A Galaxy Far Away: Put Down the Lightsaber, Pick Up a Blaster

smuggler

I was alone, the sweat trickling down my forehead. The Jedi was somewhere out there, moving silently in the high grass below me. I moved to the other side of my fortress, blaster at the ready. This was no easy prey.

Then I heard it; the high-pitched battle cry of the female force user running up the ramp. The sound of her lightsaber igniting put me into motion; I only had a few seconds.  I moved as fast as I could, leaping to the ground. My armor protected my knees as I knelt to spring my trap. The Jedi would be engulfed in the heat of my flamethrower. I picked up the water hose, twisted the knob, and drenched the entire wooden cabin. “You’re dead!” I called up to my sister. “That was my flamethrower!”

“No Kyle!” she yelled down soaking wet, “That’s not fair…and I think you broke the lightsaber. It wont turn back on.“ She frowned as she smacked the battery compartment on the hilt. I and looked down at my blaster and smiled. I probably did, but I didn’t care. My bounty contract was complete. I loved disintegrations.

The lightsaber is one of the most iconic pieces of pop culture today, and many people can identify it without ever seeing a Star Wars film. It’s no surprise that the force-using, lightsaber-wielding Sith and Jedi of Star Wars: The Old Republic are among the most popular classes in the game. But I’m here to tell you, if you haven’t played the non-force using classes (such as the smuggler, agent, bounty hunter or trooper) , you are truly missing out on a different sort of Star Wars experience. You may need to come back to The Old Republic and pick up that blaster instead.

From the start, Bioware said that their non-force using classes would be different, and it’s this distinction that makes for a fantastic change in the game. You aren’t ordinary. You are the best of the best, an elite force in the galaxy, and I find the ability to go toe-to-toe with the galaxy’s ‘superheroes’ makes for an amazing experience.  You truly feel like the character in the story, which in my opinion is one of the stronger points of the MMO. The Imperial Agent storyline is fantastic, and while hiding behind crates and debris may not be the most appealing way to play the game, the story alone is very rewarding. Igniting a Jedi with your flamethrower as a bounty hunter never seems to get old. It’s a good sort of different and one people may have missed the first time around.

SWTOR-Trooper-Class-Selection

I adore the special care that was given to these blaster-wielding classes. The faint glow of your flamethrower as it ignites around you is beautiful, and the crunch of a good kick to a Jedi’s groin always brings a smile to my face. The animations and sounds of the different weapon systems provide a great alternative to familiar hack and slash antics of the game’s melee counterparts.

The cover system used by blaster-wielding heroes and NPC’s may not be perfect, but when it happens, it creates one of the most accurate depictions of Star Wars combat. In the opening scenes of A New Hope, the Rebellion took what little cover they had in the halls to prepare for the assault of Imperial stormtroopers. Very rarely did they stand out in the open in a combat stance and fire their blasters recklessly, as some NPC’s do in SWTOR. When my enemy takes cover in SWTOR, I feel more invested in the game since they have the common sense to head for cover, and I feel more accomplished defeating them. I feel like a hero. I can’t help but wish they did it more often.

If you jumped into the galaxy of The Old Republic at launch and were issued a lightsaber, you may have missed one of the greater aspects of the MMO. Give SWTOR another try, but this time prepare yourself to be a different kind of Star Wars hero (or villain) in that galaxy far,far away.

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Kyle Burns

About Kyle Burns

Soldier. Geek. Journalist. Amateur Adventurer. Kyle Burns currently serves as a journalist in the U.S. military, and has a profound love for all things in that galaxy far, far away. He and his wife travel the world with their mystical Welsh Corgi in search of adventure. You can follow said adventures on Twitter @TheSandwichLivz (or on Instagram if you like shiny pictures).