Choosing my class in SWTOR

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It’s time to start narrowing down my choices for which class I’m going to play first in SWTOR at launch.  I’ve dabbled in the beta and like everything, which doesn’t help narrow things down at all.

The Advanced Class (AC) choice is where things get fuzzy.  It’s been confirmed that when you choose an advanced class, you can’t change your mind.  You can change your ‘talents’ within the trees of your advanced class, but when you choose to be a healing Consular or a DPS Knight, it’s permanent.

I love the permanence involved with the choice.  Switching to the flavor of the month won’t be as easy and players will need to think just a bit more about the choice they make — it actually makes choosing what path you follow a meaningful choice.

I’m torn between a Jedi Knight Guardian (Tank) and Jedi Consular Sage (Healer/Support).  They’re both team players since both have trees dedicated to helping the group, but both also have the ability to spec for damage dealing and ‘balance’ despite not going the Damage dealing AC.   I don’t have much experience with either, yet.  I played the opposite sides of the specs I’m debating.

Do any of you have experience with the Sage or Guardian and want to share your thoughts on how they compare to the other healers/tanks?  I’m also curious how the damage trees within the tank and healer AC’s do compared to their pure dps AC counterparts –  since I never reached the ‘end-game’, any insight there would be welcome.   I also need to consider PvP, since I’ll be doing a lot of it, but I figure either way I’m choosing classes with survivability.

P.S.: The skill calculator at TORHead is great for theory-crafting.

  • Every AC as at least one DPS tree

    ie. Trooper : Van – Tank / melee-cc-DPS / mid-close-range-DPS
    Com – Heal / long-range-DPS / mid-range-DPS

    After trying out every single class, I find its truly important to get a feel of each class knowing they can all DPS if need be.

    Dont be fooled about the shared trees, they are NOT the same for each AC.

    The bounty hunter’s Powertech Pyrotech tree is more melee oriented (effects are triggered by melee abilities) than its almost identical yet mid range oriented Merc Pyrotech tree. One could be fooled to go Powertech hoping to have the option of having range DPS, but you have to go in melee range to actually trigger the best abilities.

    Ive seen some nice PvP videos from a Sage.

  • Well keen at release I think I’m going to play smuggler-scoundrel

    but this beta weekend ive been playing a Sith juggernaut.. equivalent to the jedi guardian..

    Its pretty much your standard warrior from WoW.

    Has sunder armor, taunts, charge (leap), uhh has a defensive stance, umm lots og threat stuff etc.. it uses 1h light saber with a shield offhand

    Its a interesting class but I think playing the commando/BH tank AH would prob be a lot more fun.

  • What what ive seen the sith inquistor ACs are gonna be EXTREMELY popular..
    uhh double bladed light sabers + force lightning.

    Also I think BH/commando and smugg/imperial agent will be popular too…

    Consular im sure will be on same level as inquistor though.

    I think jedi knight/sith warr will be the least popular classes.. the most dull really they are mostly about close combat swinning your lightsaber.. at level 17 sith warr i have no force powers at all.. its all about the light saber.

    Soo ya.

  • Right now its either Trooper or SI for me depending on what guild I can get into at launch and more population numbers are sort of fleshed out, I am not going to play the underpopulated side for like my 4th MMO in a row. Right now its looking like Republic will have the greatest population side.

  • What game are you playing? lol, Empire is going to have a massive advantage in population, the amount of guild pages they have in comparison to republic was announced a few days ago it’s like 10 to 1 ratio.

  • I’m in the same boat really.

    I had always wanted to play a Shadow, but after dabbling in everything I’m torn between that and Smuggler, and a BH later.

    I played Smuggler until level 10 to test Gunslinger and loved every minute of it. I had to stop playing because I found the story so much better than all the others, I didn’t wanna ruin it for when it’s live.

    The game meets my expectations. I’m excited for it. It feels like a singleplayer bioware RPG with multiplayer options. I’m fine with that.

  • Has anyone experience with the Mercenary class on the Bounty Hunter side? I thought I read that it had heals, range, and heavy armor? I played it for the first 3 levels (after my first unsuccessful beta I just wanted to make sure the game runs on my system!). A healer that has ranged offensive firepower and is hard to take down due to heavy armor reminds me of the WOW paladin…with the access to ranged weapons making it even more powerful? Is Commando the equivalent to the Mercenary?

  • I cant attest that Jedi Knight is pretty damn boring and this coming from a 6 year vetern of a WoW Warrior. I disliked the Focus aspect of the lcass greatly, having to constantly micro manage and look to see if you have enough focus to fire off a greater ability took alot of the fun out of it for me. Top it off its pretty damn hard to stay in melee range in PvP.

  • I am playing a Sage healer this time out and it was kind of slow going because you are wearing toilet paper. The first ten levels it appeared like I was under powered. You fight up close with a light sabre and mobs just eat you up. You also get a few ranged lightening attacks and the ranged NPC eat you alive. I had to get closer to mobs then I would have liked early on but it does get better as you level. Once I received my companion it became alot better. Once you ding you best see the trainer asap. You can’t wait to train like you can with other classes.

    I had many awesome crits while grouped with other players and pulled mobs from the Tank often. I liked using the Lightening. The mez that you get early on will heal the NPC to full so you have to use it early in the fight to lock down one mob. The mez also has a long casting time. Make sure you use the mez on a NPC not near the main group of mobs because force charge will break the mez every time.

    I thought I was a better healer when I played an Imperial Agent but I also did not do as much damage.

  • I am facing a similar decision between Jedi Shadow and Sage. The Sage is the type of class I play often but from all reports you need to respec often from a DPS tree to a Healing tree during leveling. The DPS tree by all accounts is very strong, however, due to the distinct lack of healers that is most assuredly going to happen you will often find yourself respceing to healing even though you are dps.

    Just something to keep in mind.

  • This game makes me miss Rift’s class system a lot. I’m not sure why companies don’t just steal that idea. Character class choice = good for players. We like to be able to be adaptive. Forcing to play one route is so archaic in design.

  • I’ve been in the beta since August.

    As far as a Jedi Sage; why? Who would rather throw rocks at someone over shooting lightning?

  • I will most likely be playing either a bounty hunter or a trooper, depending on which side my friend wants to play on. I spent most of my time testing the Sith warrior, like most people have said, they play like a warrior from WOW.

  • @phandy: I actually hated rift’s class system. Felt like ten classes that all did the same thing for each spot in the holy trinity.

    @the merovingian: is the shadow a decent tank? I’ve never played with one.

  • According to BioWare every tank is equally viable. I played the Assassin (Shadow equivalent on empire), and they’re very powerful. Decent self-healing, lot of aoe abilities. The one issue I had was no ‘opening’. The other tanks can all charge at the enemy, but Shadow/Ass can’t. They do get a force pull, but it’s on a longer cd.

    You can also stealth around..though that’s not real useful for a tank. But for questing it can be nice. And a vanish.

  • Man I am getting the game. Yes MMO side sucks. But story part is real good. I got hooked. To hell with crappy pvp and probably non existing end game. I ll play it just for first 20 levels of each class

  • Assasin by endgame beta testers is considered the worst tank class because of their armor is the lowest. Sort of reminds me of the DK in WoW with no shield or extended health pool like a warr/pall or druid.

  • @phandy

    I didn’t like Rift because of that. I prefer the class choice being something permanent in an RPG – otherwise why create more than one character? A Smuggler isn’t going to suddenly become a Jedi.

  • @Keen : you have a “defensive” tree, and at level 15, you get a “tank” stance that works a bit like feral druid or DK in WoW, your armor, defenses and threat gets boosted.
    To compare to other tanks, I’d need to have more info, like what their mitigation/avoidance is like at level 15… But it has been confirmed by the developers that it’s a tank able class.

  • As far as Rift’s class system I agree it was the only bright spot in the game. I disagree with you Keen in regards to Rift’s class system, not so much that it didnt “feel” like 10 classes doing the same spot (which it did) but the beautiful thing about it gave each class just enough flair for the player to create the sort of character he wanted to be.

    I always play melee DPS in games, In games like WoW or soon to be SWToR I have very limited options and if those options dont have certain aspects that I favor (i.e. some magic based range spells and a emergency heal button) then I am screwed but in Rift I could combine 3 of the classes I liked to create something I wouldnt consider Unique but more personal. Which is why I likedd it.

  • I thought Rift’s class system was “revolutionary” in the sense that guilds could now bring the player to raids instead of the class. Finally smaller guilds have the flexibility to raid content without having to over recruit. That type of systems should be the standard going forward. Maybe it is the old guild leader in me. But as I played the Beta Instance I couldn’t help but think “I hope we have enough Tanks/Healers for release”, which is a shame and completely unnecessary in 2011.

    I will give SWTOR a pass in that it wouldn’t make sense for their story though. I just made me miss it is all.

  • @Zederok
    Assassin’s low armor is irrelevant when they go into their tanking stance, as it buffs it equal to heavy. I’ve been in beta testing for 4 months and I don’t agree they’re seen as the worst at end-game. But that’s just an endless debate as seemingly anyone who plays a particular AC thinks it’s the worst. It’s also irrelevant as there will be constant re-balancing and adjusting. The important thing is that BioWare themselves has said they want all tanks equally capable. So you just gotta trust them to make that work.

  • @Keen Its nothing to do with being old hat or not. I Just think and this is my personal opinion that if a game is going to be based on the holy trinity (which I abhore) Then you need to give players options to change when something is needed. I say this because as it stands If I want to play Ranged DPS when I am not needed to tank then my only option is to play a Trooper or BH.

    It would be much more nice if I could play the class I want (Sith Inquisitor) and play Melee DPS in groups (Assasin) but Ranged (Sorc) in PvP. IMO when a company offers many options in their gameplay…i.e. PvE, Solo Questing, World PvP, Instanced PvP, group Heroics, and anything else that a game like TOR thows at you then I am of the opinion each class should be able to play each of the gameplay choices instead of pigeon holing a class to what particular style thereby ruining any chance at partaking in any of the other content a game offers.

  • I played a jedi Consular Sage to about lvl 17-18 during the beta and loved it. You can throw rocks and debris at people and lift them in the air!

    It worked very well as a healer with a force shield, one quick heal and one bigger slower one.

  • I have to go with Shadow…a very unique class. Stealth, dual blade light saber, ranged force powers…The animations are the dual are crazy good and so much fun.

  • @Keen A Shadow can’t heal though, so in that sense it doesn’t really solve your dilemma between playing a healer or tank.. Shadow is just a different kind of tank.

  • Got my Imperial Agent to 16 tonight and I think I have personally found my favorite class. Playign the Operative Advance Class was jsut freaking fun as hell. Looking forward though the skills you get up to 50 was like icing on the cake. Alot of tools and a ton of CC options.

  • @Zederok Agreed. I’ve been interested in the Imperial Agent since it was first announced. . .and I’ve tried it out during 2 beta weekends now. . .and love it. Not interested in the sniper. I went with Operative and immediately started up the healing tree.

    Black Talon instance was a breeze. . .I even ran through it with just me and my 11 year old son on his BH. Questing was very fun (especially after you get sprint and you can stealth at high speeds). I too felt like I had a ton of options with the class. . .though I almost completely stopped using the cover system by about level 12.

    Healing from cover is a fun option to have though.

    Operative all the way!

  • Got my Jedi Consular Shadow to 18, but I also visited almost all planets once I got my ship so I slacked a lot, she’d be 20+ easily otherwise.
    I just had to force myself to stop (it’s 1:30am here in France, the game closes in 5.5 hours but I need to sleep. This is sign I’m “addicted”, aka that the game caught me, unlike Warhammer, Rift and other recent failures. Can’t wait for release, and for me, Jedi Shadow all the way!

  • I played a sage through Alderaan and absolutely loved it. I stayed in healing spec the entire time branching in to the first tier of the telekinetic (teke) tree for additional force as well as reduced force costs of abilities.

    When you focus on the healing tree you do sacrifice some big damage numbers, but you make up for it in survivability. I could easily take elites two levels above me with proper cc and keeping the heals and shield on Qyzen.

    The damage abilities for the sage are interesting varying from a series of DoTs to direct damage and solid Crowd Control.

    Playing as a healing sage in PvP was interesting as I primarily used my shield ability, my cc abilities, and my instant cast attacks. I would need to spend more time in PvP but I noticed that a good healer easily changes the flow of random battlegrounds.

    While I never built heavy into the teke tree I grouped with several people who did. Their damage was quite solid though it was very single target focused. If you like playing mages in MMOs like WoW the teke tree definitely gives you that feel with slightly improved moblity.

  • I played a trooper to L12 and for some reason I still cant train for an advance class. Is this because I still have some more class quests to do? I’ve just received a querst to go to a senate meeting is where I’m up to before the servers went down.

    Are there many more quests to go or is it a bug?


  • @Rayles: did you talk to the guy just after arriving on the fleet after leaving your starter planet? It’s him who gives you directions to get your advanced class. I agree it’s easy to miss, I got him on my councilor but missed him on my sith warrior and had to go back. I made a bug ticket about it.

  • With regards to the trooper training, all I found was soon as I recieved the mission to travel to the starport I found the trooper advisor standing to one side of the walkway on the station.

    He gave me advice on future choices and then said go to the trainer marked on your map. Walk to the marked trainer and you will be given a choice of commando or the tanky sub class along with a view of each class trees, a warning to tell you it’s permanent and then a mouse click from comlpetion.

    When you have picked and clicked check your bag for the weapon goodies.

  • @Rayles I don’t have the specific details, but there is a quest you need to take in Coruscant, then its a matter of speaking to your class trainer and choosing the AC you want.

    I played a Jedi Shadow to 14, taking my time enjoying every quest I could find and some Warzones. If I play Republic (I don’t know other people in Aus who have imported this so depends if I have mates or not to play with!)I think its Jedi Shadow for me, or maybe Sage. I haven’t tested Sage, though it does sound like a playstyle I could enjoy.

    Good luck with your choice, it isn’t too easy!

  • @Scargrim: not in Coruscant – on the fleet base, just after leaving your starter planet, BEFORE going to Coruscant.

  • Thanks guys for your help at least its beta and I learned from this. If the servers do come back up I’ll back track. If not then I will take special notice next time. I would of chosen commando.
    Thanks again::)

  • I’m a bit confused about your enthusiasm for choosing an advanced class and it being a permanent choice. Hasn’t that feature been in many MMOs already? Isn’t it kind of like picking any class ever is in any MMO? Le shrug!

  • @The Merovingian Thanks for that. I didn’t actually get my AC there, must have missed it. I went to Coruscant at the end of The Esseles flashpoint. I didn’t get it till level 12. So if you do miss the one on the fleet base (like me) you can still get it in Coruscant.

  • @Bonedead: It’s a decision you make for a character you have already created. In most MMO’s released post-WoW era, just about everything you do can be reversed. Permanent choices lead to greater thought and create an air of permanence.

  • I love the Sith Sorcerer especially for PvP. It is hard to imagine a better class for me as I have probably the heaviest dps, great CC, and to top that off I am a healer (even spec’d into dps trees). Obviously armor is the worst, but one gets an awesome static shield which negates damage until it pops. I always played glass cannon mages in MMO’s but now I can throw up a shield and cast a big heal on myself when hurting; to sum up in a single word, yum.

    It makes me feel like I slept at a Holiday Inn Express prior to paying a visit to the wargrounds…

  • Heyas Keen

    Ive played a sage, scoundrel, and guardian so far in beta (level 13-15).
    So far, I do like the guardian primarily because I like melee. I havent noticed what many people say is poor damage as of yet; but Im not high enough to make an accurate assesment.

    Tank-wise, i do not feel a difference in mitigation between the sage or guardian yet. IMO they feel the same so far. The largest difference is that the sage does do roughly 1.5 to 2x the damage this guys does, and the downtime is alot less on the sage, and the fact that the sages companion is a better tank than the guardian atm.

    I want to play a guardian as well, but being that i am very pvp centric, I am hesitant to do so. I havent got the chance to try a shadow or sentinal yet, but Taugrim is gonna be palying a sentinal and he states its a great class. He has a video of it on his website as well in pvp action.

  • @Jim


    I see youve stated that shadows have ranged force powers. Can you elaborate? I was under the impression that the shadow doesnt get any new ranged abilities that differ from the base consular. If that is the case the range is only 10 feet, which is terribad, and the damage im assuming may not scale well. If the shadow can spec into 20-30 ft range and do good damage as well as having superb melee capability, that my be the class I should look into.

  • I believe the only “ranged” combat abilities for the shadow are either at 1 or 3 meters; it isn’t a ranged class.

  • Found this:

    We do want your AC choice to matter, but we also don’t want to punish simple mistakes. So, the current design is that changing your advanced class initially is cheap (e.g. changing it right at level 10 is almost free). — George Zoeller

    Rockjaw (Stephen Reid)
    @Scottj67 AC changing may happen post-launch.