At the time of their introduction, the Republic clone troopers represented the future of galactic warfare. Far superior to battle droids, the clone troopers formed the backbone of the Republic's new military that waged war against the forces of the Confederacy of Independent Systems. So symbolic were they of the times, the galaxy-wide conflict that saw their debut took its name from their ranks: the Clone Wars.
Rather than use flesh-and-blood warriors, the Separatists prefer mindlessly loyal soldiers that are easily controlled. The soulless ranks of their armies are dominated by tall, thin B1 battle droids built as mechanical imitations of their Geonosian designers. Battle droids can be controlled by centralized command centers such as the Trade Federation’s enormous Droid Control Ships, or programmed for independent action. They often suffer programming glitches that manifest as personality quirks. Battle droids are dim-witted and no match for clone troopers or Jedi, but they weren’t designed to be smart – they were designed to overwhelm Republic civilians through sheer numbers, something they do very effectively.
The infantry used by the Trade Federation had several major shortcomings that were carefully revisited by the battle droids' designers. From that research came the super battle droid, a bulkier, stronger, and more advanced version of the standard mechanical soldier. The super battle droid requires no overriding command signal to operate, and thus has a limited degree of independence. They are fearless and tireless, and will run at full speed into combat, their cannons extended, firing until they have reduced their targets to smoldering ruins.
The effectiveness of droid starfighters has been debated in strategic circles for generations. While droid starfighters are capable of maneuvers that would crush even the sturdiest organic pilot, they lack the resourcefulness and cunning that living pilots bring into combat. To counter their shortcomings, vulture droids often attack en masse. Like the ground-based battle droid infantry, vulture droids were, for a time, controlled by a central command ship, but later generations were granted a limited degree of independence. When not in flight, the droid starfighter can transform into a walking mode allowing them to be used in surface patrols.
Unlike the spindly battle droids, whose humanoid builds allow them a degree of versatility, droidekas are designed with one sole function in mind: the complete annihilation of their targets. Slung at the end of heavy arms are immense twin blasters, which unleash destructive energy at a pounding pace. The destroyer droid can completely envelope itself in a globe of protective energy via its compact deflector shield generators, though at the expense of its mobility. Although slow and awkward on its three-legged gait, the droideka can transform into a much speedier, disk-shaped form.
An enormous improvement over the standard battle droid, commando droids are elite warriors too expensive to produce in huge numbers. These stealthy yet powerful warriors are tougher and faster than their clanker cousins. Complex engineering gives them incredible agility, while advanced processors let them think fast on their nimble feet.