On Being Evil In Star Wars: The Old Republic

By John Walker on December 22nd, 2011 at 4:32 pm.

All evil people have purple electricity coming out of them.

Ever since I became the Bastard Of The Old Republic, I’ve found it an awful lot easier to delve into the crueller side of gaming choices. So it is that I’ve chosen to spend my time with Star Wars: The Old Republic as a Sith. And not some stupid do-gooding Sith who just happened to be born on the wrong side of the galaxy. I mean a Sith, cruel for the sake of being cruel, delighting in mindlessly murdering innocents and needlessly upsetting everyone I meet. And in the game. And in doing so, I’m discovering that making an entire race of baddies is a pretty tricky challenge.

Traditionally, games have the advantage of assuming you in the heroic role, and then giving you the options to step outside of this. In the vast majority of RPGs your job is the save the baby/world/universe, and if you’re going to be a dick along the way, you’re still on the way to making everything better. Perhaps the game will let this be for your own selfish gain, give it that angle, but you’re deviating from the norm.

SWTOR, in creating two entirely separate games, set within the same universe on the same servers, has – as much as they protest otherwise – divided things down the line of the Force. You’re either on the side of the Sith or the Jedis, and there are expected behaviours for each. Because, well, that’s the way Star Wars works. The giant space pantomime has claw-handed, red-eyed Empire baddies plotting the demise of the Republic, or the doe-eyed lovelies trying to save that same Republic from the attacks of the Sith Empire.

However, in the game both sides can make Dark or Light decisions, so you absolutely can be a Dark Jedi or a Light Sith, or indeed any of the other playable classes. But, of course, depending on the side you are always going against expectations. And in order for that to be the case (with exceptions), it’s necessary that the Republic stories mostly feature nice people being nice and the Empire side to be horrid people being horrid. That feels perfectly normal when you’re playing Republic, with an emphasis on being friendly, but with naughty types scattered about to meddle. It starts to get a little more strange when you’re on the Darker Side.

I have no idea what I would have done differently, of course. Starting out as a Sith Inquisitor, I began as a put-upon slave, but my propensity for the Force saw me in training to become a Sith, and thus sent on various tasks for the Sith Academy. My immediate superior, a very evil man intent on my death, was constantly thwarted by my brilliant ability to run around clicking on my various powers in a series of fights, while his superior carried out her Machiavellian plans from above. Evil evil evil.

We’re in Eviltown, Evilville and everyone here trains to be evil. Right? Wrong. Because being evil is actually rather unpleasant in large doses – it’s why so few of us choose it in real life. So in the end you find that a lot of the quests you’re given tend to come down to doing other people a favour. Which doesn’t really seem like the Sith way to me.

“Hi, er, I know you’re an evil Sith lord and all, but I was wondering if you could possibly take this box to someone the other side of this map, so they can give you a thing to carry all the way back to me?”

What sort of thing? This doesn’t seem right.

“Oh, it’s an evil thing. Carrying it will ensure an evil thing happens, promise!”

That’s pretty much how it has to go. You repair the broken tower because someone else needs you to, even though you’re a terrifying wielder of badness, and they’re some chap working on the ground. Sure, the tower needs to be working to help with the overall evil plans, but you’re still doing favours for strangers in a way that doesn’t feel quite right. And when you’re accusing others of murdering innocents, well, it’s a bit odd. Surely that’s what we should all be doing?

And then there’s those who just aren’t evil at all. Those who would prefer things aren’t quite so nasty in these parts. And you just feel sorry for them. This isn’t the right planet for you! There’s a whole colony of Republicans all holding hands and weaving flowers in their hair! On the next shuttle out of here with you! And if that’s how you choose to play the game, then you’re going to find yourself in something of a pickle, really. Rebelling against evil may seem the noble thing to do, but you’re really going to be up against it. Those rebel slaves are going to shoot at you no matter how much you may stand for their freedom.

Actually, the slaves offer a good example of where the game gets the confusing balance of badness just right. One particularly nasty individual, Lord Drowl (good evil name) asks you to poison the rebel slaves’ water supply with a new poison he’s been working on, one that will cause the afflicted to die slowly in terrible agony over a couple of weeks. It will lower morale in the others, he says, and thus weaken their rebellion. Okay! Bwah ha ha. He sends me over to his colleague, who has the serum thingie.

Oh, but this chap doesn’t want me to use it. Sergeant Slarin explains that the poison’s terrible effects have nothing to do with bringing about the end of the rebellion. In fact, he tells me in his best Ben Goldacre voice, it’s been proven that increased suffering of others has no effect on morale at all, and will only make their resolve all the steelier. He explains,

“Lord Drawl simply takes perverse thrill in gratuitous suffering.”

Well, me too! Aiming to be as Dark Side as I can, that sounds perfect. Slarin continues,

“I’ve prepared a dose that will kill the slaves efficiently – which is better for the Empire and for me. Will you deliver my dosage instead?”

It’s a good choice. Slarin’s motivations are not for the lives of the slaves, nor their wellbeing, but rather because the sooner the rebellion’s over, the less time he has to spend with Drawl, whom he cannot stand. You’ve two options here:

Dark: No, the slaves must suffer.
Light: A quick death is better.

This is, I’d say, good work. In this preposterous scenario you’re killing slaves either way, but you’re getting to choose just how evil you want to be. Of course, playing “Light” and you’ve got a pretty farcical choice in front of you.

But that’s the other end of the issue of being Sith. An entire society of people looking out only for themselves, focusing on hate, and wanting evil to be carried out – well, it’s just not practical, is it? And the other thing – baddies don’t tend to consider themselves baddies, do they? This has never been better captured than by Mitchel & Webb:

But such is the extraordinarily pantomime and un-thought-through nature of Lucas’s creation, the Empire’s cartoonish naughtiness has never been justified in any sophisticated way, and BioWare aren’t perhaps in a position to start adding depth to the LucasFilm puddle.

However, I do still hope that as I progress, I’ll encounter a more nuanced form of Sith evil, perhaps some who believe the Sith way is philosophically and ontologically pragmatic.

It’s interesting, I think, to discover just how willing we are to allow baddy enemies to be so vacuous in their motivations. The green, scaly creatures are running toward us and shooting because they’re the enemy. They’re bad. It’s what they do. And if we ever get anywhere close to playing them, it’s in multiplayer as we equally mindlessly attempt to kill our chums. But were we to actually have to encounter a single-player or narrative-based version of their existence, we’d be stuck. Sure, there’ll be some nonsense about needing to harvest our water or whatever, but the bit where they do that by vindictively wiping out the entire population of the planet usually gets left out. Because no one’s ever given it any thought.

And that’s the predicament of SWTOR. You’ve got this malevolent bunch, plotting their malevolence, but without ever making it exactly clear why. Sure, they hate those stupid Republic people, and they want them out of the universe, possibly they want revenge? From hundreds of years ago. Is that enough? For everyone. Everyone involved?

Fortunately, by embracing such ridiculous evil for no good reason, I’m fitting right in. No hesitation on those slaves. They deserve to suffer! Why? Because I’m EVIL! Why? Shush.

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118 Comments »

  1. McDan says:

    Evil! Great stuff, either be evil…or be really evil. After all, you chose the dark side with this character so why try to be nice? Also you totally picked evil because you can’t heal people John, betcha did.

    • KoenigNord says:

      And that’s ok. This is one in a million. Those, who will be bad and full of hatred can do.

      But if it comes to the point, that players are complaining, that there characters look ugly and they are searching the button to disable the dark side look, i don’t understand them.

      For myself, i will disable these hints if my choice in a dialogue is light/dark side. So I can play my character with more consistent rules then the min/max dark/light side-stuff.

  2. Elltot says:

    Good point but maybe not all Sith are evil just the same as not all germans fighting in World War 2 were evil.

    Maybe you have conscript Sith that hate what they stand for but can’t do anything about it, like the sub captain in Das Boot.

    • Orija says:

      Not to start a fire here but I’d say that the Germans were as evil as the Allied forces.

    • Will Tomas says:

      This one’s far too complicated (especially given the commission/omission issues around the Holocaust) for a PC gaming thread. So let’s not go there…

    • Brun says:

      “Maybe you have conscript Sith that hate what they stand for”

      You can and do, as the TOR story explains. The Sith forcibly train everyone who is force-sensitive to be Sith, by Imperial Law. Those that cannot pass the training, or do not wish to take part, are executed as threats. You run into that every now and then on quests, so I imagine there are some force-sensitives out there who really didn’t want to be Sith but only did so to avoid being killed by the Empire.

    • Kleppy says:

      Orija, that is factually wrong. Sorry.

    • Joshua says:

      @Kleppy

      I’d disagree, it depends on what your definition of ‘The Germans’ is. if you mean the Wehrmacht, then yes, you’d be very hard pressed not to say ‘Oh, those guys are evil!” without someone else immeaditely pionting out the war crimes carried out by the allies (Or by someone pointing out Rommel).

      If we are talking about the SS (the guys who actually focussed on getting rid of the “Untermensch”… mabye not so much. Although one can say that, say, the atomic bombs on Japan were quite evil, the attitude the Americans had (We have to force them to surrender) was quite different from that of the SS (we have to kill them because getting rid of those animals makes the world a better place…)

      Oh wait. This is actually quite hard. The problem is with evil guys is that the most scary ones actually do think that they are making the world a better place. That is why Hitler scares the crap outta me.

    • brecherbernd says:

      Good and evil. That sounds like a pretty dumb (and maybe slightly too American) perspective for real life, no matter if youre talking about Germans, the Wehrmacht or the SS or some other super-villain (socialists, hippies and liberals, i say). People are ‘misguided’ maybe or even psychopaths, but that’s also pretty relative.

      Don’t get me started:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment

    • Orija says:

      @ Kleppy, had Hitler won we’d be reading about how the Allies were the evil guys. My point being, that the very notion of having a good or an evil side is absurd.

    • FhnuZoag says:

      Orija, this derail is somewhat stupid, so just go read about things like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generalplan_Ost#Phases_of_the_plan_and_its_implementation and realise what the Nazis were up to dwarfed in every way even the worst of what the Allies could conjure up. I mean yeah generally I’d agree with you, but when one side is writing up *percentages* of populations to be exterminated, and the other side well, aren’t, you really can’t equate the two credibly. The Germans were significantly more cartoonishly evil than Star Wars’ Empire.

  3. Will Tomas says:

    But such is the extraordinarily pantomime and un-thought-through nature of Lucas’s creation, the Empire’s cartoonish naughtiness has never been justified in any sophisticated way, and BioWare aren’t perhaps in a position to start adding depth to the LucasFilm puddle.

    I think this gets to the heart of it – when Lucas thought up Star Wars it wasn’t intended to carry anything more than a single space-yarn of less than two hours. The world-building didn’t need to be anything more than sketchy, and it works in that context for three films (after all, if you’re doing a WW2 ‘boy’s own’ trilogy you don’t necessary delve into the politics of Weimar Germany).

    Lucas hasn’t added any subtlety in fleshing his evil forces out in any of the official post-Jedi Star Wars content. It becomes a much greater problem in the period of the Old Republic from a narrative point of view as the Sith are everywhere, they’re a proper faction, and not just two particularly peeved meglomaniacs.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      It works fine in Star Wars the first film – you have a functioning empire and some rebels. The empire has some soldiers and they keep order and kill people. Could very easily be, say English Redcoats, or US Marines. It just so happens that the el presidente in a wizard in a big black robe – but that has no real impact on the empire’s actions, he could just as easily be a fluffy toy.

      Lucas gets round this impasse delicately by subtlely signposting the Empire as true baddies by having them blow up an entire planet in the first 20 minutes though. Thanks George.

    • ShadowHunter says:

      Not to bring down the geek hammer too hard or anything, but the Sith have actually been fleshed out pretty well in the Extended Universe stuff. They’re not evil dudes out to set kittens on fire and strangle unicorns. They’re more of a will to power, might makes right, extreme Darwinism type. Basically, as far as a Sith is concerned, there is no right and no wrong. If you’re strong/smart enough to do something, then you have the right to do it. If someone tries to stop you, then it’s completely within your rights to do everything you can to end their obstruction, whether through negotiation, direct force, or other means. If someone is ruined/injured/dies in that process, it shows that they were inferior and, as such, deserve whatever they get. The strong grow stronger, and the weak either find ways to be useful or are destroyed. It doesn’t make for the happiest of cultures, but there’s certainly plenty of historical precedent (for instance, most of known history)

      As such, a Sith doesn’t see him or herself as evil, simply as someone who does as they see fit unbound by artificial bonds of ethics or morality. In short, the ultimate expression of the natural order. I’ve never played any of the KotoR games and don’t expect to play this, but if Bioware missed out on this part of Sith culture, they’ve missed both a real storytelling opportunity and the point of the Sith.

    • Azradesh says:

      Don’t worry ShadowHunter, they haven’t missed it out at all.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      ShadowHunter has it spot on – if you’ve read any of the massive amounts of extended universe stuff, the Sith as a cultural mindset is quite fleshed out. My impression is that the differences between the empire and republic are almost entirely political and economic.

      Only at the very sharpest tip of each sides spear is where we see the rebellion and the Jedi vs. the empire and the Sith duking it out. Sort of like America vs. Russia and CIA vs. KGB during the cold war. Each side feels righteous, but only a tiny minority are actively doing something about it.

  4. Durkonkell says:

    I haven’t played through any of the Sith-type stuff yet, but I think it’s worth noting that the Republic really aren’t all goody-two-shoes. So far I’ve encountered soldiers who send refugees into a minefield and then bet on them getting blown up or not (“Not all of them die! Some are just really, really injured”), an “ethics officer” who hates his job, is drunk most of the time and who treats informers with contempt, torture and abuse of civilian prisoners (I end up pulling a blaster on a republic officer for systematically beating a young woman for attending a rally), a starship captain who wants to leave a republic ambassador to the tender mercies of the Sith because he doesn’t really like her and a republic ambassador who wants to blow an entire compartment full of engineers into space because it’ll be quicker and easier than running around repairing things.

    Oh yeah, corrupt politicians too. I forgot about that one because I assume it’s the default state for all politicians.

    The republic has issues! At least I’m playing a smuggler so that I can roll my eyes at the military and government types and revel in my independence.

    • nearly says:

      I seem to remember that becoming a theme or motif at some point. The idea was that the Rebels weren’t all just there for the ideology, but because they saw some particular way to profit if the Empire was removed. There are a number of stories where the Rebels (not necessarily Old Republic, as this stuff seems more or less recent and I haven’t read Star Wars in ages) are revealed to be easily as bad as the Empire. If I’m remembering correctly, the rebels would kill anyone that knew about them during the rebellion the way it talks about the Sith handling force-sensitives.

      Totally agree that the bad guys never saw all that much development though. Apparently it’s just easier to make the good guys a bit less good.

  5. Milky1985 says:

    So you finally got into the game and past the signup screen/code entry screen/queues then :P

    [EDIT] was a lightside sith throught the beta and i felt that the story and lightside choices seemed to be really not matter, as nither choice (outside of flashpoints, where it does affect things) made any difference to the overarching story, in both cases said person would disappear, or the people would go and you couldn’t go back etc. Guess its the limitations of the mmo gameworld.

  6. warygnu1 says:

    it’s quite possible that they are trying to get revenge for something from hundreds of years ago, as this game is a sequel to knights of the old republic, in those two games you do many things that would piss them off, like killing a bunch of them and their soldiers, and thwarting there plans of destruction, but then we ask, “why did they want destruction back then?” and that is the true question.
    this comment has little purpose

  7. MaXimillion says:

    Bioware aren’t in a position to start adding depth to anything tbh.

    It would have been so much nicer to get more continuation to KotOR from Obsidian rather than Bioware, but that would have too much to ask for I guess.

    • Ultra-Humanite says:

      Asking Obsidian to make something that is anything other than a crippled bug-fest is almost too much to ask.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Unless there’s an obvious one I’m missing, Obsidian has never made a game I’d consider especially buggy. Nothing more buggy than their contemporaries using the same technology. Unpolished or rushed, perhaps, but actually buggy? Not really.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Jason, I warn you in advance, you’re batting a particularly sticky wicket.

      KG

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      I personally find Obsidian’s games brilliant. Flawed, but brilliant. You, of course, have every right to harbor a different feeling.

      Though harboring those negative feelings is akin to betraying your Fatherland, and thus is deserving of being sent to the gallows and having your corpse dissected vehemently for the most repelling of experiments.

    • Blackcompany says:

      I agree Max…Obsidian does the ‘bad guy’ faction much better from what I have seen. Indeed, they just flesh out factions better perhaps than any other dev out there. They care about world building.
      .
      Take New Vegas (the alleged bug-ridden mess) for instance: I spent fifteen minutes listening to Chief Hanlon tell me a story about his time in the Baja. It was a really good story that fleshed out the type of guy he was (and to this day Commander Taylor in Terra Nova reminds me of him.) The story had nothing to do with the overall plot. Neither did those stories related to me by Markus or the doctor at Jacobstown.
      .
      But they help flesh out factions and build a world around themselves. They immersed me in a game. Obsidian didn’t have to do it – particularly in the case of Hanlon, as they likely paid good money to Kristoffersen for that excess dialogue – but they did do it. And it mattered, at least to me.
      .
      Sure the game had bugs (no more so than Oblivion or Fallout 3 for me) but once it was all sorted out, Fallout: New Vegas became the closest thing to a real RPG we have in modern PC gaming. Then lo and behold…Dungeon Siege III (free with my PC) ended up having more choices and consequences than Skyrim.
      .
      So yeah, sticky wicket or no (whatever that is) I too would love to see more RPG goodness from Obsidian.
      .
      Just…not in Southpark.

      Edit: Sticky Wicket, Thin Ice, Shaky Ground, Arguable…got it now. Thank Google. (Thou Shalt NOt Take Google’s name in Vain.)

    • vecordae says:

      @blackcompany

      The only place in which DSIII had more “choices” than Skyrim was in how it approached its single narrative. The writing is tighter, of course, and they did a decent job of giving you ways of navigating the plot in a choose your own adventure sort of way. Otherwise, it gives the player even less freedom to make decisions and far few things to do than even its predecessors did.

    • Jenks says:

      Jason, did you finish KOTOR 2? Obsidian didn’t.

    • Nick says:

      Because the release date was pushed forward. What was complete was excellent. Also unfinished is not the same as buggy (and, whilst it had a rather stilted and rushed ending, it did in fact have an ending and so its not really true to say it wasn’t finished, much like Bloodlines, it may have had a rather gimped last third but it was a complete story even if a section of it was unsatisfying due to running out of time/money).

      They have had some bad bugs in some of their games, but then so have Bioware and Bethesda, yet they get singled out for some reason and not a particularly fair one, particularly when their buggiest games have all been using other peoples engines. Dungeons Siege 3 for example may have been a bit crap but it was pretty light on bugs. Hell New Vegas was no buggier than Fallout 3 (and a lot of its bugs were from Fallout 3 anyway, suggesting engine issues).

    • malkav11 says:

      Unfinished would count as rushed, I’d say. KOTOR II doesn’t have a proper ending, certainly. But it’s not notably buggy in my experience. They’re not the same thing.

      And FWIW, everything I’ve read suggests that that one can be laid at the feet of LucasArts rushing the game out the door. Obsidian themselves have never committed that particular sin again. (Personally I think even minus the ending, KOTOR II is far better than the already very good KOTOR.)

  8. LuNatic says:

    This is an issue well approached by the books (not the crappy prequel books, the good post-vader books from the likes of timothy zahn and michael stackpole). Rather than the ‘Yargh, I’m evil. Eeeeeeevil! Pain! Misery! Suffering! Ham!’ sith you see in the movies, the sith in the books are much more pragmatic. Darth Bookie, as I’ll refer to him just wants to be rich and powerful. It doesn’t bother him if his people are happy and partying, so long as they do what he says, and pay him taxes. Sure, he kills those pesky jedi whenever they try and depose him, and he even enjoys doing so. He isn’t going to randomly order mass executions in the population just for kicks though. And if you kind of squint your eyes and tip your head to the side, his little empire doesn’t look like a bad place to live. Criminals are executed without long and expensive trials, law and stability is strongly imposed, and the dental cover is REALLY impressive. So long as you don’t try and start a pro-democracy rally, the faceless minions (probably) won’t kick your head in.

    • Durkonkell says:

      Big fan of Zahn’s stuff. I’m going to try playing a Mara Jade-esque Imperial Agent who supports and furthers the cause of the empire, but doesn’t really do anything overtly evil – or see that her superiors are fairly objectively evil.

    • Burning Man says:

      “Jedi are quite prepared to force people to do things they don’t want to do, so long as it is for the greater good. A Jedi doesn’t act in his own self-interest, but in the interests of the Force. A Sith will always try to act in his own self-interest”

      I guess that makes it a capitalist vs communist issue. Or even an Order vs Scoiatael issue. But they just sound so realistic and dreary. I think I prefer my unrealistic fantasy of EVIL and GOOD.

  9. deiseach says:

    ‘Simon Evil’. It worked on every level. Well done.

  10. Kretan says:

    I’ve mostly been playing doe-eyed republic because that’s where my lame friends are, but I did bring an imperial agent to level 12 or so. In my opinion, the imperial agent and the bounty hunter get evil [i]right[/i]. That’s because they’re classes that aren’t necessarily evil, like the sith are, they’re just on the bad side. I’d wager if you tried those classes, John, you’d find it actually does work.

    ALSO BOUNTY HUNTERS GET A JAWA COMPANION.

  11. Vagrant says:

    I had to read that last paragraph in the voice of Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight.

    “And so he says to me, you want to be a bad guy? and I say Yeah Baby! I want to be bad! I says Churchill space ponies I’m making gravy without the lumps! Ah ha ha ha ha haaaaa!!!!!”

  12. Brun says:

    I feel like it’s a bit easier to be a Light Side Bounty Hunter, since despite their in-game association with the Empire, they’re technically “neutral” from a lore standpoint. Although it does feel like choosing the light side options leads to you betraying the Empire a lot.

    I think they could have reasonably made the Bounty Hunter and the Smuggler open to either side, given that each one is more of a neutral party in the larger galactic conflict.

  13. Fox89 says:

    The entire concept of The Sith doesn’t seem to make much sense. It really has just become about being ‘evil’ rather than using the Dark Side of the force. It’s incredible they managed to recruit enough people to build an Empire “Join the Sith! We go around maiming and torturing for no reason.” “Aw hell yeah”.

    In the original movies I didn’t consider the Sith as completely ‘evil’. Look at Darth Vader; he was ruthless and violent when angered, sure. But he didn’t go around stomping kittens for the sake of it. How many Jedi do you see in KotOR turning because they are seduced by the Dark Side… they aren’t seduced by ‘being evil’. They’re seduced by power, and the prospect of using their emotions and passion to make them stronger.

    I don’t know, it just seems like the entire premise of ‘The Sith’ on a wide scale wasn’t really well considered.

    • Brun says:

      Well TOR seems to use a slightly different viewpoint of what the Sith are all about vs. that of the movies. The whole “power setting you free” angle and such.

    • Belsameth says:

      TBH, playing a Sith in SWTOR doesn’t have to be going out of your way to stomp kittens either. You can, ofcourse, but you don’t have to.

      The main difference between the light and the dark side, as I always understood it, is that the dark side is governed by powerfull emotions which don’t necisarily have to mean evil.

      That being said, 9 out of 10 times the dark side options are variations of “going out of your way to stomp kittens” (Which I enjoy, I must say :p )

    • briktal says:

      Keep in mind though, that when you get a choice to “stomp kittens” in a game, it’s generally in a conversation, and mostly when you start or complete a quest. You end up glossing over the combat/puzzle/travel filler between starting the quest and completing it where you’re probably no more good or evil than any other character. In a movie, there is a lot more important stuff that happens between the [Stomp Kittens] prompts.

    • malkav11 says:

      The Sith in the Old Republic era and the Sith in the Star Wars movies are essentially different organizations with some common ideas and heritage. Them’s the breaks of intervening centuries.

    • Azradesh says:

      While you can play as a complete bat shit Sith, you don’t have to in any way and most other Sith are not like that either. Some are even a little nice, most are reasonable.

      I’m playing a Sith Inquisitor and I am just choosing whatever I think is best for the Empire and/or me. Sometimes that means being a little nice. I’m in it for the power though.

    • ffordesoon says:

      Wait, you’re telling me George Lucas didn’t think a storytelling choice through? George “creator of Jar Jar Binks” Lucas? That George Lucas?

      NO! THAT’S NOT TRUE! IT’S IMPOSSIBLE!!!

  14. MiniMatt says:

    In a way isn’t this more down to the situation where every MMO has to place the player in a role of major protaganist, whether that be heroic or ebil?

    In the films, sure the major players were a bit naughty, but the poor throttle-fodder working the bridge on star destroyers weren’t evil as such, they were just doing their job, grumbling about the pay and the hours, and the throttlings.

    Yet in an MMO, everyone plays a major protaganist, whether that be a hero skipping off to save the world or a plotting evil genius? Which is all fine in a film, where the ratio of grunts to heros is strictly rationed, but always ends up looking a little silly when everyone else you meet is also a noble hero or an evil mastermind – like you witness you end up having an entire society of evil barstewards (or noble yoghurt-weaving heroes). Which looks a bit silly when they’re all asked to go kill ten rats / deliver this parcel. I don’t think I’ve ever been asked to deliver a parcel across the globe – that’s what UPS is for – they can invent spaceships but not FedEX?

  15. mod the world says:

    I stopped playing a Sith Inquisitor at level 9 because everyone was so nasty to me. I mean if i complete a quest i want some tapping on the shoulder from my instructor and not hearing how useless i am and that he will kill me anyway :(
    Then i started a Dark Jedi and it is exactyl what i wanted, everyone is nice and friendly no matter how many people i killed by activating that airlock…

  16. Bel says:

    The Sith Inquisitor storyline does show Sith that can utilize empathy, and there does seem to be plenty of opportunity to follow a survivalist/strength bias instead of light side/dark side perspective. Problem is that they have attached gear access to light side/dark side level, and so there is motivation to be a caricature.

    • aircool says:

      Apparently, there’s supposed to be stuff coming for those who stay neutral. Well, I hope so ‘cos all my characters so far are stuck on the grey side.

    • BloatedGuppy says:

      The gear in question is just cosmetic, though, it’s not like your entire gear progression is dependent on how many people you electrocute to death.

      The Snidely Whiplash school of supervillainy that has always tainted Bioware’s “evil” dialogue options is alive and well in TOR, but I do appreciate that while playing Dark Side you usually have a choice of mildly evil, pretty evil, or OMGSUPEREVIL, instead of the “Save the Puppy” or “Kick the Puppy” choices of the KOTOR titles.

  17. Jahandar says:

    I’ve been suffering from major alt-itis in this game, but one of my characters that I’ve particularly enjoyed is a jedi knight who chooses all the evil decisions.

    My companion is beginning to loathe me but it’s a lot of fun, and after all, most of the best Star Wars villains were fallen jedi.

    • Brun says:

      The Jedi that sort of straddles the fence between light and dark has always been a great video game character. Kyle Katarn anyone?

    • Jahandar says:

      Shh.. Don’t say that name aloud, someone might actually consider making a sequel to a franchise that deserves one!

  18. Ignorant Texan says:

    I have noticed that there are some decisions that make long term sense, but are considered to be light side choices. Or the converse for the Republic side.

    Still, it’s great fun playing Fu Manchu/Doctors Moriarty and Zinn/Hydra/Cobra/Skeletor/etc….being gratuitously evil just because. I am basing my decisions based on how I think certain odious individuals from my past would make them, and am succeeding. I have felt a twinge with certain decisions, but, fuck, it’s all about progress, isn’t it?

  19. Bhazor says:

    Sounds more like you’re handwaving bad writing from Bioware.

    In Star Wars the Empire is like Airstrip One in Nineteen-Eightyfour. The ultimate distilation of facism, inner peace through superior firepower. Just because Bioware can’t write doesn’t mean the whole series is without depth.

    • vecordae says:

      Given the average quality and sophistication of your typical Star Wars book’s narrative, Bioware is a slight step up. This isn’t a good thing.

      I’ve read dozens of the things in my youth (oh the folly and misspent hours) and the only ones I remember are Timothy Zahn’s books, which were decent, and the schlock produced by Kevin J. Anderson, which I had a difficult time finding any redeeming value in.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      and the schlock produced by Kevin J. Anderson, which I had a difficult time finding any redeeming value in.

      The clue is in the question there…

    • vecordae says:

      The above statement is about as diplomatic as I can manage when it comes to Mister Anderson. My completely irrational fury at what little of the man’s work I have read is both shameful and regrettable.

      Reading his books seems to have made me a more horrible person is what I am saying.

    • malkav11 says:

      Kevin J. Anderson is a terrible, terrible hack. The number of franchises he has been allowed to befoul is criminal. If you want to have a good long cry, read Dune. Then read one of KJA’s sequels (written in concert with Frank Herbert’s son, to the latter’s eternal shame).

      Also, remember that we are dealing with the Old Republic era, and not the timeframe of the movies. The Sith Empire is not the Empire of Palpatine and Vader.

  20. aircool says:

    I thought that playing on the Republic side would be all goody-goody, but it’s not. Apart from the obvious light/dark choices (nah, I’ll sell this medicine instead of giving it to refugees etc…), there’s much more disturbing stuff going on in the background. Refugees that aren’t being taken care of, people in high places committing war crimes (oh look, just got onto the website at last), poverty that no-one cares about. There’s gangs running wild (not to mention everyone is armed) and all sorts of dodgy dealings for personal gain amongst the ‘good guys’.

    The Imperial Agent is still the star of the show, but the good guys are just as single-minded as the bad guys. It might be a Star Wars MMO with nice cartoony graphics, but it’s still a Bioware game, and you can tell that this is where the Bioware crew have been putting the majority of their effort in the last few years.

    • Freeammo says:

      The Imperial Agent rocks, and of the three classes I’ve tried so far (Jedi Knight, Sith Inquisitor and Agent) he is the guy I strongly root for. Playing light sided is particularly challenging; trying to do the right thing in an Empire that doesn’t really appreciate him.

      I’m also trying to play the Inquisitor as light sided, but it’s so difficult not to just shock people (and gain dark sided points along the way!).

  21. Stevostin says:

    Didn’t play the game but despite what haters say, Star Wars in the movies are a lot more subtle than that. Sith want to impose order, pretty much in the fascist way. Really they work like nazis or fascist : top fight in the elite for dominance, brutal law and punishments, but also strong actions and reactions, realistic politic, etc. In the second set of film Anakin says to Amidala something like “we need a dictator to cure our diseased republic” and it’s actually pretty subtle, because for her it seems so outrageous that he must be joking, and getting that he doesn’t clarify his says – probably it’s not clear to him either at that stage. All along the movies, the republic is also shown as corrupted, the jedi council as self rightous and close minded, or blinded at best. The sith comes in a brutal way, but to their eyes, they come with a working solution.

    I remember when seeing it how clear and pretty much brave Lucas was to tell right in the face of post 911 america that by basically supporting Patriot Act the country was leaving the republic for the Sith Empire. Sith Lord ? They are this judge who beats his daughter because she played on the internet.

    So reading this it seems to me that maybe it’s Bioware who lost it. One thing is sure, thus : the star wars writing is certainly not of “un-thought-through nature “. I think it’s precisely because it’s thought through that it meets success (that, and lightsaber, of course). It’s pretty much like Matrix or LOTR, there’s a reason for everything. Not always the best one, or even the good one, and sometime it even gets in the way of the show (Matrix especially) but Lucas started with highly political SF movie. He could have walked the 2001 path. Well, he didn’t. Bloody Sith =)

    • Arcanon says:

      If I were looking for a well-written story and setup, I really wouldn’t turn to the Prequels. If you think about it, the movies don’t tell us anything about the Sith, only that they are bad guys. The only explanations you can find are in the expanded universe. Also, Anakin (who’s written as a complete idiot incapable of rational thought) doesn’t turn Sith by choice, he’s tricked into becoming evil, with the whole:
      “I’m going to save Padme from death if you become Darth Vader and let me kill Samuel L Jackson”
      “Ok, he’s dead, can we save her now?”
      “Actually, I don’t know the force trick to do it, but if we work together maybe we can discover the secret”
      “So I just killed one of my masters, neglected the duties that have been drilled into my head since I was 10, and I’m about to kill the entire Jedi Temple, not because I believe in your political views (that you never explained to the audience), but because there’s a slight chance I might save my wife from my dreams of pregnancy murder????”
      “Yes”
      “Mhmm, looks legit”

      If the Republic (which worked “for over a thousand generations”) has flaws maybe it’s because its leader (a Sith Lord) had every interest in in making it look bad over the 10-15 years of his rule. So that he might impose is new order not because it’s better, but because he likes to control intergalactic empires…..EVIL in short. Is this the Sith and Jedi canon? Or maybe Lucas is just incapable of writing a decent script? No1 in these movies feel like a real person.

      There’s nothing subtle or intelligent in the Prequels, remember that xD

    • Tuor says:

      Arcanon,

      And thus strong emotion (passion) leads to the Dark Side. This is why Jedi are not supposed to form those sorts of attachments and why Anakin had to keep his relationship with Padme a secret. This is also what makes what happened so tragic (well, it would’ve been more tragic if it had been executed better).

  22. PaulMorel says:

    The reason “bad guys” are vacuous is because there is no such thing as a “bad guy” in real life. It’s a construct made up for saturday morning kids shows. Okay, the occasional psychopath is the exception … but even the cruel dictators who murder and maim people probably don’t see their reign through that lens. The situation is more complex. They rose to power by vanquishing the west, then they surrounded themselves by yes-men, and now they don’t understand the extent of the power and corruption of those yes-men …. or at least that’s how it happens in my head…

  23. Arcanon says:

    During my Beta Weekend I played with a Bounty Hunter, and I decided that both the Republic and the Empire are completely retarded: so I just played for the credits, like a real BH would do, that’s (convinient) RP xD

    So I didn’t really care about Light or Dark points, as long as it was the most lucrative option (killing people was a plus, expect for a couple of times when I felt really a dick about it). I ended the trial at level 20 with a Neutral status of -500, a ton of money and a good roleplaying experience.
    BH is the best class to pick if you really don’t care about the two sides of the war.

    …..I also got bored, because after 3 years of WoW the game as a whole didn’t feel THAT refreshing, but that’s beside the point.

  24. kikito says:

    Grow a mustache.

    Look at the camera.

    Say “Niaaaaahahahahaha” while twinkling your mustache.

    Work done.

  25. DethonRells says:

    The problem lies in the misconception of how the Sith is portrayed in the movies and how the Sith is actually portrayed in the outer canon.

    In the movies you are only really given a few glimpses of the Sith’s motives and its always through the prism of Palpatine. Because he is sadistic, cruel, and ruthless it is always implied that the Sith were -always- this way. However, when you look at the way the Jedi instruct others of the force it becomes clear that the “Sith” are merely rebellious users of the force.

    The Jedi admonish emotional ties with the world and shun things like love, passion, pride, envy, desire, etc etc. Because they are trying their damnedest to be the Zen Buddhists of the Universe they’ve created the idea in everyone’s heads that the Sith are evil because THEY say so, and the Sith end up being evil because they are constantly hunted by the Jedi and have to murder, steal, and everything else under the sun to survive. So, you have two religious interpretations combating each other over dominance and survival. One says “Don’t feel anything and let the Force guide you” and the others say “Follow your heart and let the Force make you better than what you are”.

    So, for me, it wouldn’t be necessarily hard to believe that a Sith could be a “lighter” evil than another. Sure, the sadistic dark lord would revel in killing a mass of slaves, but perhaps there is another Sith who believes in protecting the ones they love and will cut down anyone who would do them harm.

    This is getting TL;DR so, here is the synopsis.

    Jedi/Sith shouldn’t be viewed as “Good Vs. Evil”, but instead as “Ascetic Vs. Passionate”

    • Arcanon says:

      This was explained very well in KOTOR, but never in the Prequels (which I despise).

      But I guess writing “grey” characters is too difficult in movies and games, better to stick to the black and white of good and evil…[/sarcasm](which is why I like The Witcher 1-2, no heroes there)

    • DK says:

      “Jedi/Sith shouldn’t be viewed as “Good Vs. Evil”, but instead as “Ascetic Vs. Passionate””
      More like Hypocrites vs Honesty. Jedi are corrupt bastards, while Sith admit they’re bastards, but atleast they’re not corrupt.

    • Nathan says:

      I do think that this distinction is portrayed in the Old Republic. Perhaps not consistently enough through every quest, but from my limited time in the game so far, I can think of several arcs that touch on this point (in particular, some of the Typhon stuff for the Consular).

  26. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    Why are the Siths evil? I think the original causation is irrelevant to even them, as humans tend to maintain the status quo without much thought.

    http://i.snag.gy/kdu77.jpg

  27. DK says:

    TOR has all the hallmarks of horrible Bioware writing.
    90% of the quest acceptance dialogues are literally cookiecutter pattern A, with the 3 Bioware options of “Yes, For a Price and No”.
    Then there’s all the shoehorned Light Side, Dark Side points that make no sense, which is even worse when they’re completely wrong. Why yes, releasing a pirate who has killed literally tens of thousands of people is LIGHT SIDE, while killing him for his crimes is DARK SIDE.

    The entire Republic side is utterly unplayable, because every single NPC you encounter is either a complete asshole or a complete idiot, and every single quest shows how corrupt the Republic is.

    The single worst example of that is the finale of the Trooper story, where your entire elite Spec Ops squad defects to the Empire because the Republic has screwed them over again and again. And you can’t JOIN them. The only dialogue options you have are outrage, disbelief and revenge seeking, when you’ve just spent 10 levels watching Republic soldiers torture people, bet on refugees running on minefields for food and generally commiting warcrimes while cracking jokes about it.

    Why the hell is support those people “light side”. I can tell you why: Bioware exists in a echochamber of bad ideas (called the Bioware forums), and simply have no idea how to write any morality at all.

  28. Craig Stern says:

    “There’s a whole colony of Republicans all holding hands and weaving flowers in their hair!”

    I’d love it if Republicans would do this in real life.

  29. Shooop says:

    “And in the game.”

    I raise a glass of unicorn blood to you for that sir.

  30. Tei says:

    Theres a lot of evil on the republic side.

    I am a tropper, and I have ben asked to do a lot of bad things base on “The end justifies the means”.
    At one point, I was asked to kill some civilians, because some suspicions his neural chips where contaminated. The game failed somewhat, wen after refusing *frontly* to follow these orders, …nothing happened. I losed nothing, my boss was not angry at me. I can be a good guy (girl) and not suffer the consequences.

    I am enjoying this game, even hatting in general mmos. And not because is a good game, is not a good game, but because these tiny pills of roleplaying.

  31. Yosharian says:

    I don’t think ‘oh the source material isn’t that good’ is a justification for making such lame quests, frankly.

    Also, KotOR was a great game that, for me, never seemed to drop into pantomime… I suppose it’s subjective.

  32. Blackcompany says:

    Dark side…light side…can i get that with toast and bacon? Think I saw that on a Denny’s menu once.

  33. Emeraude says:

    I’d enjoy playing evil (egotistical, self-serving, uncaring) characters in cRPGs… it’s just that they so rarely feel like anything than impossible cardboard place-holders.

    As noted here, it also conflict with underlying structural necessities of games: you have to follow some rules for the game to be, and pure evil in a way is totally about breaking/bending rules to one”s advantage, or not giving a damn about them. In a way I think only sandbox games could really allow for a true completely evil play-through – if someone managed to aptly code consequences to the player’s actions.

  34. Tuor says:

    When the question is asked, “Why would I do a favor for someone if I’m an “evil” person?” The answer is that when I’m playing my Really Evil Sith Inquisitor, and he ends up doing something helpful for someone, it is (usually) only because he is getting something out of it. Usually, that “something” is satiating his sadistic tendencies; sometimes it is the satisfaction of beating someone strong, arrogant, or foolish into the ground; occassionally he does it for credits. He doesn’t care about the Empire per se, only in using it as a tool to see to his own needs.

    Effectively, my character hates pretty much everything, including the Empire which made him a slave and treated him like crap. All of his efforts are bent towards him growing strong enough that he can return the favor. As for those in the Republic: they’re a bunch of weaklings who have nothing of value that they can do for him. He can do favors without being kind. He can even make Light Side decisions if he feels they will further his goals (gaining more power, bringing down rivals/foes). He really is a malicious little punk that should be taken out back and shot, then thrown into an unmarked grave to be forever forgotten by future generations. But, in the meantime, he’s going to make everyone else suffer at least as much has he once did.

    Don’t get in his way. ;P

  35. puablo says:

    If you love Star Wars, but think the idea of an evil Sith Empire wouldn’t work as a society, then you should check out the Darth Bane books (it’s a trilogy, Path of Destruction, Rule of Two, Dynasty of Evil). They’re set in the Old Republic, about 1,000 years before the movies. A friend of mine pestered me for years to check them out and I refused to read any of the EU stuff, but I caved and I thought they were fascinating.

    They directly address all the philosophical problems with an “evil” society. Of course, it ends up proving that it doesn’t work, and the general message is that the Sith Empire always failed because they ended up destroying themselves. Even then, they have a slight hint of “good” or “bad”, the only difference being they’re either evil for the sake of being evil, or evil just enough to further their own cause.

  36. Tally says:

    The shallowness of pseudo-evil choices bugs me in a lot of games, most of all in Bioware’s games. I remember in Jade empire the choice was Open Palm-Closed Fist which was explained as though it was an empathy-ambition/power sort of choice but very often Closed Fist choices ended up involving acting like a petty and angry ass.

    Most recently though, Boethiah in Skyrim made me incredibly hopeful for an anti-heroic choice. In the pamphlet introducing her and her cult, one of her followers kills another to prove that he exists because another had ceased to. At several points this sort of ruthless and amoral will to power is emphasized, but upon meeting him/her defiantly he/she responds that he/she has no [i]use for those whose goals are not aligned with his/hers[/i] effectively demanding you become her servant. This struck me as very strange and ruined an otherwise interesting choice.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      She’s the goddess of murder and asks you to murder someone to join her cult… seemed pretty much exactle what was expected?

    • vecordae says:

      I had the same problem with Harvard, so I understand. Whoever scripted that particular faction quest neglected to provide multiple paths for me to get in. Seriously, guys? Not even a skill check? Just “grades” and “social standing” requisites? Amateurs. You need to include paths for ALL play styles or it becomes unnecessarily restrictive.

  37. karthink says:

    I wouldn’t expect any kind of depth in a game written by Bioware. After Mass Effect 2′s false dichotomies, I wouldn’t expect much logic either.

    Bioware paints decisions with a wide brush indeed. In KOTOR, a lot of the dialog suggested the dark side was about embracing one’s passions, but somehow swept up sadism and torture into the mix. In Mass Effect, being renegade was about completing objectives at any cost, but somehow included being racist. Bioware got Dragon Age’s reputation system right, so it was a little sad to see them go back to KOTOR era morality sliders.

    Obsidian did a great job fixing Lucas arts’ “un-thought-through-ness” in KOTOR 2. Light and dark didn’t really matter to your mentor and eventual antagonist: Kreia was devoted to the echani philosophy; gaining strength from conflict. She deconstructed the force to show the player what a farcical narrow-minded distinction it was. It was like Obsidian flipping off Lucas Arts, and it was brilliant. And now Bioware just pissed all over it.

  38. Sergius64 says:

    I’m a little surprised at how disappointed some of you guys here in comments about Bioware’s take on Dark/Light side.

    @karthink: Ok, so if you feel like your Character wants to embrace his passions but isn’t sadistic then just make the choices that reflect that. You’ll end up only partially Dark and that makes perfect sense, otherwise how do you differentiate a Reckless Sith that just does things his way but isn’t out to murder everyone he meets from the Murderous Sith that will kill his master/apprentice with a smile on his face? It’s like you’re saying that the dark side meter should stop at “Fully Embraced one’s passions” mark, and there’s no place for psychopaths on that scale.

    Just make your choices guys, in the end your char will end up in the correct place on the scale. If you make Dark choices 2/3 times and Light ones 1/3 times then you’ll end up a third of the way on the Dark and be where your character really should be according to his moral views.

    The only problem is when a game specifically rewards Full Dark or Full Light, thus encouraging people to force their characters to do things they normally would not, just to get to that point on the scale to get the rewards. This game does it with some Alignment based equipment vendors, but it’s hard to tell how good that equipment is at this point as it’s lvl 50 required. It’s possible that it’ll be equivalent to just normal Flashpoint stuff, making that equipment just a visual fluff option.

    • karthink says:

      I’m saying I don’t see how all of that fits on the same linear scale. Bioware is collapsing a multi-dimensional set of characteristics onto a line. They have shown they can do better, like with friendship/rivalry in Dragon Age 2.

    • Azradesh says:

      Turn off the light/dark chat icons and just choose what ever you damn well feel like choosing! Ignore the scale, it is meaningless. (I think the setting is in the UI options, and you can also turn off the visual effects of beening dark side)

  39. Hoaxfish says:

    I’d say the black and white Jedi/Sith dynamic is the perfect match for Bioware’s brand of good/bad reward-meter style moralising.

    I would’ve been more interested if the game didn’t have the whole “horde/alliance” divided race/class thing going on, nor light/dark side points… There’s a certain nuance when you aren’t literally flagging things as belong to “these guys” or “those guys” in terms of ambiguity, personal interpretation and actual cause and effect.

  40. Herbert_West says:

    I blame BioWare. The deconstruction of the idiotic bipolarity of the SW universe and a much more in-depth exploration of the Force and its effects (after all, if Dark corrupts, so must Light), and a systematic pointing out of how SW lore does not make a lick of sense has already been done. In and SW game. In KOTOR2. Mostly by Darth Traya, the best damn character of the SW universe.

    And they cast all that depth, all that lore, all that essential stuff about conflict and Force as an embodiment of it, aside for the trie good vs bad dychtomy of Lucas. Fuck you, George Lucas, and fuck you, SWTOR-BioWare.

  41. Carra says:

    I’m playing on the republic side as a greyish-good Jedi. Result? I now have lightsaber I cannot use because I need light side +1.

    The game kind of forces you to pick either side and stick to it.

  42. steviesteveo says:

    Terry Pratchett’s Only You Can Save Mankind was a book where he personified the aliens in a video game. It totally changed everything. The point of baddies in video games really is to run towards you and be worth points but that’s not really enough to play as them.

  43. Alien Rope Burn says:

    I played a Jedi for the beta.

    I committed virtual genocide on those Flesh Raiders.

    I murdered the local wildlife because… well, because they was there.

    I murdered scores of gang members. I even picked a fight with a bystander or two for looking suspicious.

    I murdered robots, even. They were some pretty shady robots.

    Often this was in a task not related to murder.

    Either way, not seeing the big difference. Either way, it’s an MMO, and any task beyond the most simple still requires me to cut a swath of murder across the landscape. I may be a noble knight or devilish wizard, but at the end of day, most of my tasks consist of sticking my glowing blade into soft things that scream and bleed. Of course, only the things that happen in the cutscenes are “real” and have consequences. I can dance over the corpses of Black Sun gangsters and nobody will ever truly care.

    Except maybe in PvP.

  44. Lemming says:

    But isn’t having a whole Empire of evil people not working properly deliberate? Isn’t this why the Sith Empire ultimately collapses and they have the ‘rule of two’ to avoid this happening when it’s the time of the Galactic Empire? The GE was mindless clones and indoctrinated conscripts ruled ultimately by two Sith. Seems more manageable really.

    • DK says:

      But the empire of evil people WORKS. The Sith Empire is an efficiently run society where criminals are harshly punished and corruption is rooted out mercilessly, while the Republic is a corrupt hellhole, where Jedi enforce slavery and every military officer and politicion from leftenant upward is on the take by organized crime.

      The Sith Empire is only evil by virtue of the Jedi saying they are, which obivously, they would since they can’t claim to be the good guys if there’s no bad guys.

  45. Sif says:

    A lot of you seem to really want a Kotor 2 style deconstruction of the Sith VS Jedi tropes. Do you think an MMO trying to attract Star Wars fans is a good place to do it?

    This isn’t an attempt to be challenging, I am genuinely curious.

    • malkav11 says:

      I don’t really think an MMO is the best venue for anything they’re doing here, but that’s what they decided to make, so a deeper, more intelligent one would be awesome. I’m still pretty happy with what I’ve gotten so far, though.

  46. Reefpirate says:

    I eventually got frustrated by the moral dichotomy presented in star wars: Either be an abstinent, emotionless and good Jedi or a free-loving, passionate but evil Sith. Both options kind of suck, really. I guess that’s why I always liked Han Solo the best.

  47. Fearzone says:

    MMOs should maximize freedom in how you play and how the player experiences the game. Playing through an MMO should be fundamentally your own story, which goes like: making a few friends early on you never see again, joining your first guild, finding that easy way to make money at the auction house, getting a core group of dungeon crawling buddies, grinding out the mid-to-late game–etc. etc. How you do all this is your own. That’s what you remember, not the quests.

    Confining you to the same story everyone else is playing, and directing you to think and act in a certain way, won’t be as immersive as it sounds. Let’s not repeat the Age of Conan experiment.

    For the Empire side, the Sith should hand out quests that accomplish the evil intentions of the overlords, and you as a Sith apprentice do it because you need the money, items, or faction reputation the quests offer. Your outlook and motivations are your own. Simple as that.

    • Spinks says:

      It’s not that simple. Confining player choices and enforcing genre rules can make for stronger, more tightly focussed stories. There aren’t many games where you can tell the story of a hyperintelligent bin bag from the 31st dimension and her friends, Timmy the talking tiger and Soap McTavish.

      Fair play to Bioware, they pinned their colours to the mast on this one and it should be pretty clear exactly what sort of story driven experience they’re aiming for with this. If you want a sandbox, go play in a sandbox. I like simulation type MMOs that encourage community and emergent player behaviour as much as anyone, but this is a different sort of game. (I imagine the community will be much as it is in any MMO, depending on the longevity of the game.)

      Sith are interesting because they’re very individualist. You can do what the heck you want as long as you have enough power to force everyone else to accept your superiority. So if you want to be light side you can, you just have to climb the ladder first if you want to consistently get away with it. Bounty Hunter is also pretty much the perfect IC player character profession in MMOs: your whole raison d’etre is to kill things for money.

  48. bleeters says:

    I’ve oddly found dark side decisions as a Republic class (trooper in my case) far more compelling than as an Imperial one, since they generally involve dubious but justifiable choices rather than the ‘mwhaha murder is fun’ ones I ran into regularly as an Imperial. Though it’s probably just as well, given how asinine some of the light side options are.

    Why yes, Imperial captive described as a ‘mass murderer’. Of course I’ll let you go, because, I don’t know, killing or wrong or something.

  49. Crius says:

    @ John Walker: The tag “bastard of the old republic” miss on the first article of the “series”.
    Just saying :)

  50. Gunder says:

    According to Daniel Erickson, Bioware’s lead writer on SWTOR, if you want to be a light-side Sith, you will only be making very slightly more moral choices at the beginning than say, murdering a baby. As time goes on though, your morality develops and you get to make more morally profound choices. So the example he gave was that, at the beginning, the most moral thing you can do is to torture someone slightly less than your instructor tells you to, but as time goes on you’ll slowly be able to be more traditionally good.

    Source: http://www.giantbomb.com/old-republic-new-interview/17-5441/

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