I like fighting from a distance, and I want something on the Republic side this time... but I also like the idea of something tanky this time too. Maybe Trooper Vanguard? Only thing, I'm not sure that the story will be particularly interesting... anyone played the trooper story here?
Trooper story is pretty good for the most part. It's a bit anticlimactic in some parts, but does have what is arguably the most gut-wrenching scene in the game.
However, despite using a blaster, Vans are more of a melee class. Really, the only two classes that are truly ranged are Slingers/snipers and sages/sorcs.
If I don't go for a tank, I'm thinking about a Smuggler instead, but the cover mechanic seems like a love/hate thing. I might start one off and see whether I can get into it and if not, switch to Trooper.
I wouldn't worry about cover. After the starter planet, you'll almost never use it. Slingers just use the shield. Natural cover is "stronger" than the shield, but the shield is just so much more simpler to use. I've never played a slinger myself, but everyone I know pretty much avoids natural cover.
As far as scoundrels go, the only spec that really gets any use out if it is dirty fighting, and that's broken. Don't use it.
Scrappers are a melee class (The most fun melee class in the game.
), and the only time they need to use cover is to pop Sab-charge. And that's best done with kneeling quick, popping the skill and moving again. For example. I do it so quickly I don't even see the kneeling animation.
And with the Bones spec, it just limits the mobility too much--more than whatever defense cover provides could make up for. Bones pride themselves on being the most mobile of the healing specs (which is why most people consider them the best). Crouching behind a create is obviously detrimental to that.
By the way, just for future reference, even as a free player doing almost no space missions or heroic/flashpoint group content, there was almost no grind required in the Inquistor story and no need for stupidly powerful or rare gear either. The game paced progression such that I was only a level behind by the end. A couple of times during the game, I did feel underlevelled (when just starting Alderaan, at the start of Belsavis, and most notably, when I first tried to fight the Avatar of Sel-Makor on Voss). But the missions were always still manageable if I played carefully (or in the case of the Voss mission, once I left that fight until after I completed everything else on the planet and so levelled up a couple more times). He was the hardest boss in the whole game, needing fairly precise interrupts. I died more times with Paladius due to his force-draining ability, but only until I figured out what tactic to use. He wasn't genuinely hard in the way the Avatar was. Thanaton was a little tricky, but nowhere near those guys.
Yeah. I think people make too big of a deal about the XP nerf. There's just so much of it in the game, I can't see how it's a problem.