The Star Wars universe is vast and serves as a home to a myriad of different species. They can be hard to keep track of sometimes and Bioware has elected to include 9 species as playable. Some of these will already be familiar to you depending on how much Star Wars material you’ve made your way through over the years. If you’re just starting out though, some of them may seem a bit more mysterious or daunting. This week we’ll take an introductory look at three species available to players; the versatile Humans, the mysterious Miraluka and the beautiful Twi’lek.
We’ve all been there. Character creation in a new MMO. You’re staring at some default or randomized appearance and take your first steps into the actual game world. When you go through the steps required to form a character you’re usually faced with one of two choices: what do you want to be or what do you want to be? Your class answers the latter whereas your species will answer the former question.
Species is a great place to start on a character as it gives you a feel for what your character might be like before you get influenced by the moral standing of your class. A necromantic deathdealer probably wouldn’t fit into a species of noble defenders of peace. The same goes, of course, for the valiant paladin of light from a racial lineage of backstabbing politicians. When picking your species, it’s important to note their background – even if you’re not interested in roleplaying your character. With Star Wars: The Old Republic offering a highly story-driven environment you’d be a fool to pass on the possibility of getting into the skin of your character.
Humans are the dominant species, both in numbers and politically. An explanation of their visual appearance is unnecessary – I think we all know what we look like. What is important to note is the variety in our species, especially when considering playing one. We have a host of different skin colours, hair colours and even our eyes aren’t all the same. Quite a few people argue against the playing of a Human in games, citing reasons like having to take advantage of a sci-fi or fantasy setting by playing a different species. However, playing a Human different to yourself can be just as engaging as playing a giant mouth animal-plant hole-in-the-ground.
There are a number of things the Human species is credited with in Star Wars. The big one is the forming of the Galactic Republic. After causing the Unification Wars they eventually caused a treaty to be signed. With the ratification of the Galactic Constitution the Senate and it’s famed Library also came into existence. This all happened in 25,053 BBY and precedes The Old Republic by almost 22,000 years. For all that time, Humans are still the dominant species and continue to run the Republic.
Humans in The Old Republic are a lot like their depiction in other games. They’re jacks-of-all-trades with no specific skills or hereditary traits that make them stand out. The only thing, arguable, that can be put in that category is the Humans’ ambition for exploration and expansion. Even those that oppose the idea of an empire or republic find themselves exploring new depths and furthering their species’ hold on the galaxy. This personality make up is what’s made them dominant, for better or worse.
Humans as a species don’t take sides when it comes to the Republic or the Empire. As a species of great diversity and variety they span the morality meter from left to right – no nuance left unfilled. They have no unified front so they are free to align themselves with either or none. This freedom has led to them being found in almost any profession, hence their ability to play any class in The Old Republic.
Humans may not seem like a natural choice to play in an MMO that has so much ‘alien’ to offer, but they offer a great amount of diversity. They can be visually imposing or meek and can fill any role you could want to play. With all the variety available in the real world, it’s safe to assume this is a species that will enjoy a great many customizable options.
There are numerous near-Human species in the Star Wars universe and a handful of them are playable in Star Wars: The Old Republic. The Miraluka are an example of this and they are a mysterious lot indeed. Their original homeworld uninhabitable, they’ve adopted a new world in the Borderland Regions. The fact that the local red dwarf star only emits infrared light doesn’t bother them, they’re all blind. In fact, they lack eyes – instead perceiving the world through the Force.
Because the Miraluka are almost Human, they adopt a lot of their bodily features. They’ll sport the same animations and have largely the same proportions. The main difference is that they wear armour pieces or veils to cover their eyes. These pieces can look very intricate and beautiful or plain and functional. The veil is customizable as reported.
One thing to note about this species is that they don’t immediately identify with the Force as the Jedi do. They believe in (as Wookieepedia states it) The Greater Force theory but are more grey than anything Light or Dark. They are taught to deal with death as they do life and thus do not believe in Good and Evil. They do appear to acknowledge the ‘sides’ of the Force through their religion. They worship two gods that are light and dark respectively; Ashla and Bogan.
As for prominent members of this species, only one can take that crown: Visas Marr. The only remaining survivor of a planet-wide destructive sweep in a campaign of death led by Darth Nihilus, she was apprenticed by the Dark Lord. She bonded with him and went on to aid him in the search for ever greater Force-bound beings to feed the Lord’s hunger. To this end, she was sent to find the Jedi Exile and was subsequently turned to the Jedi cause. She aided the Exile in finding the few Jedi that had escaped the Sith’s campaign to destroy the Jedi Order. She eventually destroyed Darth Nihilus in a successful bid to rebuild the Order and end the Sith’s reign.
Miraluka are an intriguing species that have made a large number of appearances in various Star Wars storylines and media. Their diverse and their headdress makes them stand out from the crowd. They’ll be able to choose the four Jedi advanced classes as their path. Because they’re a bit grey by nature, the roleplay involved in this character could prove both challenging and interesting. Definitely a species to look into if Humans are too plain for you but you’re looking for a rad twist on the Jedi classes.
Ah, the Twi’lek – the last of our three species this week. They’re as iconic as they are troubled. Although they didn’t get much screen time in the original trilogy, they’ve received an incredible amount of love from both fans and the general public. With their females showing seductive curves, portrayed as dancers of the night and their males slated to be quite buff in Star Wars: The Old Republic – who wouldn’t want to sport pair of lekku?
An entire species sold into slavery, their homeworld beset on all sides by crime cartels and many of its members stuck in lives of prostitution and crime. Ironic then that their most prominent feature is their immaculate beauty. The Twi’lek are a troubled race with a dark history that is as riddled with Hutts as it possibly could be. There aren’t many other races out there that have had to endure the hardships they’ve come through.
Nevertheless, they seem to have hit their stride and are advancing in the world. Some go on to become notorious smugglers but the more noble or insidious go on to become Jedi Knights, Consulars and Sith Inquisitors. They’re a complicated bunch with many dimensions to their heritage. Thankfully though, they also carry a strong will to survive – making them a common occurrence in the universe.
The most impressive part of their visual appearance has to be their head tails, brain tails or, more commonly, lekku. These long tentacles are not just any random physical trait; it provides them with a couple of different capabilities. Their native tongue for example, makes use of subtle lekku movement to help communication. Twi’lek are also sensitive to touch of their lekku. They’ve been known to be rendered incapacitated by squeezing their lekku too tight. Of course, this has aided in making them compliant during their slavery. Besides their lekku there is another visual trait that stands out, their skin. The Twi’lek species has access to an immense variety of different skin colours. Purple, yellow, brown, green, blue, you name it – they got it.
There have been many influential Twi’lek over the decades but one that keeps rearing her head when reading into the species is Aayla Secura. A padawan to the legendary Quinlan Vos and eventually knighted by the Jedi Order, she participated in a staggering amount of missions during the Clone Wars. She survived her way through many trials and carved herself a name into history not easily forgotten. She stands as a paragon of virtue even through her short collaboration with the dark side.
All in all, Twi’lek offer the opportunity to be a true light side or dark side Force user. With their ability to live on both sides of the fence and their dark history it’s doubly interesting to play a character haunted by their species misfortune. Still, going the road of the smuggler could open up a whole new world of ambiguity. Will you do the right thing in the face of tough decisions or just go for what you’ve seen the world to be like first hand? As a Twi’lek your choices won’t just be a reflection of you as a player but indeed as a representative of your mistreated species.
The NDA has been lifted and the largest beta weekend so far is right around the corner. As we get closer to launch, week by week, this short series on races will give you a bit of a at-a-glance perspective on the species available to you in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Mind you though, there’s no substitute for good old gameplay. We here at ForceJunkies strongly recommend you try out all species for yourself – they’re all worth an in-depth look by your own critical eye.