Truth be told, I seem to fall in love with most of the classes I try in Star Wars: The Old Republic, but outside of the Imperial Agent, one class holds a special place in my heart: the Sith Marauder. Why? Because I beat Daniel Erickson with one back in April! Naturally, when I was given the opportunity to sample the Sith Empire side of things I decided to circle back around and play the Marauder once again.
WARNING: There be spoilers ahead!
Time to Rage!
Unlike my previous experience with the Marauder, I didn’t start at level 20 or so, which gave me an opportunity to experience the class from the beginning instead of just in PvP. For those who aren’t familiar, the Marauder is a dual-wielding Advanced Class available to the Sith Warrior. Most Advanced Classes in the game are capable of filling multiple roles, but the Marauder? He’s a damage dealer through and through. That’s not to say you don’t have choice as a Marauder, in the end, it’s all about playstyle. The talent trees available to the Marauder allow one to specialize in straight up damage or damage-over-time abilities, but if you’re looking to have the option to tank when necessary, you’ll probably want to look at the Sith Juggernaut, the second Advanced Class available to the Sith Warrior.
As for the story, the Sith Warrior adventure begins on the planet of Korriban, a planet steeped in Sith history, which should be immediately apparent to even the most novice of Star Wars fans, as the sandy landscape is dotted with massive tombs dedicated to ancient Sith Lords such as Naga Sadow, Marka Ragnos and Tulak Hord. The basics of the early Sith Warrior storyline focus on completing your Sith trials and dealing with the competition of other Sith hopefuls, including your own personal nemesis. Your master has basically fast-tracked the process and is trying to help you become the apprentice of a Sith Lord named Darth Baras. I’m not going to spoil all the particulars, but compared to the Trooper I played previously, the storyline and experience was completely different.
Eventually, you’ll even acquire your own slave in the form of Vette, a Twi’lek treasure hunter who was caught poking around the Sith tombs. Vette is jailed in the Sith Academy and is turned over to you when her knowledge of the tombs would make her a useful tool in accomplishing one of your tasks. Vette, who is played by the same voice actress that voiced Mission Vao in the original Knights of the Old Republic, is an innocent and sarcastic character who seems to deal with her situation fairly well and isn’t afraid to rebel against you or make smart-aleck remarks. Of course, she is also equipped with a shock-capable slave collar, and you are given more than ample opportunities to zap her for her inevitable moments of insolence. And yes, I took advantage of this. A lot.
In combat, Vette is a powerhouse with her dual pistols, and she more than holds her own in assisting you in a fight. Heck, at times, I felt she was too powerful! Unlike Aric Jorgan on the Trooper, I was glad to have Vette around. She isn’t bloodthirsty, so she won’t appreciate you lopping the heads off randoms, but if you’re not finding the opportunities for violence in the storyline to be enough to sate your rage after a long day at work, you can just zap Vette. Think of her as your very own living stress ball!
I know there is good in you. The Emperor hasn’t driven it from you fully.
Sith culture is vastly different from that of the Republic. It is a brutal culture where the strongest survive and concepts such as mercy are looked upon as a sign of weakness; even the notion of loyalty is fleeting indeed. When playing the Trooper, the choices I had to make carried a sense of weight due to the potential consequences of your actions, but as a Warrior, early choices almost felt pressured. It’s true; you can be merciful even as a Sith Warrior, but the game constantly reminds you of how you’re going against the grain by doing this. When confronted with the decision to murder someone close to you, the character unflinchingly readies himself for battle, expecting it. This is simply the way of the Sith. Choosing to spare them evokes a sense of shock, even inner-conflict, as the character isn’t even sure if he should accept this act of mercy. The story will challenge you on this choice later on as well, in a clever way that forces you to reconsider the merciful path you appear to be treading on. Later, after returning to complete one of your trials, you can choose to hand over all your quest items to a failed hopeful in order to spare him a likely death, but choosing to do so means you’ll have to basically redo the quest over. Treading the Light path as a Sith is not easy, but it offers a just as compelling, if not a more compelling experience than perhaps playing an out-and-out Jedi Knight. It’s taboo to do what you are doing, and concealing your good deeds is necessary in order to maintain your reputation.
I can feel your anger. It gives you focus, makes you stronger.
At the same time, those of you who have no problem going down the Dark path the story seems to want to send you on will not be disappointed with the Warrior. You are the enforcer – and brutality is clearly your specialty. If you want him to be, the Marauder can be almost animalistic in its viciousness. Alternatively, you can play things a bit more cerebral à la Darth Vader. It’s not quite the same politicking you might expect on the Sith Inquisitor, but you don’t always need to be seeing red. However, the game does give you many opportunities for needless violence and aggression as a Warrior, and let me tell you, it’s quite satisfying. There’s nothing like being ambushed by a bunch of fools who are convinced they’ve got you trapped, only to turn the tables on them with an eagerness for battle they weren’t expecting. I went a step further and told them I planned on eating them when I was done with them. Let’s just say they changed their minds about attacking me at this point. They wanted to leave, but oh, I wasn’t done with them yet. Not even close.
Time for a bloodbath!
The Marauder’s gameplay is equally as brutal as its story can be. You build rage with certain attacks (similar to Warrior classes in other MMOs) and you spend it with others. The class is one of little finesse; you won’t be twirling around doing pirouettes with a double-bladed lightsaber. No, instead you’ll leap upon your enemies from 30 meters away using Force Leap, only for them to collapse under an unrelenting flurry of strikes from not one, but two lightsabers. Force Leap, unlike the many charge moves available in many other MMOs, can leap up (or down) several levels of elevation as well. As I described back in April, there is nothing like jumping on someone who thinks they are safe several stories above you. You’re never safe around an angry Marauder. Oh, and forget force lightning – you can roar at people.
For its power, the Marauder is a bit squishier than a basic Sith Juggernaut, and it was decidedly lacking in crowd control, especially at my level. In later levels, you’ll have access to Force Choke, which I had a lot of success with in my earlier experience with the class, but in the teen levels, it’s definitely all about killing before being killed yourself. However, the Marauder does have Cloak of Pain, a new ability that may give pause to those who wish to attack him. It’s basically what can be considered a “thorn shield, “ a shield that deals damage back to your attackers for a certain period of time, with each subsequent attack prolonging the duration of the ability for up to a set amount of time (less than the cooldown, but not prohibitively so). This ability was a godsend in keeping me alive in hairy situations.
Unfortunately, this is where I get off.
If I weren’t hell-bent on playing an Imperial Agent as my main character at launch, the Sith Marauder would come in at a close second as far as the Sith side of things goes. The Marauder is one of the few classes that were completely off my radar before I played it in PvP earlier this year, and I’ve quickly grown fond of it each time I’ve had a chance to play the class. If you’re just looking to slam people with the weight behind a pair of lightsabers and cut swaths through waves of enemies, the Marauder has you covered. If you want to prance around flinging lightning from your fingertips or twirl around with your dual-bladed lightsaber, check out the Sith Inquisitor.