Part of the great fun of an upcoming MMO title that you’re anticipating is engaging in speculation about what might or might not be (or what you wish will be). Now that BioWare’s announced 3 out of 8 classes — with at least two more classes that deal with Force-users — the big question is, “What will the final five be?” Personally, I don’t have any great predictions, as what we have to draw on is a little skimpy, but we can take a look at two established sources of possible: KOTOR and Star Wars Galaxies. From what they offer, here’s a few classes I could see as being contenders:
- KOTOR: Killer assassin droid, scout, grey Jedi
- SWG: Spy, pilot
The problem here is that KOTOR wasn’t really set up for huge amounts of classes — all players would become one of three flavors of Jedi, so the other three classes (scout, smuggler, soldier) were mostly for the first planet and other characters. SWG doesn’t fare much better; Jedi, smuggler and bounty hunter all made it over to TOR, but those would be the only three I’d pick. The Trooper looks to cover a lot of ground that SWG’s officer and commando did. And with only 8 paltry class spots for TOR, I highly — HIGHLY — doubt that they’re going to develop classes that are anything like the trader, entertainer or medic.
We can also look to the movies, of course, but since nothing really pops to mind, I’d rather steer away from spewing out my class predictions and instead look at what we do know — and what we might derive from that.
- From TOR’s class page, there looks to be 8 classes, 4 on each side. Deduction: only 4 classes per side means no repeated classes.
- From BioWare’s own mouth, they have to pit every non-Force class up against Jedi/Sith in terms of both combat equality and popularity. Deduction: all non-Force classes have to be iconic, exciting and tempting enough to entice players away from overwhelming the landscape with lightsabers and lightning.
- Frank notes that BioWare is looking to recreate archetype “experiences” — Han Solo experience, Darth Vader experience and so on. Deduction: look to the films for popular characters and roles as possible inclusion into TOR.
What intrigues me the most is the 8 class/4-per-side limit — certainly paltry compared to some titles out today. This gets me thinking more about class customization and configuration. Now, I know, it’s too early and we have too little data to draw from, but if every bounty hunter plays and develops the same, then that’s an incredibly limiting game in a post-World of Warcraft world. Speaking of which, I’m wondering if each of the classes will take a cue from WoW’s talent trees (which essentially took a class and made it into three — or more — sub-classes: shadow priests, ret pallys, etc.) and allow for a huge variety of customization and builds within that class. Personally, that’s the sort of thing I prefer, if I had to choose between fewer classes/more customization and the opposite.
Look at the first couple minutes of the Trooper video, in which dev Paul Adam says:
“So we start out with our basic Trooper, which is your basic armor set, that’s pretty much an homage to the basic Clone Trooper/Stormtrooper. Then we go both directions with it. We go down to what the Rebel troopers and soldiers… you see them on the Hoth troopers, the backpacks and the goggles… we gradually ramp you up past the armor for more intense looks.”
What interests me is that they show different armor sets — lighter gear, heavier armor — which certainly could be taken as “this is the progression from light armor at the start of the game to a heavily-geared warrior by the end.” But it also could be seen that the Trooper will have the choice between developing as a faster, lighter-armored soldier and a heavy-plated tank.
Sure, that’s probably me reading into it too much, but that doesn’t answer the inevitable question of character customization, aka “How is my guy different than all the others out there, other than just my gear?” This brings me to a very KOTOR staple — that game didn’t just have a Jedi, it had three subsets of Jedi. Three varieties: counsular, sentinel, guardian. Why this couldn’t translate into TOR, I don’t know… three (or more) subclasses, paths, trees, or what have you. Every Jedi doesn’t have to be 100% identical, neither does every Trooper, Smuggler or Bounty Hunter. Let’s take off our Boba Fett fan worship goggles to remember that there were many, many types of Bounty Hunter in Star Wars, and they didn’t all wear Mandalorian armor:
Interesting thought: what if one of those “other” guys ended up being the guy who captured Solo — we’d have a huge section of Star Wars fans worshiping them instead!
So anyway, I’m not only eager to hear what the other classes will be, but also how they will develop, and other choices as to their makeup (such as races). Definitely too soon? Sure. But it tickles the brain, and that’s what gets me writing.
P.S. – I dug out my old 1987 edition of the Star Wars Roleplaying Game manual (which was one of my all-time favorite books at that age), and scanned through the character sheets, which have some pretty interesting classes:
- Alien Student of the Force
- Arrogant Noble
- Armchair Historian
- Bounty Hunter
- Brash Pilot
- Ewok (yay!)
- Failed Jedi
- Laconic Scout
- Loyal Retainer
- The Merc
- Minor Jedi
- Mon Calamari
- Old Senatorial
- The Outlaw
- Quixotic Jedi
- Retired Imperial Captain
- Tongue-Tied Engineer
- Young Senatorial
- Tough Native