A Long Journey...
Star Wars: The Old Republic proved to be my favorite MMO of all time. I’ve enjoyed many and put some serious hours into them but with TOR, I actually finished the primary story line for each of the classes. I admit the last two required the 12x experience but I went through several of the classes pretty far with different choices. That’s what I loved about this title: the fact you could play through multiple times and receive different STORY elements.
This is not to say there aren’t weaknesses. The fact you have to go through the same path for quests is tough. If you get stuck on a planet, there aren’t any questing recourses (you could PvP or do ship combat to push past but you couldn’t just go to another zone). This is where games like WoW win and my wife recently proved that out by powering through the first 70 levels. Bored or stuck? Go to another zone.
However, this would make the big dramatic stories harder to deal with. Those are guided even though you’ve got plenty of options within those stories (be evil or good, make decisions that change your future, etc.). I would be willing to argue that SWTOR is more of a single player game than an MMO, even with all the people running around and the grouping options. It’s KOTOR 3 with 3000 friends.
I’ve decided to go through and briefly discuss my feelings of each of the stories for SWTOR from the perspective of someone who’s done them all. I’ll be doing these in order of which I preferred and try to not spoil too much in my little write ups. Here are my insights for one of the most bad ass story driven games I’ve played in recent years.
I personally believe they intended this to be the ‘primary’ story in the game. Having played them all, I felt this one had some of the deepest, more sincere work put into the story and it is freakin’ epic. Chapter 1 sees you saving multiple worlds and ultimately, the Republic. Chapter 2 leads you through a pretty dramatic quest to deal a crippling blow to the Empire and Chapter 3 follows closely behind with a story of tragedy and redemption.
Your character grows in amazing ways throughout this story and your companions are fantastic. If you’re a fan of a ‘pure’ Star Wars experience, the Jedi has it. You get R2, sorry T7 as a companion. Your Jedi partner has some snark and a dark past of her own. The doctor provides your scoundrel needs and Lord Scourge…well, talking too much about him would bring up spoilers.
As a Jedi Knight on the good side, you are a pure beacon of hope to the galaxy. I’ve done this multiple times and maxed the character on two servers. I enjoyed the story just that much. I’ve also played through it as an evil ass a couple of times and the outcomes are very different. If you are new to the game and want to really get into a good story, I would recommend the Jedi Knight first. They have a lot to offer any player and if you pick the Guardian, chances are good you’ll have little trouble powering through the different planets.
My second favorite storyline, this proves just how well Bioware knows the classes and what people want. You start out with your ship being stolen by a worse scoundrel than you and end up on a galaxy wide treasure hunt. Chapter 1 brings together your companions and gives you the chance to be a lovable rogue or a total pirate ass. Companions go from a kid with guns to a Wookie with a two handed sword to a bounty hunter or a sniper.
By the time you finish this storyline, you’re a legend in the underworld and you’ve done some fantastic things not only for your character but for the republic as well. This also has some of the best humor in the game (though the Bounty Hunter comes close second—I’ll explain later). As a male character, you can seduce a lot of people as you go on your quest. The female’s no slouch mind you…she’s got an eye for the fellas for sure.
I played the gunslinger which I liked better than the scoundrel as far as game play went. My first try was the scoundrel and stealth was neat but back then, when it first came out, I ended up falling behind because I’d sneak through and not get mob XP. The gunslinger plays most like the sniper from the Imperial Agent side and that means you do gobs of damage to everyone. I’d recommend this path if you’re inexperienced or just want to lay out some serious pain.
I also recommend the smuggler to people who aren’t into the Jedi character types or those who just want to race on the shady side of the law.
This story and the smuggler are really a tie for me. The epic nature of where you get to as an Inquisitor is ridiculous. I beat Chapter 1 with two different inquisitors, one a human and one a Chiss. One of the things I loved about doing it this way was to see how different it was being an alien. As a human, one of the missions was totally forgettable while as the Chiss, the character went crazy about how I was filth and things escalated to a brawl.
The power of this story comes from how far you go. From a slave to…well, I can’t spoil it but you attain a pretty lofty position. It’s an epic journey carrying you from the bottom to the top and all along the way, you are given opportunities to perform some of the most abominable horrors on the galaxy imaginable. Bioware doesn’t shy from letting you be a wicked ass in every storyline, so much so that if you enjoy seeing just how crazy different stuff can be, you’re rewarded for trying.
I played both Assassin and Sorcerer. The former is one of the best tanks in the game and their damage output is nothing to scoff at. However, the sorcerer character is pretty much the emperor and you bring down madness and lightning on your enemies. Both are awesome so if you want to be crazy and evil, this is one of the best choices only matched by my next entry…
Another awesome class full of opportunity. I like the acting for this character better than just about everyone else but the story is only JUST behind the Inquisitor. In chapter 1, you are hunting down a Jedi with a special power which could turn the tide of the war. By the time you finish, you’ve attained an exalted rank and done plenty of unspeakable (or not so bad if you chose to be a good guy). Chapter 2 and 3 leads you along a path to what I would consider independence (a unique thing for the empire). It’s a satisfying journey, one I’m glad I undertook.
The character plays exactly the same as the Jedi Knight with some different flourishes and names. Their stance is more savage and they look brutal when they start whacking people with their light sabers. When you speak to people, if you’re bad, they tend to sound pretty entitled and the British accent lends to their superiority (sorry, Brits but somehow Star Wars makes the accent sound elite…or maybe I should say congrats).
I recommend this character if you want to go on a savage campaign of betrayal and darkness. They’ve got some of the best dialogue options and they get to force choke people all over the place. This is the Vader experience (or as close as you could get to it) and if you’re intrigued by that, look no further than the warrior.
I admit that this is the LAST character I beat the campaign on and I’m a little sorry for that. I had a hard time playing the Mercenary track and made a Power Tech instead (the tank). Once I made that choice, I was able to really get into it and the story proved flat out awesome. Your character’s pretty dead serious but chapter 1 is absurd. Some of the people you meet are pure comedy and you’re the straight man to their foolishness.
You begin as a contender for the Great Hunt and by the time you finish the game, you’ll be a notorious hunter of men, the kind of guy people hire for the REALLY tough jobs. They do a great job of making you feel like a bounty hunter, letting you take missions which involve traveling the galaxy and finding your marks. This is one of two ‘neutral’ classes (the other is the smuggler) and while that doesn’t mean you flit between Pub and Imp, you do distance yourself from politics a bit.
Of course, you can be as psychotic or decent as you want to be. There are opportunities for torture and murder all along the way. Depending on your companion, you can get away with it too. I would recommend this character for those who are interested in a storyline which is the least like a ‘traditional’ Star Wars path. It’s also fun for people who like all those Clint Eastwood movies like ‘The Good The Bad and The Ugly’. Definitely worth playing through regardless.
I’d put this as a close tie with the Bounty Hunter because I REALLY loved this character. You’re basically playing out classic spy tales in the SWTOR universe. From James Bond to the Bourne Identity to 24, you’ve got it all here and you can be ruthless or professional. I played through as the sniper and it was a devastating power set (both in PvE and PvP).
This was my first character on the imperial side when I played with friends. Her dialogue options were pretty amazing and she could be really evil. I loved all the times that you go undercover and sound different or infiltrate different organizations in your quest to serve the empire. Also, you don’t have to take any crap from Sith if you don’t want to (but don’t say you weren’t warned that it’s a dangerous decision).
Her companions weren’t overly memorable for me. The first one I wanted to take out pretty badly then she joined me. I didn’t max out my affection for any of them but then again, my character was a bit of a lunatic so I’m not surprised. If you like spy dramas, this character’s definitely for you. You can play them in various ways but it still is a pretty big detachment from a ‘traditional’ Star Wars experience.
This is basically Mass Effect in the Star Wars universe. I played a female Trooper and she was voiced by Jennifer Hale so I just made her look like my Commander from ME. I put this at the second to the bottom of the list because it’s not nearly as ‘epic’ as the other stories. It’s a low key, street level campaign where you play a soldier for the republic. They do a great job of making you feel like a bad ass but ultimately, the chapter conclusions felt anticlimactic for me.
You do get promoted as you go along so there is advancement. Your companions are neat and they’re explained as you build your squad and go on missions. Your ultimate villain is an Imperial military guy and while he’s wily, he ain’t super powered. Ultimately, this is a campaign as you’d expect: mission after mission with the guiding force of a superior officer. You can be a little rebellious but it’s not rewarded, that’s for sure. I made a bad guy version and committed some war crimes…which were mostly swept under the rug (though admittedly, I didn’t ‘finish’ the game that way).
If you love big guns and armor, this is definitely the class for you. If you want the ‘military life’ in Star Wars, again, this is your path. I enjoyed it but it was the second to the last one I finished. I did it with 12x XP because by the time I got this far, I was done doing side quests. I have a friend who has maxed this character multiple times so they definitely have their place in the story. Give them a try if you want a ‘street level’ experience.
Frankly, I would call this the worst experience in SWTOR. It’s anticlimactic and feels almost tacked on. The end happened and I didn’t even realize the chapter was over for a few moments. It just…concluded. The acting is okay and the idea is neat but I don’t feel it was executed very well. There’s a lot of missed opportunity here.
The character plays just like the Inquisitor which means they could be difficult or easy depending on your build. I liked the companions, especially the voices. I chose to be an evil ass and it was amazing how bad you could be and still remain a Jedi. People just would say things like ‘it’s regrettable you had to do that’. It was pretty funny.
Perhaps if I’d been a good guy, the story would’ve ended differently. I don’t know. I might hit You Tube and find out. However, if you want to play a healing character or someone with a lower key story than the other Force users, this is for you. They can be fun to play but personally, I didn’t care for the story. Definitely at the bottom of my list.
The Fallen Empire dropped today for early access and I’m about to dive in. I have no idea what to expect. Shadow of Revan didn’t do much for me. I enjoyed it but I did not feel it was a GREAT expansion. This promises a lot and they’ve revamped tons of the game play. I like what I’ve seen so far and I can’t wait to really dive in. I’ll definitely review it eventually.
For now, I hope you enjoy my brief write up of my experience with these characters. I didn’t want to spoil anything or I could tell you some insane tales of what I’ve accomplished. I recommend diving into this game and giving it a real chance. If you like Mass Effect or Dragon Age, you’ll love this. It’s not your traditional MMO and it’s got its problems but story sure ain’t one of them.
Author of several books, composer of several CDs. Please check out the rest of the site for some of my work.