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Design for a Droid Class

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes
Design for a Droid Class

Cleet_Xia's Avatar

11.24.2012 , 05:23 PM | #1
Over the past year there have been many threads started and posts made, by people who are interested in,
1) changes to the ship droid to make it a full companion.
2) expressed interest in playing a droid class.
3) concerning HK-51 being added to the game.
4) engame gear for droid companions.

Responses to these threads have varied.

While it has been reiterated many times that BW will not consider adding a playable droid race/class to the game, and I think there are some very good reasons not to try...I still want a droid class.... I want it as a high legacy level unlock, that helps tie my other class stories together. And I want it as a utility class.

But, the bottom line is that it would be quite a task, to create a story that would be interesting and make sense. And it would be even more difficult to design a new class that is interesting to play, but isn't game breaking in some fashion.

It could potentially cost quite a bit to add this content to the game, but it may not be something interesting to enough
people. There would be a lot of hurdles, but surely they could be overcome. And some of the solutions could be pretty simple. So this is an open call for anyone who would like to play a droid class to speak up & put their ideas into the pot.


1) Models for Non-anthropomorphic droids create some pretty severe problems.

a) astromechs & probe droids platforming for datacrons will obliterate immersion.
b) the current system of taxis & mounts are incompatible with non-humanoid droids.
c) moving at sprint speeds all the models seem somehow off already, but with T7-01 the effect is magnified.
d) the models are fairly static, and don't have movement motion ~ visually boring to look at for 50 levels.
e) probe droids have no external que to indicate which side is the "front" for players who have backstabbing attacks.
f) the natural camera position is based on a model of a certain physical height & doesn't fit shorter droids.

The only practical solution to these problems is: non-anthropomorphic droids are just not allowed. Or they are only allowed on a "closed track" for part of the class story. So ~ no chance to fulfill those dreams of being R2-D2, T3-M4, or T7-01, while playing with non-droid characters. This leaves the player with the option of being something between C3-P0/C2-N2 & HK-47/51 for multiplayer. So basically, you get to play the perenial wannabe to HK-51 ~ but you at least get to play a droid !

2)What do playable droids add to the game?
The class could easily wind up as a secondary mirror to either the smuggler/agent or BH/trooper classes. So ~ potentially no new variation introduced to the game, besides the cosmetic appearance of the class.
a) in terms of game play, that isn't already in the game?
The "low hanging fruit" of things that are not in the game right now are a form of, hybrid tank/healing, buff/debuff, Melee hand to hand, beast handling, specs. Some of these don't make any sense for a droid class.
b) Players who are interested in playing a droid class are a subset of the player base.
Because it's a subset of the player base this is not something the devs can devote a whole lot of time to.
c) How would the class "fit" to play well with other classes? Stims, Medpacks, Kolto, & force based heals applying to droids doesn't make much sense.
Repair kits could be added as player crafted items, and to a few specific venders, or the class could depend on some sort of self heals.
d) How would the class "fit" with the canon of the game & SW universe
Not really a problem, given the history of lore & precendent for self motivated droids in the SW universe.

3)What would have to be added to the game
a) Props ~ a class ship & hanger, trainers, endgame venders
Reuse a ship already in the game, one of the common models that is used on landing pads throughout the game. This would require that an interior be created. Reusing one of the existing class ships, would sort of wreck something for those classes. The hanger would be added to one of the elevators in fleet/ space ports/ stations & the NPCs would be found in the hanger, or use corner of the interfleet transport area.
b) VO work for the player, for the mission givers, & for every NPC that has a conversation roll in every FP
Reuse of the VO work of another class for the player, the mission givers, & the NPC's The droid might reuse another class' VO work by inpersonating their master ~ using holo recordings. Or they might just reuse the VO work of another class with some serious distortion added. For part of the class story, the player VO could be the simple beep codes used by the atromechs already in the game.
c) companions ~ in SW droids ARE companions, who plays second fiddle to a droid?
Either add 12 companions or the 2 factions must share some companions. Each of these companions will need to have some explanation for their dependency on a droid, So these some pretty pathetic companions! Anything that wouldn't require new VO work would be a bonus. Some examples I cooked up:

d) a starter planet
The existing planets must somehow be reused as a unique instance just as a starter world for this class.
e) an average of 1 class quest for every subsection of each planet.
Class quests after the starter world is actually more of creative writing story building task than anything, not really my cup of tea. But I feel like it has to involve the assasin droids on Nar Shadaa, the gree, and encounters with each of the droid companions. I think It should probably also tie in with Mentor & Healer from D7 somehow. Perhaps there is room for a HK-47 demolition derby?
f) gear, gear appearances, & color matched versions ~ that only work for 1 class
The number of these appearances will need to be limited, because this bit could take a great deal of work.

g) A 5th class buff?
Make the main stat accuracy & add a +5% class buff. Adjust the endgame damage of the class' dps abilities downward to compensate for the effect of stacking so much accuracy.
h) space mission modifications for the new ship model?
It's a legacy class ~ leave the space mission terminal out & players can get their space mission fix on their main.
i) A WHOLE lot of Cutscenes
Yeah - this is a big stumbling block

4)Other specific problems with game mechanics for droid characters
a) Strictly speakly, capacity for moral choice is rare for droids in the SW canon, LS/DS choices would be bizarre.
LS/DS appearance should just be ignored, maybe the droid's eyes color shift from yellow to red at most. Altruistic behavior at the dereliction of their primary objective doesn't quite make sense. Unless the droid is somehow encouraged to consider the broad ramifications of such choices. The droid has to have a morality moment, "good people doing bad things for the right reasons, and bad people doing bad things for good reasons. But it is the sum of our actions that define us as good or evil beings" etc.

b) How is a droid character going to be the "lead" character in their story?
The only way I can think of that a LS rep droid could be lead is if they are trying to be loyal to a missing master, and if the DS imp droid pulls a frankenstien and kills their master. Not a new story - either way, but maybe the telling of it can be interesting. The LS imp story could also make sense by the virtue of the droid doing the galaxy a favor by offing their master. But what about the DS rep story?
c) What exactly do droids want with currency?
Simple, the first companion explains why the group needs money, it's to maintain/upgrade the droid & ship.
d) What about a story? What use for diologue would any type of droid have?
This gets complicated, because most tasks handled by a droid would be issued by instruction from another computer, somehow the droid player must observe the reason they are seeking conversation with NPC's.
e) The VO for the planet story missions would make absolutely no sense if the NPC were speaking with a droid.
The NPC's must either believe they are talking to someone other than the droid ~ a remotely present owner, or there must be some reason for them to fear treating the droid in a disrespectful manner.
f) How does that story end?

I've already posted some ideas for how to solve these problems. And I'm sure many of you have better ideas than I do. What are some different solutions to these problems? What problems have I overlooked?

The practical solutions to the above problems may not produce a class that would be interesting to play. The real question is, "would you play a droid class with these limitations?"
~Master Telagtun Telag of Lord Calypho~

Cleet_Xia's Avatar

11.24.2012 , 05:24 PM | #2
some idea of a class story
~Master Telagtun Telag of Lord Calypho~

wargonglok's Avatar

11.25.2012 , 10:57 AM | #3
maybe i can help:

class: Droid

(my thougth was a crew of all droid companions)

Adv. classes:
Assasin droid
Service droid


Assasin droid trees:
Assasination - DPS with sniper rifle (no stealth)
Hacking - shared tree: debuff/cc master (no stealth)
??????? - melee combat (stealth) at 31 get the ability targeting system disruption (forces enemy to attack other enemies, does notwork on bosses)

Service droid trees: (no stealth at all)
maximum efficiency - buff/ healing tree (mainly buff oreiented)
hacking - shared debuff/cc tree
Defensive systems - tanking tree (relies on low base mitigation but creating area of affect shields to guard allies, not true tank in the sense we know)

for pvp, the hackign trees stuns become messes that break on dmamage

assasin droid can equip sniper rifle and power generator, or dual weild vibroknives

support droid has power generator and pistol, or shield gen and pistol

this makes them different enough so that they arent a rehash of an existing class.

as i stated earlier, all the comps should be droids, with the romance being a cyborg.

the ship is a ship you steal from your cruel master.

it is the generic smugler ship that you see al the time, a heroic on ord mantell is revolved around one.

starting planet: Hutta (becasue hutta is neutral), you start on hutta as a translation dorid for Wervo murm, a bith musician. he is mean. you do some fetch quests to help him get ready for a concert, then at theconcert, you have a puzzle to solve.

solving this puzzle lets you watch his performance, your puzzle solving be it good or bad determines the outcome of the eprfomance. Wervo murm is killed if bad performance, spared if good.

Wervo has a shuttle pass of planet, if he dies, theives teal it and you msut get it back, if he survives you msut revolt and defeat him and take it.

then you fly off hutta and are given a choice, imperial space, or republic space, this choice can not be undone!!!
then at fleet the normal bruhaha of pickign crafting and adv class begins.

PROLOGUE ON CAPITOL: you ghave heard of a friendly droid named ???? he tels you of his plight, you do stuf to get him off the planet. When you are stelaign a ship to leave, he is killed by an antagonist. you grab his datacore and flee on the ship.

CH. 1: you are trying to fix the droid from capitol planet. No companion on second planet,

NAR SHADDA: you get an astromech as your companion: he operates the tables at a casino, this casino was offering a part you need as a grand prize for a tournament, this is a puzzle tournament, starti9ng with soemthing easy like towers of hanoi, and getting tougher.

eventually you learn the tournament is impossbile. it is a trick to make money.
you adventure around and befreind the astromech, he promises to cheat for you. you flee and get a new companion, he is snarky. ("he" used becasue it is easier)

the astromech is a debuffer

Tatooine: Antagoinists = jawas, htey have stolen a part to the droid from the capitol planet. you save a czerka assasination droid from the jawas. assasination droid is a ranged dpser.

Alerderaan: steal the last part for the droid

CH. 1 boss: The antagonist that broke the drodi from the capitol planet, he hacks the droid after you repair it. you defeat the droid. Then fight antagonist, he uses adds as his main mechanic. his driods get infected by a virus and then try to kill him.

Light choice: save him
Dark choice: let them kill him

CH.2 if saved you learn he is a scientist, he gives you tasks regarding the rise of sentient dorids across the galaxy.

If killed he is a generic scientist that gives this to you.

on quesh you get a fembot from one of the hutts. Buffer/healing.

Hoth: You get a winter survival droid, generic melee tank.

CH. 2 Boss: a mini version of mentor (the boss from directive 7) you defeat him. learn of a plot to kill all biologicals in galaxy.

CH.3 go across galaxy stoppign the sentient drodis from doign evil. helped by the antagonist form ch. 1

voss: you get a cyborg, the cyborg is a aoe shield tank. and romance. cyborg was a eprosnall bodyguard to diplomats, but is tired fo that job.

Correlia: You, by solving puzzles, hack into the main evil drodis computer core.

dark: yuo destory all those dorids
light: you bring them to good, and you satrt a droid organic allaince.

your gear doesnt change, but you can get cusotmization sets that make you a different colored or differnet form, still humanoid though.

so you cna be a red c2-n2 or a green one.


as you get darker you become broken looking, dirtier

lightside you get cleaner, until you are shiny like stainless steel.

FINAL NOTES: it is very rough around the edges, but i like this idea

later today i will post possbile drodi bodies
Sniper, 'nough said

Omnisin's Avatar

11.25.2012 , 11:05 AM | #4
Personally I love all your ideas and would have started my first character/class as a droid when I first picked up this game if it were available at the time.
Unfortunately Bioware has already stated that they have no plans on making any droid player characters with this game as it doesn't make much sense with all the romance options that other classes have...Yep, we can't have droids because Bioware is to enamored will all their lackluster and poorly written companion romance options...

Altheran's Avatar

11.25.2012 , 11:23 AM | #5
The "3)c) Problem" (companions) is probably the reason why BioWare won't do it, or it would require a long time before we can see it.

It is unusual, quite unnatural to see a droid be the master/leader of Organic being. For a story-driven MMO, it is a serious concern to take care, because you have to either find a solid and believable reason to see an organic be under orders from a droid, or give droid-only companions.

While having droid-only companions can look like being an easy task, it's not. It's not, because companions have to have a proper personality. Yes, droids with personality exist, but they're quite rare and and rather unique... So firstly, you have to find a story justifying that something so unlikely occurs. Then there is also the risk that seeing a bunch of with-personnality droids can feel redundant and so, it leaves no flavour to the player. So the scenarist have to be really productive and skillful.

It's a real challenge for a scenarists to do a droid-class. It's quite a "sink or swim" with high chances to sink.

Petnil's Avatar

11.25.2012 , 12:41 PM | #6
i can see a problem. Droid class yes sound good, but it would have to be droid "race" right. Or remove option to pick race for droids.

So yo pick droid race and select the type of droid in character customisation. then select a class. Forceusers should be offlimits imo. It might work with trooper and scoundrell, exept for the part about humanoids taking orders from a droid.

Imo there´s just to many obstacles to make it viable in the near future. Maybe in an expansion, then just make it a droidrace, droidclass thing. So you can only play droidclass as droid, and droids can only play the droidclass.

wargonglok's Avatar

11.25.2012 , 01:57 PM | #7
Here's another idea.

The Droid's story:
Chapter 1 - You arrive on Hutta with your owner. A perfomer hired by the Hutts. While on Hutta, you complete odd jobs (allowing you to go out and complete missions), until you get the chance to escape (add a new zone to the hutt palace). You then make your way to the spaceport, hoping to catch the first shuttle out. But, at the spaceport, you are stopped by an engineer/checkpoint officer, who scans you to make sure you aren't stolen. When he scans you, he discovers that you are, in fact, a rogue, sentient droid. He find your thought pattern and ability to overwite your own programming interesting. He asks to accompany you, and together you escape the planet.

You proceed to travel to various other planets, looking for parts to upgrade and repair yourself with. However, the final, and most important part you need must be purchased from the black market. You contact a Pirate leader on Nar Shadda and arrange a meeting. At the meeting you are requested to break into a Hutt's casino and steal an item (while on this mission, you coincidentally find your old master, and are given the chance to kill/spare him). When you return, you're about to make the trade-off, when trade officials raid the complex. You, your companion, and the Pirate must fight your way out. You escape to the experimental ship the Pirate's organisation was developing, and flee. On board the ship, you gather in the meeting room, install the part (which you recovere during your escape), and discuss the future. Her organisation imprisoned, she decides to join you... but on what? The engineer suggests looking for other droids that have developed sapience, in the hopes of studying them.

Thus ends Chapter 1. You now have two companions, an Human Male Engineer who hopes to create a new type of AI based on the data he can collect while following you. He is a buff/debuffer. And the Female Miralian Pirate, on whose vessel you ride, She is a DPS gunslinger type o' gal. Your ship resembles a large Hyena Droid, with hallways within that the passengers can navigate.

Chapter 2 - Is spent travelling the galaxy finding sentient droids (new companions). The droids you find come from all walks of life, and represent most models of droids. Five main events occur in this chapter.
1) You discover an enclave of sentient droids (on some planet).
2) Your ship becomes to crowded for all its passengers, and you must find a new location to send the droids you find.
3) You discover that you're being follwed by a mysterious Gand bounty hunter.
4) You confront the Gand when you encounter it on one of your missions. He has just destroyed the last droid in the enclave you were trying to contact. You fight, and the Gand reveals that you must never bring about the "War of One Thousand Years Past" or resurrect the "Ancient Ones."
5) You bring up the "War of One Thousand Years Past" and "Ancient Ones" with the droids at your enclave. Nothing is known.

Thus ends Chapter 2. You now have all your companions (companions stay on ship).

Chapter 3 - Chapter 3 revolves around learning about the "Ancient Ones." You travel the galaxy, find ancient artefacts, and learn about a planet of droids. You continue research until you find the coordinates of the planet. When you arrive at the planet, you make you way through overgrowth and ruins, until you find an altar, with two behemoths kneeling on either side. One is a Silentium, the other is an Abominor. Your actions up to this point determine which one you awaken. Light sided > Silentium. Dark sided > Abominor. The droid you awaken speaks with you, then destroys the other. You are informed of the war between the Silentium and Abominor, and join the faction you awakened. *

Thus ends chapter 3. You have discovered ancient droids of incredible power and joined them. You have also pulled yourself into an ancient war.

Eventual release of a fourth chapter would entain the search for Silentium artefacts/Abominor weapons from around the galaxy to destroy the other faction. Thus ending the war and making yourself robot king.

TL;DR - You're an escaped slave who joins a researcher and pirate, form a private droid army, then eventually become robot king.

*I realize the Silentium/Abominor aren't in the galaxy at this point. They already left, this could be a faction that remained. It happens.

As far as being a droid goes, character creation would let you modify colour, grasping mechanism (hands), chest plate, and head. As you apply armour, it would be modified to work with droids. Potentially, rather than wearing armour, you would 'assimilate' pieces. This would slightly modify the way you look and speak as normal, but not be as drastic as with organics. Although, in some cases it would have considerable effects (such as with high level PVP gear).

The Heal function for a droid would be something like 'Scavenge', where you hunch down, pick parts off the ground and them stick them on yourselve to make repairs.
Sniper, 'nough said

Kitru's Avatar

11.25.2012 , 02:33 PM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by Altheran View Post
It is unusual, quite unnatural to see a droid be the master/leader of Organic being.
It's not entirely impossible to write sensibly. The first act for most of the classes revolves around taking orders from someone else with the later acts moving on to becoming more self motivated. It would be entirely possible for a story to be written where a trusted droid of a high ranking member of their faction (a Bounty Hunter, Sith Lord, Reclamation Officer, or Mad Scientist for Imps; a Jedi Master for Repub) spends the first act running around doing jobs for their master, getting put in charge of other subordinates over the course of the first act (a sufficiently enlightened Jedi Master could easily put a trusted droid in charge of watching over her padawan while she's off doing something too dangerous to bring the padawan along for). The second act and third acts would revolve around the droid taking the lead in rescuing their master (for Repub) or bringing down the vengeance hammer upon those who struck her down (for Imps).

Considering all of the "permanent loyalty protocols" involved in the final conversations of the droid companions, it's not that hard to imagine a droid that knows a helluva lot more than the people around them (thanks to having been around for so much longer) and, as such, ends up taking charge, even though they're technically subservient.

If you wanted to get really interesting with the story, the writer could pull something a Pinocchio or a Data (from Star Trek): a masterwork of droid engineering designed to become a real, sentient creature rather than simply a subservient tool. The companions would represent allies along the way that are willing to defend their new friend, who they view as a person rather than an object, and do what they can to ensure its continual freedom. You could even create some really interesting new dialogue options for Directive 7 (where you're functionally fighting against a kind of AI rebellion, albeit a hivemind variant). A final companion, or even a potential culminating villain, could be a "sibling": the companion would be too naive to survive and need to be guarded/nurtured by the droid character whereas the villain could be one that took a darker approach (i.e. organics and synthetics cannot exist simultaneously as equals and one of them, specifically the organics, must be destroyed).

It's not really all that hard to come up with an interesting story driven by a droid main character that still makes sense as a droid. The only real "problem" is that it's a specific race/class combination, which, ostensibly, BW doesn't want to have (at least judging by their statements that they don't plan on making Wookiees, Trandoshans, or Droids playable races, all of which would require heavy reworking of existing models and gear appearances or need to exist as explicit race/class combinations).

The bigger problem, honestly, is coming up with a mechanically unique and interesting playstyle and ability theme for a droid class. Most of the "assassin droid" style attacks would simply be ripped off, mechanically, from a Scoundrel/Operative. "War droid" would just mimic Trooper/BHs. The "medical/support droid" would really just be a healing variant of classes the other types of droids ripped off already. Even from the perspective of their resource and general playstyle, you have to wonder how they would operate: mechanically, most resource mechanisms that would make sense for droids (energy/charge/power/ammo) are already in use and duplicating them, especially when most of the abilities would be only minor changes from existing abilities. This is one of the primary problems with creating new classes in MMOs: to avoid making the new class simply a recast version of another class or an obvious hybrid between the two, you have to get really creative with the essential mechanics of the class, which is difficult to do realistically without having access to the actual code of the game (to see what limitations are hard coded and which are simply ignored and unused).

For a decent write up for a class, I think it's better to start off with designing the base class first, since that explicitly determines the resource mechanism and story. Simply saying "one AC is DPS/Heal and the other is DPS/Tank" doesn't really explain much of the design of the class. You need to decide on specific mechanics that differentiate it from the other classes while allowing for enough room to differentiate each AC from the others. For example, Consulars all use Force as a resource: it's the simplest resource out there, but provides enough differentiation to allow for 2 separate and distinctly different ACs to arise, by providing Sages with a larger pool and Shadows with additional utility in the form of stealth as well as stances. Knights are similarly differentiated, though less by their resource, which is pretty much static, but rather by the "upgraded" mechanism by which each AC gains a majority of their Focus (Sentinels use Zealous Strike, Guardians use Sundering Strike, both of which are on very different CDs which creates very different playstyles between each, not to mention that Sentinels also get a "second" resource in Centered stacks). From a sheer creative perspective, the story and writing is comparatively simple as opposed to the necessity to create a pair of mechanically differentiated playstyles that arise out of a common root mechanic.

When thinking up Droid classes, my major problem has always been in determining what makes them mechanically unique, rather than what would provide them with an interesting storyline. I'm generally stymied since most of the mechanics that I can come up with mimic one of the existing systems. I'd be curious to see what other people can arrive at.
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Darth_Dreselus's Avatar

11.25.2012 , 03:01 PM | #9
Idea for resource:

Computation / Upload / Processing (someone come up with a better name)

It would work similarly to Focus/Rage but be limited to 3 stacks.

Base attack, no cd, low dmg, builds 1 stack
Second (filler) attack, low cd, moderate dmg, spends 1 stack

Other attacks would be builders/spenders according to balance needs. Burst would be:

Long cd (minute+), very high damage, builds 3 stacks, followed by
Medium cd (20s), moderate-high damage, spends 3 stacks.

That way the 3 stack spender could also be used as a part of the normal rotation.

As a result the class would have the feel of a Shadow (reacting to a quickly regenerating pool) but also of a Knight (building/spending) without relying on natural regen.

As for AC, you could have one AC essentially keep that mechanic and the other now have 5 stacks but include cast times (consular style) or just keep them both on the base resource (Knights)

TBH it's not like all resources are the same, Ammo/Heat and Energy are already pretty much identical.

Personally I am against a DPS/Heal/Tank AC and not sure how a Tank/Heal AC would work with 3 trees, especially when one of them is shared. Buff/Debuff sounds interesting but it would need to be capable of holding its own.
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Kitru's Avatar

11.25.2012 , 03:21 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by Darth_Dreselus View Post
It would work similarly to Focus/Rage but be limited to 3 stacks.
That's one of the problems. You're really just rehashing Focus, but limiting it to a max of 3 instead of 12. It's not really new and doesn't really offer much in the way of complex gameplay, especially since you're capping it at a much lower level than Focus/Rage. Also, it would be hard to see a healing class using a Focus-type resource since there would be no real capacity to run out of resource, especially if there is an ability without a CD that brings it back up at no cost, or any ability to push a hard burn heal phase since you'd only be able to heal, at most 3 resource consuming heals consecutively without running out completely (and that's assuming that the big, hard heal costs only 1).

The only major tweak I could imagine would be something like a fusion between Focus/Rage (attacks generate or consume resource) and Ammo/Energy/Heat/Force (constant regeneration without having to use anything). An interesting variation might be to have the resource regenerate faster the lower the total resource is (the opposite of Heat/Ammo/Energy which regens faster the more you have available to consume it is). Since there would be basic attacks that regenerate a static amount based on use, you would have to choose between having a resource cushion for hard burn phases and having the maximum amount of resource per second. Set the maximum resource regeneration at a low enough level that you wouldn't have enough to spend on your biggest attacks (re: below 25% remaining nets you max regeneration), and you could arrive at some very interesting mechanical decisions, especially if the resource gain mechanism is on a CD, such that you are forced to use a number of resource consumers between the use of the resource generator.
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