SWTOR Alpha Player Guide

A recent thread in the admin section of Bioware forums titled Playing STAR WARS: The Old Republic (Play Guide) talks about basic in-game stuff such as controls, character creation, looting, chat system and more. It makes for an interesting read so if you want to learn more keep reading. Note that a lot of these things are prone to change by the time the game goes into beta and live.

Table of contents:

Keyboard Commands

  • W / Up Arrow – Run Forward
  • S / Down Arrow – Run Backwards
  • A / Left Arrow – Turn Left
  • D / Right Arrow – Turn Right
  • Q – Strafe Left
  • R – Strafe Right
  • Spacebar – Jump
  • Right Click – Mouselook
  • Left Click – Turn Camera
  • Mouse Wheel Down – Zoom Camera Out
  • Mouse Wheel Up – Zoom Camera In
  • Enter – Open Chat Box
  • 0-9, -, + – Action Bar Abilities
  • TAB – Cycle Available Targets
  • F1 – Target Self
  • ESCAPE – Game Menu / Exit Conversation
  • P – Ability Datapad
  • M – World Map
  • L – Active Quest Journal
  • X – Crouch
  • Z – Show/Hide Weapon
  • ? – Console Command/Chat Line
  • Numlock – Autorun
  • / – Toggle Runspeed (numpad only)
  • C – Character Sheet
  • B / I – Bags/Inventory

Slash Commands

  • /dance
  • /wave
  • /stuck

Interacting with TOR

While many of you will already have an understanding of the basic controls, we recommend you read this guide for TOR specific information. This section is  a more detailed explanation of some of the game play systems that are central to TOR. While many elements of gameplay are very intuitive, a quick read of this section will help make sure that you are aware how systems work before attempting to test them.

Changing the Game’s Resolution

Currently, you cannot adjust your game resolution from within the game. At this time, to adjust the game resolution, you must open up the client_settings.ini file with a text editor (such as Notepad). We recommend only users who are comfortable with editing .ini files. Simply browse to the folder you installed The Old Republic, go into the HE27 subfolder, and then go into the RetailClient folder within that. Note that this file only exists if you’ve run the game at least one time.

Using a text editor, update the Height and Width to the dimensions you desire, save the file, and then restart the game.

Example file:


AspectRatio = 0.

FullScreen = true

Height = 1050

Width = 1680

WindowX = 264

WindowY = 73

A future update will change this so players will not have to update a file by hand.

Character Creation & Selection

One of the first things you will see upon logging into the game is the character selection screen. If you already have characters generated, you will be able to choose one of them, or you will be able to create an entirely new character.

To create a new character, hit the “new character” button at the bottom of the selection screen, then select your gender and class (descriptions for each class are available on mouse over). From there, you can alter your character’s appearance (hair, skin, etc.) by manipulating the sliders. Once you are content with your selection, it’s time to give your character a name, and hit the “Create” button on the right to enter the game. At this time, it is possible to give your character a first and last name, however, only the first name will display in-game.


Many of the NPCs and items you will come across in TOR will offer you quests. These are indicated on your minimap by a glowing yellow icon. As your character gets closer to the quest giver, the icon will display overhead as a round yellow icon. To find out about the quest offered, speak to the start NPC, or interact with the item. Once you have accepted the quest, it will move into your active quest journal (Hotkey “L”).

Updating quest progress will also cause a tracker at the top right of your interface to show – letting you know how close you are to completing the quest. Quest givers who are awaiting your return will have a blue icon with a rotating border over their heads. Questing is not only a good way to gain experience to level your character; it is a solid source of credits and item upgrades.


Once your character is created you are now ready to interact with the game world itself. As you move through the environment, you may notice that mousing over certain NPCs will change the tooltip to a lightsaber. This indicated that the NPC in question can be attacked. Right clicking will make your character target the NPC, and once you have done so, you will see a red or amber colored ring around the feet of your target (friendly targets will have a blue ring, instead). Once in range, you can left click the target to use your default attack, or you can press any of your action bar keys (1 – +/=) to activate your character’s special abilities, attacks and heals.

Certain Smuggler and Imperial Agent abilities can only be used from a position of Cover. If an ability requires Cover to use, the tooltip will display that information on mouseover.

Action Bar

A large part of your interface is dedicated to the action bar. You should see a long row of “buttons” labeled with numbers 0-9 and also with -/_ and +/=. This bar is where your abilities are stored. To use the ability, you can either push the key it is assigned to, or you can click its location on the action bar. If you wish, you can drag and drop abilities to different spots on the action bar. You can also open your abilities datapad (hotkey “P”) to drag and drop items to your action bar.

If you are using a Cover class (Imperial Agent or Smuggler), your action bar will change depending on whether you are in, or out of, Cover.

Action Points/Health

As you spend time in combat, you will notice that some items on your interface are changing. There are three bars that should be of immediate interest:

  • Health Bar: this is the red bar just above your action bar. It shows how much health you have total, and how much health you have remaining. When it’s depleted, you are dead! (Your target has a similar bar, on the right side of your screen)
  • Action/Force Points: This is the blue bar in between your action bar and health bar. Some attacks will cause this bar to fill up, while other attacks (usually high damage or special ones) will “spend” points from this pool.
  • Experience Bar: As you complete quests and kill monsters you will gain Experience Points (XP). This is tracked as a yellow bar at the very bottom of your interface, and once the bar fills up completely, your character will gain a level!
  • Death: Upon death, your character will respawn at the nearest med center, to allow you to continue play.


Many NPCs that you kill will “drop” items that can be looted by your character. Once you kill a lootable creature, mousing over it will change your tooltip to the shape of a hand, and left clicking will bring up an interface showing what items your character can pick up. Left clicking items in the interface will put them into your character’s inventory.

Equipping Items

Many of the items your character loots, or receives as quest rewards will be either armor or weapon upgrades. To equip them to your character, hit “C” to bring up your character window, and “I” (or “B”) to open your inventory. Remove the item you currently have equipped to your character, and replace it with the items in your bags you wish to put in that slot.  Note: at this time, clicking on an item in your bags will not replace an item in your inventory — this feature has not yet been implemented.


As you travel through explorable areas and work to complete quests, you will be presented with opportunities to group with other players to complete objectives cooperatively. Here are the basic commands for managing your groups:

  • /group invite player_name – invites player to group. You can also use this command to invite your target.
  • /group accept – accepts a group invitation from another player
  • /group decline – rejects an invitation from another player
  • /group remove – removes the targeted party member from group
  • /group disband – disbands the current group (you must be group leader to use this)

Chat System

The in-game chat system allows you to communicate with other players.

  • /say – sends a general message to all players in your immediate area
  • /tell player_name – sends a message to the player you name
  • /yell – broadcasts a zone-wide message

Bug Reporting

  • If you encounter an issue with the functionality of the game itself, please use the bug reporting tool to bring it to our attention. You can access the bug reporting interface by typing “/bug” or by using the spider shaped icon to the left of your mini-map.
  • Please be as detailed as possible when submitting bug reports; the more information you provide, the more efficiently we can investigate the issue you are reporting.
  • Suggestion and general feedback are welcome. Please make sure you categorize them correctly as “Feedback” to help us ensure they are properly evaluated.

Logging Out of the Game

At any time during play, you can log out by hitting the “ESC” key to bring up the Game Options menu. From there you can either select the “LOGOUT” option to return to the character selection screen, or you can choose “QUIT GAME”, to exit entirely.

In the event that your client becomes unresponsive, it may become necessary to force quit the client, which you can do by pressing the Delete key while holding the Control and Alt keys on your keyboard. This will bring up the task manager where you can forcibly terminate the program by right clicking on the application and selecting “End Task”.

Related Posts: