Now more than ever, there’s a whole lot of Star Wars out there for every kind of fan. Whether you’re into the books, TV, comics, or just the medium where everything began — movies. That doesn’t mean it all has to remain separated, though. Stories, history, and sometimes even lessons can carry over from one movie, book, or what have you to the next. In some cases, there are even lessons to be learned from Star Wars movies that apply right back into Star Wars games. And so here we’ve compiled a list of just some of the lessons that will make Star Wars moviegoers into better Star Wars gamers.
1. Assemble the Right Team
From The Force Awakens to Rogue One, Star Wars is almost always about teamwork. In fact, this whole Star Wars thing started (at least in real-world time) with Leia, Luke, Han, and Chewie in A New Hope coming together all those decades ago. Their message of cooperation is still applicable today, even in games. Games like Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, for instance, which tasks players with assembling squads from…a galaxy of heroes. Whether they be bruisers, combat support, or healers, it’s best to have a healthy mix of allies for every situation.
2. Use Cover Sensibly
This tip is a lot less inspirational than “teamwork prevails,” but just as pragmatic. In the dense clouds of blaster fire common to games like Star Wars Battlefront, you’re going to want people you can trust by your side. You also want to not get shot. Anyone who’s ever fought a stormtrooper will tell you that the best way to do this is by keeping your head down, and moving only when it’s safe. Of course, if you’re one with the Force, and the Force is with you like Rogue One’s Chirrut Îmwe, there are special circumstances. Note, however, that things didn’t go so well for those less Force adept rebels near Chirrut in the movie.
3. There’s Always a Weakness
A New Hope taught us that even something as all-powerful and seemingly impenetrable as the Death Star has its weaknesses. Rogue One taught us that sometimes those weak links are people — perhaps due to a guilty conscience, or just having a conscience in the first place. Whatever the case, this axiom is just as true in games. Whether you’re looking for a lightly defended flank in Battlefront, or need to make a fragile enemy healer your priority in Galaxy of Heroes, survey your opponent to find their weakness. Once you’ve found it, that’s when you strike.
4. Don’t Underestimate Your Enemy
Say what you will about Ewoks, but they were effective. The little critters took on something like a platoon of hardened, better-equipped enemies with sticks, rocks, and ropes. There are a lot of lessons to take away from Return of the Jedi’s final battle — such as not to attack an enemy on their home turf — but one that seems especially poignant for the battle-ready teddies is not to underestimate your enemies. Especially in role-playing games like The Old Republic, where an opponent’s skill is hidden behind invisible numbers selected by the developers. Just because something looks innocuous, doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. Even in games.
5. The Dark Side Has its Perks
Listen. We’re not here to advocate turning towards the dark side (down that path lays fear, anger, hate, etc.). Ever since Return of the Jedi, though, we’ve all had to come to terms with the fact that the dark side is more than just red lightsabers and bad moods. It comes with further perks like, say, being able to channel actual lightning from one’s fingertips. In games like The Old Republic, where you have the option to choose between the light and the dark, make sure you consider that fact before brushing evil aside.
6. Sometimes You Need to Take the Initiative
It’s easy to imagine what would have happened if Jyn Erso and the other members of Rogue One hadn’t obtained the Death Star plans. Luke Skywalker would never have destroyed the battle station. Galaxy-wide destruction and oppression would have followed. The bad guys would have won.
Yet Jyn could have never obtained those plans if she’d succumbed to rebel infighting and indecision. Sometimes you have to take the initiative, and do what’s necessary, even if it’s unpopular. In games like Star Wars Battlefront that can mean being the first person to sprint towards an objective. In The Old Republic, it might be using an unorthodox skill at just the right time. Whatever the case, sometimes it’s up to you to take that first step.
7. Don’t Give in to Anger
After having his hand cut off, learning his mentor lied to him, and discovering the man he spent the better part of two movies fighting was his father, you’d think Luke Skywalker would hold a grudge after The Empire Strikes Back. Not so. He comes back wiser, calmer, and smarter in Return of the Jedi (and looking pretty sharp in all-black). After which he turns all of his energy towards bringing his father back into the light.
In Battlefront, The Old Republic, or any other multiplayer game for that matter, don’t let trash talk get you down. Instead, find your inner calm and turn it right back around at them by playing better than ever.
8. You’re No Good to Anyone Dead
Granted, Boba Fett didn’t have Han Solo’s best interests at heart in The Empire Strikes Back. Still, we can easily stretch his famous proclamation that Solo was no good to him dead for more beneficent reasons. Taking risks is a part of playing almost any game, but that doesn’t mean you need to take unnecessary risks. That’s especially true in classic Star Wars games. From X-Wing and TIE Fighter to Super Star Wars, death is often a much harsher penalty than games with modern auto-saves and checkpoints.
9. Try to See the Best in People
Here’s another tip for role-playing games, in which you’re often asked to trust people who…don’t seem that trustworthy. Sometimes that’s dark side users in The Old Republic and its precursors, Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel. Sometimes it’s scoundrels, mercenaries, and even small-time criminals. In story-driven games, potential allies are bound to have things in their past you might not agree with.
That doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a second chance, though. One such example from the movies is FN-2187, a.k.a. Finn from The Force Awakens. Even after spending most of his life with the First Order, Finn becomes a force for good because one Poe Dameron is willing to trust and believe him. In some Star Wars games, you’ll need to be just as trusting in order to progress.
10. Equipment Matters
Where would Star Wars be without the Millenium Falcon? Besides being the most iconic starship in the franchise, it’s carried our heroes through some of the biggest battles in the galaxy. It was used to rescue Luke in Empire. Lando Calrissian used it to destroy the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi. And more recently, Rey and Finn would never have made it off Jakku without her.
In Star Wars games, reliable equipment is equally important. That means equipping your avatar with all the best gear and weapons in The Old Republic. In Galaxy of Heroes, filling your party’s equipment slots is even necessary to make them progress. And in Star Wars Battlefront, you might literally learn to fly the Falcon itself against a haze of incoming TIE fighters. Sure, it’s important to trust your teammates and to keep a cool head. Sometimes, though, you just want a good blaster at your side, kid.
Steven Strom is a freelance video game journalist, critic, and video producer lost in the cold heart of North Dakota. You can find his work at Zam, Ars Technica, IGN, and more. Or just follow @StevenStrom for the highlights.