SWTOR – Not Enough Buttons

It’s ironic really that WoW has made large efforts in the WoD expansion to remove skill bloat and that SWTOR embraces it so heartily.  Well, maybe in the Revan expansion there’ll be less…

The game seems to give me a new button to press every 2 levels.  Many of these buttons do the same thing but slightly differently.  Either a higher resource cost, more damage, longer cooldown and so on.  The problem with this is a simple and complex one.  Every class, regardless of game, has defining skills.  Those skills are either unlocked in a logical pattern, randomly assigned or perhaps unlocked through talent selections.  When you have them, the class works.  When you don’t, well, it doesn’t.

SWTOR is an odd beast in that some classes have these skills early and others have them late.  My Sorcerer, Powertech and Warrior all had a logical breakdown of skills over time (minus the actual tanking skills, which came out way too late).  From a leveling perspective, the overall play made sense and had a pattern, more or less.  Sure, there were some powerful unlocks but it only modified the play, not a complete re-write.

I have a 31 Sniper (pure DPS) and that one made sense too.  What with the 12x experience bonus, I wanted to try an Operative (heal/dps hybrid).  She hit 31 recently and what a world of difference in playstyle.  By far the hardest class to play with and maintains the least amount of survivability.  The skill unlocks don’t make sense and make for a very odd pattern of combat.  Outside of talents, there’s only 1 viable attack.  I needed 2 more talents to get ‘er going, a DoT grenade and Cull, a super damage skill based on the amount of DoT’s on the target.  The class is largely unplayable up until that unlock at 31, at least compared to the other classes.

On to interrupts for a minute.  Every class gets an interrupt and a 4s stun.  They often get a knockdown attack (which doesn’t affect elites) or two.  Then they also get a paralyze/DoT attack.  You end up with 4-5 skills that prevent an enemy attack.  And you need to use the damn things too because enemy NPCs can dish out insane amounts of damage, in particular the elites I mentioned before.  Some entire fights are predicated on interrupting those attacks.  And that’s above and beyond the basic rotation.  So I end up with 12+ buttons to press in a solo fight, half of which do the same thing.

There’s still missing some data on the Revan skill clean-up (called Disciplines).  The concept makes sense.  They do say they are changing interrupts to an 18s timer, which is odd given the previous paragraph….

I do know that WoD (and Cataclysm too) did a rather effective job looking at ability gain and timing.  Simplified rotations of 4-5 buttons per class.  It’s really something comparing the two during the leveling process.  Vastly different interpretations.

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