Star Wars the Old Republic AKA SWTOR Base Game Review

This site is based on Star Wars expanded universe, and stories are my favorite thing. So naturally this is what I focus on in SWTOR. SWTOR itself is purely based on this universe. It combines all the best action, storytelling and humor just as the movies did.

Origin Story

SWTOR player character, Zabrak jedi consular with theran cedrax her companion

SWTOR originally called these classes and now they are called ‘origin stories’. There are also story arcs for each planet., 1 per faction (ie one Republic, one Empire). In addition you have plenty of side quests, dailies, heroics and even exploratory missions. The last are disabled by default, you have to find them in the main map of the planet and enable them.

As a latecomer to the game, I can’t speak to it’s original form. I can confirm though that it’s founded solidly on the movies and their expanded universe. Tales of the Jedi comics led to the Knights of the Old Republic games which led straight to this. There are numerous trivia bits in everything from storylines to even the crew skill missions. It’s a feast for the deep diving fan! The cinematics are fantastic, it’s like having an interactive movie.

Yavin 4, ancient Sith Temples

I felt like a tourist as I entered for the first time as a free to play Zabrak Jedi Consular. I loved visiting all the famous planets from on screen and in stories I’d read. The stories were challenging, forcing me to debate decisions as those decisions did and do have in game consequences. It isn’t just a light side or dark side points thing, but affects relationships between the player character and the companions they gain in their journey. Non player characters may live, may die, and the outcome of the main character is also affected. In SWTOR you can play the same origin story or planetary arc, choose different options in the story conversations and get different outcomes.

I loved the way the stories all feel real based on the Star Wars I love. I don’t always agree with what the game considers a ‘dark side’ choice. Sometimes it feels like neutral, or even light side. Nor do I feel they are consistent. But then reality isn’t either and who is truly perfect in all their choices? You do not have to play Jedi as light or Sith as dark. (In fact I can confirm it’s amusing to play a lighter Sith. Confuses people!)

I can also confirm I’m coming in as a usual ‘light sider’. I just tend to default that way, though it doesn’t mean a ‘dark side’ player is a villain in real life! I have tried on occasion but my characters tend to mellow due to certain companions.

Famous Names and Places

The Knights of the Old Republic established that famous movie names could appear even in game. General Dodonna, the leader of the base on Yavin 4 in A New Hope, apparently has ancestors both in that as well as in SWTOR. General Madine, who is in charge of planning the Endor moon attack on the shield generator, also has ancestors here. Other names appear from the expanded universe as well, including Saresh (KOTOR equipment and in a Tales story set during Tales of the Jedi), and more await around every corner. As for planets, you can find those here.

I also enjoy how the stories interweave, how events or characters in each story are referenced in the others. For instance, the bounty hunter story reveals why the Republic had to elect a new chancellor (who happens to be found in one of those side quests before hand, try Taris). And those Twilek settlers on Tython in the Knight and Consular stories, are mentioned in another. The Imperial Agent visits Doctor Godera’s lab on Taris, after the Jedi Knight goes there seeking him. When the Emperor’s Wrath leaves his role in the Knights story, your Sith Warrior is ready to move in his place.


I had never played an MMO and ignorantly chose a ‘healer’ for my first. As a mostly solo player that is not what I’d recommend for a starter. The game is easier now, not just because I subbed (though that helped by giving me benefits like unlimited free med probes and shuttle transport). The developers have also tweaked things to attract new players. You can level up really fast without doing all the planetary arcs, side quests, heroics, dailies, or exploratory missions. In fact the latter are disabled by default and you have to enable them to find them.

Originally origin story was a ‘class’ and you had 2 types of combat to choose from that were specific to the story ie for a Imperial agent operative or sniper. You now have all of them. All the non force users have NO limitations. My current Twilek agent chose ‘gunslinger’ (originally from the smuggler) as her main and finally ‘operative’ as her extra set (the original Imperial agent class. So your playstyle is near limitless. If your a Jedi or Sith, you are limited by your faction, unless and until you unlock the other. You can either play one character to max of their usual faction or pay for it with cartel coins.

The Downsides

There aren’t many to me, and most of the time it relates directly to story issues, or inability to access it due to being mostly a solo player. I’m not comfortable in random groups and its difficult to find people I trust to play with. Some have moved on to other games, some don’t group themselves and some just don’t have the time!

SWTOR game content (early especially) sometimes doesn’t always take into account that some players are in it for the Star Wars story rather than being massive group players. This is most obvious in places like Belsavis, where the main planetary story leads to the world Oricon. You have to accept it to do the dailies there. The trouble is if you are not an OPS player, you’ll find yourself unable to complete the story.

While intertwines stories are fun, its a bit more awkward that some planetary arcs in SWTOR share endpoints on each side. For instance, while the Tatooine one is fun, both stories lead you to Czerka base and the mystery there.

Finally there are a few places where things feel a bit forced in the story. You have to take a companion you don’t want and it feels unnatural how it happens. Or you are forced to make a life or death decision that seems to make no sense. This is rare however.

The main catch is there aren’t too many perks for the non subscriber. (My only other MMO, Lord of the Rings Online, has loads of way to earn store currency right in game and does lots of giveaways. Not so, SWTOR.) I’m not clear what they’ve upgraded to allow for free, but I know there is still a lot you can’t access. Subs get things like all the expansions, costume customization slots and more. I’ve been subbed, off and on and then regular, since the first month.

Removed Content

SWTOR’s had some quest givers removed for unknown reasons. The quests are available at terminals but since you aren’t talking to the quest giver, you are just on a random mission with no idea why. Some have been returned on players repeated request but not all. There are also definite cases where places where there were story choices had them removed. One example is Balmorra. You had a choice to use your access to save Twilek technicians, or use a weapon against the Empire. Now it automatically assumes you will save them.

The Funny Side

There are some aspects of SWTOR that are funny besides humor built in the story. There are also glitches or just things that were never corrected for change. For instance, because some playable species weren’t originally part of the game, you can find side quests where you get lectured about what they are. For instanced, my Cathar smuggler being had another character what a Cathar looked like in a side quest. Treek, an Ewok companion you can get off the cartel market, has a faux pas in a conversation with the Nautolan players.

swtor unexpected guests 2_12_2017 7_12_33 PM
Unexpected guests in a stronghold. When its your companions there, they are usually fully clothed. Or they are a hologram, if you are running around with them.

Then there are the stronghold or instance surprises when someone else’s characters appear in their underwear in your stronghold (you can buy these strongholds to decorate on several planets.) Or your enemy decides to die, not just with their boots on but hanging in mid air! It’s also possible to get stuck in a wall. I once leaped at an enemy and bang was in the wall. Also stuck there, which can be frustrating but its also funny.

Stay tuned for Part 2. I’ll review the expansions of SWTOR. Note that this older content is, naturally, also older in graphics. I’ve never cared about perfection in graphics (though I do mourn some older games looking so bad on the more modern devices. Some of the Dark Forces for instance!)