I’m making it a goal to finish every class story in Star Wars: The Old Republic. I’ve already done half of them, and with all the various different experience boosts I’ve accrued over the past few months, I can afford to skip everything but the class missions themselves when leveling a new character. That makes each class story quite a quick, breezy affair.
I’ve spent the large majority of my time on the Imperial side so far, so it’s time to show the Republic some love. I’m starting with trooper. This actually isn’t my original trooper that I created when I first tried the class a few months ago, but a new one I started recently with a different subclass and appearance.
I’ll be upfront: This was probably my least favourite class story to date.
Chapter one was somewhat interesting. It’s a good premise, anyway. Not exactly what you’d expect, and it gives you a strong personal motivation. I don’t want to say too much because it’s a pretty good twist, and I don’t want to spoil it.
However, it had issues. Normally I’m not one to complain about the lack of meaningful choice in this game — it does a good job of presenting the illusion your choices matter, even though they usually don’t — but in this case it really did feel like I had no say in things. This was a rare case where I usually wanted to spare my enemies, but I never seemed to have the chance.
And in general chapter one’s story wasn’t explored in enough depth. You learn some disturbing things, but nothing ever comes of those revelations.
Unfortunately, flawed though it was, chapter one was still the highlight of the story. I literally just finished the story before writing this, and I’ve already forgotten much of the last two chapters. They’re that forgettable.
Spoiler alert: You shoot Imperials. That’s basically the whole story.
Something else that bothered me is how flat the trooper himself feels. Normally in this game I can quickly get a good feel for who my character is, where they came from, and what their goals and ideals are. My trooper just felt like a soulless avatar the whole way through.
I’ve heard and enjoyed Brian Bloom in several other game roles, and I know he’s a good voice actor, so I don’t think it’s his fault. Either my creativity has failed me, or the writing for the trooper was just that bland.
I have mixed feelings on the class’s gameplay. I liked this subclass a lot on my bounty hunter, but the trooper’s animations don’t have nearly as much flair, and it turns out to be another class that suffers badly from the inevitable button boat as you level. Always good to enjoy your class less the higher level you get.
I’m trying to unlearn the desire for min/maxing drilled into me by the MMO community and ignore the stupid fiddly extra abilities that are important for optimal DPS in a raid scenario but largely unnecessary when just messing around on my own, but it’s difficult.
For starters, the actual mechanical design is a little better than average. The cutscenes are a little more cinematic feeling, and the mission design is a bit more creative — there’s the occasional simple puzzle, for instance.
Doesn’t make a big difference, but the effort deserves recognition, at least.
I also found it interesting how incredibly bad the Republic looks in the trooper story. There seems to be no end to the corruption and incompetence within the Republic hierarchy, and at times your superiors can be so nasty they’d fit right in with the Sith.
I think the trooper story did a better job of making the Republic unlikable than most of the Imperial stories have.
The companions for the trooper also mostly failed to impress.
I found Jorgan absolutely intolerable out of the gate. When even I think you’re too uptight and hyper-critical, you really have a problem. Even the Sith are over here like, “Whoa, dude, lay off that Haterade.”
To be fair, though, the later missions do put him in a better light. I wouldn’t say I like him now, but he has earned a certain degree of (grudging) respect from me. At the very least, I don’t want to make a rug out of him anymore.
Vik, on the other hand, was utterly unlikable from beginning to end. Just a slimeball on every level. This is another case where I wished for greater choice, because he really deserved to be dishonourably discharged (again) the moment he was no longer useful.
I don’t know what to make of 4X. He’s equal parts comical, inspiring, and horrifying. I genuinely can’t tell if he’s a somewhat tone-deaf attempt at comedy relief, or a subversive criticism of blind patriotism, or both, or neither.
Yuun seems cool, though they didn’t do much with him. Would have been nice to get to know him better, learn what exactly it is a Findsman does.
Elara, at least, was somewhat interesting.
Halfway through the story I realized I’d much rather be playing as Elara than my own character, actually. Not because I like Elara so much — I like her, but there are plenty of other characters in the game I like better — but because she has a really compelling character arc. The Imperial defector desperately trying to prove herself in the face of constant scorn and suspicion. That’s a much better hook than… whatever the player’s motivation is supposed to be.
At least you get all your companions much quicker than in most stories (before the end of chapter two). That’s always nice.
Not really a complaint, but one thing I did find a bit odd is how similar the first three companions are. Jorgan, Elara, and 4X are all super uptight, serious, patriotic types. At least it makes farming influence easy, since they all approve of the same things nine times out of ten.
Five down, three to go.
I’m not entirely sure which I’ll do next. Bounty hunter has the strongest appeal, but I think I’d prefer to hold off on it for precisely that reason.
I’m thinking maybe smuggler next. Initially it was the class that least appealed to me, but I did finally make one and play her long enough to finish the first planet, and while I’m still not sold on the class’s concept, I do like the character I came up with, and the voice actress for female smugglers turns out to be a lot of fun.
Whatever I pick, it might have to wait a few weeks, at least. I’m thinking I’ll dive into the Overwatch free weekend that starts today, and then the final part of the Nova DLC in StarCraft will finally launch, so I’m going to play that for sure. Knights of the Eternal Throne will launch shortly thereafter. So I’ll be busy for a while.