I don't think it's any secret that BioWare stories are extremely deep, and Lead Writer Daniel Erickson has a nerdgasm every time someone interviews him about Star Wars history. The established history leading up to TOR will play a major role in the story that unfolds in the game, otherwise the development team would not have had the wherewithal to create the timeline videos for the website.
Following the break, I would like to set you up for future, more comprehensive articles about the Star Wars lore. Although this column is certainly not exclusively about lore, when I bring up another Holocron File, I want reader to have a decent understanding of when these events fall in Star Wars history. So rev up your time machine to 88 miles per hour! This Hyperspace Beacon is about to go back in time -- way back!
The Infinite Empire of the Rakata species reached its peak about 26,000 years before the signing of the Treaty of Coruscant (BTC), signified by the construction of the Dark Side-powered Star Forge. At about the same time, the first king of the Sith, Adas, united his species under one ruler. This made it a poor time for the Rakata to attempt to attack the Sith Planet of Korriban. The Rakata were driven away.
At about the same time the Rakata and Sith began to discover the Dark Side of the Force, philosophers and scientists discovered the Force on the planet Tython. Unfortunately, about 10,000 years later, a war of power erupted, nearly destroying Tython, but out of the struggle, the Jedi Order was created.
In 22,547 BTC, a major plague wiped out nearly all of the Rakata species, thus destroying the Infinite Empire. However, from the destruction, Corellians were able to build and manfacture the Rakatan hyperdrive, making travel through the galaxy easier and faster. As you'd imagine, another war began as species and other planetary governments clashed. Following the Unification War was the birth of the first Galactic Republic. A couple hundred years later, after a permanent trade route was found between Coruscant and the newly founded Jedi academy on Ossus, the Jedi swore loyalty to the Galactic Republic.
Five hundred years later (16,500 BTC), the Jedi Order split in two. Philosophies and lightsabers clashed in what came to be known as the First Great Schism. Many Jedi were converted to the Dark Side or killed. Fortunately, the Light Side prevailed.
For the next 13,000 years, the Republic expanded and colonized the galaxy. The Corellians colonized Ord Mantell as a military outpost. The Hutts began to gain power in the same time period. In fact, it was during this time that the Hutts took over the planet Evocar and named it Hutta, or Nal Hutta.
In 3350 BTC, the Second Great Schism occurred; Dark Jedi violently rebelled against the Jedi Order. For a hundred years, Dark and Light clashed in the core worlds, but in the end the Dark Jedi were defeated and exiled. We know for certain that at least three of those exiles, XoXaan, Karness Muur, and Ajunta Pall, ended up on the planet Korriban, establishing the first Sith Empire. As I explained in last week's article, these Dark Jedi -- Dark Lords of the Sith -- intermingled with the native Sith of Korriban, expanding the Empire and literally changing the face of the Sith for the next 2,000 years.
About the time of the Second Great Schism, Mandalorian Crusaders took over the planet Mandalore, and the Crusaders' commander was declared Manadalore the First.
In previous articles, including the one from last week, I mentioned the Great Hyperspace War. During 1347 BTC, it changed the course of Old Republic history and directly led to the establishment of two separate Sith Empires. Two important things to note are Naga Sadow's banishing himself to Yavin IV and the Republic's nearly wiping out the entire race of Sith on Korriban. The effects of these two actions would not be felt for centuries to come.
For the next thousand years, the Republic and the Jedi prospered. The Republic expanded to the Mid and Outer Rim, and the Jedi established the Great Jedi Library on Ossus. However, refugees from Korriban secretly began rebuilding the Sith Empire on Dromund Kaas, and a Jedi Knight named Freedon Nadd fell to the Dark Side, studying under the spirit of Naga Sadow. Freedon Nadd led a Dark Side cult on the planet Onderon, but although he was a powerful Sith Lord, his uprising did not last long. However, the echoes continued for the next 350 years.
In the meantime, a group of rebel Jedi created the Cosmic Turbine in the Vultar system. Unfortunately, the Jedi could not control this Dark Side weapon, and the entire system was destroyed. Historians call this the Third Great Schism.
About 200 years later (347 BTC), the remnants of the Freedon Nadd Uprising surfaced on Onderon again. In the wake of this wave of darkness, a young Jedi by the name of Exar Kun fell to the Dark Side and began to establish his own Empire. The Naddists on Onderon became known as the Krath and were led by Satal and Aleema Keto. The Krath eventually joined with Emperor Exar Kun, causing a great war with the new Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic. I actually outlined this war in my Hyperspace Beacon about Nomi Sunrider. If you'd like more details about this war, be sure to check it out. Sunrider puts an interesting face on this particular galactic war.
This next part of TOR history should be familiar to any BioWare fan. It starts with the Mandalorian Wars, which are said to have started in 342 BTC, although Mandalore the Ultimate did not cross into Republic territory until 312 BTC. While the Republic engaged the Mandalorians in an effort to protect its people in the Outer Rim, the Jedi Council forbade Jedi involvement. After two years of inaction by the Jedi Council, Revan and his friend Malak led a group of Jedi against the Mandalorian invaders.
During the rest of the war, Revan became a hero to the Republic, winning battle after battle. Revan also discovered the starmaps that would prompt him to explore the Unknown Regions once Mandalore the Ultimate was killed on Malachor V seven years later.
Revan and Malak returned with an entire fleet and began war with both the Republic and the Jedi. Revan, now calling himself Darth Revan, pushed vigorously into Republic territory until 304 BTC, when he was captured by Bastila Shan. Revan's memory was erased but slowly came back as he and Bastila hunted down the starmaps he and Malak had followed just a few years prior. Eventually, Revan completely turned from the Dark Side and reluctantly killed his friend Malak and the Star Forge, which he and Malak had used to create the Sith fleet. Still, not all of Revan's memories returned, so he set off to rediscover what lay out in the Unknown Regions.
Shortly after Revan's disappearance, the remaining Sith Lords began the Jedi Purge. In 299 BTC, nearly all the Jedi were killed. One of Revan's former generals, who was exiled because of her involvement in Revan's first rebellion, investigated the Jedi assassinations. Eventually, she discovered the three Sith Lords that led the assassinations and defeated them. This Jedi Exile also disappeared into the Unknown Regions, looking for Revan.
Remember the Korriban refugees I mentioned a while back? In 28 BTC, they attacked the Republic, looking for revenge. The attack was swift and brutal. The new Sith Empire pushed the Republic back and eventually captured half of the known galaxy. On top of that, the Sith had infiltrated large sections of government, compromising key figures in the Jedi Order and the Senate. Eventually, the Sith sacked the Republic capital planet of Coruscant, forcing the Republic to sign the Treaty of Coruscant.
This timeline brings us to the setting of Star Wars: The Old Republic. It has been several years since the signing of the treaty, and tensions are high between these two super-powers. Which one will strike first? We believe that the Republic ends up on top, but is that truly the case?
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!