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Star Wars: The Old Republic Column: The Republic Trooper

By Michael Bitton on January 05, 2011

Before I knew that the Imperial Agent (my class of choice) would be a playable class in Star Wars: The Old Republic I’d already set my sights on playing the Trooper, who was one of the first classes announced for The Old Republic (the first being the Bounty Hunter). Don’t get me wrong, the Bounty Hunter was a cool enough looking class, but I’ve always liked the idea of playing a simple trooper in Star Wars, going all the way back to Star Wars Galaxies where instead of chasing the Jedi unlock I preferred to don a suit of Stormtrooper armor, wield an E-11 and blast some Rebels away. Heck, I even enjoyed the Star Wars: Republic Commando video game released several years back.

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The Old Republic’s Trooper class bears a strong resemblance to the Clonetroopers from the prequel films, which has only made things more exciting for me. Stormtroopers look cool, but let’s face it, the original trilogy makes them out to be total idiots. Clonetroopers, on the other hand, were shown to have actual personalities and to be incredibly lethal and capable warriors. After all, they massacred half the Jedi Council in Revenge of the Sith. The Clonetroopers also feature a much larger role in the TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars (who’d have guessed?!) where characters like Commander Cody were shown to be quite fierce and calculating.

Like the aforementioned Clonetroopers, the TOR Trooper really brings the pain, wielding blaster rifles or even giant assault cannons. Additional death dealing options include access to heavy ordnance, such as rifle-launched high-power grenades and even a sticky bomb that can be attached to an enemy. Over the past year we’ve also learned of the Trooper’s Advanced Class options, such as the Vanguard, who is a fairly unique blaster rifle wielding ranged tank, and the Commando, who throws caution to the wind and mows down his foes with a massive blast cannon. Being a ranged tank is an interesting concept to me, so I’ve had my eyes on the Vanguard for some time, but I tend to gravitate towards group support roles such as tanking, buffing, or controlling anyways.

Since the Trooper was revealed very early on in The Old Republic’s development it has been understandably overshadowed by the numerous classes that have been revealed since, however, that all changed when the Galactic Republic got their day in the sun with the “Hope” cinematic trailer that debuted at E3 2010. “Hope” really blew people away, and I honestly felt it was way more impressive than the original “Deceived” cinematic trailer. I managed to watch it on my laptop during my flight to E3, but it was really something else seeing it on the gigantic screen on the E3 show floor, or even on the HDTV in Bioware’s meeting room during my SW:TOR appointment. With that said, the star of the trailer was clearly the unnamed Havoc Squad trooper who gave the newly anointed Darth Malgus a real trial-by-fire experience when the squad ambushes the Sith forces invading Alderaan in a last ditch effort to save the planet from being sacked by the Sith Empire. For those of us so used to the idea of Force wielding characters just destroying non-Force wielders (especially Stormtroopers) Bioware clearly made a statement with the “Hope” trailer:  the Trooper is meant to kick-ass and take names and a little bit of force lightning isn’t going to stop him. The Trooper forums on the official Star Wars: The Old Republic website were pretty dang active after that trailer began making its rounds, and for good reason!

More recently, Bioware dedicated a Friday Update to profile the Trooper class a bit more in depth, revealing the first Trooper companion, the Weequay demolitions expert Tanno Vik; announcing the Zabrak as a playable race for the Trooper class; unveiling the Trooper starship, the BT-7 Thunderclap; and last but certainly not least, a new high-octane trailer featuring nothing but Trooper gameplay footage to really get fans excited. I was still pretty sold on the Vanguard, until the Trooper whipped out the giant cannon at the end and mowed some people down. I’m still quite likely to stick with the Vanguard, but the allure of the blast cannon is definitely pulling at me a bit.

Are you more or less excited about the Trooper as we’ve learned more about it? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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