============================================================= Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic XBOX Version 6.0 Shockwave (firstname.lastname@example.org) Copyright 2003 by shockwave All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their respective trademark and copyright holders. None of this information can be reposted anywhere outside of gamefaqs without my express permission. ============================================================== ***************** TABLE OF CONTENTS ***************** 1. Introduction 2. Party selection 3. Character Building A. Gender B. Class C. Stats D. Skills E. Feats F. Powers G. Leveling H. Alignment 4. Equipment A. Weapons B. Armor C. Items D. Money 5. Miscellaneous A. Side quests B. Saving/loading C. Combat tips D. Pazaak 6. Walkthrough Tips A. Planet order B. Maps C. Branching and Decisions D. Dialog E. Dark side end game tips 7. Conclusions ****************** UPDATE INFORMATION ****************** V1.0: First version V2.0: Added "Walkthrough notes", made some minor corrections and formatting changes to other sections. V3.0: Added some more information on powers, changed some terminology. V4.0: Added some more information on dialog, lightsaber choice, force powers, and feats. V5.0: More information on dialog and force powers. Added note about strategic leveling. Gave more specific advice about stats and skills. 5.5: Minor changes to powers section. V6.0: Added some more information about armor choice, double bladed lightsabers, feat selection. V7.0: Miscellaneous updates to most sections. V8.0: Some updates to feats and skills. V9.0: Added section 6E. Added more information about force powers particularly as they relate to dark side choices. Added notes on repair for HK-47. Changed startup stats recommendation since it used two points more than is available. V10.0: Added some more notes about character class selection and buildup. *************** 1. INTRODUCTION *************** This FAQ is for players who want to optimize their character to the max. KOTOR, like many good open-ended RPGs, allows for many different routes for character development. Part of the enjoyment is in making decisions experimentally, but more hardcore gamers may want the benefit of knowing whether certain choices are absolutely better than others. In particular, there is sometimes a sense of regret in the end when earlier mistakes are realized, as well as frustration if the character is not powerful enough to finish the game due to earlier poor decisions that cannot be rectified after the fact. This FAQ is intended to explain some of the concepts deliberately left vague in the user manual, and also subtleties that I have not seen in other more general walkthrough or character FAQs. I assume that you have passing familiarity with concepts in KOTOR; I do not explain basics since those can be found in other guides or in the manual. Only read this for more advanced aid as a supplement if you can't find your answers elsewhere. Of course, I cannot guarantee that everything in here is novel either; I will try to stay away from basic information; but for the sake of being thorough, I will include as much as I know. In terms of philosophy, my goal is to have the most powerful, kick butt character in the known universe by the end of the game. This means that I may ask you to pursue certain routes that will leave your character slightly weaker earlier on. Since the later parts of most all RTSs tend to be more difficult anyway, it seems to make sense to do the tradeoff of having a weaker initial character in order to end with a more powerful one. I will try as much as possible to give specific information on character buildup, versus just saying that certain skills are good or bad. I am not infallible and have only played through the game once, so these are just my best judgments. There are spoilers in here! I'm not even going to warn you when they come, but I'll try to avoid them as much as possible. However, if you're like me and just want to become ultra powerful even at the expense of suspense, then hopefully you won't mind this at all. This is for a normal difficulty game. ****************** 2. PARTY SELECTION ****************** I'll start with this since party selection determines how you want to build up your PC. By PC, I mean your Primary Character, NPC means Non-Primary Character (e.g. Carth, Mission, Bastila, etc.), CCC means Computer-Controlled Character and includes all non-party people you meet during the game and thus do not have control over, "monster" or "enemy" means all hostiles that you don't interact with. The simple point is that your PC doesn't have to be able to do everything himself because you'll have plenty of other NPCs to help him out. You can have up to two other party members, and you should always have the max number since there is no drawback (note: experience is gained by all members whether they're in the party or not). In the beginning, who you use is up to you, although I'd recommend generally having one character who has good skills like Mission or your droid so you can use them for those doors, computers, mines, etc. that come up quite frequently. Of course, if you're in an area where you see that party selection is enabled, then you won't need them all the time: just switch to them when appropriate. Keep this in mind in terms of how you choose to build your character. You can e.g. keep your character at zero demolitions skill as long as one of your other favored NPCs that you always use has that skill. There is no drawback to using other NPCs versus your PC; treat them as one party unit. The only real issue is that occasionally your PC has to go solo, but these cases are infrequent. There are various ways to go about party selection. One is to switch between using different party members just for the sake of having more fun and variety. In particular, some party members interact with each other on occasion, this doesn't add to the plot but is just interesting. Certain characters will interact differently with the various side quests; e.g. when you go to find Mission's brother, you obviously may want to have Mission in your party so she can add to the dialog. And some characters will only have side quest encounters triggered if you use them. What you do is up to you; correct playing of the game does not hinge on somehow knowing omnisciently which characters to have in which situations, so don't fret about that too much. On the other hand, the game does encourage you to swap party characters, and sometimes forces you to, so it's not a bad idea to experiment around if not just for the sake of variety. My personal preference is to use a few NPCs always that I favor. This allows me to be more intentional about how I assign skills. One advice I have is that I believe the Jedi are definitely more powerful than other characters. Even the simple fact that they have heal makes life a lot easier. Not to mention, later on you're going to be fighting against a lot of dark Jedi. If you're using someone with a ranged weapon, you'll have to make sure they're not targeted for melee because they suffer a huge defense bonus in that case. If you do use them for melee, then it's probably better to use one of your Jedi because lightsabers are generally superior to other melee weapons. Having said this, I do need to bring up a couple of spoilers that will affect your party selection. You can skip this if you don't want to read those, but I'll be referring to them later so it's probably unavoidable, sorry. You'll lose Bastila near the end of the game, so bear that in mind as you select skills. If you load her with your team force buffs like force valor and heal and your other characters have no redundancy, then you'll be in a lot of trouble. Since you do lose Bastila late, this will be when your characters are near level 20, so you won't have an opportunity to work up much more skill in your other characters. It may be too late at that point to start down the cure/heal route. The short answer is: Don't let her specialize in any skills that your other characters can't duplicate. As well, if you want the dark side ending, near the end you'll lose both your other two Jedi. You'll regain Bastila to compensate, but her skills will be all different since she'll have become a dark side character. So, similarly, don't rely on your two other Jedi if you want the dark side ending. This makes things a bit more difficult, because you'll have to incorporate a non-Jedi into your party and Bastila will be assigned some arbitrary skills that you may or may not find useful. So I don't generally recommend that path, but you can minimize the pain if you keep in mind that you will be losing your two other Jedi and regaining Bastila albeit with fairly unpredictable Jedi powers allocation. ********************* 3. CHARACTER BUILDING ********************* A. Gender Gender only affects the game in very trivial ways. You'll have different romantic interests with the other NPCs depending on whether you're male or female, and once in a while a dialog option will be different in some purely cosmetic way. I would just choose whatever gender you actually are in real life. It doesn't affect your stats or anything else concrete as far as I can tell. B. Class This is one of the more important decisions you make in the game, but unfortunately you do so at the beginning when you have no clue what is good or bad. The game's suggestions don't really help because there is no way you can tell whether you'll actually enjoy fighting vs. indirect means since you haven't encountered either in the context of the game yet. a. Normal class You can choose your class based on your personal preference or style of play, but I feel that soldier is probably the best choice for most players. Scoundrels will have to spend a lot of time avoiding combat and solving problems indirectly because of low health, so if you particularly enjoy hacking into computers and sneaking past guards than this is for you otherwise I'd pass on it. Also, there are many situations where scoundrels are forced into combat, and here they will definitely be at a disadvantage to the other more combat-oriented classes. You can't always rely on your other party members for help because some of the most important battles are solo. A few such as the duel ring are avoidable since they are side quests, but others are not. If you really want the indirect route, you can always use other members of your party, since almost all "puzzles" you solve will be ones where you are with other party members. Mission joins your party early on, you can use her for all your scoundrel and indirect puzzle-solving needs. You really don't need more than one scoundrel in your party. The main point is that being a scoundrel does not particularly open up new and interesting possibilities such as that kind of choice would in other RPGs. So you're not missing out. But you will definitely miss out on some of the more combat-oriented solo side quests since you may not be powerful enough to get through them without being a soldier or at least a scout. I'm told that one reason for going scoundrel is because sneak attack does wonder against stunned opponents later in the game, particularly if your NPCs specialize in stun weapons or powers. That this is true is definitely indisputable. Whether that makes up for all the other drawbacks of being a scoundrel is questionable. Personally, I don't find that this one advantage offsets the other drawbacks I mentioned above. It's your choice of course, but I would recommend soldier without a second thought unless you really know what you're getting yourself into. The scout is the in-between class. Again, since I don't find indirect play to be particularly fun, there is no reason not to just be a soldier. The only really compelling reason (and it's not much of one) to choose scout is becaues scout has repair as a primary skill and thus can easily bring that to high levels. Having high repair is fairly useless through the game except that it allows you to upgrade HK-47. See the repair section for more details on this. Again, I don't feel this is a particularly compelling reason to choose scout. Here's some more reader notes about the viability of choosing other classes: _____________________________ | "C M" writes: In your guide, you state that the scout class is an "in-betweeen" class and that the only good thing to the scout class is that they get Repair as a class skill. I would respectfully like to point out the other benefits to the Scout class: - The Scout starts with FLURRY feat. Your guide states that the first feat you recommend taking is flurry. Starting as a Scout saves you this feat selection. - The Scout also gets free IMPLANT feats at level 1, 4 and 8. This is a VERY useful feat (for free) as it is the easiest way to increase your primary stats, as well as other stats such as your saves. I believe that having (at least) level 2 implants are a definite benefit to playing the game. - By level 4, the Scout has only 1 less feat than the Soldier, but they have received FLURRY and IMPLANT levels 1 and 2 for free (not to mention Uncanny Dodge level 1). This actually means that they have 2 more useful feats than the Soldier at the same level. - By level 6 the Scout has 2 fewer feats than the Soldier. This means they will still have one more feat than the Soldier when you consider the free feats above. - By level 8 the Scout has 3 fewer feats than the Soldier - but they gain Implant Level 3 (not to mention Uncanny Dodge level 2). If using level 3 implants are important to you, then this level is a wash. If you don’t want level 3 implants, then it is at this level that the Soldier finally catches up to the Scout for useful feats. - The Scout gets far better skill points (up to 3 times as many). This may not be a critical feature for game play, but it is nice to not have to stress too much that your PC cannot see or disable mines, open security doors, repair droids, or persuade others. I would suggest that the aggravation that is saved at being able to cover these bases with my PC at all times is a useful feature of this class. - The Scout gets many more class skills, making it much easier to get better skill point distribution. It is great to be able to upgrade HK-47, but it is also nice to be able to persuade others as well as get decent returns from your medpacks. The Scout will give you a better chance to do this. I feel that these added benefits more than compensate for the lower vitality and attack base of the Scout. ______________________________| b. Jedi class Early in the game (well, relatively early), you'll abandon your normal character class and then proceed as a Jedi class. I would not pick the sentinel; it is rather in-between class that neither excels at using force nor at combat. Otherwise, this is totally subjective; if you want to be a lightsaber-wielding maniac, then choose guardian. If you want to fry your opponents with the force, then choose counselor. Even as a guardian, though, I was able to get a decent number of force powers, and with a better-than-average wisdom I had enough mana to do whatever I needed to do. A good choice might be to start off as soldier so you can grab a lot of feats, then choose counselor so you can grab a lot of force. Same as with base character class, note that you will have other Jedi of various classes, so you're not going to miss out on using the force if you choose guardian since Jolee will be your main force spammer, etc. BTW: Terminology note, I'll be referring to magic reserves as "mana"; i.e. this is the amount of force power you have. C. Stats The most important stat to upgrade is wisdom. The second is either strength or dexterity depending on which you started out higher. If you're a soldier, start with high strength (the default soldier gives you this). If you're a scout, start with high dexterity. Note that when using a lightsaber, the higher of your dexterity vs. strength will be used to determine your to-hit. So you don't need high strength to use a lightsaber. This is only for lightsabers, and I would guess is so that any class can use lightsabers effectively. For all other melee weapons, strength is used for to-hit. Note that you only get a bonus for every even number stat. Increasing dexterity from 12 to 13 gives you no immediate benefit, but 13 to 14 gives you an additional +1. Keep this in mind especially when upgrading NPCs. Many NPCs start off with some stats that are odd numbers. Increase those by 1 automatically at your first chance unless in the case of something like intelligence, e.g. Carth starts out with 13 intelligence and probably doesn't need another point. You'll have opportunities to improve your attributes every four levels, which is not frequent at all. In total, since the highest level is 20, this means you can have 5 additional points to add to your base stats. Here is one suggestion: Strength: 14 Dexterity: 14 Intelligence: 8 Wisdom: 16 Constitution: 12 Charisma: 10 Increase wisdom at each level and leave the other stats alone. Strength / Dexterity: Simply for lightsaber use, you want one of these numbers to be high. Strength additionally lets you inflict more damage, dexterity helps your armor class and some saving throws, so which you prefer is up to you. I don't think either is necessarily better than the other, although if you want to think WAY ahead, the final boss pretty much never misses regardless of your armor, whereas strength will help you against him. Certain other more powerful monsters also tend not to miss. Anyway, those are minor factors; if you follow this guide, you won't have to worry about being too weak to take on anything. On normal mode, the end boss will be VERY easy. Wisdom: this governs how effective your force powers are and how much mana you have in later game. Mana is basically like magic, and you will be using it a LOT in later game. Having higher mana not only helps you practically, but also makes the game a whole heckuva lot more enjoyable to play since force powers are hands down the coolest part. You don't want to have to use mana sparingly because of mediocre levels in later game, or find that your mana is easily resisted because you only have mediocre wisdom. In addition, this also helps you resist force powers, and makes it more difficult for others to rseist your force powers, and I think adds bonuses to your treat injury. Just as a guideline, I had around 16 wisdom at the end and was able to use stasis field on Bastila (the 2nd to last boss fight) fairly successfully. Intelligence: this is pretty useless, it only gives you bonuses to the number of skill points per level, which is not terribly amazing because skills are not critical (more on that later). This also affects the sniper shot feat, so you could raise this for that purpose although I hardly think it worth it just for that. Constitution: this gives bonuses to health per level and also affects some saving throws. I would give constitution some mediocre but non-low number and not upgrade it at all. You can find items later that pump up your constitution, or spend feat points on conditioning, or just raise this occasionally if you're dying too frequently. Charisma: this is used for some force powers but wisdom is definitely more important, I would keep charisma at some mediocre base level and never upgrade it. Charisma is also used for persuasion, but I find that putting points into persuade more than makes up for mediocre charisma, or later you can just use the Jedi affect mind. D. Skills Skills make certain tasks easier, but none are terribly critical for the game. That is, the game is designed so that it can be reasonably solved without high skills in any particular area, and your PC doesn't have to be skilled in everything since party members can make up for this. As I said before; early in the game, the scoundrel Mission joins you, and she gets insane skill progression so you can pretty much just swap her in whenever you need some skill-related task done. Your droid T3-M4, which you also get early, has very good skill progression too. Some skills just decrease the number of parts you need for certain actions, and parts are just money, and you typically have a lot of excess money anyway (more on that later), so it's not a big deal to be low on those skills. Note that some attempts give failure no matter how high your respective skill is. For example, I believe you'll always fail at some persuade or force persuade dialog even if the option is available. There is of course no way to prove this unless you specifically stick all your points into that skill from the outset as a scoundrel and try again. Suffice to say, though, I have a pretty high degree of confidence that there are certain doors that are just not meant to be security'd through, and some persuade options that are not meant to be successful. It's a bummer that the game gives you an option to attempt anyway, since that might be misleading, but I guess it's also more realistic this way. The most important skills for my PC are persuade and treat injury. This is all relative; none of the skills are particularly important so this is not to say that these skills are vital. If your'e using a soldier with low intelligence, I would recommend just putting everything into persuade and maybe an occasional into treat injury. It might be helpful to have one point in security and then use security-enhancing items, because you can't use the security skill unless you have at least one natural point in it. Persuade: this becomes important because it opens up better options when dialoging with NPCs. You can often get a better result, significantly more experience, more money, etc. If you have a low persuade and charisma, you'll forever be wondering whether you could have avoided a hostile outcome. At least with persuade, you can go through "what if"s -- try out different choices in the dialog options, reload to try different ones, until you find the best. Without high persuade, some dialog routes will not be successful for you. Later on, you can use the Jedi affect mind instead of persuade, but this sometimes gives you a dark side hit so you won't always be able to rely on that if you're trying to follow the light side. As one example, somewhere along the game you are required to help two people resolve a dispute. Having good persuade gives you a very warm happy fuzzy feeling. Having mediocre persuade leads to a lot of death and misery. For dark side players, persuade is important for the frequent lying you'll be doing, and you can also goad people into doing all sorts of evil things with good persuade. Note that you can only have persuade for your main character, so your NPCs cannot make up for this. That's why I find it important to have my PC put points into this. Again, there are some situations where you'll fail regardless of how high your persuade is, so try to recognize those (e.g. by reading through other guides) before dumping more points than necessary into persuade on the mistaken assumption that yours is just not high enough because you fail occasionally. Security: this helps you get through locked doors and boxes. This isn't that critical because most (all?) of the locked things you come across can just be bashed down or opened via a computer terminal ("open all security doors"). Or you can always use a spike to help you get through too. I have yet to come across a door/box that I cannot bash down but which security can get through. Some doors might take forever to knock down, but this is no big deal since you can always take a bathroom break since bashing is always done outside of combat. If you're interested in the role playing experience, then go ahead and put points into security, otherwise just be content with bashing down doors and chests. Doors and chests are never trapped or anything, so you run no risk of bashing them or attempting to open them (unlike mines). Treat injury: this determines how much health you gain back from med packs. This is not all that critical since med packs are cheap, and you'll get healing abilities soon enough as a Jedi, but it can save you from sticky situations where you're very low on health and need a boost fast. If you have low treat injury, you can still medpack yourself but you may end up taking more damage than you heal if you're in the middle of a fight. There are a few solo situations where having good treat injury makes things easier, such as with the end boss. Also, if you have high treat injury, can you elect to bypass using heal most of the time since you'll get such a high return from your med packs. So if you're bent on saving mana, then this can be helpful. But again, it is really not critical. On normal, the only times I ever use med packs are on Taris before I have cure, and at the end boss where I use life support packs since I don't have time to repeatedly cast heal. This is true whether I'm dark or light side; as I'll explain below, I typically get the cure power for my PC even if he's dark side. All in all, treat injury is just like the other skills -- not awesome, but can save a bit of headache once in a blue moon, so you might as well put occasional points into it since there's not much else that's more critical. Awareness: you should have a decent level of awareness in your PC primarily to spot mines. The other stated use is to spot cloaked enemies, but there is no cloaked enemy period in the game where awareness actually helps. All the invisible enemies you'll find are non-detectable until they are triggered. This is really sad, the game could have been a lot more dynamic if KOTOR actually made use of this facet of awareness. Commentary aside, if you have a low awareness, you might step onto mines accidentally, but this is no big deal -- if you really care and want to get the mine back, reload and switch to another character with higher awareness and walk them so that you can see the mine. Note that there is no need to have high awareness in your other characters; there's only one point in the game when you are solo with a NPC and here you don't need awareness at all, and for the most part you'll be electing to control your PC so he's the one whose awareness will be used for spotting mines. The only time I would get awareness for other characters is if your PC is a weakling scoundrel and you'd rather lead with another NPC, or you deliberately spend zero points on awareness and want to use another character for that instead. Demolitions: this is not a bad skill to have a mediocre level in. This allows you to recover mines for later use. I hardly use mines; I only place them in hard boss fights where I know ahead of time (or have reloaded) that there is a boss coming up and that I can lure him through mines. Of course, you can always purchase mines too. I like having a decent demolition score because I like to hoard items. It's a bummer just out of principle if I come across a mine and have to disarm it instead of recovering it. There are various medium cost items and visors you can get later on that can bump up your demolitions tremendously such as the demolitions gloves sold in Korriban, so you may be able to skimp on demolitions and just switch on your gloves or what not as needed. This is particularly easy because generally you'll be setting and disarming mines outside of combat, so there's no drawback of temporarily switching equipment for that purpose. E.G. If you have a low demolitions skill, you won't be able to set some of the better mines, but it's easy enough to switch over to your demolitions visor and gauntlets to set the mines. Computer use: this just decreases the number of spikes you need for certain computer options. I hardly ever use computer options; I only download schematics (i.e. maps) once in a while, and you need a lot of computer skill to lower the number of spikes needed. Repair: this determines the number of spikes needed to activate certain droids that you'll find lying around. This isn't a bad thing because activating droids most often gives you experience, but repair spikes are plentiful (I ended the game with well over a hundred) so they're not a valuable commodity to be conserved. Your PC will also use repair later on to upgrade HK-47. HK-47 is a great support character if you for some reason don't feel like using your Jedi, and the dialog you get when upgrading him is rather humorous, so this is definitely an option to be considered. But once again, it really is not critical at all, and I hardly use HK-47 in my party because I have my Jedi available, and repair is otherwise such a rarely used ability that it's not worth putting many points into this. If you do want to go the route of repairing HK-47, then the only really feasible way is to choose scout, since other classes require 2 skill points per point for repair. If you're going for the dark side ending, you may want to consider this since for the last level, you'll probably use either Canderous and HK-47 as your third character. Repairing HK-47's memory also rewards you with some very entertaining dialog. Stealth: this is only useful to scoundrels so I won't get into that. I never use stealth abilities, they're theoretically cool but having to stealth through enemies is a bit laborious. If you do choose scoundrel, then you may have to use this occasionally, hence another reason not to choose scoundrel. E. Feats This is one of the more daunting parts of KOTOR. When you level up, you're presented with a menu of all sorts of different feats and no clue as to which are actually good or bad. For my PC, I would up flurry, two-handed weapons fighting, toughness, lightsaber proficiency. Specifically, I put my first feat point into flurry, my second to two-handed weapons fighting (and at that point I start using two weapons), and my third into toughness. I then continue along those three until I change to Jedi, at which point I start interpersing points into Jedi defense and lightsaber proficiency. For starters, you'll probably want your PC to be a melee. More on this later if you're unconvinced, but I'll assume you agree for now. If you didn't choose soldier, then sure you can have him use blasters in the beginning, but once you become a Jedi, there is almost zero reason to use any non-lightsaber weapon. Keep that in mind so you don't waste points maximizing stuff like rapid fire and power blast, which are only applicable to ranged weapons. Getting those might help you in the beginning, but the beginning part is really easy enough without them and if you want a powerhouse at the end, you'll have to make some tradeoffs. I'd rather have a weaker character in the beginning for the promise of a more powerful one at the end. Once you have lightsabers, you will probably never touch a ranged weapon again, so having master rapid shot is a waste from that point onward. Of course, this does not translate to your NPCs -- for characters like Carth, HK-47, Canderous, you definitely want to grab rapid shot for them and ranged weapons proficiency. In any case, assuming you took my suggestion for soldier, you'll naturally be using melee weapons anyway so go ahead and max those feats. Of course, you also have to think of your other characters, so I'll try to incorporate suggestions for both as I talk about feats. I'll rank the feats from best to worst, but basically in the beginning I would up two-handed and flurry for my PC whenever those are available (substitute rapid shot for flurry in ranged characters), then toughness and maybe lvl1 implants if the next level of dueling and flurry are not yet available. I list critical strike as an important feat but I'd only get that later when you've gotten the nice lightsaber crystals, otherwise just use flurry as default; this not only keeps the game simpler but also saves your feats points. Once I have lightsaber feats available, I'll still get two-handed and flurry whenever those are available for my PC, and jedi defense then lightsaber proficiency if not, then toughness. Critical, Power, Rapid/Flurry: These all augment your attacks while adding some sort of penalty. The natural question is: how do these compare to each other in strength, or how do they compare to using regular attacks (whether ranged or melee). The short answer is that I get flurry/rapid for everyone and max it, and don't generally bother with the others. Flurry at high levels in particular gives only a negligable penalty to attack and defense so there is no reason to use your default attack instead. Critical strike is also very powerful, particularly when combined with weapons that already have a high critical threat range, but the defense penalty is substantial and does not go down at higher levels, assuring that you'll get hammered if you use this while fighting multiple enemies. Power attack is great for dispatching weaker enemies since you tradeoff worse to-hit for damage bonus, but you won't be able to use this against bosses and there are easy ways to dispatch weaker enemies. Critical for ranged attackers, i.e. sniper shot, is at least safer because enemies will typically be directing attacks against your melee units. There are two times when I would opt for some other feat than flurry for my characters. One is when I get critical strike for a character using a weapon with particularly high critical threat range, such as a modified lightsaber. Two is when I expect to be fighting most of my battles with lvl3 burst of speed on, in which case I could use either critical or power attack. The reason for the first is pretty self explanatory. For the second, the issue is that flurry gives diminishing returns because you're already getting four attacks so flurry only adds one more, whereas power attack and critical strike affect all four attacks. In other words, if you're only getting one attack per round, flurry doubles your attack. If you're already getting four default attacks per round because of use of dual weapons and lvl3 speed, then flurry only gives you 25% more attack. Before I make your head explode, my advice is simply that by default, max out flurry/rapid, and only get critical/sniper if I have good reason to do so. You can't go wrong getting flurry, whereas you can certainly go wrong maxing power and critical. You could get all three and use each selectively, but that's rather wasteful in terms of feats because you don't get all that many. Dueling/Two-handed fighting: Max either of these depending on which you use. For your PC, stick exclusively to two-handed fighting. For weaker NPCs, get dueling. Flurry: Flurry is probably the best feat in the game. Getting extra attacks is very powerful, so I would max this. The benefit of going from lvl2 to lvl3 is not as great since you only get an additional +1/+1, but it's still liable to make an appreciable difference given how much you'll be using flurry. I.E. I use it in every attack as my default for all my characters. Get master flurry for all your melee characters, particularly your Jedi. The only exception may be Jolee; he's primarily a spellcaster and doesn't get many feat points, so you may want to consider first maxing more defensive feats such as dueling and jedi defense. Lightsaber proficiency: Max this for your main character and Juhani. For Jolee, it's up to you whether you want to focus on defense/support such as Jedi defense versus attack such as flurry and lightsaber proficiency. Either route is good, but just be aware that even if you keep Jolee in a support role, he'll still eventually charge into battle, so you may want to give him some attack feats. It's really up to you, I don't find either route to be particularly better. If you're a dark side character, you may want to hold off on lightsaber proficiency because you'll later find very nice dark side gloves that will give you lvl3 proficiency automatically. Jedi defense: A very good skill to max also, as it'll save you a lot of damage against the numerous ranged enemies you come across. Not to mention also that it just looks very cool particularly when you deflect blasts back to their owners for damage. I would definitely max this with Jolee, and put it at least lvl2 with my other NPC Jedi. Definitely max this with your PC, there are a few solo missions where you'll be going up against many ranged attackers at once. That said, there is no real rush to max out on this. Ranged enemies aren't typically the greatest threats in the game, as opposed to e.g. dark Jedi. Put points into this at your leisure but be sure to prioritize things like dueling or two-handed fighting, flurry, and others that are useful in all situations. Toughness: Extra health is always good, although not terribly necessary. At your max level 20, it means you have 20 extra health. Not bad for one feat point, I would get this if you find that your character is dying far too often, otherwise I would focus on the other skills above mentioned. I would give at least lvl1 toughness to Jolee and Mission, though, since they have very little health to begin with. All in all, I would up this for my PC after I'm done with all the skills above or if I'm dying or losing health too frequently. Lvl2 toughness is quite useful since damage reduction in the long run can become quite significant. You don't need toughness, at least not on normal, and especially not if you're going the soldier/guardian route, but it's helpful. It's never a bad choice, so it is more of a subjective decision. If you take my suggestions as a soldier, then toughness 1 is going to be your best choice early on after you've put a point into flurry and two-handed weapons and the next levels of those aren't available nor are you a Jedi. So you'd end up putting one point into it anyway. Critical strike, power attack: Given my inclination towards flurry, I don't recommend focusing too much on the other two combat skills. You don't have that many feat points to spare, particularly for some of your NPCs, so I would be wary of spending them on multiple combat beats. There is one instance where you can use critical strike to tremendous potential, however, and that is with a Nextor+Opila lightsaber. One gives better critical strike range, the other gives increased damage when a critical strike is scored. You may want to consider having one Jedi character maximize critical strike and use that exclusively along with that buffed lightsaber. I would recommend Juhani. Implants: Lvl1 implants is good enough for just about everyone. Don't put any points into this by default, but if you find an implant and are dying to use it, then start putting points in. Bear in mind that although putting points into implants helps buff your character because implanats are good items, you have to counter weigh this against other feats you are sacrificing for putting points into implanats. For example, if you're just getting implants to have a +2 constitution, then you may want to instead put a point into toughness. Think of implants sorta like "interchangeable feats". Conditioning: I don't find any need to put points into conditioning, but go for it if you can't think of anything else. Having high saving throws is good, no doubt, so go ahead and consider putting points into here if your characters are failing their throws frequently. Power blast/sniper shot/rapid shot: These are all good for your ranged support such as Carth and Mission, so go ahead and beef them up with these. It doesn't really matter; you won't generally be using those characters after you have access to both Jedi, since Juhani and Jolee are just hands down so much superior. But definitely focus on maxing rapid shot for your ranged characters since it's as powerful as flurry. Weapons/armor proficiencies: I don't bother with these for any of my characters since the weapon types my NPCs come with are good enough as is, and my main character will be using a lightsaber later on anyway. I don't believe lightsaber is considered for melee weapons so don't upgrade that for your PC. You'll also most likely want to wear robes for your Jedi so don't bother upgrading any of their armor proficiencies. You may want to put points into light armor proficiency for your NPCs so they can wear certain types of head gear. It's up to you whether you feel spending points in this is justified; don't put in anything by default, but bear that in mind as an option when you start finding very cool headgear. Caution/empathy/etc.: These all improve different skills. Seeing as how I think skills are far less critical than feats, I recommend not touching these at all. Armor proficiency: For NPCs, you may want to put a point into armor proficiency so they can wear various types of headgear, since some of them require at least light proficiency. Wait until you actually find good gear before you put points into this, though, because particularly for Jedi, they won't be wearing armor so you're only getting the point for headgear. It's the same as spending points on implants. Whether you do put points into this is really subjective and depends on what headgear you end up finding. F. Powers a. General advice What powers you decide on is determined by whether you choose the light or dark side. The only definite advice I'll give is that you'll save a lot of headache against the final boss if you have at least one spell that does damage. For dark siders, this is no biggie, but for light siders, most of the spells do not do damage and you'll be wishing you had one. It literally makes the end boss 5x easier, because otherwise you'll have to kill him 10 times instead of 2. Also in general, if you're going to get a power, commit to maxing it. Level 2 and level 3 versions of the power are always more powerful, and cost the same amount of mana. If you only get level 1 of some power and aren't in direct control of your character, he may use that instead of level 3 of some other power; for example, take your eye off your PC and he might cast level 1 slow instead of level 3 kill. So it's preferable to choose ahead of time which powers you'll want to commit to, and max those. NPCs will start at level 1 or 2 of certain powers themselves, so it's similarly a good idea to max those unless they're for utterly useless powers. Once you get the higher level power, you can't choose to cast the lower level one. This is usually not a big deal since the higher level powers are supposed to be better, but e.g. force push has different manifestations depending on level and there are some rare instances where level 2 might be more useful than level 3. Again, unfortunately you can't cast the lower level version; but suffice to say, you'll run into no significant situations where you'll have regretted getting getting the higher level power. b. Alignment As a general comment on powers selection, you of course want to generally stay within your own alignment. If you're dark side, primarily choose dark and universal powers, etc. There are very few exceptions to this, cure being one of them (discussed under that section). An important note is that using reverse-alignment powers doesn't decrease their effectiveness, it just costs you more mana. In some cases, this amounts to the same thing (e.g. you get less healing per mana point if you're dark side and casting cure). Unless I mention specifically, my suggestions for aligned powers are only for those PCs that are following that alignment. For NPC Jedi, you have more choice because they're towards the middle, so it's up to you. The penalty for casting opposite-aligned powers for a person of max alignment is +50%. The reward for casting same-aligned powers for a person of max alignment is -50%. c. Status-altering powers KOTOR doesn't follow the pattern of many RTSs where more powerful monsters either always save or are immune to status spells, i.e. those that cause incapacitation or other effects. In other words, more powerful monsters don't always make their saving throws. E.G. For the Sith academy final bosses, I was able to use lvl3 wound successfully on both Sith masters, which made the fight trivially easy. When I met Darth Bandon, insanity from Jolee incapacitated him with no problem. Don't be afraid to get spells that include a saving throw and use them against even more powerful enemies. Granted, some of those are immune, but a surprising number are not and this includes even bosses. If you took my advice to choose Jedi Counselor and start with high wisdom, you'll be able to use powers very effectively against even the highest level enemies given your force focus bonus. The one thing to watch out for is that some Jedi bosses will immediately activate force immunity at the start of combat. Sometimes you can get off your status-affecting spell before they're able to do so, so this is a toss-up. Just don't waste your time trying to cast those after you see it come into effect. d. Three very similar spells Push, Stun, Fear: Let's start off looking at the differences between these very similar powers. They all have various incapacitating effects, all start out single target and later become area effect, so how's one to choose between them? First, for any given character, I would only get one. You don't need different versions of the effectively the same spell. The main differences are: 1) how long the target is incapacitated, 2) what the area of effect is and when the spell goes from single target to area of effect 3) what the effects are if the target makes its saving throw. Fear, for example, seems stronger because at 2nd level it is area effect, whereas stun is single target. But at 3rd rank, stun has a slow effect on even targets that make their saving throw, whereas fear has absolutely no effect at all. Also, the level prereqs for the spells are different such that you can get 2nd and 3rd level fear sooner than the other two. I would recommend not getting horror but instead getting force push if you're dark, and getting stun if you're light and not force push. Of course, some characters will start already with lvl1 of one or more of these by default, so this saves you if you continue with that power. Since there is no *strong* difference between the three, I would just continue down whatever route is already there. One final note is that stun is much more expensive mana-wise than force push but stun is light side whereas force push is neutral, so for your middle-of-the-road NPCs, you probably want to get force push to save on mana. Overall, this is all stylistic. Some spells are more powerful at early levels at the expense of being weaker comparatively at later levels so there's a tradeoff. If you're having trouble early on, e.g., you may want to invest down the fear route with one of your dark siders or Jolee since it becomes area effect at level 6, which is far sooner than any other status spell. Personally, I would prefer the force push route. Level 2 force push is semi area-of-effect, and level 3 force wave can be thought of as a weaker form of force storm in that it does damage, but with the benefit that it has short-term stunning potential. I'll usually favor casting force wave at groups of enemies when I first see them, there's no drawback because they take damage even if they save. During combat, I may cast force wave repeatedly since it'll finish off badly damaged enemies anyway. Ditto with level 2 stun, with the exception that casting this multiple times is less beneficial since slowed enemies will not be further slowed if they save again, and slowing enemies that are near dead is not as beneficial since they'll die shortly afterward anyway. e. General spell commentary Force suppression: Useless. They probably put this in only because your enemies will use it against you, where in that case it is definitely useful for THEM. If this was area of effect, it could be useful in Star Forge level against those groups of dark jedi that all force resistance. But targetting individual enemies is not very efficient. Throw lightsaber: Not great in terms of damage. The 2nd level hits multiple targets but there are better area effect spells that can hit more targets and do more damage so why bother. When your character reaches level 20, throw lightsaber will do as much damage as lvl3 shock but without the mana drain. Burst of speed: Get this for all your characters and max it or at least get level 2. Definitely max for your PC. The extra attack per round itself makes this worth it, even if you didn't get the additional defense bonus. With the defense bonus, this is a no brainer. This also saves you a lot of travel time since your movement speed is doubled. When I'm wandering around areas that I've already explored, I put on burst of speed so I can get through them more quickly. As long as one of your characters has at least first level burst of speed, you can take advantage of this, but in any case it's good for everyone. Force resistance: Works pretty well for its stated purpose, and moreso annoying when enemy Jedi use this to protect themselves against your force powers. Putting one point into this before going to the Star Forge level is a very good move; you'll be encountering hoardes of dark Jedi who will use abilities like level 2 drain life, level 2 shock, choke, etc. against you. I would give a point to my PC. Putting two points into this is not necessary. Having this on at all times is not difficult because it lasts for 60 seconds, so it only needs to be renewed infrequently. Energy resistance: This might be good to get to lvl2 for one of your characters, since lvl2 resistance benefits everyone and lasts for a whole two minutes so it's easy to maintain. However, how often do you run into elemental damage anyway? It's fairly rare, so there are better options. Leave this alone until you've gotten the more important defensive skills like force armor and valor. Juhani starts with lvl1 resistance so you may consider just getting lvl2 for her at some point, but again I would deprioritize it. Definitely don't get this for any of your other characters. Affect mind: You should definitely get this for your PC, and maybe get dominate mind if you really are crazy about wanting to open up good dialog options. Without this, you won't get additional options in dialog. Of course, given high enough persuasion, you may never need to use this at all, but spending one point in affect mind is probably worth it for the extra dialog options. There are some situations where you'll always fail regardless of how high your persuade+charisma+affect mind are, but those are rare. Cure: Definitely get this for at least your main character if not all your characters. You don't necessarily need it for all of your Jedi but it is hands down the best light side power so make sure SOMEONE has it. I would give it to everyone except Juhani, especially since she doesn't get many force powers. Note that your characters will automatically use cure during combat if you're not directly controlling them, so that's a nice benefit. Heal is good to get too although not critical; you get +5 healing and this takes away damage, but I find that I have enough poison antidote anyway and +5 doesn't make all much difference since lvl1 cure will heal at least 17 damage by the time you're able to get heal anyway. One big question is whether to get cure even as a dark side character. If your PC is fully dark side, cure will cost you close to a whopping 45 mana, versus 12 if you're light side. This is generally not a good idea, particularly if your PC decides to cast cure during combat when he's not under your control, as you don't get more than a couple hundred mana to begin with. On the other hand, there may be instances where you really need party-wide cure and don't have access to it, such as if your other Jedi are incapacitated or you don't have them in your party, or if you're outside combat and don't want to be wasting med packs. I would say that if you're dark side and get to a point where you don't have good choices for other spells and you have good mana reserves, then you may want to throw one point into cure. For example, I would not get cure for a guardian unless I had super high wisdom because I just don't have enough mana to be throwing around frivolously. You may even want to get heal later so that at least your mana gets better use. This will keep you pretty well until you get lvl2 drain life, which is very late in the game. It also depends on how much mana you typically use; I tend to look at using the force as an aid to combat, but not a necessity for all combat. From this sense, I'll generally have a lot of mana at most points of the game anyway, so I don't mind dumping a ton into a single cure if that'll help me once in a while. So, my overall suggestion is: If you took my advice and went with high wisdom, counselor, and became Jedi at level 4, then get cure, and maybe heal if you're using cure a lot for whatever reason. Force aura: Not bad, but without much duration. I would get this for your PC and maybe Juhani. It's a bit of a pain to have to think about activating it constantly whenever you're getting into combat. I would by default not bother activating this, but only do so if a battle goes poorly and you reloaded it. I generally save right when going into a battle to allow for this. I'd stick with force valor since it is has a party-wide effect. Force valor: Very very powerful, I would get this for at least one Jedi and have them responsible for casting it for the party. Improved saving throws is of course very useful and can take the place of having to cast things like force resistance. +5 to all attributes is pretty amazing too; it not only increases some saving throws further, but also has a myriad of other positive effects. Imagine that the description of mastor valor is "adds +2 or +3 to all attacks, damage, armor class, and at least +5 to all saving throws. Adds 2 or 3 health per level and 2 or 3 mana per level. Increases effectiveness of offensive force powers by at least 2." Note also that some force powers benefit from both charisma and wisdom modifiers, you'd be essentially getting a +5 bonus for those, meaning that e.g. you're suddenly casting stun as if you're five levels higher. The only drawback is that the power is fairly short acting, lasting typically only one combat length. I would have a dedicated character cast it at the beginning of combat for non-trivial fights. One question is whether to get this for dark side characters. I generally would not but it's up to you; getting only level 1 is probably not worth the mana cost, and spending 3 force powers on this robs you of arguably more useful powers. Stick it on one of your light side characters, not Bastila because you'll be losing her for a while. Stun droid: This is probably the third best power next to heal and burst of speed. You may wonder what the big deal is because this only affects droids. Well, there are a LOT of droids in the game, and some of them are quite mean. Kill droid turns you into a droid-destroying machine (no pun intended there); you'll be able to brush off the most powerful ones without breaking a sweat. Destroy droid in particular has NO save against the stun, so you can cast it on the most powerful droid in the galaxy and it'll be stunned and take at least (1-3)xLVL damage. Jolee starts with this at lvl2, so I recommend just letting him get destroy droid upon first available and using him as one of your NPCs all the time. You only really need one character with stun droid in the party because, with few exceptions, one casting of destroy droid will take care of all or most the droids in a single encounter, so I would stick it on Jolee and that's it. But, there might be some reason I want redundancy, such as if I don't want to use Jolee in my party or I'm dark side and want stun droid for the final mission after I lose him. In that case, I would give it to your PC regardless of whether he's light side or dark side. Lvl3 stun droid is THAT good that it's useful regardless of its mana cost, particularly in the last mission where there are droids early on in the star forge. In any case, if you take my suggestion and use Jolee as a party member all the time, or are dark side but are o.k. with combatting those droids directly later on in Star Forge (they're not that hard to kill with usual means), then just stick stun droid on Jolee only and max it out on him asap. Drain life: This is your equivalent of heal. You probably want this on dark siders for those solo situations where you don't have a light side character around to cast heal, unless you want to compensate with med packs. For NPCs, definitely get cure instead of drain life. Shock: This is a very very useful power. I'd definitely get this for both Juhani and Jolee, as it has the capability of doing massive damage, and max it. Your PC should get this too if he's dark side, this will be his primary offensive dark side spell. One note about lvl2 shock, it hits everything at a certain range in front of your character, not at certain range around a target. This means that if you spot a group of enemies at a distance and queue up shock immediately, you'll probably hit only one. However if you wait for them to get closer, then you'll attack probably all of them. Lvl3 shock is a more powerful not only for the mana drain but also because you can just queue it up to target it upon an enemy upon first sight versus waiting until the group is close enough. Shock is where dark side truly shines in terms of area effect spells. You can march into a room full of 10+ enemies, cast a couple of force storms, and they're all dead in a heartbeat. Wound: This is a great spell for taking out individual targets. I definitely give this to Jolee, and to my dark PC. Lvl3 wound has good effects even if the target saves against it. If not, the spell inflicts half of the target's health, which can be a lot for more powerful enemies. If it's under 1/2 its health then it will basically be incapacitated and die on its own. The mana cost isn't trivial, so I'd save this to use on singular enemies that I might otherwise have trouble with. Wound is probably one of my most often-used dark side spells, it can really make some battles easy since if you're powerful, you can knock out even powerful enemies with it. Slow: Not bad at higher levels since there is no opportunity for a save. Juhani starts off with this ability so you may want to continue down that route with her. This is good against more powerful enemies if you're not confident that they'd fail a save against something like wound, I would definitely use wound against most targets instead though since the effects if not saved are much more decent. By default, I wouldn't put any points into this for my PC, and shy away from it for my NPCs. The most powerful bosses will have force resistance so they'll get a saving throw of sorts anyway, and lesser enemies can be taken care of through standard means. G. Leveling Make sure auto-level is off so that you have explicit control over when and how you level your characters. In general, you should level characters as soon as they are capable. The only exception is with your PC. Your PC starts off as a normal soldier/scout/scoundrel then eventually stops progression in that class when he becomes a Jedi. He then continues on as a Guardian/Sentinel/Counselor. So if you became a Jedi at level 8, at end game you might be level 8 soldier / level 12 counselor. Maximum combined level is 20. Your characters will all gain experience even if they are not in your party, so there is no need to switch between party members to progress them. Even if a character dies in combat, it will still agin experience for that battle. The Jedi levels are far more powerful than the regular class levels. You not only get the usual feats and attribute increases, but you also get access to additional lightsaber feats which are generally more powerful than your regular ones, as well as force reservoir increases and force powers. It is FAR better to be a level 4 soldier / level 16 counselor than level 16 soldier / level 4 counselor. So you want to hold off leveling as much as possible until you get to Dantooine and become a Jedi. How do you do this? One way is to just not kill anything, but this is obviously silly. The other way is to not level up when you're given the option to do so. Theoretically you could then become a level 2 soldier / level 18 counselor and kick some MAJOR butt. Of course, the tradeoff is that this leaves you very weak through Taris, and it may be impossible for you to get through without leveling at least somewhat. You only gain the additional health when you accept your level, so going through Taris as a level 2 soldier means you're going to be a plaything for any enemies you meet. As a general rule of thumb, I would hold off leveling until you get into situations where you're frustrated or have to constantly reload. Level up to 4 or 5 without question, then start seeing if you can get by with that. If you really want to be silly, you can turn the difficulty down to easy and then back to normal or hard once you reach Dantooine. Personally, I had NO trouble at all getting to Dantooine with a level 4 soldier. You won't either if you follow my general advice on stats and feats. The only time I needed to make heavy use of items to compensate was for the duel ring, where I ended up throwing around 8 plasma grenades and using a couple of advanced healing packs to beat the final dueler. Big deal. And if you're worried about this, you can always skip that side quest. Another thing to keep in mind is that when you do level up, you get healed automatically. This is particularly useful in situations like Korriban's Tomb of Tulak Hord since you start off the major boss battle with little health. I don't want to overemphasize this, though; you generally don't want to be saving off levels just to look for opportune times to heal yourself. But it can come in handy once in a while. One final thing to keep in mind is that since your maximum level is 20, you'll want to be aware of how you plan out your skill/feat/force allocation. Don't keep holding off getting certain skills and then accidentally reach 20 and realize that you can't pump them any higher. Your characters will all eventually reach 20, although typically only in the very late stages of the game a bit before you get to the final boss encounter. Several readers have pointed out that it is possible to get through Taris without levelling past lvl 2. I would certainly entertain trying this if you want a challenge, but I personally have no idea how hard it is so I can't give a strong recommendation. H. Alignment a. What does it really affect? Whether you're light or dark alignment merely affects the cost of different force powers. It does NOT necessarily affect the ending, although if you want the dark side ending then you should probably head down dark side alignment through the game. If you side extremely to one or the other, then you should really only choose to use that side's force powers, since it'll cost you 1/2 the force points whereas the other side will cost you double. Another minor difference is that certain items can only be used by light or dark side characters. But since you don't really know what items are going to appear unless you cheat and read through FAQs, there's really no way to anticipate this. And thankfully, I don't think one side really gets much better items than the other, so you won't be full of regret from making the wrong decision. Furthermore, you do have NPCs on both sides, so e.g. Jolee can use any dark side you find if you're not dark side, and Juhani or Bastila can use light side items if you're not light side. Whatever you decide, don't stay in the middle. Being in the middle may seem attractive because you can use both light and dark side powers. But this also means you neither will be able to use items attuned to the light nor the dark side. It also means that you may be running out of force points very quickly because all your powers will cost their base amount. If you choose one side and stay with that side's powers, then it means you effectively have double force points for most powers. It is thus far more advantageous to choose one side and start heading down it so that by the time you're comfortably through the game, you can spam whichever side powers you're attuned to with impunity because of the reduced cost. Note that just because you choose for your PC to be one side or another doesn't mean that you'll never be able to play with all of the force powers. Jolee is a more dark side character and you'll be using him consistently after you get him. Bastila is a light side character so you'll be able to use light side powers through her. Jolee is more in the middle so you can have her do both, although she's fairly limited in her force powers so you can't really go crazy. Light side and dark side points only affect your PC, and there is nothing you can do as far as I know to affect the alignment of your NPCs. b. How to choose I would just pick light or dark side based on your preference for how you want to enjoy the story. It does not affect the ending because a single choice you make near the end is what determines that. However, again, one caution is that if you do become a light side character and want the dark side ending, you'll have to switch alignment near the end, and if you've been focusing on light side powers (which you should have been doing) up until then, those will suddenly all become very expensive to cast. It'll thus be much more difficult for you to solve the game than if you started dark side in the first place. Apart from that, it's purely subjective which route you go. It is obviously far easier to go dark than light, though. Earning light side points often involves doing ridiculous things like constantly rejecting rewards, giving people more money than they ask for, not taking advantage of people when you easily could do so, etc. On the other hand, if you get a twisted sense of morality and compassion from doing these things (I do), then might seem more natural to you. I originally intended to start out dark side but just couldn't make myself be that mean. Not only do I see the results against the people I torment, but I also get constant lecturing from my party members. One other thing -- you don't always have to choose the route to earn light/dark side points whenever the option presents itself. In other words, there are PLENTY of opportunities to gain points, particularly for dark side, so you should be able to max out at either end at around 3/4 of the way through the game. For dark side in particular, I was maxed out shortly after leaving Dantooine (i.e. before getting even halfway through the next planet). Thus, if you really want that reward but are playing light side, then take it. Etc. If you do all the side quests, and get the light side reward at around 3/4 of them, then you'll max out soon enough. I maxed out on light side after completing missions on two planets, so that was plenty early. For dark side, this is even easier. So if once in a while you're presented with an option that you really object to on moral grounds, feel free to bypass it. It's all about tradeoffs. For example, one obvious situation is when you meet Juhani if you're dark side. You can kill her to get dark side points, but this REALLY isn't worth it because it is FAR more valuable to have her as a NPC in your party later on. For light side characters, you may want to take up the Genoharadan assassinations side quest because you eventually get very good items, even though you'll get dark side hits for each of them. Hopefully if you do them early enough that you can recover light side points afterward. Another example is the duels on Taris, you'll get a dark side hit from the final duel (but only the final duel), but you get some half-decent items including a nice upgradeable pistol for Carth so I suggest that this is worth it. There is at least one glitch where you can earn repeated dark side points. After you solve the Manaan main quest and return to the surface, talk to Roland and demand a bribe. You'll get a dark side shift. Now do it again and that option will still be present. I believe you can just do this over and over again until you're maxed on dark side. c. Personal opinions Finally, let me give you my subjective view on which is more "fun". Dark side powers are a whole lot more interesting than light side since light side are primarily defense-oriented. With dark side, you can choke and lightning your enemies with oblivion; with light side, primarily you'll be buffing your character. Personally I find buffing to be somewhat of a chore -- as I enter combat or slightly before, I have to cast some buffs to prepare, then after a while I need to check to see which have expired and need to be recast, etc. With dark side, I just see an enemy, lightning it, watch it fall dead. Light side does have a couple of offensive spells. Stun droid is an awesome power but you only need one character to have it, and Jolee is the natural choice since he already starts at lvl2, so your PC's alignment shouldn't affect any decisions about this unless you want redundancy. Stun is a nice spell but there are near-equivalents in fear and force push so this is not particularly unique. It's debatable which side's power is better overall; I haven't quite decided on that although the absence of cure for dark side characters is a bummer later on because drain life can only be done during combat. All the way up until late game, you can use your supporting Jedi for things like destroy droid, heal, force valor, so you may find more usefulness in a dark side character since there is less overlap with the group party-affecting skills that folks like Bastila already have, but in end game (i.e. the last 1% of the game), you may suffer a bit. I don't see this as being a major factor, though; the more important drawback for dark siders is that you lose your two other Jedi. You should have enough medpacks at that point that the absence of cure won't be a big deal, and medpacks after all are just money of which you should have a lot by that time. Note again that regardless of what alignment your PC is, that doesn't affect your NPCs. You'll still be able to cast spells from both sides using your other Jedi. And if you're a Jedi guardian, you won't have many powers anyway so the differences between light and dark side will be more minor. One other note is that some levels of dark side powers (i.e. drain life, shock) only become available at character level 18, which is fairly late into the game, so you'll be waiting a while to get those. Your NPCs will get those very late, generally around when you're in the final mission, whereas your PC will get them slightly earlier. Revisiting the topic of alignment-specific items, I find that the dark side gets some pretty interesting equipment from Korriban that are useful for your PC. One is the Sith Mask, which gives increased mana regeneration as well as lightsaber proficiencies. The other is the Marko Ragnus gauntlets, which give lightsaber proficiencies as well. The mask is in particular very useful for the increased regeneration, and you can't just stick this on Jolee if you're light side because it requires heavy armor proficiency. This again isn't a reason to be dark side; there are some good light side items, but it's something to keep in mind. All in all, I reiterate that the primarily choice for being a light side versus dark side is subjective depending on whether you enjoy being heralded as a saint or chastized with expressions such as "You monster!" or "What do you think you're doing?" for behaving in ways that even hardened criminals might find extreme. Apart from this, it also depends on what you prefer as far as defensive vs. offensive spells goes. Since there is no way to tell unless you've played the game, I can only give my personal opinion that dark side powers are slightly cooler and more visible. As a final note, personally I found the dark side ending to be far more enjoyable than the light side. ************ 4. EQUIPMENT ************ A. Weapons a. Melee vs. Ranged First, let's revisit the notion of melee versus ranged weapons. Melee weapons do more damage but have no range, obviously. This is a tradeoff but is not really much of one. It takes very little time to close in on an opponent so the range isn't a tremendous advantage. And once you close in, those opponents will have to spend a round changing to melee weapons else suffer a defense penalty (i.e. be easier to hit by you) since there is a natural defense penalty added to AC whenever a target with a ranged attack is fighting against melee. On the flip side of course, if you're ranged then you will suffer the defense penalty from melee attackers. And a LOT of the early enemies are melee, some of them engage you starting from fairly close so it takes them no time at all to get within melee range. Being melee also helps you avoid things like getting hit by grenades. If you keep a watchful eye, you can move when enemies throw grenades at you to avoid the blast. But this isn't always possible. Finally, I find that just straight out, given equal strength and dexterity, I tend to kill things far faster with melee. That said, before I got other Jedi NPCs, I would use the Wookie as a party member since he's melee and maybe one ranged support for kicks (generally Carth). Of course, once you become a Jedi, you'd better use a lightsaber or you're missing out on most of the fun of the game. I suppose if you're physically weak (e.g. you went the scoundrel/counselor route), then you could possibly stick with blasters to keep yousrelf away from battle. But then the question is, Why did you choose to go such a weak route to begin with? Even if you want to stay out of combat, I would still use a lightsaber purely for the sake of blaster deflection. If you're using mana a lot (which you should if you're a counselor), then you can't wear armor anyway, so your lightsaber becomes a good defense weapon. b. Weapon selection i. one vs two weapons I don't have much comment on ranged weapons, you can use your own common sense and preferences for that. There are two more tricky issues, though. One is whether you want to use one weapon or two, and the other is whether you want to use a double-bladed lightsaber or single one(s). Two weapon fighting versus dueling is an interesting issue. I generally prefer two weapon fighting because it is more offense oriented. This also allows me to make more use of the various neat gems I find in the game for my lightsabers since I can carry two instead of one. I'd only get dueling for someone like Jolee who needs a bit of additional defense. Juhani can go either way, it's up to you. ii. lightsaber choice There are then three options for lightsabers: single lightsaber, two lightsabers, or double-bladed. As mentioned before, I would keep Jolee on the single blade so he has better defense. I let Bastila continue to use her double bladed lightsaber just for the heck of it. Juhani can go either way although since she has a lot of health, I favor putting her on two lightsabers or double lightsaber for the added offense. For my PC, I'd either go two lightsabers or double lightsaber. So the natural question is, how do you choose between those? Both choices give you two attacks per round. The double lightsaber does significantly more damage but has less chance of critical. I don't know how or if the double lightsaber affects defense or other more esoteric factors, but in any case all of this is pretty easily verified if you just look at your character stats while wielding one versus the other. You'll also notice by comparison that the double-bladed lightsaber has a higher to-hit bonus than dual lightsabers. Apparently the double-bladed lightsaber does not suffer from the two-handed-fighting penalty as it should and as is stated in the manual. This alone makes it fairly abusive; you basically get two attacks just as if you were using double lightsabers, but without the to-hit penalties. Wow. That said, it seems to make sense to get the two most powerful crystals you find in the game, stick them in a double lightsaber, and then give that to one of your characters. If on the other hand you prefer more balanced fighting, such as being able to have one lightsaber that is mostly for blaster defense and another that dishes out damage, then that is fine too. But the main point is that you'll find a few very rare gems, and putting them into your double lightsaber is essentially as if you had two of them, one for each hand. All said, unless you have some moral objection against exploiting bugs, you'll do pretty well to stick double lightsabers on all of your Jedi characters. Short lightsabers become available later on for use in the off-hand, they give less off-hand penalty at the expense of less damage. This provides a good alternative to those who are using dual lightsabers but are having trouble hitting with them. I generally find that my to-hit is fine such that I don't need to use a short lightsaber, but definitely consider this as an option if you're missing frequently. If you're using an offhand lightsaber that is primarily status-affecting such as with the Bondar crystal, then short lightsaber might be a good choice since those are more concerned with to-hit versus base damage. Lightsaber color is completely cosmetic, it has no effect on functionality. Most crystals you'll find are red since those are typically used by dark side enemies. Color-coding may be useful for making your life easier though so that you can quickly distinguish between your lightsabers on your inventory screen. For example, my PC uses two purple lightsabers, Jolee uses his green one, Juhani uses a double-bladed blue, etc. This way, when I find additional lightsabers, I don't have to worry too much about accidentally confusing them when I go to my inventory screen. This does become an issue because there are times when you will either be forced to unequip your lightsabers or choose to do so. Although those are rare, there may be times when you'd like to customize a lightsaber for a particular purpose, e.g. have a yellow double-bladed lightsaber around with bonuses against droids to use when you encounter those. I generally stash my spare lightsabers in the Ebon Hawk storage, or sell them, or at least equip all your non-buffed lightsabers with red crystals so you can quickly tell them apart with ones that you using. B. Armor Armor is pretty much a no-brainer for non-Jedi, so just stick them in whatever armor gives them the best AC, taking into account that some have pretty good side effects such as with saving throws and reduced damage from elemental attacks. For Jedi, I keep them in robes since this allows them the full range of force powers. Robes start out pretty weak but near the end you'll start having access to pretty amazing robes with high defense as well as other side effects such as wisdom and saving throw bonuses. Note that you do get Jedi sense armor bonuses whether you wear robes or armor. Whether you choose your Jedi to go down the route of armor vs. robes is up to you, but I'd recommend going robes unless you really have a good reason not to. Look carefully at the force powers you can invest in that are affected by armor, and decide whether those are worth going without. Personally, e.g., I cannot imagine playing a dark side Jedi without using lightning and drain life, both of these are restricted by armor. For light side, it's a toss-up since the restricted powers are typically ones that boost your defense, so you can make up for those by wearing armor, whereas stun and stun droid are both usable with armor. The other important drawback is that neither side can use burst of speed with armor. Let's throw in some numbers for a completely beefed up light side Jedi. If you have lvl3 burst of speed, lvl3 force aura, lvl3 force valor, and Star Force Robes, that's a total of: Defense 18, Saves +13, Wisdom +5, 2 extra attacks per round, plus dexterity bonuses (typically +2 if you started and kept dex at 14 as I recommended). Compare with upgraded Cassus Fett's Battle Armor, arguably the best armor in the game, which gives defense 14, DR 10/- sonic/fire/electrical, +1 strength, no dexterity bonus. So you can essentially get a MUCH higher armor class wearing robes and using force abilities, this is not even including that you have access to a wider range of force powers when not wearing armor. The tradeoff is that you have to invest points into those force powers and activate them, sometimes wasting rounds in combat doing so. My light side Jedi doesn't always cast all possible buffs, at each encounter, but I will do so for the more significant battles where I need them. Even if I'm dark side, I can still benefit from burst of speed, and force valor cast from a NPC. My simple recommendation after all of this is that you should just stick robes on all your Jedi, whether light or dark side. You'll have more fun playing because you'll have more force powers to choose from and you can potentially have a much better AC near end game than if you chose the armor route. More technically savy folks can outline the actual comparison in more detail; but suffice to say, if you're one of those then you probably didn't need this advice in the first place. C. Items I'm the type of person who hoards items and never uses them, particularly for those items that have charges. You can get through the game without using items at all -- you don't really need to use your grenades, mines, stimulants, med packs, shields, etc. The default abilities of your characters are typically more than good enough. Also, whenever I use an item, I always have a sense of regret that I might have been able to get through the situation without it. When I get into hard fights, I'll first try surviving without item use, then use items sparingly if I get frustrated with constant reloading. I only really had to use combat items for the Taris duel ring and for the final boss fight. I ended the game with dozens of grenades, stimulants, and shields. All this is to say that items are good but not critical, but on the other hand don't be afraid to use them. You can get through most stages without them. But they definitely do help in some situations. You shouldn't be afraid in particular to use items early in the game; it makes logical sense that nothing you get in early game is going to be particularly unique and irreplaceable since the items you get are fairly weak comparatively. Chucking grenades into rooms full of ranged weapon attackers is a very straightforward way to win battles with minimum headache. You definitely will want to use grenades against the ranged attackers in the Taris duel ring, that makes all of them fairly trivial to beat. D. Money Cash is plentiful in KOTOR, particularly if you're playing the dark side and don't have to worry about refusing rewards or taking bribes. Once you have high persuade or affect mind, you can use that to soak even more money out of the CCCs you encounter. There's generally a couple of really good items, particularly ones sold in the cantina at Korriban, so all your cash reserves will probably go towards one of two of those 10,000 credit items. You will occasionally need to spend large sums to buy NPCs, but the game gives you enough so that this isn't much of an issue. Just make sure you spend all your money before you to the final planet, and you will not be able to visit Dantooine after solving the main quest on any three of the other planets (i.e. Dantooine becomes unavaialable after you're captured on the Leviathan), so be sure to buy whatever you need from Dantooine before then. In particular, if you want the dark side ending, you'll lose some of your Jedi near the later stages and will have to use a normal NPC instead. A good choice might be Canderous with Cassus Fett's Battle Armor, which is probably the best armor in the game and is sold for a whopping 15,000c in Dantooine. If you can't think of anything to get, stock up on thermal detonators, those come in handy for the final boss fight. Of course, you'll also pick up items that can be sold for a good amount. Since I exclusively use Jedi near the end stages and definitely on the Star Forge and Unknown Planet, I don't find it necessary to keep around all the other items I find that might potentially be used on my other characters. Give your non-Jedi characters decent items, and sell the rest away. Nice armors in particular give a pretty good amount. You can really go through the whole game without buying a single thing, apart from maybe some Pazaak cards if you want to play Pazaak. The game gives you enough powerful items as it is. Look at item buying more from the standpoint of giving you a boost if you really need it, but otherwise unnecessary. You can even avoid buying things like health packs. In early game, you'll have to use some because there is no other way of healing. Once you can return to your hideout, i.e. any time starting from Taris, you can get completely healed just by using the auto-transit. This takes a little time, but it's not unreasonable, particularly because you don't always need to be healed to the max. Turn off auto-save if you want to make the transit faster, so it doesn't waste time saving in between. Later on, you of course will have Jedi healing for your PC and/or NPCs. Mana regenerates fairly quickly particularly outside of combat, so you should be fine. The only time I'd use a medpack is if I'm in the middle of combat and need to conserve force. All in all, your money will accumulate pretty quickly and you'll only need to spend it on key expensive items if at all. Don't buy items wantonly; selling items back only gives you a fraction of the credits you bought them for. **************** 5. MISCELLANEOUS **************** A. Side quests The easiest way to make sure you cover all the side quests is to follow a guide. I recommend the walkthrough from GameSpot; it is far more thorough than any others I've seen so far although of course I cannot guarantee that a better one will not come along. Annoyingly enough, some (although few) quests become obsolete if you solve other quests. For example, the Honest Debt quest disappears once you solve the main quest if you choose the light side branch. For other quests, you may not be able to re-enter the area after you leave, such as the Sith base on Manaan. If you don't have a guide available, I can only say from general principles that you should talk to EVERYONE. If CCCs have generic names like "citizen", then don't bother with them. Anyone who has a unique or personal name is worth talking to. Some may not actually give you side quests, such as the anti-alien preacher on Taris, but you should check just in case. And when you do encounter these types, save your game beforehand so you can explore the different dialog options. Good persuade or force persuade often opens up nice options for dialog. Even if you fail your attempt to persuade, you can sometimes circle back to the dialog option and try again. This is a bit of cheap play, but it's better than reloading. You can also just leave the dialog (reload if you're unsure you'll be able to get back to it again) and come back later when your persuade score is higher. Sometimes, although rarely, not going the persuade route is better, so you may keep that in mind. For example, early on you meet a Sith off-duty in the upper level Taris cantina. If you have good persuade, you can get invited to a party where you'll end up getting an item for free. If you have bad persuade, you'll have to bust in forcibly and kill some Sith. I prefer the latter because it nets experience and some items. There's no way to know ahead of time which is the best route, so this may take some reloading or guide-reading. B. Saving/Loading Save a LOT. Your Xbox has a ton of memory, unless you've been hogging it with other games, you should be able to store well over 200 saves. I by default just choose the "new save" every time, this also makes things convenient because I know without looking that my last game is always my most recent. Frequent saves can help you backtrack and there is no reason not to save often because saving takes very little time (especially compared to loading). Auto-save is a tradeoff; the amount of time you spend waiting for auto-save will definitely add up, but this can occasionally spare you some frustration if you don't save manually very frequently. In any case, periodically I'll go back and delete previous saves, maybe keeping around one or two per dozen. I'd recommend doing this through the XBox memory management interface, not the KOTOR load game dialog, because the latter takes a LOT longer. Save often. It is the worst feeling in the world when you realize that you forgot to do something important and can't go back to it, and need to reload from a much earlier point or forever feel at a loss. C. Combat tips Ranged attackers suffer a defense penalty against melee so it's tempting to have your ranged attackers switch to melee and also learn melee feats (flurry etc.) so that they can handle close combat. I find this to be too laborious, so I just keep my ranged attackers in the back and bear the defense penalty if melee attackers get closer. Otherwise you'd have to spend feat points in melee skills you'll hardly ever use, and go through the laborious process of changing weapons everytime you're engaged in hand to hand. If KOTOR had a single button to swap weapons, then this would probably be worth it; but as it is, it's too much of a pain to deal with. Particularly if your character is melee (which he should be!), you can use him to keep attackers off of your ranged. Definitely pause often during combat. Generally when I enter combat and get an auto-pause, I cycle through each character and queue up actions for each of them. You can queue up actions against different targets; it remembers when you change targets during the queuing. For example, I might queue up Jolee to cast kill on three different targets. Pausing outside of the game also helps, particularly when I want to activate various force powers. Unfortunately, I have not found a way to queue up commands outside of combat. So if I want everyone to activate burst of speed and force aura, I'll pause and cycle through each to have them cast force aura, unpause and let them do so simultaneously, wait a split second so they're fully done doing that, pause again, cycle through them to cast force aura each, etc. Since those effects don't last very long, this ensures that I cast them as quickly as possible. I'll make a comment about the Jedi guardian's force jump -- this is a great attack that instantaneously closes distance on an enemy and can do massive damage, it only works though at a certain range and also only works if you press the normal attack within that range. Sometimes I press attack and my character just starts walking, thus wasting my opportunity to use the attack. When this happens, I just start hitting cancel and attack (B then A) in succession to re-input the attack, this will ensure that my character will jump once he gets into range. I also keep my Jedi on the Jedi support script so that they automatically use their force powers during combat. This more often than not saves me some headache. Force powers regenerate quickly so it's no big deal if they run themselves dry. The only times I turn this off are when I'm in looking forward to a bunch of successive battles, such as on Deck 2 Star Forge. If you have this turned on, your characters will occasionally cast things like force valor outside of combat. In particular, if I cast heal with any character and then switch off of him (i.e. swap to my next character), the previous one will always cast force valor immediately after heal. I haven't gotten them to cast anything else and I'm not sure of the logic behind this, but I'm sure it's possible to do so. This is either helpful or an annoyance, generally I find it a benefit even when they cast it when there's no threat anywhere. It's too bad I can't train them to constantly cast buffs whenever those wear off, that would reduce a lot of the tedium. One note is that force powers regenerate much faster when you are out of combat (generally a good indication is that the battle music toggles off and your character sheathes his lightsaber). In fact, you can even trick the game into thinking you're not in combat if you avoid it long enough. For some boss fights including the end boss, you can turn on burst of speed and run around, eventually you'll start regaining mana pretty quickly. Save your game right when you get into boss combat. Boss fights are often preceded by a bunch of dialog that is annoying to have to go through again if you happen to die and have to retry. D. Pazaak For optimal deck, you should load up on +/-2, +/-3, and +/-4. It's impossible to say how many of each card to have because the game chooses a subset randomly whenever you play. The most powerful cards in order are +/-3, +/-4, +/-2, +/-5, +/-1, +/-6. This may or may not be related to how much the card actually costs, it's just from my own experience. You do want to have some distribution, though, since having different cards available in the actual match gives you more flexibility (i.e. versus having 4 cards all being +/-2). For example, probably the best 4 cards to end up with during the matchup are +/-2, +/-3, +/-3, +/-4. Having said that, of course there is no way to guarantee that those are the ones randomly chosen, but as a distribution note I would have my side deck stacked accordingily with primarily +/-3's, and some +/-2's and +/-4's. It is tempting to think that the comp "cheats" but I doubt this is the case. However, the game is definitely stacked against you because you place the first card. If you start off low and your opponent starts high, then you can overcome this disadvantage, but that's purely by chance. I go by this specific rule when I have all 4 cards available: if I'm 17+, then I either hold or play a card to get myself closer to 20 then hold. If I'm 16 or below, I'll hit. This is because as long as you have +/- cards, you have a pretty good chance of being able to - your way out of a bust. The cards are numbered 1-10, so if you have +/-4 card then you'll only have an unrecoverable bust if you're brought above 24, which is on a 9 or 10, i.e. 20% chance. This is better than holding on a 16, where you are pretty much guaranteed to lose because it is not hard to hit a natural 17+ or the comp can certainly use its own cards to get above 16. Don't be too aggressive about spending your cards, because the worst that can happen is if you run out of cards and have to just play it straight. One reason is that you have no buffer for getting yourself out of bust if you go over, so you'll have to hit much more conservatively. E.G. If I have a 13 and a +/- card left, I'll definitely hit without question, because on the small chance that I bust, I can just use my card to bring me back under. If I have no cards left, then it's rather risky hitting on anything higher than a 10 since I have no insurance if I bust. So, suppose it's the first round and I'm on 16, and have a +/-4 card in my hand. Do I use it to get a natural 20 or hit? I would argue that you should just hit. You have almost a 50% chance of not busting, and if you do bust *then* you can use that same card to probably bring you back to 20. Don't overlook Pazaak, it is a good way to earn money. I've experienced some bugs where the opponents ante up their cards as bet when they run out of cash but I don't get those cards afterward. O well. And save after each game, because the game is rather unpredictable. You can have the best hand in the world and lose to a mediocre Pazaak player because you're dealt rotten cards. Your Pazaak opponents all, as far as I can tell, use the same algorithm to determine whether they hit or stay, so the only difference is in the strength of their hand. Don't expect the Pazaak players in the beginning part of the game to make stupid decisions. Most Pazaak players will progressively up their bet. As far as I know, few if any start using a better deck though, so they should be just as easy/hard to beat as before. Finding a mediocre Pazaak player is a great way to earn a lot of credits fast by milking him until he runs dry. ******************* 6. WALKTHROUGH TIPS ******************* I'm obviously not going to give a full walkthrough because that isn't the intention of the guide. But I will at least point out some more subtle notes. A. Planet order After leaving Dantooine, you can visit the other 4 planets in any order you choose. I don't think the enemies are more difficult on any particular planet versus another, so it's not like you're going to be unable to progress if you choose the wrong order. I would primarily choose my order based on party selection. First, Kashyyyk gives you Jolee, so I'd visit that early because he's one of the Jedi you'll definitely be using as a NPC and it's rather fun to play around with his powers period. Visiting Kashyyyk first is not a bad idea. Second, you can't take Bastilla along with you on Korriban so I would save that for last since you lose her anyway between the 3rd and 4th planet (no matter what order you do them in). There's also some funny dialog options that open up when you visit Korriban as the 4th planet, I won't give away this spoiler because it's huge but suffice to say, it's pretty entertaining if you save Korriban for last with that in mind. One other reason to have Jolee early is because at end game, you most likely will be using Jolee and Juhani as your two NPCs (if you're light side and you take my suggestion). It's better then to have Jolee early so you can start tailoring him and your other two characters so that you have good coverage of force powers and skills. So although this is fairly subjective, I would recommend visiting the planets in this order: Kashyyyk, Tatooine, Manaan, Korriban. Also note that you don't have to complete one planet before going to the next, although for continuity this is probably the most natural way to do things. However, you could e.g. detour to Tatooine and quickly grab HK-47 just for the sake of getting him since he's available fairly early in the planet, then go to whatever other planet you intend to visit. B. Maps There are frequent occasions where you can purchase maps or hack into security systems to download maps. I would generally NOT do this, or at least save it until the end. The reason is that once you have the map, you have no idea where you've explored or not, so it's easy to miss rooms. On the other hand, if you just explore around, it'll be easy to see where you haven't been because that'll be a grayed coordinator or a door with nothing revealed on the other side, etc. I do get maps once in a while, but I save this until the end after I've explored the area fully, just to be sure that I haven't missed anything. Even at that, I have yet to miss something... the areas are fairly obvious in that there aren't typically secret doors or what not. If you want to be really stingy, just get the map, compare it with what you've seen, and reload so you save on spikes. C. Branching and Decisions There are several instances where you make important alliance decisions that affect how you resolve various sidequests. For example, starting early on in Taris, you meet two gangs and can eventually ally yourself with one or the other (more specifically, you choose whether to double-cross the first that you met). If you have time, you may want to save at these points so you can explore both options. First, this gives you more playing time since the paths are sometimes very different and you wouldn't see both unless you did this. Second, the rewards and dark/light shifts can be significantly different. The game does not fundamentally branch until near the end where one decision will affect whether you decide on the dark or light side ending. But some situations can be solved in dramatically different ways that will affect outcome on the particular planet, such as the incident I mentioned on Taris. These are all restricted to the planets as far as I know (e.g. something you do on Tatooine will not affect the storyline in Korriban), and usually the major branching happens in the end (for the obvious practical reason that the game programmers have less work to do the later the branch occurs). Most other dialog and decision making in the game aren't critical. KOTOR isn't the type of game where you forget to be nice to a CCC early in the game and then regret it several planets later when his family comes to hunt you down. Most of the cause-effect is fairly localized in the game; e.g. if you're mean to a lady in the Taris cantina, then her cronies come to beat you up as soon as you leave the cantina a few minutes later. This way you don't have to be paranoid about long-term consequences of decisions. D. Dialog Just as well, many of your dialog decisions have no real consequence other than to give back a different dialog response. If you talk to a CCC and choose the mean dialog option, he may add in a "Don't be rude" and then proceed to say his line anyway. Some dialog options give you richer responses particulary if they're more sympathetic; e.g. if someone tells you they had a family tragedy and you say "What do you mean by family tragedy?" instead of "Go on", then they may offer more detail. None of that will be particularly critical, though; it is primarily incidental or fun factoids at best. Some dialog options will give you light side or dark side shifts even if they don't directly affect the consequence of the dialog, so be aware of those. If ever in doubt, just save before important dialog and try different branches, because some of the choice differences may seem fairly trivial. Dialog options with your own NPCs generally falls into the category of non-critical. The way you respond to your NPCs during these conversations usually has little effect; e.g. I don't think you can irritate one of your NPCs enough that he'll stop talking to you forever, although he may cut off the particular conversation. For example, insult Juhani and she'll end prematurely with much hostility, but this doesn't affect her attitude towards you in later conversations nor does it delay when she's next ready to talk to you. That said, there's really no reason to be antagonistic towards your NPCs even if you're dark side. You don't get dark side points from this, and -- outside of dialog during encounters -- it won't make them behave significantly different. The only effect I've seen is that you may miss out on some interesting background or personal information. But no big deal; if you don't want to hear that, then you can skip it by being rude or telling them you're not interested. Several of your NPCs have small side quests, I'm assuming you'll read other walkthroughs to get a sense of those. One thing to note is that generally these side quests involve random encounters when a NPC is in your party, so you may want to occasionally switch around your NPCs to trigger those. None are particularly critical and none give tremendous rewards, they're more just interesting from a storyline perspective. Many of those sidequests happen or are triggered in safe areas, i.e. the starports and non-hostile parts of town. I make a habit of selecting random NPCs whenever I'm in a starport, then switching to my favorite NPCs when I get closer to combat situations. E. Dark side end game tips The dark side route is far more difficult to complete than the light side. This is because you lose both Juhanee and Jolee before the Star Forge level. You do regain Bastila, meaning that at least you'll have another Jedi with you, but her feats, powers, and skill are all reset to some canned settings that are very weak. And since this is near end game, you won't have an opportunity to make many further choices with her; you get to add one force power and one skills but that's it. Her powers include heal, force suppression, choke, insanity, drain life, and shock. Note that some of these are only level 1 abilities; you'd really e.g. like her to have level 2 shock if not level 3. For my one force power, I chose level 2 drain life. At least she has heal, and since she's not fully dark alignment, she can use it without a huge penalty (although it'll still be very expensive). In terms of feats, she only gets level 1 critical strike, she doesn't have flurry at all. She doesn't get to improve on her feats so you can't e.g. stick her with a critical strike lightsaber in hopes that she'll later master it. Her powers allocation makes her fit to be an armor-wearing Jedi, but alas she doesn't have any feats in armor either. Overall, she sucks pretty badly. To make matters worse, you then need to pick a non-Jedi as your third character. And you can't use Misson of Zaalbar. This leaves you with either T3-M4, HK-47, or Canderous. Picking T3 is masochistic since he is primarily a skills character whereas there really is nothing that requires skill use in Star Forge. HK-47 is suitable if you've upgraded him all the way, but if you took my advice then you didn't choose scout. Also, HK-47 is a ranged support character, but this is less useful in Star Forge because most of your opponents will be wielding lightsabers or chucking grenades at you. The flip side is that HK-47 is not affected by many of the dark side powers that will be used against you, including choke and drain life. This leaves you with Canderous. Canderous is a great character if you level him correctly. What I mean is that he comes equipped to be a heavy ranged support character, but his attributes don't make him ideal for this role since he starts out with high strength and low dexterity. Since you get him early on, you can spend points increasing his dexterity as he levels; or, more appropriately, you can just stick him with a good melee weapon and let him go at it. Bacca's Ceremonial Blade or Yusani's Blade are good choices. Early on, I see no problem with having Canderous continue to use his blaster particularly since he starts out with specialization in heavy weapons, but be upgrading melee feats off to the side and eventually switch him over. This means upgrading melee weapons proficiency, flurry, and either dueling or two weapon fighting. Canderou gets a lot of feats since he's a soldier, so you won't have to worry too much about having him go down a completely different route than how he started. With all of this, he evolves into a very effective melee fighter. If you neglected to build him up in this way, don't worry too much; he still does fine even without melee feats. You can alternatively have him use his ranged weapon, but this has the same drawbacks as with HK-47, namely that he'll do a lot worse damage, get grenaded to death since he'll be stationary, and have many of his shots deflected. From here, getting through Star Forge is fairly straightforward. One piece of advice is to save often, particularly in the rare lulls between battle. You'll fight hoardes of enemies, which is great because it nets you a lot of experience, but they hardly give you a break. And during breaks, it seems that once you take a few steps, you're back to fighting another endless wave of enemies again. Between fights, heal up completely, and take a coffee break so that your mana can regenerate, then save. It's easy to die unexpectedly if your characters e.g. get hit close range by a few grenades at once or fail a saving throw against something like choke. Also make sure that your main character has force resistance on at all times if you invested in this, trust me it'll save you a lot of headache against the dark Jedi. In the end boss battle, use area effect abilities like level 2 drain life to get rid of the captive Jedi since you'll be able to hit more than one at once. ************** 7. CONCLUSIONS ************** The nice part about KOTOR is that at least on normal difficulty, you can solve the game without much trouble no matter how "poor" your choices for character building etc. are. However, if you're one of those people who will play through a 40-hour RPG and then play through it again out of regret that your character wasn't powerful enough the first time through, then I hope that this guide has provided some sanity in helping you make correct decisions. Since I haven't played through the game many times, this just comes from my own experience. I welcome corrections and comments. Remember though that this information is copyrighted. If you attempt to use this somewhere else, I will find out and hunt you down with legal action. Otherwise, please enjoy everything here and I hope that this is as helpful as the time it took me to write it. ************** 8. EMAILING ME ************** You can email me at email@example.com for corrections. Don't expect a quick response; this FAQ is primarily provided as-is and I am not intending to make constant updates. Do NOT email me to ask for strat help on things not covered by this guide. As I mentioned repeatedly, this guide is intended to be used as a supplement, not replacement, to other more general walkthroughs. If you have general walkthrough questions such as about how to get past levels or what not, then you should email one of the other contributors because I will typically not respond to those. If you ask me questions about things that are not addressed by this guide, i.e. any issue not related to character development, then I will not respond to your email at all. If you have a comment, suggestion, or question about something more esoteric, then I will gladly add that to my guide.