Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Old Republic. Phase 1: Making Your Character

Note: This article may contain spoilers for the upcoming MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic. If you don't wish to have anything ruined, I suggest you keep scrolling to the next article.

I will probably have a series of these spread over the next few days. Because it’s a lot of information to cover over a highly anticipated MMO. And again, a year of testing.

The biggest concern for any new player is their character. Your avatar is what makes you in TOR. And choosing your race can affect the story-line (Sith Inquisitor for example; if you pick Twi’lik you will get called a slave. A lot. -_- Where as if you pick the Sith Pure-blood line, you will be worshipped.)

All Empire Characters are created under this background.
Like many MMO’s, there is a lot of pre-generated bodies, faces, and details that you can mix and match. It doesn’t boast the complexity of Star Wars Galaxies (which is still my favorite character design), there are a number of options.

You start out be picking your faction. Republic or Empire. And then it goes down to Job then Gender. Pretty standard stuff. You can review the job descriptions, advance classes, and their story lines before selection

In terms of what races you can play, well they’re all humanoid. Sorry folks. No wookies, or jawas, or calamaris here. You get Human, Cyborg (yes…that’s a race), Zabrak, Sith pure-blood (which is zabrak with tentacles instead of horns, Empire dominant), Twi’lik (Republic dominant), Rattataki (pale skin, facial tattoos), Miraluka (a race of humans without eyesight, but use the force to see), Chiss (blue skin) and Mirilan (green skin, facial tattoos). A lot of emphasis on the multi-colored humans with tattoos. But that’s about it.

And here's the Republic side.
Droids in the background move, and ships fly by.
There are variations in skin color and some facial tattoos depending on what faction you select. For example, the Empire Zabrak will be darker, more vibrant red tones. Where as the Republic Zabrak will have lighter reds, some almost looking close to normal Earth skin colors. It’s kind of nifty that the lore of Star Wars emanates even in character creator.

Some of the races and their allegiance may change at release, such as the Chiss and Rattataki. As of this moment and this build, if you want to be a Twi’lik but hate healing, go to the Republic side.

Which is also my biggest issue with the character generator. Race restrictions for certain classes/sides. While from a lore stand-point, I get it. Twi’liks are typically enslaved under the Empire’s rule. But it doesn’t help when you’re a Bounty Hunter and you go to get some training, and hey look! It’s a Twi’lik NPC as my trainer who is also a Bounty Hunter. -_- That doesn’t make sense and kind of annoys me. And since when is Cyborg a race? It’s a human with implants. Not it’s own entire set of people. So silly.

Yes. You can get a hat like Cad Bane as a Smuggler.
It's one of the end-game items.
My hope is that post launch they’ll add more races to play.

The other issue we’ve been complaining about are the lack of body choices. You get 4 options. 4 options that pre-determine your character’s weight, height, muscles, arms, legs, torso, etc. You don’t get to tweak those. Just the faces. Sucks, right? Now I have seen a lot of variety in the beta that it hasn’t been a big issue, but still, that’s it? I can’t go with a slider system and adjust my character to look how I want her too? Lame.

Faces are also pre-generated, but there are a multitude of options that do vary slightly from race to race. While I may see a hundred people with the same body type, I have yet to run into someone with the same face. There are also options for complexion (such as wind/sun burns from using goggles), scars, make-up, hairstyles. Yeah the hair options could use some work. Basically it’s the same 20-some-odd looks for everyone except the twi’lik and zabrak. Kind of annoying.

At this moment, there is no benefit to choosing one race over the other, like in WoW or FFXI. Other then a special “Social Ability”. Which is just an amusing, random ability to do. Twi’liks get a special dance (of course). Humans get a Rally Call that causes all in a party to do a /hurray motion. Things like that. There may be an addition before release to allow for stat-based enhancements based on certain races/jobs, so we’ll see.

Minus the limitations, you end up with a lot of
variety for the faces.
Final note: All voices are pre-generated. So everyone that makes a Male Jedi Knight will all sound the same, regardless of what race you chose. Since I can’t talk about what we’ve been discussing on the beta forums, I have to leave it at that. What I can say is that I wish they would have implemented a Sims 3 like voice change system. Where you have the base voice as option 1, and can slide it up or down to go up a few pitches, or down a few. It wouldn’t require re-recording all of the voices, allow for variety, and make the player feel like they have more control over their character.

By the way, the voice work for the character is stellar. I’m not a fan of the female Trooper voice, but even that is so well done, it’s insane.

So there you go. A little walk-through on what to expect for character creation come launch day. I’m hopeful that after launch, more races with more opportunities to cross job lines will be possible. I want a Twi’lik Imperial Agent dangit! :D


  1. The light side Zabrak faces are the same as most other races only without eye brows. The Twi'lek faces are different than the other races but you only have three face options. And each of those three options have four slight variants. So 12 Twi'lek faces in total but it feels more like only 3 choices. I was the most disappointed with Twi'lek customization. They have very few skin color choices and a small selection of faces. I was also disappointed with Miraluka mask choices and Zabrak tattoo variety. Chiss and Rattataki customization was fairly boring as well. The game seemed to have more customization than a lot of mmo's I've played. But not as much customization as I wanted.

    1. I'm so happy that the new Legacy system allows races to transcend classes once you hit 50 or pay the credits for it. Finally I can have my Twi'lik IA!


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