Logging in to any MMORPG after a long break can feel overwhelming, and Star Wars: The Old Republic has had both large changes to the game structure and a few bugs that may affect what you’ll see when you log into an older account. Here are the major changes since launch that may have affected your characters, and what you must do before you start fighting.
You can log back in without subscribing.
Since its launch with a subscription-based model, Star Wars: The Old Republic transitioned to a free-to-play game with an optional subscription and microtransactions. The initial free-to-play system heavily crippled free accounts, and it’s since been modified. Free-to-play and Preferred accounts now feel like more than a trial: you can experience quite a bit of the game’s content without a subscription. If you have bad memories of either painful launch, you should give the game another try: many improvements have been made.
All of the current expansions are included in an active subscription. You no longer have to pay separately for expansions, and additional chapters of Knights of the Fallen Empire will be released regularly during 2016 for all subscribers.
You can get a week of subscription time for free by using a referral link (click here for an active one) from the Refer-A-Friend program.
I Just Logged Back In, and…
Where’s My Server?
Servers were consolidated in September 2012. If you have not played since launch, your characters may be on a different server than the one you started on. They are all still there, and your progress has not been lost.
Where’s My Name?
When servers merged, inactive characters were renamed if an active character was using that name on the new server. Additionally, inactive characters’ names were released at the end of 2013. You may be prompted to rename one or more of your characters when you log on for the first time.
Did you rename your character hastily, and then think of something better? If your account was subscribed prior to 2013, you may have a free character rename available. Log in to the official website and select “My Account,” then “Character Rename” from the menu on the left. You will be able to select one character as the recipient of a name change token.
You may also have a free legacy rename. Legacy names are no longer required to be unique, and every existing account was granted a free legacy rename when this change took effect. Your legacy panel icon will be flashing on your top bar if a rename is available.
What’s All This Mail?
You’ll have welcome letters for each expansion that you can access and for any special rewards that have been applied to your account. This mail from the game developers does not expire. You can leave it in your mailbox as long as you like.
This mail is fun to look through exactly once. On your other characters, use the the small buttons on the mail interface to select all mail, take the attachments, and then delete it.
You will also have multiple letters titled “Item Recovery.” Game update 4.0 made major changes to companion equipment; it is now purely cosmetic, and so companions do not need gear that does not affect their appearance. This means that everything like earpieces that they were wearing has been sent to you by mail. Additionally, players requested companions’ starting gear, and this was also granted to all players as an item recovery. Unlike expansion welcome letters, item recovery mail will expire 30 days after it is delivered to you.
Why are my companions not wearing pants?
Due to a bug, you will find that your companions’ pants were also removed and placed in your inventory (or mail) along with the obsolete gear. You will need to summon them each in turn to replace their pants.
Your companions are now summoned from the Companions and Contacts Window (Press N to open it), not the crew skills window. Press C to open your Character Sheet, and use the tab at the bottom to see your companion’s gear. Right-click their pants in your inventory or drag them to the appropriate slot.
Because of changes to companions, you do not need to upgrade one before you head out to play the game (although it can make combat easier). Companions have been fundamentally changed to give players more choice; all companions can all perform any role. You can switch each companion to tank, healer, or damage whenever you are out of combat.
The quests that tell your companions’ individual stories are now triggered by your progression through the class story, not their influence (affection) level. You are likely to have several quests to talk to them when you next board your ship.
What’s Wrong With My Interface?
Your interface may have reset to the game’s default, especially if you reinstalled, but don’t worry: the interface editor tool has been improved and there are now multiple presets to choose from.
Why Are My Combat Proficiencies Blinking?
Before you start fighting, it’s important to click K to open the Combat Proficiencies window.
There are no longer three trees to choose from: instead, you choose a discipline, and this determines which additional abilities you get as you level up. You can then assign utility points to improve certain abilities.
Select which bonuses are most appealing to you. You can change both of these later, after you have played a while, so don’t be worried about making the wrong choice (but it is important to choose something, or your character will be weak).
What is Mastery?
The gear system has been simplified. The four “main stats” used by different classes, Aim, Cunning, Strength, and Willpower, were all consolidated into a single attribute: Mastery. No matter what class you play, this is now the primary attribute to look for on gear.
The quickest way to gear up a character below level 60 is to run heroic missions. You’ll be rewarded with gear chosen for your class.
What happened to my heroic moment and legacy abilities?
After Game Update 4.0, you will have to visit your trainer and learn the Heroic Moment ability again. The cooldown has been greatly reduced, so don’t get caught questing without it!
If you have finished Chapter 3 of another class story, you may wonder where your legacy abilities have gone. They have been removed from your ability list, but they will appear on a special bar that is only visible during Heroic Moment.
What happened to my commendations?
You no longer earn commendations specific to each planet. All commendations were consolidated into three quality tiers, and then all commendations were renamed “data crystals.” If you leveled a character years ago, they probably have several hundred common (green) data crystals from these conversions. These will appear in the currency tab of your inventory, and can be used to purchase gear at level 65.
What Else Should I Know?
Strongholds make travel faster!
If you last played before 2014, you should know that strongholds are one of the largest game upgrades in terms of player convenience.
You can buy a starter stronghold on Coruscant or Dromund Kaas for 5,000 credits — the cost of five fleet passes — and travel to it from anywhere in the galaxy, then exit to your previous location, the fleet, or the world that your stronghold is located on. The introductory quest will give you a mailbox and Legacy bank (another entire cargo hold for you, shared between all of your characters) for free. You can purchase items that let you access your cargo hold, the GTN, and your guild bank for credits or cartel coins, and quickly set up your stronghold to meet all of your day-to-day needs.
Travel to the area of the fleet marked Strongholds and a large hologram will give you the introductory quest, which explains how to purchase and decorate your first stronghold.
Most active guilds have fully-furnished strongholds or capital ships with all of the above amenities. If you’re in a guild, you can skip setting up your own stronghold and use the guild base instead. Press U to open the Stronghold Management Window, and select “Guild” at the top left to travel to strongholds owned by your guild.
Join a guild for Bonuses!
In addition to providing a stronghold, being in a guild now gives a bonus to experience and reputation gains. The size of the bonus depends on how many active accounts are in the guild.
…have I done this mission before…?
Game update 4.0 made major changes to the mission system when it introduced planetary level sync. As a result, many mission chains were reset to the first step.
Planetary missions also appear to have been reset, and are available to characters who have already completed them.
Logging in to any MMORPG after a break can seem overwhelming, especially when it’s undergone major changes – but those changes are part of what makes the genre so great. Most game developers don’t get the opportunity to revise their work after release and make it a better game. Star Wars: The Old Republic is one of the most enjoyably MMORPGs out there, and I hope you have fun!