Friday, 23 December 2016

Celebrating SWTOR's five year anniversary: looking back through rose tinted glasses

Wednesday was Star Wars: the Old Republic's fifth birthday. I don't know what it is, but this year's anniversary felt more tangible to me than ever before. Perhaps it's because five is nearing that invisible barrier that makes an MMO age from mature to old - I don't consider the game 'old' yet, but it's definitely getting closer. Perhaps it's because the introduction of the galactic command system with 5.0 reminded me how we take things we love for granted, yet they are not. Or perhaps it is that the transition of LOTRO to an indie game studio reminded me that MMOs don't live forever. Whatever it is, I enjoyed looking back at the first year I played SWTOR. And now I'm going to expose you to that, too.

It all started with this tweet by Unholy Alliances:

What followed was a long thread of people sharing their first screenshots, some complete with UIs and all. Make sure to check it out; it's like a time machine - so much fun! I replied, too, but because tweets are fleeting (I've heard the average 'life span' of a tweet is 20 minutes), I thought it would be fun to post it here as well and expand on it.

My oldest SWTOR screenshot

To the left the oldest screenshot I could find. It dates 31 March 2012. I'm sure I had those crappy UI ridden character screenshots as well back in 2012, but I must've deleted them because I didn't like them. I don't even have the original fullscreen screenshot of the picture to the left, because I was just starting my screenshot collection back then and hadn't found out yet that it's good to always keep the original for later editing purposes (yup, learned that the frustrating way).

The robe Ravanel is wearing brings back all kinds of memories. Contrary to what you might think at first glance, she isn't level 1. I just was so impressed by the starter gear that I kept it around - I think I even rolled with body type 1 because I looked fat from behind in body type 2 with that starter robe. Because there was no  outfit designer  yet (can you guys believe it was only added one and a half year ago, in April 2015?! I don't know what I would do without it anymore. The outfit designer and I were simply meant to be together! But I digress...), I carried that thing around with me all the time and put it back on when I was about to enter a cutscene.

One time, I sent Qyzen away to sell trash items from my inventory, and he sold it! Fail, Qyzen. Luckily, the people from customer service were super nice and restored my robe. I think the quality has been changed by now so it isn't vendored by companions.

Ravanel in April 2012

Early memories

More old pictures. At this time, I exclusively played my sage, Ravanel. Only when she hit level 50 (later on), I started making alts. As you can see, I had found another robe that I liked. (Sage companion spoilers incoming:) I was super happy when Theron joined my crew, because Qyzen never liked what I did. I also was rooting for Nadia to become my padawan when I found out that she was force sensitive, and I was so happy when she finally did!

All this made me look up my first SWTOR blog post (March 2012), which turned out to be a cute account of the first time I did Maelstrom Prison, a few months after I started playing:
"It's been ages since I last played Star Wars. I've been just under level 39 for about a month. Yesterday I called my friend on Skype though, and we dragged our boyfriends with us to Maelstrom Prison. It was great fun!" 
The 'dragging our boyfriends with us' tactic seems to have paid of. My friend doesn't play anymore, but my boyfriend is now guild and raid leader and a theory crafting enthusiast.

I wouldn't want you to miss out on this picture, taken on the first time I did a raid in SWTOR (July 2012). I was so happy with the Columni armour with the funny flappy things I won and so proud of having kept the group alive (most times)! It's a bit embarrassing, really, to read those old blog posts. I really have changed (nah, who am I kidding, I still fangirl over group play).

Anniversary collage

In honour of their five year anniversary, the SWTOR team accepted screenshots from players and made a huge collage with them. I thought this was a really cool idea! People have been proudly sharing their character's location on social media. I sent my screenshot of Ravanel on Odessen in right after it was announced. Alas, I still haven't found it after two hours of searching, so I'm wondering whether something may have gone wrong. In case you are bored: if you find it, I'll give you a cartel pack!

Mugshot of Ravanel on Odessen

If you haven't yet, check out SWTOR's anniversary blog page. You can find nice infographics with player/class info there as well, and the full version of the picture below, so you can zoom in and look for your character (if you submitted a screenshot). 

Detail of the five year anniversary collage

Also, don't forget to drop by the anniversary vendor. He is in the Strongholds & Crew Skills section of the fleet, in a corner near one of those terminals where you can buy a stronghold. I love the free Senya holo trainer, the jawa with balloon (that counts for the jawa achievements) and the expansion stronghold decorations.


Shintar of Going Commando recently wrapped up SWTOR's history in Five Years of SWTOR, saving me a lot of time (thanks, Shin). I fully recommend that article if you want to look back at how the game evolved over the years. Also, I totally snagged this idea from her, because it's awesome:

The appearance of Ravanel through time

I didn't change the face of my character at all, but I did change her hairstyle once new ones got added to the cartel market. I'm happy with her current 'dreads', but I'm still hoping for the perfect long hairstyle to be added to the game (barbie hair doesn't count). Fun fact: I still have all of the above robes in different outfit slots: I just dig that classic sage look.

Finally, a prompt: what are your rose tinted SWTOR memories? Share them below in the comments, or link to your own blog post and I'll check it out!


  1. So do you still have that Jedi starter robe, and is it part of one of your outfits? I didn't realise your yearning for an outfit designer went that far back. :D

    You got a lot more done during your first raid than I did! Reading that post made me go back and dig up my own account of my first operation. It's quite precious to look back on as well.

    1. Funny thing is, I had forgotten about it all, until Stardust made that tweet and I saw that robe on my first screenshot. Pictures really do have a way of invoking memories.

      Eventually I grew to like the other robes more. I still have it - no way I'd ever be throwing that away (just looked it up, it's still sitting in my vault and is called "Supplicant's Tunic") - but I don't have it in an outfit slot. I don't really like what it looks like with the 'dreads'.

      Also, your description of your first raid is very cute as well! We both were worried about letting our team down, haha. I was much slower to level up, though: took me until July. By then, the rest of my guild already knew the tactics, so that's probably why it was a different experience. On the yellow picture above, I had just completed Eternity Vault, so that was my first operation, too! Love your analysis of the bosses, of which we now all think they're so easy. It's so different the first time around.

  2. I took an indepth look into their little masterpiece, and found 2 possibly 3 flawed images. I thought they were asking for headshots, body shots of their characters, instead I found a RL Picture in there, and some one sent in a Captain America image, and possible 3rd one is that damn warbot or better yet the Agent disguise in the story....Oh well. No one in the BW Team caught them :p

    1. Haha, yeah, I saw those images as well and thought that they just were very lenient. The agent in disguise was brilliant, though. :D

  3. Wow.

    This just gets me all warm and fuzzy inside.

    /hoists a glass

    1. Gezondheid!!!

      (I hope I got that right. Being --a sliver-- Dutch, you'd think I know this, but noooo.....)

    2. Haha. *Proost!!! ("Gezondheid" would be if someone sneezes. Good effort, though.)

      I'm happy the nostalgia feeling carried over. It certainly made me feel warm and fuzzy inside thinking about this.


  4. That first raid screenshot with the sunset looks great! I love this kind of blog post, it makes me want to try this game, which looks great. I like Star Wars, but what has always kept me from trying SWTOR is that I feel like there being thousands of jedi kind of ruins the uniqueness of being one.

    1. Thank you! Yeah, there are a bit too many jedi, I guess (although there were more in The Old Republic than during the time of the movies, when they were almost extinct because of the Empire). Then again, there are also too many women (as guys often play female characters and not so much the other way around) and too many pretty looking characters, so I try not to be bothered by such things. I guess I focus more on the NPCs than the players when I try to immerse myself in the environment.


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