Jedi Armor progression unveiled

Today’s update is over Jedi armor progression and a community Q&A.  The Jedi Knight Progression video was pretty nice, not as epic as the Bounty Hunters, but still a good update. The video begins with a Jedi Knight in his padawan styled robes very reminiscent of Luke from A New Hope.  The second set of armor shown is darker in color and has a high collar with golden trim, the Jedi is shown wearing this when obtaining his first lightsaber. The next set shown is of the Jedi Guardian tree, a heavier styled green armor almost trooper like with a traditional Jedi robe on top, making the Jedi easily identified as the tanking advance class.

The second set of Guardian armor pushes the tank look even further with large armored shoulder pauldrons and a large armored collar. This set doesn’t have a robe, but a large black cape, the armor also has large armored bracers making it look very intimidating. This part of the video also shows the Guardian using a taunt debuff ability where he holds his saber above his head and a large blue blast of light bursts from the saber and swirls around the Guardian before dissipating.

The next set shown is a lower level Sentinel armor set, comparable in level obtained to the green Guardian armor. The first set of Sentinel armor shown is a very light looking short sleeved hooded robe. The lighter look to the Sentinel armor coupled with the duel sabers makes the Sentinel easy to distinguish from the tanking Jedi Guardian. The second set of armor in the Sentinel progression is one of the best looking armor shown for the Jedi so far, It’s very similar in style to the previous set shown but is a dark brown, and the hood is pulled up, giving the Jedi Sentinel an almost assassin like look. This part of the video also shows the Sentinel fighting a Sith Warrior, blocking the Sith’s blows with first his right handed saber then his left, a very cool animation. The Sentinel then uses some unknown ability that involves overcharging his sabers then launching a blue blast to damage the Sith from range.

The main thing I noticed in the armor progression video, besides the obvious distinction in advanced class in armor, was how much more the Guardian blocked ranged attacks than the Sentinel did. This shows that in choosing the Guardian your Jedi Knight will have more defensive oriented skills.

The community Q&A was part of last week’s update, but I kind of missed it because of all the PAX stuff I was searching through it got overlooked. The community Q&A is all about Flashpoints and Bioware answered a lot of questions – you can view all of them here, and I’ll just quote a few of the more interesting ones.

Q: How many hours of game time must players invest on average before their first Flashpoint is available to play with friends? – Fortunetek

A: You’ll encounter your first Flashpoint after your Origin World – how long you take to complete that is up to you, really. By this time, you’ll be familiar enough with your class to feel confident taking on content that requires a group.” – SWTOR

(My guess, from what I’ve read on the net is that it’ll probably take between five to eight hours to complete your origin world depending on your skill and how much exploring/side missions you do)

Q: How intricately will the boss fights in Flashpoints be scripted? A typical example would be nice. – Sungil

A: Bosses are scripted to match the fiction and the environments. They change phases and require players to think on their feet. Most of all they require coordination. An example off the top of my head is an Imperial officer who jumps behind cover and calls in a squad of soldiers with jetpacks. He then spends one stage of the fight sniping you and sending traps at you while his men arrive in waves.”-SWTOR

Q: How exactly will class roles inside Flashpoints work? Will it be like in WoW or similar systems with fix systems, in which only damage dealer can deal damage, in which only tanks can block and only healer can heal? – Sarnave

A: This is an area where we try to distinguish Flashpoints from dungeons. While boss fights often require traditional tank and healer roles, some sections of Flashpoints are paced in such a way that healers can switch into damage roles and tanks can get a bit more reckless.”-Swtor

These were just a few of the questions asked and answered in the community Q&A so be sure to check out the whole story on Star Wars: The Old Republic’s website.

May the force be with you.


Good Sith and Evil Jedi? Wha…?

Light or Darkness

Jedi and Sith. Light and darkness. Good and evil. Simple, right? Bioware seems to be hell bent on making what we thought was simple complicated. The whole good/bad thing gets kind of fuzzy, like Dr. Peter Venkman from Ghostbusters put it. Those of us who grew up with the original Star Wars trilogy know about good and evil. Darth Vader was evil, Luke Skywalker was good. Empire was evil, Rebel Alliance was good. Stormtroopers, brainless soldiers following orders to the letter with no questions asked, were evil. Smugglers and… um… murderers (Han shot first in the original) …were… um… good? Ok, so he turned good at the end of that movie, but is it so easy to define?

What is good? Oh, man, I doubt I could put that in words if I had a hundred pages to try. We all have our own definitions of good. Selflessness, heroism, courage, kindness, etc. But in the first movie, Star Wars: A New Hope, good was fairly easy to define. The people fighting the bad guys were the good guys, even if all of them were not ‘good’ themselves. Han Solo in particular was a mercenary, out for one thing and one thing only: money.  He took the charter job to carry Luke, Obi-Wan and the droids to Alderaan not out of a sense of helping others, but for one HECK of a payout promised by the Jedi. He certainly did not attack the detention bay of the Death Star to rescue Princess Leia out of the goodness of his heart. He would not have lifted a finger without the promise of a massive reward.  Yes, at the end of the movie it was shown that he was not simply a greedy, self centered scum, but it took most of the movie. But for the most part, in A New Hope, good was fairly easy to recognize. Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi were good.

Now as to evil. Again, where to start? We all have our own definitions of evil. Selfishness, greed, lust for power or other gains, or simply an excess of pragmatism. Why did Darth Vader strangle people with the Force? Was it pragmatism? The easiest and quickest way? Or was it because it was the most terrifying way to do it? Did he enjoy cowing his subordinates, or was it simply the fastest and most efficient method of promoting an underling? From the time of Episode IV until the end of Episode VI, Darth Vader stood as the personification of evil to most movie goers. He wore black, he was big and scary and treated his subordinates like dirt. It wasn’t until the end of Return of the Jedi, when we see his redemption that the entire story comes to head.  Until then, he was always the bad guy, the ULTIMATE bad guy. A sound of heavy breathing still scares me to this very day, wondering if my own throat is about to be compacted by icy insubstantial fingers of the Force. Darth Vader was evil.

Now, as to good and evil in games. Most video games through the history of them, you play a good guy. From the earliest games like Defender and Galaga, you were trying to protect others, fighting unending waves of bad guys to win. There was no question, you were the hero, and what you were doing was ‘good’. Not so more modern games. Role playing games in particular have always catered to all kinds. People who wanted to play ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’. Baldur’s Gate II was probably the best of its era in games where you could choose. You could be an amoral mercenary, killing anyone and everyone who got in your way, a cynical ranger dealing death to orcs and scum from a distance with a bow, or a noble paladin sworn to serve your gods and dealing holy fury to the enemies of truth and justice. Or anything in between.  And in all things, there was choice. You COULD play as a paladin and do evil. You then lost your powers and had to play the rest of the game as a fighter with a few odd quirks. I personally loved playing as a monk, always Lawful Neutral, that way I had to choose VERY carefully what to do and when.

And then games like Mass Effect, and Dragon Age: Origins where your choices for good and evil have a massive effect on the game. Do you support the noble good guy, even if he really seems to have no clue what he is doing? Or the schemer who had his brother murdered to try and snatch the throne? He knows how to get things done after all. Do you play the good cop, bringing truth and justice to dark places? Or the evil scum who is only in it for themselves? Only speaking for myself, I almost always play good guys. I see too much evil in daily life to want to perpetuate it in any way even virtually. Maybe that makes me a wimp, but I think it makes me a better person than many I meet on a daily basis.

Bioware has not given out a lot of information on the actual story of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Part of this is intended to whet potential player’s appetites, which it does very well. Part is likely because they have not finalized everything yet. I mean, come on, how COULD they have finalized it all by now? In any MMO there is a lot of stuff to get done, and in this MMO…sheesh… If half of what they tell us is true, it will put all the others to shame content wise.

But they have said that it will be possible to be a light side Sith. Or a dark side Jedi. My first reaction, like many people probably, was to say ‘WHA…?’ But then I thought about it. Jedi are not necessarily ‘good’. They have to do what it takes to protect the galaxy as a whole. Does this mean they can be paragons of virtue all the time? Heck no. Obi-Wan lies to Luke. Forget the ‘different point of view’ garbage. He flat out LIED to the young man. He did it because the truth would have caused all kinds of problems. We see Anakin, as a Jedi, act Dark Side. And that is what started his fall, in Episode II, avenging his mother.

But we never saw any Light Side Sith in any of the movies, probably because Lucas didn’t like the idea. Jedi were good and Sith were evil, period. Right? But now we have this quandary. If you are serving evil, does that make you evil? Do Sith warriors, Sith Inquisitors, Bounty Hunters and Imperial Agents HAVE to be evil in SWTOR? Bioware’s answer seems to be their stock one. ‘It is all up to the player.’

I personally am looking forward to playing a Dark Side Trooper or a Light Side Sith Warrior. How about you? What do you want to play?

Yin-yang image courtesy of: Dreamstime.

More information on Jedi class released

jedi-oct2009BioWare have released their Holonet entry for the Jedi class. Die-hards won’t find anything particularly earth shattering in the information but it certainly fleshed out what is likely to be the most popular class in SWTOR. The SWTOR forum thread on the announcement has been pretty subdued to date – it’s certainly been one of the most discussed classes so probably no surprise there.

We’ve still not nailed down the first playing class we’ll take on, and don’t feel any more certain after this information. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – it’s more a case of they all have a hell of a lot of appeal.

It’s also worth having a read of Gamespot’s Q&A with BioWare’s director of production Dallas Dickinson and senior game designer William Wallace.

Over to you: are there any surprises for you in the info update or is it pretty much as you expected?