Goodbye NDA. Hello oodles of Star Wars: The Old Republic goodies! In the weeks to come, I’m going to be using Laura Shot Third to highlight some of the impressions and information I’ve gathered from my own beta experiences. The first class I’ll be focusing on is the Scoundrel Smuggler. I’m sure I’ll hit on other classes as well, since I’m more than a bit of an altoholic. But for now, let’s blast stuff up. First target on the list: Smuggler gameplay impressions and advice for levels 1-10.
The early reviews weren’t kidding– the Smuggler story is a blast to play through. I’m not going to get into spoilers here, but let’s just say that the storyline grabs you and keeps you moving. It’s full of just enough devious undertakings to make you really feel like a Smuggler, but not to the point where you’re unable to pull off a light side character and feel decent about it. That’s one of the things I enjoyed most about it, actually. I ended up rolling two Smugglers, and just for kicks I took them on different morality paths. Both felt genuine.
Here’s my latest Smuggler in a classic, snarky pose. The dialogue options for Smugglers are fantastic, and worth playing through again just to see some of the differentiating dialogue choices. For just about every decision, Smugglers have three choices to decide between: “Get out of my face,” “Fine, whatever,” and “Show me the credits!” Smugglers are unsurprisingly all about the credits, and it’s quite fun actually being able to play an MMORPG character that doesn’t spend their entire life kissing ass.
My favorite quote from this leveling stage is after a quest NPC says, “It’s important to remember we’re fighting for peace on Ord Mantell.” How did my Smuggler respond? “And credits, don’t forget credits!” So, so true. Not to mention awesome.
The Smuggler gameplay is very easy to pick up on, at least in the current beta build. I was admittedly worried about playing a Smuggler as my first SWTOR character, because I’m customarily a melee type of player. But I found the Smuggler’s learning curve extremely simple. A Smuggler has a wide array of ranged blaster shots, and also some for when you’re caught in melee range. Ever feel like kicking someone in the balls just because they got too close? Smuggler’s your class.
As you level, you’ll also get AoE grenades and CC grenades. The AoE grenade, called a Thermal Grenade, easily becomes the ability of choice as you find yourself facing group after group of mobs on the starting planet. There’s something immensely satisfying about chucking a bomb into a group of enemies safely from cover.
The cover mechanic, which you get at level 1, is quite inventive and easy to use. If you use Take Cover and there’s a rock or barrel nearby, your character will automatically roll into position behind the object, leaving you to get down to the business of blasting. If there’s no obstruction to hide behind, your character will simply crouch in place. Cover is great because it decreases the ranged damage you take, allows the use of cover-only abilities, and hey, it also looks pretty awesome when you roll between rocks during the frenzy of battle.
Smugglers aren’t nearly as squishy as I thought they might be. It helps that you get Corso Riggs, your first companion, at around level 8. He’s a pretty decent ranged tank. Between your blasts and his, nothing on Ord Mantell lives too long, and that’s handy when some of the groups you face have up to five mobs in them. There’s a series of Heroic group quests you’ll get at around level 8-9. My suggestion: Hold on to them until you get Corso, then known ‘em out. They’re soloable with the help of your sidekick, and they’re good practice.
I’ll talk more about Corso next time in Laura Shot Third. Until then, enjoy all the juicy SWTOR content FORCE Junkies has to share!