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Star Wars: The Old Republic Interviews: Imperial Agent Interview

By Michael Bitton on May 10, 2011

MMORPG.com:

Without too many spoilers, can you give us a basic overview of what the Imperial Agent’s story is about?

Daniel Erickson:

The Imperial Agent really plays a sort of combination of CIA/KGB role. Spends a lot of time undercover, spends a lot of time trying to hunt down internal enemies and external enemies. Really is the jack-of-all-trades, goes where the job brings him. The Imperial Agent is probably the person who learns the most truth throughout the game story about what’s actually happening in the galaxy, what the Sith are actually trying to do, what the conflicts are about, etc. And ends up very often having to choose between the will of the government and what he thinks might be the best thing for The Empire or its people.

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MMORPG.com:

The Imperial Agent is essentially the counterpart of the Smuggler on the Republic side. Both classes share a cover system, but what sets them apart?

Daniel Erickson:

Well, the tone and feel, obviously story-wise, is hugely different. The Smuggler is an action-comedy, everything’s always, it’s the Han Solo fantasy, everything’s always going incredibly wrong, you’re always in over your head, crazy love affairs explode in your face, and a lot of sort of underworld and crime. And the Smuggler is as much the man of no-laws as the Imperial Agent is the man of the law.

When you’re actually playing with them, the flavor of them, even though they are both cover classes, is very different. The Imperial Agent is sniper rifle, slow methodical set up. The Smuggler tends to be a little more like roll into cover, shoot a bunch of shots, over the top, throw something, maybe jump up and go run over the other thing. The Smuggler has the kick-guy-in-the-crotch and hit him in the face with the butt of your gun after he’s struggling, so it’s a very different feel to it.

MMORPG.com:

What roles can an Imperial Agent bring to a team situation? For example, as a healer, do they do things differently than another class that can also heal?

Daniel Erickson:

They do it differently as far as flavor and exact techniques. So learning to play an Operative healer is different from learning to play a Mercenary healer, but they play the same role in a group. Right, they’re both going to be playing the role of the healer, it’s just going to take you in the same way a Sniper is a very different damage dealer than a Jedi DPS, so, but, mathematically fills sort of the same role.

MMORPG.com:

Can an Imperial Agent lean heavily towards melee combat as an Operative Advanced Class?

Daniel Erickson:

Not melee specifically. You can basically become a sort of short-range and melee. So you really focus towards shotgun—

MMORPG.com:

Shotgun?

Daniel Erickson:

Not actually, you notice there’s sort of the—you don’t have a different weapon, that’s pretty important there. But basically it’s using your rifle like a shotgun. Like I’m just going to run up and do the big blast in your chest and then I’m going to stick it, vibro-blade, in your chest. And obviously that’s also where our stealth route goes, so you can sneak in, stab them, big blast in the back of the head, go on and do whatever you were doing.

MMORPG.com:

What does an Imperial Agent bring to PvP combat?

Daniel Erickson:

The Agent brings, depending on how you take it, my favorite build for PvP combat is absolutely the Sniper because that’s kind of the thing I’m most likely to play in an action game anyway, and what the Agent brings there is patience. You really can actually play a sniper with the Sniper class.

One of the things you got to play Alderaan, you got to notice there are some high walkways around the things, there are some really good places where you can go and hide and do things. So if you’re playing a Sniper, you can actually set up, get ready, wait until somebody’s coming in, grab your damage buff that you’ve actually gotten from your tokens, put it in, focus on that one guy, throw, you’ve got a little droid that can go there, it doesn’t explode until you do damage. So you can do that one, hit them with a poison dart, slow ‘em down, then do your snipe, and it’s a one big big slam of damage, and it’s really fun.

The Operative obviously, being stealth, is actually the great guy to say, “Hey. Nobody’s dealing with that actual piece right now.” Like the turrets you guys had to take. If nobody’s there, and you’ve got an Operative with stealth, he can get past the entire group and be doing it before anybody even knows he’s there.

MMORPG.com:

What races can players select from when creating an Imperial Agent?

Daniel Erickson:

The only ones that are out there right now are the Human and the Chiss. That’s all that we’ve announced so far; that will not be the limit for them.

MMORPG.com:

What’s a spy without his gadgets and gizmos? What are some of the more interesting gadgets the Agent can utilize?

Daniel Erickson:

So as the Agent goes on, especially the Operative, ends up with a whole lot of the little—you got to see a little bit of the droids that pop out. So, he’s got beyond the poison dart and the things you’ve got to see already, he’s got a whole lot of little, very specifically engineered droids. So he has ones for healing, he has ones for distraction, so you end up with a bunch of these little ball droids that will just fly out everywhere and end up being super fun.

MMORPG.com:

All classes can make choices that earn them Dark or Light Side points. Can you give us an example of the type of situation in which an Agent would have to make such choices?

Daniel Erickson:

So the Dark Side choices, a lot of the Dark Side choices tend to be the expediency vs. loyalty, both to Empire and to people. So you’re going to make a lot of good friends when you’re being undercover obviously brings loyalties into sharp contrast. If you’re undercover, and you’re working with somebody who’s a fantastic person, has their heart in the right place, is doing good work, and then you’re ordered to kill them because they’re somebody who can trace you back after the fact, you’re going to have to really sit down and decide, “Where do my morals stand on this? Will I do anything the job says?” Often, in fact, it comes down to, “What do I think is the best for my people?” When the Sith coming calling you have to do what they say, but of course they’re not out in the field with you, and so are you willing to make yourself look worse? Are you willing to not complete the mission to the exact specifications? Because you think what the Sith are trying to do is something that’s actually good for the Empire.

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