Following on from my earlier discussion of the Galactic Republic classes available to play in Star Wars The Old Republic, I thought I would take the time to look at the classes on the Sith Empire side.
I don't quite have the same issue with deciding what class to play as I do with the Republic classes as I won't be playing Sith Empire at launch, and will only do so when I get round to making an alt. Again this will be a discussion on the classes roles, stories and feel rather than their individual abilities (ability lists can be found on plenty of other sites such as Darth Hater).
So without further ado let's take a trip to the wild side.
Sith Warrior class video
Sith Warrior progression video
This archetypal sith class is based on the character of Darth Vader from the movies - a single-minded warrior who will use any means necessary. The story for this class has been described by the developers as "almost like a Shakespearean drama", so I would expect plenty of the angst-ridden soul searching found in the Anakin/Vader storyline from the movies (except with a better script and acting!).
The sith warrior can fulfil the roles of melee tank and dps depending on the Advanced Class choice and how the character is specced.
If I decide to play a melee tank at any point I can see myself choosing the sith warrior over the jedi knight as I think the story may be more interesting. In addition to that some of the high level armour we have seen for the warrior looks incredible, plus red lightsabers are just cooler all round!
Sith Inquisitor class video
Based on the character of Senator Palpatine from the movies the sith inquisitor apparently has the most political of all the stories. This is a character who manipulates events from the shadows, the power behind the throne. One developer was quoted as saying "the inquisitor does start in the darkest place of all our classes, but the path to redemption is always there. On their best behavior, inquisitors are what Palpatine appeared to be: powerful, charismatic, and willing to make the tough decisions to defend their people". That sounds like a really interesting scenario to me, so I'll probably try an inquisitor at some point just to experience the story.
The sith inquisitor can fulfil the roles of healer, tank and dps depending on how they are specced.
Imperial Agent class video
The imperial agent has been described as a "James Bond" type character, except, like, y'know, evil. A top member of the Empire's secret service, the agent's story begins with them having to go on an undercover mission. They are reported to be experts at infiltration, seduction and assassination. Apparently the character (who, in common with most Star Wars villains, speaks with a British accent) effects a completely different accent when undercover - a nice touch.
The agent isn't based on any particular character from the movies, but is apparently inspired by James Bond and by the Special Circumstances division of the Culture in Iain M Banks' brilliant novels. I'm a huge Banks fan and love the Culture novels, so this really appeals to me.
The roles of ranged dps and healer can be fulfilled by the agent. Like the smuggler the agent uses the new cover mechanic in combat, but unlike the smuggler can specialise in the use of sniper rifles, which again I find appealing. They also use a lot of Bond-type gadgets. This is the class I am currently most interested in playing on the Sith Empire side right now. My main concern is that it will be play too much like to my current main choice of smuggler.
Bounty Hunter class video
Bounty Hunter progression video
Based on the iconic character of Boba Fett from the movies there is no doubt that the Bounty Hunter is one of the most exciting classes to watch in combat based on the videos we have seen. It looks like a really visceral class to play, shooting wrist rockets, flying up over the battlefield with it's jetpack to rain down fiery death, and firing steel lassos out to entrap opponents. And I haven't even mentioned the writs mounted flame thrower yet!
The bounty hunter story begins with the character having no true allegiance (in fact the developers have stated that the bounty hunter is the only class that can accept missions from both the Republic and the Empire). Instead the story begins with the character trying to win access to the Great Hunt, a competition organised by the Hutts. Apparently some kind of betrayal occurs and the bounty hunters choice is between a successful career or full-on vengeance. Sounds interesting.
The bounty hunter can fulfil the role of tank, dps and healer depending on Advanced Class choice and spec.
The Bounty Hunter does appeal to me on a purely visceral level, but I fear that much like the Jedi Knight on the Republic side, it will be a massively popular class choice because of this and because Boba Fett is so popular. Out of all the Empire classes this is the one I will probably play last.
So, that's my summary of all the classes in SWTOR complete. I'm still not perfectly clear on which I'll play, and there is still more information that will be released before launch that may change my mind.
I like the fact that different classes will have different types of story. For example, the smuggler feels very different to the sith warrior not just because of the roles they can fulfil, but because their stories are so very different. One is an "action comedy", the other a "Shakespearean drama". Hopefully this will give the game plenty of replay value.
A quick word on the story aspect of SWTOR. I've been going on about the story in these posts so much because it is so integral to the game. Every one of the classes has a unique main storyline that will take it from level 1 to level 50 and will apparently be of a similar depth and quality, and offer the same kind of choices as the main story in Mass Effect. Each class story will have three chapters, and apparently just the first chapter of each class story is longer than the whole of the original Knights of the Old Republic game. When you consider you also have the usual MMO content on top of that (dungeons, raids, exploration, world quests, crafting, etc) then there is an incredible amount of content to get through. That's why I'm considering the story type rather than just the class role when choosing which class to play.
Let's hope Bioware can meet the incredible potential the system has!
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