I mentioned in my last post that Bioware (via Greg Zoeller) posted an update on their advanced class design for SWTOR last week.
Talking about classes and class design in SWTOR is tricky for two reasons:
- It hasn’t been released yet and if it is in beta, it’s a very closed beta and no one is breaking the NDA. So design is in flux plus we don’t know how they really play.
- The big selling point of the SWTOR classes is that they will have extensive class-based stories/ questlines (in the Bioware story-driven game style). So if you love the idea of playing a smuggler, it’s likely because you have a thing for Han Solo rather than because you want to play an uber healer.
The easiest way to look at the advanced class mechanics is to compare them with WoW. I don’t know how much of this design was in place before Cataclysm but they’re now looking more and more similar.
There are four base classes for each faction. Once you get to level 10, you can select from a choice of 2 advanced classes which are specific to that base class. You will then have access to three talent trees, two of which are specific to that advanced class and one which comes from the base class (ie. both advanced classes share it).
For comparison, in WoW you also get access to three talent trees when you hit level 10. It’s less complex than this sounds, but then again WoW has more ‘base’ classes.
If you check out the link above, you’ll see that they’ve also listed roughly which roles accrue to each advanced class.
Imperial Agent Advanced Classes
Sniper (Roles: Mid – Long Range Damage Dealing)
Operative (Roles: Close – Mid Range Damage Dealing, Healing)
So the Agent has two advanced classes: Sniper and Operative. The Sniper is a pure damage dealer with all their talent trees arranged around damage (possibly one for mid range and one for long range), the Operative has one damage dealing tree and one healing tree.
The current plan is that there will be two ultra hybrid classes, both of which are ranged. Trooper/ Bounty Hunter and Jedi Consular/ Sith Inquisitor will both have options to heal, tank, and dps from range.
My experience with WoW leaves warning bells ringing in my head here. They now have a lot of tank/heal trees to balance with each other (eg. Will a smuggler offer better dps than a consular because they have an advanced class with pure dps trees? Who is the best healer? etc.), and role options on some classes are more limited. I don’t especially want another rerun of a game where I pick a warrior/ burglar and the paladin/ loremaster outperforms me in every respect.
And that’s before we include PvP into the mix.
My other concern is whether they really have a vision for class design in SWTOR. It was never going to be a new take on the trinity (healers/ tanks/ dps) but I hope they have enough time to polish this up and make it shine, because if the actual gameplay is clunky and unbalanced, it may not matter how great the storytelling turns out to be.