The Star Wars universe is massive. Aside from the six films, there are umpteen books, games and comics that are officially part of the canon. The sheer scope of the mythology makes it rather hard to accurately prophecy what might be coming for Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWtOR) in future updates but it does give us more than ample scope for some wild speculation and wishful thinking.
SWtOR runs with a hybrid approach to races – rather than simply taking an “equal and opposite” approach like World of Warcraft or a straight universal approach in which any faction can employ any playable race, it instead merges the two approaches, with races that cross the faction divide as well as species that are unique (outside of Legacy rewards) to the faction. We’ve taken a similar approach to come up with these suggestions for races we’d love to see incorporated into the game.
With the possible exception of the Sith Pureblood (though all those face spikes could be a turn on for some people), all of the current races available to play in Star Wars: The Old Republic are kind of pretty. They’re near human enough to be all but identical aside from a few facial protrusions, tattoos or lekku. It’s time for a change.
Imperial: NoghriAll of the Imperial races in SWtOR are humanoid or near human for one simple reason – the Galactic Empire is resolutely humanocentric, but that doesn’t stop them from interacting with or employing non-human allies. Through the movies and the extended universe of the books, games and comics, the Empire is shown time and time again employing alien bounty hunters, assassins, bodyguards and specialists.
The Noghri are a short, grey skinned reptilian race renowned for their sense of honour, olfactory ability and physical prowess – think of them like small scaly Wookies and you’re on the right track. The species was first introduced in The Thrawn Trilogy extended universe novels by Timothy Zahn, a series that also introduced the Chiss, one of the playable Imperial races, lending a little extra weight to the prediction. The Noghri home planet of Honoghr could also potentially serve as an interesting new world to explore. A single super-continent dominates the planet and, more importantly, the planet was once in the thrall of the Infinite Empire, a galaxy spanning dictatorship lorded over by the Rakata, a supposedly extinct race introduced as a potential ongoing problem through a quest line on Tatooine.
Republic: BarabelThough slightly larger than the Noghri, the Barabel race features a similar reptilian morphology and penchant for strong codes of honour. Barabel revere and all but worship Jedi thanks to a legend that tells of an Ithorian Jedi who helped end a millennium spanning civil war. Barabel are ideally suited to any physical pursuit, making them perfect for Troopers, Jedi Sentinels or even Smuggler Scoundrels. Around the time that SWtOR is set, both the Republic and Imperium have a presence on Barab 1, the former with Jedi diplomats and negotiators, the latter with planet-wide safaris in which the Barabel people are hunted for sport.
Imperial: GandAlthough the Geonosians played a large role in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and have appeared in a number of games, including The Old Republic, they were far from the first insectoid race to appear in the Star Wars Canon. That honour went to the Gand, a race introduced by little more than a few seconds of footage showing a fly-headed alien in robes standing next to a robot in The Empire Strikes Back.
Gand are divided into two main subspecies: those with lungs suited to the ammonia-rich atmosphere of Gand (the planet and race share a name) and those without any lungs at all. Gand without lungs are capable of functioning in any environment, making them perfect for player characters. Although travelling Gand are usually Findsmen (a kind of spiritualist bounty hunter that track prey by analysing the curls of ammonia vapour in the Gand atmosphere) they have the potential to fill most roles in the Imperium.
Republic: VerpineTall hermaphroditic bipedal insects with an aptitude for technology and a yen for pacifism, the Verpine have played a large role in Galactic society from the very early days, creating starships for both the Empire and the Republic. Though generally pacifist in nature and not formally aligned with either faction, the Verpine show a sympathy towards the Republic (and later the Rebel Alliance) throughout canon. Although their slight build doesn’t exactly make them ideal Troopers, Verpine would be perfectly suited to any other role in the Republic forces. Any player that might get a little weirded out by playing a hermaphrodite needn’t worry too much – although they carry the reproductive traits of both genders, each individual Verpine chooses to identify as either male or female.
While most races are immediately identifiable, the natural appearance of some is shrouded in mystery thanks to the encounter suits they constantly wear to protect them from toxic atmospheres, unfamiliar gravities or the prying eyes of others.
Imperial: UbeseBoushh, a bounty hunter, is probably the most famous Ubese in the galaxy, but unfortunately he’s not famous because of his own actions but rather those of Princess Leia, who disguised herself as Boushh to infiltrate Jabba’s Palace and rescue Han Solo. Graceful near humans with large eyes and underdeveloped vocal chords, the Ubese are known mostly for their breathing masks, battle armours and a seething hatred for most other life forms. This disdain for life makes them perfect bounty hunters and assassins, as well as potential Sith – their hatred for most everything is strong enough that it would definitely cause the Emperor to crack a smile.
Republic: SkakoanAlfonso Dominico Jones the Skakoan.The Skakoan are a near human species from the planet Skako. Due to the extremely high gravity of Skako, Skakoans are unable to travel to other systems without the aid of ornate pressure suits. Although never officially aligned with the Republic, the Skakoans have a history of being persecuted by the humanocentric Empire, making them potential allies at best, uneasy bedfellows at worst. Although the armoured suits of the Skakoan are intimidating, they are more akin to space suits than actual armour, essentially putting the race on the same level playing field as the others. As near humans, Skakoan have the potential to fill any role in the game.
The Star Wars franchise has never been particularly sure about the status of Droids (short for androids) but all signs seem to point to them being sentient beings, as there is both a tradition of independent Droids, such as the Imperial assassin Droid cum robot supremacist, IG-88 and the protocol Droid turned bounty hunter, 4-LOM, as well as numerous references to restraining bolts, devices that limit a Droid’s self motivation, forcing them to perform the tasks they are designated by their owner. The Old Republic also has ample examples of Droids free of restraining bolts following their own desires, with the companion characters M1-4X, T7-01 and Scorpio. Without the limitations of a restraining bolt, the potential of a Droid character is the same as any other sentient species, enabling them to function in either faction and as any class in the game – and that includes the force sensitive Jedi and Sith classes. How? Well, there are two potential ways to feature force sensitive Droids in the Star Wars universe. 4-LOM, IG-88 and an Iron Knight. A space boy band just waiting to happen.
The first, and most unlikely way to introduce Jedi robots stems from an eight page, non-canonical story featured in the first issue of the Star Wars Tales comic. Written by Peter David, Skippy the Jedi Droid tells the story of a force wielding astromech Droid who convinces Uncle Owen to buy him, but after having a vision of the future uses his force powers to cause his motivator to blow so Owen and Luke would be forced to buy R2-D2 and C-3PO instead.
The second, and far more likely way to integrate force sensitive Droids into SWtOR is a bit of a cheat. There exists in the Star Wars extended universe a species of sentient crystals known as the Shard. In their natural state, the Shard are immobile, but after making contact with human explorers some Shard volunteered to be separated from their colonies and placed in droid bodies, enabling them to explore the galaxy. The Iron Knights, a group of Shard Jedi that first appeared in Star Wars Missions #14 (the Missions books were Star Wars themed Choose Your Own Adventure-style series), so it’s not too much of a stretch to extrapolate Sith counterparts.