[SWTOR] Let’s talk about class, and role, and faction, and morality, and story

Latest news on SWTOR pre-orders is that they are through the roof and analysts are now predicting 3 million box sales in the first year with 2 million steady subscribers and I’d like some of whatever they are smoking. 2 million subs, huh?

Still, it’s great news for Bioware, and I cannot be the only person eyeing the various classes and thinking about what I might want to play. These are the types of factors you may be weighing up:

  • What faction?
  • What race?
  • What role (ie. heal/ tank/ ranged dps/ melee)?
  • What look do I prefer? (robes vs plate)
  • What theme and feel? Other roleplaying considerations? (Do I like the idea of being a sith warrior, a smuggler, etc.)
  • What will fit in best with my friends?

In addition to this, because of the heavy Bioware emphasis on story, companions and voice acting, there are other variables too.

  • Which companion do I like the look of? (Some companions seem to be class specific.)
  • Which romance option do I like, if any? (Jedi get darkside points for romance, you have been warned.)
  • Which voice actor do I prefer?
  • What type of storyline do I want? Jedi are likely to be heavier on moral choices, the imperial agent looks to be like James Bond, etc.

This information is not all available yet but expect to read more about the game as we get into September and people try out the beta weekends. Meanwhile, MMO Gamer Chick has a post showing the intro videos to all the different classes which may help a bit with getting the look/ feel and some of the voice acting out there.

The interesting thing for me with the differing class storylines is that you may get a completely different genre of RPG depending on which class you choose. The sneaky agent is going to tell stories in a very different style to the monastic, high fantasy jedi knight. In that sense, this game is a very true descendent of DAO where the starting preludes genuinely felt like different styles of story.

It also becomes increasingly clear that Bioware would like to make the dark side/ light side choices very important in play. For example, some of the crafted and dropped gear will only be wearable by light side/ dark side characters. I think this will be controversial but I hope that they stick with it, because it’s a really interesting way to drive the storytelling into the gear acquisition game. My only concern is that if you are mad enough to play a light side sith inquisitor, do you really want everyone else to be able to see it?

To do more research, I went to the official forums to see what types of conversation players who had already picked their class were having. At least it will show what the player expectation is. Here’s a roundup of each.

Jedi Knight: These guys are clearly interested in discussing moral dilemmas. My favourite thread on the front page is called “Is it wrong to use the force to make money?” which practically inspires character concepts all on it’s own. The goblin jedi!

Jedi Consular: Consulars seem more interested in social issues, such as whether they like their companion and how they feel about romance leading to the dark side. I’m not saying these are more likely to be female players but …

Smuggler: Smugglers have two full threads about what to name their ships (the first one capped at 1000 posts), so clearly of great interest. I still want to name a ship “Justifiable Homicide” since that had too many letters for STO.

Trooper: Some discussion about whether dps specced Troopers will get groups, and a long thread asking for a Jedi companion ‘to boss around.’ I’m sensing control issues, you can tell this is a tank class.

Sith Warrior: Some threads discussing the various advanced trees, and one asking if anyone is nuts enough to consider playing a light side sith warrior. I found a thread a few pages back asking if it was possible to play a non-outrageously evil looking sith warrior also (not in this genre, I suspect.)

Sith Inquisitor: Like their counterparts, sith inquisitors spawn a few romance threads. There’s a large poll on whether sith purebloods should be able to be inquisitors (controversial because Bioware have said that this would not fit with the sith inquisitor plotline because they start as force sensitive slaves, which would not be appropriate for that race.)

They also have my favourite thread so far, which is advice from a SI to their apprentice:

Alright Darth Noobster. Starting today you get to be my apprentice. Congratulations. But, before you get too excited and start planning any shenanigans, like trying to push me over a cliff, I think we should have an open and honest discussion – put all the Pazaak cards on the table as they say in Nar Shaddaa.

So, it’s like this. One of these days, you’re going to get it into your head to kill me and take over, probably while I’m in the bathroom with my robes around my ankles.

Imperial Agent: There are some complaints at not seeing enough footage of the IA in action, and some discussion of whether people like the idea of playing a Chiss Agent (I’d think the name Mystique will be gone fairly quickly given that they are blue skinned and red eyed.) I see a few threads about PvP also.

Bounty Hunter: Wide ranging discussions on specs, as well as more RP type issues like names and inspirations. There’s an active thread discussing player bounties (and the lack of same) in game.

Still not sure yet? Me either. I can’t help feeling that I’d like to know more about the storylines before I decide. For example, I really like characters who start out fairly seedy rather than heroic from the get-go, which is one of the things I liked about my uncaste dwarf in DAO and Hawke in DA2. It looks as though the smuggler and sith inquisitor (!) both come from that side of the tracks, so that’s another thing for me to bear in mind.

Do you think story considerations will come into your decision also?