The Old Republic Unveiled: Classes, Jedi, and Crafting


Gripping story, compelling visuals, and innovative game mechanics may be enough for a single-player gamer to make a purchasing decision. But MMO gamers have one other thing they need to understand before they can make that choice: who am I going to be? Star Wars: The Old Republic is no different. What race, what class, what role are we going to play in this brave new world? While obviously we're no where near knowing what SWTOR's classes will be, we do have a few thoughts from the BioWare Austin heads about class-related issues. Join us as we find out some information on Jedis vs. non-Jedis, the fun of being a rogue, and the all important issue of crafting in the game.
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"One of the things that will be different about our game, from other MMOs, is the amount of replayability in the game. When you play like a Jedi from 1 to max, and then decide to start as a Sith, you won't see any content that will be the same."

Are you prepared for a world where most players want to be force users? Are you going to do anything to compel players to choose other class types?

Rich Vogel, Co-GM BioWare Austin: Yes and yes. One thing we have been doing is surveying within the company, asking people what classes they want to play. What is the population going to look like? Is there going to be more of this kind of class than this other kind of class? It allows us to work to make certain decisions about classes. We also want to encourage players to try out classes that they don't immediately want to play.

We have elements in place to encourage that but we can't talk about them because, again, they're not finalized. It's pretty exciting. One of the things that will be different about our game, from other MMOs, is the amount of replayability in the game. When you play like a Jedi from 1 to max, and then decide to start as a Sith, you won't see any content that will be the same. It's almost like playing a completely different game. That's going to be a big appeal to try those other classes.

Plus, since you're adventuring with your buddies that are playing other classes, they'll be telling you some of the exciting stuff they're doing. You're going to get tidbits that might really get you interested in playing one of those other classes. It's probably going to make you excited to try things out.

We also have a very interesting system that I can't talk about that will encourage players to try different classes.

Gordon Walton, Co-GM BioWare Austin: One of the things we should cover, one of the unique challenges of a Star Wars game. "Hey, all the other classes are wimps, and all the Jedi rule." If you think about it, though, Jedi get popped by people who aren't Jedi all the time. Not everybody's fantasy is to be a Jedi, believe it or not. I think that's the experience of other Star Wars games we need to think about too, is not everyone wants to be a Jedi.

Rich: You have to understand too, that all the players are heroic. When you play as a non-Jedi class, you're playing a heroic version of that class. Yeah, most Bounty Hunters in the Star Wars universe could probably get beaten up by Luke Skywalker. That said, Jango Fett and Boba Fett can hold their own. Jango Fett actually killed a Jedi in Attack of the Clones. Yeah, he gets killed by the highest level Jedi (Mace Windu) but Boba essentially incapacitates a Jedi in Return of the Jedi. Luke has to be rescued by Han Solo.

"If you think about it, though, Jedi get popped by people who aren't Jedi all the time. Not everybody's fantasy is to be a Jedi, believe it or not."



There are others that can take out Jedi. Clone troopers in Episode 3, obviously, they had the element of surprise. Imagine if there were elite troopers ... they could probably go toe-to-toe with a Jedi.

James Olen, Studio Creative Director: It would be really bad for gameplay too if Jedis just one-shotted everything. We understand why people are concerned about that, but we understand the issue. Every class must be interesting, every class must be badass, and every class must be balanced.

Is there going to be any outlet you players who aren't interested in the grand drama and want to get into, say, the criminal aspect?

Daniel Erickson, Lead Writer BioWare Austin: Absolutely. We're not talking about any of the other classes, but there are a lot of fantasies in Star Wars, and they're not all Jedi and Sith. There are absolutely going to be classes that are based around the other archetypal fantasies that you might have in there, and as you might expect some of those are going to go into some very different places in the Star Wars universe and concentrate very strongly in there.

There's also – and I say this as the lead writer – one of the things I'm constantly aware of is that there are people for whom Baldur's Gate II is their favorite game, and they don't care about story at all. They play it: "11111111111," because they were tactical D&D guys. We hope we're going to convert some of them, and so far in our playtests that's been one of our favorite things. The guys that come in that are openly hostile to the idea of story in an MMO, who come out and give us perfect scores. I didn't even expect that that was possible.

"There are absolutely going to be classes that are based around the other archetypal fantasies that you might have ... some of those are going to go into some very different places in the Star Wars universe."

It's about the story not getting in your way. There are a couple of things that become really important. 1) How individual that story is to feel right for your class. Some of you have heard horror stories about the BioWare writer's training program. There are over three months after the multiple tests that you spend before you ever get to touch the game just training to be a BioWare writer. And if you're writing a class, which is the most sacred thing to be doing, you get stuff written all over your stuff constantly. You'll pitch a plot to me, and you're writing the Sith, and I write on the board: "And then Darth Vader ... helped a farmer ... save his tractor." And then I point at it and then we mock you. And then that doesn't go in our game.

This article was originally published on Massively.