Nov 7, 2011

Posted by in Yellow Posts | 2 Comments

Yellow Posts: Lots of Imperial Agent Information

I’m usually not one to believe in coincidences and the recent postings by a certain developer definitely made me continue that belief. Georg Zoeller, Principal Lead Combat Designer, spent the week leading up to the release of the Imperial Agent Progression Video talking about the Imperial Agent on the forums. Even saying this on Wednesday:

Quote: Originally Posted by Lenali

I took matters into my own hands to find out information about the Imperial Agent. Bioware isn’t going to give us information about the class and i’m willing to bet that they definately won’t give us the progression video until after Swtor is released.

How much are you willing to bet?

Oh you crafty developer you, Mr. Zoeller. I see what you did there ;)

Developer foreshadowing aside, lets talk about the Imperial Agent some. Forum poster Darkulous read that the Sniper AC for the Imperial Agent has a range of 30 meters for most abilities and 35m for some. “Is 30-35m an acceptable range for the only snipe class in the game?” he asks in his thread “Sniper Range 30-35m?” Realism aside, the Sniper (and the Gunslinger, which is the Republic class mirror) does have the longest range of any class in the game, according to Georg Zoeller:

Snipers (and Gunslingers) have a range of 35 meters for most of their abilities, which is the longest range class for player abilities available. Troopers for examples have a maximum range of 30 meters on their long range abilities.

In the thread “Sniper gameplay theorycrafting (PvP)” originally created by nacario, Georg Zoeller has posted a couple of times to explain some points. First of all, Mr. Zoeller confirms that the cover ability is a counter to the Fore Leap ability that is shared by Jedi Knights and Sith Warriors:

Correct. Cover protects from Force Leap, being pulled via grapple, etc.

Using Entrench (An ability increasing the effectiveness of cover temporarily) will also make the Agent immune to any other kind of control (CC),. They become an unmovable object that cannot be charged, pushed, lifted, frozen, Force choked or in any other way incapacitated.

A little bit later, poster Damhooligan seemed a bit incredulous at this effect of the cover system. However, Georg Zoeller explains how truly bad it is for a melee class against a Sniper, especially one who is speced into the Marksman tree:

You rarely see them leading the charge onto an objective, but they are masters of area denial. It’s not just that you have to bridge 35 meters to them, with them getting the alpha strike. They got tools that will temporarily root you (Leg Shot), the force of impact from their Ambush ability pushes close range enemies back and their cover generator is fitted with the a pulse detonator that pushes attackers out of melee range (Cover Pulse). They can also become faster and faster the more they hit you (Sniper Volley). And did I mention that they can call down a powerful orbital satellite strike to protect the area around them?

Sounds terrifying! But the Sniper does have some obvious weaknesses:

How is it balanced? Carefully… We force you to be smart about moving into the area protected by these guys. If you’re not smart about it and think you can charge into the fray, that’s the wrong class to try that on. Their weakness is the fact that their most powerful abilities require them to be entirely static, that they have little ability to kite or establish range against a close range attacker.

You have to be smart when dealing with a Sniper if you are a melee class. Shadow/Assassin’s have it easy, just stealth in behind them and you’ve just nullified their advantages. Jedi Knights and Sith Warriors are going to have issues and I envision lots of “line of sight”-ing in an attempt to flank the Sniper.  Mr. Zoeller envisions the same thing:

You want to sneak up on them, distract them or eject them from cover (there’s a very limited number of abilities that can do that), utilize environmental features to avoid line of sight, hit them with long range DOTs and wear them down, or gang up on them. If you manage to catch them close range without having lost too much of your health, they are in a lot of trouble and without Stealth generator or any kind of active escape ability, they are likely dead.

The whole post is a long one, but if you’re interested in the Sniper/Gunslinger class, I highly recommend that you check it out.

Switching gears…do you want to play the Sage advanced class? Don’t expect to get into melee combat too much. Forum poster shadowcastor wanted to know in his thread “How will the sage fair against up close melee characters?” if the Sage’s melee abilities are any good against the other classes. In short…no, they aren’t. Georg Zoeller expands on my brevity:

You’ll die.

To elaborate on this: If you try to outdamage any of the melee DPS classes at close range. 2 lightsabers > 1 lightsaber; Heavy Armor > light armor; Tons of powerful melee moves > small number of melee moves.

Sure, most of your abilities will still work close range, but you have a distinct advantage when they are at range, so you’re going to have to make sure these guys don’t make it into melee range or, if they make it, don’t make it with enough health or stay there long enough to get their really powerful attacks off.

It’s always nice to hear from a writer on the forums and especially Alexander Freed, Senior Writer for SW:TOR. xCOLBYJACKx wanted to know about military ranks for Jedi and Sith in their respective military organizations so he posted the thread “A question about Jedi in the Republic and Sith in the Empire…” Are Jedi and Sith automatically given a military rank and troops to lead? Jedi did take an active military command role in the prequel trilogy and xCOLBYJACKx was wondering if this is how it works in the SW:TOR time period. Mr. Freed explains how that works:

Good question, and I’ll just reiterate what most of the responders have already surmised:

Jedi do not receive any military rank or authority simply by being Jedi. If a Jedi is involved in a military operation, his or her position is essentially determined by the Republic authorities involved–a general might request a Jedi advisor when going up against a Sith Lord, but turning command of an entire army over to even a Jedi Master would be a rare decision. Jedi expecting immediate cooperation from Republic military personnel may get it–even in these relatively dark times, many people still honor and respect the Jedi–but such cooperation is ultimately voluntary.

There may be a few Jedi out there with military ranks, but they’ve earned them specially.

Sith, of course, are a completely different matter. Sith aren’t technically part of the military hierarchy, but they are the undisputed rulers of the Empire. Their commands are to be obeyed. (But this doesn’t mean an apprentice just out of the Academy can go around Force-choking Moffs. The military might not take action against an unruly apprentice, but his master sure would–and if she didn’t, she’d be hearing from the Dark Council.)

Until next week, thanks for reading!


  1. Damhooligan says:

    Man I cannot believe the Warrior cannot at least force leap onto the IA’s shield. I understand entrench holding off the accompanying stuns but to negate the charge completely? Grrrr.

    Happy this does not make me hmmm?

    • I think the whole force leap not working on a IA is more about balance over realism. No one would want to play an agent if they are that easy of a target.

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