For an early look at the design process of upcoming PC MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, check out BioWare's official site. Today's fascinating post concerns the Trooper class, and gives you a window into the myriad factors that go into every decision when making a AAA MMO.
Think about this for a second: How is it possible for a run-of-the-mill Trooper to go up against a Sith or a Jedi? In the universe of the Star Wars films, Stormtroopers were toast when facing a Jedi -- their minds were easily force blocked, they couldn't shoot straight, and they barely could manage to walk through the Death Star's hallways without bumping their heads on doorways. But in an MMO, that kind of power difference wouldn't work. The game would be unbalanced, particularly when it comes to PVP, and no one would choose the trooper class. Ever. To solve this problem, BioWare will allow you to play as a member of The Republic's Havoc Squad -- Elite clone troops that are a head-and-shoulders above the bumbling laser-fodder in Episode IV.
The Trooper class will be, as you might expect, combat heavy, with a huge variety of range weapons. A trooper in Star Wars: The Old Republic is "A dedicated soldier who believes in military precision, tactical superiority and above all, a whole lot of firepower. With his impressive arsenal of assault rifles and grenades, the Trooper is the best ranged damage dealer the Republic has to offer." Also, the Trooper comes complete with the ability to unleash morale-raising buffs for his Republic neighbors.
As for that PVP match-up of a Sith versus a Trooper: In the right situation, it's a fair fight. Sure, a Sith would slice a Trooper up at close range, but at a distance, the Trooper's distance weapons will give him/her the advantage.
As you can probably guess, I'm really looking forward to this game. I'm not sure how I'll be able to find the time to actually play it when it finally comes out... but I think I'll manage to find those hours somewhere. I'm not playing as a Trooper, though. Give me a stealth class, any day. What about you? What class are you looking forward to checking out?And do you think this game will finally de-throne World of Warcraft?