Star Wars: The Old Republic Preview

GameSpot is first in line to put together a preview of Star Wars: The Old Republic based on the build that's going to be shown at this week's E3. In it, they tell us more about six of the game's eight classes and provide new information on playable races, combat skills, and more:
The trooper class begins with four different primary combat skills, which are keyed to the number keys on your keyboard, and all pertain to using your heavy blaster rifle. Most of the trooper's combat abilities operate based on ammo (this has been changed from the previous time we played the class, when it relied on action points). The abilities include hammer shot, a basic ranged attack that consumes a single round of ammo; rifle grenade, which consumes several rounds and activates your character's rifle-mounted grenade launcher to knock all enemies in the blast radius flat on their backs; fast reload, which reloads your weapon to full; and stock strike, a melee attack that lets you pistol-whip your foes with the butt of your rifle once you get up close.

The smuggler class, on the other hand, is one of the game's "cover classes" and focuses on acquiring cover behind various environmental objects. These objects then grant various offensive and defensive bonuses while accruing energy points with basic attacks and expending them with advanced ones. The smuggler tends to favor a single, handheld blaster (again, not unlike Han Solo), and the profession's starting abilities currently include flurry of bolts, a basic ranged attack that builds energy points; take cover, which lets the profession acquire any nearby cover indicated by a transparent green paper-doll model; burst, which fires off three times as many rounds as flurry of bolts but costs energy points; and flash grenade, a hand-thrown projectile that has a chance of stunning all targets within its short radius but also costs energy points.


If the bounty hunter and agent's starting missions seem cold and mercenary, the atmosphere for new Sith characters could be described as downright hostile. Both of these professions begin their lives on Korriban, the Sith homeworld, which has appeared in both Knights of the Old Republic games as the location of the cutthroat Sith academy, where new recruits routinely resort to extortion, manipulation, and murder to outshine their classmates. It also appeared as the place where teams of archeologists routinely brave the arid desert to dig through the trap-laden tombs in the Valley of the Sith Lords in search of rare artifacts and ceremonial weapons. Korriban is every bit as unfriendly a place as it was in the previous games--more so, in fact, because you start your career at the very lowest rung of the ladder here. Both of the game's Sith professions--the warrior and the inquisitor--will find themselves interrogating prisoners detained in the academy and exploring the tombs.

The Sith warrior starts his career as an acolyte serving a bitter, angry overseer who leads the training of you and your fellow acolytes, including Vemrin, the apprentice to a powerful Sith lord. At the outset of your training, the overseer very bluntly explains that this other apprentice clearly outclasses you and is your enemy and shockingly points out that you must kill Vemrin as soon as possible, lest you be killed by him first. The Sith inquisitor reports to a different Sith overseer as part of the slave caste--a group of low-born wannabes who are not of proper Sith bloodlines but have been admitted simply because they are Force sensitive. It's actually implied that the Sith ranks are dwindling, which is why the academy's entrance requirements have been relaxed. As it turns out, the inquisitor has an opportunity to become apprentice to a powerful Sith lord but finds herself in competition with another ambitious recruit who is further along in his training. Both of our Sith characters were human.