Hyperspace Beacon: More beacons

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Hyperspace Beacon: More beacons
Hyperspace Beacon: More beacons
Hyperspace beacons guide a space traveler safely to places in the known galaxy. As Han Solo curtly explained to Luke Skywalker in the first Star Wars movie, "traveling through hyperspace ain't like dusting crops, boy! Without precise calculations, we could fly right through a star or bounce too close to a supernova, and that'd end your trip real quick, wouldn't it?" Hyperspace beacons were used to communicate the navigational computer on starships so that trips weren't ended "real quick." Now, Han Solo's Millennium Falcon didn't use the beacons, but ships around the time of Star Wars: The Old Republic did, hence this column's eponym.

Last week, we took a trip across the Star Wars galaxy discussing the different planets in the Core Worlds and the Outer Rim. Most of those planets should be partially familiar to you because of the Star Wars movies. However, today's territories may be a bit less familiar to those who have not played other Star Wars games or read Star Wars books. After the break, I will take you on a tour of these worlds, but if you have any questions, I invite you to post them in the comments at the end of the article.

In the words of Admiral Ackbar, "All craft, prepare to jump to hyperspace on my mark." Three... two... one... mark!

Hyperspace Beacon: Imperial Space
With the exception of one planet that I will mention last, all of the planets mentioned today can be found in the Outer Rim, which in the galactic sense is the largest territory of inhabited planets. However, as you travel farther out from the core of the galaxy, the celestial bodies become more sparse. Perhaps this is a strategic advantage for the Sith Empire, which finds its seat of power in the Outer Rim.

When galactic historians speak of any Sith Empire, they must mention the planet of Korriban. From the earliest Sith to the latest, this desert world has been the center of Dark Side power. Even seven thousand years after the first Dark Jedi set foot on the surface of Korriban, Darth Krayt's New Galactic Empire still harnessed the power of this planet. During the time of The Old Republic, the Sith Empire established an academy on this world. When the Emperor returned to Republic space, the first planet retaken was Korriban. It is only fitting that new generation of Sith grow out of the birthplace of all Sith.

However, several light years away from Korriban, Dromund Kaas represents the true seat of power for this Sith Empire. Kaas City, of course, represents the pinnacle of Sith ingenuity and fortitude. The survivors of the destruction of Korriban during the great Hyperspace War made their new home in Kaas City until their triumphant return to Republic space a thousand years later.

If Dromund Kaas stands for the creative power of the Sith Empire, then Taris stands for the destructive power. During the time of Revan (about 300 years prior to The Old Republic), Darth Malak razed this once-thriving ecumenopolis in an effort to prevent Bastila Shan from escaping. Unfortunately, all Malak succeeded in doing was end billions of lives, including those of some of his own people.

Hyperspace Beacon: Hutt Space
Neighboring the Empire in the galactic sense is Hutt Space. This large region in the galactic outer rim remains neutral to the struggle between the Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic, despite being both sides attempting to pull these planets into the war. Of course, this didn't stop the Hutts and others of the corporate underworld from attempting to profit from this galactic tension.

Despite its name, the Hutt species does not originally hail from Hutta (or Nal Hutta, as it's called in most expanded universe lore). These slug-like galactic gangsters actually come from the planet Varl. According to Hutt legend, Varl was saved from destruction when one of its twin suns turned supernova. However, Varl's atmosphere was completely destroyed in the process. But the likely truth is that the Hutts themselves destroyed the planet with corrupt industrial practices and atmospheric pollution. But because of the legend, the Hutts see themselves as gods to whichever planet they inhabit because the universe saved them from their own planet's obliteration.

Eventually, the Hutts landed on the planet Evocar, which they immediately renamed Hutta. True to their nature, the Hutts drained the planet of resources and began manufacturing with high pollutants. Hutta is beginning to resemble their original home of Varl.

Perhaps the Hutts learned something from Varl, or maybe the impetus for change was the establishment of other rivaling cartels. But Hutta's moon, Nar Shaddaa, is a thriving city world. Although Hutta is technically the capital of the Y'Toub star system, it's really Hutta's moon Nar Shaddaa that is at the center of commerce and economic stability in Hutt Space, if you can call anything the Hutts do "stable." The Jedi Exile companion Mira once said, "Crime in the Y'Toub system -- it's like the economy." That is exemplified on Nar Shaddaa. Crimelords battle for political control, and despicable atrocities are a way of life on this particular world.

Hyperspace Beacon: Unknown Regions
Lastly, in the middle of uncharted space lies the frozen world of Ilum. The Jedi intentionally never charted this world because beneath the tundra lies an intricate network of caves that produce natural crystals that can be easily tuned for lightsabers. As anyone knows, the lightsaber is the primary weapon of the Jedi Order. If the Empire ever found out about this cache, the Sith could win the war by cutting off the Jedi from their primary weapon supply. Not only that, but the Sith can use these crystals themselves for their own warriors.

Guess what: The Empire did learn about Ilum, and on the storm-ridden surface, the two titan nations battle it out for supremacy. It's uncertain who -- if anyone -- will come out on top of this piece of the galactic struggle. Maybe that is up to you to decide.

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!
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