Even if you didn't pre-order in time, you'll want your SWTOR fix, and I have the solution for you right here: the Hyperspace Beacon. Each week for the last year and a half, I have written a guide to the world of Star Wars: The Old Republic, covering everything from lore and game mechanics to speculation and community. Ultimately, I hope to better prepare you for the launch of this highly anticipated MMO. However, 67 articles can be tough to sift through, so I've narrowed down the list to the best of the best.
SWTOR is not without its own hype train, and some people have suggested that all this hype from the game has set us up for disappointment. In fact, in The Soapbox column about a year ago, Massively's Jef Reahard suggested that the amount of hype surrounding this game was actually detracting from the game itself. It was actually making him less enthused about the game overall.
I definitely agreed with the sentiment that too much hype actually pulls people away from the game. However, I disagreed as to the reason there was so much hype. Jef put the blame on EA, BioWare, and LucasArts. Although I sort of agreed that those companies did lay out some of hype groundwork, I believed and still believe that the vast majority of the hype stems from media outlets and fans who are either reading too much into what some of the developers have said or completely misunderstanding it.
The Soapbox: Episode II - A New Hype
Hyperspace Beacon: Jef's soapbox smells like a wet Wookiee
I've always found it interesting that the bad guys in the Star Wars Universe have the deepest and richest backstory. Maybe it's because no matter how many times the Republic and the Jedi beat them down, they keep coming back for more. It seems that every time the Sith have a chance to strike at the Republic, they do. Was the exile following the Second Great Schism that bad? I mean, after all, those Dark Jedi lived and were able to subjugate their own planet and species, yet when Naga Sadow found out how to return to the Republic, the first thing he wanted to do was overpower it. Whatever happened to setting up trade negotiations?
If you enjoy reading about the Sith Empires as much as I do, then I have a few Hyperspace Beacons you should definitely read. The first one on the list was the second Hyperspace Beacon ever. I compared a couple of the most popular Sith Empires to the Empire we are going to face in TOR. The second article is actually a two-parter. The Empire embraces High Human Culture, the belief that humans are superior than the other species because they are the most diverse and populate the most territory. In my article, I dissect the list of available Imperial species and question whether they should or shouldn't be available for that class and what kind of world-implication those combination of classes and species have on each other.
Hyperspace Beacon: Empires strike back
Hyperspace Beacon: High Human Culture Part 1
Hyperspace Beacon: High Human Culture Part 2
If any of you happens to listen to the podcast I co-host with Baraslan, Beyond the Grind, then you know that I can talk for hours about the Smuggler class and smugglers in general. Han Solo truly did make the archetype iconic in the Star Wars series. And in my attempt not to overload the Hyperspace Beacon with Smuggler talk, I did my job too well: I only have one article that talks about the role of the Smuggler, but it is also one of my favorite articles I've ever written.
Step into the shoes of Han Solo as he talks about some of the greatest smugglers to ever grace the galaxy.
Hyperspace Beacon: Blaster at my side
I am a roleplayer. I love the nuances of creating a character's history then developing the rest of the story organically with the hundreds of other players who make up the MMO landscape. However, in any fantasy setting or even in the space-opera setting of Star Wars, there is going to be conflict, with other individuals or groups -- players and NPCs alike. Other roleplayers will not agree with me, but I believe that game mechanics, specifically combat mechanics, should be used to enhance roleplay.
In these Hyperspace Beacons, I talked about combat mechanics a lot. One of the first articles covered the blink tank, like the Jedi Shadow or Sith Assassin -- a tank that relies on dodging hits rather than absorbing them. Of course, I had to talk about hybridization at some point, too. In the "find your..." series, I talked about the mechanics of specific classes.
Hyperspace Beacon: Your eyes can deceive you
Hyperspace Beacon: The hybrid
Hyperspace Beacon: Find your focus
Hyperspace Beacon: Find the Force
Hyperspace Beacon: Find your blaster at your side
Lastly, the unsung hero in all good MMOs is the crafter. A good MMO's economy revolves around its crafters' potential for success. I want to be able to provide some tool to the crafter so that he can be the best at what he does. In Star Wars: The Old Republic, I suspect we will find more people than in any other game really enjoying crafting. I have written up two different introductions to the crafting system. I hope you enjoy them!
Hyperspace Beacon: Managed crafting
Hyperspace Beacon: Crafting preview
If there is anything I may have missed today, be sure to check out our mega-compilation of SWTOR guides. It's massive, no pun intended.
The Hyperspace Beacon by Larry Everett is your weekly guide to the vast galaxy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, currently in production by BioWare. If you have comments or suggestions for the column, send a transmission to firstname.lastname@example.org. Now strap yourself in, kid -- we gotta make the jump to hyperspace!