Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Your Guide to SWTOR: Choosing a Faction and Class


By: Trey Atwood

With free-to-play coming to The Old Republic on 11/15/2012, a lot of people are interested in playing, but don’t know where to start. This article is part two of a series on introducing new players to the galaxy of The Old Republic.
Choosing a Faction in The Old Republic

Our story in The Old Republic is set more than three thousand years and two Death Stars before the movies we all know, and the Republic and Empire are both around at the same time for uneasy peace. But this is neither the Empire nor Republic that we know from the saga. Sith Lords rule the Empire not from the shadows, but openly dominate their territory in ways that non-Force users could only dream of escaping. While the Republic fights its battles not with a clone army bought from an alien manufacturer, but with naturally-born soldiers of all races raised during wartime that volunteer to defend their homes from invaders that haven’t been seen for thousands of years. Just like in the real world, each faction has overt values that can be cast in both positive in negative light. In The Old Republic, we see many shades of gray as you go from planet to planet with the overall broad view of the factions remaining the same as they usually are with the Empire as the “bad guys” and the Republic as the “good guys.”

Choosing a Class by Story

In The Old Republic you get to choose from eight different classes (four for each faction) which will guide you from your starting planet to the rest of the Galaxy as you go on your incredible adventure. In this article you will find a brief, spoiler-free description and overview of each class’s Chapter 1 storyline. The Old Republic mimics the original trilogy’s three act style with “chapters” that break up the main plot into more manageable pieces. No matter which character you choose, whichever species, whichever gender, you are one of eight of the Galaxy’s most important people. Just like Luke, you start from small beginnings and grow into one of the most powerful forces there is. As you travel around the galaxy you gain followers that will fight by your side and help you achieve your goals. Regardless of faction you can choose to be good, evil, or neutral (but there’s not much point in neutrality). Your alignment will affect your choices and changing your alignment later can lead to interesting results in some cases. Keep in mind that each class has a character that is based off of someone from the Star Wars franchise and the parallels are plain to see: the ships will look similar to those used by their counterparts in the movie, Smugglers will get a Wookiee companion, Bounty Hunters use flamethrowers, Sith Inquisitors can pace like Darth Maul, Trooper armor looks very familiar if you look at clones, and more. Whatever path you take, it is meant to feel like there’s a movie going on about your character and you’re the star.


Jedi Knight

You are a newly knighted Jedi, the student of one of the Order’s greatest masters. The most iconic hero character of the franchise, the Jedi Knight story is written by Drew Karpyshyn (who wrote the original story for the Knights of The Old Republic game). You are tasked with protecting the Republic from a traitor who always seems to be a step ahead of you. As a Knight, you will go across the galaxy to stop threats to the Republic. Along the way you will be guided by familiar characters like an aged and experienced master as well as have the companionship of a lovable astromech, a young and brash apprentice, and a cunning rogue. The threats become larger as you progress and the galaxy will depend more and more on your actions. Eventually you will come face to face with the greatest evil in the universe and beat it back into the darkness.

Jedi Consular

You play a Jedi Consular, a promising student on the Jedi academy of Tython, and the hope of the Jedi Order. A savant of the Force, the Jedi Consular’s story places more emphasis on the wisdom of the Jedi. One of the disadvantages to playing the Consular story is best framed by the Consular character themself as you take an oath to “act with calm and clarity;” the story places so much importance on the tranquility and focus required to be a Jedi that it may even take some of the actual fun out of playing the character. Your character is a hero even amongst heroes and a prodigy of Jedi teachings; you are literally the only one capable of beating an ancient Sith threat. Your duties among the Jedi are extraordinary for your age and rank initially and you must overcome what even the Masters failed to. In a galaxy where the dark side clouds and distorts the actions of your enemies, the Consular must cut through the fog with the wisdom and knowledge needed to protect the Republic.


You play a Trooper, newly recruited into one of the most prestigious squads of Republic military history: Havoc Squad. You are tasked with fighting the Separatists on Ord Mantell and solidifying the Republic’s relationship with the locals. But no plan survives the battlefield and the Trooper must adapt to the unexpected on Ord Mantell to survive. After you leave the planet, you report to a Republic General to address new and old enemies of the Republic. Just like the clones of the prequel trilogy, it is your duty to face and eliminate the enemy no matter the cost.


You play a Smuggler, after a deal goes south you must work to get back what is yours and get even with who wronged you. You gain contacts in the both the shining towers of Coruscant as well as its seedy underbelly. Eventually you catch your enemy off guard and get to seize his opportunity, which will make your reputation known throughout both the Republic and Empire. Smugglers use a combination of cleverness and cheap tricks to get their work done and aren't afraid to get their hands dirty. You’ll go from planet to planet to make business deals, find supporters, and make a name for yourself with the celebrities of the criminal underworld.


Sith Warrior

You play a Sith Warrior and, just as Darth Vader did, the enforcer to you Sith Master. Preparing for war against the Republic as well as his rivals, your master will give you all the tools necessary to succeed, at least enough to achieve his ends. You will neutralize rivals and secure your position from threats ranging from the Republic to your own associates. One of the unique traits of the Sith Warrior story line is that if you choose to play on the light side, you have the option to hide your good will from those that would think you weak. As the Sith Warrior, you charge face first into your enemies with wrath and the Force as your only true allies.

Sith Inquisitor

From slave to Sith, your rise to power is most evident when you play the Inquisitor Having recently been released from slavery due to your high potential in the Force, you must attend the Sith Academy on Korriban. Your activity there attracts the attention of a Sith Lord looking for a new apprentice and you must vie against your rivals as well as a biased overseer bent on snuffing you out in favor of a Sith Pureblood acolyte. As you face the trials of Korriban and beyond you must keep your wits about you, be careful who you trust, and overcome all obstacles in your way of climbing the ranks of the Sith. Once you begin your trek across the galaxy, you must travel from planet to planet gaining allies and gaining power through unnatural methods using the Force. You must build and defend your power structure from all sides and build your legacy from the ground up and make yourself known in a galaxy where you once would have served namelessly.

Bounty Hunter

You play a Bounty Hunter, seeking the reputation and fortune that comes with winning an old and prestigious competition between hunters known as The Great Hunt. Unfortunately for you, this means that you’ll make enemies that will stop at nothing to make sure you don’t place. Those that are familiar with Mandalorians will enjoy the spoken Mando’a as well as the many encounters you get with the warrior culture, which can be increased even further depending on your choices. With heavy armor, a good ship, and a flamethrower you’ll travel the galaxy with a support team that helps you track down your targets, your competition, and allies that will aid you as you progress.

Imperial Agent

You are an Imperial Cipher Agent: an undercover countermeasure against anti-Imperial threats whether they come from inside the Empire or from the far reaches of the galaxy. Whatever the motives behind your agent, your story will take you through a maze of treachery and espionage that will intrigue players who want to exercise their brains over the complex politics within the Empire, graying the lines between friend and foe when you must balance the need to satisfy your loyalties (which may change) with your best interests. A special feature of the Imperial Agent is the multiple shifting accents and personalities your character can choose to fit your cover situation. The Imperial Agent story is undoubtedly the most flexible of all class storylines, having to actually cut endings from the storyline as there were originally too many options. In an Empire where Force users rule over the rest, the Agent uses cunning and deception not only to level the playing field, but to turn the tide in their favor.

Choosing your class is one of the biggest decisions you can make when you play The Old Republic. From the duty and compassion you may feel while playing a Jedi Knight to the treachery and intrigue you'll commit as a Sith Inquisitor, the class you choose will shape the path you take through the galaxy as your story takes place in The Old Republic.


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