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What is your story, really?

April 30, 2012

What makes a character stick with you – a story and character you can mold yourself, or an exciting adventure being told through that character? Or the illusion of either?

I have been playing SWTOR for three weeks now; it has been quite fun so far. One of the aspects of the game that I think has been working quite well is the evolving story of the character. My main character is Jorda, my Sith Sorceress. The reason for initially picking her as my focus was a mix of available powers and the initial story elements.

Her being a slave that in a way been given a chance to get a better position in life and be something more was an appealing story element, more so than a some of the other starter stories. It at least seemed to have a potential that it would be possible to take the story in a few different directions. That made it more interesting.

After playing though the story parts on Korriban, Drumond Kaas and Balmorra with Jorda, I do feel that there might not be that much choice in how the story is evolving from my part, but the game provides a real good illusion of choice and making it my story.

Initially Jorda was trying to act as to get some respect and also treat others with respect on Korriban – that resulted in a rather even mix of dark side and light side points. However, the rather harsh attitude of the acolyte training hardened her and she became more ruthless – something needed to get somewhere within the Sith empire. Which is probably also the route Bioware wants to portray here.

Certain events on Drumond Kaas (won’t spoil the details) has raised Jorda’s ambitions and hardened her even more and I have been steering her to become an even more ruthless and cunning bastard. Although I also think that this is perhaps also the main path set of by Bioware for the Sith Inquisitor. There are a few elements in place that seem to steer in the direction of deep red choices really. One of these is of course the companion, Khem Val. A shadow assassin from the past who obsesses about death and carnage and no mercy for the weak, or force users.

Jorda's eye colour changed as her path towards the dark side continued

I played the Sith Warrior starter story on Korriban with another character. While the missions and the story contained Sith ruthlessness, my impression is still that the warrior story might potentially go for a slightly different angle and perhaps not so deep red – do not know anything yet about the story beyond Korriban, but with Vette as a companion and that the character background comes from a different angle I suspect that the main story path there might be a bit more balanced in terms of dark vs light – I certainly felt that the story might go in a slightly different direction there.

I have also played through the starter story on Tython for the Jedi Consular and I must say that I don’t really like neither the Jedi nor the Sith as organisations go in interpreting how to relate to the Force – they are both different extremes in a way. Sith is a bit too much about letting strong emotions like fear and hatred guide you. The Jedi on the other seems to go more along the path of absence of emotions and seems to be a bit too much like a religious sect. But perhaps because of that they do provide a good base for making stories where charactes can either try to find a middle ground path, or head all the way towards either of the extremes.

While I am not sure there is a huge amount of choice in how much you can actually evolve the story, Bioware certainly provides a good illusion and excellent story-telling elements. There are other elements of the game that I am not too keen about, but the story releated pieces are quite enjoyable.

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