Jan 11, 2012

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United We Stand: Cops and Robbers

United We Stand is an Ask A Jedi series focusing on guilds, groups, and other communities in Star Wars: The Old Republic. By examining the communities that we form, we can create a stronger game for ourselves, build relationships that will last a lifetime, and perhaps even change the world itself.

I absolutely love hard mode Flashpoints. To anyone on the Dreshdae Cantina server, look me up and let’s run some. My freakin’ legs won’t drop in Directive 7.

On Sunday, I had the pleasure of sitting in a parenting Sunday school class with my parents. I’m still not sure how I got there, I certainly didn’t fit in, it was early in the morning and I’m not a morning person so I kind of just came to consciousness in the room. However, one thing that stuck out to me was I heard a mother ask was, “Should I be concerned if my child takes the ‘bad side’ in a violent game?”

I thought this was an incredibly interesting question and a new turn in the discussion about whether or not violent games are bad for younger children. While we gamers have our own opinions on the subject, for most of us might say that we are better off from our violent games, what about our alignment choices? What does it mean when we pick the ‘evil’ choice in a conversation, or choose to play our characters as violent, immoral people?

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Dec 2, 2011

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Sith Inquisitor: You Are in Command Now

Unlimited Power

“If I were to die, all the knowledge you seek about the true nature of the Force will be lost with me. Learn the power of the Dark Side!” –Darth Sidious, Star Wars III:  Revenge of the Sith

The Sith Inquisitor is a careful and calculating strategist, priding his or herself on manipulating others and gaining power in the Force. This is the class who can channel that most dangerous and deadly of all Force abilities, Force Lightning. Pure, dark energies dance from their fingers, lashing out to destroy any who oppose them or stand in their way.

Zap! Thanks to our friend Xavron for the screenshots!

Coupling their mastery of force lightning with the deadly finesse of a lightsaber, Inquisitors can heal their allies, cause great harm to their adversaries, and even shield companions from the worst attacks of their enemies with great skill, quick and deadly movements, and the supreme mastery of shadows and the dark energy of the Force.

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Oct 30, 2011

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Dialog Choices: What Do They Mean And What If You Didn’t Mean It?

Over at TOWars, one of my favorite fan sites, author Mark Douville has once again penned an interested read.

This time around, he opines on the implications of dialog choices in a piece entitled Path To The Calm Side: The Paraphrasing of The Shrew. He takes the opportunity to not only dissect the dialog system, and touches on the potential concern of a morality system based on a short representation of what your character will actually say, leading to potential “miscues”:

First let’s look at the paraphrasing of text. Anyone who has ever played Dragon Age II or the Mass Effect series will be familiar with this. Let’s say one of your options would be to respond to an idea with, “There has to be a better way. After all, the Gungans would not be willing receivers in a Dirty Kick marathon.” This might be paraphrased for the dialog choice as, “I don’t like that idea” or “The Gungans wouldn’t participate.”

All in all, it’s a well-thought out piece that takes a neutral stance on an otherwise polarizing issue. Not to mention the image captions, as always, are a feature in and of themselves. Head over to TORWars to check it out!

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Oct 29, 2011

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Blue Milk & Cereal: Should Players Have A Choice In Their Story’s Ending?

No day would be complete without the breakfast of Jedi: Blue Milk & Cereal.  Every morning, the team at Ask A Jedi will get Force-induced thoughts coursing through your head with delicious issues from around the galaxy! Join in the discussion below to make your voice heard!

Some gaming companies are famous for their ground-breaking technology (id, DICE, Crytek), some for using a proven formula for success (Activision, Harmonix, EA Sports), and BioWare, as we all know, is famous for their storytelling; it’s what keeps us coming back again and again.

One of the best things about BioWare’s story-driven games are the fantastic endings that knock your socks off. Since the Baldur’s Gate series, I have always loved the choice that accompanies the story endings in BioWare games. Do you want to be the goody-goody protector of the innocent and save the world (and thus get to see the “good” ending), or do you want to trample all over those that are beneath your abilities and conquer the world (and see the “evil” ending)?

Usually these choices take place over the course of the entire game, with your character being as good or as evil as you want. Eventually, your moral choices determine the ending that you get to see, which makes the game much more rewarding. Part of the fun for me is playing through the game multiple times and seeing each possible ending whether it be good, evil, or neutral. But how will SW:TOR’s story end? Being an MMO, will it ever end?

As a complete guess, I would venture that SW:TOR would have several stories spread over the course of the games lifecycle, introduced by patches and expansions. So in that sense, the game will never end, but will players have their choices and lightside/darkside alignment influence the endings that they see at end of each chapter?

Personally, I think that would be really cool, but I can see the complications that multiple endings can cause for an MMO, the primary one being continuity. It’s OK to have different endings when your character is the only “important” person in the world, but in a world that many people inhabit, it might not make sense. However, SW:TOR is the first MMO to truly embrace story and I would hope that BioWare would go all out and have different endings based on morality choices. That is their bread and butter after all. What do you guys think?

Should player's choices have an impact on their story's ending?

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Oct 27, 2011

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All The Galaxy’s A Stage: Jedi And Emotion – One Character’s Perspective

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!

For sometime now I’ve been contemplating the line of the Jedi Code that reads, “There is no emotion; there is peace.”  The brilliance of the writing behind this line is that it is very much open to interpretation.

My experience is that the less you understand about the underlying mysticism of the Jedi philosophy the more likely you are to emphasize the literal wording of the Jedi Code over the potential of deeper meaning.  This line of the code, in partcular, is quite literally a mystery within a mystery within a grilled cheese sandwich.  And given the tendency for this line to be interpreted in so many ways I thought I’d take this opportunity to share one perspective.


This article contains my observations and opinion. I do not claim to have any official knowledge of this subject, and I am neither a writer or authority on Lore for BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic.  What follows will directly oppose some Expanded Universe canon.  In addition, your opinion may be different than mine.  You are encouraged to comment accordingly!

I’m going to ask you, dear reader, to indulge me and read the entire article before commenting.  What I am about to relate is the interpretation I’ve opted to take concerning the above line of the Code for a Jedi Master, called Sa Chi, that I currently role-play.

Denying Emotions?

Many posts I’ve read on this topic tend to get fixated on the idea that Jedi should have no emotion.  I’ve even seen RP that read runs along the lines of a Jedi Master telling their Padawan that they are supposed to spend a lifetime denying emotions, suppressing them.  And with this in mind I would like to present Sa’s first lesson:

No Jedi is going to reach enlightenment in the Force through suppression, aversion or denial.

From the first days of their training as a youngling or Padawan, Jedi work on learning how to release the false beliefs, attitudes, and values that cause emotions to surface in the first place. Emotions are a symptom, not a cause. With time, patience, training and persistence a Jedi can release much of the hidden baggage that leads to overwhelming emotions.

"You must unlearn what you have learned." ~ Yoda

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