Advanced classes are specialized careers that characters can choose in Star Wars: The Old Republic. As a character becomes more seasoned through adventure, they will be given the opportunity to undertake one of two advanced classes. This decision is equally as important as creating a character. This is because the choice will not only make a character more distinct and powerful, but it will also help further define the role a character plays.
In addition to class-specific skills and abilities, advanced classes grant access to role-defining abilities that represent additional areas of expertise. Some may even grant new weapon and armor types. Additionally, each advanced class has three sets of skills, or skill trees, available to further customize a character.
The chart above is not representative of any of the current advanced class skill sets, nor does it show exactly how many potentially accessible skills there are. It is included to provide an example of how a character, in this case a Sith Warrior, may look as he progresses through one advanced class (note that the other advanced class skill sets are disabled and cannot be trained).
As mentioned above, each advanced class opens up three skill sets with a variety of skills in each. Unlike selecting an advanced class, these skill sets are less restrictive, and can be reset. Although a character can obtain skills from any or all skill sets, each skill tree represents a unique skill build that will only progress to the next stage if you continue to put points in that set. As your allocated skill points accumulate in a particular skill tree, you unlock the higher tiers or branches of that tree and can utilize increasingly beneficial skills.
 Advanced classes by faction
The main goal of the advanced class system is to allow players to customize their characters according to their playing style. For example, some Sith Warrior players will want to charge into the fight and take the full heat of the enemies' aggression. Others will want to execute their maneuvers more strategically, focused on channeling all their rage to destroy their enemies as quickly as possible. The advanced class system provides these kinds of choices and more.
While the first two skill sets include skills entirely unique to the chosen advanced classes, the third skill set consists of a shared set of skills which expand upon the core skills of the class itself.
A few important notes:
- The "shared" tree isn't exactly the same between the two advanced classes. There are minor changes to some talents depending on which advanced class is picked.
- The same pool of points is used when training advanced classes skills, so spend points wisely!
- Advanced classes are actually the "class" of this game, so there are sixteen classes (eight classes for Republic and eight classes for Imperial). What SWTOR calls "class" would better be called "story" as the eight primary classes (four Republic and four Imperial) each have their own story.
- Classes are exact mirrors of each other. For example, Smuggler and Imperial Agent are exact mirrors. They look different, have different stories, different special effects, etc... but the back-end numbers and are all an exact match.
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