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Republic Trooper Beginner’s Guide - Star Wars The Old Republic

Learn the basics of the Republic Trooper including primary stats, gear choices, abilities, combat strategies, and more.

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A Powerful Force On the Battlefield - Republic Trooper

So you've chosen to enlist as one of the Republic's finest, fellow Trooper? You're here to defend, protect and be the first to run into battle when war unleashes. Troopers are the bravest men and women in the Republic army. You've just arrived on Ord Mantell, soldier. Now what? Let's dive right into the foray.

For the purposes of this guide, I will assume you found your way here because you've already decided the Trooper class is a perfect fit. I'll also assume that you have a handle on the basic controls in Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR). I'll steer clear of any storyline spoilers since discovering SWTOR's story should be left up to you!

First Things First: Choosing a Side

Before we dive into Trooper combat techniques, let's take a moment to discuss your alignment. All soldiers live to serve the Republic, but how you choose to do so exactly is within your control. Realistically speaking, you have three options when it comes to choosing a side. The first option is to decide on a whim as you play along, choosing whichever dialog choice makes the most sense. This is how many players start out in the game, and I recommend it the first time, because it's a great way to get immersed in the story.

There is a downside, however, if your character ends up balanced between both sides. Players are able to purchase items while leveling once they pass certain tiers of Dark and Light points (Dark I, II, etc.). If they remain neutral, it's harder to purchase those items due to being split across both alignments. You are, of course, free to deviate from either side, but keep in mind that you may find yourself short on alignment points eventually.

Now, let's talk pure alignments. The pure route that's often seen in most Troopers throughout Star Wars lore is probably the Light Side. If you choose to follow the Light, you'll do what's expected of you, follow the rules and generally be the good guy. You'll end up a hero. On the other hand, you could be the anti-hero. Sometimes it's fun to bend the rules and use your rifle to take charge. For this path, you'll end up giving in to your passions and lean toward the Dark Side.

First Things First: Thinking About an Advanced Class

All Troopers start out mainly dealing ranged damage, but once you leave the starting planet you'll have to make a very important decision and choose between Commando and Vanguard. These are your two advanced classes to choose from, and the playstyles between the two vary dramatically.

Progression video gives you a taste of some of the trooper's advanced class options

Commandos focus on quickly dispatching enemies from afar with their powerful assault cannons. Commandos are also capable of healing others through the Combat Medic specialization. Commando healers are unique in that they shoot their party members with kolto bullets and bombs, thus making them healthy again. Vanguards concentrate a little more on defense and can serve as a tank for a group, protecting their teammates from harm by keeping the attention of enemies. Vanguards can also deal large amounts of damage through both ranged attacks and close range rifle techniques.

I'd suggest thinking about which role you'd like to perform while leveling on Ord Mantell. If you enjoy being purely offensive you have a couple of options. When directly comparing the DPS (damage per second) numbers between offensive Commandos and Vanguards, the two advanced classes actually come out about even. DPS Vanguards are a little more mobile, but DPS Commandos are more versatile and can help the group out by providing emergency healing.

For those who enjoy protecting teammates or helping others, the Trooper advanced classes have a pretty defined setup. It's also worth to note here that since the Trooper class wears heavy armor, no matter your advanced class choice, you're going to survive well under pressure!

The Fun Stuff: Combat

As your progress on Ord Mantell, you'll get a good feeling of the type of abilities that come natural to Troopers. Let's begin at level 1. Each class gets a special buff that they should always keep on themselves and their party members. Troopers get Fortification, which lasts for an hour and adds Endurance. Endurance gives everyone a boost to their maximum health, which makes surviving an easier task. Sprint, if you have it available (as a free-to-play player, you won't get it until level 15), is also a must-have that increases your movement speed while not in combat. Sprint is a toggle, which means you'll be able to place it on and it will stay on unless you remove it.

At level 1, you'll start off with two attacks: Explosive Round and Hammer Shot. Explosive Round is your best attack used on groups of enemies for most of the starting planet. It does have a downside, however, and that is its Ammo cost. Ammo is your special ability cost, which shows as a yellow bar beneath your own health. You start out at 12 Ammo, which is your maximum amount. Each special ability (like Explosive Round) has an Ammo cost, and when your Ammo reaches 0, you're unable to use special abilities until it is regained. Explosive Round, for example, costs 3 Ammo.

Companion Elara Dorne provides this trooper some good healing as he engages an Imperial walker at a distance

Now, Ammo does naturally regenerate back. While out of combat, it regenerates very quickly. While in combat, it takes quite a bit longer. The regeneration rate during combat varies and is based on how much Ammo you currently have. If you have 8 Ammo or above, the regeneration rate is at its quickest. Likewise, when you are at 4 Ammo or below, it replenishes at its slowest rate. For this reason, it's best to not spam your strongest attacks unless you know combat will be ending soon.

And that's where Hammer Shot comes into play. Hammer Shot is your ranged shot that has no Ammo cost. Its damage is basic, but decent enough to chink away at a single target's health. It can also be used while running. It's sometimes best to interlace Hammer Shot with special abilities like Explosive Round that have a high Ammo cost. In a group of three enemies, starting off with an Explosive Round is a great way to open the fight. Your primary target will be close to death at this point as well as knocked down. Fire off a few Hammer Shots until that target goes down, then follow up with an Explosive Round to the remaining targets.

Recharge Cells is also an option, which recharges your Ammo within three seconds. The problem with this, however, is the fact that you must wait two minutes before using it again. It's usually best to save Recharge Cells and similar abilities with wait times (often known as cooldowns) for emergency situations. If a second group of enemies attacks while you're already fighting a group, using Recharge Cells and some quick Explosive Rounds may ensure your victory.

Recharge and Reload is your out-of-combat regeneration ability which is channeled and restores Ammo as well as you and your Companion's health. A channeled ability will keep healing and/or dealing damage until you move or use another ability. It's often a good idea to use Recharge and Reload in between tougher battles, especially if the enemies take a while to finish off. As a general rule of thumb, it's never a great idea to enter a fight at low health or low Ammo.

Learning Abilities

As you complete missions and gain levels, you will be able to purchase new abilities and new ranks of abilities from Trooper trainers. The first trainer is located in Fort Garnik, which you'll get sent to after finishing a couple of quests in the starting area. At level 2 you'll get a hard-hitting close range ability called Shockstrike. Shockstrike is a good alternative to Hammer Shot for single enemies, especially since it has a lower Ammo cost than Explosive Round.

The Trooper has some great choices in companions later in the game including the hilarious M1-4X, whose zeal for righteous killing will make you LOL

At level 3 you'll get Full Auto, which is a channeled attack that deals continuous firepower to a single target. It costs 2 Ammo, which makes it great to use in between Explosive Rounds. It also stuns the target for its duration, which makes it ideal for using on a tough enemy.

In general, the most dangerous enemies on Ord Mantell are the large droids and humanoids. You can also tell which are the most dangerous by looking at the colored border around the enemy's information frame that pops up when you click on it (also known as targeting). Mobs with silver and gold-bordered enemy frames are Champion mobs, are extremely dangerous and will most likely need a group. World bosses and Flashpoint bosses are Champion mobs. Elite mobs have gold borders and take a bit of work to get down, but can sometimes be soloed. Strong mobs have silver borders and more health than Standard mobs, which have no special border.

At level 4 you'll get another buff to place on yourself. This one's called Plasma Cell and is a toggle that gives all of your rifle attacks a chance to deal additional damage over time (DoT). As you gain more levels, you'll notice that you can only use one cell ability at a time, but for now, keep this one up at all times.

Following that up, at level 5 you'll get a nice boost to your area-of-effect (AoE) damage through Sticky Grenade. Tossing a Sticky Grenade into a group immediately prior to tossing an Explosive Round results in both of them going off around the same time, which does a nice chunk of damage to any group. Around this level is when you generally find that Hammer Shot becomes more of a finisher ability. If an enemy only has a sliver of health remaining, Hammer Shot works well to finish them off.

At level 6 you'll get High Impact Bolt, which is another damage ability that can only be used when an enemy is disoriented or has a damage-over-time ability on them. At this level the only DoT ability you have is through Plasma Cell, so you will find that you won't be able to use High Impact Bolt too often. When it's available the ability will light up on your quickbar and you have a limited amount of time to use it.

The next new ability you'll learn comes at level 8, when you'll gain Pulse Cannon, which is a flashy, cone-shaped AoE ability that must be channeled. Pulse Cannon is decent for use when enemies are clumped closely together directly in front of your character. It uses 3 Ammo like Explosive Round, but also deals more damage. As you may have started to notice, the Trooper has a great selection of area-of-effect abilities.

Video shows off some of the attacks available to the Gunnery Commando class

Level 9 gives Troopers their escape ability that can be used when caught in a stun, blind or otherwise impairing state. Level 10 will give you one of the most fun AoE abilities in the game, Mortar Volley, which places a glowing circle under your cursor that you can place on the battlefield. The area you choose will detonate in a flurry of channeled cannon blasts that can and will take out entire groups.

Level 10 is also where you'll wrap up Ord Mantell and head on out to the Fleet, which is where you'll be able to choose an advanced class, explore the talent trees and gain new abilities and new gameplay options, including the option to join up for your first Flashpoint, which is SWTOR's 4-man group content. You'll also be able to pick Crew Skills, which let you craft better gear and other items to make saving the galaxy easier.

General Combat and Companion Tips

  • Experiment with how you start and finish off fights until you find a style that suits you well. Some players may like to start out with AoE attacks, and others may find nuking down one target at a time works better.
  • If you find yourself dangerously low in health during battle, make sure to use a Medpac. Drag and click a stack from your inventory ("I") to a quickbar for easy access.
  • If you accidentally anger too many enemies, it's possible to run away and cause them to reset (often called "leashing"). This is sometimes the best way to survive a fight you know you can't win.
  • Get in the habit of planning out each fight before you run in. Figure out which enemy will be your priority and ensure there are no nearby patrolling mobs that may make the fight more difficult.
  • Don't forget about Stims! These buff a stat for an hour, which can help quite a bit while leveling. You'll want Stims with Aim.

At around level 8-10 after the main story mission comes to completion, you'll gain your first companion, Aric Jorgan, who is a ranged damage dealer. Between the two of you, you'll be packing plenty of firepower! Aric's an important part of the Trooper's storyline, can be romanced by female Troopers and will randomly state his opinion and accept gifts. Aric receives affection points when the Trooper follows orders, stays true to the Republic and is efficient. As a general rule, he mostly agrees with Light Side decisions, but his strong sense of duty trumps everything, even when it comes to dialog choices.

Aric isn't a tank, but it sometimes helps to send him in first to take the initial beating. Send him into combat by pressing the fist-shaped icon on his miniature quickbar located on the left-hand side of the screen. "CTRL-1" also works. This miniature quickbar is also where you can manually toggle your Companion's attacks.

Advanced Combat: Heroic Missions

Once you have your Companion by your side, you're free to solo the Heroic missions on Ord Mantell. Before grabbing him, it's also possible to join a group of players completing the quests. Two or more players are suggested for these quests, but Companions can be included in these suggested numbers. I'd suggest waiting to do them until you get Aric, simply because it makes them so much easier. The Trooper gets their Companion later on Ord Mantell than Smugglers do.

Since Aric and you both deal damage, sometimes the most efficient way to solo Heroic missions is by splitting up the attention of the mobs. To do this, send Aric in first after a target. Immediately use a powerful attack on a different target than Aric is focusing on. Sticky Grenade plus Full Auto works well. After your initial target is down, you can start using more AoE abilities. This way both you and your Companion finish the fight having taken minimal damage.

Leveling, Gear and Credits

While leveling, it's important to prioritize purchasing new abilities and new levels of abilities. Every time you're able to see your trainer, you should make sure you do so. In Fort Garnik, there are a few vendors who sell green-quality heavy armor, which is what Troopers wear. You can purchase some of this gear if you find yourself with extra Credits, but it isn't necessary. Instead, I'd recommend saving up your Credits and going after the Commendation chestpiece, which is also found on a vendor at the Fort.

Credits come naturally in SWTOR and you shouldn't need to spend extra time farming them, but if you'd like to, humanoid mobs are going to be your best bet. Make sure to sell all grey items and unwanted white gear when you come across Stim and gear vendors. Unwanted green gear can also be safely vendored at these early levels.

Commendations are obtainable by completing the Heroic quests and off random mobs in the area. Each planet has its own Commendation currency, and this gear is generally some of the best available for the level of the planet. If you're unable to find the eight Commendations needed to purchase the chestpiece, I wouldn't worry about it too much. The gear you get from completing quests and found off random mobs is generally decent enough for getting through Ord Mantell. As far as quest completion rewards, always aim for gear upgrades wherever possible.

Gear-wise, focus on Aim and Endurance. Aim is where your damage comes from, as well as your healing if you're planning to be a Commando healer. Endurance will help you survive a little longer when caught in rough spots. For weapons, you'll want a blaster rifle for now. Aric Jorgan also uses heavy armor and utilizes Aim and Endurance. He uses a blaster cannon.

Leveling in SWTOR is fairly simple, and there are multiple routes to choose while doing so. I find it most efficient to stick to story missions wherever possible, and complete side missions in clumps that are near the story missions. Make sure to check the surrounding area for new missions before starting off to a new location. Mission NPCs are sometimes nearby.

While exploring, it's also possible to find datacrons and lore objects that give extra experience. Datacrons give permanent stat boosts, but are sometimes difficult to find. These should be discovered if possible, but not prioritized, since it's easy to come back at later levels and grab them then.

As you level, you will start to collect complimentary experience boost items as part of rewards for missions. These grant you extra experience and help make your leveling journey a little quicker. Feel free to use them as soon as you get them or save them for whenever you feel like you're slipping behind the leveling curve. If you really want to think ahead, it may be a good idea to save them until you're around level 40 or higher, since the amount of experience needed for each level increases substantially.

Grouping with Other Players

Due to SWTOR's Heroic mission and Flashpoints system, I'd suggest grouping up with other players whenever possible. Group content is important in the game, and it's enjoyable to complete missions with other players due to the various conversation options available. Grouping up is also a great way to make new friends.

While grouping, if you have three or more players in your party that are nearby, the game will automatically start to disable your ability to summon Companions. At three players, which Companion gets chosen is random. At four players, all Companions become disabled.

In a group of four players on Ord Mantell, you may find yourself serving as the group's tank due to your heavy armor. Try and focus your attacks on any enemies directly attacking Smugglers, engage enemies first and keep an eye on your health. Teamwork is important while grouping, so remember to be considerate and communicative. If ever in doubt, don't be afraid to ask questions!

Final Notes

Star Wars: The Old Republic is a fantastic game the first time through, so my strongest piece of advice for any aspiring Republic Trooper would be to have fun, enjoy the story and take your time exploring every aspect of the game!

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