Dec 2, 2011

Posted by in Blue Milk & Cereal | 33 Comments

Blue Milk & Cereal: How Do You Feel About No Advanced Class Switching?

No day would be complete without the breakfast of Jedi: Blue Milk & Cereal.  Every morning, the team at Ask A Jedi will get Force-induced thoughts coursing through your head with delicious issues from around the galaxy! Join in the discussion below to make your voice heard!

Many of you who have been following the game for awhile are familiar with the off-again, on-again roller coaster ride that is the ability to switch Advanced Classes. Selecting an Advanced Class in Star Wars: The Old Republic is akin to selecting your actual combat class in other games, as each one plays so differently and even has different itemization. There have been vocal proponents on both sides of the argument.

When we talked to Senior Live Producer Blaine Christine at PAX 2010, he indicated that the idea of swapping Advanced Classes was still very much in development. But during San Diego Comic-Con back in July, Game Director James Ohlen revealed that Advanced Class switching was in the game, and that the first switch is “cheap”, but after that it may be all but prohibitive for most players. This satisfied most of the folks who though they should be allowed to changed classes in the game.

The most recent turn of events, however, comes from Senior Community Manager Stephen read on the official forums. Mr. Reid revealed that, in fact, the ability to swap your Advanced Class is currently NOT in the game, though the potential may be there in the future. But there are no immediate plans for launch or right after:

Advanced Class switching (or re-speccing, take your pick) was, at one point, potentially going to go into the game. Right now, it’s not in the game. It could potentially be added after launch. Like, frankly, anything else. To quote Georg “we reserve the right to change our minds based on feedback and testing.”

This revelation has certainly stirred up quite a discussion for our friends over at TORWars, so we thought it might be the right time to take the temperature of the community with a Blue Milk & Cereal poll.

How do you feel now that we know Advanced Class switching will in fact not be in the game at launch? Let us know!

How do you feel about Advanced Class switching not being allowed in the game?

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  1. I am really on the fence, I have not played enough high level Operations to truly ‘get’ my characters roll. I mean how can I tell if its the class I want to play really? restricting change means taking a safer route, no safety net in the selection. There are a lot of hours of leveling time to get a toon to 50 to find out you hate your roll in a group of 8 or 16.
    BUT …. I do understand the desire to make choice matter, and try to engage the player community in joining together to fill rolls as needed.

    • Nepenthesy says:

      There’s not enough clarity on this. Switching AC taken at level 10 is one thing, respeccing is another. The advanced class is what makes SWTOR have 8 classes per side, although mirrored. If they actually impllement the ability to change the AC to someing else, this means restricting the classes to basically 4 only.

      I totally do support respeccing (choosing a different tree in the same AC) and I do not like being able to switch the whole AC to something else. Even the dual spec feature, if there ever will be one, should be limited to the chosen AC.

      If you want to play a different AC, roll a new class… cause that’s how variety is built in this game in the first place. Comparing it to Wow for example, changing to a different AC would be like being able to switch from a druid to a shaman (if these two classes shared the same foundation). This isn’t acceptable and would destroy The rerolling aspect big time. There’s already too much similarities between classes in this game, don’t make it even more profound.

      • Agreed. The way I look at it is that there are 8 classes per side, but only four distinct storylines (and each pair of ACs shares a handful of baseline abilities, but that’s a fairly minor contribution by endgame).

        Each AC should be considered a separate class, and being able to switch your AC at will would essentially reduce the game to four classes.

      • I completely agree with you and feel very strongly that being able to switch AC’s is a terrible idea. One that would ultimately ruin the game and cause people to leave.

        Besides the obvious exploits of implementing a system like this, it lessens the value of each class. As Nepenthesy has mentioned, we would go from having 8 classes down to 4. Few players would master their AC as you would playing it from 10-50 and that lack of competence would negatively impact all levels of game content. There isn’t a single MMO I’m familiar with that has adopted this system and not suffered for it.

        I can’t stress enough how bad this idea is.

    • I pretty much agree with you. I will be happy with either way they choose. I personally wouldn’t mind the opportunity to roll a tank, which I have never played, yet have the option to AC switch to a healer, which I know and love.

      Either way though, I am fine, by no means is it a game breaker for me.

    • The problem is in tvis case the story, i want to play an inquisitor, but both assassin and sorcerer speaks to me. If i pick sorc and at end game wants to play like assassin I have to play the same quest the same stort all over again. I dont want to do that, but the. Again the adv classes are as differen as basic classes are in other games so rerolli g them also seems wrong some how… In the end i guess i have to trust bioware, and roll the only class i have no doubts abou adv class… Snuggler gunslinger :)

  2. Lady Republic says:

    From a developer’s standpoint, I think it makes sense in terms of creating more re-playability (and thus more hours in game).

    From a player’s standpoint, not sure. I really grew to love RIFT’s ability to play whatever I was in the mood for at that moment on a single character, because of the complete ease of switching builds as much as the player wanted. In this case, I try to tell myself that an AC is really less of a sub-class and more of a completely separate class – but I sometimes wonder if they’d been better off truly making them separate instead of embedding within a larger class.

    My curiosity is if we will see more of the ACs that can serve either a DPS or tank/heal role by talent point changes over those that are purely a DPS role only and cannot respec within an AC to a different role.

  3. I think it’s fine to not have AC changes. It’s what they said from the start, and my understanding is it’s how it has always been in beta. Yeah, it was mentioned at a convention that they were playing around with different ways to change it in the first few levels after the choice, but it just seems unnecessary.

    After playing last weekend, the amount of information provided to the player is substantial. You can even see the skill trees for each AC before you choose. It’s no different than someone in WoW getting to endgame on a Mage and then deciding they’d prefer to play a Warrior. Sometimes people just make the wrong choice and have to deal with it.

    This should be a non-issue. The game was always designed with permanent AC choice. This issue was created by players and basically only exists as a “thing” to us.

  4. Now ….. if I can eventually get to end game and find a magical ‘change species’ option that would rock. We have a limited set at launch, not looking for a barber. If I decide to spend quality time Pvp’ing i might need to change to Mon Calamari so i can get their over powered ‘sense trap’ racial.

  5. I think there should be a limited amount of switching say 2 so if you pick a powertech bh but decide you dont like it you can switch AC to the other one but if you then decide you preferred powertech then you can switch back but thats it youve tried both and you need to settle once both have been tried

    • The only issue with this is that once you put the option in the game, no matter how limited, it will eventually become very very cheap, easy, and without limitations.

      • Yup. Give an inch and take a mile…

        They already provide you with AC details and a look at the skill trees before you choose. So it’s a very well informed decision right from the start. Even after the choice is made, if it turns out that you really don’t like the AC then reroll. The origin planets only take a few hours to run through, especially if you’ve done it before. You’ll be back to level 10 in no time and able to continue in the other AC.

  6. I really support this. It is the only thing keeping more than 4 classes in the game per side. Choice is supposed to matter, and one of the big choices in a lot of games is picked the class you want to play, if you don’t like it you have to re-roll.

  7. No AC changes, instead Talent on the same AC switching yes, heal as a Sorcerer or blast enemies down with lightning.

  8. I am less bothered by this than I thought I’d be. I’d like to see dual spec go into the game eventually, and it seems likely that it will, but I’d like them to restrict it to within a single AC – I really have no interest in swapping AC, just in easily being able to shift from DPS to heals.

  9. On the fence baby. It would be useful, but I don’t feel it right.

  10. nepenthesy says:

    On the same line of thought I’ve always wondered why they haven’t divided class selection into AC choices from the get go. Three spec trees per AC are already there and going that route the class abilities would’ve unbloated the big saturation in that department.

    Would’ve improved the artificial feeling of more classes to chose from and also would not have introduced balancing issues because ACs already take care of it at level 10. I do suspect streamlining class abilities will happen eventually anyways.

  11. The only reason I’m for it is because of the story. For instance, I play a Jedi Shadow, which was my main during the beta. But I really wanted to try out a sage as well, because I thought the class sounded fun. I didn’t, however, want to play through the same story again in a game with so much story. It seemed silly.

    Everyone says they are different classes, but when pairs of classes have the same story quests and the same companions, especially terrible early ones like the consular, it makes me not even want to TRY that class.

    Sure you can say “roll a sorcerer, it’s the mirror” but I really dislike sith, I tried and could barely handle being over there on a bounty hunter, who felt the same way I did about the sith, let alone an inquisitor who was completely evil even with lightside choices.

    I would enjoy switching of AC’s just so I can better spend my time rolling new characters with new stories.

    • WhiteWarrior says:

      4 unique stories is still pretty awesome if you ask me, I mean look at WoW…. I’ve got 8 characters to level 80+… its pretty much that same questing for every single character. Not sure how it is with other MMO’s, but I welcome 4 unique stories, and if I have to replay one, well there iss always different LS/DS options within the same story.

  12. Silvertaurus says:

    Im happy with it
    Possibility to switch spec, no matter how expensive, would brough us down to 4 different classes per side. There could always be a point, where you ‘realy realy’ want your venguard go healing and there could be possibilty : “My class CAN heal .. simply respec cost much”.
    In time, you would feel obligated to gather gear for both ACs.. Especialy in raid enviroment.

  13. Fantastic news everyone! (Tho I wish I had known it prior to making my SI a Sorc last Beta Weekend.)

    Permanency is something rare to see in these days where common practice is to let you swap away anything at a whim, no consequences. I wouldn’t be able to switch my class on a whim, nor my species. AC choice should be just as permanent. or else we end up with people being every single role in the game, and FotM being even more of an issue.

    Even if they make it ridicoulously expensive, people WILL find a way around it. Trust me.

  14. gamerladyp says:

    After playing games with both dual classes, as well as multiple soul options, I have to say I love that flexibility. It was particularly handy for switching roles for raiding. However, I don’t have enough experience with the more hybrid classes in SWTOR to say whether I’ll really need this option. The healing class I played in Beta, Commando, was pretty fun just as she was, but I only did one low level flashpoint and had another person with healing abilities along too.
    I guess it depends on whether they allow dual spec, or make you give up on class to take the other. In either case, I think it is an option with more utility at end game.

  15. Apilogies but the dual use of the term respecc’ing to cover switching between AC’s and moving points within the same AC had left me a little confused. Are both unavailable at launch?

  16. I don’t like having restrictions placed on characters. If I were able to choose at one point in time whether I wanted to be a Sorcerer or Assassin, then I should be able to make that choice later in “life” as well.

    If they do prevent the changing of AC, then so be it. While I don’t like it, I could live with that restriction being in place since I’m an altoholic anyway and will have 1-3 of every class regardless. I can get around it because of my particular playstyle, I just hate being forced to take that route when the ability to choose Path A or Path B is already being presented to us in-game. If Bob showed me how to be a Sorcerer, surely Fred can still teach me how to become an Assassin instead.

    However, I think there’s a true and honest need for dual specs. I like to heal, but I don’t like being roped into a healing spec 24/7. I don’t want to be forced to level two versions of the same character just so I can switch back and forth between healing and DPS.

  17. I used to want it available at any point in the game, but now I think that they should implement it in a limited form. I was hoping that it would be allowed up until lvl 20 or they change the selection process so you don’t make a final decision until 20 and you have to try out both AC’s.

  18. Phoenix8387 says:

    I’m all for the current system. You can’t change classes in WoW, Rift or any other MMOs that I can think of, so why do people think you should be able to in SWTOR?

    I’ll admit, there is a much larger level span where roles are pretty undefined. I personally found I could heal and DPS (of which I was specced for) very well up to level 20 with my Trooper Commando and even to a lesser extent at 30. That’s when I really felt my role was much more defined. That said, I feel that you usually get the feel of your chosen spec and class by level 20. You are able to respec for free up to lvl 20 IIRC which I believe allows you to get the general feel for your trees. (I know this post isn’t about the Trees per say, but I’m just taying you can get the feel for your AC and role before you get too deep into the game.)

    Now onto AC switching. I will say that I absolutely see a reason for it, what if you accidentally clicked Assas when you really wanted to be a Sorc? I wouldn’t mind seeing an option to switch AC’s if you haven’t left the space station since picking. This would prevent forcing people to re-roll if they accidentally picked the wrong AC and also let them test out the looks of their class. (Better yet, add in an optional training simulator that allows you to test both ACs out at say lvl 30)
    Switching AC’s down the line does get a bit more iffy to me, even more so the higher level you get. Though giving people a 5 level buffer (up to lvl 15) seems like it could be a suitable compromise so people don’t get locked in to a wrong choice, but it should cost them.

  19.! No AC respecs.
    It will ruin the game.

    keep it as is and make sure the gold farmers don’t trivialize the cost of respecing within class, which should also continue to be very costly.

  20. I’m just saying, the two classes I’m most interested in are shadow and sage, and although I agree with many of your points, I’ll probably end up playing sage, my second choice in what to level, last because I’d rather play other classes with different stories first.

    In the beta I got to try every class, but not every AC. My shadow made it seem silly to level a sage. Honestly I think it’s the biggest deal for consulars and inquisitors, if I made a trooper commando, the FEEL of the class is the same as a vanguard. I know I couldn’t stealth or heal but my gunslinger FELT like a smuggler. On my Consular, when I hit 10, I became a completely different class than I started with. No complaints, it’s awesome. But that means there was another class, sage, I was never going to know the feel of without completely rerolling. Bioware wants us to reroll for story, not for mechanics.

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