SWTOR: Inadvertantly picking the road more traveled

As part of our continuing series of Creating the Artificial Impression That You Are a Unique Snowflake in an MMO, I’ve been continuing with my playthrough of the Imperial Agent in SWTOR while steadfastly ignoring that there are other Agents in the world.  I know that the Agents certainly aren’t as populated as the Force-users, but I’ve certainly seen enough to know that they’re not being ignored, either.  And it’s a slight immersion-jarring experience to see one with your armor set, or with your companion, or — in a Flashpoint — using your voice.  VOICE-STEALERS!  I WILL RIP YOUR THROAT OUT WITH LOVE!


Naw, it’s not that big of a thing to see or play with others of my class in any MMO, but for some reason it’s an irritation to have to get into an in-game discussion about a mutually played class.  This happened last night in SWTOR, when a quorum of Agents came online in our guild and started bantering back and forth about the class.  Which is fine?  I guess?  But those conversations are usually less about sharing mutually beneficial information and more about subtly saying “I’m playing it better than you are” even if everyone’s completely nice about it (I have a nice guild, I want to stress).  Plus, at that point I was ignorant as to how popular Operatives (my advance class) were verses Snipers (the other Agent AC) in our guild, but a quick peek showed that Snipers were by far the minority.  Oh no!  My unique snowflake is melting!

Actually, it was interesting to hear about why everyone picked the AC we did, because the Snipers could only say “We just wanted to do a LOT of damage” whereas the Operative crowd had about sixteen different responses.  “I wanted to stealth and backstab.”  “I wanted to play with knives.”  “I wanted to heal.”  To sum up, “I wanted flexibility.”

I think a lot more people are looking for flexibility in their MMO classes these days, no matter what they pick.  Man did RIFT spoil us in that regard!  Flexibility was why I knew that the Operative would appeal to me, because I really can switch playstyles on the fly and not sweat being mix-maxed or anything.  I know I’m not going to crush DPS numbers, but I can go from AOE attacks to single-target, I can hang back and heal while my companion goes to town, I can stealth through sections, and I can /clubdance like there’s no tomorrow.

I don’t feel that the SWTOR talent trees give us a lot of flexibility as to roles, since most everyone I know tends to just pour themselves into one tree exclusively, and most of the tree’s points are going to be filled up without a lot of choices going on.  Does anyone else feel like this?  That the SWTOR talent trees are skimpy?  I was laughing and rolling my eyes at WoW’s latest proclamation of how they’re getting rid of talent trees in favor for the occasional talent choice, but now I can kind of see the logic and appeal behind that.

In conclusion, there were a couple useful SWTOR info posts I wanted to pass on.  Tales of the Aggronaut helped me out immensely by explaining the bonus series quests and mapping those out on a chart (I was stumbling onto these in game and had no idea what they really were).  Spinks does a great job going over the different type of consumables, and I know that’ll change my future approach to buffing up.

9 thoughts on “SWTOR: Inadvertantly picking the road more traveled

  1. Leyxa January 10, 2012 / 3:23 pm

    I’ve been playing a female consular and a clanmate has been playing one as well. Every so often, we group up and the voice sounds different depending on who’s talking. A bit of it has to do with the tendency for me to choose meeker options whereas he tends to choose more direct things. I think, however, it has more to do with the fact that our different faces make me believe they’re different people. My character is dainty and fair-headed whereas his is dark-haired and with a massive scar running down her face. It’s odd how much that influences what I hear in tone of voice.

    Also! The new WoW talent specialization options are very smart. They directly address the problems that Blizzard has been having with the trees all along even if it creates a few new problems. Meanwhile the SWTOR trees are very basic in form even if they wind up doing drastic things to how you play certain classes.

  2. Percy January 10, 2012 / 3:23 pm

    The talent trees are definitely very thin. That was my first impression during beta and its still accurate today.

    This is because most of the tiers in each tree only have 5 points total. There are very few levels that have a 0/5 talent to pick (typically just the 2nd to top tier). As a result when you’re going 31 points into a tree its much more about what you’re not picking then what you are picking.. you can usually get everything but one or two of the abilities.

    As a result any variation in specs only really occurs if you decide to be a hybrid spec. And then its about how deep in each tree you’re willing to go. So there is still SOME choices involved.. but its not really contained in a single tree.

  3. Canazza January 10, 2012 / 4:33 pm

    Actually, I’ve found that SWTOR’s talent trees to be nearly identical to the Cataclysm Tree style (with the ‘pick one tree and focus on it till 40’ mechanic replaced by advanced classes) As an Agent and an Operative (Your snowflake seems to be melting a bit, sorry) Really there is only one spec to go if you want to heal raids, one if you want to heal PvP, one if you want to raid damage, one if you want to PvP, and they all require 31 points in a tree, and each tree has between one or two ‘all rounder’ abilities in the bottom tier, where you can stick the rest of your points.
    Sure, you’re not forced by the mechanics into doing this, but one-spec talent tree viability at end-game will rear it’s ugly head.

  4. Carson January 10, 2012 / 5:07 pm

    “I think a lot more people are looking for flexibility in their MMO classes these days”

    Agreed.. which is why it’s so odd that game after game after game after game after game launches using a class system rather than some other form of character development and customization.

  5. Memphis January 10, 2012 / 10:36 pm

    I love how Bioware outright lied to us in their interview. I read between the lines, I knew when comparing to WoW and EQ2 (Where the only showed 2 farming clips and 2 grinding clips, 1 for each) that they were saying, in layman’s terms “Our animations are more fluent, but we are just the same.”

    I’ve known all along that Bioware has the same cast and basic story for each game, and barely changes it’s writing in concept and premise of everything in the world, but I stupidly swallowed my gut instinct back, and bought it anyways.

    I should have listened to my gut, because like Saints Row 3, all I was greeted with was “Meh” writing, and the gameplay was basically a copy paste of WoW/EQ2 with shinier animations. (Yes, I understand Bioware is hailed as master writers, but I grew up reading Classic Novels, and moved on to fantasy from there, so was spoiled by ACTUAL good writing, not just “The best of this crop” writing)

    Lesson being, listen to your gut when reading between the lines of sale pitches. It’s how I know to stay away from Reckoning, since it’s only bragging points is statpoints, and perks.

  6. Adventurer Historian January 10, 2012 / 11:54 pm

    Over on the RMC side, we spend most of our time commenting on/fawning over/rolling our eyes at our companions. I’ve heard very little talk in guild chat about how a class should be run — but a lot about which about how Bowdaar is the coolest guy ever, but a little squishy; Corso is as friendly and dependable as a golden retriever, and about as smart; Jorgan has one sexy, sexy voice

  7. Bernard January 11, 2012 / 3:39 am

    As another Operative (*sniff* snowflake…), I’ve found there is more flexibility later in the game. For instance, Recuperative Nanotechnology is weak and energy hungry enough to skip a talent point there. Similarly, I’ve heard of people avoiding some of the points related to Diagnostic Scan. And if you’re PVPing, it’s well worth ‘double dipping’ in 2 trees…

  8. Attic Lion January 11, 2012 / 12:25 pm

    The TOR trees are pretty bad honestly. The game has just launched and they already feel like they suffer from bloat as badly as the old Wrath trees in WoW; a profusion of boring +1% Whatever-The-Hell, 33/66/100% Chance-To-Not-Be-A-Waste-Of-Points, and Hello!-You-Just-Spent-X-Points-On-A-Talent-That-By-All-Rights-Should-Probably-Be-X-Minus-One choices.

    I kinda wish they had reused Warhammers tree concept instead. Sure a lot of your points still went towards +X% damage/healing so you could unlock more interesting stuff, but at least the game didn’t flat out tell you how boring it was being. They could have done much worse than adopting the Tactic system as well.

  9. biophazer242 January 12, 2012 / 11:19 am

    “I think a lot more people are looking for flexibility in their MMO classes these days, no matter what they pick” To me… this is why I think The Secret World will not be HUGE hit..but will have a serious die hard following.

    I am already starting to get on the alt treadmill in TOR just to see how different classes play and am really hoping TSW can keep their promise of not having to make alts for that purpose anymore. To earn points and distribute them as needed per situation sounds to good to be true.

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