Jan 21, 2012

Posted by in From Azeroth To Tatooine | 23 Comments

From Azeroth To Tatooine: There’s No Place Like Home

It happens all the time. The next big thing is compared to the last big thing, and it’s no different in the world of MMORPGs. From Azeroth To Tatooine is a semi-regular opinion column here at Ask A Jedi that will look at one players experiences with Star Wars: The Old Republic and relate them to their past in World of Warcraft, or perhaps another MMO altogether.

As I suspect many of you are at this stage, I’m in the decision-making process of which character I want to make my “main.” Currently, I have one of each on the Republic side, but have played the Consular and Trooper the most. As I searched for reasons upon which to base my decision, it got me thinking¬†about how I feel about my characters and the Star Wars: The Old Republic universe compared to my feelings for past characters in other games. This exposed an interesting conundrum: unlike other games I’ve played, I don’t have a “home.”

In EverQuest, as a Half-Elf, I was “born” in Freeport. As a Wood Elf, it was the trees of Kelethin. Halas was my home as a Barbarian. In Dark Age of Camelot, my Hibernian Celt Champion started down in Connla and slowly moved up to Tir Na Nog. In World of Warcraft my human Paladin started in Elwynn Forest at the Northshire Abbey and moved down to Goldshire then on to Stormwind. In Lord of the Rings Online, my Hobbit started in the Shire area and spent many levels there. My Human started outside of Bree. I could go on, but you get the picture. In all of those examples, my character was “from” somewhere.

Stormwind City

Who can forget their first trip into Stormwind and reveling in the majesty? Giant, flaming dragon claw marks not withstanding.

In each of these games, the questing of my character within my “home” and nearby areas created a sense of pride. I liked that in each of those games, sooner or later, someplace started feeling like home. Maybe because it simply became familiar, maybe (as in LotRO) there was already a strong attachment to begin with, or maybe because I just liked being there because of the beauty, landscape, whatever. I think if you’ve played an MMO for any length of time, you’ll understand what I mean. You get attached to certain places after a while.

However in TOR, all classes are “shipped” in to work in an area that is not their home. They either have a job to do or they need to undergo schooling. Yes, the Jedi and Sith have their “origin worlds” of Tython and Korriban respectively, but what was my character up to before I landed there? Where did I come fr0m?

In these starting areas, there is so much conflict that I honestly did not create any sort of attachment there. Coruscant was pretty sterile to me and I think I’m starting to feel like perhaps my ship is intended to be “home”. I’m wondering how I’ll feel when I finally get to Tattooine or Hoth. Will there ever be a Moon of Endor? Too bad there is no Naboo, that was the first place I visited in Star Wars Galaxies.

For me, this is a major factor in the enjoyment of an MMO. The world has to feel like a place I go to, not just levels in a game. Enough to consider whether or not I should keep playing.

How do you feel? Does it matter to you? If you are a role-player (I’m not) does not having a home bother you at all? Are you happy enough to be part of the Empire or Republic and a national/race identity doesn’t matter?


  1. I love the story of “Sweater” more than any other MMO I have played, and I have been around them since the days of Ultima Online. I played WoW since early Alpha and into release… over 6 years total, and I have not had this much enjoyment from an MMO in a very very long time.

  2. Having played all classes both republic and empire, I must admit having no back story for your characters makes it both hard and easy at the same time. It is hard to instantly get right into your character and have it feel apart of you and have that connection, yet on the other side of the scale without this connection it is very easy to delete characters that did not make the grade in some aspect (which has alweays been a huge issue for me in other games). No I am not happy just being a part of the empire/republic and would love to see characters upon creation be on their own homeworlds and get a life prior to enbarking upon their chosen professions. We have companions with stories and histories yet we ourselves are just all suffering from amniesia where by it is a case of “you know I remember a shuttle landing on Korribann/Tython and my life began there as an adult nothing more”
    To each their own though as to some people this lack of back story never occured to them and even reading about it they will not miss it.

    • Use ur imaginations. Freedom of choice to make your own backstory is not a bad thing.

    • Arclinon says:

      I agree but ironically enough we had such back stories in Dragon age:Origins it helped us to connect with that character in fact i would personally loved to see my consular as a child preparing for initiate trials with NPC’s from different clans picking on you for some reason YOU choose while creating your character it can be done in various ways; adding a short backstory levels like in DA:O or showing us an intro movie you know show, don’t tell but in this case play, don’t show

  3. You make a very good point about having a natural home in other MMO’s due to the fact that you start out pretty much in your home. With WoW, Elwynn Forest always kind of seemed like home to me. It was the most human thus I could relate to it the most.

    With SWTOR, I’ve kind of adopted Coruscant and Nar Shadaa as my homes, with Nar Shadaa winning out due to the beauty and Vegas/Hong Kong/Blade Runner feel to it. Tython kind of feels like home for my Jedi. Maybe when they add internal ship customization I’ll feel more at home there.

  4. My Trooper and I feel most at home on Belsavis not sure why, it’s just my favorite planet.

  5. I think the idea to do origin worlds the way they did came from design decisions in the game. I think they made shared home worlds because it cut down on voice acting requirements. If each class had their own planet then you double the voice acting requirements for side quest for 1-10. If you mad it race (which would fit in better with the homeworld idea) that’s potentially even more.

    I think another reason characters are “shipped” in is due to the title crawl. They tried to emulate (as most Star Wars games and videos do) the iconic open title crawl. A part of that is starting in space then having a ship appear.

    I can see the point in the article and I had some of the same longings as well. Overall I think they did a great job and this is minor and easy to overlook for me.

  6. What you say is true, from a certain perspective. However, it’s also true that you are not bound and you can choose to create any background history for your avatar that you decide. EG * My Chiss Bounty Hunter grew up in a family of arms dealers, and was the sole survivor of a Republic raid. He now dedicates himself to gun toting revenge and profit against the Republic. His home is his ship, his crew his new family.* This may not be listed anywhere in game, but I play on an RP server and my history is part of his playstyle. Like WoW, LotR, or any other MMORPG…imagination is part of game.

  7. It’s never really been an issue for me. Starting areas in other games were just that – starting areas. Once you leave, you won’t really return, unless it happened to be a hub town, like Bree in LOTRO.

    In SWTOR the galaxy is in turmoil in a big way and I’ve got to do my part to fix/conquer it. No time to pine over my furniture arrangements.

    • Rapscallion, Rogue Moon says:

      I agree Swissjak. Elwyn Forest had no real attachment to me. Sure I started there, but no real attachment formed.

      It was the Human starting zone. There’s no real difference between that and Hutta. Well okay maybe there is…

      Elwyn: First quest, go kill Kobold workers.

      Hutta: Fight your way to your contact to get your cover story set up/Go kill gangsters to get your cover story set up.

      While feeling that you have “no home” is understandable, the only real difference I feel is that there is more immersion in your starting story on TOR than on WoW.

      To me, Fleet feels more like home.

  8. Dromund Kaas kinda feels like it to me. All imperial operations and the very centre of the Empire lies there. I can see a bit of the problem there tho, seeing as the Jedi are seperated from the Republic at large upon Coruscant.

    Beyond that, the ship also fits, depending upon the type of character.

  9. I have played all those MMOs except Everquest and I see where your coming from if you forgive the English pun, but I think that the swtor story for your character fills in more blanks than a “home” in the other MMOs gives you.
    You are right I don’t feel anywhere except my ship is home but you can easily make up a pleasing back story for your character up to the point you arrive on that shuttle.
    My main is a Human Bounty Hunter Merc and I haven’t really thought about it but my secondary character is a Pure Blood Sith Sorcerer and decided as he was obviously a slave that he was an illegitimate son of a noble sith and a slave fighting his way back to power but I still haven’t thought of where from. But I suppose it really depends on your want for this, swtor gives such a lot of story that maybe less people feel they need to create the short time before you begin and others think it essential.

  10. I think another issue is how sterile the “central” environment is. The Republic Fleet is a very pragmatic and efficient place to be and live… however, it just doesn’t feel “lived in” like a Stormwind or even any of the planetary capitals. In a game with such a great story I am surprised how utilitarian most areas feel.

  11. ya i know how you feel it seams when you dont play games like lotor you miss something. when you dont play swtor its like so what i dont feel like playing it.

  12. The backstory in TOR will come march and beyond dwarf those you spoke of. You where a resident of those places in the other games because that was your start area. In TOR the Legacy system promises to let the player craft a very deep story of their own.

    I say promise because none of us have seen this system we’ve just been told bits and pieces to keep us sated until it is released.

    I have some faith that BioWare will provide a deep and meaning system but I wonder how buggy it will be. I’m hoping it is not like the companion system is today, you know you’re entire crew has things for you to do but they bottle it all up inside because of whatever crazy bug in the system.

  13. Lady Republic says:

    I actually enjoy the idea of not having a “home” world from the story, as it allows me more freedom to determine where my character(s) are from. For instance, most of mine are actually from Coruscant – my scoundrel from the less savory parts, my Trooper and her brother from the more upper class parts of society. My husband got his home world from a throw-away line that comes up from the Senator in the Gree chain on Coruscant. She mentioned being from a small, backwater farm world – and that’s now his home, as well. It allows for more variety than everyone being from the same small village.

    Of course, the down side is that everyone has a friend named Elara, Aric, or Kira, too…. *chuckle*

  14. I am part of an RP guild and many of the members, including myself, made a backstory for our characters.

    My Zabrak was the child of two Mandalorian Zabraks that moved to Coronet. They made a living making armor for citizens of Corellia until one day they were approached by a representative of CorSec. They then began designing armor for them which ended up being used by both policing and military organizations.

    My character ended up joining CorSec and quickly climbed the ranks. My story continues on and my character endures through the corruption of those around him. He decides to help out a guild by providing them with a list of corrupt officers in CorSec and other high powered positions.

    What probably disappointed me the most is how little I was attached to any of these planets I visited. I even blazed through Corellia because it was just another planet to me. I was even more disappointed when I SPOILER earned my bloodstripes SPOILER but never actually received them…. I reached the highest honor I could have for my character IC and OOC on Corellia and I had nothing to show for it.

    Every planet is plagued with enemies and war… there is so very very little places that are safe to relax and RP without getting attacked by respawning enemies. There are even less spots that actually look nice enough to bother RPing in. A major downfall of the themepark design. Not to mention that RP names are not enforced…

    So to sum it up… not attached to anywhere, not even may “homeplanet” and every planet is plagued with hostile npcs and very little gorgeous scenery.

  15. Jedi Hunter says:

    I miss having that sense of connection as you said. I think this is due to the world not being one large planet or continent but rather a bunch of separate places divided by cutscreens and travel. When I played Alliance, I had a sense of pride and belonging to Goldshire and I particularly loved Westfall. When an alert was raised they were being raided, I loved trying to protect the spots, even if I got slaughtered. Similarly I liked the dwarven areas. I don’t know why exactly they were all so inviting since often people would just hang out in capital cities, but they felt vibrant and part of something larger.

    With no open world PVP like this where the Imps/Pubs can raid each other’s questing areas, you have no reason to ever visit early planets again (other than missed datacrons). There is no rallying 40 people to take down faction leaders or trying to sneak into another capital for quests or silly things like fishing. It is my hope that this stuff is added as something to do outside of the current offerings of quests, instances, and WZs.

  16. I’m not a role player, and i play on a PVE server. However i decided to enter a Swtor themed writing comeptition back at the start of 2011. While writing my peice for the comp i also thought it would be good to write a back story for my character. In my case i was always going to be a BH from day 1. sure ill have alts, but my BH powertech is my main, and i wrote a 4 chapter prologoue (each chapter was about 2500 words) and now even though i can’t “go home” with my character i also dont find the need to as i am complete with my past and looking forward to new adventures and forging new homes.

    My 2 cents.

  17. Nosecrusher says:

    I think a lack of a background or ‘home’ plays into several classes. Bounty Hunters are loners (despite mines tendency to gather followers) who either couldn’t remember the planet they were born on, or don’t *want* to remember. And even if they did, they couldn’t spread it around or else one of the many looking to gun us down could use it against us.

    It’s similar with Inquisitors – we were slaves, that’s it. No home, just working somewhere when, one day, we made something heavy levitate or ‘convinced’ our overseer to give us an extra 10 minutes for lunch.

    In any event, I just never really noticed the lack of a home. Then again, I also didn’t really think my WoW toons were born and raised in their starting zones either. Rather, thats where they ran away to, or simply where the recruiter sent them.

  18. Darth Todd says:

    I love the urban worlds, Coruscant, Nar Shaddaa, and Corellia. I think I felt most “at home” on Nar Shaddaa though. Corellia would have been my first choice, but the Fallout-esque feel that the war brings to the zone makes it less than homey. Nar Shaddaa seems like a place where anything can happen, and probably does on a regular basis. And as someone else mentioned, the Blade Runner vibe of the place really appealed to me. That said, my Sage – who is more of an academic and “nature boy” seems better suited to be from a place like Alderaan. I imagine Alderaan would be the most beautiful of all the worlds were it not for, again, the war raging there.

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