Star Wars: The Old Republic has officially launched today and players are about to experience something that’s been relatively unusual in sci-fi MMO RPGs: space combat. The SWTOR system for combat in the wild black yonder is focused on pure Star Wars action – as it should be.
Here’s some tips for mastering it.
First, understand how it works: it’s not like X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter as a full-on flight simulation, but is more like an arcade version of that game. You follow a preset path and are given a specific amount of time to complete your mission in. While you can move around inside the path, you can’t deviate from it. Just remember that most of the space action is based on accomplishing a specific mission (think Luke Skywalker in his X-wing going after the Death Star’s weak spot).
Your only goal in space combat within SWTOR is to complete your objective and not die doing it. Simple, straight forward, but still leaving a lot of room for fun. For added bonus, you can do secondary objectives for extra credits (XP or money).
Second, you should understand what you can and cannot kill with your simple blasters and missiles. For the most part, fighter aircraft and some smaller craft can be taken down with blasters and missiles. Some fixed objects on large ships and emplacements can also be done in with these tools – especially missiles. In all cases, unless your mission objective is to hit a very specific weak spot, you will not likely be destroying whole space stations or cruisers.
Remember that as you’re targeting – the large ships themselves are not likely to take any damage from your shots, so don’t waste them. Aim for targets like gun emplacements, fighter aircraft (including those not launched), and missile launchers.
Third, defending yourself becomes a high priority in SWTOR space combat. The enemy doesn’t just sit there and let you shoot them, they shoot back. Often with a vengeance. So make sure your ship is up to snuff. Ship armor and shields are your primary defense, but shields do not regenerate while you’re shooting blasters. So if your shields are getting whalloped, lay off shooting back to let them recharge.
Your best defense is to go on the offensive and take out those things which are capable of hurting your ship. Adding on upgrades like a better shield regenerator and energy shield upgrades goes a long way in this. Upping your missile magazine size lets you deal out more damage that doesn’t slow down your shield generation either.
Through all of this, remember that at higher levels (50+), the items you can add to your ship – plus the ships themselves – get much more powerful. Your enemies, however, will do the same, so don’t expect a free ride.
Looking for more in-depth advice? Take a look at our recently released SWTOR Leveling Guide for some ideas on how to take your character to level 50 asap.