Jan 12, 2012

Posted by in All The Galaxy's A Stage | 4 Comments

All The Galaxy’s A Stage: A Role-Player’s Confession…

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!

When I started playing Lord of the Rings Online I remember the Role-Play flowing from day 1.  I still recall many of the early story events and RP running every evening.  It was all I could do to get my character to level 10 (with lots of RP along the way) so that I could comfortably RP the trip to Bree.  And then when reaching the Prancing Pony the stories we created together only got better.

Well, I have a confession.  So far I’ve not done much RP in TOR.  Why?  The story…

I’m playing through the Jedi Consular story, as well as taking the world stories in.  The problem is that I’m enjoying the story too much to put down.  For example, I am currently working through the Voss world story.  I am not going to give any spoilers, but the choice that is being lined up for my character is a joy to play through.  The richness of the galaxy, the Order, the politics and the moral struggles for my character are a delight.

I will admit that I’ve been a fan of BioWare’s work since Baldur’s Gate.  I’ve enjoyed Dragon Age and Mass Effect.  But BioWare’s artistic creation of the TOR galaxy along with the caliber of the  quest stories is, for me at least, an experience at an unprecedented level.  BioWare really has, in my opinion, redefined what an MMO can be.

Another element I am enjoying is that the written and visual content is helping me to clarify my character concept and filling my head with all sorts of genre-knowledge that will undoubtedly become useful down the road.

My confession is an interesting one.  Never before has an MMO caused me to set down my “Heavy Role-Player” badge.  In other games RP has constituted the majority of my time and energy in game.  However, for as long as I am working through the Jedi Consular story I have to set this badge down.  RP is simply not the primary focus right now – BioWare’s story is.  I do get the occasional bit of RP in when I bump into others on my travels.  But the reality is that this confession is overdue.

That said, the story will end (and soon, I suspect, given that my character is at level 48).  I know that once I’ve completed the world and class stories that I’ll dive fully into RP.  But I also suspect I’ll be one of those RPers that runs alts on the side to see if the other stories are as good as they are rumoured to be.

One thing that really stands out for me though is the combination of the character concept I have in my mind against the dialog choices I have to make.  One of the joys of having a clear concept to RP is that I respond to the choices as my character would.  I have no struggle in working out what Sa’Chi would do, and I am really liking the thought and attention that has been paid to the creative content.  And obviously, Sa’Chi generally won’t be using references to these stories in RP (except perhaps for references).

There has been the occasional moment where I’ve disagreed with some of the interpretations of genre or morality per the code.  And I am certain there are many of you that may have very different opinions to me on this.  But I am curious – are there any other RPers out there that have not been doing as much RP as they expected because of how much they are enjoying their main class and world stories?  Am I one of the few with this confession?  Are there heavy RPers out there that now feel I have lost all credibility?  Or has BioWare arguably created the first worthwhile reason to gently ease oneself into RPing a character in an MMO?

  1. I think it is a mix of people getting their RP fix by simply questing, and the fact that, really, RP isn’t that supported in TOR in terms of mechanics. No speech bubbles, which whilst not a deal breaker is a hindrance particularly in a crowded room (wondering if a character is speaking next to you or halfway across the room), not to mention the simple lack of empty RPable spaces apart from in (from my experience), Anchorhead and Nar Shadaa. Most of the seating in cantinas etc is taken up by NPCs, and needless ones at that, and even when seating is available, you can’t actually sit in it properly without using the /sit command. Then the world itself just feels…I don’t know…

    Don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware one must make their own RP, but of all the MMOs I have RP’d in (SWG, WoW, LOTRO, WAR, AoC and more) this game just feels the most…hostile, without meaning it to sound quite so severe. All the areas seemed to be made with the questing experience in mind, and directed to that purpose, which makes the areas feel like exactly that, questing areas, and not towns that one could realistically live in.

  2. I’m finding that most roleplayers are holding off on their rp until they hit level 50.

    I think it’s mainly due to how well constructed the game is in terms of both gameplay and story telling.

    I have never played a game with so many interesting locations to role-play in or to create scenarios around however, lack of speech bubbles and lack of community (for now) is an issue.

    Another major problem is the lack of ability to talk between factions and in many ways, this is the biggest issue as organization is next to impossible, limits the types of guilds available, (crime guilds are hit the hardest) and reduces the variety of roleplaying on offer.

    It also leads to one side having more roleplaying opportunities than the other and as the game loses subscribers, may result in forcing players to pick a faction side in order to have a community to role-play with. Their profession would becme ther ooc profession (ie Jedi Knight role-played as a Sith or Smuggler role-played as a bounty hunter.)

    • You can talk with players in the opposite faction. I floated on a balloon on Tatooine in the Dune Sea for about 30 minutes talking with a Jedi Consular (my character is a Sith Warrior).

  3. Darth Todd says:

    I honestly haven’t done much RP in the game myself, but not because I’ve gotten too involved in the story. Just the opposite I’d say. None of the story options really fit what I had in mind for my character, so I find myself having to play two completely different characters in the same avatar. The one that Bioware has pre-defined for me, and the one that I envision. And like any MMO, to RP in the world with others requires you to ignore the quest dialog to begin with. SWTOR just seems to add more that you have to ignore.

    I’ve found the RP community to be – for the most part – a good one. But SWTOR has a much higher percentage of canonazis than other MMO’s I’ve played. I have a character who is a Jedi Sage and is a scholar; devoted to study of The Force and just acquiring knowledge in general. Over the course of his studies and life experiences he had come to develop a view of the Force that was similar to that of the Potentium. I was told by some folks that I couldn’t possibly have that view as it was the wrong era for it. As if no one in all the trillions of souls across the galaxy could have an idea that was not “canon” for the time period.

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