Monday, June 01, 2015

STWOR: Class Story Comparison

This post contains significant spoilers for all the class stories in Star Wars: The Old Republic.


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.


  1. Funny just yesterday when I saw your Smuggler post I was thinking to myself "I hope there's a tag or roundup." Lo and behold! I never did finish my Agent; I think I stalled right at the beginning of act 3 so eventually I'll need to go give it another shot. I did finish the Sith Warrior and Bounty Hunter and found the former a lot more fun.

    As you said I think each of the eight was trying to give the quintessential story of that class, though I did feel like the Agent, also being the one with the least existing canon, to be the most interesting. Going into SWTOR I think any Star Wars fan could have easily said what they think the other 7 stories should be about, but the Agent was a bit of a mystery and I think that gave Bioware more wiggle room to make a more interesting story.

    On the other hand, some of the storys have really good source material but didn't handle the quintessential story very well. The Bounty Hunter for example never really gets to feel like this badass. You win a contest, clear your name, and play errand-minion for a sith. Nowhere in there do you really get to feel Boba Fett, a bounty hunter that had Vader's respect enough that he could argue with him in public without an immediate force choke.

  2. I felt that the BH story lost its way in Chapter 2, but it was the end of Chapter 2 and all of Chapter 3 that gave the BH story its punch. Chafing under a Sith's thumb in Chapter 3 really attracted my attention, and when the opportunity presented itself I took it.

  3. Interesting perspectives on the Bounty Hunter. To be honest, I don't particularly care about Boba Fett. So from my perspective, the Bounty Hunter story was pretty much as I expected. People tell you to go kill/capture targets and you do so, overcoming all obstacles in your way.

  4. I just played through Agent again and the storytelling is really stunning. They are able to use classic spycraft storylines and I love the heist on Belsavis -- it's all quite cinematic.

    But the part for me where it really shines is in how it uses MMO tropes to tell the story. The parts with the brainwashing where the way they work the choices shows you that your character really has no choice and that was completely outstanding IMO. Act 2 Agent is incredible.

    It's also a story where the 3 acts work together and come to a conclusion.

  5. I feel really bad now. I've been playing for almost 3 years, and I still haven't finished all class stories. :$

  6. I agree with your assessment of the Agent’s story. I also think that it’s by far the best one and judging by the official forums and other blogs and comments out there, so do a lot of people. Interestingly, you rated the Jedi Consular story as second best which is also how I see it. It is generally perceived to be the weakest, however.