Admittedly, certain classes do have more utilities that make them a better fit for the game, but I believe every class has its role in this particular arena. And more importantly, I believe that every class can have fun and feel useful. However, some players need a bit of training.
Two weeks ago, I covered the Sith Warrior, Jedi Knight, Imperial Agent, and Smuggler classes. In this week's coverage, I'm going to take a look at two SWTOR classes that seems to be built for this game and two others that have more surprises than you might think: the Sith Inquisitor, Jedi Consular, Republic Trooper, and Bounty Hunter.
The Sith Inquisitor and Jedi Consular classes seem to have an advantage in Huttball. Because this class is extremely well-rounded, it offers a wide variety of choices of how to help carry the ball down the field. On top of these offensive choices, these Force wielders can help prevent the ball from moving toward the opponent's goal line as well.
I've mentioned in the past that controlling the mid-court is very important and often overlooked. And although I believe that a Smuggler or Agent healer might be better-suited to help control the middle, the Sorcerer or Sage healer cannot be overlooked. The bigger issue with this type of healer is mobility. Nearly all the healing abilities for these two classes are channeled, making it impossible for a player to move while supporting his teammates. It's like painting a giant bull's eye on your forehead -- in fact, sometimes that's exactly what happens with target marking.
Unfortunately, healing in the middle is difficult because there aren't a lot of spots to stand where you can easily step out of an attacker's line-of-sight. Personally, I like the corners of the mid-court because you can easily dart out of the way and it's difficult for the enemy player to notice you. However, the range of those corners is far more than the 30-meter casting distance, and oftentimes, I have to step out into an exposed area in order to heal. The alternative for me is to hang out on the platform or scaffolding that surrounds the mid-court. It always surprises me how few players actually look up to find enemies. Many times, the safest place is on one of those ledges. It also makes for a great place for allies to pass to.
What if there is already someone covering the middle quite well? What if you're a DPS Sorc or Sage? Consider being a ball carrier or carrier support. Three abilities come to mind immediately when I think about ball-carrying. Force Speed allows you woosh toward the goal line extremely quickly for two seconds. And if you practice, it can also help you hurdle traps and jump up to one of the lower platforms from mid-court. Whirlwind (Force Lift for Consulars) has a bit of a cast time, but if timed right, it can prevent an enemy from unleashing too much DPS on the ball carrier. Then Overload (Force Wave) can knock annoying enemies into the pit or traps if timed and positioned well.
As I mentioned, our Sorcs and Sages work well as turret-like healers, but their single most useful ability in Huttball is Extrication (Rescue for the Sage). Opposing players who run into a player or group of players who know how to utilize this ability effectively are in for a load of hurt. Thankfully, for those who are still playing level 10-to-49 PvP, Sorcs and Sages do not receive this ability until level 42. I have seen players literally carry the ball carrier down the field with this ability. Within a range of 30 meters, a ball carrier can be pulled over traps, out of AoEs, and most importantly, up to higher levels on the map. If a Sorc or Sage is standing on edge of the goal side of the Pit, do not -- I repeat, do not -- let the ball carrier get within 30 meters of the edge. The Sorc or Sage is preparing to pull the ball carrier to the goal, and once he's been pulled up, there is little you can do about it.
Assassins and Shadows carry some of the same abilities of the Sorc and Sage, especially the ball-carrying and support abilities as well as the added excitement of Stealth. Most players handle this advanced class very well, but I would like to make one suggestion to all my Assassin and Shadow friends: Don't play this warzone like it's a deathmatch. Too many times I've seen ball carriers get overwhelmed at the goal line because of an opponent leaving the respawn area. Sometimes it's better to hold a player back than to outright defeat him.
I will admit that the Bounty Hunter and Trooper classes are the weakest for me. However, that's not because I don't think they are worthwhile classes. In fact, I've seen some Bounty Hunters and Troopers make phenomenal plays in Huttball -- on both sides of the advanced class.
I've had friends tease that a Powertech's ability rotation is Flame Sweep, Flame Sweep, then Flame Sweep (Explosive Surge for a Vanguard). But like the Assassin and Shadow, the Powertech and Vanguard can seriously dominate the Huttball field if played well. On more than one occasion, I have been the victim of a well-placed Grapple (Harpoon). I've found myself suddenly standing in the middle of fire, knowing there was nothing I could do about it.
Powertechs and Vanguards also dominate the mid-court as well. When one of these tanks snags the ball, it's just as dangerous as a Juggernaut -- maybe even more so -- given the crowd control abilities like Electro Dart (Cryo Grenade). High-DPS abilities like Death From Above (Mortar Volley) and Guard make this advanced class wonderful for a support role as well. In my recent Huttball matches, Powertechs and Vanguards grabbed the most medals.
I know many people will disagree with me, but I believe that Mercenaries and Commandos are the best healers for Huttball. I understand that the Combat Support Cylinder (Cell) doesn't output the most healing by itself, but it is by far the most mobile healing ability of any class. On top of that, it costs zero Heat (Ammo) to use, effectively giving it an infinite output.
We also know that this advanced class owns some of the best utilities for crowd control. The Concussion Missile (Concussive Round) stops enemies in their tracks, and the Jet Boost (Concussion Charge) is great for knocking an enemy player away from the ball-carrier (or maybe into a fire pit).
Hopefully, you see now that each class has its own important role in Huttball. If you've missed my other Huttball primers, be sure to check out part one of this guide as well as the general strategy guide I wrote a few weeks ago. And maybe, just maybe, Huttball will become a more enjoyable experience for all of us.
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!