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Kiralynn of Rohan

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Joined: 05 Aug 2009
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re: Useful Tips For New Players

Here are some things that I wish I'd known when I first started playing SWTOR.  What are your favorite tips?



  • This is all of your characters on a specific server
  • When you choose a Legacy name, it is not unique. Other people on the server might have the same one.
  • All characters on both factions share the Legacy name you pick, so be careful choosing something that's very Imperial, Republic, Light- or Dark-side based.
  • Certain items and upgrades can be unlocked for a specific character or your entire Legacy.


  • The heart of everything is Fleet. This is a collection of large and powerful warships belonging to your faction (Empire or Republic). You can find many important resources, mission terminals, event hubs, planetary shuttles, and other awesome things at Fleet. Empire and Republic fleet maps are mirror images of each other.
  • At first, your only travel option is taking shuttles from place to place, usually using Fleet as a waystation. As you progress through the story, each character will acquire their own starship and be able to travel to planets, space stations, space battles, and other locations at will.
  • Quick Travel (QT) is a skill that lets you instantly teleport to key locations on each planet. This is extremely useful. You’ll want to spend credits to reduce the cooldown as your budget allows.
  • You can buy instant travel options that take you to your personal starship, Fleet, and specific planets. The Fleet Pass is the most important of these, the others can wait until you have plenty of spare credits.
  • Your mount/vehicle speed is based on your Piloting skill. It’s worth some Cartel Coins or credits to buy up your piloting skill for your entire Legacy.
  • Rocket Boots sound silly but they’re the only means of swift travel in locations that don’t allow vehicles/mounts. Buy them and then pay to reduce the cooldown. It’s well worth the coins/credits.
  • Some locations will be locked or invisible until you are sent there for missions. This is an important reason to follow your class storyline and then progress through the expansions in the proper order

There are three kinds of storage.

  • Each character gets its own Cargo Bay. You can access this from just about anywhere, as access points are located in all towns and at Fleet.
  • Legacy Storage is shared across all characters on the server. There are no Legacy Storage access points in towns or on fleet, but you can install one in your personal stronghold or use the one in the guild stronghold.
  • Guild Banks are used by all members of a guild. They have an amazing array of features. You can access the Guild Bank at one location on Fleet, at the guild stronghold, or at your personal stronghold if you install an access point.


  • Your inventory window has three tabs and a Collection button.
  • The first tab is your normal item storage area. Use a vendor’s “Sell Junk” button to clean this up.
  • The second tab is Mission Items. Items needed to complete or instantly travel to missions are stored here, so they don’t take up (or get lost in) your normal inventory.
  • The third tab has your special currency items, such as Warzone Commendations and Common Data Crystals. (More on that later.)
  • There is a button at the bottom of the window to open your Collection (see below).


  • Your Collection is a special inventory where some items are “unlocked” when you equip them.
  • Collection items can be safely destroyed/discarded after they are unlocked. You don’t need to clog up your bank with toys, color crystals, cosmetic items, or anything else that unlocks in your Collection. You can re-create as many copies as you want from the Collection screen at will for free.
  • Not all items are part of the Collection and an item must be used/bound before it unlocks in your Collection, so make sure you have it in there before you destroy it.
  • Collections can be accessed from your Inventory window. Items can be unlocked for a single character or an entire Legacy. Once you unlock an item for one character, you can pay a small fee in Cartel Coins to unlock it for your Legacy. (Sometimes this goes on sale.)
  • If an item is cheap or won’t be used by many characters, it’s best to buy a stack and give one to each character to unlock. If it’s an expensive item that you want all characters to own, pay CC to unlock it. (“Expensive” is about 300k or higher.)


  • You are going to level very fast, much faster than your story progresses. Don’t worry; once you hit the planet’s level cap, your effective level will freeze.
  • Any time you return to a low level planet, your effective level will decrease to that location’s cap. You will still be more powerful than someone actually at that level, due to your superior gear.
  • There is no penalty for grouping with higher level characters.
  • A higher level will give you more access to crafting recipes.
  • Reputation is shared across your Legacy. All characters benefit from increased faction reputation.
  • There are many benefits that can be unlocked for all characters as you gain "Legacy Levels". Even after one character reaches max level, you still gain Legacy XP. (See the Legacy window.)
  • You’ll notice a little drop-down menu at the bottom of your mini map. You can choose PVE or PVP. When you pick one, you will be transported to the “layers” on the server that match your designation. The PVP status of open world areas and certain missions will change.  You won’t see players on the other layer type.  If you stick to PVE, you are completely safe from PVP unless you enter an instanced battleground. You can switch at will.


  • You will pick up at least 5 companions during your class story. Later, you will pick up another 20+ companions. You will have many to choose from.
  • You can change the cosmetics, gear, and appearance customizations on your original (class story) companions. This does not affect their stats, it is purely cosmetic.
  • Each companion makes different comments and has custom dialog during your adventures. Choose carefully who you want to bring with you. It will have an impact on roleplay.
  • Don’t expect to make every companion happy through roleplay. There are companions best suited to Light, Dark, and balanced characters. Just concentrate on the ones that are a good fit for you.
  • All companions have three modes – Tank, DPS, and Heal. They are equally good at them. You can switch their role any time you’re out of combat. The most popular mode is Healing.
  • Your Influence with each companion affects their stats. The max Influence rank is 50. You can increase their affection for you by adventuring with them and giving them gifts. If your companion approves of your choices during roleplay, their affection will increase.
  • If a companion disapproves of your choices, they don’t gain but also don’t lose affection. However, once you reach the latest expansion (KotFE), if they disapprove strongly enough, they will permanently leave you.
  • Each Influence rank gives: +50 Presence, 1.5% reduced time to complete crew skills, +0.5% critical rate for crew skills. This maxes out at 2,500 Presence, 75% reduced crafting time, and 25% critical bonus.
  • Presence increases your companion’s stats for health, damage, and healing.
  • If you’re confused about Influence, affection, and Presence, just ignore them and remember this one thing -- the higher your companion’s number, the better they do at everything.
  • Some companion gifts work better on certain companions. Save “small increase” or “no increase” gifts for future companions.

Auctions and Currency:

  • The Galactic Trade Network (GTN) is where all items are listed for sale. On Fleet and most planets, the GTN accesses listings for your own faction. On the Hutt planet of Nar Shaddaa or at the guild stronghold GTN, the listings are for both factions.
  • The “Usable By” feature in the GTN is broken. Don’t use it. You won’t see any listings.
  • There are two kinds of currency – Cartel Coins (CC) and credits (sometimes GC). Credits are the in-character currency, used with vendors, auctions, and most character/Legacy upgrades. Cartel Coins are used only in the Cartel Market and are purchased with real world money.
  • You get 500 CC per month as a subscriber and another 100 CC if you use a security key.
  • Many things can be purchased with either CC or credits. When comparing value, remember this – You can earn about 500k credits in one hour, once a week per character, by doing the fastest/shortest Heroic missions. Most items in the Cartel Market can be found in-game for credits.
  • There are many different types of items you can collect as a special form of currency. You can see them on the third tab in your inventory (they don’t take up bank space). Here are some of the common ones.
    • Common, Glowing, and Radiant Data Crystals come from missions. Depending on the vendor you visit, you can trade them for gear, decorations, vehicles, pets, and other fun stuff. They are most important for obtaining gear and gear upgrades.
    • Fleet Commendations are obtained doing space missions and battles. You can spend them on spaceship upgrades, decorations, and other goodies.
    • Warzone Commendations are obtained through PVP battles. They also buy many different things but are most effective when spent on gear.


Cartel Market:

  • Nothing in the Market will help you “win the game”. The best gear is not found in the Market. It can only help you gain vanity items and some Legacy upgrades faster.
  • You can turn CC into credits by purchasing popular items while they are on sale, waiting 72 hours for the item to un-bind, and selling it in the GTN. If done properly, it costs about $1 real world money for one million credits. If you don’t put work into it, it’s about $1 per 350k credits.
  • If you buy a Pack, it’s sort of like a lottery ticket. When you open it, it is guaranteed to have four items. You will get at least some items that you can trade for rare crafting materials. You will probably get an item to help you improve your influence with your companions (making them stronger). You will probably get something from that Pack’s unique set of items. You may get one or two Chance Cubes.
  • Chance Cubes are completely random and can contain an item from any Pack, past or present. You can sell them for 400k in the GTN. Odds are, whatever you pull out will be worth less than 400k.
  • Only buy Packs when they are on a big sale. Older packs make a brief return for 50% off.

Mounts and Pets:

  • Once you unlock a mount or pet, you will have the ability to summon it as a skill. You can drag the skill icon to your toolbar and (un)summon it at will.
  • After gaining a few Legacy levels, you will unlock the ability to Summon Random Pet and Summon Random Mount.
  • Your list of mount skills has checkboxes. When you Summon Random Mount, it will choose only from mounts that have a check next to them. That way, you can uncheck ones you don’t want randomly summoned.
  • Your mount speed is based on your Piloting skill. Level 3 piloting is the highest skill.
  • You can unlock mounts, pets, and piloting skill for one character or your entire Legacy.


  • Strongholds are basically housing, but the system is very versatile and powerful.
  • There are “utility” items that give a stronghold useful features – cargo bay, Legacy storage, guild bank, appearance modification for characters, item/gear modification, special vendors, crafting materials, mailbox, mini-games, and quick travel to different planets.
  • A well-designed Stronghold gives a bonus to companion influence, XP, Conquests, and reputation. Your stronghold will need to be 100% decorated for full bonuses.
  • You can press a button to instantly travel to your stronghold, or a stronghold you have a key to, from almost anywhere.
  • Strongholds have 4 exit buttons (once you finish your introduction storyline) – exit to Fleet, to the planet your stronghold is on, to your personal starship, and to your last location.
    • Important note – You can only exit to your last location if you have not left your stronghold or logged off. If you log off, you can return to that planet but not the exact place you were standing.
  • Decorations can be obtained from Packs, the GTN, mission drops, achievements, and crafting.
  • You don’t need to store decorations! They unlock in your special decoration collection, where you can see how many you have unlocked, how many are still available to place in a hook, what they look like, and how much it will cost (in credits) to donate a copy to your guild. Once they go into your collection, they do not come out – you can’t sell it once it’s unlocked.
  • All of your companions, pets, and vehicles automatically become new decorations in your collection.
  • Decorations can be rotated and moved along the X/Y axis once placed in a hook.
  • Unlocking decorations increases your personal Prestige. Placing decorations increases a stronghold’s prestige. These two combine to create each stronghold’s total Prestige score. The higher the Prestige, the more prominent your stronghold will be in the public listings (if you make it public).
  • You can give out keys to your stronghold so that other people can access it. Bronze keys work if you are online and Silver keys work anytime. Your stronghold will appear in their list and they can travel there by simply pressing a button.
  • Coruscant and Dromund Kaas strongholds (on faction capital worlds) can be accessed by members of the opposite faction (if you allow it), but it costs credits as a "smuggling fee" to sneak in. You can pick one faction or both on other strongholds to determine who can enter.
  • You can change the character name and label associated with each stronghold. You can unlock additional labels. Labels include “Imperial Sanctuary”, “Temple of Light”, “Pirate’s Roost” and so forth.
  • “Purchase For Guild” means donating a copy to the guild. You keep your original decoration. A new decoration becomes available in the guild’s decoration collection.
  • You can have up to five strongholds of your very own! Make sure to buy them with different characters after taking the stronghold quest, so that you get the free starter decoration pack.
  • There is a special guild stronghold called the Flagship. This costs 50 million credits for a basic unlock, then a great deal of credits and grinding to fully open and decorate. Guild Flagships have all kinds of amazing abilities and bonuses. They can fly around the galaxy, transport to/from planets, launch orbital bombardments to help members in combat, and more.

Common Things To Do (not a complete list):

  • Story Missions – Marked with Purple triangles on your map. Do these! They’re the best part of the game and full of awesome roleplay. You’ll also need to do these to get your personal starship and unlock access to certain planets, locations, and factions.  Start with this and don't worry about the rest until you're ready.
  • Other Missions – The worlds are full of missions that provide credits, crystals, and other rewards. You don’t have to do them, the game won’t direct you to all of them, but you can find them easily enough.
  • Heroic Missions – Done as a group, these are a rapid way to make credits. Later, they will give you Supply Crates that increase the power and influence of your [SPOILERS!]
  • Flashpoints – Best done the first time as they come up during your story progression. These are raids with three difficulty levels to choose from.
  • Operations – Really big, challenging raids. Get good gear and master your class before attempting.
  • World Bosses – A fun group activity. There are missions at Fleet for killing these.
  • Battlegrounds – There are both open world battlegrounds and instanced, timed battlegrounds. There are a huge variety of these, some more brutal than others. This is where most of the PVP happens.
  • Space Missions – These are like an old video game. Your spaceship will fly in a pre-designed pattern. While you’re flying around “on rails”, you shoot at things. You score points based on the mission objectives. You earn a special currency that you can spend at the space mission vendor. There are a few upgrades you can make to your ship, all quite affordable. All enemies are NPCs. I love them!
  • Space Battles – This is the “off rails”, PVP version of space missions. You fly where you like as part of a team. You can customize your ship and pick your crew. It’s more complicated and intense than space missions. Join your faction to destroy players of the opposite faction.
  • Datacrons are hidden on each planet. Visiting a datacron will unlock a permanent stat increase for all characters in your Legacy. You can only unlock each datacron once.
  • Conquests happen regularly. As each Conquest begins, guilds pick a planet to try and invade. They compete against all other guilds who picked the same planet. Guild members craft, do missions, beat world bosses, and participate in other events to earn points towards the win. The winning guild gets amazing bonuses and vendor discounts until the next Conquest begins. You can also pursue personal Conquest goals to earn credits, utility decorations, and other fun stuff for yourself.
  • Events – There are three regular events, each running every 2-3 months. They last for one week.
    • Rakghoul Plague has an outbreak on a different planet each time. Fight zombie-like plague victims, go underground to discover and combat the source of the plague, and try not to die from the plague yourself.
    • Relics of the Gree makes you a lab rat. A very alien species rewards you for engaging in combats they design, so that they can study and test you. This has both PVE and PVP missions. Visit super-creepy planet with Tron-like tech and try not to get killed by increasingly scary things.
    • Bounty Contracts can be obtained from the Bounty Brokers Association (BBA). Prove yourself by taking down 5 henchmen and earn a contract to eliminate a boss. Kill them outright or put them in carbonite, but no disintegrations! Travel the galaxy and take out the trash.
    • Nar Shaddaa Nightlife is a rare event that happens once a year or less, so don’t miss it this summer! Head to the casino and beat the slot machines to earn rare and valuable rewards.
  • Roleplay – The world has amazing roleplay support. Check the GTN and Cartel Market to unlock additional emotes and moods. (I personally love the /chair# emotes which allow me to sit anywhere with a chair beneath me.) Some Toys are also useful for roleplay.


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