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The Rakghoul Pandemic

By Michael Bitton on April 18, 2012 | Columns | Comments

The Rakghoul Pandemic

We’ve heard hints of some form of events coming to Star Wars: The Old Republic for a little while now, but it looks like BioWare’s put its money where its mouth is with the first event: Rakghoul Pandemic.

The Rakghoul Pandemic follows the story of the doomed voyage of the Stardream, a ship whose crew was stricken by the Rakghoul virus and ultimately crashed into the Dune Sea on Tatooine. Naturally, the infection has spread throughout Tatooine, especially amongst the Sand People, and players are tasked with uncovering the mystery.

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The Rakghoul virus, a theme that dates back all the way to the original Knights of the Old Republic game, has also been a significant component of the overarching story of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Heck, the last two Flashpoints introduced to the game centered on the Rakghoul plague. Hey, man, everyone loves zombies!

The Rakghoul Pandemic event is comprised of a number of different activities. Upon touching down on Tatooine, you can immediately get involved in a lengthy scavenger hunt by activating a view screen outside of the spaceport. The viewscreen will trigger a news report cutscene that sets the stage for the overall situation, and from there you can discover two other objects within your faction’s main outpost on Tatooine to unlock the scavenger hunt quest. Completing this quest will award you with a Crimson Rakling (noncombat) minipet to accompany you on your travels.

I completed the scavenger hunt today, using a walkthrough, and I can’t imagine having completed it otherwise. The problem with the scavenger hunt is there are no actual clues or hints in the game telling you where you may find the next piece. Manually scouring the entirety of Tatooine isn’t a fun idea to me, even as someone who loves exploring. I feel that figuring out a small puzzle to uncover the location for each piece would have been much more fun.

If you aren’t interested in partaking in the lengthy planet-wide scavenger hunt, you can also complete a number of daily objectives that will reward you with DNA samples, Rakghoul vaccine, and pieces of a new social gear set called the Containment Officer set.  DNA samples can be used to purchase an array of new level 50 Black-Green crystals, Rakghoul companion customization kits for your companions (who doesn’t want a zombie Mako?), or a Pale Rakling minipet. The customization kits are of particular note, as the lockbox purchased will produce a kit for one of eight companions (one for each of the game’s classes) at random, but these kits are bind-to-legacy, so you could conceivably make use of them on other characters you may have not rolled yet. Of course, there isn’t anything stopping you from receiving multiple kits for the same companion and they aren’t tradable to other players.

The daily quests are simple and straightforward, with the majority of the tasks and quests released so far (there seems to be a new one each day) taking place in the same two locations. If you plan on completing these on a daily basis for the remainder of the event you should be able to squeeze them in within a reasonable block of time.  The latest quest, Plaguebringer, involves infecting other players with the Rakghoul virus, which you’ll normally contract from fighting Rakghouls or, obviously, being infected by other players. Once infected, your character will get progressively sicker and mutate over the course of twenty minutes, ultimately dying in an explosion of nasty green gas. Anyone foolish enough to be within range of said explosion will also contract the virus. Blowing up in this manner doesn’t affect item durability, so there is no reason to worry about that.  Blowing yourself up is actually beneficial; you’ll earn five Rakghoul DNA samples each time.  Players have figured out this is easily the best way of farming samples for the rewards and are now gathering in mass infection groups on the fleet to essentially game the system. I’m honestly doing this right now while writing this piece. Deal with it! I want my zombie companion kits!

Finally, if you’re a fan of world bosses, the Rakghoul Pandemic event introduces two completely new level 50 world bosses to Tatooine and an infected version of the level 30 Trapjaw boss. What is really neat about one of these world bosses is that it is located in the much neglected FFA PvP area – Outlaw’s Den.  Due to the timers, I haven’t been able to check this out myself, but I’m hoping it encourages some crazy PvP in the Den.

Update 1.2: Legacy is turning out to be a solid update for Star Wars: The Old Republic. The Rakghoul Pandemic event, which came as a surprise with little to no fanfare, is turning out to be the cherry on top of a delectable treat. I’m eagerly anticipating seeing what other events BioWare puts on in the future. It’s great to see tons of players in all corners of Tatooine. Content that gets people moving about the game world in an organic manner is really key to bringing the game world to life.

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager.
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