I also wanted to lay down a few disclaimers for all and sundry. First, I'm a huge Star Wars fan. Way more than Warcraft or really any other IP. When I was a young teen, I read all the novels. I'm familiar with the Solo twins, though when I went away from the books (there are so many!) for other genres, Jacen hadn't turned Sith yet. My favorite series, incidentally, was the X-Wing novels by Michael Stackpole (I follow his blog as a fledgling author now, too. He seems like a great guy and offers wonderful advice). Warcraft books are, really, a relatively new thing when compared to the plethora of Star Wars literature out there.
Point being, I'm hugely biased in favor of this game. I want to admit that up front. I'm already sucked in and loving it. I have no problem with people who say it's not for them, though. I can understand that, too. Similarly, if you're debating on jumping on your own starship and heading for the galaxy far, far away, don't make your decision based solely on what I say here. I'm definitely going to paint the game in a favorable light. (i.e. - If you buy and think it sucks, don't blame me. I'm biased. I admit it! I'm a fanboy!).
Now that we've gotten that aside, I wanted to pass along some of my initial observations, having played the game to level 16 now. I'm still a newb, still a baby, and plenty of folks are beyond me. Still, writing is what I do, and I'm going to try to put out some helpful information about my chosen classes as I go.
The first class I'm going to play to cap is the Jedi Shadow, Balance spec. I'd done a small amount of research on classes, and I picked balance shadow based on several criteria:
- I want a lightsaber. Preferably two. A double-bladed is sweet too. This was as simple as it was nerdy. I know, everyone wants to be a Jedi, right? But I refuse to be sorry for this boyish desire. Shadows work with double-bladed sabers, so this one was easily fulfilled.
- I don't want to be completely melee. Perhaps the playstyle that suits me the best in any RPG is "battlemage." That is, I like to have a healthy mixture of ranged and melee. WoW didn't really offer that kind of playstyle. The closest they got (IMO) is with frost DKs that came later. I was already a Warlock at that point, but I do have my DK for PvP. Balanced shadow is supposed to fulfill this, and so far it has.
- DoTs are nice. I like DoTs. Especially ones that return some health. I'm still a baby, but balance shadow looks to have this covered as well (from looking into the tree).
- The ability to stealth and sprint is totally an unanticipated bonus, but I love it.
- Sweet robes. I've never been a big armor guy. In Skyrim, I went whole hog into Light Armor. In SWTOR, I want sweet, mysterious robes. Balance shadow... check
If you've started a Shadow, you'll be looking for light armor with +Endurance and +Willpower on it. Those are our primary stats early on. Armor is nice, but you're going to be squishy anyway. Get good at using your stun and knockback to keep things away.
Generally, I like to stealth into a group, stab one in the back for a good chunk of damage, and then do the knock back ability. After that, I'll throw my DoT on one, stun another, and spray hurl chunks of ground as I'm running toward one for a lightsabery death. I try not to be in a melee duel, instead attempting to use finesse to get some hacks in while keeping baddies at arms length. So far it has worked well for me.
For crafting, I picked up Synthweaving with the Archaelogy and Underground Trading gathering skills. They synergize well with each other and the class, and I've created several upgrades for myself already. After slight research, I think this combination is the best, as you'll want to focus on armor instead of weapons (since you rely a lot on force abilities).
I'm still a newb, so I may be doing things wrong. If you're a fellow Shadow, feel free to let me know what's working for you. I plan to eventually work up a guide like I have for my Warlock stuff. Until then, may the Force guide you!