Waaaay back during the Closed Beta of Star Wars: The Old Republic, I knew that I wanted to be playing a Smuggler. So, I made a deliberate choice to test with a character that wasn’t one (although obviously, I did do some testing with the Smuggler just to get familiar with the idea). I decided to go with a class that wouldn’t interest me all that much: the Republic Trooper. That was the design origins of the character of Jesken, who I recreated at Launch. Boy, did I blow that original analysis: I wound up having the Trooper be my second Republic character to complete his class story.
The general concept was simple: what if you had someone who was a True Believer in the ideals of the Republic serving as a soldier? What if you had someone who had the right personality to be a Jedi, but had not a lick of Force-sensitivity? What if my Trooper was, in other words, a knight in shining armor? This became an even bigger deal for me as I went through the early levels of Coruscant, where the character’s commanding officer was far more of a pragmatist and willing to consider collateral damage to be sure of a successful mission. I managed to hold true to this, with a single exception where he did the selfish thing-and there were consequences. (I won’t go into detail since it is POSSIBLE that it could spoil a small part of the Trooper story, but I will say that there were no good endings to that situation-and it impacted my play such that the character would not pursue a romance with any of his companions.)
I chose a Cyborg as the character’s species-something near human. There’s nothing really special about that-really, character species doesn’t count for much except for certain Imperial storylines and special social moves (Cyborgs scan people). Since he was leveling up during the first/second year of the game, he didn’t have as much possible armors to choose from as my later characters did, so his armor tended to be a constant work-in-progress. The color matching to chest armor code wasn’t exactly perfect then, either, so sometimes he and his companions had some hilariously mis-matched armor in terms of coloration. And this was before the special dyes became available. Over the years, I’ve stabilized him to most of a single set: the Yavin reputation armor. It looked like it could take serious damage and serious abuse; the helmet was the piece I chose to pass on, keeping one I’d gotten while leveling.
In keeping with the personality I molded for him, Jesken would choose the Vanguard advanced class, with the Shield discipline. I made him as tanky as I could-and he would either use Jorgan for damage dealing or Elara for healing (this was, of course, before Knights of the Fallen Empire allowed any companion to be set to any role). This has made things a little tricky at times going through some missions, particularly as nerfs came to the damage dealing abilities of the class-and the removal of abilities that had any real range to them. The Vanguard has become a very up-close-and-personal class, virtually melee with a ranged weapon. But he’s able to survive, and that’s a good thing except missions where he doesn’t get a companion. Then it’s a little more of a slog.
Jesken turned out to be the kind of guy you could write a recruitment ad around. He wasn’t as gung-ho as a certain droid companion of his, but he was definitely all about doing the right thing, even if it damaged future strategic goals. Saving lives was what the job was about more than killing the enemy (even if killing the enemy might save lives in the future-you can’t live with a hypothetical future when there’s a clear and present danger now!). This would put him in conflict with his superior officers at times, and he would develop a dislike for politicians-although he certainly answered their questions with respect and honesty.
Recently, he found himself considered KIA by the Republic at the beginning of hostilities with the Eternal Empire. Cue surprises when he showed back up, and able to claim a posthumous promotion to Colonel (props to the KotFE writers for including that detail-and to the developers for adding Colonel to the list of titles he could use-and of course, it’s the one he’s now using), and heading up an alliance to overthrow the Immortal Emperor. I recently completed the Knights of the Eternal Throne story with this character, and it’s no surprise that he found it easy to tell his companions, “I’m no emperor”. With the Iokath world being recently introduced, Jesken becomes the only character of mine to have interacted with all of his former companions from the class story, and has returned four of them into the fold. (And no, he didn’t kill the fifth on Asylum.) This makes the Trooper the current leader in the Great Companion Recovery, with all five former companions accounted for.
I had a lot of fun playing Jesken, and I enjoyed running him again through the Eternal Empire stories. Says a lot about a character who was basically a throwaway character during Beta!