Choosing which class to play is a big decision when starting an MMORPG, but for Star Wars: The Old Republic it goes hand-in-hand with choosing your faction. The classes on both factions are essentially a reflection of one another, but their aesthetic and animation differences can be big determining factors for some players. For other players, it’s about the stories, the lightsaber, and the voices that make the difference. Here are a few reasons why playing the Republic faction might appeal to you.
The Hero's Journey
Star Wars is all about the hero’s journey. Joseph Campbell’s theory of the monomyth says that most protagonists in a narrative follow a pattern: A hero from the common world explores an outside supernatural world where he faces a rival, and after victory over that rival, returns to his common world and bestows a boon upon his fellow people. It breaks down further than that, into 17 stages to be exact, but the basic idea has appeared in countless movies, books, TV shows, and more. The Republic classes follow this pattern almost to the letter. The Trooper and Smuggler both start their class story on routine jobs, but become involved in a conflict bigger than themselves. Even as some of the more fantastical classes, such as the Jedi, your journey takes you to planets you wouldn’t see as a lowly padawan, and meet people you wouldn’t normally find in the Republic. The monomyth is fundamentally a satisfying narrative pattern that takes into account the structure and pacing of Freytag’s triangle. No matter which Republic class you choose the story won’t make you feel like you’re missing something.
Since the first showing of Star Wars in 1977, fans wanted nothing more than to wield a lightsaber and control the power of the Force. It is a fantasy true today for kids watching the Clone Wars television show as it was with people who saw Star Wars in the theaters. Playing either one of the Jedi classes fulfill this fantasy with added benefit of choice. Some Star Wars games in the past funnel you through the story with no ability to affect how the narrative concludes, but in Star Wars: The Old Republic along with the previous two Knights of the Old Republic games, you choose how to approach each situation. Do you follow the path of the Light, using the Jedi code for guidance as you become a hero of the Republic, or do you follow the path of the Dark, ignoring the Jedi code and defending your Republic by any means necessary? It’s a choice that any class can make, but it creates an intriguing dynamic for the Jedi classes as it shows the contrast between the classic archetype versus the anti-hero.
Being a Jedi is great, but some players don’t want to use a lightsaber. Instead, they want to grab the biggest gun possible and single-handedly take on the Sith Empire. If that sounds fun, you should play a Trooper. The class plays like an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie from the 1990s without the terrible story and cheesy lines; you’re a one-man army mowing down enemies left and right with big guns, grenades, and lots of explosions. The story is hyper-militaristic and immerses you in the life of the Republic’s most elite Special Forces unit. As I said on a recent podcast, it is hands-down the best class story of the Republic. BioWare should be commended not only for creating a class that encapsulates the strength of the Republic military, but for leaving out the one important story detail in all of their marketing and promotional material that defines how the Trooper story unfolds.
You always have someone to fight in PvP
It’s no secret that Sith players outnumber Republic players on most servers. Some claim their server ratios are as high as 5-to-1 in the Sith’s favor. If the Sith Empire has more players, what advantage does playing the under populated faction offer? Republic players enjoy shorter wait times for Warzones on a regular basis. Very rarely will Republic players have to wait in queue for longer than five minutes, even when grouped as a team of four. When they enter the Warzone, it isn’t Huttball every single time. Republic players have the luxury of playing Alderaan Civil War, Voidstar, and Huttball on a regular rotation. Victories are challenging as a Republic player and won through smart play, rather than large numbers.
Where else besides the Republic are you going to find Commander Shepard, Nathan Drake, Solid Snake, Phil, and Lil on the same side? The Sith Empire highlights many voice actors who previously worked on other BioWare projects, but only the Republic boasts famous voice actors with high caliber voice-over work you heard elsewhere. Jennifer Hale, known for her famous portrayal of the female Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect series and various other games including Bulletstorm, Metal Gear Solid, Metroid Prime, and Brutal Legend, voices the female Trooper. Nolan North voices the male Jedi Consular, a proficient voice actor best recognized for his role as Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series as well as games such as Prince of Persia, Assassin’s Creed, and Portal 2. David Hayter, who plays Solid Snake of the Metal Gear Solid games, provides the voice work for the male Jedi Knight. Kath Soucie voices the female Smuggler and worked on various video games and television series including Tomb Raider, Kingdom Hearts, World of Warcraft, and Rugrats. I still remember the first time I heard her distinct voice as Sally Acorn on the Saturday morning Sonic cartoon.
Whatever your reason may be, the Republic has something that everyone can enjoy. Remember that you don’t have to be Sith if you want to play as a dark-sided character, you can also take a Republic character down the dark path. Some of the storylines and decisions may even seem more sinister against the backdrop of justice for the Republic. Feel free to list your reasons for playing a Republic class in the comments below or in our forums.