Star Wars: The Old Republic Companions
By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor), OnRPG Journalist
We’re only weeks away from the opening of the long awaited Star Wars MMO and most of us have been invited for several betas so far and have gotten a closer look at this game. In this article I will be giving you a closer look at the companions that you are able to get in SWTOR. These companions will help you in your journey and are even able to go on missions themselves! All the available companions have unique abilities and weapons that they use and thus create a wide variety of gameplay elements.
Like in every Star Wars movie, the main characters always had a companion everywhere they went; these companions helped them through thick and thin and were even willing to die for their friend. Now you must be wondering how you can acquire one of these good pals to help you with your quests in the Star Wars universe. Well it is fairly simple and everyone will acquire at least one fairly soon. As a Sith Warrior I received a slave that was captured by the Sith and held in prison for a while. She was a treasure hunter from the planet Nar Shaddaa, and after helping her I received her as my companion in future missions for the Sith. Although a useful tool to meet my ends, I realized that keeping her happy was going to be vital to maintaining our relationship for the long-term.
Every companion has a different motivation and reason why they’ve joined you on your journey. As a Sith warrior I merely received my slave as a gift from my superiors because of my storyline and choices I made within the world of Star Wars. All the companions provide commentary in cutscenes, information on plots and directions, and reveal their own personal charm and perspective. The companions may influence your decision making in dialogues, and you can even earn respect. You can also influence their thought and thus become close friends or even lovers. However it’s not all fun and games. If you make a decision that your companion severely disagrees with, they can just as easily turn against you. It’s a heart breaking feeling seeing a character that helped you through so much and that you have come to rely on leaving you over one or two bad choices. Even if you lack emotional connection to them, if you went ahead and equipped them with valuable gear then it really hurts to lose them! On a side note, the companions can get you access to special side quests and even fill in a spot in your party should you be missing enough people to form it. They’re truly one of the most diverse and useful ‘pet’ systems in an MMO today.
Not only are the companions great assets on your adventure, they are also able to go do quests on their own which in result earns you a lot of precious items! The companions are able to go to town for example and sell all your useless items that you don’t need anymore. This saves you your endless trips of going to town because your bag is too full to carry anything. Since the Star Wars The Old Republic galaxy is full with rich valuable resources, high-tech schematics, and intriguing opportunities, the companions are a useful aspect of the game to do something for you while you’re busy with other stuff. Because the galaxy has so much to offer you can send off your companions on their own missions to gather valuable crafting items and other valuable resources. They can also craft items for you or undertake their own missions to bring you and your crew a variety of benefits and rewards. If you send one of your crew members away they will be gone for an x amount of seconds depending on the quest that they will have to undertake so keep this in mind if your group is planning a particularly difficult mission soon.
Because every crew member has a different background, some companions are more proficient with certain skills, and the higher their opinion of you, the better they will perform for you. So it is very important to keep your companions happy. Happy companions are productive companions and can pretty much ensure you get twice as much done for the amount of time you spend playing the game. However the way you specialize them will determine exactly what it is that will make them useful to you. You will be able to select three Crew Skills for your team to train in from among these main categories:
As you can see all these skills are really valuable for various missions that they can do while they’re gone and you don’t need them. Each of these main categories is an unique addition to the Crew Skills System. A companion system has been seen before but something like this is rather unique. We have seen several MMORPGs like Guild Wars and Forsaken World use this kind of system but never to the extent that Star Wars is aiming to achieve.
After extensively testing companions in beta, I have to say I love the concept of companions in Star Wars The Old Republic. I believe it is a fun feature to have in the game and the companions provide so much replayability due to the ways they can change your character’s storyline. Their time saving function is also a life saver for allowing me to get the maximum enjoyment out of my play time when I actually have time to play. It’s an added bonus watching your companion react to your actions and really makes you feel the impact of your decisions on a personal level. Because of the companion system your entire journey becomes a little more unique, and gives you plenty of stories you can share with your friends that are unique to you.