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SWTOR: So you want to play a Trooper

Justin Olivetti
Justin Olivetti|December 12, 2011 12:00 PM
SWTOR - The Trooper
Whether you're attracted to Star Wars: The Old Republic's Trooper class because of the iconic Stormtrooper/Clone Wars trooper look, the ability to dish out massive damage without any pamby-namby "Force" crutches, or the chance to hop on board a sci-fi military saga, you're in for a treat. While it may lack the grace of the Jedi, the sophistication of the Imperial Agent, and the swagger of the Smuggler, the Trooper gets it done with heavy armor, heavy firepower, and heavy quips.

The Trooper a strong contender for just about any role in the game except for melee combat (and even there it has a few moves). It can heal, deal ranged damage, and tank alike, so I'm not surprised to hear that there are all-Trooper guilds forming up for the game. If you like having wide-open possibilities for your character's future roles, the Trooper is the way to go.

The Trooper begins his journey on the war-torn world of Ord Mantell (alongside the Smugglers), where he's been recently recruited by the elite Havoc squad to tackle the toughest missions out there. You may not feel elite at the beginning, with light armor, an aged blaster rifle, and only a small handful of skills backing you up, but trust me -- by the end of your journey on Ord Mantell, you'll be ready to rock with the big boys.

Beating up Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru

Since you don't specialize into your advanced class (AC) until level 10 and you don't get your first companion until around the same point, you don't have to worry about specifics starting out. As a bonus, most of the enemies you'll encounter are strictly ranged, meaning that you don't have to worry much about a melee fighter or stealther getting in your face. Just get into the groove of fighting multiple enemies at range while you tweak your skill rotation, and all will fall before you.

As your skills open up (and don't forget to hit the trainer every level, by the way!), I'd recommend that you front-load every attack with your two AoE skills: Explosive Round and Sticky Grenade. Being able to hit the whole group with damage and knock some down in the process is a great way to kick off a party. After that, you're free to mop up any way you see fit. Just keep in mind that some of your abilities use "ammo," a constantly generating resource, and if you spam, say, grenade too many times, you'll be unable to do so again unless you wait or use fast reload.

After a while you'll gain a few tougher attacks, like Full-Auto and Pulse Cannon, which you'll want to use on harder enemies (you can tell the difference by the ornamentation surrounding the enemy's portrait).

Because so much of your identity is wrapped up in your armor, it's extremely gratifying to slowly upgrade from a cloth jumper to bulkier gear. Just don't expect it to happen all of the sudden; even by level 10, you'll still be lacking that classic beefsteak look. Since you don't have many defensive abilities at the start, you're going to want to be on the prowl for the best armor to upgrade with (hovering over an icon will give you a tooltip telling you if it's a net gain or loss for your armor and stats), and having a pocket full of health stims is a good idea.

An army of one

While you'll have many opportunities for side quests during your stay on Ord Mantell, the main storyline will be the driving force of your progression and movement through the area. It's basically a baptism-by-fire scenario: As you're getting acclimated to Havoc squad, you're also tasked with tracking down a city-destroying bomb that separatists are threatening to use. It's up to you whether you want to be obedient or insolent to your commanders, whether you're open to accepting bribes or are a by-the-book rulekeeper, and whether you advance through missions using threats or good humor. There's no right or wrong way to do it, although there are plenty of opportunities for light side and dark side points to get you started down your preferred path.

Since the Trooper is very straightforward with a military bent, it's an incredibly easy class to wrap your mind around and play. Plus, Mass Effect fans will certainly appreciate the themes and FemShep's Jennifer Hale, who returns here to voice the female Trooper.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic is finally here, and the Force is with Massively! We've prepared a Hutt-sized feast of class introductions, gameplay guides, lore roundups, and hands-on previews to help you navigate the launch period and beyond. And don't forget our weekly SWTOR column, the Hyperspace Beacon!