Fully Operational: The Empire’s Damage Dealers
“Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station!” — There is no better example of damage in the Star Wars galaxy than the scene attached to that quote. Each week in Fully Operational, join Kray as he takes a look at the damage dealing role in Star Wars: The Old Republic. And yes, we’ll blow up a planet if we get the chance.
Hello and welcome to the first of many installments of Fully Operational! My name’s Kray and I’ll be your guide through the perilous journeys of a damage-dealer (otherwise known as DPS – damage-per-second.) I’m described by many who meet me as “very tall” and “has spiky hair”, which I think qualifies me more than anything else to write articles about the world of damage dealing in Star Wars: The Old Republic! Oh, this is for your listening enjoyment. You can thank me later.
But enough about me! Today’s installment of your new favorite TOR column is an overview of some of the DPS AC options out there, based on the information we have so far. It’s not everything, but Bioware has given us more than enough to get a rough idea on how each class will play. If you’re looking for help on choosing a DPS class for the launch, look no further!
How Advanced Classes Work
The first order of business is to give a brief overview of how the Advanced Class (AC) system works in The Old Republic. We first need to create a new character – let’s call him Darth Sithington. Each faction in TOR has 4 unique base classes to choose from right off the start:
The classes next to each other on the same row are what’s called mirrors of each other; all characters have a counterpart in the opposing faction which can fill the same roles with a similar playstyle, but each class remains unique in the abilities and talents it has access to. With a name like Darth Sithington, our character is obviously going to be a Sith Warrior on the Empire side.
Now then, we’re chugging merrily along with our new character and finally reach a point in our class story arc (around level 10) where we’re given the option to pick an advanced class (AC). Each class has 2 separate, unique options of advanced classes to choose from; for example, the Sith Warrior can choose to become a Juggernaut or Marauder. From there, your talents work similar many other MMOs, with 3 skill trees per AC (2 specific to that AC, and one shared, which both ACs have access to). You keep your abilities previous to level 10, but whichever AC you pick will dramatically change what abilities you’ll receive as you level up, so choose carefully. Without further adieu, let’s get into what those advanced classes are.
Cealog’s post this week over at The Bacta Tankwent over the Empire tanking classes, so let’s stick with that theme and start off on the dark side!
Style: Force User – Melee
The Sith Warrior is the main melee class for the Empire, based around powerful and/or acrobatic lightsaber attacks. Though he does have some force capabilities like Force Choke, most of the force usage as a SW is based around improving melee abilities.
Weapons: Single Lightsaber
DPS Style: Melee – High Survivability
The Juggernaut is typically touted as the “tanking” tree for Warriors, but don’t let that pigeonhole you into a tanking role. BioWare themselves have said that though the Juggernaut sacrifices a little bit of raw DPS for survivability, the difference is small enough so a skilled player can still be right near the top of any group’s damage output. As a damage-dealer you’ll go down the Vengeance and Rage trees to improve your damage, with Immortal being available to help with utility and survivability. Expect to be able to charge into combat willy-nilly – your defensive talents will keep you alive.
Weapons: Dual Wield Lightsabers
DPS Style: Melee – Burst or Sustained
Offspec: MORE DPS
The Marauder is one of the few advanced classes in the game that is ALL about dps; there’s not a lot in the galaxy more intimidating than a raging Sith Warrior with two lightsabers charging at you. This AC has some pretty neat tricks like a short in-combat stealth and high mobility. For talents, you’ve got the Rage tree to provide some general combat buffs, in addition to Carnage which focuses on multiple strikes and burst damage, and Annihilation which works on sustained damage with bleed effects and the like.
Style: Heavy Force User – Melee or Ranged
The Sith Inquisitor is a class that encompasses such iconic characters as Darth Maul and Darth Sidious all in the same class, a difficult feat to be sure. The class is based around a huge aptitude and connection the force, tapping into it for lightning powers and even permanent stealth. With some neat tricks such as an electrical whirlwind CC ability and the extremely cool looking double-bladed lightsaber, Inquisitors are shaping up to be one of the most popular classes at launch.
Weapons: Dual-Bladed Lightsaber
DPS Style: Melee – Burst
The Assassin is the rogue-like AC in on the Empire side in TOR, combining a lot of the standard moves we expect after playing games like World of Warcraft, with the flavor and creativity the Star Wars universe offers. Using a double bladed lightsaber as his or her main source of damage, the Assassin echoes Darth Maul in high acrobatics and quick attacks. Assassins have the ability to charge their lightsaber with different effects, causing additional damage per hit or defensive bonuses depending on what’s used, giving them a bit of passive damage in addition to their bursty style. The Deception tree focuses on buffing your damage abilities and stealth, with the Darkness tree available to increase survivability (it’s the tanking tree). As with other classes, the shared Madness tree gives some neat benefits like health/force restoration and an extra AoE attack, leaning towards a hybrid melee/caster playstyle.
Weapons: Single Lightsaber
DPS Style: Ranged – Debuffs and Burst
The Sorcerer plays like the name sounds – lots of lightning, debuffs, and even some healing thrown in there to even things out. There’s a lot of different ways you can electrocute someone, and the Sorcerer knows them all. Though the Sorc still wields a double-bladed lightsaber and has some basic attacks, they are most effective at range, able to blast unhindered. The Lightning tree brings upgrades to your force attacks and gives bonuses such as cast speed buffs and the like, while the Corruption tree, despite having an awesome name, is based around healing. Dip into Madness for some melee upgrades if you’d like to try for a “battlemage” approach.
Style: Tech User – Short and Long Range
Bounty Hunters are, obviously, based around such iconic characters as Boba and Jango Fett. Due to the dangerous nature of the bounty hunting business, Hunters have a lot of technological tools to use. The class has a lot of flamethrowers, blasters, jetpacks, missiles, and darts mixed in with its attacks, so it’s bound to be a fun one to play.
Weapons: Single Blaster Pistol
DPS Style: Close to Mid Range – Sustained
Powertechs take the “tech” part of being a Bounty Hunter to the max, focusing on survivability, heavy armor, and impressive technology. From freezing enemies in carbonite to stabbing them in the face to setting them ablaze with an impressive number of flame-based skills, there’s a lot of technology being used, and for good reason. With the Advanced Prototype tree, you’ll focus on increasing your damage and procs, compared with the Shield Tech tree which is the tanking and utility talent tree. The Firebug tree is shared, containing general weapon upgrades, mostly based around your flame and missile attacks. The benefit of this particular AC is that the Shield Tech is a ranged tank, meaning you’ll have lots of control options for close and mid range as a Powertech.
Weapons: Dual Wield Blaster Pistol
DPS Style: Ranged – Burst
Mercenaries focus more on the blaster side of a Bounty Hunter, choosing to forego some of the heavier armor and complex flamethrowing abilities for two pistols at once. Though able to unleash a barrage of blaster bolts from a long range, the Merc keeps a warehouse full of missiles on him or her at all times. One particular mechanic allows “heat signatures” to build up on a target, increasing missile damage done. The Arsenal tree fits the Merc perfectly, increasing damage done by the arsenal of blaster and missile attacks available. Meanwhile, the Bodyguard tree takes things a different direction, allowing the Bounty Hunter to shield and heal allies. As always, the trusty Firebug tree gives general upgrades.
Style: Tech User – Short and Long Range
Masters of stealth, rifles, and the coolest one-liners in the game: the Imperial Agents are one of the most overlooked classes in the game, for NO GOOD REASON! IAs are the Empire-side class which utilizes the revolutionary “cover” mechanic – this allows a player to duck into spots around the world for defensive and offensive boosts. It doesn’t stop there, with a variety of short and long-range abilities (including stealth), the Imperial Agent is a versatile class.
Weapons: Blaster Rifle/Vibroblade
DPS Style: Close to Mid Range – Burst
The Operative takes pieces from all over – WoW Rogues and Hunters, James Bond, Engineers – and combines them into one deadly package. This is the more melee-focused of the Imperial Agents, utilizing stealth to deliver burst attacks followed by blaster rifle assaults. The Concealment tree increases stealth, melee, and burst damage, allowing a high degree of control in both melee range and from a short distance away. The Medic tree holds upgrade for the healing abilities from the Operative, providing a solid survivability boost. The shared tree Lethality (best IA tree name, for sure) has both upgrades for poisons and a dot-based playstyle.
Weapons: Sniper Rifle (duh)
DPS Style: Long Range – Sustained and Burst
Offspec: EVEN MORE DPS!
The second of the “DPS ONLY” ACs on the Empire side, the Sniper is the specialist in long range damage dealing, who actually has the longest range in the game. Instead of focusing on stealth, the Sniper makes heavy use of the cover mechanic to give themselves a defensive boost, even going so far as to have a portable “cover generator” shield droppable anywhere. Even if an enemy survives long enough to reach your cover point, you have abilities to knock enemies back and make it nigh-impossible to boot you out of your spot. The Marksmanship tree improves your cover attacks and sniping abilities, while the Engineering tree focuses more on technology, buffing up your bombs and summoned probes which harass enemies while you shoot away. Pick up Lethality if you want some general upgrades and poison damage increase.
HOO! That’s a lot of DPS! Hope you enjoyed it, and make sure to check back soon for the next installment of the overview – the Republic damage dealers!
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