Georg Zoeller talks Trooper combat with the RT team!
This week has seen all kinds of activity, as The Republic and Sith Empire rev up their machines of war in preparation for the imminent launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic. There is so much chatter on the comms we can barely keep things straight, from the second Fan Site Summit to the revelation of the Pre-Launch Guild Program moving into Phase 3: Deployment.
But wait! This just coming in; Georg Zoeller has sent us an encrypted communique detailing some brand new Trooper intel. Strap on your armor and lace up your boots for a great read that may just be key to winning our war against the Sith Empire!
Republic Trooper: What were some of the challenges of developing ranged tanking for the Vanguard Advanced Class?
Georg Zoeller: Since this is a Star Wars game, and most enemies in Star Wars utilize ranged weapons such as blaster rifles, cannons or grenade launchers, the Vanguard’s ability to draw attention from range also emerged as a distinct advantage over melee bound classes like the Jedi Guardian, who have to close from range to create initial threat.
However, a lot of the challenges to tanking are based in the tanks role as the ‘anchor’ of a fight. They are responsible for moving enemies into a position advantageous for their group and keeping them anchored. Tanking from range doesn’t lend itself well to this responsibility, so we saw quite a few problems from the Vanguard’s range: For example, it is much harder for group members to read the state of combat and who the tank is engaged with when the fight is taking place over large distances.
Ultimately, we’ve solved this problem by moving the ‘sweet zone’ for tanking on the Vanguard into mid-range, allowing for strategic use of ranged attacks while keeping him in the thick of the action.
Another problem we had to deal with was selling the ability to tank at close range for a gun wielding class. We had to use a lot of powerful visual effects such as technical shields to properly sell the Vanguard’s ability to go ‘hand to hand’ with a vibrosword wielding enemy.
RT: We’ve spoken with some large guilds that are intending on running exclusively with Troopers. How viable would it be to attempt Flashpoints and Operations with only the Republic’s finest?
GZ: Absolutely possible. The screen might get a bit busy from all the gunfire, but other than that, there’s nothing that would prevent you from doing this. You’d obviously have to bring team members from both Advanced Classes (Vanguard and Commando) to cover all bases.
RT: Which stats should Troopers focus on, and does it vary by Advanced Class and build?
GZ: The primary attribute for the Trooper class is Aim, which affects the damage, critical chance and healing of all ranged and tech abilities. Endurance is always a popular choice as secondary attribute, as it grants a higher health pool to draw on.
Depending on your role, specialization choices and play style, other stats such as Alacrity (reduces the activation time of many powerful talents) or Surge (improves the magnitude of critical hits or heals) make a lot of sense as well.
RT: Can you briefly describe a few of your favorite Trooper abilities?
GZ: Hail of Bolts (Trooper Base Class) – The Trooper blankets the targeted location with heavy blaster fire, damaging those caught in the attack.
Gut (Vanguard) – The Vanguard strikes the selected target with a retractable vibro-knife embedded in their gauntlet, causing heavy damage and continuous loss of health over time.
Combat Support Cell / Supercharge Cell (Commando) – While Combat Support Cell is active, your basic ranged attacks and key medic abilities charge the cell. When fully charged, Supercharge Cell can be activated to grant temporarily increased damage and healing.
RT: Of the three damage dealing trees (Assault Specialist, Gunnery and Tactics) are all three viable in both Flashpoints and Operations, or are some of the trees more specialized?
GZ: The damage potential of all DPS trees is designed to be competitive with one another as we want the player to choose their specialization based on their play style preferences:
Assault Specialist – Using long range gameplay and mobility, this tree delivers high sustained and predictable damage to individual targets.
Gunnery – High burst damage created by a variety of build-up attacks. More sturdy and more utility than the Assault Specialist, but less mobile due to reliance on channeled abilities.
Tactics – Often compared to a ‘wrecking ball’ by our testers, this tree makes the Vanguard difficult to control, provides him with good mobility and anti-kiting tools and great area of effect damage.
Players will obviously find some specializations more to their liking when doing operations, but we definitely try to design the content around all available specializations.
RT: How does the Vanguard tank work in relation to the other Republic tanking classes, the Jedi Guardian and the Jedi Shadow?
GZ: Unlike the Guardian and the Shadow, the Vanguard is capable of building threat even from range, giving them the limited but marked ability of tanking at a distance. Statistically, their tanking ability is based more upon absorption and shielding and less about avoidance, making them the slightly more predictable tanks (Medics love that). Finally, they are visually very different when in action, as most of their abilities are themed around technical attacks (grenades, explosions, blasters, etc.).
RT: On the flip side, where does the Commando shine in regards to other Republic ranged damage dealers?
GZ: The Commando has a wider selection of area attacks than other damage dealers. Their heavy armor makes them comparable to the Guardian in survivability while also granting basic medic abilities as part of their Advanced Class. They offer more mobile gameplay than the cover bound Gunslinger and feature better range than the more in-your-face Scoundrel DPS builds.
RT: What makes the Commando Combat Medic stand apart from his healing counterparts?
GZ: Commandos are the only medic class capable of increasing their target’s mitigation and receptivity to heals. They are also the only Advanced Class that features a ‘smart heal’, an auto-response heal that triggers on the target when they take damage. They also feature a unique mechanic with the aforementioned Combat Support Cell: Utilizing their main weapon to support their allies with a steady, reliable stream of healing, while building up Supercharge cell – which provides burst on demand capabilities when needed for either healing or even emergency damage.
RT: Is the Commando viable as a primary healer for Flashpoints and Operations?
GZ: Yes, all our healer specs are viable as primary healers for Flashpoint and Operations content. Players will no doubt develop personal preferences, of course
RT: Does the Trooper’s ability to wear heavy armor factor into the balance of the Combat Medic Commando?
GZ: Like any Trooper, the Combat Medic wears heavy armor, making them the most ‘sturdy’ of the healing centered Advanced Classes. Where the Sage has to actively manage their survivability by avoiding enemies, the Commando has the luxury to spend more of their time focusing on supporting their teammates.
RT: Some games calculate threat differently if an attacker is in melee range. Is there a similar mechanic in TOR that would make it easier for a Vanguard to keep aggro by keeping to melee range?
GZ: While the Vanguard’s most powerful, threat generating abilities are at close range, there are no special calculations made in the threat calculation logic that would favor melee over ranged damage.
RT: Certain Trooper abilities allow the class to focus on explosive damage. Is there a game benefit to doing so, such as content that is more susceptible to such damage?
GZ: Having a good variety of area attacks (and more than any other class), even in the Trooper base class, is definitely very satisfying in a game that will more often than not challenge you with multiple enemies at once.
Finally, everybody knows the Trooper is an incredibly versatile class…tanking, damage, and healing. What is your favorite type of Trooper and why?
GZ: Sorry, as the guy in charge of class and game balance, I’m not allowed to have favorites.
No related posts.
Tags: Advanced Class, Aim, Alacrity, Assault Specialist, Bioware, Combat Medic, Combat Support Cell, Commando, EA, Electronic Arts, Endurance, Galactic Republic, Georg Zoeller, Guardian, Gunnery, Gunslinger, Gut, Hail of Bolts, Jedi, Jedi Guardian, Jedi Knight, Jedi Sage, Jedi Shadow, LucasArts, Pulse Cannon, Republic Trooper, Sage, Scou, Shadow, Sith Empire, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Supercharge Cell, Surge, SWTOR, Tactics, The Old Republic, TOR, Trooper, Vanguard