Knots In the Character Creator: Slicing Through a Few
Ah, the SWTOR character creator – the gateway to altomania. And, of course, the first experience every player has when launching The Old Republic. Hi, RebeLibrarian here
hijacking guest writing an article by request! (FJ: and you are very welcome! Glad to have your input on Nautolan and Twi’lek skin colours!)
Some of us are a little more susceptible to the character creator’s lure than others, but we all have to use it before we can ever even enter the game worlds. Yet, other than the occasional addition of new playable species, it has gone untouched by developers since launch.
SWTOR Character Creator from 2011
- Are Character Creator Improvements Needed?
- Creator Mood Lighting
- Why This Matters
- Get Neutral Appearance from a Mod Station
- Inconsistent Numbering
- Skin Colour and Other Settings
- Republic vs Imperial Numbering
- Nautolan Skin Colours
- Stay in touch with RebeLibrarian
The adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” comes to mind – does it need to be fixed? I would suggest that it does, especially as SWTOR works on what they call “quality of life” (QoL) improvements. There’s an issue that, while it certainly affects some species more than others, it really does touch them all. I’m going to take this opportunity – and FJ’s lovely audience – to demonstrate a couple of problems. I’ll also provide you a resource to get around it with the species most affected by itsince the devs are very busy and overhauling the creator probably isn’t high priority.
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The most noticeable issue is what I call “mood lighting”: the character creator is “set” in the hangar bay of a Republic or Imperial class ship, and takes on the lighting of those locations.
- Republic locations are brighter and lit with a noticeably golden glow.
- Imperial locations are much darker, with even the best-lit places having a distinctly blue cast.
It’s a detail you may never have even noticed, especially if you primarily play a single faction or are more invested in gameplay than character appearance. But for anyone who does invest significant time into getting exactly the right look, it can be a jarring experience to enter the game and realize that what looked one way looks dramatically different in the first cutscene.
This is where the “mood lighting” reaches the level of “an annoyance”. Check out how different this character appears. It changes depending on whether he’s in the Republic creator, the Imperial creator, or actually out and about in the game:
“Big whoop,” you might say, if that’s kind of thing you frequently say. Well, this particular character was based on an NPC, and I actually had to spend Cartel Coins adjusting his skin colour. This was because the blue lighting in the character creator made him look much more tan than he turned out to be in the game worlds. Friends of mine have found themselves doing the same thing with Humans, Cyborgs, or Cathar. Where they thought they were choosing one colour, as soon as they started playing, they realized the character creator had misled them.
Still, I grant that this is not so big a deal for many of the available species. This is especially true for players who aren’t perfectionists and are okay with “close enough”. But it’s a fair point that this mood lighting has a negative impact for players who might be trying to recreate NPCs, recreate an OC in multiple classes, or trying to create a character of a certain species with a specific look in mind. It would be alarming to think you were making a yellow Twi’lek only to get in-game and discover he or she is actually green. I’ve almost done that with this level of colour distortion!
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Mod stations can be found on the Republic and Imperial Fleets in two locations – the central ring as well as the Cartel Bazaar – and also on the capital planetsIf you’re new to SWTOR, these are Coruscant and Dromund Kaas for the Republic and Empire respectively.
However, this solution comes with a caveat. The numbers are not entirely consistent between Imperial and Republic factions. Now I’m going to focus on Twi’leks for the rest of this post, because this character creation/modification issue affects them the most.
Twi’leks are one of the most popular nonhuman species in Star Wars, and they’re a personal obsession of mine as well. They are not available for free-to-play players, and, like most species, are locked to certain classes even for subscribers:
However, once you’ve played your first Twi’lek to level 50, the species will be unlocked for all classes. This is true even if you stop subscribing and drop to Preferred status. An SWTOR F2P player can buy the Twi’lek species from the cartel market and that, too, will automatically open it for all classes.
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The primary customization for Twi’leks are a variety of bright skin colours and head-tail (lekku) patterns or tattoos. Female Twi’leks also get the option of makeup. Although unlike other with species, the makeup is combined with the lekku patterns instead of being on a separate slider. When you create your first Twi’lek, you’ll have the option for:
- 23 cosmetics and/or lekku patterns for a female.
- 11 of these for a male and
- 6 possible skintones.
Some of these choices are faction-locked:
- If your first Twi’lek is a Consular, for example, they won’t be able to have red skin.
- Green and light blue are initially unavailable for Imperial characters.
- Red and pink are initially unavailable for Republic ones.
- There are also four tattoo options initially restricted to each factionfor example, the “Darth Talon” tattoos are Imperial-faction only at first.
Once you achieve a certain legacy level, you will unlock these options for both factions. This enables you to access all customizations with both Imperial and Republic characters. For this guide to be as complete as possible, I’m listing all the options available and unlocked; just be aware that you may have to work up to that point.
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Now here’s the rub. For some reason, in restricting these customization options by faction and making some of them unlock with Legacy advancement, the developers numbered the sliders differently. Warrior, Agent, Hunter, and Trooper are all the same, presumably because they all require the legacy unlock to be created in the first place. Knight, Consular, and Smuggler match, but Inquisitor is completely unlike any of them (probably because Inquisitor is the only Imperial class available to Twi’leks at first).
And while that might not have much impact on players who don’t make many Twi’leks, it can be a jarring experience for those of us who do. I’m hoping to build this guide to mitigate that kind of disruption.
Since there are fewer colours, let’s start there. When all the options are fully unlocked, the creator screen looks like this:
There are eight Twi’lek skin colours available:
- Dark blue
- Light blue
- A green-yellow colour I’ve called “Oola” after the first Twi’lek in Return of the Jedi
However, with the creator’s “mood lighting“, it can be very difficult to tell what you’re actually getting!
Here’s a comparison showing each colour as it appears in the Imperial character creator, in-game, and in the Republic creator. I’ve used the most common numerical order and made a notation wherever the numbers differ; I’ve also starred where the colour is a legacy unlock.
The patterns are a more challenging issue because the devs decided to make the female cosmetics part of the lekku pattern choices. Therefore, while males and females have the same basic patterns/tattoos available, females have 27 choices on the slider. The males, by contrast only have 15.
Lighting has no real impact on how the patterns or tattoos appear, so I didn’t do a contrast chart for them. It would have gotten out of hand rather quickly anyway – 27 options three times would come to 81 total contrast images just for the females! I used the Republic numbers as “default” and supplied Imperial numbers wherever they differed. Thankfully, Inquisitors don’t differ here as they do on skin colours. Legacy options are again starred.
In the time between my writing this post and getting it published, game update 6.0, Onslaught, dropped, adding the Nautolan species to the character creator. These wonderful people are another fan favorite, and I was relieved to see their creation is not plagued by the inconsistencies and hiccups that the Twi’leks do.
However, the character creator mood lighting does have an effect on them. The skin colours for Nautolans have an amazingly aquatic iridescence to them, but I found it added a challenge to picking the right colour.
I made this chart using the neutral lighting of the Appearance Modification Station, trying to show as much skin as possible. So, you can get a good idea of how it will appear in the game regardless of how it shows in the character creator.
I hope this is a help to you in your gaming. MTFBWY! //RL
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TL;DR Getting Twi’lek Skin Colours Right (Hopefully!)
If you’re as obsessed as I am with creating Twi’leks in SWTOR, I hope these charts are useful to you. They should take some of the hassle out of your creation experience. Let me know in the comments if there’s anything you think I should add that would help. I’m thinking about doing a chart of all the helmets that show lekku but hide Twi’lek ears: is that something that would interest you? Let me know! I don’t think these colour issues impact Togruta as much; however, if you find that similar charts would be helpful for other species, just give a shout!
And, while I am nowhere near as faithful as FJ is with updates, come over and check out my site rebelibrarian.com for more of my style! If you love Twi’leks, you might be interested in my post delving into Twi’lek physiology.
May the Force be with you,
The RebeLibrarian (← Follow her on Twitter)
Footnotes [ + ]
|1.||↑||since the devs are very busy and overhauling the creator probably isn’t high priority|
|2.||↑||If you’re new to SWTOR, these are Coruscant and Dromund Kaas for the Republic and Empire respectively|
|3.||↑||for example, the “Darth Talon” tattoos are Imperial-faction only at first|
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