Creating a new character for Star Wars: The Old Republic is a complex procedure, whether you're rolling another alt to round out your legacy or creating your very first character. Each step involves weighing decisions, planning for the future of the character and trying to fit everything into your own unique play-style.
The first decision you make when creating a new character is figuring out which server to play on. If you are rolling a new alt to fill out your legacy, you already know what server you want to roll on. For anyone else, this involves a bit of research and planning, and relies on a set of criteria:
Before you get around to picking an actual class, you will need to select which faction you wish to join - the Republic or the Sith Empire.
The Republic is somewhere between the Rebel Alliance in the original trilogy and the Galactic Republic in the prequels (before Palpatine converted it to the Empire in Episode III). They have more resources and authority than the guerrilla resistance fighters with the hand-me-down gear of the Rebel Alliance, but they do not have full control of the galaxy like they do in Episodes I - III. They are still fighting for freedom and liberty and all that good stuff, they have the Jedi on their side, and everyone has a California accent.
The Sith Empire is similar to the Galactic Empire of the original trilogy, but is set long before Darth Bane's "Rule of Two" is in effect. It is dominated by the Dark Council, the Sith "top dogs," who are just as concerned with their own internal power-struggles and petty in-fighting as they are with dominating the galaxy. Everyone wears grey, black and red, non-humans are discriminated against and everyone but the Bounty Hunters talks with a British accent (with some Scottish and Welsh thrown in here and there).
There is a major difference in tone between the two factions. While the quests are essentially identical ("go kill 10 things," "fetch me my items," etc.), the motivations are very different. The Republic quests typically revolve around spreading freedom and democracy and preventing Sith terrorism ("go kill 10 Sith to prevent them from committing further crimes against the Republic," "go collect these stolen items to prevent the Sith from creating a doomsday device"). Imperial quests tend to emphasize domination, tyranny and murder ("go kill 10 Republic soldiers to send a message that the Empire will never bend," "go collect these items so we can make a machine that poisons the city's water supply"). Players who prefer to act the role of the valiant hero will find more opportunity to do so on the Republic side of things. Players with a dark sense of humor will likely prefer the Empire.
The next step is picking your base class. This will involve some planning ahead - you want to start with a character that will eventually become the type of class you want to play. The first 10 levels are spent on the character's "home world" as the base class, but once that journey is completed, the character will pick an advanced class that more narrowly fills a specific combat role. Start with the role you want to fill, and work backwards from there to determine which base class you want to start with.
|Jedi Knight||Guardian||Melee Tank, DPS||Juggernaut||Sith Warrior|
|Sentinel||Melee DPS (Dual Lightsaber)||Marauder|
|Jedi Consular||Sage||Heal, Force DPS||Sorcerer||Sith Inquisitor|
|Shadow||Stealth, Light Tank, Melee DPS||Assassin|
|Trooper||Commando||Ranged DPS, Heal||Mercenary||Bounty Hunter|
|Vanguard||Ranged Tank, DPS||Powertech|
|Smuggler||Gunslinger||Ranged DPS||Sniper||Imperial Agent|
|Scoundrel||Stealth, Heal, Ranged DPS||Operative|
For the introduction, the character is fairly broad and may take a number of different paths once he shuttles off the homeworld. Each class has a "mirror" class in the opposing faction, with a nearly identical skill set and combat role.
When a character finishes Chapter 2 of his class story (typically around level 42 or so), his class buff is added to all characters on that legacy. Note that the mirror classes share buffs (they have different names, but do the exact same thing), and these buffs cross factions - the Sith Warrior has the exact same buff as the Jedi Knight, the Bounty Hunter has the same buff as the Trooper, and so on. If a player has a legacy Sith Warrior and rolls a Smuggler, the Smuggler will start with the Sith Warrior's buff in addition to his own. It's possible to get all 4 buffs by leveling one each of Warrior/Knight, Consular/Inquisitor, Trooper/Bounty Hunter, and Smuggler/Agent and completing the class stories up to Chapter 3.
When selecting a class for an alt, keep in mind that class stories are determined by the base class, not the advanced class that you pick up later. Jedi Guardians and Jedi Sentinels, for example, have the very same class story from beginning to end. If you want to try both advanced classes from the same base class, be prepared to go through the exact same story with a related-but-different skillset. The alternative is to roll the mirror class of the opposite faction - you will get a feel for how that class plays, but the storyline will be very different.
For more information about the Legacy system, please see our Legacy System Guide
This part is entirely subjective and has almost no impact on how the game is played, but it is the part of the process that makes the character unique.
Each class is playable as one of a handful of different species. The only difference between the different species is the racial ability, which has no combat value. For example, Cyborgs have the ability to "scan" other players, which plays an animation with some scanning effects but reveals nothing. Sith Purebloods have the ability to punish their summoned companions, giving them a vicious backhand and making them cry.
Reaching level 50 with a character unlocks that character's race for all classes on that legacy. Additionally, some races receive extra benefits - for example, leveling a Cyborg character to 50 unlocks all cybernetic accessories. By default, some cybernetic cosmetics are restricted by class and faction. Leveling a Human character to 50 gives all characters on that legacy a big boost to Presence.
Race has no effect on the character's voice. Voice is determined by class and gender, so all male Jedi Knights sound identical, and all female Bounty Hunters sound the same, etc., regardless of race or body type.
Gender has no bearing on stats or most aspects of gameplay, but there are a few things worth noting.
Your character's name is the final personal stamp in the creation process. There are few guidelines for character names, but typically the following are restricted:
Many players find workarounds for these restrictions by using alternate spellings or cleverly-placed punctuation (apostrophes and hyphens are permitted). Note that some naming elements are actual titles that the player can earn by questing (Darth, for example), and Legacy names earned upon the completion of Chapter 1 of the class storyline can function as a surname. If you're not feeling particularly creative and don't need a specific "brand" for your character, you can use the Random button at the bottom to randomly generate a name. You can keep hitting the button until it comes up with something you like - some of the random names are awkward and unpronounceable.
Some interesting details about the other customization options:
Now that your character has been created, you can begin fleshing him out. Your first decision after creation is whether to play the character as Light Side or Dark Side. This is an on-going process that can last all the way to level 50, and is chiefly determined through dialogue options. There are a handful of alignment-based rewards throughout the game - reaching different alignment levels earns the character titles and grants access to specialty items from vendors on the fleet.
Going full-on Dark Side has a secondary "reward" of sorts in the form of Sith corruption. The further the character slides towards the Dark Side, the more evident his evil becomes. Skin tone grows increasingly pale, blood vessels around the face darken (especially around the eyes, the tip of the nose and the mouth) and the eyes turn yellow, then orange, then red. At Dark V, the character looks like a red-eyed walking corpse. For Sith Purebloods with glowing yellow or red eyes, the eye color change removes the glow.
There is no Light Side equivalent of this effect - Light V characters look exactly the same as they did at creation.
Light Side and Dark Side are not faction-dependent, but the way these abstractions of morality are presented differs pretty greatly between the two factions. For a Jedi, a Dark Side decision is choosing to keep a secret about a fellow student's ineptitude, and the Light Side decision is ratting him out. For a Sith, a Dark Side decision is murdering an unarmed prisoner in cold blood, and the Light Side decision is allowing them to live. The Jedi have a much more subtle philosophy than the Sith.
For more information, please see our Complete Guide to Alignment in the Old Republic
Once the story on the homeworld is wrapped up and the character is shuttled off to join the fleet, usually at around level 10 or 11, it's time to select the advanced class. As mentioned above, this is the selection that determines the character's combat role in a group setting. Pick up the quest from the guy standing by the elevator from the shuttle bay and go find the Advanced Class Trainer in the Combat Training section of the space station.
If you hadn't planned ahead when selecting your base class, you will need to consider which aspects of the character you found most enjoyable, or which aspects you believe you will find most enjoyable later on when facing more challenging content. For example, as a Jedi Consular, you may have found it more rewarding to attack enemies using Force abilities than attacking them with a melee weapon, so you would pick Sage instead of Shadow because Sages have a lot more Force-based attacks. As a Sith Warrior, you may have found the character's toughness and survivability more appealing than his damage-dealing abilities, so you might prefer to go with Juggernaut instead of Marauder.
Once you have chosen your Advanced Class, you will want to spend the skill points you have earned. Skill points can be spent however you want - you can specialize in one of the three available talent trees, or you can try a "hybrid" blend, spreading the points across all three. This is your "spec" - "specification" or "specialization." The Advanced Class selected is permanent once chosen, but there is some flexibility within that advanced class if you find it lacking in some way later on - all you need to do is talk to a Skill Mentor (there is one on the fleet) to reset your skill points (AKA "respec"). Characters get one free skill-point reset per week, but must pay money for each additional respec. Some classes change drastically with a respec - for example, Sith Sorcerers can switch from vicious DPS (from the Lightning talent tree) to top-tier healers (from the Corruption talent tree), which can dramatically change the way the character is played.
Figuring out a talent tree spec that works for you is an on-going process that may undergo constant tinkering and tweaking all the way to level 50 and beyond. For example, playing a healer class in solo PvE content is frustratingly slow, so many players spec for DPS while leveling and switch to healing spec for running group content at endgame.
Note that when you select your advanced class, you are given some specialist equipment - check your inventory for a bag, right-click it and equip the stuff you get from it.
For more details, see our Advanced Class Selection Walkthrough Guide
This is the final step of the character's creation. There is no "perfect" combination of crew skills for any given class, but some classes will get more benefit from certain skills than others will.
|Crew Skill||What It Does||Also Need||Who Benefits|
|Archaeology||Gathering skill - crystals and artifact fragments for Synthweaving and Artifice||Any - items used by multiple crafting skills|
|Armormech||Crafting skill - makes armor for non-Force-users||Scavenging, Underworld Trading||Bounty Hunters, Imperial Agents, Troopers, Smugglers|
|Armstech||Crafting skill - makes weapons and barrels||Scavenging, Investigation||Bounty Hunters, Imperial Agents, Troopers, Smugglers|
|Artifice||Crafting skill - makes crystals, enhancements, hilts||Archaeology, Treasure Hunting||Any - enhancements and color crystals are used by all classes|
|Bioanalysis||Gathering skill - biological components for Biochem||Any - materials are used by Biochem only|
|Biochem||Crafting skill - makes stims, adrenals, medpacs, implants||Bioanalysis, Diplomacy||Any|
|Cybertech||Crafting skill - makes earpieces, armoring, mods, grenades, starship upgrades, speeders||Scavenging, Underworld Trading||Any|
|Diplomacy||Mission skill - medical supplies, companion gifts; has Light and Dark side missions||Any - materials are used by Biochem only, but the missions earn Light/Dark-side points|
|Investigation||Mission skill - researched compounds for Armstech, companion gifts||Armstech only - no other reason to take this skill|
|Scavenging||Gathering skill - scavenged metals and compounds||Any - items used by multiple crafting skills|
|Slicing||Mission and Gathering skill - crafting missions, schematics, sliced tech parts, companion gifts, lockboxes; allows the character to slice electronic safes for credits||Any - good way to make money fast|
|Synthweaving||Crafting skill - makes armor for Force-users||Archaeology, Underworld Trading||Jedi, Sith|
|Treasure Hunting||Mission skill - rare gems, companion gifts||Artificer only - no other reason to take this skill|
|Underworld Trading||Mission skill - underworld metals and fabrics, companion gifts||Any - items used by multiple crafting skills|
What you select for your crew skills will depend on what you ultimately want to do with them.
For more information on Crew Skills, see our Intro Guide to Crafting in the Old Republic
Your character is now complete. You are now free to begin gathering your crew and begin conquering or liberating the galaxy as you see fit.
Have any tips you'd like to share? Anything you wish you'd known when you rolled your first toon? Let us know in our comments!