Of course, you've taken a bit of time to explore this wondrous universe. If you're a space explorer extraordinaire like I am, then you've danced with your share of Twi'leks on Nar Shaddaa. It's a good thing they have enough Twi'leks to balance out the Hutts, amirite? Hoth was cold, of course, but there's nothing like a war and a couple of Wampa battles to warm the blood. And what's up with the Voss? People who wear such funky make-up shouldn't be that stuffy. Still, it does make me think: How many Voss can fit in a speeder?
The galaxy is yours, and you're now a Darth or a Moff or something. Do you sit back and twiddle your thumbs? Of course not! A new game begins. It's a vastly different adventure than the one you just finished, but the features are still shiny.
First, how do you continue to shape the galaxy in your image? Eliminate the competition, of course! Ilum houses the largest deposit of Adegan crystals in the galaxy, so that's where you should start. Again, I know what you're thinking: I'm not a Jedi, so why do I want lightsaber crystals? Sith run the Empire, right? Jedi run the Republic, right? He who controls the Adegan crystals controls the galaxy, but that's not the primary target here. The primary targets are the enemies within your own ranks.
Grand Moff Regus runs the operations on Ilum -- or so it seems. Do as he asks for a bit. Get a good handle on the operations on Ilum. In the west, the Empire and Republic vie for control over a valley. Feel free to join in there for a bit, but don't lose sight of the overall goal: learning as much as you can about Regus and Malgus. Watch their interactions. A critical level of tension begins to build. Maybe Malgus is still upset over the loss of his favorite Moff, or maybe he's breathing helium through that mask of his. Either way, something is stewing in his bald cranium.
Are you looking to make more money because you spent too much on that speeder? If you come back every day to Ilum, a couple of individuals around the bases will have some work for you. You gotta build up bank for your empire. Also, hop back over to Belsavis -- you know, the prison planet. No, you don't have to free anyone again, but there are new secrets about the mysterious Infinite Empire that are just waiting to be uncovered. And the daily creds don't hurt as motivation either.
And then, the Battle of Ilum really begins. Yeah, the planet's as cold as the Gorax is tall, but a new threat arises from within the Empire on Ilum. Traitors must be shown no mercy, plus this will help you eliminate some of the competition I mentioned before. Be careful; even with a whole team of Imperial heroes at your side, it will be tough to take these people and their False Emperor down.
Before moving on to the bigger challenges, you should revisit some of your past galactic outings. And why not see what happens when you turn up the difficulty on these interactions? Great coordination and team-building skills are required this time around. Did I mention that you get more creds and new tokens you can spend to improve your gear? Just because it's more difficult doesn't mean that it's not more fun. In fact, I believe it's just the opposite.
Perhaps now is a good time to mention that an ancient evil has arisen on Belsavis. The Rakata imprisoned a warlord thousands of years ago, and somehow he survived all these years. Thanks to the war on the surface of this prison world, he was able to free himself. Someone needs to put him back in his place.
And while you're at it, there are two other threats to the Empire that will keep you busy.
First, Karagga the Hutt has grown too big for his britches -- if it's possible for a Hutt to be too big for anything. This Hutt is vying for galactic supremacy. You will wanna grab a team of 16 to infiltrate the Hutt's palace and end his rule. But don't think this is going to be an Uj'alayi walk. Hutts may not have feet, but this one can kick your butt if you don't watch out.
Secondly, do you remember that pesky virus on Taris, the one that turned people into flesh-eating monsters? Yeah, well, a ship crashed on the planet with a cargohold full of the infected, and somehow this particular strain allowed the monsters to retain some intelligence. That's right: They carry blasters. This should be no problem for you and your team, right? You're not afraid of the dark, are you?
That's my sales pitch on how to make a name for yourself in the galaxy, and I haven't even touched on things like putting your crew to work crafting or displaying your valor in arenas like Huttball. What else did I miss? What do you do now that you're conquered your galaxy? Has the game changed for you at the end?
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!