25/08/2020

The Best Classes to Take into Onslaught

With the recent Steam launch having brought many new and returning players (back) to SWTOR, there's been a resurgence of curiosity about many basic aspects of the game. One question that returning players with a stable of multiple characters might have is which class they should pick up first to get the most out of the new story additions since they last played.

My post about the best classes to take into the "Knights of..." expansions is one of the most popular posts on this blog, but we've had a fair amount of new story since then, with the arc about Valkorion and his family more or less wrapped up and abandoned. I think it's fair to wonder whether the storylines that have come after are better suited for a different set of classes, or if there is one class that's just best for everything, meaning KotFE/KotET and everything that comes after. My answer to the latter is "yes, and it's the Sith inquisitor", but I'd really like to go into a bit more detail than that. So get ready for some minor content spoilers and mention of companion returns post-KotET, but I'm not giving away any major plot points or anything.

First off I think that on the whole, the post-KotET content has been much more neutral in terms of which classes it's suitable for. Your character is now the commander of the Eternal Alliance (whatever you may think of how they ended up there) and they are back to dealing with the two big factions, which is easily justifiable in my opinion, whether you originally started out as a Sith or a Republic trooper.

When Bioware first eased their way back into this style of writing they seemed to struggle a bit, and the Iokath storyline that followed KotET was pretty bland and awkward as a result. This was followed by what has been dubbed the "traitor arc" since then, which again started poorly but got better as it went along. It's also probably the single most class-neutral storyline we've had since KotET, simply because it focuses very much on your personal relationship with the traitor, which depends more on how you feel about that particular character than your class choice. That said, the last flashpoint in the series, The Nathema Conspiracy, features a nice callback to your class story with a lot of different permutations based on your choices there.

From there it's off to Jedi Under Siege, which takes place on the planet Ossus, and where the current ongoing storyline kicks off. While this is still fairly class-neutral content as a whole, Bioware started to include a lot more references to the original class stories from this point onwards, which is what I will use to justify most of my rankings. Also noteworthy is that from Iokath onwards you're given the option to start sabotaging your old faction, which is something that might be greatly suited for characters that were played as never having been that attached to their original faction to begin with.

With all that out of the way, I would recommend prioritising the classes as follows if you're uncertain:

1. Sith Inquisitor

The Sith inquisitor is in the lucky position that they were a great fit for KotET/KotFE but the new content fits them like a glove as well. They basically enjoy ruling their own little faction, and whether you decide to go back and help the old Sith Empire or would rather scheme against them because it's the Sithy thing to do, opportunities for intrigue abound.

Jedi Under Siege starts with a call from your old friend Moff Pyron (who remembers you of course), and if you sided with Khem Val over Darth Zash at the end of his companion arc in the base game, you'll get to reunite with Khem on Ossus. Even better, you get to romance him too if you're into that kind of thing!

In Onslaught you're also given the opportunity to reclaim your old seat on the Dark Council if you wish (and in an appropriately Sithy manner as well).

Oh, and Andronikos and Ashara also come back in post-KotET Alliance alerts but that's really just the icing on the cake.

2. Jedi Knight

The Jedi Knight is another character that gets along well with the KotFE/KotET storyline and manages to continue into the new content quite seamlessly. You'll get recognised both as an important Jedi and a military commander, and no fewer than three of the original knight companions make their return as part of the storyline from Ossus onwards: Doc, Kira and Scourge. The latter two haven't had that much to do yet (that'll be in the content drop we're anticipating towards the end of the year), but all three are fully integrated into the storyline and reuniting with them is quite interesting. Kira can now also be romanced by female knights and Scourge is open to either gender. I haven't been able to find confirmation whether Doc swings both ways as well now...

3. Imperial Agent

The reason I rank the Imperial agent highly is mostly because of the saboteur option. You don't have to take it if you don't want to, but of all classes the agent was the one for whom it could (potentially) make the most sense to want to betray the Empire by the end of their class story. This was the sort of story thread that I think most of us didn't expect to ever get picked up again once Bioware said that there weren't going to be any more class stories, but the saboteur option has effectively revived it and even made it more "mainstream" so to speak.

Vector returns is a post-KotET Alliance alert, which is nice enough if you like him or even romanced him, and agents also get an exclusive little chat with him after the Task at Hand interlude that serves to remind you that he's still there and involved in the agent's life and decisions.

4. Jedi Consular

Similar to the knight, the consular is recognised for previous achievements on Ossus, and there are opportunities to both fight and be diplomatic.

In terms of companion returns, the consular was a bit of a black sheep during the KotFE/KotET era as no consular companions were involved in the main storyline and Qyzen was the only one that could be re-acquired via an Alliance alert. Post-KotET however, Lieutenant Iresso returns in an alert, you reunite with Nadia as part of the Ossus storyline, and Tharan comes back during Onslaught. Good times!

5. Sith Warrior

I ranked the Sith warrior as fairly high in terms of its suitability for KotFE/KotET, but to be honest I never pictured the warrior as someone who wants to sit on a throne and rule - better to leave that to someone with an interest in politics while they go out and smash faces. Ossus and Onslaught offer some nice opportunities here as you get back onto the front lines of the war and get the option to leave all that pesky planning to other people if that's more up your alley.

Quinn returns on Iokath and you get the option to finally get closure in regards to "that thing" he did during your class story. Jaesa returns in an Alliance alert after Ossus too, both her light and dark side versions. The former can now also be romanced, and the latter can also be killed if, like me, you always found her pretty annoying.

6. Bounty Hunter

You finally get Mako back in post-KotET Alliance alert, but it's a bit lacklustre to be honest. There is an interesting moment in Onslaught where bounty hunters get a slightly different reaction from an NPC than other classes, but other than that it doesn't offer anything particularly exciting for the class. The main reason I still rank it above trooper and smuggler is that bounty hunter is another class for whom the option of wanting to change sides in the war makes more sense than for most others.

7. Smuggler

Corso, Risha and Akaavi come back in two post-KotET Alliance alerts but they are short and not that great in my opinion. And while part of Onslaught takes place on a planetoid where a smuggler could feel right at home, nothing much is made of how this might make for a different experience for this class.

8. Trooper

Elara Dorne makes her comeback during Iokath but it's not very exciting. In the aftermath of Onslaught you get another little scene with her though (like the agent does with Vector), which is nice. Other than that there isn't anything going on that feels particularly tailored towards troopers.

Looking back at the final ranking, I'm kind of surprised by how similar it is to my KotFE/KotET ranking, with knight and inquisitor coming out on top once again, and smuggler trailing behind yet again. That said, I think it's important to repeat that overall, the newer content doesn't feel nearly as badly suited for some classes as KotFE/KotET did, and that there's much less of a difference between how much you'll enjoy playing through it as an inquisitor vs. a smuggler.

Got a different take on how different classes experience the current expansion and the content leading up to it? Feel free to leave it in the comments!

7 comments :

  1. Did you ever wrote an article about why everyone is so obsessed with romances?

    I'm really too afraid to ask.

    Half of all forum posts on swtor com and posts in twitch-chat when developers are streaming, are about romances. In this article you write about romances, as if they are an important point/reason, if a class is considered to be good in Onslaught.

    Honestly i think, all the requests "make this companion/npc romancable", "why can't i have a lesbian/gay relationship with this one" are more a hindrance for the game. As they take away time for important parts of the game. All the overlapping possibilities just opens doors for bugs, and many more hours of workload are wasted.

    So...my question is...why is everyone so obsessed with romances? Do you really have to romance every npc you see ingame? Seriously, people are asking for a romance option for the claw machine droid from the nightlife event.

    Why does the developers don't have the balls to say "enough already. we have other things to do.".

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    1. In the context of this article, the important part is that some companions that have been missing for up to four years are finally returning. Considering that companions are a core feature of the game, I think that's very relevant. I mention the new romance options because more ways to interact with old companions are also worth highlighting in my opinion.

      As for why so many people are quite so obsessed with romances and companions in general - I couldn't tell you, because I don't know either. :) Having played through a lot of alts I have of course seen a fair number of them simply because I like trying different story options, but I don't take the whole thing too seriously. Sometimes I have a hard time even remembering which of my characters has flirted with whom.

      That said, there are lots of things that people love and I don't quite get, but I don't see the harm in that. I'm sure the devs are quite aware of how many people do and don't care about romances (they have the player stats after all) and allocate their resources accordingly.

      While romance options can make things more complicated, you could say the same thing about any choice where a player is given branching options, and I think generally those make the game richer and more interesting.

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  2. I'd love to give you an honest answer but I only played it on 2 characters (Bounty Hunter and Consular) and for the life of me I couldn't even rate those 2. I don't want to say I didn't enjoy it, because I did. I don't want to say it wasn't memorable, because I'm pretty sure I've not forgotten anything important. I've had fun, but I simply can't remember any meaningful differences that would make one a lot better than the others.

    I have to exempt the whole companion thing though, because it sucks for every class if they don't get their companions back (or only got them back just recently), because your favorite one (romance or not) might be among those missing. But I wouldn't really lump that together with "the content" or "the expansion". But I might be minority here. That's an orthogonal feature to the expansion (or missing one of the last one...).

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  3. I took both of your top two through it, and I agree they were both great. Knight was my first through, and I have to say that the current story arc you get on a Knight is exceptional. Great fit for the KoT chapters, and having the whole thing wind down by getting your last two missing companions back feels great. A really solid several month long storyline (if I remember right it was a little over seven days played)

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  4. I agree that the Knight and Inquisitor fit best with the latest story content. The smuggler though...they really need to do something about that class because none of the content they've come out with fit them really well. I mean can you imagine what it would have been like if Han Solo had lead the rebellion? Really wish they would come up with a solution for the smuggler to be more like Han Solo where they aren't in charge but swoop in at the last minute to help save the day.

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    1. I mean can you imagine what it would have been like if Han Solo had lead the rebellion?

      Is it bad that I can picture that and it doesn't sound too bad to me? XD

      To be honest I don't think the smuggler is in too bad a place now, as long as you can accept that (like all classes) their role has evolved somewhat since the early days, which in the case of the smuggler means that instead of a lowly freighter pilot they are now more of an underworld mob boss.

      From that angle I think the Onslaught story works fine for them to be honest, Bioware just didn't really give them much love in terms of class-specific dialogue and such. There absolutely would have been room for it on Mek-sha in my opinion when it came to dealing with characters like Huttbreaker and Veek.

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  5. Oh, I'd rate very similarly - still enjoyed it more in my Consular than Knight or Inq, but that's just because I'm more attached to her (and that it marked a strong turn for my LS Inq, when she admitted yes, she had been a sith, but no, she didn't need to apologise OR return for it...fun times).

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