Star Wars: The Old Republic Advanced Class Details and Interviews

The staff over at Darth Hater has been busy cranking out quite a bit of Star Wars: The Old Republic content lately, including details on the advanced classes that were revealed during the GamesCom demonstration, a dissection of the new space combat trailer, and a slew of interviews that they conducted during the Star Wars: Celebration V convention. Some choice snippets from the interviews:
Can you elaborate and explain the wearables board we saw today in the panel?

Arnie: We have all the boards divided into class groups, and there are subgroups... let's take the Smuggler. This is the Smuggler progressing (level) 1 through 50. And we have all the different lines broken out: levels 1 to 5, 5 to 10, 10 to 15, 15 to 20, and all that. When we were initially planning all the different wearables for any class, we came up with sort of the hero pieces for each one -- about seven or eight different looks for each class. For the Smuggler: this is the Han Solo sort of Scoundrel, to the Lando Calrissian "bling," over to the "Space Cowboy," moves into the "Firefly" but hey, that is what Star Wars is. We developed more than that, but we paired it back to seven or eight different looks for each class... throwing out looks, adding to this, adding to that until every single class had its own unique looks. And enough given so throughout your play of your character, you're really going to progress through not just wearable 1, wearable 2, wearable 3 -- but totally different looks.

What is interesting about it is that still to this date, we're still looking at those boards, re-balancing, moving stuff around, saying "this looks higher level than this" and moving it around. Believe it or not, we're still adding to the world a couple of new wearables right now because there are some deficiencies. We're still messing with all of that. Even if I snuck you out photos of all of these right now, it would be helpful and wouldn't be exact because we'll be balancing this thing until it ships.

I'm first an artist, but secondary a game player, and I'm really into MMOs. I wasn't joking when I said at the panel today that "I'm really about phat loot." We really went to extremes to make sure each class looks like its class but really gets badass as you get higher and higher into progression. Let's say you missed the first couple of months and you log in as some newb, you go to Coruscant, and see the higher levels run by... you're going to go "hooooooooly crap!" There will be a lot of that.


To switch over to creatures, can you talk about how that process works with preserving the lore?

Arnie: The creatures were begun by writing and designing. We would go planet by planet: these are the creatures that live on this planet. We actually got lists with descriptions about each one. "Hey, you are doing this planet -- these are the creatures that live there. Make them fit into the planet." So that is how it initially went.

It is funny how things change over the course of a game, so here is something that probably a lot of people wouldn't know: things change. A lot. And what happened in Star Wars: The Old Republic is that we did all of these creatures, then we all started playing the game, looked at each other and said "wait a minute... we're not trying to build WoW or DAoC." Being in the Star Wars universe isn't about rolling through the countryside killing creatures. So we revamped and moved that around a lot; rebalanced the planets -- adjusting away from creatures as much as possible sometimes. So right now, what we got currently is a Star Wars-y feel of enough creatures to feel like a real planet, but not too many that you feel like you aren't playing Star Wars anymore.


Where the moral choices are concerned, we saw Dark side points and Light side points in gameplay demos. With this in mind, we see many similarities between the Sith Warrior and Jedi Knight, so what are the differences between those two stories from a morality standpoint? What makes a Dark side choice for a Jedi Knight different from a Dark side choice for a Sith Warrior?

Drew: Obviously, as you alluded to, they are in many ways opposite sides of the same coin. But, we wanted to go a little bit further in differentiating them. We don't want it to just be, "you're a Jedi Knight if you pick A, and you're a Sith Warrior if you pick B." We didn't want to go in that direction. So they both have their own unique story, of course as all our classes do, and what we did was focus on the framework of the story they are set in.

For example, the Sith Warrior is in a very different environment. He is in an environment where cutthroat ambition is encouraged and his masters are looking to challenge him in a way that if he fails, he dies. It is a very different setup. The Jedi Knight is in a very different kind of environment. His goal is to be a protector. His goal is to be a defender of the Republic and to those who are unable to defend themselves. He is definitely in a hero role. The Sith Warrior is more about surviving and acquiring power, while the Jedi Knight's decisions are focused more on accepting responsibility, self sacrifice, and putting other ahead of himself while still managing to overcome the evils and horrors that assault the galaxy.

Now when you go down the Dark side of the Jedi Knight, you are basically abdicating some of this responsibility. You're becoming a little more selfish and looking out for your own interest. Now this is a Dark side path, but you are still doing it within the framework of working for the Jedi Council and opposing the Empire. You are never saying you are going to join the Emperor; you still want to stop him. You're simply taking a different path to your goals. Whereas the Sith has totally different goals. It is really what your goals are in the story and in the character arc that define your class, how you go about getting there is the dark side light side part, but your goals are ultimately going to be very different from a Sith Warrior's.


We heard there are similarities between the Imperial Agent story and things like the television series 24. Are there any outside influences for the Jedi Knight story?

Drew: If you look at the Jedi Knight as a concept, I think you have to go back to things like the knights of Arthurian legend. A character like Lancelot is the classic knight who fell and was redeemed. We looked at a lot of these classic heroic figures, these defenders, these protectors. Then we said, "how do we take this archetypal story and then make it fresh and unique?" And then really spin it in a way that fits in the Star Wars universe. We want to show people something they have not seen before in the Star Wars universe so it doesn't feel like they are just rehashing something. So we did look back at the classics. The Jedi Knight is called a Jedi Knight for a reason. It harkens back to the knights of old who did defend the kings.
Thanks, Gartar.