SWTOR Has 24 Classes, But Sometimes There Are Only 4…

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Many classes you have, I see

With the early release of Star Wars: The Old Republic under a week away, we take a look at how the good folks at BioWare have designed their class system and attempt to clear up any confusion. Failing that, we will just confuse you a little more!

Before we can delve into the mechanics of Star Wars: The Old Republic’s classes we have to address the question – just how many classes exist in BioWare’s upcoming massively mutliplayer online game?

From a starting point, which is of course when you first choose your character, there are a total of 8 classes. This figure later doubles to 16, but this is how things stand at level one – the Republic roster contains the Trooper, Smuggler, Jedi Knight and Jedi Consular. Whilst the Empire have the Bounty Hunter, Imperial Agent, Sith Warrior and Sith Inquisitor.

At this stage we have eight, keep that figure in mind for now.

Each single class has their own unique main story which in-turn can affect the way a player approaches their beloved virtual character. The uniqueness mostly, but not completely, ends at story, with classes from opposing factions sharing abilities and talents.

Balancing a MMO is difficult at the best of times, throw different classes and abilities for each faction into the equation and you are turning a hard job into a very hard one. So whilst the Imperial Agent looks very different to the Smuggler, in actual fact they have the exact same combat abilities and mechanics. BioWare has done a nice job of dressing things up though, mirror classes tend to look different, and even have differing ability names and animations. For example, the Sith Inquisitor will channel purple lightning, whilst the Jedi Consular will channel the force to hurl a stream of rocks at an opponent. This is obviously done for the benefit of story, as it would look pretty stupid if your light side Consular was channeling the dark side of the force, but the fact remains that both abilities are identical and using them has the same effect.

So to answer the original question, at level one there are a total eight classes in look, name and story, but in actual mechanical terms there are only four.

We started with eight, but soon realised that we were staring at a fricking mirror, and what looked like eight was actually four. So, the current class count is four, kind of.

Wait, hold on a second. I just hit level ten and I can choose my advanced class. Each origin class has to choose one of two advanced classes, these new classes represent a fork in the road and often lead to very different destinations. A Sith Inquisitor can take the melee combat route and become an Assassin, or choose the Sorcerer for some ranged action. The advanced classes also employ the sneaky name change mirror. For example, the Republic version of the Sith Sorcerer is the Jedi Consular, and whilst talent trees and abilities look different, they are essentially the same.

From a mechanical point of view, the introduction of the advanced classes boosts things back to eight. You could argue that there are 24 classes in look/name now, the origin class plus the two advanced options multiplied by the original character choice gets you this figure, but because the origin classes are absorbed by the chosen advanced class we will call it 16, for now at least.

This is where we are at then! Before level ten there are eight unique main story paths, eight classes in look/name and four unique classes, from a mechanical point of view. After level ten there are still only eight unique main story paths, 16 classes in look/name and eight unique classes, again, from a mechanical point of view.

So why all the confusion? Why did we not just start with the advanced classes from level one like other games in the genre? You don’t see a Wizard class in World of Warcraft that later transforms into a Warlock or Mage. The answer is very simple, and highlighted above. If we look at the figures from before and after level ten, the only figure that does not change is the one effecting story. Call it what you like, the fact is that after level ten the class count is doubled to offer a wide range of playstyles whilst keeping the story content at a manageable level.

This is the first of our upcoming articles regarding classes in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Look out for another article tomorrow, and much more from Monday next week.

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