SWTOR Roleplaying: an introduction

If you’re into RP and are thinking of going the whole hog in SWTOR, then read this great overview of RP by SWTOR-RP‘s head honcho, Ganden. He also happens to be an Oceanic player so it’s a double win – enjoy.

There are many types and styles of gameplay out there when it comes to MMORPGs. Players have their own preferences, whether it be a focus on PvP, PvE, or perhaps a mix of both. However, there is another style of gameplay that arguably holds the most passionate and opinionated player base, and that style is roleplay. To define roleplay in a nutshell, it consists of a player immersing him or herself behind a character with a story, a personality, and a way of life. The player then interacts with other players in the game from the perspective of their character, acting as their character would in the given situation. It can go as far as interacting with non-player characters and world objects in-character. In roleplay, there is a realm of possibilities when it comes to roleplaying – even more so when the game is in the setting of one of the largest and most popular fantasy worlds ever created – Star Wars.

The Old Republic is by far the largest Star Wars virtual universe ever created in a game, so you can only imagine the anticipation held by the ever-so-eager roleplayers. Star Wars: Galaxies was fun for roleplayers, but BioWare’s Star Wars virtual reality goes above and beyond anything ever created by Sony Online Entertainment. There are seventeen worlds to explore, eight unique classes to play, and two mega-factions which go head-to-head in a battle to establish their own ideas of peace for the known galaxy. And with a game so large, where does someone who wishes to pursue the idea of roleplay start? There are so many avenues to cover when developing your own character, and in this guide to roleplay, we’re going to hopefully assist you in some of the steps involved in kicking off your roleplaying endeavours, as well as covering some of the etiquette surrounding the controversial style of gameplay.

Before you begin your roleplaying adventures, you need to decide what kind of roleplayer you will be. Despite mixed views about whether there should be classifications of roleplay based on roleplaying intensity, two types of roleplay do exist in this modern age of gaming; light and heavy RP. This very topic could be talked about for hours, but we won’t bore you with all of the details. In short, light RP consists of roleplaying on occasion, with out-of-character (OOC) gameplay being the first priority. On the other hand, if you’re classified as a heavy roleplayer, then most of what you do in a game is done in-character. For a broader insight into these two types of roleplay, be sure to check out the edition of The Darker Side of Life – a weekly column at SWTOR-RP – which tackles this very topic.

Some roleplaying scenarios can leave in awe and wanting more - just like this guy

To roleplay, you must have a character with a background of sorts, but it’s up to you how much detail you want to develop before actually playing. Keep in mind that at some stage in roleplay, questions about your character’s background may come up in dialogue with other players. Unless you’re great at improvising, you may want to put some effort and detail into a back-story. But of course, you must start with the basics. Choosing your species and gender should be the foremost decisions, as your character’s name could be defined by species and gender. For example, a Chiss character’s name is going to be somewhat different than an Iridonian’s name. Once you’ve chosen your species and gender, choose an appropriate name. A little hint for roleplay and name creation: be original. You won’t be making many friends with names like Luke Skyhopper or Ben Solowalker. Do a little research into your chosen race and create a unique name using some of your favourite letters. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to play with your body! Well, not your own body. You get the point.

Physical attributes are just as important as name choice, as the appearance of your character may just influence the way he or she is perceived by other players. Largely built characters are going to come across as dominant, whilst the smaller and more petite ones may give off the impression to an irritating chihuahua. Maybe not quite as dramatic, but again, you get the point. Be sure, however, to consider your character’s base personality traits when creating your physical attributes. Consider age, height, weight, skin colour, eye colour, hair style and colour (if applicable), and facial markings and tattoos. Character creation should flow once you get started. It is always the initial process that hurts the brain, but once you get going, ideas should start popping into your head. For a guide on how character creation and player backgrounds work, take a look at the SWTOR-RP Wiki where you’ll find a diverse abundance of character biographies for The Old Republic.

Keep your private roleplay... private

Roleplay can sometimes bear a bit of baggage when it comes to etiquette. The basic rule of thumb is consent. If you’re about to do or say something that may affect another player in a significant way, make sure you have their consent. You don’t want to be emoting the movement of activating your lightsaber and severing another character’s arm at the shoulder socket if they’re not willing to lose that limb. “Ben Solowalker rushes in with his lightsaber and cuts off your arm!” Don’t do that. That would be most unfortunate. In addition to consent, don’t be playing the impervious and unbeatable character, especially in The Old Republic. BioWare created a story where they’ve made everyone the best of the best. Jedi, Smugglers, Sith, and Bounty Hunters are all going to be top of the class characters, so eventually you’re going to have to take one for the team. You win some and you lose some. This can always be decided with the roll of a die if you cannot decide via private messages as to who should come out as the victor. The die can help decide which character lands a blow in both actual duels in-game, as well as “emote duels.” Emoting a duel consists of using the /emote command and entering a description as to what your character is doing. Most roleplay tends to take the latter approach when it comes to duelling.

If you’re on a roleplay server in The Old Republic, never be afraid to engage in roleplay with an unknown character. You never know what might happen. Whether your dialogue turns into a cantina brawl or you end up making a new ally, there is a world of fun to be had. Roleplaying in The Old Republic takes you a few steps closer to experiencing the vividness that is the Star Wars universe. Almost anything is possible, and you control the action. And who better to control the action than a bunch of rowdy Aussies? That takes the anything is possible clause into a whole new world of madness!

For more of an insight into roleplay, be sure to head over to SWTOR-RP.com and check out some of the roleplaying resources we’ve made available to our target audience – roleplayers.

And that’s the way the cookie crumbles in roleplay.


  1. Nice article, just 2 small comments:

    About names, you forgot to advice people that there is actually also the Random Name Generator at character creation. If you really have no idea what to name a character, just use that one. It is a great tool for a good and often unique name.

    Secondly, you mention dice rolls to solve RP conflicts. Problem is, SWTOR has no /roll mechanic I could find so it is hard to use this as a tool.

    Everything else, great article!

  2. Bobcollins says

    This guide helped me out tons on learning everthing I needed. Check it out it might help you too.