There's actually two bits today. The first shouldn't come as that much of a surprise as it's another episode of the webcomic; another three pages of hart-stopping Star Wars action (or something along those lines). As per the official news post:
The sixth issue of Threat of Peace™ brings us back to Coruscant where the heroic defenders of the Republic’s capital planet, Lieutenant Tavus and Jedi Master Orgus Din, have been holed up in the lower levels since just after the Sith Empire’s assault. Unaware that the Treaty of Coruscant has been signed, the pair defends a refugee camp against an attack from Imperial droids before venturing out to discover the devastation the Sith left behind when they departed.You know, considering one of the two main characters in these three pages you'd almost get the feeling that they've planned to synchronize their information releases.
Check out the latest issue of Threat of Peace now.
Which brings us to the second, and big, news this week... the revealing of the second Star Wars: The Old Republic class. Namely the Republic Trooper. As per the official announcement:
We are excited to reveal the next playable character class in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ – the Trooper!Ooh, snazzy. Heavy weapons guy for the Republic side in Storm/Clone Trooper type armor.
The Trooper is an elite combat specialist in the Republic military armed with heavy blaster rifles and nearly impenetrable armor designed by the military’s top engineers. Trained to beat almost any odds, the Trooper battles deep behind enemy lines to carry out precise, hard hitting strikes against the enemy, with a barrage of blaster-fire and a few carefully aimed firebombs. Even Sith Lords are wise to think twice before engaging in combat with the Trooper—this is what it means to be one of the Republic’s finest.
Learn more about the Trooper class and check out the latest Trooper inspired wallpapers!
In conjunction with this announcement, GameSpot conducted an interview with Principal Lead Writer Daniel Erickson and Lead Combat Designer Damion Schubert.
Of course, the class shouldn't really come as a surprise to anyone who's been following the game somewhat closely. It's just been called "Special Forces" or "Commando" before. A class like that has been hinted at ever since they started with the online comic. And it seems a perfect balance for the Bounty Hunter class (both heavy armor, heavy weapons and using a number of 'tricks' such as flamethrowers and sticky bombs).
The only thing that really surprises me is the name. As not only does it sound a bit stupid, it also strengthens the association with Stormtrooper, which were the bad guys in the original movies. Now I know that the recent Clone Wars stuff and the prequel movies have been trying to paint them as good guys (except that, of course, in the end they kill everyone without question just because they're told to), but I could never shake this "bad guys" feeling. And I know that the armor does that too to some extend (in fact, does it a lot), but even so something more dynamic like "Commando" would've been better I think.
Anyway, as the text above says they've also added a couple of new wallpapers for the class:
They're nice wallpapers, but I think I'll refrain from adding them to my wallpaper cycle list. They don't appeal to me that much (and neither, to be perfectly honest, does the class; this "shoot everything" kind of class just isn't interesting to me).
And as you might've seen GameSpot posted a short interview about the class as well. Here's an excerpt:
GameSpot: Trooper characters are described as having indomitable spirits. How does this translate to the way a trooper character plays? Will they be experts at soaking up damage, for instance? Will their high spirits enable them to evade death longer or be revived more quickly by way of adrenaline rush?Hmmm, group buffs? That makes me wonder if the Bounty Hunter gets those as well. If not then they might go for an asynchronous balance (giving the group buffs to another Empire class) because two heavy armor, heavy weapon guys on the Empire side doesn't make any sense at all to me.
Damion Schubert: Our troopers are leaders on the battlefield. This makes itself visible in the form of battlefield command buffs (enhancing abilities that strengthen their targets) [that] they give their companions and party members, which make their parties stronger and more flexible.
Oh, and on a side note, when Kotaku reported the news they asked the interesting question of what the female Trooper armor might look like. Somehow I doubt that BioWare's version of female Trooper armor will have quite as much skin.