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Getting started in SWTOR

by: B. Martin ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

Have you found yourself itching for the release of Star Wars The Old Republic but not sure what might be involved in getting started? This guide will help you figure out what type of class you want to play, and go over what things you should consider when leveling up through the advanced classes.

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    Ready for a Little Clarification?

    X-70B Phantom   The complete details for all the character classes haven't been released yet, and before the release of the game what we know now will certainly change. A lot of the information out there right now is either focused on the lore or delving into the minutia of the technical details making it hard to understand. This guide is intended as a middle ground, giving you details about the classes that your interested in without drowning you in technical details. As you go over the different character classes you'll be shown through their basic class, their advanced classes, and the things that make them special. Once your through here, you'll be able to know exactly where to focus your time and effort to hit the ground running. For now, lets start at the beginning.

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    General Class Information

    Group Shot   First of all, there are currently 8 different Base Character Classes. On the good side of things we have the Jedi Consular, Jedi Knight, Smuggler, and the Trooper. On the evil side of things we have the Sith Inquisitor, Sith Warrior, Imperial Agent, and the Bounty Hunter. Each of the eight classes are approximately equal to their opposite classes, even though the execution is obviously different. Each of the Base Character Classes will reach a plateau at level 10 and will separate into their two Specialist Classes. When you choose your specialization, you will then have access to two Advanced Skill Set trees, along with the Base Skill Set tree. This type of leveling up allows you to create very unique characters and use them in the way that fits with your play style the most.

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    Companions

    One of the things that you need to keep in mind is that you will have access to several different companions through your journey in SWTOR. While technically not a part of your character, it does affect the powers that you select. Figuring out the role that you want your companion to take and how you want them to compliment your abilities will certainly affect how you choose your powers. Deciding that you regularly want to take along a companion that is a healer will allow you to play the game very differently then if you chose to bring along a companion that’s intended to deal out damage.

    Companion Concept Image   Your companions also can learn Crew Skills. Crew Skills vary greatly in what they deliver from the other skill sets your companions can learn. These other skills are grouped into Gathering Skills, Crafting Skills, or Mission Skills. Each have their unique perks and each will also have an influence on how you make your character. Rather than bringing some muscle or a healer, you might want to bring along your Specialist that is good at Slicing into secured computer systems. While tagging along with you, your companions will also comment on things, give information on plot points, or direct you to certain points of interest.

    In addition to the things that your companions can do for you while by your side, your companions also serve another purpose. Your companions can use their skills for things while your busy doing more exciting things. You could have your companion impliment their skill directly to create a new piece of armor if you were to focus on Crafting Skills, or you could send them away on an individual mission which could earn you a variety of rewards in game, even if your taking a break offline.

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    Now Your Ready to Pick Your Class

    Now that you have a good grasp on what kind of things will affect your progress you have a big choice on your hands on what you want to choose for your character. Do you want to use The Force or not? In this game, being a Jedi or Sith doesn't make you all powerful when compared to the non-Force users. Each class has their own unique traits which makes them a lot of fun to play. In the next pages I'll be detailing what those character classes are and listing the main focus for them, making it easier to pick out the traits that you might like best.

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    Heavily Armored Force User

    Like their lightly armored counterparts, the overall scope and function of the more heavily armored Force users are very similar when comparing both the Jedi Knight and the Sith Warrior to each other. The expertise of both of their advanced classes revolves around being in melee range, with one advanced class being focused on attacking, while the other is focused on defense.

    White not as focused on an acrobatic style of play, these Force users get into the middle of the action and have the enemies attention instantly focused on them. Whether eithe warrior is focused on doing as much damage as possible quickly, or being so tough that the enemy has trouble damaging them at all, these classes are best enjoyed by players who love to be in the middle of it all and dealing with everything in an up close and personal style of play.

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    Jedi Knight

    Common TraitsJedi Knight Wallpaper  

    Shuttle Type: Corellian Defender-Class Light Corvette

    Starting World: Tython

    Species Available:

    • Human
    • Miraluka
    • Zabrak

    Weapon Types:

    • Single Lightsaber
    • Dual Lightsabers
    • Force Powers

    Armor Type:Jedi Ship - The Defender  

    • Medium or Heavy Armors

    Special Traits:

    • Able to deflect blaster attacks from either front or the back
    • Uses Force Powers to both attack and incapacitate enemies
    • Uses Focus Points as the pace mechanic in the Action Point System

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    Jedi Sentinel

    Jedi Knight - Sentinel  

    Designed to be a close combat Melee DPS, the Jedi Sentinel's preference is to wield Dual Lightsabers and use medium armor when dealing with their enemies. Although more focused on using two weapons at once, the Sentinel still has traditional abilities like using a Force Push or Force Leap to manipulate the combat space. The counterpoint to this class is the Sith Marauder.

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    Jedi Guardian

    Jedi Knight - Guardian  

    Designed to be a tank class, the Jedi Guardian's preference is to wear heavy armor and use a single Lightsaber for dealing with enemies. While the Guardian is very tough, his main focus is to use that strength to defend his companions. He has several abilities which increase the enemies focus on him, including the ability to Force Leap directly to an ally and focus the enemies attention from the ally onto the Guardian. The counterpoint to this class is the Sith Juggernaut.

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    Sith Warrior

    Common TraitsSith Warrior Wallpaper  

    Shuttle Type: Fury-Class Imperial Interceptor

    Starting World: Korriban

    Species Available:

    • Human
    • Sith Pureblood
    • Zabarak
    • Cyborg

    Weapon Types:

    • Single Lightsaber
    • Dual Lightsabers
    • Force Powers

    Armor Type:Sith Ship - Fury  

    • Medium or Heavy Armors

    Special Traits:

    • Able to deflect blaster attacks from either front or the back
    • Uses Force Powers to both attack and incapacitate enemies
    • Uses Rage Points as the pace mechanic in the Action Point System
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    Sith Marauder

    Sith Warrior - Marauder  

    Designed to be a close combat Melee DPS, the Sith Marauder wields Dual Lightsabers and uses medium armor to get in close and do a high amount of damage to enemies. Like the Sith Assassin he is able to conceal his location for a limited duration in order to get into the middle of enemies unseen. Although able to use other Force Powers, the main focus of the Sith Marauder is to use their Lightsabers to do the bulk of their damage. The counterpoint to this character class is the Jedi Sentinel.

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    Sith Juggernaut

    Sith Warrior - Juggernaut   Designed to be a tank class, the Sith Juggernaut's focus is on wearing Heavy Armor which allows him to absorb significant amounts of damage when wading into the midst of foes. Not needing to use concealment, the Juggernaut uses different Auras to inflict chaos around him on the battlefield. As the Juggernaut is focused on defense rather than attack, he only wields a single Lightsaber as his offensive weapon. Other Force Powers include abilities that can both drain enemies and strengthen the user at the same time. The counterpoint to this character class is the Jedi Guardian.

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    Lightly Armored Force User

    While their powers are very different in actual use, the overall scope and function of the lightly armored force user is very similar on both the good and evil side of things. The Jedi Consular and Sith Inquisitor classes are focused on two distinct areas of expertise. One of their advanced classes focuses on long ranged combat and using support powers for healing and control. The other advanced class focuses on more of a melee application of force powers to be a tank type with high damage output.

    Mainly due to wearing light armor, this type of force user prefers the more acrobatic style of play. While they are no slouch in melee, it is best when they choose to be there and not when they are forced into close range combat. Both the Jedi and Sith versions of this variant have a widely variety of choice in their advanced classes, but it’s clear that they prefer to use Force powers more than Lightsabers to get their point across.

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    Jedi Consular

    Jedi Consular Wallpaper   Common Traits

    Shuttle Type: Corellian Defender-Class Light Corvette

    Starting World: Tython

    Species Available:

    • Human
    • Mirialan
    • Miraluka
    • Twi'lek

    Weapon Types:

    • Single Lightsaber
    • Double Bladed Lightsaber
    • Telekenitic Force Powers

    Armor Type:Jedi Ship - The Defender  

    • Light Armor

    Special Traits:

    • Able to deflect blaster attacks from either front or the back
    • Uses telekinetic Force powers to both attack and heal
    • Uses Force Points as the pace mechanic in the Action Point System

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    Jedi Sage

    Jedi Consular   Designed for medium to long range combat through telekinetic Force powers, healing powers, and melee DPS. The Sage uses only a single Lightsaber for combat purposes, but is possibly the most versatile in the roles that can be taken by a Jedi. The Sage, as a major manipulator of the Force, uses both telekinetic and mental manipulation to attack or incapacitate their foes. The Sage also uses The Force in healing applications. Like all Jedi, they are effective in melee range as well, but they should not spend the bulk of their time there as their role is to control the pace of battle, not wade through heavy blaster fire. The counterpoint to this character class is the Sith Sorcerer.

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    Jedi Shadow

    Jedi Consular   Designed for close and medium range combat, the Shadow uses a Double Bladed Lightsaber in combat. The Shadow has its own Skill Set that can allow them to greatly increase their defensive abilities and effectively turns them into a tank type. This class also has short term stealth abilities that allow them to get into the thick of things without the risk of taking excessive damage to get there. Although not as extensive as the Sage, the Shadow also uses Force Push/Pull powers to deal damage to their enemies. The counterpoint to this character class is the Sith Assassin.

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    Sith Inquisitor

    Sith Inquisitor Wallpaper   Common Traits

    Shuttle Type: Fury-Class Imperial Interceptor

    Starting World: Korriban

    Species Available:

    • Human
    • Zabarak
    • Rattataki
    • Twi'lek
    • Sith Pureblood

    Weapon Types:

    • Single Lightsaber
    • Double Bladed Lightsaber
    • Force Powers

    Armor Type:Sith Ship - Fury  

    • Light Armor

    Special Traits:

    • Able to deflect blaster attacks from either front or the back
    • Uses Force Lightning to both attack and drain enemies
    • Uses Force Points as the pace mechanic in the Action Point System
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    Sith Sorcerer

    Sith Inquisitor - Sorcerer   Designed for medium to long range Force powers, healing powers, and melee DPS. The Sorcerer uses only a single Lightsaber for combat purposes, but is possibly the most versatile in the types roles that can be taken. The Sorcerer, as a major manipulator of the Force, uses both Force Lightning and mental manipulation to attack his foes. The Sorcerer specializes in the use of draining attacks, healing buffs, and be effective in Melee range as well. As you would be the most fragile Sith type, if you take this specialization you should only delve into melee when the time is right, not dive into it like the other Sith types are prone to do. The counterpoint to this character class is the Jedi Sage.

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    Sith Assassin

    Sith Inquisitor - Assassin   Designed for close and medium range combat, the Assassin uses a Double Bladed Lightsaber. The Assassin has a Darkness Skill Set that can allow the Assassin to greatly increase their defensive capabilities and become a makeshift tank. He also has the ability to Stealth outside of combat to get into the ideal combat range and execute a quick burst of attacks. Although focused on melee, the Sith Assassin still uses a liberal amount of Force Lightning in his attacks. Given that the specialization uses Force powers to strengthen their defenses and not armor, one must always be aware of their position in combat. The counterpoint to this character class is the Jedi Shadow.

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    Lightly Armored Technology User

    If you’re not interested in using The Force, there are still a wide variety of ways you can play Star Wars The Old Republic. However, without the extra defense that wielding a Lightsaber can offer, you need to protect yourself. Both the Smuggler and the Imperial Agent use specific cover points to do this. Cover is all over the place in SWTOR, and at later levels you can even create your own with energy barriers.

    The Advanced Class that you aim for will determine the style of play that you eventually favor. You can either pick someone that has shorter range capabilities but can heal, or choose someone that works best at a much longer range but has fun attacks like Orbital Bombardment. Either way, while you might be able to do damage in the melee range, it’s never a good idea to start there without someone else backing you up, especially when you can run and shoot at the same time.

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    The Smuggler

    Common TraitsSmuggler Fullscreen  

    Shuttle Type: XS Freighter

    Starting World: Ord Mantell

    Species Available:

    • Human

    Weapon Types:

    • Dual Pistols
    • Blaster

    Armor Type:Smuggler Ship - XS Freighter  

    • Light or Medium Armor

    Special Traits:

    • Uses the cover mechanic; available abilities will change when in or out of Cover.
    • Can use the stealth mechanic
    • Can be a healer type.
    • Uses Energy Points as the pace mechanic in the Action Point System
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    Scoundrel

    Designed to be most effective in the close to medium range for dealing damage, and using healing items. The weapon preferred by the Scoundrel is the Blaster. Although not mentioned exclusively, given their Stealth abilities its likely this class also has an effective melee range weapon like the Operative's Energy Blade. The counterpoint to this character class is the Operative.

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    Gunslinger

    Smuggler - Gunslinger   Designed for medium to long range combat, the Sniper uses Dual Pistols as his main weapons. From behind cover that he either finds among the many spots in the game or lays down himself, the Gunslinger can fire a barrage of shots at his enemies from a long distance away. The Gunslinger also has unique out of combat skills such as the Smooth Talk persuasion skill that will allow you to have alternate conversations with some people throughout the game. The counterpoint to this character class is the Sniper.

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    Imperial Agent

    Common TraitsImperial Agent Wallpaper 

    Shuttle Type: X-70b Phantom-Class Prototype

    Starting World: Hutta

    Species Available:

    • Human
    • Chiss

    Weapon Types:

    • Sniper Rifles
    • Energy Knife
    • Blaster
    • Gadgets (Pseudo-Pets)

    Armor Type:Imperial Agent Ship - X-70B Phantom 

    • High Grade Armor Mesh may come in Medium or Light variety.

    Special Traits:

    • Uses the cover mechanic; available abilities will change when in or out of cover.
    • Can use the stealth mechanic
    • Can be a healer type
    • Uses Energy Points as the pace mechanic in the Action Point System
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    Operative

    Imperial Agent - Operative Designed to be most effective in the close to medium range for dealing damage, and using ranged healing items. The weapons preferred by the Operative are the Blaster Rifle and the Energy Blade. Although this is a class that is normally dependent on using Cover, with select builds the Operative can take a more direct approach to combat using their Energy Blade to do the bulk of their damage, and using the stealth mechanic to get into this range. Also equipped with a dart gun, the Operative can use a variety of payloads to heal allies, or incapacitate enemies. The counterpoint to this character class is the Scoundrel.

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    Sniper

    Imperial Agent - Sniper Designed for medium to long range combat, the Sniper uses both a Sniper Rifle and Robots as his main weapons. The sniper works best from behind some sort of natural cover, or an energy field that he can deploy for this purpose. One of the unique types of attacks for the Sniper is an Orbital Bombardment that can strike enemies from space. The Sniper also uses a wide variety of attack probes to launch attacks on enemies, and even has a probe to aide in his own recovery. The counterpoint to this character class is the Gunslinger.

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    Heavily Armored Technology User

    These heavy classes represent the toughest that the universe has to offer without being a Force user. These classes have the attitude that if you equip yourself with the best armors, use the best weapons, and use the right tactics, you can take on anything. Depending on how you want to play the Trooper or the Bounty Hunter, you can focus on taking out enemies at range, or getting right into the fray and tanking them.

    If you focus on staying at range, you have a wide variety of attacks that not only can be powerful and take down enemies, but you can force them off balance with select ammo effects as well. If you choose to focus on defense, you add energy shields to your armor and make it hard to be damaged in any significant way while you use missiles, rockets, or grenades to shake up your enemies and make it clear your the threat to keep their eyes on.

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    The Trooper

    Trooper Wallpaper Common Traits

    Shuttle Type: BT-7 Thunderclap

    Starting World: Ord Mantell

    Species Available:

    • Human
    • Zabrak
    • Mirialan

    Weapon Types:

    • Heavy Blaster Cannon
    • Blaster Rifle
    • Grenades

    Armor Type:Trooper Ship - BT7 Thunderclap 

    • Heavy Armor

    Special Traits:

    • Uses a wide variety of ammo types to fit many styles of play
    • Can be a tank type
    • Can be a healer type
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    Vanguard

    Trooper - Vanguard Designed to be most effective in the close to medium range for dealing damage as well as being capable of preforming the role of tank. The Vanguard's primary weapon is a Blaster Rifle, and enhances his defensive abilities with Energy Shields to make him as hard to kill as a Jedi Knight. The Vanguard also has a variety of grenade type weapons that can freeze, burn, stun, and generally make it very hard for an enemy to anticipate what you might do. The counterpoint to this character class is the Powertech.

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    Commando

    Trooper - Commando Designed to be most effective in the medium to long range for dealing damage, he uses a Heavy Blaster Cannon along with grenades to inflict heavy damage to both single and multiple opponents. In addition to dealing damage, the Commando can also use healing items making this a very solid class. The counterpoint to this character class is the Mercenary.

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    Bounty Hunter

    Common TraitsBounty Hunter Wallpaper 

    Shuttle Type: D5-Mantis

    Starting World: Hutta

    Species Available:

    • Human
    • Chiss
    • Zabrak
    • Cyborg
    • Rattataki

    Weapon Types:

    • Dual and Single Wield Pistols
    • Darts
    • Thermal Detonators
    • Flamethrower

    Armor Type:Bounty Hunter Ship - D5 Mantis 

    • Heavy Armor

    Special Traits:

    • Uses a wide variety of technology and gadgets to fit many styles of play
    • Can be a tank type
    • Can be a healer type

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    Powertech

    Bounty Hunter - Powertech Designed to be most effective in the close to medium range for dealing damage preforming the role of tank. Although both types of Bounty Hunters can wear heavy armor, the Powertech increases his defenses through Energy Shields. In addition to standard Bounty Hunter weapons like missiles and rocket attacks, the Powertech also has the option of using a flamethrower weapon. The counterpoint to this character class is the Vanguard.

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    Mercenary

    Bounty Hunter - Mercenary Designed to be most effective in the medium to long range for dealing damage, and uses the 'Bodyguard' Skill Set for healing purposes. Although not built for tanking, the Mercenary also uses heavy armor and can dual wield pistols. This is in addition to the standard missile and rocket attacks that the Bounty Hunter can use. The counterpoint to this character class is the Commando.

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    References

    Information and images from this game can all be found at swtor.com

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