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The only reason the class system is used is because it is the most well known and widely used. To be honest you could call professions in SWG classes and get past that massive barrier people perceived as it being so complex. It was so easy to understand, you could pick any of the main archetypes and they branched off into more specialised classes. It's very similar to starting off as a Jedi Consular in SWTOR and then choosing to split off into Shadow or Sage.
You had a set amount of skillpoints and could master 2.5 classes as I remember, though it was a long time ago. You'd pick the boxes that you wanted to go to the classes you wanted to master and that was it. So intuitive because it gives you a clear path to what you want to do. The beauty of it however is for the more advance people or the role players is you have the freedom to not follow these set paths and just pick the skills that you find fun.
The whole skill system in the game was never hard to understand and this was never the problem with SWG. There was no reason to switch to the standard linear class system of the NGE and it added something I find far more complex and hard to understand and that's Talent Trees.
The problem with Talent Trees is they aren't easy and clear cut to understand like SWGs Pre CU skill system was. You have to really understand the game or just use some cookie cutter forum build to understand what is worth taking and what isn't You're forced to do all this PVE and PVP build stuff and it just isn't fun. With SWGs Pre CU skill system everything was clear and I knew what to take to play what I wanted. The customization came with mixing classes together and playing the way that I wanted. The problem with Talent Trees is they just make no sense to most of us and they aren't fun to use.
No one I know makes an effort to understand talent trees, they go to the forums or websites and look up builds. The people I know who are playing the game but don't care never bother with them. Like one of my friends wondered why he sucked so much and he never invested a point into it because it is so complex to look at. Blizzard have become wise to this and are changing the system to what I think is a more clear, dynamic and fun skill system. Where you pick one of 3 skills every 15 or so levels and you pick things that are fun to use, none of the passive hard to understand stat crap.
The beauty of SWGs system is I could login and look t it and see what I wanted to be and did it. I want to be a Creature Handler what do I do? Ok I take scout, go up the two trees it says that leads to it and I'm taken to Novice Creature Handler and I have the freedom to pick what I want. I want to mix this with something else to make my character more dynamic and fun, I can pick and choose from anything else. Aslong as you didn't care about PVP you didn't have to pick any cookie cutter build because there are no linear levels and you could join massive groups to gain XP, so you could be very inefficient in combat if you wanted.
That was so easy but trying to work out the Beast Master stuff when it was added I had no clue, they made it so much harder to understand with the talent tree stuff...
Edit: I call the professions in SWG classes because they are classes and I wanted to knock down that word barrier people have which makes them think it is so different and complex.