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Columns: Intel on the Imperial Agent

By Michael Bitton on November 03, 2010

Intel on the Imperial Agent

Last week’s Friday Update was solid. A rarity, I know. Bioware treated us to another class focus update, this time on the Imperial Agent. My plan is to play all of Star Wars: The Old Republic’s eight classes through their class storylines, but it’s the Agent that has captured my interest since its announcement and especially after my hands-on time with the class during E3. Needless to say, it was an exciting update for me, and that is certainly an appreciated change of pace.


Getting all the nitty-gritty out of the way, Bioware released a new class video focused on the Imperial Agent, details on the Agent’s Advanced Class options, revealed the Rattataki Kaliyo Djannis as the Agent’s first official companion, profiled the Agent’s starship the X-70B Phantom-class Prototype, and finally, updated the Inhabitants section of the official site with an entry on the Chiss race, which is a playable race for the Imperial Agent class.


There is a good deal to wade through here. Starting out with the new video, I’d say (and yes I’m biased here) the Imperial Agent was the most convincing class video yet. If you’re really feeling the Sith Empire, I think the video did a great job at stirring up excitement for Imperial diehards. The video briefly gives us a glimpse of the more James Bond side of the Imperial Agent experience before getting down to the wetwork. We see the Agent dropping out of the ceiling to shank some poor bastard, leading into what was my favorite part, a long drawn out moment where the Agent’s got a Jedi in his sights, seemingly savoring the moment, before blowing him away with what is clearly a solid headshot. Ouch! For those of you confused as to how those non-Force users are going to deal with Jedi, well, there you have it. I can’t speak for those other clowns, but if you’ve got a Jedi problem, rest assured it looks like at least the Agent can quite capably handle the task.

I’m not going to spend too much time on the Advanced Classes as most of you following this game likely know about them by now, but last week’s update “revealed” the Sniper and Operative Advanced Classes for the Agent. The Operative is your melee/stealth type, who, like the Smuggler also has a healing line for who knows what reason. The Sniper, well, he shoots things, from afar, with a scope. Yep. Not a huge mystery there! I’m personally looking forward to going down the Sniper route, but I did end up leaning towards some good ol’shanking when I actually played the game at E3, so who knows? Maybe I’ll prefer dropping from ceilings and stabbing a guy to shootin’ him in the face. Oh, who am I kidding?

Kaliyo is both an interesting and perplexing choice for a first companion. I really love her style, and her background, but I’m a bit confused as to what her exact combat role is. It sounds like she is very similar to the Agent himself, and all of the companions highlighted so far seem to fill gaps for their respective classes, so she seems perhaps slightly redundant from a gameplay perspective.

The X-70B is clearly inspired by Republic Sienar Systems’ (later Sienar Fleet Systems) Star Courier, or more notoriously, Darth Maul’s “Sith Infiltrator,” which was a modified Star Courier. The ship’s outward design is sleek, but what I really enjoyed was the brief clip of its interior, which looked convincingly Imperial, if a bit sterile, and oddly enough, somewhat luxurious.

This might come as a surprise to you, but the most interesting part of last week’s update, at least for me, was the Holonet entry on the Chiss. Prior to E3, I speculated on a number of potential races to be playable in Star Wars: The Old Republic, plucking out a number of my favorites from the films and Expanded Universe and examined their likelihood in making it into the game. In my first article, I noted the Chiss as being one of my favorite races in Star Wars, but found their inclusion to be pretty unlikely due to their isolationist history.

Just prior to E3 and much to my surprise, we learned that the Chiss would indeed be playable, at least as the Imperial Agent class, and I prodded Bioware’s Daniel Erickson for details on how that was going to work. After all, having tons of Chiss running about didn’t seem fitting, given their isolationist nature, and he coyly replied that they wouldn’t be as prevalent as I thought. This was my first hint at the game’s later confirmed racial restrictions, and I honestly don’t expect to see the Chiss playable as any other class, just call that a hunch.

In any case, the Holonet update finally provided information on how this odd alliance between the Sith Empire and Chiss Ascendancy came to be. The entry explains that the Sith Empire came upon the Chiss Ascendancy in the Unknown Regions and as they do with all militarily capable alien civilizations they encounter, they demanded the Chiss immediately surrender. This often results in war and subsequently, the conquering of said species by the Sith Empire, however, this time things were different. The Chiss are known to be incredibly calculating, and I’m going to wager a guess here and say they probably figured out they were going to lose, so they instead decided to negotiate with the Empire, ultimately resulting in an unlikely alliance between the isolationist alien civilization and the Sith Empire.

It’s important to note that this was basically established for the game, as there isn’t much record at all of the Chiss being in the known galaxy before the ascension of Thrawn after the Battle of Endor. It wasn’t until 1,000 BBY that the Chiss began to appear in any real measurable quantity outside of the Ascendancy. This is why I believe that the race will only be playable as clandestine Imperial Agents, which makes a bit more sense. Lore nitpicking aside, I’m incredibly excited to see the Chiss as a playable race in the game, and it’s great to have some more information on their role in the galaxy and especially within the Empire.

Are you looking forward to playing as the Imperial Agent? Share your thoughts on Friday’s update in the comments below!

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined as the site's Community Manager.