An interesting discussion cropped up on the official Star Wars: The Old Republic forums recently. The discussion centered on some comments made by Daniel Erickson at this year’s PAX East regarding armor in The Old Republic; namely that players would be able to basically use any armor from within their armor class regardless of whether or not it breaks the iconic look of a particular class. For example, a Jedi wearing Trooper armor is entirely possible (note: this image is faked!).
I honestly hadn’t even thought about this, which is weird given how vain I am when it comes to these games, and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it right now. In previous iterations of the game, players who wore armor of the same armor class (such as heavy armor which both the Trooper and Jedi utilize) but statted for a different class (such as the aforementioned “Jedi Trooper” example) would have the look of the armor conformed to their class. However, in testing this proved to be an unpopular design and so BioWare freed things up to allow players to wear whatever they wish within the armor class they can equip.
This, of course, raised some concerns with the more purist members of the SW:TOR fanbase, and BioWare’s Daimon Schubert recently jumped into this conversation to clarify things a bit more:
“Our gear now is settling in a pretty good state, in my opinion. We've taken the coolest and most emblematic armor, first off, and made it class only.
For the rest of the armor, we are following a reasonably standard RPG model of heavy, medium and light. Knights and Troopers both chase heavy, for example, but care about different stats. Armor with Knight-favored stats looks a lot closer to the Jedi ideal, whereas armor with Trooper stats looks more like the Troopers we know and love.
Yes, you can put on some vaguely 'Trooper-esque' armor as a Knight, but your stats will be terrible, thus the gravity of, you know, being good at your class is going to mean that it's rare.
And let's not forget that there is social value in seeing a Knight in vaguely 'Trooper-esque' armor - you know he's probably terrible at his class, and you probably shouldn't let him tank.
I've been playing our test server a lot lately, and I can tell you right now, people who are concerned about this are worrying too much. Our Knights look like Knights, our Troopers look like Troopers, and our players by and large are ending up with appearances that are appropriate for the class.”
So those of you (including myself) worrying out there needn’t actually worry, well, not too much anyway. You will undoubtedly see the “Jedi Trooper” or something close to it running around the world, but he sure as heck won’t be in your group. It still bugs me, just as I recall being bugged by seeing a black-and-white Wookiee named TheForce eagerly signing up to join The Empire years ago in Star Wars Galaxies (there are multiple things wrong with this), but I’m a stickler for this sort of thing, you may very well not be.
I may be reading too much into this, and so I must warn you that this bit is simply conjecture, but going off Damion’s comment on making emblematic gear class-only, I get the idea this will be reserved for raid or other high-end gear that would typically have a much more unique look only to their respective classes, while the regular stuff you may pick up from random loot or questing will probably be wearable by any class who can wear the armor type. My thinking is that this free-form equipping design is something they can deal with in the less important situations such as quest rewards, but I highly doubt they’re going to want to be in situations where Troopers are rolling on Jedi gear in instances simply because they want to look like idiots.
On a related note, the question which prompted the original response regarding the “Jedi Trooper” was actually about whether or not we would basically be seeing what I like to call “the clown suit” in The Old Republic, e.g. players donned head-to-toe in mismatched gear for optimal stats while looking like total idiots in doing so. Daniel basically said that they can’t stop players from looking like idiots and it’s likely there are a number of players who will do this on purpose, so they have “erred on the side of gameplay” in this case and will be allowing players to mix and match to their hearts content.
I understand there is a fairly active discussion on the possibility of an appearance tab that has been going on in the official SW:TOR forums for some time now, and I’m not sure what the status is on that, but I’d wager such a feature would probably be a good idea that would solve this issue for people who don’t want to look like clowns while allowing those who do the ability to continue to do so. However, if they don’t end up going this route, BioWare’s James Ohlen did add that they at least have an optional “color matching” system in place that will allow you to conform your mismatched armor in terms of color; you won’t have to worry about having a green chest piece and blue pants if you don’t want to.
Again, I’m vain, so I’m not sure how much this will matter to most of you reading this, but are you concerned about running into the “Jedi Trooper” in Star Wars: The Old Republic? Or do you actually plan on committing this blasphemy yourself? Share your thoughts in the comments below!