while several people have spelled it out, it's been somewhat nested. For reference and argument's sake, how's about a quick breakdown
Empire players would use the counterparts.
BASE CLASS > ADVANCED CLASS (AC) > ROLES
COMMANDO > HEALER/DPS
VANGUARD > TANK/DPS
JEDI GUARDIAN > TANK/DPS
JEDI KNIGHT <
JEDI SENTINEL > DPS
JEDI SHADOW > TANK/DPS
JEDI CONSULAR <
JEDI SAGE > DPS
SCOUNDREL > HEALER/DPS
GUNSLINGER > DPS
Talent trees work as follows:
eg. Commando have a tree that improves healing, and a tree that improves damage. similar case for Vanguard (tree for tank, tree for dps). they also both share a tree that (assumedly) enhance the core trooper abilities.
- Each Class has two advanced classes.
- Each advanced class shares a tree with it's counterpart
- Each advance class has two unique trees.
- One can respec one's talents similar to how one does so in WoW. go into town, pay X$ and get a clean slate. There is no dual spec. (yet?)
- One is very (if allowed at all?) restricted in chaning one's AC. And it makes a bit of sense, looking at the chart above. you don't want every toon able to fill every role at a mere trip into town and sizable fee...
To say that a gunslinger is identical to a scoundrel is half true. they share a small pool of basic abilities, and use the same resource system. they both work off the cover system. however, the scoundrel is more about options. they'll use tricks to get out of bad situations, where the gunslinger is more about leaving a pile of corpses in his wake.
Can the scoundrel stand toe to toe in damage with a gunslinger? that's where the real question lies. What if I roll Vanguard, but I wanted to be a Commando? that's a tough call. I've heard they give you the class's token weapon right at accepting your new AC, so you should know you've picked the wrong one right out of the gates.
Weapon choices are pretty restricted, so realistically that might be the best way to decide what to play. you wanna dual-wield lightsabers? you go sentinel or marauder. double bladed? assassin or shadow. pistols? gunslinger. Sniper rifle? Sniper. you get the idea.