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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Updates on SWTOR

It has been a short while since my initial doubts about SWTOR, and while I am not convinced that it will be the game many are expecting it to be, certain developments have made me have a small glimmer of hope. It is indeed possible that this could be a replacement for SWG's original vision, and perhaps SWTOR could carry the banner of that community where Sony and SWG fell and failed. Four classses have been officially anounced and expounded upon, and I think that these classes give some insight into the future of the game. First I will mention the classes and then muse as to the possible implications.

For the Republic, there are two classes announced: the trooper and the smuggler. These are two classes that actually are greatly desired by the public, that is, smuggler, which was immensely popular in SWG and there was a constant push for more smuggler-like activities to be introduced, and trooper, which is a powerful, combat non-jedi class. It is clear that these are two very seperate play and combat styles, but both are actually a great improvement over my expectations for Bioware's focus. It is slightly worrisome that troopers are mentioned in a supporting role for jedi, which, frankly, is not the idea I have of troopers. (although, in one description they do mention that even sith lords should think twice before confronting a trooper...I can only hope).

Half of the Sith classes also have me interested, namely that of Bounty Hunters. While it is doubtful that player bounties will be implimented (due to BH being a sith-only class, and the difficulties in controlling its use for griefing), the Bounty Hunter class seems to fit in with the Sith. Ruthless, cold, and with all sorts of tricks up their sleeves. BH is a class I would definately play for random fun, if not as a main.

Sith Warriors, however, leave me grumbling a bit. They seem to be generic, evil, melee jedi. This disappoints me for two reasons, firstly because there are playable jedi in the game (I lost that battle before this game was even thought up, but am thankful its the fourth class released and not the first) but secondly because the first jedi release are so very generic and un-jedi like. Lightsaber combat is one very small aspect of being a jedi. I guess being a sith warrior is being envisioned as not using force powers except to augment melee in short bursts. This design of Sith Warrior also implies that there will be other jedi classes for both sides.

My extended thoughts about these developments are somewhat muddled. i have very mixed feelings about this upcoming game. First, it is apparent that there will be multiple jedi classes for each side, and that specialization in each will probably be limited (doubtful that a sith warrior will have the ability to super buff his force powers). This will hopefully be counter-balanced by a variety of non-jedi classes.

Secondly, by the information released about these classes, it is apparent that a crafting class will not be forthcoming. All the classes mentioned so far talk about combat tactics, and there simply are no combat tactics to crafting. The best we can hope for is a secondary crafting profession system, hopefully with the complexity of SWG (although it is dissapointing that your character has to be something else in order to be a crafter).

Thirdly, and finally, Bioware is well aware of its player base. This is a good thing, but there is some subtle manipulation going on. Bioware waited to release its first jedi class until after three other classes had been released. Bounty Hunter and Smuggler are two classes whose absence would have turned many players off to the game. Additionally, trooper is such a non-jedi class that its inclusion prior to the sith warrior's announcement gave hope to the community that the game was not going to be a force war. I can only hope that Bioware's intentions are good.

I eagerly await new information about SWTOR, and look forward to testing it (If I can get into an eventual beta)

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