Having finished all eight class stories, I thought I would take a look at all the stories together. First, here are my overall scores, and links to each individual post. There were roughly four tiers of quality. Within each tier the order is pretty arbitrary, and mostly personal preference.
|90%||1. Imperial Agent|
|80%||2. Jedi Consular|
3. Sith Warrior
4. Jedi Knight
5. Republic Smuggler
|70%||6. Sith Inquisitor|
7. Republic Trooper
|60%||8. Bounty Hunter|
All the stories did succeed at a basic level. They all felt like their class was supposed to. The Smuggler story involved evading the law, making questionable deals and witty banter. The Bounty Hunter story was about hunting bounties. The Agent story was a spy story. So from that perspective all the class stories were a success.
Good Common Elements
These are two major patterns I noticed that made some class stories better.
1. Constant Supporting Cast
The better stories tended to have a constant supporting cast throughout the chapters. For example, Agents had Keeper and Watcher Two. Troopers had General Garza. The Jedi had Satele Shan and the Jedi Council. Having the supporting cast stay somewhat constant from chapter to chapter helped keep a feeling of continuity, as well as allowing the player to really become attached to some characters.
I think the Bounty Hunter was hurt the most by this, as the supporting cast completely changed from chapter to chapter.
2. Good Villains
By and large, the stories with better villains were at the top of the list. Darth Jadus, Hunter, Darth Baras, and the Sith Emperor were all excellent villains, and greatly enhanced their respective stories. On the other hand, Darth Thanaton, General Rakton, and Jun Seros were weak villains, and dragged their stories down.
Imperial Agent Excellence
In my view, the Imperial Agent story is the strongest. It does all the basics competently and had an excellent supporting cast and villains. It was also the only story to attempt to be "more" than just a Star Wars story.
If someone said "Give me a story about a Jedi Consular", you'd get the Consular story. Ditto the Sith Warrior and the Jedi Knight. These stories had themes, but the themes did not drive the story. Instead the "archetype experience" drove the story. The Knight story is the Knight story because that's what you'd expect the Knight's story to be about.
The Agent story, on the other hand, sought to answer a question. The United States Declaration of Independence states that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." The Agent story asks what happens if that is not true, what if some men are inherently more powerful (by orders of magnitude) than others. How do the powerless act?
The Agent story had some interesting answers, especially in Chapter 3. But every chapter, including the prologue, touched upon this theme in some fashion.
This theme is also not specific to the Agent. The Sith classes could have looked at the same theme from the other side. But starting with a stronger theme, and then wrapping the Agent "experience" around that theme, led to a stronger story in general.
That's a quick overview of what I thought of the class stories in SWTOR. They're all decent. But the Imperial Agent story is a cut above, being driven by a unique theme, as opposed to just the archetype experience.