Dec 15, 2011

Posted by in All The Galaxy's A Stage | 13 Comments

All The Galaxy’s A Stage: The Brady Bunch Legacy

All The Galaxy’s A Stage is a regular column at Ask A Jedi with some lofty, creative goals.  On one hand, we will be discussing and exploring meaningful topics to support the role-play experience and community.  On the other hand, we also want to introduce the casual Role-Player to the writing-acting experience that can add so much more to an MMORPG like Star Wars: The Old Republic.  Share your perspectives and experience as we co-create magical story in that galaxy far, far away!

As a Role-Player I enjoy the idea of a surname for my characters.  It is fair to say that over the past thirty years most of my characters have had surnames.

But I will say this.  As a rule of thumb I’ve never made a habit of giving all my characters the same last name for my characters.  Come to think of it I’ve never done this once.

I’d also heard that BioWare are Role-Players.  I’d like to think that any Role-Player worth their salts has not given all their characters the same last name.  It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to assume that RPers like Daniel Erickson have followed this normal convention.

That is unless you’re playing in a campaign to act out your Jackson or Brady Bunch fantasy.

Can you see where this is going yet?

For those of you that don’t know, the Legacy system is a feature that kicks in once you’ve completed the first chapter of your first character’s story in-game.  At that point you get to give your character a surname.  Having been confronted with no option for a surname at creation most Role-Players would be forgiven their excitement at learning this.  I too was excited when I encountered this during game testing – until I read the fine print.

The thing is, you get one UNIQUE surname per account.  Or is it server?  it doesn’t matter.  Either scenario is *word left on the editing floor*.

Since inception this column has been generally warm toward BioWare game design choices.  In my opinion this is one of the most disappointing design choices for Role-Players that has been made in TOR. I cannot for the life of me believe that a Role-Player made this choice.  Perhaps the design team wanted to pay tribute to the Brady Bunch?

I tried to consider technological constraints.  Perhaps technology makes this difficult?  And then I realized that other games have given us unique surnames.  So it is not an impossible thing to do.  It must be a design choice.  But why, BioWare, why?

A unique name per server (or account) means I get to play alts, but can forget surnames for any characters that are not married (to my other characters?) or are siblings of my main.

I am curious to see if other RPers are in agreement with me.  It’s probably too late to change, but I would like to get some numbers rating dissatisfaction on this feature.  If you really care about this topic please let your friends know about this poll and convince them to come and vote.  BioWare staff do read these columns and, if they can see past how much I’ve just mocked their decision makers, perhaps they’ll consider changing this some day.  Stranger things have happened…

As a Role-Player do you like a single surname as a Legacy reward?

View Results

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  1. While I don’t understand why they’ve decided to do this either, there is at least the option to display the name or not, correct?

    Perhaps they can change this down the road. But this doesn’t break the game for me…even if my focus was on a role playing character from the start. (It won’t be…initially…)

    As for my part…I may just use the “surname” slot as a bit of a “personal guild” name. Depends on what I can actually type when the option comes up. But I’m very good at thinking outside of the box when I’m given something to work with. *shrugs*

    We’ll see.

    • Correct. You have the option to not display the name.

      However, I WANT different surnames for my characters to display. With the system as it is I don’t get that option.

      I agree that it doesn’t break the game. But it’s a design choice made by a company reputed to be RPers that makes no sense from the RPers perspective.

  2. I have mixed feelings on this for one your reputation sticks with you no matter how many toons you make on a server. Other than that I agree

    • I don’t think people in general are going to know the reputation of most people. And in the world of RP reputation comes down to the stories you share for the most part. And remember, you can hide the surname. So the idea of reputation being a force label is not going to happen.

  3. I wouldn’t mind it if they’d call it a Legacy Tree, or a Legacy Name, or whatever else they want to call it, but I can’t even begin to imagine how my Chiss, Zabrak, Human, Twi’lek and Mirialan are all going to be related. Y’know, genetics and such.

    • Indeed. And this is the perspective that is the heart of where the RPer is coming from. It doesn’t make sense however you look at it.

  4. My only problem is that I feel like I have to rush to get the rp name I want, only to find myself skipping past a lot of rp on the way…

    • That’s a valid concern, and one more reason to not like it. Although, the poll doesn’t match the comments coming up.

  5. As of this comment – Yes: I like the Legacy system as it is. (39%, 273 Votes)

    Wow. 39% of role-players WANT one surname for all their characters? Seriously?

    I’m REALLY shocked and can only assume role-players in general don’t agree with this. After all, what’s to stop a non RPer answering Yes.

  6. I gave my ‘main’ a surname has his name, largely because the legacy system hasn’t inspired me to do anything else. My characters are not all going to be related, they’re not all going to members of the same clan/organization/what-have-you, and they’re not all going to coincidentally have the same surname.

  7. Alright I haven’t been following things too closely about the game to keep the “newness” factor for when I did start to play. So I login during beta with aspirations of recreating a tabletop character and…no last name. This gave me pause as it seemed an elementary way of allowing folks the same first name. It occurred to me that perhaps it was a limitation of beta and surely it would be active at launch. Alas it appears that is not the case which makes absolutely no sense to me. I mean this is Star Wars, people have last names and surnames are, in fact, something integral to the history we are dealing with. Now I see we get one later? For the whole account? Um please explain the rational behind that? How does it in any way help? Does it allow me to get that one name I was shooting for? No. Does it help with the overall RP aspect? No. Does it seem like a bit of a slap in the face? Why yes…yes it does. Either allow them from the get go or not at all. The Legacy system as is seems like a band-aid approach to an obvious problem (alright obvious to me but I’m sure I’m not alone in that opinion. My two cents.

  8. My main problem with this isnt that its one surname per server, its that i cant actually pick the surname i want, because apparantly there is ONE (thats right, one single) NPC in the game with that name.
    What i want is my real name Magnus. But i cant have that because there is apparantly one single NPC using that name (as a first name as well, i believe) in the game.
    Its not like the name is something that belongs to the main characters of the game. Or even the EU.
    But i cant use it for that reason.
    I could, however, use Solo (if it hadnt been taken that is)… Where does that make sense???

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