Hyperspace beacons in the Star Wars lore are stationary probes that navicomputers lock on to so that starships speeding through hyperspace don't crash into a star, planet, or other celestial object. Today, this column will be your guide through the reaches of internet-space so that you can find the information you need to get back into the Star Wars MMORPG.
Angle the deflector shields as I boot up the navicomputer. We will make stops around the best fan sites for news, guides, and community building. If you've been away for a while, you'll notice that galaxy-scape has changed, but I will show you the new landmarks. If you're ready, punch it, Chewie!
The news related sites haven't changed a whole lot since before launch. Of course, Massively and this column remain. However, many of the niche sites have fallen off. I have four sites I turn to now for news and opinions. Each of these sites has its own unique perspective on the state of TOR and how players see the upcoming changes.
When I first mentioned Darth Hater, I claimed that it was a team of Star Wars nerds tied up in a closet living off ramen and day-old pizza. After having met most of the Darth Hater team, I can say that I was wrong... about the pizza. Justin Lowe, the Editor-in-Chief, will tell you that it's Rudy's barbeque. That said, Darth Hater remains an incredible source of SWTOR editorials and news.
Recently, TORWars produced its 100th podcast episode. These cool Cathar have maintained an incredible, fun-filled news feed that, despite even the most negative news stemming from the SWTOR camp, has retained a positive outlook on the game as a whole. Jeff and Dee said themselves that this "isn't our very first rodeo." So I expect if you want your SWTOR news with tasty nougat on the inside, then stop by TORWars.
The Old Republic Roleplay
I'm a roleplayer. I want a place for news from my perspective. The Old Republic Roleplay has this and is yet another site that has been around since before launch. If you want news from an in-character perspective or you just like to hear what other roleplayers think, then this is the site to turn to.
Corellian Run Radio
Originally, Corellian Run Radio was an all-woman podcast, and as far as the podcast goes, it still is. However, the site is now full of news and guides from men and women alike. I call CRR the hardcore-casual perspective. The writers love the game, and their analysis of SWTOR is very down-to-earth and enjoyable to read.
A couple of weeks back, I talked about the third-party software and websites to help improve your performance in TOR. This included MOX Desktop Parser and AskMrRobot. However, there are other tools to help you get reacclimated to the game.
TORHead and Darth Hater
I use TORHead and Darth Hater's databases interchangeably. I, honestly, have no loyalty to one over the other. However, I have found Darth Hater does supply interesting nuggets such as upcoming content that has been datamined from recent patches and will have great content guides as well on the main page.
When it comes to guides to TOR, Dulfy and crew run neck-and-neck with Darth Hater. Dulfy's no-muss approach gives readers all the information they need to run specific operations and other content without much extraneous commentary. At times, that is the site's strength; at other times, it's the site's weakness. But it's still my first stop for guides on how to defeat operation bosses.
As with many MMORPGs, the flavor of the community defines who plays on which server and how outsiders perceive the game as a whole. The two servers I am most fond of also have websites for those communities. Both of these servers are roleplay servers. It's not that other servers are bad by any means, but I gravitate to these two communities because they represent the playstyle that I enjoy most.
In my experience, Europeans have the most dedicated roleplaying communities. Most of the time, the guilds in the European communities work together on a central theme and ruleset. The Progenitor community tends to do the same for SWTOR. Although these TORians are great gamers in their own right, this community really shines when you see the depth and complexity of the roleplay plots generated on this server.
The Ebon Hawk is my home now. I originally started on Lord Adraas, but since the server merges, I have been at home here. I am a roleplayer, but I find that The Ebon Hawk community accepts all types of playstyles. However, I've also found that it doesn't water down the strength of the roleplay there either. Most of the time stories are interpersonal (cantina RP, if you will), but that doesn't stop them from being epic and extremely engaging.
One last thing: I want to make myself available to those coming back to TOR for F2P or some other reason. I like to be contacted on Twitter because if it's a question that more than one person can benefit from, everyone sees it. Or of course, ask your question in the comments of this article. I will do my best to answer as quickly as possible.
I'll see you in game! May the Force be with you or something silly like that.
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!