger
  • You can only put mods into certain pieces of gear, and you usually can’t put them into gear you picked up off the ground that has a green or blue border around it’s icon
  • If you pick up a piece of moddable gear you really like, you can keep wearing it even all the way until level 50 if you just upgrade the mods. (all gear with an orange border around it’s item icon is moddable)
  • If you want to get an easy set of customizable gear, head to the adaptive gear vendor in the Supplies part of the fleet, in a corner room with other vendors . They sell tons of different empty adaptive armors for a very low cost.
  • To modify gear, ctrl+right click on it’s icon. You can then drag modifications from your inventory into your gear
  • Stats on gear can be a bit confusing. The mastery, crit, and alacrity stats are good for characters that want to do lots of damage or heal. The endurance, shield, absorption and defense stats are good for characters who want to tank. Don’t mix and match the two types of stats – you don’t need high endurance or defense if your character is a DPS and wants to focus on doing damage.
  • To preview a piece of armor, mount, or pet, CTRL+Left Click on the item, either in the chat box, in your inventory, on the GTN or from vendor. This will open a window that shows you a preview of how your character looks with that item equipped
  • The outfit designer allows you to wear the look of ay armor you like, while being able to use the stats from your main armor you use for combat. That means you could look like you are wearing a robe you picked up at level 10, but keep the stats of your level 20 armor.
  • to use the outfit designer click on the number tabs on your character sheet. You can then click and drag armor from your inventory into the outfit slots. Double click the numbered tabs to put on the outfits in those slots.
  • Each time you add a piece of armor to the outfit designer it costs credits – but it costs less at lower levels., so if you’ve got a piece of armor you want to turn into an outfit, make sure to do it as early as possible.
  • If you want a free set of relics, implants and an earpiece, you can pick up the PvP intro quest from the combat section of the fleet and try queuing up for one PvP match. Even if you lose horribly, you still get the free gear!

Stronghold Tips

  • If you find yourself running out of inventory space as you quest because you are trying to keep companion gifts or crafting materials for later, free to play characters can get a legacy bank to store UNBOUND or legacy bound items in
  • To get a legacy bank, you must complete the stronghold quest on the fleet at level 15 or higher, and you’ll receive a free legacy bank to put in your stronghold – your own personal house that you can visit and decorate. To start the stronghold introduction quest, head to the Strongholds & Crew Skills section of the fleet and look for a holographic quest giver. A starter stronghold only costs 5,000 credits to unlock!
  • Subscribers and preferred players also get a green personal bank that they can store BOUND items in, like cool armor you’ve picked up along the way.
  • You can travel to your stronghold from almost anywhere using the strongholds panel. You might visit your stronghold mid-quest to drop off some items in the bank or check your mail if you aren’t near a mailbox. If you aren’t a subscriber you won’t be returned to the exact same spot, but instead to the planet’s spaceport and you’ll have to run, taxi or quicktravel back. Subscribers get returned to the exact spot, as long as they don’t log out inbetween.
  • If you get stuck in a rock and even /stuck isn’t working, try travelling to your stronghold to get out
  • To easily exit a stronghold or flashpoint, use the tiny “exit area” button located on the top of your minimap

Interface Tips

  • You can edit a huge portion of your interface by pressing ESC > Interface Editor. There you can select different parts of the screen and hide them, resize them, move them, or make them more transparent by lowering their opacity.
  • When you start playing the game there will be a flashing question mark sign that has tips in the middle of the screen. These can be helpful if you want to read them as you play, but If you find it annoying, you can easily turn it off in the interface editor, or you can right click it to make it disappear.
  • If you want to completely hide your interface, for immersion or screenshot reasons, press ALT+Z. Press ALT+Z again when you want it to come back.
  • If you have Windows 10, the most reliable way to take a screenshot is by pressing Windows+Print Screen. This will save a screenshot in your Pictures folder.
  • If you want to zoom out even more than the game normally allows, you can edit your game’s .ini file to increase the max zoom distance. Vulkk’s Video about how too zoom out more.
  • If your computer is laggy when your character moves around or enters combat, try lowering your graphics settings. If you don’t want to lower the main graphics setting, try just turning off shadows for a performance boost.
  • Ever wonder how other players walk slow? Press the / slash key above your number pad on your keyboard to slow walk, press it again to go back to running

Crafting Tips

  • If you want some easy free XP when you hit the fleet, make sure to pick up the crew skills quest from the terminal near where you first enter the fleet You’ll get a nice chunk of experience just from talking to each crew skill trainer.
  • On a free to play account, you’ll only be able to choose one crafting crew skill total. Which one you should choose depends on what you want to be able to make – choose a crafting skill if you want to be able to make things and are willing to buy the materials, or choose a gathering skill if you want to be able to pick free materials up off the ground and make credits instead.
  • Subscribers or players with all three crew skills unlocked usually either pick three gathering skills to make credits, or pick one crafting skill and two complementary gathering skills.
  • If you want to be able to craft armor, pick up the Armormech or Synthweaving crew skill, which will allow you to craft your own armor, some of which looks really good. Use the menu on the top of this page to check them out!
  • Choosing the Slicing gathering skill will literally give you free credits from finding slicing nodes across the Galaxy. You could also choose Bioanalysis, Archaeology or Scavenging, and sell the materials you pick up around the Galaxy on the GTN.
  • If you want to buy a stack of items from a vendor, Shift+Left Click on the item and drag it into your inventory. You’ll then be able to specify how many of that item you want to buy.
  • If you want to split a stack of items in your inventory, you can also Shift +left Click the pile into another slot in your inventory
  • if you did pick up a gathering skill, you can right click crafting nodes and your companion will go gathering them for you! Archeology ones look like crystals, slicing nodes look like broken computer pieces, scavenging looks like hunks of junk and bioanalysys looks like plants. All of them will have glowing blue star wars aurabesh text hovering over them and show up as little star symbols on your minimap

Flashpoint & Group Tips

  • At level 15 and higher, even free to play players can join the groupfinder to find others to run flashpoints with – flashpoints are 4-person group content and can be a lot of fun. By default the groupfinder panel starts completely unchecked and looks like it doesn’t work.. just check the check box and press queue!
  • Many flashpoints, normally 4-man group content, also have a solo mode available. Flashpoints Chart (story = solo mode)
  • Some flashpoints are really meant to be played in a specific order or at a specific time. If you are queing with the groupfinder I suggest unchecking these flashpoints and instead doing them at the appropriate time in the story: at level 29, on the republic side, Taral V and Maelstrom prison should be run back to back, and on the Imperial side Boarding Party and The Foundry should be run back to back after level 29 since they have a story quest to go with them, and for both factions Battle of Ilum and False Emperor should be saved for the very end of Ilum’s planetary storyline. If you are subscribed you will also want to uncheck these flashpoints which are meant to be played later in the story: Assault on Tython, Incursion on Korriban, Depths of Manaan, Legacy of the Rakata, Blood Hunt, Battle of Rishi, Crisis on Umbara and the Copero Flashpoint. All of those flashpoints are a key part of the main storyline, and can even be run solo instead of in a group. The remaining flashpoints technically have an order to them, but you won’t run into any major story issues if you play them out of order – they are self-contained storylines that you can queue up for or run with friends.
  • Most flashpoints also have a breadcrumb quest to introduce you to the flashpoint, usually given to you by droids across the galaxy. For a list of which flashpoints have these minor bonus story droids, click here
  • If you want to play with others but don’t know anyone who has the game, join a guild! Joining a guild gives you bonus xp, and let’s you join a group of players with a similar goal. I suggest waiting till you reach level 25 before looking for a guild so you can use guild chat.
  • Not all guilds are created equal. Don’t join the first one that invites you, especially if you’ve never even spoken to the person inviting you. The best way to find a guild is to check your server’s guild recruitment section on the official swtor.com forums. If you happen to meet or group up with someone ingame that you like, you can also ask them if they like their guild and how you can join it.
  • If you play with other people, you might be able to get some social gear. This is moddable gear that can only be bought if your social level is high enough. There are social vendors on Coruscant, Dromund Kaas, Nar Shaddaa, Balmorra, Tatooine, Alderaan, Hoth, Taris, Quesh, Corellia, Voss and Belsavis.

Chat Tips

  • Don’t like seeing chat? You can toggle it on and off by pressing the tiny arrow on the top left of your social window. You can also show more of the chat by dragging the chat’s bottom right corner so you can see more text in it, than it’s default size.
  • The General chat channel can sometimes be obnoxious – if you want to turn off just a specific chat channel but not the others, for example so you could still see group chat, you can right click the chat tab, choose settings, and uncheck any chat channel you want to hide
  • You can also make custom chat channels by right-clicking any tab. For example you could make a chat tab that only has group chat in it, and you could flip between the main tab and your custom tab to easily see what’s being said by your group without losing the other chats completely
  • If you forgot what was said during a previous cutscene and it’s not showing up in chat, you can press the chat tab called “other”. It logs all kinds of things including the cutscene dialogue.

(More tips coming for free-to-play and how to subscribed soon!)

Questions or comments? Feel free to send me a message on Twitter @swtorista, Reddit /u/swtorista, Youtube Swtorista channel or by e-mail at the same name with gmail.com at the end. Have fun out there and may the Force be with you. ~ Swtorista