Of all the species introduced as playable characters, the Rattataki are the most mysterious. Hopefully during the course of the SWTOR, we are able to learn more than we know now. We know the Rattataki come from the war-torn world of Rattatak. In fact, it seems that fighting is all the Rattataki know how to do. When we first meet the most famous of Rattataki, Asajj Ventress, it is in the gladiator arena called the Cauldron. This largest of the many such arenas on the arid world. This is where Ventress bests all the fighters in an attempt to prove to Count Dooku that she is a true Sith.
Physically, Rattataki have chalk-white skin and no hair. It is assumed they are near-human, meaning their bloodline stems from humans or can mix with humans. Facial tattoos seem to be commonplace among both Rattataki men and women. Ventress' tattoos appear to switch places depending on which movie you're watching, so it may be that the tattoos are really a form of make-up, although it's completely possible that she liked to move her tattoos around. Ouch.
The only two well-known Rattataki are Asajj Ventress -- the daughter of two Warlords -- and one of her guards at Castle Ventress, Aidus.
How will Rattataki differ from human bounty hunters?
Much like other bounty hunters, the Rattataki are very forceful and brutal. But what I think will separate a Rattataki bounty hunter is going to be confidence. If we were to judge what all Rattataki are like based on Ventress (which is generally safe because it's common in Star Wars lore for the first introduction of a species to set the precedent), then Rattataki seem to have a need to be the best at something, and no one will be able to tell her otherwise. Ventress, although she was good, claimed to be a Sith before a Sith master anointed her as such. I have a feeling some very similar things are going to happen to our Rattataki bounty hunters.
So much has been written about Twi'leks that there is no way I will be able to fit it all in one column, so I will give a summary and few links where you may be able to find out more information on this incredible species.
Twi'leks hail from the planet Ryloth. It's extremely barren, and most lifeforms live underground. Twi'leks have built massive cities under the surface of Ryloth funded by their two primary exports: spice and slaves. It is a sordid Twi'lek tradition to sell off the first-born female into slavery, so that the rest of the family can live off the credits. Twi'leks seem to be deeply religious in their worship of their goddess. In fact, there are fanon sites totally dedicated to the Twi'lek rituals.
Twi'lek, which is actually short for twin lekku, have two to four tails called lekku growing out of the back of their skull. The majority of Twi'leks have two such tails, and it seems that nearly every Twi'lek has a different skin color. Other than these features, Twi'leks appear human.
There are so many Twi'leks in Star Wars lore, but the first one you may have run into is Jabba the Hutt's majordomo, Bib Fortuna. He was a slimy, two-faced, weakling who eventually was turned into a B'omarr monk. The next one you may be familiar with, would be Oola. She was the green Twi'lek who danced at Jabba's court. Unfortunately, she became rancor food shortly after she was introduced. Aayla Secura was a Jedi knight. Mission Vao was a citizen of Taris in KOTOR. Orn Free Taa was the super-fat Rylothian senator from the prequel movies. Twi'leks are all over the galaxy.
How will Twi'leks differ from human smugglers?
I believe there are going to be two different ways Twi'leks will differ from their human counterparts: slavery and reputation.
I truly believe slavery is one of the main reasons BioWare chose Twi'leks as the non-human species for the smuggler. There is a strong moral conviction there. Twi'leks should have strong feelings one way or the other regarding slavery. In fact, I am sure some NPCs will accuse your Twi'lek character of turning against her own kind.
Then to make matters worse, I believe Twi'leks will be looked down upon, as if they are a sub-species. This was evident in the way Mission Vao was treated by NPCs, etcetera, in KOTOR. (Maybe it was because she was young, but it seems to be a BioWare schtick to have sub-class -- quarians of Mass Effect, for instance.) So don't be surprised when you will have to prove yourself to be more worthy to certain NPCs because of your chosen species.
The Chiss were introduced to the Star Wars universe by the famous novelist Timothy Zahn in Heir to the Empire. Grand Admiral Thrawn was one of these blue-skinned, red-eyed aliens from a planet outside the explored regions of the galaxy, Csilla. Even the Chiss themselves don't know where exactly they originated, or how their physiology is so similar to humans. But we do know there are 28 colonies in Chiss space united together as a federation. Whether this government exists during the time of SWTOR, we do not know yet. I hope Chiss politics are major parts of the game's world arcs.
I have already mentioned Grand Admiral Thrawn as a representative of his people, but there were also others like Sev'rance Tann, a general and Dark Jedi Acolyte during the Clone Wars. There was also Fehlaaur, who served as a Chiss representative to Darth Krayt's Galactic Empire.
How will Chiss differ from human Imperial agents?
This is total speculation, but I'm going to say the major thing will be "Human High Culture." I know, I know that there has been no mention of Human High Culture in BioWare's explanation of the inner workings of the Empire. But I am going to go out on a limb and say that it will exist. So your Chiss will have to deal with the bigotry of all the human leaders in the Empire.
Where do you stand?
How do you believe species will affect your story? Will you play a non-human species just to see if things are different? Inquiring minds want to know!
Star Wars: The Old Republic is finally here, and the Force is with Massively! We've prepared a Hutt-sized feast of class introductions, gameplay guides, lore roundups, and hands-on previews to help you navigate the launch period and beyond. And don't forget our weekly SWTOR column, the Hyperspace Beacon!