A Plethora of SWTOR Talent Calculators

There are quite a few Star Wars: The Old Republic talent calculators/planners you can choose from nowadays! I decided not to focus on cranking one out myself because it felt unnecessary to reinvent the wheel; there are some pretty great wheels out there already. So, instead, I present you with a list of talent calculator options, with some analytical compliments and criticisms.

Overview

Last Updated: February 6, 2013

Name Platform Cost Status
Ask Mr. Robot Web Browser Free Up to Date
Torhead Web Browser Free Up to Date
SWTOR Spy Web Browser Free Up to Date
Gaming with DaOpa Web Browser Free Up to Date
Magelo Web Browser Free Up to Date
DarthHater Web Browser Free Icons Broken
KnoTOR Web Browser Free Out of Date
Prima Game Guides Web Browser Free Tooltips Broken
R2-DB Web Browser Free Tooltips Broken
SwtorHub Web Browser Free Broken
Talent Calculator for Swtor (Maelstorm) iOS 5.0+ Free Up to Date
SWTOR Skill Build Calculator (Firestorm Interactive) iOS 5.0+ $0.99 Up to Date
Tools for SWTOR (Teknolutions LLC) iOS 4.2+ $1.99 Up to Date
Talent Calculator For SWTOR (Michele Di Berardino) Android 2.2+ Free Up to Date
Datapad (Arugaba) Android 2.2+ $3.99 Up to Date
Swtor Talent Calculator (Transcendent Shift) Android 2.1+ Free Out of Date
SWTOR Talents Calculator (RacoonLab) Android 2.1+ Free Out of Date
SWTOR Skill Tree Calculator (Nextrek S.r.l.) Android 2.1+ $1.03 Out of Date

As of this post update, the most recent patch is 1.6.3, but the most recent class-rebalancing/talent-altering patch was 1.4, which was deployed well before Star Wars: The Old Republic added a free-to-play option. According to BioWare developers, the next major class rebalancing patch will coincide with the release of the expansion, Rise of the Hutt Cartel.

Reviews

A MMO talent calculator needs to be updated in a timely fashion whenever a game update affecting skills and talents is rolled out, so a talent calculator that is powered by its own database site is your best bet. BioWare has made skill and talent data directly available to select fansites, giving them a helping hand in the development and maintenance of such tools and ensuring that there is no shortage of database site options at game launch. However, not all database sites are created equal. Each site develops its own talent calculator independently, with their own user interface quirks. But, after reading this article, you should be well-informed enough to pick the one that suits your needs.

For each screenshot, I created the same build, and showed the tooltip for the same ability. Here's a quick table of contents so that you can jump to each talent calculator discussed (I know I can get verbose):

Darth Hater DB (Curse Gaming)

Darth Hater DB talent calculator

URL: http://db.darthhater.com/skill_calc/

Pros

  • Builds are embeddable on your own website/blog/guide/etc. (dimensions 630x360)
  • Talented ability cooldowns are shown in the tooltip
  • Build url is always displayed and automatically updated every time you invest or remove a training point
  • Advanced class options are written out instead of requiring you to memorize icons, and the corresponding Empire and Republic options are paired vertically
  • You can reset each tree individually, as well as reset all at once

Cons

  • Not all talent tooltip numbers have been implemented yet
  • The number of available ranks for each talent are not displayed at a glance. You have to mouse over each ability in order to see the number of ranks.
  • New abilities ("talented abilities") gained by investing training points into their corresponding talent are not differentiated or highlighted at a glance like it is in-game and in other talent calculators (green-bordered talents).
  • Updating the browser address bar automatically creates the false illusion that the browser backwards and forwards buttons can function as a build history feature.

Other Notes

  • Compact design (smaller talent icons)
  • There is a strong visual indication when you've used all your points. All abilities will appear "locked." Since you cannot see how many ranks there are at a glance, this does not make it a worse than it already is.
  • Tooltips are loaded dynamically with additional site queries the first time you mouse over each talent. (This may be of importance if you plan to use the calculator offline. Mouse over the talents before you disconnect.)

Torhead (ZAM Network)

Torhead's talent calculator

URL: http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc

Pros

  • Builds are embeddable on your own website/blog/guide/etc. (dimensions 770x497)
  • Each of the three talent trees display in icon form what role they fulfill (defense, damage, healing)
  • Advanced class and point distribution summary is displayed front and center
  • Tooltip values have been implemented, although many of the damage numbers are very skewed (due to the values scaling based on current weapon/gear)
  • You can reset each tree individually, as well as reset all at once
  • The build url is always displayed (in the browser address bar) and automatically updated every time you invest or remove a training point

Cons

  • Talented ability tooltips do not display cooldown durations (if there are any)
  • Updating the browser address bar automatically creates the false illusion that the browser backwards and forwards buttons can function as a build history feature. (Treating it as such actually breaks the calculator behavior because this type of interaction is not handled properly by its code.)

Other Notes

  • Compact design (smaller talent icons)
  • The "Lock" feature prevents a build from being modified until the build is "Unlocked" by clicking the lock icon. The icon differentiates between locked and unlocked states poorly.
  • There is a weak visual indication when you've used all your points. You simply will not be able to increase the skill level of an ability when that happens, but everything appears "unlocked," allowing you to continue to see how many ranks each ability has, which is useful when you want to change your build.
  • Tooltips are loaded dynamically with additional site queries the first time you mouse over each talent. (This may be of importance if you plan to use the calculator offline. Mouse over the talents before you disconnect.)

KnoTOR

Know The Old Republic's talent calculator

URL: http://knotor.com/skills

Pros

  • Both the tooltips and the animated slider strongly illustrate what tiers of talents are available to be invested in each tree
  • Each of the three talent trees display in text form what role they fulfill (defense, damage, healing)
  • The browser url is updated automatically as you invest training points, and back/forwards browser history traversal does not break the behavior of the calculator
  • Talent dependency "pipes" are visually filled when you invest in the corresponding dependency to that talent (the upgrade to that talent)

Cons

  • No option to embed your build on your own website/blog/guide/etc.
  • Not all tooltip values have been implemented
  • Changing class with a manual-open dropdown menu takes more clicks to switch classes

Other Notes

  • Large design (full-size talent icons)
  • All tooltips, all classes, and all trees are loaded with the page, so you can use it offline without having to load tooltips for each talent manually (although you will still have to load each class's icons by loading that class page)
  • There is a weak visual indication when you’ve used all your points. You simply will not be able to increase the skill level of an ability when that happens, but everything appears "unlocked," allowing you to continue to see how many ranks each ability has, which is useful when you want to change your build.

SWTOR Spy

SWTOR Spy's talent calculator

URL: http://www.swtor-spy.com/skill-tree-calculator/

Pros

  • Some tooltip values have been implemented, although any damage values that are based on current gear are simply labeled as based on your current weapon.
  • You can reset each tree individually, as well as reset all at once
  • Permalink is always displayed and updated automatically as you invest training points

Cons

  • No option to embed your build on your own website/blog/guide/etc.
  • Missing some duration values on tooltips
  • Missing dependency pipes/lines
  • New abilities ("talented abilities") gained by investing training points into their corresponding talent are not differentiated or highlighted at a glance like it is in-game and in other talent calculators (green-bordered talents).

Other Notes

  • Large design (full-size talent icons)
  • All tooltips for the current class is loaded with the page, so you can use it offline without having to load tooltips for each talent manually
  • Although the permalink is updated automatically as you invest training points, but this is not automatically reflected in your browser history, so navigating away from the calculator page will cause you to lose the build
  • The build URL encoding method uses a long, fixed-length format, which may or may not require a url shortening service when sharing the url in certain length-limited situations (e.g. Twitter)
  • There is a weak visual indication when you’ve used all your points. You simply will not be able to increase the skill level of an ability when that happens, but everything appears "unlocked," allowing you to continue to see how many ranks each ability has, which is useful when you want to change your build.

R2-DB

R2-DB's talent calculator

URL: http://r2-db.com/talent/calculator

Pros

  • The browser url is updated automatically as you invest training points, and back/forwards browser history traversal does not break the behavior of the calculator
  • The slider and icon transparency strongly illustrates what tiers of talents are available to be invested in each tree
  • It is easy to navigate to an overview of the talents in each individual tree (by clicking the tree name in the calculator)

Cons

  • No option to embed your build on your own website/blog/guide offsite
  • New abilities ("talented abilities") gained by investing training points into their corresponding talent are not differentiated or highlighted at a glance like it is in-game and in other talent calculators (green-bordered talents).

Other Notes

  • Large design (full-size talent icons)
  • R2-DB utilizes Torhead's database and aims to extend that functionality by utilizing socially interactive mechanisms.
  • Tooltips are loaded dynamically with additional site queries the first time you mouse over each talent. (This may be of importance if you plan to use the calculator offline. Mouse over the talents before you disconnect.)
  • There is a weak visual indication when you’ve used all your points. You simply will not be able to increase the skill level of an ability when that happens, but everything appears "unlocked," allowing you to continue to see how many ranks each ability has, which is useful when you want to change your build.

Prima Game Guides

Prima Guides' talent calculator

URL: http://www.primagames.com/games/star-wars-old-republic/extra

Pros

  • Your build is saved online, which saves the build to your account on the website for future reference, accessible from multiple computers and so forth.
  • The slider illustrates what tiers of talents are available to be invested in each tree
  • There is a database of builds that people have saved, so you can see what other people are building

Cons

  • Account creation/login is required to use the calculator
  • No option to embed your build on your own website/blog/guide etc.
  • Tooltips lack cost and cooldown information
  • Must navigate back to the class selection page to load a different advanced class tree
  • New abilities ("talented abilities") gained by investing training points into their corresponding talent are not differentiated or highlighted at a glance like it is in-game and in other talent calculators (green-bordered talents).

Other Notes

  • Large design (full-size talent icons)
  • Tooltips are loaded dynamically with additional site queries the first time you mouse over each talent. (This may be of importance if you plan to use the calculator offline. Mouse over the talents before you disconnect.)
  • Build URLs are only available after saving your build to the server.
  • There is a weak visual indication when you’ve used all your points. You simply will not be able to increase the skill level of an ability when that happens, but everything appears "unlocked," allowing you to continue to see how many ranks each ability has, which is useful when you want to change your build.
  • There is some odd selection box appearing when you increment skills, which disappears after you've filled out all the ranks in that skill or select a different skill.

And Then There Were...

I'll try to keep this listing as up-to-date as possible... If you know of any talent calculators I have missed, just shoot me an email about it at razorfish@biowarefans.com.

  • http://biowarefans.com Razorfish

    I did not include BetaCake nor TORGuild – whose talent calculators served us well during the closed beta – in this listing currently because they both definitively appear to not have been updated for launch (yet), along with no announced intention to update it for launch.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=569009734 Siriel Imagika Baraz Barkuun

      I was using Torguild.net to keep my skill specs in memory, but that system just went dead (April 9, 2012). Anyone have a clue or trick to use the old links (ex.: ?p=232122210212000000000000000000000000003222022131101100000) and convert them to a visible skill tree on some other site or static web page?

      • http://biowarefans.com Razorfish

        Well, here’s an educated guess, because I can’t verify for sure, due to the calculator being gone now…

        The “p” in the “?p=” part of the link probably corresponds to an advanced class. 

        I’m pretty sure that the numbers themselves (0-5) correspond to the number of points spent on each talent, and that the order of them correspond to the layout of the trees – possibly going from bottom tier to the top tier, talents left to right in each tier, and from left tree to the right tree.

        Due to the length of the number string, and the frequency of the zero’s (which probably means that the middle tree was not invested in), I don’t think there is any further encoding of the URL.

        I’m going to borrow an image from the first part of an article about deconstructing links from Ask Mr Robot’s (AMR) talent calculator to illustrate what I mean by going from left to right. AMR doesn’t use the same URL encoding scheme (or lack thereof) as TORGuild, but if you are numbers savvy, you might be able to use the concept of position-sensitive numbering to rebuild your saved links in a currently-available talent calculator.

  • Owner

    Hi,

    My name is Serge and I am the creator of SWTOR-Spy.com database. Thank you for reviewing our Talent Calculator. I agree with all your criticism and I promise to implement all the features you mentioned as missing by December 20th.

    • http://biowarefans.com Razorfish

      Thanks for letting us know, I’ll check out swtor-spy again after launch to give it another look and for updating the article accordingly.

  • Serge SWTOR Spy

    Hi Biowarefans,

    I just wanted to let you know that we worked hard today and fixed a lot of problems you noticed with our talent calculator. Here’s a list

    - A lot of tooltips have had their values fixed, updated or implemented
    - cooldown as well as additional information for ability talents have been implemented
    - I think all talent icons are now present ( I think I saw one missing)
    - Investing in certain trees now propely updates the calculator display
    - we have added an extra navigational feature for easier access of other trees

    We’ll work on resolving and improving other features as well, because I feel your observations were very well founded and give an excellent overview of what needed to be done. 

    I thank you once again for that

    • http://biowarefans.com Razorfish

      Thanks for the update, Serge! I updated the screenshot and removed the notes about the missing elements you’ve fixed, although I think you’ve done even more work on the tooltips since I last took a picture.
      One thing I noticed while checking the Scoundrel trees for the screenshot is that the Sawbones tooltips were missing their effect durations (the tooltips used ‘?’ in place of numbers). You’re probably already working on that though, but just a heads up in case you missed it.

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  • http://biowarefans.com Razorfish

    R2-Db has been updated – they’ve switched to using Torhead’s data. Added Prima Guides’ talent calculator to the listing.

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  • Abiud Keng

    This is great, thank you all…

  • Guest

    Having checked each website’s Calculator, every single one seems to differ from the others…is there any indication as to which one (if any) that is actually fully upto date with the current patch?

    • http://biowarefans.com Razorfish

      Good catch, there are definitely some calculators that have not been kept up to date with the latest patch. One way to tell is to look up the patch note changes for any one class, and see if a any changed-talent tooltip matches up with the patch note documentation.

      For example, take the Guardian Slash ability (at the top of the Defense tree) of the Jedi Guardian; In patch 1.3 (the newest patch at the time of this post), Guardian Slash’s behavior was changed from doing extra damage when hitting a target with 5 stacks of the Sunder Armor debuff to hitting extra targets. 

      If you load up Darth Hater’s talent calculator, you’ll notice that the tooltip reflects this patch 1.3 change correctly. Meanwhile, KnoTOR’s talent calculator does not, meaning it hasn’t been updated for some time. 

      Currently, TORHead’s talent calculator has its talent tree positions from left to right thoroughly mixed up, but the talents themselves have been updated properly for 1.3 (old build urls will definitely not load properly, only new ones made since the patch will load properly).

  • http://biowarefans.com Razorfish

    I’ve updated the list of SWTOR talent calculators and added a status overview section at the top, which has a table of all of the talent calculators I know about for web browsers, iOS and Android.

  • http://biowarefans.com Razorfish

    Game Update 1.7 doesn’t introduce any skill or talent changes, so the overview list should still be up to date.