Dec 22, 2011

Posted by in All The Galaxy's A Stage | 29 Comments

All The Galaxy’s A Stage: The Story So Far…

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!

I’ve now had a chance to play my character on the Shien RP-PvE (NA) server for over a week.  With some time under my belt in the actual game some things are definitely jumping out at me.

Not bring able to sit on chairs is really a gap for me.  Well, that’s not completely true.  I can sit on chairs in my spaceship.  However, if I want to chill in the Cantina then I am out of luck.  I miss being able to have my avatar sit on chairs.  I am hoping that this is a feature that makes it in a patch…soon™.

There are no chat bubbles for launch.  I’m not too concerned about this personally.   But the RP community has many, many citizens who are dismayed at the lack of chat bubbles.  If it’s an option that can be toggled on and off, then I say bring it in.  Hopefully, chat bubbles also make it into the game…soon(tm).

Do you remember my article about the hidden grind of Social points?  Have you tried to get social points lately?  My main is at about 400 social points and I’ve been doing a notable amount of questing with guild-mates and others.  I am just over halfway through Social I.  I may be missing something, but social points are proving to be harder to get than a deal from a Toydarian.

I did get my Legacy name for my main character last night.  To get that honour I completed chapter 1 on my Jedi Consular.  In case you didn’t know, Legacy surnames are tied to each account.

I did want to recap the poll from the last ATGAS article about Legacy surnames though.  As of writing the result that jumped out me was:

Yes: I like the Legacy system as it is. (38%, 330 Votes)

Thankfully, I am the columnist, so this means I get to come back to a topic if I choose (reminds me of the 80’s pop song, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to”).  I cannot for the life of me see that a role-player would be happy with all 8 characters on an account having the same surname.  If you are a Role-Player feel free to explain your rationale in comments below.  Obviously, I am not interested in the non-RP reasons to support Legacy surnames per account.  I want to hear why a role-player likes having all 8 characters on a server sharing the same surname.

That said, I have concluded a few things from that poll:
  • Online polls are obviously fickle creatures
  • In over 30 years of role-play I cannot recall meeting RPers who brought more than 2 related characters into an RP campaign.  Occasionally, I’ve bumped into a player who played siblings in the same RP troupe for a while, or played out an extended family bloodline.  But this has been the exception, not the norm
  • Anyone who was not a role-player could have answered yes, thereby skewing the results.  By the way, I console myself with this rationalization.  I couldn’t control the integrity of the respondent
  • Nearly 900 votes on a poll for a role-play article speaks to Ask A Jedi now being an ultimate power in the universe
And so that will do for this week.  This was far from a polished look at a topic, and more about my remembering that I had an ATGAS article to write – come on Editor, this is launch week!  If you’re around on the Shien RP-PvE server feel free to look me up.  I’m playing as Sa’chi Anicca.  Sa’chi is my main, and that’s my legacy surname used up right there.  No, I do not plan on plan on bringing lots of Anicca’s siblings.


  1. I’m also on the Shien server. Maybe we’ll bump into each other!

    Her’es my RP Reasons for wanting the same surname:
    Uhh… Well if your RP happens to be that um…. OK there’s no RP reason for the legacy system.

    That being said, there’s non-RP reasons for wanting people’s alts identifiable, or wanting a system where leveling your alt gains a form of xp for your main. As a leveling system that gets you rolling alts, it’s great.

    I have to agree with the lack of chairs. Isn’t there a family guy bit where Peter asks how heaven is, and they say, “There’s a shortage of chairs”? You know what else we need? An “ROLEPLAYING” tag over our head.

    I’ve seen people RPing on Shien already, so the community is there, the exciting well-designed worlds are there, but some of the tools for RP are still missing.

  2. My main is 37 and I *almost* have Social II (I’m like 10 points short). I have not done much grouping for standard quests until Tatooine, and I have been outleveling content so I can rush through it (I’m 37 and haven’t even been to Balmorra yet on the Repub side). Hopefully I’ll have some more opportunities to group with guildies, but I doubt I’ll attain Social III before I hit 50.

    • It would seem I am not doing enough grouping. But then, I’m also curious as to what clothing will be available at Social II versus Social V. After all, the good stuff tends to be reserved for high levels right?

      Or maybe this is moot? Maybe we all get access to all social gear at Social I? In time I will learn what maketh this system. :)

  3. first … the comment about Toydarian deals borders on ‘speci-ism’ I am thinking of calling the galactic ACLU.
    second… damn you are right on the social points, I sure hope there are some great options for gear at the end of the grind tunnel

  4. Social Rank 3 level 25 O.o

    However, I have done every single mission up to Nar Shardaa with my friend.

  5. Could someone do me the service of the concern with being able to sit on chairs? Granted I’ve been playing RPGs for over 10 years and MMOs for seven, but have never been a real heavy RPer in MMOs. What do you gain/lose by being able or not being able to sit on chairs? When people sit their characters on chairs, do you just remain logged in and hang out or have them sit and then log out for the night or what? Just curious – thanks!

  6. EDIT: ould someone do me the service of *explaining* the concern with being able to sit on chairs?

    • For me it has a lot to do with ambiance. Imagine the following setting.

      About a dozen characters are gathered in a cantina. We’re running a scene where a deal is being done around some nefarious antics on Balmorra. Perhaps there’s a backstory related to busting the Imperial stranglehold, or maybe some young punk needs to get past a blockade. We gather together and start to talk. We’d like to have our characters sit down on all the lovely seats in the Sunken Sarbaac Cantina. But we can’t. So we’ll stand there…

      I remember Han Solo sitting in a Cantina. In fact, when characters weren’t walking around I mostly recall them sitting down. Sitting down is a key element of socializing. When people meet, eat and socialize together they sit down. With this in mind, many role-players like to carry this through to how the scene unfolds. When everyone is standing up it looks…strange, very strange.

      It’s hard to quantify. And I am sure each RPer would have different reasons and answers. But it’s something that many RPers heard write on the topic seem to miss.

  7. Legacy names can be hidden so I don’t know why it would be a big deal. If you want to show them, do so, if not hide them.

    I’m always amazed at people taking issue with things that can be toggled on or off.

    • I’ll try this another way, because I’m clearly failing to make my point clear enough.

      I would like to have multiple characters with DIFFERENT surnames. I expect to play with one account. Because of this design choice I don’t have this option. I get one character with one surname. Toggling the legacy name on or off is not the issue. The issue is the lack of choice. For a role-player such as me this is an issue. Over the long term role-players who like to use surnames to distinguish their characters from others who may share the same first name have lost out.

  8. What I see when I read all the complaints about the legacy system is a lack of imagination in the complainers. The system allows for the legacy name to be shown as a surname or a title. With the title option, many more RP options are available.

    My legacy name will be the imagined name of an ancient city (not a name mentioned in any SW lore), where a particular event happened that shaped the lives of all the characters I’ll be playing. None of my characters will know the full story of the event either.

    And I’m absolutely sure there are other imaginative ways to link characters together from different races and factions.

    • I would like to have multiple characters with DIFFERENT surnames. It’s not a matter of a lack of imagination. It is a matter of losing out on a simple and very effective way to broadcast who I am (when the avatar size on people’s screens and various monitor resolutions might make it tricky to distinguish my character).

      I am not looking to link characters from different races and factions together. I am looking to SEPARATE characters from each other. One simple way to do that is through a surname.

      • Given that your characters already have distinct and separate first names, I don’t see how also allowing separate surnames improves your situation any, unless your desire is to be unique across *all* the servers, but that’s like trying to have a unique name in the real world – good luck with that.

        Yes, distinct surnames would be nice, but the details are such that the only advantage I can see gaining (that can’t be trivially addressed with some other mechanism from an RP standpoint) would be to give some of your characters one surname and other characters another. Note though, I said “trivially addressed” – I can imagine ways to create associations of similar effectiveness as a shared surname.

        To express my point another way: people are confusing the role-play/social end they desire with the specific means to achieve it. I can’t imagine (I know my imagination isn’t all envisioning either :-) so maybe there is…) a multi-character situation a role-player might want to create that then can’t be addressed with yet more imagination via some suitable naming scheme using the current system.

        Restricting yourself in game to the naming conventions we use IRL is like traveling to another country and then insisting on only eating your traditional style food from home.

        • This is not about restriction, it’s about choice. Of course I do not “need” unique surnames per character. And of course, I have the imagination to work around it.

          This is about a request to BioWare (who happen to be self-professed role-players) to expand this feature to offer the option of unique surnames per character. With such an approach everyone, including most role-players, win.

  9. Um it’s not per account, it’s per server. So you can jump on another server and have a different surname for a different character. Granted if you’re one of those folks attached to the “server name” then I don’t know what to tell you!

    • Perhaps people are attached to their guild or the people they roleplay with on that server. Crazy thought, I know.

      • That’s a key point. I am aware of 3 different servers with dedicated RP communities. Moving to a different server is not done lightly, and in general many role-players that I know tend to stick with a server.

  10. I’m one the RPers that answered “Yes”. Here’s why:

    Lately I’ve been playing a lot of Exalted, which for those who don’t know it, is high-powered eastern fantasy kung-fu where you beat up gods. In that setting, much of the world is controlled by The Realm, which in turn is made up of a number of Great Houses. Members of each House are technically related, though not always by blood as there is power in recruiting/adopting newly made Exalted (the type of magical bigshots that the players also play) into the fold. Indeed a political deal may involve offering up one of your own to join the other house in return for whatever.

    That’s what I see the Legacy system as, a Great House, which the option of having it displayed not only as a surname but also a title reinforces. You could also consider it a guild if you would: the legacy is your chosen name, and could represent the fact that this person is now an imporant enough player to have backing from others.

    Just looking at it as a surname or even expecting people who share a surname to have to be blood related is stiffling.

    • [quote]The issue is the lack of choice. For a role-player such as me this is an issue. Over the long term role-players who like to use surnames to distinguish their characters from others who may share the same first name have lost out.[/quote]
      What Eddie said makes this a non-issue. You cannot share first names on the same server, and the legacy does not jump servers. Your character are already distinct by their name.

      You can of course create this issue for yourself by picking the same legacy on different servers, if they are not already taken.

      • I am failing to see anything that has been said as making this a “non-issue.”

        The example given about around the “Exalted” is an exception, not the norm. It works for that player and is a fair situation. However, most RP I’ve encountered over the past 30 years or so does not express itself within that genre.

        In short, there are times where I “want” to show my surname, for all sorts of reasons.

        What I am reading a fair bit of is people trying to convince me that I’m wrong, or that is a non-issue.

        I cannot be wrong. I have my opinion. It is shared by many role-players that I have spoken to. This IS an issue. I am maintain my position toward BioWare.

        What I did ask for in the column was reasons for this system. I’ve read ONE reason that’s valid so far. And even then, if this was approached by allowing non-unique surnames as well as a single surname even the chap above would get what he wanted, while I would too.

        • Reasons for this system:
          Bioware likely saw a desire within their customer base to provide a way for players to have visual evidence when different characters are of the same account. They likely also have a desire to reward multi-alt gameplay.
          So one name to uniquify the character and another optional, legacy, name to group a player’s characters together.
          Now, what features can they efficiently implement to satisfy these desires?
          You propose allowing multiple legacy names. From Bioware’s standpoint, what effort must they make to provide that? First though, consider that there’s a choice inherent within that feature.
          If the legacy names are not unique, then the grouping feature that they address vanishes because other players can freely associate themselves with others without restriction – so that’s a non-starter. But having multiple unique names only provides the following extra benefit: players can more easily group their alts by sharing one name with some and another name with others.
          However, the feature of multiple unique legacy names conflicts on an implementation/database level with the feature of an account associated name – unless they are distinct names – in which case we’re talking about three names per character instead of two. The extra overhead of a third name (not only on the DB side but UI side as well) far outweighs the tiny gain of the above mentioned extra benefit.
          So, if one grants that Bioware was fully aware of the above issues, then they made a choice as to how to proceed and which to implement with full knowledge that it wasn’t the be-all-end-all that you desire. And if they weren’t fully aware, then the choice was still made.
          And either way, the issues are complex enough that attempting now to satisfy your desire becomes a very low priority for them.
          I’m not saying you shouldn’t have this feature, I’d like it too, but it’s so unimportant compared to other issues that even our discussion here is a just distraction (however enjoyable) in the long run.
          I’m happy they did what they did – it’s not perfect, but neither’s life.

        • The specific point that is made a non-issue, is not your general objection to the lack of distinct surnames, but the situation you posted as example for why you would like this feature: You said to want distinct surnames in order to differentiate between character who share the same first name: This situation, two characters, be they yours or someone elses, sharing a first name, cannot ever happen on the same server. Thus a non-issue.

  11. The reason a lot of people are treating this as a non-issue is because for them, it’s a non-issue. The Legacy system doesn’t take away your ability to roleplay multiple characters with different surnames. The only thing it actually takes away is your ability to display those surnames as a nameplate. That’s really it. For some people, such as yourself, this is an issue. I respect that. Why do you have so much trouble accepting that many roleplayers are satisfied with their minor workarounds to it? For all the willing suspension of disbelief we submit to in order to roleplay, this one doesn’t seem like it should stretch anyone much.

    I also want to point out that your rationalization for your own poll results isn’t even rational. You’re suggesting that a significant number of non-roleplayers came to read your roleplaying column and willingly or accidentally voted Yes instead of I Don’t Roleplay. That seems incredibly unlikely. In point of fact, the real flaw in your poll is that you lumped together the non-roleplayers with the roleplayers who honestly don’t care about the Legacy system. I’d be willing to bet that the number of roleplayers who are at least ambivalently not opposed to the Legacy system approaches 60%.

    Interestingly enough, I find myself almost as upset with the lack of chat bubbles as you are with the Legacy surname issue. I was surprised by your neutral opinion on the subject, because I find it to be an active frustration. Just last night I was roleplaying in the Republic Fleet cantina within earshot of another pair of roleplayers. They were roleplaying at a notably faster pace than we were, likely because they were just a pair while we had 3-4 people. At any rate, I soon found myself having to scour the chatbox to see if anyone I was with had said anything. If I even looked down at the characters for more than a second, it was easy for someone to have asked me a question that I wouldn’t see. I was fortunate that my guild chat and other channels were quiet at the time. This was a difficult time with just two groups and a total of five or six people. Chat bubbles give a nice, clear visual indicator of who has said what, especially in a crowd.

    • This guy gets it.

    • The problem with adding or not adding a feature is, they add it, it’s not exactly how an individual would see it implemented. If they don’t add it, there are players who have various reasons as to why it’s the biggest mistake they’ve ever made, etc.

      With the case of the Legacy name… that’s a major deal, and perhaps they should have (as has been suggested) detached the surname from the Legacy name, especially given the context of roleplaying.

    • Lord Paladin says:

      Chat bubbles were something they had in the game at one point during beta. It apparently, as it was implimented, caused a terrible amount of server side lag. So they removed the feature with the hope of adding it in once they can do so without causing a large amount of chat lag.

      ‘Course, I also think they made /say radius a bit too large. They should halve it, and then make the /yell radius about double what /say is right now.

      As to Legacy names… I’m fine with them. Only one character will display it as a surname, the rest will say which just sounds kinda cool. It won’t really have any bearing on my RP at all.

      But then again, I have the game set to not display character names (I have enemy names turned on for PvP). But when I walk around Carrick station or what not, I only see NPC names. Players names are something I don’t want to see. It clutters up the screen, but also, I learn a character’s name based on what they tell me in RP. I have no reason to use the avatar handle at all.

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