(Disclaimer: game is still in beta, subject to change, blah, blah, blah)
The character creation process in SWTOR is a series of cascading decisions that renders you with a character that is hopefully sufficiently custom.
When most people think about creating a character in an RPG, the question of race and role/class is usually foremost. While SWTOR has all three components, the way it breaks down might not be readily apparent to those who haven’t read deeply on the game yet.
This first choice is your story class. There are 8 possibilities, 4 per faction. On the Republic side, your choices are Jedi Knight, Jedi Consoler, Smuggler and Trooper. On the Sith side, the choices are Sith Warrior, Sith Inquisitor, Imperial Agent and Bounty Hunter. This choice determines the you class story which guides you throughout the entire game in a series of 3 chapters. Each chapter is longer than the original KOTOR, if you played that. Unlike other MMOs the majority of the game is made up of class specific quests, and each class has its own story. If you play as a Jedi Knight, and then you reroll as a different class, say a Smuggler, you will see a completely different set of quests*.
*I’m going to digress for a just a moment to correct a bit of hype. The devs are fond of saying that you won’t repeat a single quest if you reroll and that’s technically true, as long as you change factions. If you reroll on the same faction, you will see some of the same quests. There are three kinds of quests in SWTOR: Class Quests, World Quests, and Galaxy Quests. Class quests which are specific to your story class. World quests which are quests everyone of your faction gets on that world. Galaxy quests span multiple planets and again are the same for everyone on your faction. So if you reroll in the same faction, you will repeat the world quests and galaxy quests.
This choice of story class will also determine which model of starship you’ll be flying around in. Despite my love for the Republic, even I must admit that the Sith ships look cooler on the whole.
Really, no contest.
Your choice for your trinity role is still fairly open at this point. The only caveats are if you want to heal, you can’t pick Jedi Knight, or Sith Warrior. If you want to tank, you can’t pick Smugger or Imperial Agent. That’s it.
You will be able to customize facial features, hair, tattoos and other aspect of your appearance. Already you could have two very different characters, even if you chose the same story class. At level 10, you get to pick your advanced class (AC). This is closer to what most MMOs call a class. Each advanced class has one or two trinity roles it can spec into.
Next up, we’ll look at the Advanced Classes more in-depth.