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Things you wish you knew when starting out in SWTOR
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December 14, 2020
10:05 pm
Soeren Kamper

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March 18, 2012
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This is just a helping hand for new players. It might also be usefull if you are a returning player, since most of this will be obvious.

  1. When doing group content tell people if it's your first time. People will often expect you to know quite indirect paths to follow which avoids combat and will therefore run ahead. You'll end up pulling, getting killed and (more often than not) wiping the group. Try to establish how quickly your group wants to do a flashpoint - people will start raging if you're not pressing spacebar (to skip cutscenes) at the same rate as them.
  2. The default price you get when you put something on the GTN (auction house) is often ridiculous - I think the price it suggests for molecular stabilisers is 5% or less of the usual selling price. Similarly, the price you can get from selling to vendors is often criminally low (sometimes there's nothing you can do about this).
  3. Be careful before removing mods / armour from gear - it's pricey and can often bind items to you.
  4. Don't quit warzones in the middle of one unless you really have to.
  5. Most classes have a particular stance / form you should be in. This should be enabled at all times. Your companion may also have such a stance - which again should be enabled at all times.
  6. You get planetary commendations for lots of the missions you do - they should be used to buy item modifications (armour/mods/enhancements). Gear you can get elsewhere.
  7. Every time you level up check your abilities screen to see if any new skills are available at your trainer.
  8. This is really obvious but spend your skill points with some sort of plan. When I first started playing I put skill points into all three skill trees more or less at random (or what sounded useful) - this is dumb. You can respec though so it's no big deal.
  9. Unlike some other RPGs, SWTOR will often let you wear completely inappropriate gear so be careful. Just because you can theoretically wear any medium armour doesn't mean it'll be useful.
  10. If you're more than 5 levels above the requirement for a particular mission you get practically no experience for completing it (it'll show as grey in your mission log). You still get credits / gear rewards as normal though (although the actual items probably won't be useful).
  11. Enemy difficulty doesn't scale in a linear fashion. You can often kill enemies of a higher level than yourself but beyond a certain point (again, about 5 levels) you'll find that you can't even hurt some foes. Even things like stuns and interrupts won't work and the best you can do is run away. The first time you level this is unlikely to be a problem though since you get more than enough XP by doing side quests, etc.
  12. Space combat missions are worth doing at least once for the XP bonus they give you.
  13. Pick one of your companions to run with and keep them moderately well geared. I'd divide companions into two groups : ones that can heal you and everyone else. There's little difference between them (in terms of utility) beyond this. Some side missions do demand you use a particular companion but that's usually very short term (e.g. to have one conversation) and you can switch right back.
  14. Some commendations have an upper limit on what you can hold at any one time. For example, for Warzone commendations. If you get more than this, you don't accumulate any more and the game doesn't tell you that you've reached the limit.
  15. Companions gain abilities when you level up although for some reason they are usually not enabled by default. So check their ability bar for new skills every once in a while.
  16. Companions AI is moderate at best. They won't attack CC'd targets directly but they can still break CC by using AOE abilities. They also will try to use their own CC's / stuns on targets who you are attacking or on targets who are invulnerable to such abilities. You may therefore wish to disable some abilities before key fights.

Don't sweat it if you have extra commendations when you finish a planet. The mods/armorings/enhancements from the commendation vendors don't bind to you, and they are a perfect way to gear up future alts or friends who are starting out. Resist the temptation to clear out your commendations by buying lockboxes before you leave a planet!

Know your class's main stat. There are three things to know when deciding what gear to wear:

What's my main stat?

  • Trooper/Bounty Hunter uses Aim
  • Smuggler/Imperial Agent uses Cunning
  • Jedi Knight/Sith Warrior uses Strength
  • Consular/Inquisitor uses Willpower

What's my armor type? If you keep your main stat in mind, this is only relevant for Jedi Knights/Sith Warriors.

What ratings do I want?

  • Tanks want defense/shield/absorb
  • DPS wants crit/surge/power
  • Healers want alacrity (in theory, but in practice nobody wants alacrity)

These guidelines should help you make the right decisions on which flashpoint gear to roll on.

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