So in the current patch (5.1) the SWTOR classes fall out more or less predictably, but there’s some fun discussions to be had. I’m not an elite endgamer but I’ve certainly played all the classes up on one faction or another enough to know how they feel, if not how good each and every one is.
Jedi Knight /Sith Warrior
The quintessential heavily armored warrior. It breaks down into the heavily armored Guardian/Juggernaut and the medium armored dual wielding Sentinel / Marauder.
Guardian is the cooldown tank. Want to just stop taking damage periodically? We’ve got you covered. It’s very much the Luke/Darth Vader, slow and steady tank, and the DPS specs are underwhelming. Lacking a second weapon just seems to make it feel like much less damage.
Sentinel / Marauder is a highly acrobatic style. Think Ashoka Tano. Dual wielding, fast moving, and very hard hitting. I’m not up to speed on which spec is best currently but I do know that it’s a class that can hit like trucks throughout a long fight. It’s also a lot of fun to watch, but it’s frantic to play at times.
Jedi Consular / Sith Inquisitor
No class changes as much between specs as this one. Shadow/Assassin is a crazy fun, but intricate tank spec, with probably the best damage specs for a tank class, while Sage/Sorcerer is a “standard” healer with a classic “mage” damage spec. I do want to talk a bit about the damage specs here. Sage is…. so underwhelming. The animations are just unexciting, and the damage output is equally disappointing. Sorcerer doesn’t do anything about the output, but you’re throwing huge bolts of lightning, lightning storms, or massive electrical blasts. It’s just much more satisfying to watch.
Trooper / Bounty Hunter
The other Heavy Armor class, Trooper/Bounty Hunter combines the super tanky Vanguard / Powertech with the healing Commando/Mercenary spec.
I do not like tanking as a Vanguard/Powertech. The damage feels absolutely anemic, partly due to the animations, and you don’t feel like you are DOING anything. There’s no buffs to maintain or many cooldowns, there isn’t much interesting to actually DO other than chip away at health bars and watch yours slowly tick down. Your passive mitigation tends to be fantastic but… it’s passive. Definitely my least favorite class. I also don’t like either story as much as some of the others which doesn’t help this group at all.
Commando/Mercenary is a bit more like it. A healing spec (Healing you with BULLETS!) which is neat. It isn’t the best healer, but it’s more than adequate, and visually Commando / Mercenary is SO much more appealing than the other specs. The huge assault cannon, and the mercs dual wielding just throws out more shots, which is a lot more fun to see. The story is, obviously, completely the same, but you have more fun getting through it. It definitely feels more like a damage class with a healing tree tacked on than the Sage/Sorcs healer with a DPS ability tacked on.
Smuggler / Agent
Best story in the game? Check. Most fun DPS spec in the game? Check. Weird, but interesting healing spec? Check. It always seems like the Dark Horse when I’m rolling a toon, but whenever I play it MAN it’s hard to put down.
Gunslinger / Sniper – but not the sniper SPEC. Sabotage/Engineering. It combines the ability to be a really good turret with crazy bursts of mobility and AOE that will cover the screen in explosions and fun. I cannot emphasize enough just how fun this spec really is I think it would be a great spec in any game, but it just feels great in Star Wars. Added to it you get to play one of the two AMAZING storylines, the really good Smuggler or the BEST story in the game with the Imperial Agent.
Operative / Scoundrel is a bit less fun for me. The healing class is actually really interesting, with some great heals over time. If you are good at planning you can sustain heals seemingly forever, as long as you can plan well enough to deal with the bursts your toolkit doesn’t handle well naturally. The DPS is sadly lacking, giving up the sniper rifle/second blaster drops your damage potential quite a bit and there’s nothing to really rescue it. Kind of sad, it feels a bit like the class is STILL being punished for being incredibly overpowered, especially in PvP, at release.