Advanced Classes FTW

October 1, 2010

Star Wars: The Old Republic developer dispatches and blogs always make for interesting updates, and today’s dev blog “Designing the Advanced Classes System” is no exception, especially since so much confusion surrounds the subject.

That being said, I’m still left with many questions, particularly revolving around how players will be investing into their skill-sets, though I’m going to assume a type of “point” system as seen in many other MMOs. As it is, what the level cap is has yet to be confirmed, so subsequently I can’t even begin to speculate how many points we would have accrued by that stage. Admittedly, all this is reminiscent of the talent trees in World of Warcraft, but before I’m accused of calling SWTOR a WoW clone, let me just say I’d expect that even if there are enough similarities to make things sound familiar, I doubt the end result will be remotely the same.

As it’s shaping up now, we should probably start considering the game as having 16 total classes instead of 8, since each one will split into two advanced classes at an early point in the game, which players will have to choose.  Accordingly, after going down one path, there’s no going back, ever. If I remember correctly, Aion utilized a similar class system.

What impressed me though, at least with the example of the Smuggler, was the depth of each advanced class’s projected direction. I think once we’ve chosen an AC, we’re going to get a decent number of skill-sets to tinker around with, allowing for many different types of play-styles. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not unhappy with the implementation of the MMO trinity, but even so, I would rest easier if I knew it didn’t mean we would be pigeonholed into rigid and static roles, i.e. having to go through every single fight expected to do only one thing.

The information they gave about the Smuggler went a long way in allaying some of my concerns, if for no other reason than to see the words “stealth healer” described in the article. I have no idea what such a role would entail, but it does suggest some interesting takes on classic roles and a degree of flexibility within each class. Not to mention I bet it will make for some interesting encounters.


  1. That chart implies that each class will have 2 specialist paths and a general path that draws some from both extremes. Regardless, I want to be a gunslinger now. The picture on the right looks simply bad ass, and Clint Eastwood from a spaghetti western is space is a class role that has much appeal.

    • Yes I know exactly what you mean! I’m a huge fan of Clint Eastwood westerns as well (and love him as an actor in general) So much that years ago I named my hunter’s pet in WoW Eastwood :p

  2. Addendum: Gunslinger is not an archetype that has any strong analogue from the movies as far as I am aware. A side of this game may be the “extended universe” of Star Wars expanding in terms of the stories and characters that make sense.

    • Yes, and as always I’m looking forward to the ways Bioware will add to the Star Wars EU. they’ve transformed the IP already with KOTOR, I can’t wait to see what they will contribute with SWTOR

  3. It seems like what BioWare are doing with the talent tree system is very similar to how Blizzard are reimagining their talent trees in WoW (hmm… I wonder which company came up with the ideas first?). I quite like the whole concept because it’s really just a way of putting an official title against a spec, something that WoW players have been doing unofficially for years anyway.

    • I haven’t really been following up on what WoW is doing and i only have a vague idea of the updates, but if they are overhauling their talent system, then great! After so many years it’s getting a little stale, and it was never really perfect. Not that any system can be absolutely perfect, I guess, but I’m still glad that both these companies are looking into doing something different.

  4. Smuggler – Gunslinger spec – Major Sharpshooter (increase range dmg & crit)/minor Luck (for the energy regen)/whatever points left in Dirty Fighting (I’m guessing there may be some nasty DoTs in here, or atks that give energy returns).

    I like building “one-shot” range classes. I used to love going into PvP and taking off half a person’s health in a single, gloriously destructive shot.

    It sets the mood quite nicely – like the red wine of ranged PvP.

    P.S. – I don’t know how anyone could fault you for using a WoW comparison. There are going to be just enough similarities that it would be absurd not to use them at some point.

    Having said that, a game can be similar without being the exact same thing. Goodness knows WoW isn’t above “sampling” from other games (*cough* Everquest *cough*). BioWare wouldn’t be very smart as a game company if they made it a mission to make sure they never did anything that could be considered similar to any other MMO.

    You take what works and you build around that base; that is good business.

    • I wholeheartedly agree. To be honest, it irks me whenever anyone claims that one game is a “clone” of another, because while many games I have played have been similar to each other in some ways, they differed in many more. I agree with taking what works, and then taking steps to improve. I think I’ve said this before, but I believe a genius doesn’t reinvent the wheel, they take the good stuff and make it better.

      But…as you know, some people get sooo sensitive whenever someone references WoW in discussions about their favorite games. I simply didn’t want to be misunderstood :p

      And there hasn’t been much info on pvp yet, but man, looking at these trees I’m already thinking of the possibilities…and I’m not even the pvp type!

  5. hmmm I wonder what jedi wizard gets to do. Oh sweet jesus I hope he gets a wizard hat. not to go back to that joke too often or anything.

    but seriously, what would you name its skill sets? Magic Missle and Mind Bullets.

    • heh heh well, lucky for us all, I’ve heard they may be going back to rework the wizard name. apparently, the French version has already seen a change to Jedi “scholar”. I can’t confirm that though, it’s just what I’ve heard but considering the amount of ridicule “wizard” has gotten I wouldn’t be surprised if they wanted to make the changes asap.

      • i honestly thought that was just wishful thinking, but if they made the change in french…

  6. As if picking a class wasn’t hard enough, the moment you delve into it, there’s the decision of the advanced class to go along with it 😦 .

    I’m in your boat right now though, Smuggler- Gunslinger is lookin MIIIGHTY sexy right now, given the appeal of cheap tactics, high end weapons sliced beyond maximum damage capacity, crits, giggles, and the Most Dangerous Wookiee alive on your team? AND a rogue *no WoW* twi’lek chick on your squad? Uggghhh, smugggllleerrrrr, want, now!

    • Yes, I was originally smitten with the scoundrel, given they can heal and do some interesting things…but the more information we get about the gunslinger, the better it looks! Ah decisions, decisions.

  7. I think people in a way are overlooking alot of the small tidbits they give us. Such as the partners and the role they’ll play for us throughout missions. Truly in my mind i think in the grand scheme of things you will really be able to play any way you want with your classes and be able to quest and maybe even dungeon crawl without once having to worry weather you have a tank or a healer because your pets will compensate for it.

    That in my mind is what makes a “shoot em up, blast everything” dpser like myself verrrry excited, but so many options from every class 😦 this game already feels like i’ll never be short of replayabillity.

  8. I need to see more too. I like the three tier advance system, but I wish they would break the mold and make a 4 tier

  9. Any expectations I had of the classes being done differently flew the coop when I saw a dev video and he explained his in game group out as ‘trooper is the tank, consular is the healer, and Jedi and smuggler are melée and ranged Dps.

    Good to see the holy trinity is alive and well – even in a galaxy far, far away 🙂

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