This is the first in a series of game guides I’ll be writing for Crew Skills, discussing various systems of game mechanics to help everyone get up to speed nice and fast. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!
Please note that this post has been prepared based on my experiences in the beta, and relies on information from the various SWTOR beta tests. Some parts of the game system have changed within the last few weeks, and may still change before launch, so please bear that in mind. I’ll keep the post updated as much as possible.
Like most MMOs, your character’s described by a series of stats, or attributes, that reflect their strengths and weaknesses. Gear you acquire will add bonuses to your stats; the quality of your gear makes a huge difference to your ability.
There are five base stats. Apart from Endurance, each base stat affects one type of damage and increases your chance to score a critical with that type of effect. Endurance increases your health rather than affecting your damage. Each character has one ‘primary’ stat that synergises with their abilities, and has greater effects for them.
- Strength affects your melee (ie hand-to-hand) damage. Primary stat for Jedi Knights and Sith Warriors.
- Willpower affects your force damage. Primary stat for Jedi Consulars and Sith Inquisitors.
- Aim affects your ranged (ie firearms) damage. Primary stat for Troopers and Bounty Hunters.
- Cunning affects your tech (ie gadgets & grenades) damage. Primary stat for Smugglers and Imperial Agents.
Everyone gets the listed bonus from their base stats; your primary stat will also give you a boost to related effects. For instance, a Sith Warrior’s Strength will give them a boost to their force damage, as well as the melee boost you’d expect.
There are quite a lot of these, though not all of them apply to all characters. Players with prior MMO experience will recognise the concepts and terminology involved.
- Presence boosts the effectiveness of your companion (health, damage output, healing, etc)
- Power increases damage output.
- Force Power/Tech Power increases damage of the specific type only.
- Accuracy increases your chance to hit, and increases your chance to penetrate defenses once you have 100% hit chance.
- Crit Rating increases your chance to crit.
- Armor reduces incoming physical and energy damage.
- Defense increases your chance to avoid (parry/deflect) incoming attacks.
- Absorption increases the amount of damage shields absorb.
- Alacrity speeds activation and channel times.
There are also a couple of other stats (Surge & Expertise) that I’ve seen referenced in material leaked from earlier beta builds, but I never saw them in play so I’m waiting to confirm they’re still implemented. (Surge increases the effect of crits; Expertise is a PvP stat that increases damage/healing and reduces incoming damage.)
There are several tertiary stats that don’t affect your in-combat gameplay directly, but they will definitely affect your long-term play. These are usually increased by acquiring points for different parts of gameplay; when you hit a particular point threshold you gain a rank in the relevant stat. Note that Light/Dark Side points, Social points and Companion Affection points are indicated at the point when you earn them, but aren’t actually awarded until you complete the quest or activity.
Light Side/Dark Side Alignment reflects the moral choices you’ve made for your character while questing. Particularly “good” actions usually give you Light Side points, while notably evil or callous choices give you Dark Side points. Note that some morality rewards may seem unusual to you, but provided you mouse over each conversation option before you select it, you won’t be forced to acquire morality points you don’t want without knowing about it. You can also get some LS/DS points via the Diplomacy mission skill.
Morality rating affects your access to a lot of gear; many items require “Light I” or “Dark II”, etc. (Note that the devs have said they want to provide equal rewards for people who walk a neutral path, though I haven’t seen any explicitly neutrality-requiring gear in game yet.)
Social Level is increased by participating in multiplayer NPC conversations. If your character is the one randomly selected to deliver their response to the NPC you get more points (depending on how many players are in the conversation), but even if you lose the roll you still get at least one point.
Social level also gates your access to gear, particularly moddable/social/appearance gear.
Affection Rating is tracked on a per-companion basis; depending on your companions’ personalities you might have one who thinks you hung the moon while the rest of them hate you. Affection rating can be increased by giving your companions gifts (bought from vendors or acquired via mission skills), and also (mostly) by choosing certain conversation options when talking to NPCs. Note that there’s no indicator ahead of time as to what will gain (or lose) Affection rating; you just have to guess, based on how well you know your character’s companion. (If you look up your companion in the in-game codex it’ll give you a list of their likes and dislikes, which helps you choose appropriate gifts and also will give some guide as to your conversation options if you’re looking to impress one of them.)
Valor is earnt via PvP, and I assume it controls access to PvP gear and/or content, but I didn’t actually see anything (during my limited sojourn in the beta) that was controlled by your Valor rating.