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Greetings, fellow addicts of the purple lighting. This is @Psynister stopping in with a guest post. When people started poking me into submission for guest posts I chuckled and said, “alright, alright, I’ll get around to it.” But then when Anexxia threatened to send Khemmy to poke me I decided I’d better stop slacking and get to work. The last thing I need is another shadow assassin trying to consume my soul.

Nexi asked me to share my thoughts and experiences with finding the right fit for your characters. My stance is a bit outside the norm when it comes to characters in MMO’s because, unlike the majority of the player base out there, I develop almost no attachments to my characters at all. If a character becomes less fun, accomplishes all the goals I had set out for them, or in any way just doesn’t give me a feeling of wanting to play them then I have no problem at all deleting the character. It doesn’t matter to me that they are max level, have over a year worth of /played time, have spent millions of credits leveling their professions, have collected every mount in the game, or anything else. I can delete any character, at any time.

So we’re going to take a quick look at how the classes feel in SWTOR to give you an idea of which classes you may want to pursue, or avoid, in order to find a good fit so that you don’t find yourself in a position like me where your highest level character no longer feels right but, unlike me, you can’t bring yourself to delete them.

Classes & How They Feel
SWTOR offers some really cool classes. I’m not a big fan of futuristic fantasy. I mean, sure the Star Wars movies were kind of cool and all, but it’s really not my thing; I’m more of a medieval, dragons, barbarians and wizards kind of nerd. In most cases if I’m sitting down for a bit of entertainment and someone pulls out a blaster, I’m done. What does that have to do with the SWTOR MMORPG? Well, nothing. And everything.

The reason why I not only play SWTOR despite the presence of blasters and droids but stopped playing World of Warcraft in favor of it is because despite the look, it still has the same feel as the kind of game that I’m used to playing. It has enough familiarity with the worlds that I am comfortable in that I can look beyond just the graphics on the screen.

Melee DPS: At first glance this seems to be one of the most underrepresented combat styles in the game since the only class that directly fits the bill is the Jedi Knight/Sith Warrior. However, every class has at least one Advanced Class and/or talent tree that places some degree of focus on melee combat. While the Knight/Warrior is definitely the strongest example of this, you’ll find a melee focus as a Jedi Shadow/Sith Assassin, Trooper Vanguard/Bounty Hunter Powertech, or a Scoundrel/Imperial Operative.

Caster DPS: This is actually the most underrepresented combat style in the game as there is only one class/AC that truly fits this: Jedi Sage/Sith Sorcerer. The Force is the only form of magic that exists within the world of SWTOR, unless you’re able to view technology as another source of magic. I’ll cover healers here in a moment, so if you’re looking forward to a caster feel and enjoy healing then I suggest you read on as healing brings in a couple more caster feels.

Ranged DPS: The Bounty Hunter Mercenary/Trooper Commando and Imperial Sniper/Gunslinger are where you want to look if this is how you like to play. Some players feel that these classes are more caster like because there are so many spells that have cast times or channels, but I just don’t get that feeling personally. It’s easy to see why blaster-wielding classes fit the hunter mold, but as you’ll see in just a moment, carrying a gun to a knife fight is sometimes the way to do it.

Tanking: Tanks come in a lot of different varieties in SWTOR. The presence of blasters and the existence of the force adds a somewhat new dimension to tanking as it’s easier to tank things that are outside of your melee range. However, the feel does change just a little bit because none of the tanks in this game wield a physical shield like you typically see in MMO’s. Shields in this game are little techno-devices or generated from force power instead. However, there is the added coolness of blocking blaster fire with your red (or purple!) lightsaber.

The closest look and feel you’ll get for a tank in SWTOR is the Jedi Guardian/Sith Juggernaut as they’re the primary example of a melee class. However, every class except for the Smuggler has a tanking AC/Spec so you may also find your tanking feel via Jedi Shadow/Sith Assassin (a mitigation tank), Trooper Vanguard/BH Powertech (beefy AoE-heavy tanks), or the Jedi Guardian/Sith Juggernaut (cooldown-heavy tanks).

Healering: Healers are most often associated with being magic users or religious figures, but SWTOR has only one caster and an odd singular religion sort of but not really relates well to healing. So SWTOR spices things up a bit by adding another style of healer – medics. The best fit for the traditional healer is our chief caster, the Jedi Sage/Sith Sorcerer. Our medics come in the form of the Trooper Commando/BH Mercenary and the Smuggler Scoundrel/Imperial Operative.

I found that the healing specs of these technology-based classes had a much more defined caster feel to them than their damage dealing variants.

Fits Like A Glove: The Right Fit for You
When you’re trying out a new game and looking at all of the classes that are available, chances are you’re looking for a class that seems like it’s a good fit. You might be looking for a class that fits your playstyle, or maybe one that fits your character concept, or that fills an empty role in a group you’re planning to level with, or maybe you’re just in the mood to stab things in the face and you want something that will let you do that. Some people know what kind of a fit they’re looking for and others don’t really have anything in particular in mind, they’re looking for something to spark their interest.

From the people I follow on twitter, the most common example I see of those who know exactly what they want to do is healers. There are some players that feel that healing is just hands down THE THING that they want to do in an MMO no matter what the setting. Some of them just love healing that much that nothing else matters and others feel that they suck at anything other than healing so they stick with what they know.

For those of you who don’t already know your role, here’s a quick Per-Psyn-ality test for you. After answer, note the scores for each role (Tanking, Healing, DPS (all kinds), Ranged DPS, and Melee DPS) in the answer summaries below.

  1. Do you have poor coordination or slow reflexive/reactive skills? (Yes/No)
  2. Do you like feeling of having multiple people relying on you? (Yes/No)
  3. How quickly do you trust a person who you barely know? (Immediate, Soon, Slowly, Never)
  4. Rank the following in order of appeal: Recognition, Chaos, Excitement, Rewards

Question 1: If you answered yes to this question then the roles that you’re most likely to struggle with is tanking, followed by melee combat. Note, that does not mean that you cannot be good at those roles, simply that in general they will make you the most uncomfortable. The most suitable positions for you include Caster DPS (3), Ranged DPS (3), and Healing (2). Tanks (1) and Melee DPS (1) tend to struggle the most when fight mechanics call for a lot of movement or switching targets.

Question 2: If you answered yes to this question then the roles you’re most likely to excel at are Tanking and Healing. Some people find that they become more focused and can think more clearly when they know that they have people counting on them, giving them a bit of a mental high as they feel more alive and in the zone while they’re doing it. So if you answered Yes, then your order is Healing (3), Tanking (2.5), DPS (2).

If you don’t like the feeling of having other people relying on you then you’re best suited for a DPS role, followed by Tanking. Tanking is a pretty crucial role when you’re in a group, but there are steps that you can take when forming groups and describing your methods of pulling and such that can make up for your discomfort such as setting rules for engagement (example: nobody attacks until the tank casts Ability X). Healers on the other hand typically deal with a lot of stress if they don’t like to have people relying on their performance. If you said No then your order is DPS (2), Tanking (1.5), Healing (1).

Question 3: If you build Immediate trust with people then your order is DPS (3), Tanking (2), Healing (2). If you said Soon then your roles become Tanking (3), DPS (2), Healing (2). If you are Slow to trust then your order becomes Tanking (3), Healing (2.5), DPS (2). And finally, if you have problems trusting anybody that you don’t know and Never assume then your order is Healing (3), Tanking (2), DPS (1).

DPS is the most trusting role because as long as everyone is doing their job then you have nothing to worry about. Tanks are the next most trusting because as long as the healers are doing their job then you can usually pull through an encounter. Healers come last because your ability to do your job is reliant on everyone else being able to do theirs – if the tank can’t hold agro, you’re probably going to die, and if DPS can’t manage their agro then everyone is likely to die.

Note: Everything I just mentioned for question 3 is based on the assumption that you will want to take part in group play in some form or fashion whether it be questing, PvP, dungeons, or raiding. If you are a solo player then this question is of little use to you.

Question 4: Recognition, Chaos, Excitement, and Rewards

    • Recognition:

Traditionally this has been linked most closely with the DPS role. However, in SWTOR the lack of mods makes judging and individual’s performance very hard unless enough deaths occur to pinpoint who was responsible for what. Because of that, Tanks and Healers are now the ones receiving most of the recognition for success in terms of individuals because their performance can be somewhat monitored by success or failure. If this was one of your top two then your order is Tanking (2.5) & Healing (2.5), DPS (1.5). If this is one of your bottom two then your order becomes DPS (3), Healing (2.5), Tanking (2).

    • Chaos:

Some people just thrive on being thrown into some insane situation and making it through alive. If this is one of your top two then your order is Ranged/Caster DPS (2.5), Healing (2.5), Tanking (2), Melee DPS (1). If this was one of your bottom two then your order becomes Tanking/Melee DPS (3), Healing (2.5), DPS (2).

    • Excitement:

If you’re all about the thrills (top two) then chances are you want to be one of those that gets to see it up close and personal: DPS (2.5), Tanking (2), Healing (1.5). Don’t take this to mean that healing isn’t exciting, but realize that the nature of healing means you’re often paying attention to things other than what’s going on in game (health bars, debuffs, etc) which means you’re going to be distracted from some of the excitement by default in order to fill your role.

If you prefer things to be more calm and smooth (bottom two) where you can just get into a nice rhythm and not worry about what’s going on on the monitor then your order becomes: Healing (2.5), Tanking (2), and DPS (2).

    • Rewards:

If you like to face new challenges for the sake of getting rewards, then you’re best suited for the roles where rewards have the fewest number of grabby hands (top two): Tanking (3), Healing (2), DPS (1). If this was one of your bottom two then your order becomes DPS (2.5), Healing (2), Tanking (2).

If you took the Per-Psyn-ality test, add up your totals for each one and rank them in order from highest to lowest to get an idea of which roles might suit you best. Your total for DPS should be added to both Melee DPS and Caster DPS to see if you might be better suited for one over the other.

Also, be aware that I just completely made this test up on the fly, it has absolutely no scientific backing whatsoever.

Fits Like a Sock: Deleting/Rerolling Alts
So what do you do when you have a character who suddenly just doesn’t feel right to you? What about when that character is the one you had fully intended to be your main? What if you’re one of those players who has “a name” that is given to the character who is supposed to represent you?

SWTOR is a little bit different than MMO’s because of how it handles classes. There are only four base classes (with their four mirrors on the opposing faction), but each of those four breaks off into two once you choose your Advanced Class which gives us a total of 8 actual classes within the game. While you can go back and reset your talent points (for a fee), you cannot go back and change your Advanced Class. So in essence, you roll a training class that gives you a small taste of two different classes (AC’s) and then you pick one that you’re stuck with forever more.

I played a Sith Inquisitor during Beta and I had a blast with it, so I knew that when the game launched for real that I was going to roll one as well. So when early access rolled around I started off where anyone would expect me to – Psynister, Sith Inquisitor. But, I made a decision that day that came back to bite me. I didn’t go with the Sorcerer AC like I did in beta, I chose Assassin because I had recently had fun with some stealthed PvP. What did I find out? That I hate playing as an Assassin in PvE. Hate, with a passion. So that left me with a level 20 character who was broke because I made some noob mistakes on my crew skills, who had an AC that I didn’t like and couldn’t change, and who had my name. This character who was supposed to be my main character and my primary source of entertainment just didn’t fit me at all.

So what did I do? I left the server.

We ended up on a server where I had rolled what I call “feeler alts”, which are alts that I roll on a brand new server to get an idea for how the server community is and to take a look at some potential guild options. Since I often like to roll feelers on servers where I have friends I generally use one of my common names for them. On this particular server I had rolled Psynister as a Trooper. Trooper was the one class that going into SWTOR I had almost no interest in ever playing at all, so he really was meant to just get a feel for things and then get deleted. Did that happen? Nope.

While getting a feel for the guild I played Trooper-Psyn and found out that they were the kings of AoE. I love AoE. I’m not talking “woohoo, AoE” here. I’m talking like, Anexxia’s love of all things purple and lightning-like doesn’t even begin to compare to my love for AoE. If AoE were a thing that I could follow around, I would totally get arrested for stalking, I’m not even playing. So Trooper-Psyn didn’t burn out in a flash of glory and get deleted, he became my leveling obsession, took on the literal role as my SWTOR main and he was the man! All the way up to level 34…

Did I mention I hate blasters?

And that’s when it all sank in. I still hate blasters. I love the class, I have tons of fun with this guy – but he uses blasters. He’s a big, bald, AoE-chuckin’ cyborg of mass destruction, and he has my name. Psynister, the character, isn’t a blaster toting officer in the armed forces who makes Light side choices. Psynister is a soul destroying, corpse raising, spell flinging, necromancer who loves nothing more than killing everyone you love and then raising them from the dead and forcing them to turn against you. Does that scream Trooper to you? It sure didn’t for me! So here I am in that crappy situation again, except this time the character is incredibly enjoyable but he doesn’t fit with the concept that my name has embraced for years.

No matter how much fun I’ve had with this guy while leveling up, he doesn’t fit the name that he was given and his name isn’t his, it’s mine. And so, he’s going to get deleted very soon so that I can replace him with a Jedi Consular who will most definitely be a spell flinging Sage, leveling via the Balance (Madness) tree. I already have a Balance Sage that’s level 25 right now, but I can just respec him to heals to level with my wife’s Trooper instead. That way I have a main worthy of carrying my name, I don’t waste the investment of the Sage I already have because he gets to respec into a healing role to play with others, and I’ll reroll another Trooper that has a different name entirely so that I can still enjoy the class.

Oh, and I’m not the only one who does this.

My wife had a similar situation with her main character. Just as we were getting ready to finish up questing in Nar Shaddaa we found out more information about companion characters and that we had been missing opportunities for her to gain affection all along. She also realized that she had sold off items that he had given to her that could have been modded and used throughout leveling that even though they wouldn’t make a huge impact on her game play they would have held significant importance to the characters themselves. So right after she spend over 80k credits on gear upgrades and we had spent a few weeks leveling the character, she deleted and rerolled her main so that she could correct those mistakes and not make them again.

I know that was a lot of my own story, but here’s how it relates to you.

When you have a character that doesn’t fit, for any reason, don’t be afraid to make the necessary change. Whether that change is small like moving from one talent tree to another, or it’s big like deleting the character completely and starting over. If your character doesn’t feel right, make the change. If you read Anexxia’s recent post, Guess What? We’re ALL Newbs in SWTOR!, that same concept applies here. Right now is the best time for you to make a decision like this because the game is still less than a month old. Sure, you might have “wasted” a month’s worth of time leveling a character and getting them geared up and such, but if you’re not having as much fun with them as you could if you were able to make some changes then you’re nerfing your own fun.

Would you rather feel like you wasted a month of game play or deal with a year’s worth of regretting that you hadn’t wasted only a single month and feel like now that there’s a year’s worth of history with that character that you’re stuck with your decision forever?

I would also urge you to try out some of those classes that you didn’t think you would like. You might find yourself in a position like I did with the Trooper where the one class I was sure I would hate has actually been one of the most enjoyable. Putting a sock on your hand doesn’t necessarily feel bad, maybe just a little bit weird, or maybe it actually feels fantastic. Similarly, putting a glove on might feel nice and comfortable, but there could be another glove that fits you even better. Don’t reach for one glove just because it seems familiar and fit like the last pair you were wearing, give one of the other pairs a test and you just might find the perfect fit.

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