Let me introduce to you Ed Park aka Taugrim. Ed joined the Gamebreaker team as an expert on Trion's RIFT, and he has been doing video guides for PvP for about seven years. Ed has a habit of proving people wrong in his videos, which is one of the main reasons I like turning to him for PvP advice. He told me about the melee cleric in RIFT and how many people said the playstyle wasn't viable in PvP. Consequently, he released videos showing (with incredible commentary, I might add) how he successfully plays that class in PvP.
But we didn't come here to talk about RIFT -- we came to talk about SWTOR. After the break, catch my interview with Taugrim in bite-sized chunks. Enjoy!
Massively: You have been in TOR beta for about how long now?
Taugrim: For about two and a half weeks.
Which classes have you tried out so far, which one do you like most, and what about it is so good?
I played a level 14 Sith Sorcerer at New York ComicCon back in October, so I have a pretty good understanding of the Sorcerer and Sage mechanics. Once I got into beta, I played a Trooper Commando to level 22 (mostly Combat Medic spec'd) and a Jedi Knight Sentinel to level 24. That's the dual-wielder, spec'd as combat. I've also played a Smuggler Gunslinger to 14 and a Jedi Knight Guardian to 14. Basically, I've played five out of the eight advanced class archetypes. I'd still like to try Vanguard, Scoundrel, and Shadow. I'm working on Shadow next because that's the one people have been asking about.
I like the DPS of the Shadow. It's burst DPS, and I'm really interested to see if it is viable enough to withstand the long haul. Some of the matches you run into can be kind of long.
What you mentioned is often a problem for some of the rogue-y archetype classes in PvP. They're really good in hit-and-run fighting, but they aren't really good for sustained combat, especially since some of their best abilities are their openers coming out of stealth. I don't know. I certainly have seen Shadows and Assassins handle themselves well in sustained combat, I think due to their burst and crowd-control abilities.
I've actually enjoyed all the advanced classes I've played, which is really weird. They are all unique and fun in their own ways. There is a richness to their animations and to the way that they play. The only thing that I've found challenging in PvP so far is the warrior archetype: the Sith Warrior and Jedi Knight. Those classes don't get their first stun or incapacitate until level 24. That's like 10 or more levels behind the other classes. In this game, the classes tend to be well-rounded. Even the healers can CC and put out some decent single-target DPS. What that means for the saber-wielding meleers is that they have to close the gap, and they have to deal with a lot of CC. But they can't CC their opponents in return, and a lot of their opponents can actually heal. Those things combine for a fairly rough experience, especially initially in PvP at lower levels. I do think that those saber-wielding, warrior-type classes blossom or bloom late; they do get a lot of trainable abilities in their 30s and 40s. I think at that point they will be a lot more fun to play. They just need to get their CC earlier like everybody else, then they would be in much better shape.
Let's change our focus here a little bit and talk about Warzones. First off, there are three of them with totally different gameplay. How do you find the gameplay style of each of them? What do you feel about them?
I've been pleasantly surprised and impressed. The game that I had been playing before TOR beta was RIFT. I felt that RIFT was highly innovative in the map design. The Codex warzone is basically like an Arathi Basin with way more line-of-sight and terrain to deal with. Coming from RIFT, I had really high expectations in terms of what modern MMO battlegrounds should look like. World of Warcraft had a good baseline set of battlegrounds, but the design of the maps themselves was not that complex. Now having moved over to SWTOR, I'm pleasantly surprised that all three warzones are a lot of fun to play. There are nuances that will allow coordinated teams to do better.
A good example is Alderaan. I didn't like the fact that the three nodes were an X-axis -- in a straight line. I thought it would make it too difficult to defend or cap the edge nodes. But it turns out that if you have an edge node, you have an edge speeder bike when you die that will take you straight there. And there is a tunnel that goes underneath the middle node, where you can easily grab a speed boost and traverse from one edge of the map to the other. I like it better than Battle for Gilneas or Arathi Basin from World of Warcraft because there's more to it than just guarding flags. It's how you get to those flags or how you guard them that's different.
To wrap this up, I will let you plug yourself a little bit here. If someone is looking for a basic guide -- it doesn't have to be about TOR -- to set up key binds, what have you got that will help out with that?
If you go my website, Taugrim.com, and you go to the top and look up guides -- it's a list of guides that I've done for the last four years -- click on the first guide. It's the guide to strafing, keybindings, and movement. The footage from that video guide is from RIFT, but I include some diagrams and some conceptual ways of setting up your keyboard. The biggest thing I see is that players don't customize their settings; they use what the game gives them. It's functional in PvE, but it's not functional in PvP. I think that video's a really good place to start.
Thank you, Ed, for taking the time to talk to me; I really enjoyed it. I wish I could have posted the whole conversation, as there are some really interesting notes about UI mods and specific Warzones that I will try to interweave into the next couple of issues of the Hyperspace Beacon. For now, I will leave you, the reader, with some incredible videos that Ed worked on through Gamebreaker: the Trooper Commando and the Jedi Knight Sentinel. Be sure to watch those -- I certainly learned a lot.
The Hyperspace Beacon by Larry Everett is your weekly guide to the vast galaxy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, currently in production by BioWare. If you have comments or suggestions for the column, send a transmission to firstname.lastname@example.org. Now strap yourself in, kid -- we gotta make the jump to hyperspace!