Dec 2, 2011

Posted by in Take a Walk on The Dark Side: Sith Inquisitor | 13 Comments

Sith Inquisitor: You Are in Command Now

Unlimited Power

“If I were to die, all the knowledge you seek about the true nature of the Force will be lost with me. Learn the power of the Dark Side!” –Darth Sidious, Star Wars III:  Revenge of the Sith

The Sith Inquisitor is a careful and calculating strategist, priding his or herself on manipulating others and gaining power in the Force. This is the class who can channel that most dangerous and deadly of all Force abilities, Force Lightning. Pure, dark energies dance from their fingers, lashing out to destroy any who oppose them or stand in their way.

Zap! Thanks to our friend Xavron for the screenshots!


Coupling their mastery of force lightning with the deadly finesse of a lightsaber, Inquisitors can heal their allies, cause great harm to their adversaries, and even shield companions from the worst attacks of their enemies with great skill, quick and deadly movements, and the supreme mastery of shadows and the dark energy of the Force.

The Inquisitor lurks in the shadows, striking with deadly precision and cloaking their presence with ease until it is too late. They collect power, hidden lore, and forgotten secrets, all in the goal of adding to their mastery of the Force. Finally, the Inquisitor is a true master of complex plots and hidden machinations, priding themselves on their ability to neatly line up both allies and adversaries like helpless pawns on a Holochess board and moving them into position as the situation requires.

Character

“Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design.” -Darth Sidious, Star Wars VI:  Return of the Jedi

Your character begins on the origin world as a slave, first entering Korriban from a transport vessel bringing newly discovered Force-sensitive persons to train at the Sith Academy. Dialogue choices run a fairly wide range, so much so that I found it difficult to break them down into general categories. At times, you are able to select options that lead you towards more of a Light-side path, showing respect or kindness to your fellow trainees.

A number of dialogue choices highlight the Inquisitor’s ruthlessness and willingness to inflict terrible pain not only on enemies, but also prisoners or even just the weak – often, these include the dialogue choice of shocking someone (which I have to confess, is very tempting). Other times the dialogue allows the Inquisitor to focus on a more cold and calculating aspect, less openly violent and more subtly dangerous.

This stone contains ancient knowledge - but does it help me electrocute my enemies?


Finally, there are a myriad of options in how you interact with other Sith – everything from formally polite and sincere, to rude and dismissive, to flattering or even a bit groveling.

For the Sith Inquisitor, it’s hard to really pinpoint categories for dialogue. Instead, everything feels very fluid and dynamic, less of a cliché and constant stereotype and far more complex and difficult to summarize in only a few words. Ultimately though, this makes sense for the class that embodies Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious – someone who can be charming, calculating, ruthless, cunning, polite, violent, and compassionate in turn, depending on the context and what that situation called for. The Inquisitor, moreso than any other class, is truly the Chess master.

Story

“The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner; now I am the master.” -Darth Vader, Star Wars IV:  A New Hope

The story for the Inquisitor begins on Korriban, ancient homeworld of the Sith and a repository of great dark force energies. You arrive with other acolytes, stepping off the transport vessel and straight into your first encounter with an individual you will soon learn to loathe.

Robots - not big fans of lightning.


For the Inquisitor, much of the origin world story centers around being a slave that was discovered to have nascent Force talents; many of the individuals you encounter constantly remind you of your lack of worth compared to your compatriots in training, and by the time you finish the starting area, believe me – you will absolutely have learned to channel and master a lot of rage and resentment, as any good Sith should.

My largest issue with the story is not so much the story itself, which is fantastic and immersive. It’s the fact that as an Inquisitor, you are allowed to select Sith Pureblood as a racial option. The problem with this is that Purebloods are considered above the other races in the Empire, superior in nearly every way – in fact, you even pick up quests along the way to actually measure the “purity” of current Sith leaders to determine if they have the desired level of Sith Pureblood flowing in their veins.

When I first started my Inquisitor character, I rolled as a Pureblood – but the more I quested, the more I found myself struggling to make sense of the discrepancy between my race and the way all the non-player characters (NPCs) and quests treated me. Ultimately it became so distracting that I re-rolled as a Twi’lek instead.

Now, from a meta-gaming standpoint, I understand why the developers made this decision, even if I disagree with it. Given that the Jedi side has a race (Miraluka) that can be both Knight and Consular, it only makes sense to have the same balance of the Force-using Sith race (Sith Pureblood). Nor is it feasible to write a completely separate entry area for Sith Pureblood Inquisitors, granting them access to a story that made more sense for their lore and background.

I also realize that not everyone is quite as interested as the lore or background as I am, and in fact many players may not even be aware of the special status of the Sith Purebloods. All that said though, as a player I did find it disruptive – so that was my only complaint with the story. Otherwise, the story held together very well and really did help the player learn to channel rage, resentment, and anger for the better use of their emerging Sith power. Plus, it’s very hard to resist any opportunity where the quest dialogue offers you the choice to shock someone (there’s a reason I named my test character Milgram).

Abilities

“Young fool…Only now, at the end, do you understand.  Your feeble skills are no match for the power of the Dark Side.” -Darth Sidious, Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi

The Sith Inquisitor’s stock ability is force lightning, and this appears linked to many of your starting abilities.  At level 1, Inquisitors begin the game with the following abilities:

  • Thrash (close-range melee attack)
  • Saber Strike (a second, more powerful melee attack)
  • Shock (a Force lighting attack that also stuns weaker enemies)
  • Mark of Power (a buff that increases party member’s primary stat by 5% and also reduces elemental damage by 10%)
  • Seethe (Inquisitor self-heal, with a very nice and fitting animation)

The Inquisitor is big on purple.


After the initial level 1 abilities, the Inquisitor gains roughly one new ability per level in the starting zone, as follows:

  • Level 2: Force Lightning (ranged, single-target damage spell)
  • Level 3: Overload (an Area of Effect, or AoE, knockback and damage spell)
  • Level 4: Whirlwind (a crowd control, or CC, ability that removes an enemy from combat for 8 seconds or until they are attacked)
  • Level 6: Electrocute (a damage ability with a stun)
  • Level 8: Recklessness (a buff ability that increases your next damage or healing ability)
  • Level 9: Unbreakable Will (an ability to free you from any movement impairing effects)
Itemization

“I can feel your anger. It gives you focus, makes you stronger.” –Darth Sidious, Star Wars III:  Revenge of the Sith

Sith Inquisitors seek willpower, first and foremost. Willpower gives them stronger spells, more energy to draw from, and an endless reserve of dark energy to lob at their adversaries. As a secondary stat, Inquisitors will see endurance on gear.

Sith Inquisitors begin the game with weapon proficiencies in Vibroswords, Training Sabers, and Lightsabers. Inquisitors can only make use of light armor, though as they move into their advanced classes, they are able to fulfill tanking roles, healing roles, and damage-dealing roles equally as well.

Combat

“The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.” –Darth Sidious, Star Wars III:  Revenge of the Sith

Combat as a Sith Inquisitor is highly enjoyable, and provides a very dynamic and engaging combination of good crowd control abilities, ranged spells and damage abilities, stuns, and melee damage abilities that will appeal to many different styles of player.  Inquisitor is one of the most versatile classes in the game, able to perform tanking, healing, ranged damage, and melee damage roles.

Have we mentioned that Inquisitors have lightning attacks yet?


As Inquisitors are limited to light armor, the class can be a little “squishy” at first, especially if you find yourself in combat with groups of four or more. However, even at early levels you will find a very solid repertoire of stuns, knock-backs, and crowd control that allow the Inquisitor to juggle multiple adversaries with ease once you’ve gotten a little practice.

In fact, the class is so well-designed that you almost start to feel invincible in combat – which, given the philosophy and temperament of an Inquisitor in Star Wars lore, seems only fitting.

Companion

“I’m looking forward to completing your training. In time you will call *me* master. -Darth Sidious, Star Wars VI:  Return of the Jedi

The Sith Inquisitor’s first companion is an unusual creature, an eerie Dashade named Khem Val. He devours Force energies from both Sith and Jedi alike, using the power to fuel unnatural strength. According to legend, Khem Val is said to have devoured over a thousand Jedi at the battles of Yn and Chabosh. He is a hulking monstrosity, dangerous, powerful, and a little frightening in both appearance and demeanor.

Don't you just want to hug him?


In other words, he is the perfect choice of companion for a Sith Inquisitor. You encounter Khem Val fairly late in the story progression, though it’s definitely worth the wait when you do. As befits the fragility of an Inquisitor class (especially at early levels), Khem Val serves as a tank, providing protection for the growing Sith and occupying enemies while the Inquisitor channels Force lightning and hurls dark energies at foes.

Personally speaking, I was iffy on Khem Val at first. Having played most of the other starting zones by that point, and experiencing the myriad options for companions that other classes offer, having a looming, creepy monster following me around was not my ideal situation. The more I played though, the more Khem Val grew on me.

He is definitely strange and unsettling in appearance – and the more I played my Inquisitor, the more I enjoyed that. He seems to fit the Inquisitor well – quiet, brooding, and terrifyingly powerful and dangerous. In sum, I realized that Khem Val really is a very well-suited companion for the Sith Inquisitor, adding an even greater sense of eerie and unsettling disquiet to the Emperor’s class. Also, what is more frightening to your Jedi enemies than having your companion drain the very life Force from them as they die, only to fuel his own strength?

Summary

“I can feel your anger. I am defenseless. Take your weapon. Strike me down with all of your hatred, and your journey towards the Dark Side will be complete.” –Darth Sidious, Star Wars VI:  Return of the Jedi

The Sith Inquisitor class felt like everything it should in terms of the Star Wars universe: fast, deadly, and deceptively dangerous. The quests are well written and provide plenty of intrigue and darkness, while the dialogue choices allow for the player to create an incredibly complex personality through a myriad of responses.

Khem Val - he doesn't prefer the Light side.


The story really does a thorough job of encouraging the player to feel anger, rage, and resentment and wanting to channel that into terrible power that they can unleash at will upon those who have wronged them – or merely stand in their way. The combat feels smooth and fluid, and provides an engaging mix of ranged and melee abilities that are sure to appeal to players who enjoy spellcasters as well as those who enjoy hand-to-hand melee combat.

All in all, this Republic-minded lady definitely found a lot to recommend about the Sith Inquisitor, and I can understand why this is one of the most popular player classes in the beta.

  1. You guys do a nice job on the previews. Enough basics and fluff to make it a worthwhile read.

  2. The Sith Pureblood race option was intriguing for me as well. After already leveling a Pureblood Sith Warrior up to 12 or so, I was familiar enough with how they’re treated around Korriban. It made me wonder exactly what would have happened to a Pureblood to not only become a slave, but to be treated that way.

    I began thinking about the way of the Sith: how they respond to weakness and the desire to overcome and destroy their betters to surpass them. I ultimately concocted this elaborate ‘Count of Monte Cristo’ back story about being back-stabbed by a rival for being too weak, framed for doing something horrific, and being cast out ultimately ending up a slave. His goal upon his return to Korriban is to show no weakness, no sympathy, exact revenge and claim the power that was rightfully his by any means necessary.

    Granted, how will that hold up? Dunno. I only got my inquisitor to level 4 or so before the last beta weekend ended. But it’s a start. :D

    • Lady Republic says:

      I’d actually thought about something similar in terms of how this could fit contextually. Basically, the idea that the player Pureblood could have committed some sort of crime that deserved absolute humiliation – even death would be more honorable than slavery. In any case, I’ll definitely be intrigued to see how many folks do go with the Pureblood SI and overlook the story context, and how many run into the story hitch I did.

      • Without spoiling any story, something transpires along your class quest that proves your family lineage was stripped from you, and you are set along the path of reclaiming that position of power. I found it quite fitting as a pureblood character, and would have been put off if I had chosen say a twilek, considering the npc in question has no leku!
        I enjoyed the fact that as you level, npcs begin to refer to you as ‘lord’ rather than ‘slave’ as it gets easier to fit in with the pureblood background

      • How about the movie “Gladiator” for an inspiration? The guy was an accomplished *Roman* General and about to be named as successor to the Emperor till Senate takes over. Then things take a turn for the worse and he is betrayed and hunted and ends up in slavery… It should make for a very close analogy and quite credible if not incredible back-story.

  3. Another_Darth says:

    First off, well written article that is informative but doesn’t give spoilers.

    My only issue with your peice is the Pureblood tirade. From my experience, the associated story with the SI Pureblood was this…”Your family associated with a Fallen Sith Lord (Darth or otherwise) and your family was cast down for it.” This resulted in your Pureblood being put into a servile position.

    This was noted on one of the early prologue loading screens, after your character was created and in the starting area’s. Now, I will agree with you on the simple facat of early quest’s treating your Pureblood like a common rock moving slave.

    I could ramble on for hours, but I’ll stop right here, and say there could be many reasons or types of slavery “reserved” for a Pureblood (house servant, etc.). I believe that is why SWTOR left it open ended. It allows for each person to create the background story they see fit (if they choose the roleplay route).

    In closing, it was a good article.

  4. Jonas Birk Jensen says:

    “This is the class who can channel that most dangerous and deadly of all Force abilities, Force Lightning. Pure, dark energies dance from their fingers, lashing out to destroy any who oppose them or stand in their way.”

    This information is just wrong -__-. Force Lightning is not the most dangerous or deadly force power, and it’s not pure dark energi. In the 3 Darth Bane novel both Bane and Zannarth summons pure dark side energies, and it’s not force lightning. subsequently, you can also find many other examples of much darker abilities in the Expanded Universe, try to read the Revan novel for instance.

    • Lady Republic says:

      I’ll confess that I have not read everything in the expanded universe – so I’ll have to plead ignorance if I did not properly cite something mentioned in one of the texts (or forgot it when writing). I’ve read a number of them – Fatal Alliance, all the Zahn books, a couple others – plus all of the movies of course, to include the Christmas Special that Lucas pretends does not actually exist. I’ve been holding off on Revan until the ebook price comes down.

      In this case, you could also say I took a bit of artistic license in trying to make the class sound impressive and powerful. It just wouldn’t have sounded as inspiring to say, “This is the class who can channel Force Lightning.” I wanted to capture a feeling that represented the official site’s description of the class, “Because Inquisitors can twist the Force into lightning to stun, subdue, or destroy their foes, it has become their signature.” (from http://www.swtor.com/info/holonet/classes/sith-inquisitor) My apologies if you feel I overstated the power of force lightning too greatly.

  5. Nice preview – but stop calling them spells. There is no magic in Star Wars.

    • Lady Republic says:

      I understand the sentiment – in general, people associate spells or magic with the high fantasy genre. That said, on the Star Wars Wiki and in a few expanded universe sources, they do refer to Sith magic and Sith spells.

      See http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Sith_magic for more details.

      Now – one could argue if it’s just a Wiki and anyone can edit it, it’s not official canon and that’s certainly a fair point. But there is at least a source, with citations from the expanded universe, for calling it magic and using the nomenclature spells. Good catch though, I like readers to keep me honest. ;)

  6. It has become awfully quiet in here, regarding the popularity of the Inquisitor among players. Nothing happening on Lightning Rd?

    • Lady Republic says:

      Busted! So the truth is – I’m actually not a Sith Inquisitor, I just play one on tv *cough*. Seriously though, while a few of us worked on introductory pieces in the week or so before the game actually went live, we’re still developing a more long-term plan on class content. In my own case, I’m primarily a Trooper Vanguard in the live version, and while I could try to write on SI regularly, it just wouldn’t do the class justice. As you said, that’s especially important with SI since it is such a tremendously popular class.

      The challenge is not just publishing class content – which is crazy easy – but ensuring that it’s really solid class content – which is not easy at all. We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to find some of the leading experts in their classes from the TOR community to be able to bring you really top-notch class information, and the truth is that takes a lot more time than perhaps we realized.

      So – we are working on it, and will definitely keep readers in the loop with our plans on this front! But under the heading of “no information is better than bad or partial information”, it’s still in progress until we get all of the classes filled and locked in.

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