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Karquile's SWG Almanac 1.0
Here is my New Year's gift (or punishment!) for the SWG community. I've been playing since July 2003 and there are a bunch of things
that come up in chat and in Forums and people say, "Wow, I never knew/tried that, thanks." So I decided to collect some of the choice
Some of what follows is tech hints and info, some is just advice for whatever you think it's worth. All opinions expressed are my own. I
will update this as the game changes. I will also mirror it at one or more SWG sites in case something happens to it here.. If you have
additions, corrections or suggestions, post them here.
SWG = Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided.
JTL = Jump To Lightspeed (expansion).
SOE = Sony Online Entertainment.
= Probably Obvious, But Just In Case
BUYING IT, EXPANSIONS, GIFTS, FREEBIES
(don't worry, we'll get to the tech stuff soon!)
Be careful buying SWG or the JTL expansion on eBay or any other non-store source. Even though the CD's containing
the software are supplied intact, the 20-character Serial Number may already be used. The presence or absence of "shrinkwrap"
doesn't matter. (Collector's Edition discs weren't shrinkwrapped to begin with.) If a seller says something like "only used once"
then you know it's too late. At that point you're really buying someone's account, not a mint condition game, and EULA aside, it
may come back to bite you. Always get buyer protection from eBay and/or your credit card company, and don't be afraid to use it.
Yeah, you want Jump to Lightspeed. I'm definitely no SOE salesman (far from it) and no, Space Combat itself is not necessarily
to everyone's taste. But for a one-time investment of $24.95 (the latest price from newegg.com - it's even cheaper on eBay, but
see the warning above) you get instantaneous free travel anywhere in the galaxy. Walk into any Starport, open a Starship Terminal,
click Travel (not Launch), pick your planet and Starport, click Travel again and you're there. No waiting around in the spaceport,
no 800 credit fees, no three-leg connections through Corellia. Lok to Dath? Boom. Dant to Yavin? Pow. And you can do it with
the starter ship. You don't have to spend a credit. There's also the 75k credit Holiday present (see below), but JTL would be a
slam dunk anyway. The monthly fee doesn't change, but the game changes a lot.
And if you can find it, you may also want the JTL Beta Preorder. They are getting very rare now, but the Beta Preorder
software that was sold on Gamestop and a few other outlets for a brief period last Fall is worth having if you're a hardcore
adventure planeteer. OK, it's a completely separate purchase, and the Beta itself is ancient history, and you still have to buy retail
JTL afterwards (thanks a lot, SOE), so the Preorder might seem to be useless, but if you register a JTL Preorder serial number,
and you have JTL itself, the next time you log in, you have a Flash Speeder deed in your inventory.
You've probably seen them in the game: Futurama-looking vehicles with flat rear ends and pale peach coloring. They're slower
than Swoops, about as fast as the Speederbike. But here's the trick. You can run them into the ground, fly them far into the boonies
on planets like Endor with no garages in sight, let mobs chew on them, etc, and when they're dead, you just delete them from the
datapad, type /flash and for 20k credits, you immediately get a brand new deed. No matter where you are. As long as you're not
broke, you cannot be stranded. My bushwacking hunter friends absolutely love the Flash Speeder.
Don't miss those Holiday Gifts. This year SOE's holiday gifts were some Life Day stuff, and a cool 75,000 credits for anyone
who has JTL, no questions asked. Now I don't know about you, but the only reason I care about Life Day is that it forces Lucas/SOE
to acknowledge the existence of the Star Wars Holiday Special, a fantabulous artifact from 1977 featuring Harvey Korman,
Bea Arthur, Art Carney, Diahann Carroll, stop me before it gets any cheesier! But that cash will come in right handy.
So here's the deal. You get one payment of 75k credits per account, per galaxy, if you have JTL and if you log in before the end
of January 2005. It can be a newly rolled character, no problem, the 75k will be there in the Bank side of the inventory when you
reach the Space Station. Remember that on production SWG you can create up to 8 different characters, but they must all be
on different galaxies. So even if you only have one or two characters now, you could create characters on all 8 slots and they'll
each get 75k. You might not care about those other galaxies, but some day, you could do a cross server credits trade for them.
Note that on Test Center, where you're allowed three characters per account, only one toon gets the 75k.
Log in those characters! The special rewards and gifts they hand out - pieces of art, the Sorosuub Luxury Yacht, the 75k gift
etc - require that you log in to receive them. So keep your characters logged in on a regular basis just to make sure you don't
miss any goodies.
STARTING A NEW CHARACTER
Name your character
- I sometimes wonder if new players know that you're allowed to select your own name for the character
you create. I see so many toons in the game walking around with Inert Petrochemical names. When the game randomly makes up Eoqiv Ivahiq
(or whatever) in the Character Name field, you are definitely not required to accept it. You can and should pick a name that you're happy to be playing with for the next year or two.
I'm not saying break immersion with Daf'fy Du'ck and that kind of silliness, and hey, if Eoleeoaa Crestingwaver works for you,
great. But you do have a choice. Personally I have three "families" that I add names to when I make a toon. And if you're using
a famous name, unless the name filter prevents you, it wouldn't hurt to spell it right!
Use the instant Stat Migration - They added a female voiceover that tells you this, but people still get confused in the Space
Station because when you hit Ctrl+C and click Stat Migration, the help text says you that you need to visit an Image Designer
and wait a long time for the results. Not true - it is instant, as long as you're still in the Station (even if you Migrate multiple times).
When you select a starting Profession for your toon, the game gives you different clothes, a different freebie Novice skill, and
different Inventory items depending on your choice. It also adjusts your Stats differently. But you can and should adjust your
stats yourself. So just pick your Profession based on the outfit and items.
As for what stats to migrate to, it's up to you, and there's lots of Forum advice depending on what your intended character
template is. Just remember, right now Mind is the hardest stat to buff well. Health and Action are available out of a Doctor's
bag. If you don't plan on using buffs, remember that secondaries are more important than primaries. (Disclaimer: This may
all change with the Combat Upgrade.)
For greater precision, open the Stat Migration window to maximum width by clicking and dragging the left and right edges.
Move the sliders to get in the ballpark of your desired number, then click on the little arrows to increase or decrease the stat
values a point at a time.
The Space Station is also a good time to set up your other Options and settings, and you can also send /tells to other players
before you ever head for a planet (you can even do a /who, try it some time!) But do the migration first, because if for some
reason you lose your SWG connection or crash/reboot in the Space Station, when you log back in you'll be standing in Theed,
and it'll be too late.
Rerolling with the same name - Contrary to rumor, you can reuse a name after you delete the character (as long as nobody
else gets to it first). But not instantaneously. It takes a few minutes for the central database to be updated. Until then, it'll tell you
the name's already taken. Once the database 'ticks', you can reuse the name. Of course as you guessed, last names don't
count in the database, only first names.
Buy the novices. Even if your ultimate goal is Jedi Image Designer (love that Force Liposuction command!), it does not hurt
to put your free skill points to work right away in the game. You can always drop unneeded branches later when you start maxing
out your template. With Scout, Medic and Entertainer you can be flat broke and stuck in the remote mountains of Dathomir on
Shadowfire on a school morning, and still make a camp and heal your own wounds and battle fatigue. With Marksman and Brawler
you stand a little better chance of surviving unexpected encounters Picking up a couple of boxes of these also gives you more
ways to get Apprentice XP along the way, for when you reach Master. (See "All AXP is the same" below)
CONFIGURING YOUR PLAY ENVIRONMENT
Use all of your toolbar - this is a pretty common tip, but it's still surprising how many people don't know that your Toolbar has
two rows - the second row, corresponding to Shift+F1-F12, is revealed by dragging a "resizer" corner vertically. (You can also
shrink the toolbar horizontally to get rid of those 4-key "gaps.")
POBJIC: Even if you don't see the second row of toolbar icons, the Shift+Fnn hotkeys still work, so if you know what's there and
you need the screen space, you can leave them hidden.
Also POBJIC: there are actually six two-row toolbars available to you, and you can select them either by clicking the little arrows
underneath the toolbar number on the left, or by pressing Ctrl+` and Ctrl+Tab, or directly by pressing Ctrl+F1-F6. There are also
/ui action commands to switch them, but I'm not going to get that geeky just yet.
Drag stuff to the toolbar - Most people know that you can drag a weapon or a piece of clothing from your Inventory to the toolbar,
and thereafter pressing that F key or clicking the icon will equip/unequip the item. But there's more.
You can drag any icon to the toolbar from your top level Inventory, a container in your inventory (like a cargo pocket or second
backpack containing buffs, armor etc), an equipped container (Backpack or belt), and the Waypoints and Data tabs of your
Datapad. (You can't drag POI's, Draft Schematics, or items from other open containers like armoires and backpacks in your house.)
Once dragged to the bar, the effect of pressing that F-key or clicking the toolbar icon is to perform the default action on the object.
For clothes and armor, the default action is Equip/Unequip. For vehicles the default action is Call/Store - so if you drag a bike from
your datapad to the toolbar, you can call it and put it away with one keypress!
For waypoints the default action is Activate/Deactivate, so I'm now sure how useful it is, but if you had a waypoint that you wanted
to turn on/off rapidly, you could assign it an F key. (More about Waypoints below.)
The backpack trick is sweet though. You can put your stims, brandy etc down in your pack and out of harm's way, and use them
at the touch of a button. Same for tools. Clothing and armor work too, but they move to the top level Inventory as soon as you
It turns out that you can also drag an item from your droid's Storage Compartment to the toolbar, and it will stay there even when
the droid is stored, and pressing the F-key will do the default action. Unfortunately I can't find any use for this, because the default
action is either Examine (for schematics) or Pick Up (for objects). Just a weird sidelight. And of course you can drag commands
and Macros to the toolbar, so read on.
Make some utility macros. The macro facility is powerful, at least until they cave to the whiners and nerf it, but you might as well
get some use out of it before they do.
There are a few basic macros that everybody ought to have. To create one, hit Ctrl+A, select the Macro tab, click New, enter a
name, pick an icon, enter the text, and click OK. It'll jump around the list of macros a bit when first created, so scroll up and down
to find it if you have more than 8-10 macros. Then you can drag them to the toolbar or keymap them (see Keymaps below).
Dump - this stops everything so you can do what you need to do without interference.
/ui action clearCombatQueue;
Mount - this mounts your vehicle. Adjust the target depending on what you ride.
Notepad - this opens and closes the Notepad window, a useful gimmick they added last year but didn't assign a Hotkey for.
Struct - this shows the admin status of the building you're currently in or the harvester/factory you have targeted (if you
have admin privilege). Useful in an F key if you manage a lot of property.
- this basic example of a looping macro keeps you synched with the server so you don't get LD'd if the phone
rings or you're reading Karquile's SWG Tips in the other window
Move Object - this is actually a set of macros of the form
/move back 1
/rotate right 5
etc, which you can map to F keys and use for fine placement of objects in houses.
Waypoints - useful if a bit messy - there are a few things to remember.
Enable the Onscreen Waypoint Monitor - another useful featurette they added after launch - it's not on by default but you can
enable it in Options (Ctrl+O) on the Misc tab. I also turn off the Show Arrows to Waypoints checkbox, it's useless noise especially
since they added the little arrows on the Waypoint Monitor itself.
Making new waypoints in the game - You can create a new (and auto activated) waypoint at any time (on the ground or in
space) with the /waypoint command, but how it behaves varies. If you have an object or a character targeted, the waypoint will
be at the target's location. If you have nothing targeted, the waypoint will be at your location. However, if you're inside a structure
(including walking around a multiplayer ship), the waypoint will be based on your "cell" location, i.e., relative to the building, not the
world outside - so it will be something like (2, 5) and useless. Don't make waypoints inside unless you supply the coordinates
yourself by looking at the Radar cluster:
POBJIC: Space waypoints use all three coordinates X, Y and Z. So to make a specific waypoint in Space (as you might if you
were docked somewhere in your MP ship and walking around inside) you would say
/waypoint -2138 5885 4904
You can color your waypoints using the standard \#ff99cc type hex color notation. This makes them easy to find on a crowded
datapad or the onscreen Monitor.
Use your Keymap - Under Options/Controls is a very powerful facility called Keymap. This UI lets you assign - or reassign - virtually
any command or window in the game to a keystroke, click, button press, or combinations of these.
You can also keymap your own Macros, which is worth remembering.
The Keymap UI is divided into a number of Command tabs in various categories, plus a tab called Custom for your macros, and one
called All that lumps all the commands (but not your macros) into one list. There's also a "Ship" tab, but you have to be launched into
Space to see it.
A lot of the commands are different from the "slash commands" you are used to typing, but many of them are useful, including some
with no key binding assigned by default.
One important set of commands you should bind right away is Chat Edit Copy/Paste. These allow you to copy stuff to and from your
game, to and from other windows (Macro editors, Notepad, Structure naming etc) and to and from external programs as well. Being
an old timer, I bind these to Ctrl+Insert and Shift+Insert respectively.
Another window that should have a hotkey is Notepad, but they didn't give it one - there isn't even a Notepad command listed in the
Keymap UI. But that's OK - Macros to the rescue. Remember that Notepad macro I said to make, just containing the /notepad
command? If you created it, it'll be listed in the Custom tab. So just double click in the binding spot and choose your hotkey. I use
Ctrl+N because it's what they logically should have used, and I don't have that much call to turn NPC names on and off which is
the default Ctrl+N binding.
You may also want to bind the Start Conversation command (otherwise known as /conv). Many NPC missions can be started
and completed without actually standing 3m away face to face and going through a while conversation UI. A single conversation
"ping" from anywhere within targeting range will often complete the transaction.
If you have a Joystick and/or a fancy mouse or trackball or keypad with 59 buttons on it, you can probably use all of them with
keymaps. You'll see them as JoyBtn16 and so forth. I have a particular button I use for targeting engines/reactors in space, one
that's easy to hit as I switch targets.
The Ctrl, Alt and/or Shift modifiers can be used with anything. If you want to have a special healing macro that triggers on
Ctrl+Alt+LeftClick, just set it up. If you only have one Joystick firing button, you can map your second weapon to Shift+JoyBtn0.
One thing to remember about Keymap is that you have to click OK when you're done, or your changes are thrown out. They don't
take effect immediately.
Use Aliases! Macros and Aliases are somewhat similar in that they both give you automated access to commands. Macros have
a nice GUI and you can map them to keys, but aliases have their own advantages too. For one thing, aliases are quick. Suppose
my Guildmate gives me some money and fuel and sends me out to tend a batch of harvesters. After counting structures, I figure
out that I have enough to deposit 7700 units of power and 4500 credits into each harvester. In two seconds I can say
/alias zz /pay 4500;/addpow 7700
and then just bike around to each unit, target it, and type/zz, then move on. Next time I service them, I can recalculate and redefine
/zz in a jiffy. Another great thing about aliases is that they take arguments. Any command tail you type after an alias is included
in the command after expansion. So if I say
then I can type /tp store or /tp get patrol point or anything else, and it will be sent silently to my pet or droid. By the way, if you
do have a favorite alias, you can't Keymap it directly, but macros can call aliases, and you can Keymap macros, so with a two
stage approach you can invoke aliases via Hotkeys. Let's say I have an alias:
/alias gotm /guildsay Kirdy Wook is the Guildmember of the Month! Hooray!
Now suppose I create a Macro called GOTM with whatever icon, and the text of the macro is just
And suppose I drag that Macro to my F-key toolbar, and/or Keymap it to Ctrl+Alt+G and click OK. The result? When I hit the right
F-key or Ctrl+Alt+G, I will automatically execute that alias and congratulate the honorable Kirdy. And next month I can redefine /gotm
and announce a new winner. Of course I could also do that in a macro, but I'm just illustrating the tip.
By the way, at least at this writing pre-Nerf-Bat, macros can loop, aliases cannot invoke themselves. But if you think about the
above example, you could just have a looping macro that calls the alias, so there is a workaround.
One other difference between aliases and macros is their scope. See File Scope below.
My favorite utility aliases.
/alias tp tellpet - see above example.
/alias tickle /combatta;/pause 4;/peace - I use this to coax critters out of lairs
/alias sad /setperm admin - puts someone on my house list
/alias sadall /setperm admin OzzyQ;/setperm admin Da'la;/setperm... - adds/removes everyone at once
mf, mb, mup, md, rr, rl - these do /moves and /rotates
/alias mmax /mov forward 256;/mov forward 128;/mov forward 64;/mov forward 32;/mov forward 16;
/mov forward 8;/mov forward 4;/mov forward 2;/mov forward 1 - This special alias "shoves" anything you target hard
against the wall. Very useful for keeping your house in shipshape (see Housing below). The binary "walkdown" moves the
object as far as possible in the minimum number of commands.
/alias pjack /tell Shadowfire.ProtonJack - quick way to talk across servers
Get the most out of Chat - Certainly a widely used facility, but there are interesting ways to use it that not everyone knows about.
You can make your own chat channel and use it to let any collection of players communicate, whether they're grouped or guilded
or factioned or what. Perhaps for an auction, or a buff service, or a Roleplaying channel where you can immerse in the SW universe
without hearing chat spam and stuff.
Color chat sentences/phrases to warn you of things like running out of stims, losing your target, reaching your XP limit, etc.
Break out chat tabs into their own windows by dragging them. You can put Guildchat in the upper right and everything else
in its usual spot. When you're done, drag it back to the main Chat window and it will re-tab itself.
Use Brief mode with timestamps - These are choices under Options/Chat. There is no sense wasting screen real estate on
extra verbiage unless you are a total immersion freak, which makes Brief the format of choice. And it's often crucial to know
when something happened, appeared or was said. "Timestamp Incoming Messages" does just what it says.
Use the Bank! Again, everybody uses the Bank to move credits around, but there's more.
Your Safety Deposit Box holds one hundred items, maintenance free, instantly accessible from any Bank terminal on the
planet you choose. And people put their Maroj Melon into it for a keepsake and forget about it (then gripe about player housing
limits). I like to really use mine. Especially with JTL, if you put a buff pack in there (for example), you're rarely more than a few
minutes away from grabbing it if you run out. If you need all your lots for harvs, just put the bed and chair in Safety Deposit along
with the house deed.
Bank tip 1 credit when you're trying to figure out whether someone (like a missing guildmate) has been logging into the game.
The tip is escrowed until the recipient logs in, then delivered, and then you get the email confrmation. So you know exactly when
and whether they logged in. Of course, they also know that you know, because they get an email too.
Understand File Scope. Okay, it's a little geeky, but it's helpful to know if you have multiple accounts and/or multiple characters
per account, or if you play on more than one PC.
Many things about your character (inventory, health, location, etc, and other stuff like the Friends list) are stored server side, but
most of the user-customizable settings - macros, aliases, in-game and Launchpad Options, Notepad, Chat log etc - are stored
on your PC, in one of the file folders where SWG is installed.
The top level is the installation directory itself - where the main SWG files reside. (e.g., D:\SWG) At this level your Aliases are
stored, as are Screenshots and Launchpad Options (screen size, audio type, etc). That means that every character on every
account in every Galaxy that plays this installed copy of SWG on this PC shares the same Aliases. So if you have useful aliases
(like the Utility aliases above) you only have to define them once. But it also means that if you have character-specific aliases, you
have to watch out for name "collisions" between characters.
Underneath this level, there is a profiles subdirectory, and from there a further subdirectory for each Account (Station name)
that has played this copy of SWG. (e.g., D:\SWG\Profiles\Karquile) All characters (on various galaxies) under this account
share what is stored here, namely Macros and (somewhat improbably) Chat word/sentence Colorization. So if you log into
one account, connect to Valcyn and enter a useful Macro there, then disconnect and switch to Sunrunner on the same account,
your Macro will still be there. But if you exit the game and switch accounts, the macro will be gone.
Underneath the per-account directories is a final subdirectory for each Galaxy where that account has a character. (e.g.
D:\SWG\Profiles\Karquile\Gorath). This is really your per-toon directory. And here are stored in-game Options (except for
Chat Colorization), the Chat log, and some local copies of things the Server really "decides" like inventory, friends, etc.
If you are going to a LAN party or upgrading your PC or something, and you want to take your "personality profile" along, all you
need is a CD-R or a flash stick containing aliases.txt and the profiles\ subdirectory.
ADVANCING IN (AND ENJOYING) THE GAME WITH MINIMUM STRAIN
The Leveling Paradox - if you've been following Dev pronouncements over the years you know that "Powergaming" is supposed
to be a dirty word, that the ideal way to enjoy SWG is to savor the death cries of each Chuba, and to lovingly find a buyer for each
Bio Effect Controller you craft, and to Flourish by hand for each handsome, battle-scarred veteran customer while you make witty
Socializer remarks with your fellow Twi'leks. And yet we know that in the "real" world of SWG, people power-level all the time.
Even if you started out as gaming purist, let's face it - by the time you have rolled your 5th or 9th toon on various galaxies, trying to
get back to Bounty Hunter after trying Chef for a while, or supplying your Guild with a much-needed replacement Combat Medic for
a player who left - you're probably not interested in "enjoying" another snail's-pace newbie journey - you mostly want the freakin'
template done, so you can get on with the rest of your SWG life.
So leveling will always be with us. But that doesn't mean SOE necessarily likes it. It is safe to bet that the Combat Upgrade will
mostly nerf power levelling as we know it.
THEREFORE: If you are planning to Master anything related to combat this year, you should start now.
Get the Best External Tools
. There are so many websites, so much great work that's been done, but I have to mention a few
of my favorites: SimSimSan's Planet Maps
- Painstakingly assembled from various Dev and
game maps and the dauntless Wookiee's own research, these beautiful maps show each permanent feature of every SWG planet.
Dungeons, warrens, POI's, landmarks, cities, bases and outposts, all on a coordinate grid. In SWG Heaven, these are the maps
that would come up when you hit Ctrl+V. Kodan's SWG Profession Calculator
- There are a few of these around, including
an online one I used to use, but Kodan's is easily the best of breed. You can instantly assemble any character template for any species
and see the resulting skill mods, abilities and so forth. Then load, save and export your templates. A superb planning tool. SWGCraft.com
( http://www.swgcraft.com/ ) is a Crafter-oriented online community with its own Forums, Schematic database and so
forth; these things are very good but they don't make it unique. The special treat at SWGCraft is a dynamic volunteer-updated database
of spawned resources
for every galaxy (even Test Center) and every planet. You can check for good wheat with the touch of a button.
They always need more volunteer help, but it's a beautiful concept and it's really been helpful for the Crafting side of my SWG gameplay. Revamp Food Chart
- it's surprisingly hard to get this kind of information in
one tabular resource. This is the best one i know for foods/drinks and their effects. Eya Mimelot's Tailoring Database ( http://belanglos.de/eya/shop/
- there have been several good Clothing sites over the last year -
this Gorath tailor's is the state of the art. Lets you really see what's available, what the color palettes
are, and what the possible BE
are. Visit here before custom ordering anything from your favorite tailor.
Of course SWG's own official Forums, Allakhazam, Warcry etc, all have useful stuff too, but people generally know about those.
The rest of this section is true now, but much of it may be toast post-CU.
ALWAYS LEVEL COMBAT IN A GROUP. It doesn't matter what you group with - a droid, a pet, a stranger in the Starport, a big group,
a small group, it's all the same. If you fight grouped you get a 25% XP bonus over what you would have gotten ungrouped. Period. I have
tested it extensively, and I periodically get out a Novice mule and re-test it.
If it was going to take you 5 hours to get a box of Pikeman, it will take you 4 hours grouped. Hard to argue with that. You can spend the
extra hour helping newbies or tipping entertainers or finally doing your laundry - whatever works for you.
So yes, solo groups are still good for XP, although they've nerfed the payouts. If you need the money, group with your pet/droid instead --
they don't split your share. Call them in town or bring them into a house and /tellpet stay, so they don't get chewed up.
Speaking of entertainers, you get an equivalent XP bonus for dancing/playing grouped, although last time I tested it the other groupies
had to be playing too, which leaves your pet out. I have to recheck it though.
N00b Spawns vs. Big Missions - somewhat of a judgment and playstyle decision. As a Novice Marksman or Brawler you almost have
to get a few boxes from lower level mobs before you do (for example) Dantooine quenker missions. I've tried taking a Novice straight out
there, and although I did level, realistically I would have been done in half the time at some ghost town like Doaba Guerfel where there's
scads of fast respawn durnis and Meatlumps and stuff.
Not to advocate AFK combat or anything, but let's face it, with a dime store buff and a speed sliced VK or D18 or DH17 you can set up
out there and at least fix yourself a sandwich while you get some of the basics done. Certainly by elite Novice you'll want to be doing the
bigger missions -- nobody has time to kill 1,000,000 Gubburs.
Use experimented Stims - If you're in a situation where the mobs are noticeably chewing on your buffs, you're probably not going to be
happy with Stim B's. But the higher level stims (C, D, and E) require a lot of Medicine Use skill - at least Pharm IV before you can even
use a C. But the good news is that with BE tissues, a skilled chemist can experiment the required med level DOWN on stims. If you find
the right supplier, you can be using C's and even D's with no more than Pharm III. Once you're done leveling you can surrender the extra
Medic if need be, athough I find it comforting to have a usable D in my pack just in case.
All AXP is good AXP! When you're ready for your Master box you will need Apprentice XP, gained by teaching others. But it's surprising
how many people seem to assume that if you are going for, say, Master Scout, you have to teach Scouting skills to get that AXP. Not so!
You can teach anything (not counting the languages). I once had a Chef who made Master by teaching Ranged Support I to a couple of
players who had racked up a zillion Combat XP points that they didn't need. You can finish your Master Bounty Hunter by teaching Image
Design I if you want.
Any time you get a chance to teach anything, take it. Put what you can teach in your Biography, so that people see it if they /exam
you. If friends are helping you get AXP by letting you "teach away" their excess XP, remember that the most "efficient" teaching (i.e., the
highest AXP::XP ratio) is at the lowest boxes.
Learn To Read[?] If you've been playing a long time and your toons have been around for a while, you may not be aware that at some
point new language skills appeared. It used to be that (unless you were a Wook) you could learn "Bothese (Speech)" and "Bothese
(Comprehension)," and that was it for our Scooby Doo brethren. But now there's another skill floating around that's just called "Bothese."
Same for all the other races. I am not sure where they come from, because I just rolled a Zab today and he doesn't have a skill called
"Zabrak." But my other toons have learned that skill from fellow players.
I am just guessing but (unless it's a bug) I think it might refer to written Bothese, written Rodese, etc. If so, there might be
species-languaged signs, loot and even terminals introduced in the game in the future. You'll certainly want to be able to read them! So
if someone offers you those new language skills, snap 'em up. (I know that some roleplaying types think it's more "immersive" not to
know any of the other languages -- all I can say is that except for that farm kid Skywalker in Ep IV, everybody in the movies seems to
understand what everybody else is saying about 90% of the time.)
LET'S PLAY HOUSE!
Live large, build SMALL
- Let me make this simple. You get 10 lots, right? Houses hold up to 75
items per lot used, but
capped at 250
items (allegedly for performance reasons, although the programmer in me suspects a 1-byte field somewhere in the
database). That means that any house over 3 lots in size wastes your storage space.
Which houses don't waste space? Merchant Tent
, Naboo Small Round
, and Sorosuub Luxury Yacht
(1 lot each); all other Small
and Medium Houses
(Generic, Naboo, Corellia, Tatooine - 2 lots each); and the player city Hospital
(3 lots). Everything other player
owned structure - Large Houses, Guildhalls, Theaters, Cantinas - throws lots away for the sake of appearance, or some other functionality
of course. But if you're just a citizen, stick with Smalls and Mediums.
Now I agree that in most cases the Medium is much more livable as a home and workplace than a Small. However, the maintenance
is just over double
the Small - roughly 25k/month instead of 12k/month. I would say, if you have the money, live in the Medium. But if
you need Storage houses, for goodness sake, just put up a block of Smalls. The Naboo Small Round, by the way, costs as much to
maintain as a 2 lot house even though it only uses 1, so it's not a good storage option unless you have an odd number of lots.
The Luxury Yacht is interesting, it uses one lot, holds 75 items, and of course you can take it anywhere, but - nobody else can get inside
it unless you're logged in and grouped with them before launching, so it's useless for community storage, public vending, etc. I really wish
they would implement docking, you could park in a hot sector and sell people repair kits and run a space cantina, but I'm a dreamer.
Similarly, the problem with the Tent is that you need merchant skill to own it, not to mention that it's got the privacy and breathing room
of a phone booth.
Face North before placing deeds. The Place Deed interface floats you overhead and shows a version of the landscape below you.
In this view, North is always UP. You can minimize your disorientation and potential for errors in placing structures by turning your toon
to face North (the big arrow should be at the top on your radar) before Using your deed.
Retry No-Room Placements. Sometimes you'll have a Green lot indication on the Place Deed screen, click to place the structure,
and be told "There is no room to build here." If that happens, just go back and try placing it again. Sometimes you have to retry twice,
but eventually it will place.
Note: This doesn't work for "Building is not allowed here."
MAXING YOUR GAME PERFORMANCE
There's been a lot written about this, I just have a few tips to pass on.
PC Performance vs. Network Performance. There are two reasons your gameplay performance can suffer: slowness of your own
PC in running the client software, and slowness of your Internet connection in passing all the needed game information back and forth.
Of course in the worst case both could be true. But when people give you "performance tweaks," each "tweak" is usually designed to
focus on one or the other of these conditions. It's helpful to know which problem a given "tweak" is trying to address.
For example, you might be sitting on a high speed University network connection, trying to play the game on a 3 year old laptop with
256MB of RAM and a bare-bones ATI video card. In that case your network performance is fine and you don't need performance
adjustments to save network speed. But you need every prayer you've got on the PC performance side.
On the other hand, you might be cranking on a screamer PC, but connecting to the Net through a discount 56K DSL connection that you
share with your MP3-hog DORK of a brother. In that case, most of the graphics tweaks are completely unnecessarily, but you've got to do
everything possible to keep your Network bandwidth to a minimum. (Or find your brother a girlfriend.)
It turns out that the game, when you install it, does a pretty reasonable job of "tuning" itself for a happy medium between "looks best" and
"runs fast" given your PC's hardware configuration. But it has no way of judging the network. And it also doesn't really know how your
Paging file will behave when it finally fills up available memory. So those are the two biggest performance problems most people have.
Make a fixed swap file. Many people have Windows set up to adjust their virtual memory for them dynamically, which means that the
"swap file" grows and shrinks and grows and shrinks and eventually gets fragmented all over the place. Unless you have about 2GB of
memory, SWG will eventually swap to disk, so you will get better performance if you allocate a fixed swap file anywhere from 2-4x your
physical memory size. This is done through the Properties tab of My Computer, under Performance/Advanced. Defragment your disk
first (see below) so that the new swap file will be contiguous. You'll need to reboot afterwards.
Defragment your disk, especially the game drive. SWG does a whooooole passel of file reading as you move around the 3D world
rendering things and interacting with them. Some of these files are humongous (like 100MB or bigger) and if they are fragmented all over
your disk drive, you are in a world of hurt. What's more, the incessant updates from SOE cause some of these big files to be re-written
again and again and again, so even if they started unfragmented they end up fragmented. What you need to do for best possible SWG
performance is defragment your game drive, and keep doing it at least weekly. Right click on the drive in Windows Explorer and under
Properties/Tools, you'll see the defragger. (Obviously you exit the game first.) Trust me when I say that if you haven't been doing this,
then after the first time you do it and you run SWG, your jaw will drop.
LOOK DOWN. This is an old gamer's trick, a bit of a hybrid between PC performance and network performance actually. If you're
someplace crowded or someplace very complicated to render, just look at the floor and go about your business. For example, let's say
you're on a slow PC or a slow connection or both, and you have to meet someone at the Coronet bank at 6pm Eastern, when the starport
is so jammed that you can order a pizza between frame updates. If you try to look where you're going, you'll never get there. No problem -
mouselook straight down, hit Ctrl+M to bring up the map overlay, and start moving.
Watch that Object Name Range. This one is pretty much pure Network. Under Options/Misc there is a section for Object Name Range.
The wider the range, the more named objects (trainers, lamps, terminals, structures, signs, etc) your PC has to be told about as you move
through the world. All that information has to be sent down your Net connection. The tighter you make this Range, the less bandwidth is
used. Also by turning off various of the checkboxes below the range slider, you can restrict what types of names are automatically sent
down the line. (If you click on something, you always see its name.)
If you're lagging like crazy in cities, this is the biggest change you can make.
Close unwanted Chat channels. If you're not watching Auction but people are spamming their vendor ads there, your PC gets fed all the
traffic anyway. If you're on a slow connection, close the channels you don't need.
Ignore chat from AFK players. This is a checkbox under Options/Chat. I'm not trying to be anti-AFK or anything, it's just a fact that if you
stand in certain zones in SWG, as much as 90% of the total chat volume consists of repeated ads and instructions from barkers and bots. So if you're short on bandwidth, there's no sense clogging it with that traffic.
JUMP TO LIGHTSPEED
I don't have a huge number of tips here because it's a newer system, but there are a couple of things I've found out that I do like.
Minimize your Field of View. Bringing this slider all the way to the left (60 degrees FOV) makes distant ship targets appear closer,
and gives you the greatest possible precision for weapon aiming. It can really make a difference in encounters where every shot counts.
Fudge the targeting reticle. You've probably heard this already. The reticle shows you where you'd want to shoot if the enemy were
flying in a straight line. It can't and doesn't take into account the enemy turning, which they almost always are. So the more they're
turning, the more you have to trail the target reticle. You have to figure out exactly how much by trial and error.
Disable reactors. For any part of a mission where your primary objective is something besides killing enemy ships - like escorting a
freighter, for example - you do not need to destroy all incoming fighters/bombers, and I don't. All you need to do is render them
incapable of destroying you or your client vessel(s). And the quickest way to do this is to disable their reactors. They then float
helplessly in space, periodically threatening you over the comm link, while you proceed with the mission.
In fact, at least some missions seem to "gate" the dispatch of new incoming enemies on the destruction of the previous ones... so if
you strand them without killing them... you can have a pretty quiet mission!
I map an extra Joystick button to the Cycle Subcomponent command, so it's easy to reach as I switch targets. Even if you are on a
kill mission, you may find it easier to disable an incoming wave first, then take a moment to recharge your shields and capacitor etc,
then scoot around and excute them at your leisure.
END OF DOCUMENT