SWTOR Beginner Tips and Advice – Which Class Should you Play?

Are you a new or returning player to Star Wars The Old Republic? Having trouble deciding which origin story to play or what Combat Style to pick? Well, I’m here to help! There are multiple questions to consider when choosing which story or combat style to play in SWTOR. These can be boiled down into three broad categories.

Do you want to choose your class based on combat ability or proficiency? Or do you want to choose a class based on Star Wars story and/or lore? Or do you want to choose a class based on aesthetics? Or even a mix of all three?

Before we delve into the various questions, let’s quickly break down how Combat Styles and Origin Stories work in The Old Republic.

Currently being updated for Game Update 7.0.

Separating Class from Story

Up until Game Update 7.0, your story and combat choice were tied together. So when creating a character you pick your class and then your advanced class. In Game Update 7.0, the developers separated

What is an Origin Story?

An Origin Story is a story you choose for your character in The Old Republic. When you create a character, the first thing you choose is your Allegiance and then the Story you want to experience.

Character Creation.

There are a total of eight Origin Stories. Four per faction with two force-user classes and 2 non-force user classes. Here is a list of the Origin Story listed by Faction.


  • Sith Warrior
  • Sith Inquisitor
  • Bounty Hunter
  • Imperial Agent


  • Jedi Knight
  • Jedi Consular
  • Trooper
  • Smuggler

What is a Combat Style?

Your combat style is your chosen combat profession or class. Combat Styles are divided into two categories Force users and Tech (Non-Force users).

There are no restrictions on which Tech Combat Style you can pick. However, there are restrictions for Force Combat Styles. You need the Light V or Dark V achievement to unlock the ability to do opposite (faction) alignment combat styles. For example, if you pick the Sith Warrior Origin Story, and you don’t have the Light V achievement, you will only be able to choose from the Marauder, Juggernaut, Assassin or Sorcerer Combat Styles.

Force Combat Styles

  • Marauder
  • Juggernaut
  • Sorcerer
  • Assassin
  • Sentinel
  • Guardian
  • Sage
  • Shadow

Tech (Non-Force User) Combat Styles

  • Powertech
  • Mercenary
  • Sniper
  • Operative
  • Vanguard
  • Commando
  • Gunslinger
  • Scoundrel

Each Combat Style then has three Disciplines to choose from. These Disciplines are either Tank, Heal or Damage based. You pick your Discipline after character creation.

  • Marauder (DPS)
    • Annihilation
    • Carnage
    • Fury
  • Juggernaut
    • Immortal (Tank)
    • Vengeance (DPS)
    • Rage (DPS)
  • Sorcerer
    • Corruption (Heal)
    • Lightning (DPS)
    • Madness (DPS)
  • Assassin
    • Darkness (Tank)
    • Deception (DPS)
    • Hatred (DPS)
  • Powertech
    • Shield Tech (Tank)
    • Pyrotech (DPS)
    • Advanced Prototype (DPS)
  • Mercenary
    • Bodyguard (Heals)
    • Arsenal (DPS)
    • Innovative Ordinance (DPS)
  • Operative
    • Medicine (Heals)
    • Concealment (DPS)
    • Lethality (DPS)
  • Sniper (DPS)
    • Engineering
    • Marksmanship
    • Virulence
  • Sentinel (DPS)
    • Watchman
    • Combat
    • Concentration
  • Guardian
    • Defence (Tank)
    • Vigilance (DPS)
    • Focus (DPS)
  • Sage
    • Seer (Heal)
    • Telekinetics (DPS)
    • Balance (DPS)
  • Shadow
    • Kinetic Combat (Tank)
    • Infiltration (DPS)
    • Serenity (DPS)
  • Vanguard
    • Shield Specialist (Tank)
    • Plasmatech (DPS)
    • Tactics (DPS)
  • Commando
    • Combat Medic (Heals)
    • Gunnery (DPS)
    • Assault Specialist (DPS)
  • Scoundrel
    • Sawbones (Heals)
    • Scrapper (DPS)
    • Ruffian (DPS)
  • Gunslinger (DPS)
    • Saboteur
    • Sharpshooter
    • Dirty Fighting

Now that you have a breakdown of Class structure in SWTOR, you’re probably wondering, how on earth am I supposed to pick a Combat Style? Well, I’m here to help you make that choice! Alternatively, you can skip to the end to see my recommendations, if you prefer.

Choosing a Combat Style based on Combat Ability

This section is for experienced gamers. If you’re not all that familiar with or experienced with gaming or are more interested in lore and aesthetics, you can skip down to those sections.

There are plenty of combat-related questions to draw on when considering which class to play based on your previous gaming experience.

  • Do you prefer melee or ranged classes?
  • Do you prefer to play as a Tank, Healer or DPS (Damage)?
  • Do you want your abilities to be Force (magic) based or weapon-based abilities?
  • Do you prefer to deal DoT (damage over time) damage or direct damage?
  • What end-game content do you want to do?
  • Would you rather play an underdog class or an OP class?
  • Would you prefer to start out with an easy class to play and learn or a harder class?


Melee and Ranged Classes

Here are lists of all classes/advanced classes based on if they are melee or ranged. For melee classes, you generally have to be within 4-10 metres of the target to affect it. For ranged classes, you generally have to be within 30-35 metres of the target to affect it. There are are a couple of exceptions for some abilties across the Disciplines. But broadly speaking here is how the classes are categorised.


  • Marauder – all disciplines
  • Juggernaut – all disciplines
  • Assassin – all disciplines
  • Powertech – all disciplines
  • Operative – all disciplines
  • Sentinel – all disciplines
  • Guardian – all disciplines
  • Shadow – all disciplines
  • Vanguard – all disciplines
  • Smuggler – all disciplines


  • Sorcerer – all disciplines
  • Mercenary – all disciplines
  • Sniper – all disciplines
  • Sage – all disciplines
  • Commando – all disciplines
  • Gunslinger – all disciplines

Tank, Heal or DPS?

Here is a list of all the Combat Styles and Disciplines based on if they are a Tank, Heal or DPS role.

  • TANK
    • Juggernaut – Immortal
    • Assassin – Darkness
    • Powertech – Shield Tech
    • Guardian – Defence
    • Shadow – Kinetic Combat
    • Vanguard – Shield Specialist
  • HEAL
    • Sorcerer- Corruption
    • Mercenary – Bodyguard
    • Operative – Medicine
    • Sage – Seer
    • Commando – Combat Medic
    • Scoundrel – Sawbones
  • DPS
    • Sentinel – All Disciplines
    • Guardian
      • Vigilance
      • Focus
    • Sage
      • Telekinetics
      • Balance
    • Shadow
      • Infiltration
      • Serenity
    • Commando
      • Gunnery
      • Assault Specialist
    • Vanguard
      • Plasmatech
      • Tactics
    • Scoundrel
      • Scrapper
      • Ruffian
    • Gunslinger – All Disciplines
  • DPS
    • Marauder – All Disciplines
    • Juggernaut
      • Vengeance
      • Rage
    • Sorcerer
      • Lightning
      • Madness
    • Assassin
      • Deception
      • Hatred
    • Mercenary
      • Arsenal
      • Innovative Ordinance
    • Powertech
      • Pyrotech
      • Advanced Prototype
    • Operative
      • Concealment
      • Lethality
    • Sniper – All Disciplines

Force or non-force user?

Here is a list of all force and non-force user base classes. Each base class has its own type of resource to manage based on whether they are force or non-force users.

Force Users

  • Sith Warrior/Jedi Knight
  • Sith Inquisitor/Jedi Sage

Non-Force Users

  • Bounty Hunter/Trooper
  • Imperial Agent/Smuggler

DOT or Direct Damage

Here is a list of all Disciplines based on whether they primarily have DOT or direct damage abilities. There is, of course, some overlap with some of these classes’ abilities.


  • Marauder – Annihilation
  • Juggernaut – Vengeance
  • Sorcerer – Madness
  • Assassin – Hatred
  • Powertech – Pyrotech
  • Mercenary – Innovative Ordinance
  • Operative – Lethality
  • Sniper – Virulence
  • Sentinel – Watchman
  • Guardian – Focus
  • Sage – Balance
  • Shadow – Serenity
  • Vanguard – Plasmatech
  • Commando – Assault Specialist
  • Smuggler – Ruffian
  • Gunslinger – Dirty Fighting


  • Marauder – Carnage
  • Marauder – Fury
  • Juggernaut – Rage
  • Sorcerer – Lightning
  • Assassin – Deception
  • Powertech – Advanced Prototype
  • Mercenary – Arsenal
  • Operatie – Concealment
  • Sniper – Marksmanship
  • Sniper – Engineering
  • Sentinel – Combat
  • Sentinel – Concentration
  • Guardian – Vigilance
  • Sage – Telekinetics
  • Shadow – Infiltration
  • Vanguard – Tactics
  • Commando – Gunnery
  • Smuggler – Scrapper
  • Gunslinger – Sharpshooting
  • Gunslinger – Saboteur

What Endgame Content do you want to do?

Depending on what endgame content you wish to do, you may have better luck or an easier time getting into that content depending on the role or class you choose.

If you want to get into endgame raiding, obviously Tank and Healer classes are going to be in more demand than DPS. Tanks and Healers are becoming increasingly more scarce and harder to fill for raid groups. When it comes to DPS, you need to know your class and pull high numbers.1

In PvP, however, things are a little different. DPS and Healers are obviously useful but Tanks, not so much. Instead, skank tanks are favoured as they can taunt and guard while being able to deal a good amount of damage.

In the game in its current state, you can get into endgame content with pretty much any class. If you take the time to know and understand your class, you will do well. However, if you want to get into the hardest content, sadly only some classes are viable.

Underdog and OP Classes

Now, this is a bit more subjective than all the other queries so far. But this should give you an idea of what classes are desirable or not so desirable in certain types of content. Just because a class is considered to be an underdog class doesn’t mean it can’t perform well in the right hands.

When it comes to PvP it’s a bit more of a mixed bag. For unranked PvP, any Discipline can do really well. In Ranked PvP however, where DPS and utility are extremely important, it is very punishing for certain Disciplines to participate in Ranked. But ultimately to be successful in PvP you need to know your class inside and out and that takes practice.

PvE OP Classes

  • DPS
    • Juggeraut Rage / Guardian Focus
    • Marauder / Sentinel both DPS specs
  • Tank
    • Powertech Shield / Vanguard Shield Specialist
  • Heals
    • Operative Medicine/Scoundrel Sawbones

PvP OP Classes

  • DPS
    • Marauder Fury / Sentinel Focus
    • Juggeraut Rage / Guardian Focus
    • Powertech Advanced Prototype / Vanguard Tactics

PvE Underdog Classes

  • DPS
    • Marauder Carnage / Sentinel Combat
    • Mercenary / Commando – both DPS Disciplines
  • Heals
    • Sorcerer Corruption / Sage Seer

PvP Underdog Classes

  • Mercenary / Commando – both DPS Disciplines

Easiest and Hardest Classes to Learn and Play

Some classes are easier to pick up and learn than others. If you’re looking for an easier time, combat wise, while exploring the game, these are the best choices

Easiest Classes

  • Mercenary – Arsenal / Commando – Gunnery
  • Sorcerer – Lightning / Sage – Telekinetics
  • Powertech – Advanced Prototype / Vanguard – Tactics

Hardest Class

Some classes, however, are a bit more complicated, complex or take longer than other classes to learn and master. Here is the hardest class to learn and play.

  • Mercenary – Innovative Ordinance / Commando – Assault Specialist

Why Innovative Ordnance/Assault Specialist? This discipline, in particular, has the most complex optimal rotation in the game and the most difficult resource management of any class in the game.

Choosing a Class based on Star Wars or Old Republic Era Story and Lore

Here are a bunch of lore questions to consider when picking a class to play.

  • Do you want to play a character that fulfils an iconic role from the Star Wars Movies or TV Shows?
  • Do you want to mimic a particular Star Wars character?
  • Do you want to play a Republic or Imperial character?
  • Sith or Jedi?
  • What are the best class stories in SWTOR?
  • Which is the best class story to play if you’ve played KOTOR 1 and 2?

Iconic Star Wars Roles and Star War Characters

Most of these are pretty straight forward and there’s some subjectivity, seeing as some of these characters can fit into more than one class role. But it should give you some ideas at least. This isn’t an exhaustive list but I attempted to select a variety of characters from the movies and TV shows that fairly easily fit into various SWTOR class roles.

Force Users

  • Obi-Wan – Jedi Guardian
  • Anakin Skywalker – Jedi Guardian
  • Ahsoka Tano – Jedi Sentinel
  • Yoda – Jedi Sage
  • Luke Skywalker – Jedi Guardian
  • Kanaan Jarus – Jedi Guardian
  • Darth Maul – Sith Assassin
  • Asajj Ventress – Sith Assassin
  • Count Dooku – Sith Juggernaut
  • Kylo Ren – Sith Juggernaut

Non-Force Users

  • Han Solo – Smuggler
  • Lando Calrissian – Smuggler
  • Sabine Wren – Mercenary
  • Hera Syndulla – Smuggler
  • Agent Callus – Operative
  • Commander Cody – Vanguard
  • Din Djarin – Powertech
  • Cara Dune – Commando
  • Captain Rex – Mercenary

Republic or Imperial? Sith or Jedi?

Both faction’s stories mimic tropes and ideals portrayed in the more well known Star Wars mediums. However, the main difference between the Old Republic era and the Skywalker era is, you get to experience the Star Wars galaxy with the Sith and Jedi in somewhat equal numbers fighting each other. This forms the core conflict of the overall story, broadly speaking, in the game.

The Sith Empire mimics a lot of the ideals/traits you see in the Galactic Empire in the original trilogy. However, the difference is, in the Old Republic, you get to experience the Empire more or less at its peak in a time when the Sith were plentiful. You get to see a side of Star Wars that isn’t always portrayed in the main Star Wars media and indeed more fully experience certain background/minor character roles.

Likewise, the Republic mimics a lot of the ‘stereotypes’ and tropes of the Republic seen in the prequels with elements of the Rebellion in the original trilogy as well. You get to experience the idealism and the corruption, the hope and the desperation. You also get to experience the Jedi as well who, in some ways, aren’t that much different to their counterparts in the Prequels and the Clone Wars.

So to sum up, if you want to experience Republic politics and the Jedi play a Republic character. If you would like to see the galaxy from the Empire’s perspective, instead of always seeing the story from the ‘good guys’ perspective, play the Imperial side.

What are the best Class Stories in SWTOR?

This is, of course, subjective but there are some stories that are consistently placed at the top or the bottom of class story rankings by players. Here is a general ranking of all the Class Stories in SWTOR.

  • Imperial Agent
  • Sith Warrior/Jedi Knight
  • Sith Sorcerer
  • Bounty Hunter/Trooper/Smuggler
  • Jedi Consular

In terms of the overall lore and story of the game, some Class Stories have more of an impact and make more sense than the others especially once you start getting into various expansion storylines. If you want to get the full lore experience, I would highly recommend the following two class stories.

  • Sith Warrior
  • Jedi Knight

Playing both of these stories is crucial to the overall lore of the game. Both classes have characters and moments in their class stories that have a significant impact on the game. Both of these classes also fit better than the other classes in expansion storylines.

Which Class Story to play if you played Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2?

The Jedi Knight storyline is widely regarded as the KOTOR 3 story. It follows in the footsteps of Revan (after Chapter 1 anyway) so fits perfectly with KOTOR 1 and 2.

Choosing a Class Based on Aesthetics

  • What weapons would you like to use?
  • What are ability animations like between the factions?
  • What species can I play as?


Depending on your class, you are restricted on the weapons that you CAN use and it does not always mirror for the opposite faction, especially for non-force users.

Force Users

  • Sith Marauder/JediSentinel – two lightsabers or two Vibroswords
  • Sith Juggernaut/Jedi Guardian – one Lightsaber or one Vibrosword
  • Sith Sorcerer/Jedi Sage – one Lightsaber or one Vibrosword
  • Sith Assassin/Jedi Shadow – one Double-bladed lightsaber or one Electrostaff

Non-force users

  • Imperial
    • Powertech – Blaster Pistol
    • Mercenary – Two Blaster Pistols
    • Operative – Blaster Rifle
    • Sniper – Sniper Rifle
  • Republic
    • Vanguard – Assault Rifle
    • Commando – Assault Canon
    • Smuggler – Blaster Pistol
    • Gunslinger – Two Blaster Pistols

Ability Animations

The vast majority of abilities in The Old Republic look completely different depending on what faction you’re playing. It would be quite impossible for me to fit in every single ability animation in the game in this guide. Instead, I’ve selected 8 (4) abilities to demonstrate shown side by side with the opposite faction’s mirror ability.

Force Choke – Sith Warrior
Force Lightning – Sorcerer
Flame Sweep – Powertech
Debilitate – Operative
Force Stasis – Jedi Knight
Telekinetic Throw – Sage
Explosive Surge – Vanguard
Dirty Kick – Smuggler


To start out with, you are limited on the Species you can play as per Class. Once you level a character of a particular species to level 50 eg. a Jedi Knight Twi’lek, you will then automatically unlock the species for all other Classes.

Here is a list of base classes and what species you can play as. A couple of things to note

  • Access to Species varies between Free to Play and Preferred accounts. Species that are accessible to preferred and subscribed players will be indicated as (Pref).
  • Zabrak species appearance varies depending on faction. This means, for example, you level a ‘dark side’ Zabrak to be able to play a dark-side Zabrak on a Republic Class.
  • Sith Warrior
    • Human
    • Cyborg
    • Zabrak
    • Sith Pureblood (Pref)
  • Sith Inquisitor
    • Human
    • Cyborg
    • Zabrak
    • Rattataki (Pref)
    • Sith Pureblood (Pref)
    • Twi’lek (Pref)
  • Bounty Hunter
    • Human
    • Cyborg
    • Zabrak
    • Chiss (Pref)
    • Rattataki (Pref)
  • Imperial Agent
    • Human
    • Cyborg
    • Zabrak
    • Chiss (Pref)
    • Rattataki (Pref)
  • Jedi Knight
    • Human
    • Cyborg
    • Zabrak
    • Miraluka (Pref)
    • Mirialan (Pref)
    • Twi’lek (Pref)
  • Jedi Consular
    • Human
    • Cyborg
    • Zabrak
    • Miraluka (Pref)
    • Mirialan (Pref)
    • Twi’lek (Pref)
  • Trooper
    • Human
    • Cyborg
    • Zabrak
    • Mirialan (Pref)
  • Smuggler
    • Human
    • Cyborg
    • Zabrak
    • Mirialan (Pref)
    • Twi’lek (Pref)

Three additional species have been released since launch but they are only available via the Cartel Market.

  • Cathar
  • Togruta
  • Nautolan*

*Was free for subscribers for a limited time prior to Onslaught’s launch in October 2019.

Some species that are available to other classes will have character customisation options only available to certain classes. For example, a Human Trooper has different Tattoos from a Human Sith Warrior.

My Class Recommendations

Now that I’ve gone over some questions to consider when deciding which class to pick, here are some of my Class recommendations!

In terms of DPS, the first class I ever played was a Jedi Sentinel, Combat discipline. It is still one of my favoured DPS classes (along with Carnage Marauder too) even though it is underperforming these days. Other DPS classes I enjoy include.

  • Powertech – Pyrotech
  • Sorcerer – Lightning/Sage – Telekinetics
  • Sniper – Engineering

Lightning/Telekinetics is currently my favourite DPS class in PvP.

What I am more well known for, however, is being a Mercenary/Commando Healer. It has been my favourite class since 1.0 and is still my go-to for all content, especially PvP. I have played the other healing classes as well but I always come back to my Mercenary.

In terms of the class stories, I find almost all of them to be decently enjoyable for various reasons. There are good and bad elements to all these stories but the Sith Warrior makes the top of my list. The only class story I don’t find that enjoyable is the Jedi Consular. Here is how I rank the class stories.

  • Sith Warrior
  • Imperial Agent
  • Jedi Knight
  • Bounty Hunter
  • Sith Inquisitor
  • Smuggler
  • Trooper
  • Jedi Consular

So what do I personally recommend?

For healing go with Mercenary/Commando.

For DPS I recommend Lightning/Telekinetics, Pyrotech, Engineering and Carnage/Combat. All of these classes cover various playstyles and most have good class stories as well.

Final Tip – if you don’t like the ability animations of the class you’re playing, check out the mirror class on the other faction to see if you like their ability animations better.

In the end, the choice of what class to play is ultimately yours and it can be for any reason you like! My first character was a Jedi Sentinel purely because I wanted to have two lightsabers.

Leave a ReplyCancel reply

Exit mobile version