Welp, I finally got it done.
Thanks to the 12x Class Story XP event in Star Wars: the Old Republic, I finally managed to play my way through all 8 class stories, and now have a level-capped character of each base class. And it only took just under 2 years.
Now, to be fair, that 2 years includes an awful lot of time spent playing many other games. SWTOR has been my "go back to" game for a while now - I get bored or annoyed with whatever other game I've been playing and return to the galaxy far, far away. And when I do go back, it's usually to my first and favorite character, Ogregunk the Sith Juggernaut. That character took me about three weeks to get to level 50, and has a total /played time of almost a month. The last character through the ringer has a play-time of just over 2 days, and won't likely see much more than that now that I'm finished with him.
Now that I've seen and roleplayed my way through all 8 stories, I'm able to give actual informed opinions about each one. So, in order of personal preference from most favorite to least, and with the roleplay approach I took with each, here they are:
Character: Ogregunk, Juggernaut
Roleplay Inspiration: Darth Vader
Storyline: I'm glad this was my first taste of SWTOR because the Sith Warrior storyline is, in my opinion, the best in the game. It's a long, continuous arc with some excellent twists - one of which should be more or less expected by anyone even vaguely familiar with how Sith operate, and one of which ended up being rather heartbreaking. The continuity of the storyline is unmatched by any other class. And there are some truly amusing moments where you get to be dazzlingly impolite. Playing as full-bore Dark Side makes this class feels like the baddest mofo in the galaxy.
I played him as full-on Vader from the moment he set foot on Korriban - never bothered with that silly Anakin Skywalker mopey nonsense. Ogregunk is a Sith badass and he enjoys every black moment of it. I tried decking him out in Vader-y outfits, but until they add a full-on Darth Vader-style helmet to the Cartel Market (which I would totally buy, lore purism be damned), I've had to compromise and/or go helmetless.
Character: Qua'gunk, Operative
Roleplay Inspiration: An evil James Bond
Storyline: This one is also fraught with twists and turns, and maintains consistent involvement with one set of characters throughout. Some very Bond-like moments - lots of seduction and guile, and the ending seems to have several possible outcomes depending on choices made throughout the story. The Agent storyline will be more appealing to a lot of people than it was to me - I appreciated it, but prefer the old-school "black knight" feeling of the Warrior story. Agent is more science-fiction-y.
When it came to his decision making, I didn't always pick Dark Side. He was unwaveringly loyal to the Sith and the Empire, and he wasn't shy about wet work and the darker shades of grey morality, and he wouldn't hesitate to kill witnesses. But his road to endgame wasn't paved with quite so many bodies as the Sith Warrior's. Sometimes the "Greater Good of the Empire" requires actually protecting its citizens.
Character: Saadik, Power Tech
Roleplay Inspiration: "Angel Eyes" Setenza
Storyline: There are essentially two types of stories in SWTOR. One of them is the long, consistent narrative where the overarching goals change with the acts but the background characters stay the same, and the other is the type of story that wraps itself up about halfway through and then changes gears with mostly new people. It's like the second half - everything after Act 1 - is a completely different story. That's how the Bounty Hunter played out. But this one was done fairly well. After the initial arc wraps up at the end of the very first act, the Bounty Hunter continues on as a free agent of some renown.
The class is clearly modeled after Boba Fett and his ilk, and using him as a basis for roleplay would have been the obvious choice. Instead, I went for a Spaghetti Western-style bounty hunter. Angel Eyes is the "Bad" in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," and has shown that he is willing to run two conflicting jobs at the same time to pursue his own goals and get paid twice. Naturally, this led to a Dark Side character.
Character: Kidgunk, Gunslinger
Roleplay Inspiration: Captain Malcolm Reynolds with a dash of Clark Gable
Storyline: The Smuggler, in my opinion, is the best "grey morality" class in the game, story-wise. He starts out a victim of crime, and ends up - by hook and by crook - being a galactic hero for the Republic. Though that may or may not be by choice. The class features two of of the most entertaining companions - Gus and Bowdaar, and lots of opportunity to ignore morality, laws and good taste in pursuit of a bigger pay day.
Everything about the Smuggler screams "Han Solo." Again, this is the obvious choice, so I avoided it. And went with the second-most obvious choice. Captain Kidgunk has a heart of... okay, not gold but some kind of alloy containing trace amounts of at least silver. And he's not afraid to kick violent goons into the turbines if they won't listen to reason. I even gave him a brown coat. The hat and moustache are more "World War II Ace" than "Firefly," but he looks more like a classic dashing, daredevil pilot than Nathan Fillion ever will.
Character: Xal'gunk, Sorcerer
Roleplaying Inspiration: The "former slave" aspect of the storyline.
Storyline: This one also features a fairly consistent cast of characters throughout the entire arc, and the Inquisitor gets Khem Val, who is hands-down my favorite companion. But I didn't care for this story as much because of all the mystic-y ghost nonsense stuff. And - spoiler alert - Khem Val gets basically ruined in the second half of the story, and remains ruined for the duration. Fortunately, after you complete the three-act class story and before you head off to Ilum, Makeb or where-ever, if you have your affection level maxed out, you can fix that little... problem he has. And then he's awesome again.
I wasn't basing the roleplay of this character on anyone in particular. I suppose I started off kind of Emperor-y, but the character didn't really click for me until the end of the Dromund Kaas storyline, when he receives his ship. Specifically, the scene where he runs up, all excited, and sees the ship in the hangar bay for the first time like a kid at Christmas. This really set the picture of a former slave, who has been living a life of misery and torture, clawing his way out of a terrible situation by being meaner, nastier and crueler than everything else around him, but now he's fought so hard he is in a place of power and respect. The ship is the first thing anyone has really given him, which makes any later betrayals all that much more painful to him.
Character: Dre'gunk, Guardian
Roleplaying Inspiration: Standard Lawful Good Paladin.
Storyline: The Knight storyline has perhaps the most epic conclusion, outstripping all the other classes, but getting to that point is kind of beige and tepid. You do a lot of boring work for a lot of boring people, and then you get all the awesome packed into the final chapters of the very last act. You don't get your most interesting companion, Lord Scourge, until it's almost too late to actually use him for anything, and if you're playing a tank-spec Guardian like I was, he's basically useless in a fight anyway. The final fight (which is pretty badass) forces the player to use a companion the player probably hasn't used since forever, so the quest spoonfeeds the player with a full new set of high-level gear for that companion. And then, if this is the players 3rd or 4th or more character, the Heroic Moment legacy skills can make the fight kinda trivial anyway.
I enjoy roleplaying paladins because they can be a giant pain in the ass for GMs and other players who are neither Lawful nor Good. There are some cool "greater good," tough-choice moments in the story, where the character might end up doubting himself afterwards, but the class seems mostly geared towards Light Side decisions - generally, Light Side conversation options have the more desirable outcome, and Dark Side options seem silly or harmful to the character.
In my Legacy Family Tree, this character is the brother of the Sith Inquisitor and the son of the Imperial Agent. In that family, he was the "problem child."
Character: Morthwyll, Vanguard
Roleplay Inspiration: GI Joe
Storyline: The Trooper starts out strong and fast-paced, finishes early and then gets dull and flaccid. I'm honestly not trying to make a "bad sex" analogy here, but that's really what it is like. The "avenge the Havoc Squad" story wraps up halfway through, and then the story turns into a series of disconnected missions, finally culminating in an unsatisfying battle against a villain that has seemingly no impact anywhere else in the galaxy but that one story... yet he is "the Empire's greatest general." You get a nice little moral choice at the end there, but even that is a little bit bland because the "great general" is utterly inconsequential outside of the Trooper storyline.
I started out going for the Stormtrooper look and feel, but that got boring, so I gave him a costume change, patterned after this guy:
They don't yet have the proper teal dye for his outfit, and he doesn't have the cover I want, but I got Morthwyll (Welsh for "hammer") looking as Joe-like as I could. He has Gung Ho's vest, Flint's beret and Duke's "knowing is half the battle" good-guy attitude.
Character: Jaegr'mystr, Shadow
Roleplay Inspiration: Space Jesus
Storyline: This is another poorly-divided storyline, where the second half has basically nothing to do with the first half. You do report to the same Jedi Council, but the "plague-master" story finishes far too quickly and has almost no relevance to the second half, where you fly around acting as a diplomat. The pain and weakness the Consular supposedly undergoes when performing the shielding ritual has absolutely no consequence beyond the staggering animation during the cut scenes, and the character experiences no diminished strength or power afterwards like the dialogue indicates. The surprise twist uncovered in the final chapter surprised me not one bit. And I generally dislike every single Consular companion.
The story seems pretty much tailored for the more mystical, healer-y Sage rather than the stealthy melee-tank Shadow, but I wanted to get through this story quickly because it's the last one, and tanks with healer companions can survive better with weak gear than squishy casters can. So Space Jesus had a double-bladed lightsaber, and turned the other cheek by sneaking past the enemies he could avoid fighting. The whole self-sacrificial nature of the shielding technique makes Light Side the only real sensible option - Dark Side dialogue options seemed random and outlandish, and it was disappointing that there was never any kind of good "resist the temptation of the Dark Side" moments - for the most part, you either did the right thing or behaved like an insane halfwit jackass. You could always opt to kill the afflicted Jedi Masters instead of shielding them, but that just seems pointless.
Incidentally, the goofy name is only slightly modified from one generated by the random name generator in the character creator. I'm not a drinker, but I liked the idea of naming my Jedi guy "master of hunters" and traveling with a companion who revered a god of the hunt. It was my intention to inform anyone who commented on it that it was pronounced "Yay-ger," and that he is a "Yedi."
Glad I saved Consular for last, because if it had been my first taste of the game, I probably wouldn't have stuck around. This one felt like it was written in a hurry on a Friday afternoon.
Though I am now finished with all the class stories, I am far from finished with the game. A lot of these guys aren't yet geared up, and there's an expansion coming out next month. When it hits, I'll be prepared for it eight times over.
What has been your most and least favorite class story? Let us know in the comments!
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