Star Wars: The Old Republic Developer Blog

Principle lead systems designer Georg Zoeller offers a pretty enjoyable write-up on the design of the advanced classes in BioWare's upcoming MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic.
We currently have four dedicated class designers, each one of them responsible for one class from each faction. For each class, the team began by looking at what players would expect from a class as a fan of the Star Warsâ„¢ movies and/or as a fan of the MMORPG genre. We then worked on how we would integrate those expectations into the game via Advanced Classes.

In some cases, this led to integrating '˜traditional' MMO roles into our existing class structures: The play style generally associated with the '˜healer' role in MMOs is very popular with many players and we wanted to make sure that we offered that role in our game for our audience. In fact, we are offering two classes that can develop into fully capable healers for each faction via one of their Advanced Classes.

In other cases, we identified roles for our game that are unique to the Star Wars experience: While the idea of a '˜ranged tank' is hard to realize in most MMO environments due to the prevalence of melee combat, the '˜Vanguard' Advanced Class for the Trooper is perfectly viable in the Star Wars setting where blaster fire and ranged combat dominate the majority of engagements.

As we have already revealed, the biggest impact of choosing an Advanced Class is the access to two unique skill sets offering active and passive special abilities that significantly alter a character's combat capabilities. Additionally, a third set of skills is shared among all members of the same class.