Editor's Note: This article presents 12 ideas for classes in Star Wars: The Old Republic, which still has three unannounced classes. The article is the opinion of the author and is not the actual list Bioware will use.
The hype-level for Star Wars: The Old Republic is through the roof and some might consider this curious. After all, according to an article on Kotaku, our most accurate timeframe for a release is "less than a decade," but that hasn't stopped skeptics and fans alike from speculating wildly about the game.
Of course, one of the most contentious issues is that of the classes to be featured in The Old Republic. The developers at BioWare have stated that they want fans of Star Wars at every level to be able to recognize and much more importantly, identify, with the available classes in the game. Indeed, the most recent class unveilings have easily recognizable analogues to characters from the films, and BioWare hasn't been shy about the fact these analogues played an important role in determining the implementation of the game's classes. The problem then, is this: there are five classes left to officially reveal (we know Jedi and Sith are coming, come on) but there aren't many "classes" in the films that would make sense while also filling out important roles in gameplay. This isn't to say that BioWare will only stick to the films for their class choices, I do definitely think they will both pull from their own previous Star Wars games, other existing Star Wars games, and of course the Expanded Universe. But there is a definite sense they are going for the "iconic" classes where possible.
BioWare has stated in a recent interview that they do want to appeal to MMOG fans and as part of that they aren't looking to totally revolutionize combat with The Old Republic. Instead, fans can expect traditional roles to be present, with tanks being focused on while the ranged DPS do damage. This causes some interesting issues. For one, as mentioned previously, there aren't too many obvious examples of "classes" in general from the films, and the list is narrowed even further if you have to think in class roles. With that said, that brings us to our first issue, and our first two potential classes:
The Healing Conundrum
Picking out tank or DPS classes that fit within the game and aren't exact copies of each other is a challenge, though a surmountable one, but what about the healers or healing abilities within the game? Will everyone be able to heal themselves to some extent? Will there be dedicated healing roles? There is, of course, the theory that companions will handle healing, and this would definitely make room for more interesting classes if it were true. But if we want to go along with BioWare's statement with regards to their acceptance of tank and DPS roles, it only makes sense that healing roles will be filled as well.
#12 Imperial Medic (Sith Empire)
Truthfully, I haven't figured out the Sith Empire answer to this issue. A medic class of sorts would make sense, but it is quite boring. Then again, consider the fact the Trooper class isn't necessarily as exciting as say, the Bounty Hunter, so there is some precedent here. There definitely isn't a film analogue to this class, but there were many "healers" in the Expanded Universe, ranging from doctors, to even Jedi and Sith healers. It was either this or Sith Lord using lifetaps. The straight up medic or combat medic type seems more likely. My inability to really sort out the healing issue for the Sith Empire is what still gives me hope that players will simply be able to heal themselves using medpacs and such, but then there is this to consider...
#11 Jedi Consular (Galactic Republic)
As I will get into further later in the article, it is my belief that the Sith and Jedi classes will have specialization trees or sub-classes, and one such specialization for the Jedi would be the Consular. The Jedi Consular is present in previous Knights of the Old Republic games, and in the Pen & Paper games.
Let it be known that I would hate for the Jedi Consular to fill the healer role for the Republic, but there is precedent for this type of gameplay in the Knights of the Old Republic games. It would also make sense for BioWare to want to allow Jedi players to be able to specialize in force power usage. Of course, they wouldn't be tossing out bolts of lightning, but instead would have crowd control, buffs, and most importantly, healing abilities. This class or specialization would be a convenient and easy to imagine solution to the healer issue, at least on the Republic side.
Would it be popular? I'm not sure; it depends on who you ask. I don't want to see Jedi sitting in the back healing anyone as much as the next Star Wars fan, but some concessions have to be made for gameplay purposes, so I consider this a potential class.
Use The Force
As I touched on briefly in the healer issue, I believe The Old Republic will allow for specializations, or specs, for all classes announced, and one could speculate wildly as to what this would mean for other classes, but the Sith and Jedi are a bit easier to tackle, even this early on. Below are some potential Sith and Jedi sub-classes or specializations:
#10 & #9 Sith Marauder / Jedi Guardian (Sith Empire / Galactic Republic)
I'm sure many of you are familiar with these two if you've played Knights of the Old Republic II. These two specializations would fill two important gameplay roles: DPS and Tanking. Both classes focus more on lightsaber combat and less on contemplations of deeper aspects of The Force. If you'd like, think of a Warrior in World of Warcraft. I know WoW examples make you cringe, but work with me here. Making use of various traditional (stances) or new mechanics, the Guardian or Marauder could switch between tank and DPS roles.
#8 Sith Assassin (Sith Empire)
This class draws directly from the Knights of the Old Republic lore. Sith Assassins were captured Jedi and Sith soldiers that were sent to the Trayus Academy (featured in Knights of the Old Republic II) and trained in stealthy, ambush based combat. Sith Assassins also had a tendency to use other more exotic weapons, such as force pikes, which would fill the gaping hole that is the apparent lack of non-lightsaber melee combat. The Sith Assassin would also be a viable counter to the Smuggler on the Republic side as the Sith Empire's stealth class.
#7 Sith Lord (Sith Empire)
Again, another class straight out of the Knights of the Old Republic games, the Sith Lord would be a specialization for players who want to focus on force power usage. For the Palpatines everywhere who just want to see people writhe in agony as they are assailed by a cascading torrent of force lightning, this would be your class of choice. Functionally, the class would also fill the mage-like ranged nuker role. Face it, some people who play aren't going to care about Star Wars and will just be wondering, "Where the hell is my Fireball?" so the Sith Lord being a class would be a win-win situation. The Sith Lord: A class for the fans, and for those who can't tell a Mynock from a Womprat.