I have finally completed my journey through all eight class stories within Star Wars: The Old Republic and earned my “legendary player” portrait frame, which I’m sure will deeply impress the rest of my group when I do my one flashpoint of the year.
The best of times, the blurst of times:
In a rare case of my agreeing with the majority, I would say the award for best class story goes to the Imperial agent. Maybe I’m biased because it was the first one I did, but none of the others excited me quite so much.
The themes of trust and betrayal really resonated with me, and it feels “bigger” and more important than any of the others. No other class can say they saved not just the Empire or the Republic, but all of galactic civilization as we know it.
That said, I also enjoyed the consular and warrior stories quite a lot. While it never quite reaches the heights of the agent story, the warrior arc is probably the most consistently good, with no major rough patches, and I enjoyed how well the consular story captured the feeling of what a Jedi should be at their best, a deeply spiritual beacon of wisdom and enlightenment.
The smuggler and bounty hunter stories were also good rides on the whole. Really Jedi knight and trooper were the only downright bad ones.
I’m also fond of Mako, Temple, Jaesa, and Corso, and Loken deserves way more love than he gets. I love his dynamic with the agent.
(Lana is also a favourite, but is qualified from this discussion by being from outside the class stories.)
Least favourite is still Kaliyo, if only because I was stuck with her so long, but Skadge, T7, Tharan, Doc, Zenith, and Pierce are also on the shortlist to be airlocked.
When it comes to gameplay, well, combat sucks in this game in general, but the one that manages to wring the most fun from this weak system is knight/warrior. It’s the only one that even comes close to capturing some of the spectacle of the films.
Agent/smuggler is pretty good, too, though I’ve only ever played the DoT spec of the ranged sub-class. I like the “set ’em, knock ’em down” feel of loading the enemy up with DoTs and debuffs and then mowing them down with Cull. It helps compensate for the game’s awful button bloat, too. You don’t have to use all your debuffs on the weaker targets.
The big picture:
The interesting thing about finishing every class story is that it gives you a very complete view of the game, though this can be a double-edged sword.
The downside is that it does expose how formulaic they are. All things considered, Bioware does a very admirable job of making each story feel unique, but the fact remains you’re going to all the same places in the same order with very little variation.
If only level-scaling had been implemented at the game’s launch. They could have been so much more creative.
Also, we need to have an intervention about the doomsday weapons. Nearly every story has some insane over the top planet-killing death machine with a ridiculous name, and it lapses into unintentional self-parody after a while.
But playing every story does have the benefit of giving you a very three-dimensional understanding of the meta story.
What I found fascinating is how interconnected the class stories turned out to be. Going in, I thought they all existed in their own little bubbles, each representing a different version of events, but that isn’t the case at all. All the class stories coexist in the same reality and often intersect with each other.
The agent story is famous for its nods to the others, but it’s far from the only one to do so. There are even some crossover moments, like Mako appearing in the consular story or Kaliyo’s cameo in the knight story.
Finally, playing every class story does make clear that neither faction can be considered the “good guys.” The Empire’s flaws are always on full display, but it eventually becomes clear the Republic has nearly as many skeletons in its closet. It’s just better at hiding them.
Funnily enough, it’s often the Republic classes who get the clearest view of the Republic at its worst. The Jedi knight story, in particular, puts the Republic and Jedi in a worse light than any other part of the game.
But I think the best take on the factions comes from the agent and bounty hunter stories. Both are stories of (relatively) ordinary people caught in the crossfire of galactic conflict, and both make clear that the Sith and the Jedi are — to paraphrase a comment I saw on a forum once — “petty idiots fighting meaningless wars.”
- Imperial agent
- Jedi consular
- Sith inquisitor
- Sith warrior
- Jedi knight
- Bounty hunter
Although I haven’t been back for that long, I think another break from SWTOR is likely. I’ve simply run out of stuff to do, at least until the next patch — and if recent history is any indication, it will be the sort of thing you can finish in an hour or two at most.
I really hope we hear of a new expansion soon. Even if it’s still aways off, knowing it’s coming would make a big difference. SWTOR has not been having a good run lately. It needs some good news.
In the interim, the best I could do is repeat stuff I’ve already done. And while I may want to do that at some point, I’m not sure now is the time.
I would like to finish the expansion content on another character at some point. Currently my consular is halfway through Fallen Empire, and my warrior has dipped his toes into Shadow of Revan. However, I’m paralyzed by indecision over which to press on with.
I’d like to make different choices on my next playthrough of Fallen Empire/Eternal Throne, but if I’m to stay true to his character, my warrior would probably make mostly the same choices my agent did. Meanwhile my consular would likely take a different path, but I don’t really want to play him until Nadia is reintroduced. Yes, I know I can get her back via the console, and I have, but it’s just not the same.
Can I just say how pissed I am that there’s still no sign of her coming back anytime soon? It’s not just that Nadia is one of my favourite companions, but of all the companions in this game, Nadia is the one where it makes the absolute least amount of sense for her to not find you immediately. She and the consular are Force-bonded; she can hear his heart beating from halfway across the galaxy.
Bioware better have a damn good explanation for where she’s been all this time.
I have also given vague thought to redoing Lana’s romance, but I would need to send another character into the expansions for that, as my warrior and consular are both married. Most likely my inquisitor. It’s a decent class with a good voice actor, and he wouldn’t be completely out of place the way my smuggler or bounty hunter would be.
There’s also a part of me that would like to repeat some of the better class stories at some point, but I’m too burnt out on the formula right now, and I would dearly love to never, ever see Balmorra again, so we’ll see.
For now, I think a break is best.