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Reader Comments (11)

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 2:01PM kjhasdfjkhk said

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First of all, Bioware has essentially been making the same game for decades, let's all admit that and get it out of the way with. It is always about "the hero of the galaxy and/or hero of whatever world the game takes place in". You have your crew who you can talk to and find out more about if you so choose. You have your moral choices (implemented lately in the form of the conversation wheel), you have your romances and you have very similar challenges to overcome and threats to face. Take the classic "quarantine" example. How many different Bioware games contain a section of a city that is under quarantine because of a virus outbreak and you have to go in and find out what happened and how to save it? Pretty much every one that I can think of, and you can bet your booties they'll have that in TOR as well.

They are good developers, don't get me wrong, but this is nothing new from them, and honestly it's nothing new for MMOs. Everyone always starts out their journey to become the "best of the best". The only variable is at what point in the story this actually happens. Some games have you starting out as a superhero from the get-go (literally in the case of DCUO, for example). You always get more powerful because there always needs to be some kind of progression in the game. In TOR, you might start out as one of the best of the best, but you will continue to grow stronger throughout the game, but that doesn't mean you start out as the best of the best. Take the Jedi and Sith intros for example. You begin the game while still in training and don't even have your own lightsaber yet. How are you TEH BESTEST JEDI EVAR if you don't even have your own lightsaber? Sure, you become that over the course of the game, but don't you become the best warrior in the course of any other MMO? Isn't it your ultimate goal, within the context of the story or not, to become the best of the best? Even if you consider yourself the best, aren't there 500 people running around at the same level as you with all the same abilities and the same armor and weapons as you?

Like I said, this is nothing new and I don't see it as being a problem. In your eyes, sure, you might be the best of the best, but in reality you are one of many best of the bests, which in turn theoretically just makes you average because you are the same as everyone else. Yeah, you are doing amazing things across the galaxy, but so is everyone else. This, in my mind, would make it easier to roleplay an average Joe rather than the saviour of the galaxy.

The one thing I am a bit miffed about is the fact that, since they are adding so much story, the game is essentially telling you who you are rather than letting you decide for yourself who you are. As for the whole grouping up thing, think of it this way. Even the best baseball player in the world can't win against an entire team by himself. There are some missions or quests that, regardless of how good you are, you simply cannot do alone and therefore seek out aid to help you in those missions.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 2:14PM Interitus said

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@kjhasdfjkhk

It's more restrictive then story who tells you who you are. You have to pick a backstory from your class. That backstory determines the race. (quite similar to DAO).

A problem I have with the story is that it doesn't really matter. Nothing actually changes from my actions. Guild Wars 2 on the other hand has an interesting approach to giving your actions more meaning
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Posted: Jan 18th 2011 2:26PM Larry Everett said

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@kjhasdfjkhk

There is actually a whole cycle to the issue and it really has nothing to do with how interesting the game play is. Conan has some awesome roleplayers, but few of them actually incorporate the game story into their stories -- except maybe in the broadest sense. I will just hate to do that same thing in a game that actually has a great an compelling story just because they set my character up as the savior of the universe or something.

"You're the savior of the galaxy? No, no. I'm the savior of the galaxy!"
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Posted: Jan 18th 2011 3:01PM BigAndShiny said

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@kjhasdfjkhk
Exactly. Yes i can save the world, yes i need to recruit this and this person
"OMG!!!! OMG!!!! LOL i just found out that ***** betrays you!!!! epic!!!!!"
immersion kill.
And then, there;s 500 people with the same companion as you, all running the same missions and the same stories. Sure, there are other people playing Mass Effect, but they aren't part of MY game. The 500 others ARE.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2011 3:55PM kjhasdfjkhk said

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@BigAndShiny

That's why they are offering a diverse bunch of companions for every class, and you can customize their gear and such. I know that doesn't make them completely unique, but I think of companions in this game sort of like "pets" in others. No one complains where there are 500 hunters running around with a wolf pet, or 1000 necromancers running around with the same looking skeleton. Besides, I don't think companions will be used much in groups (as far as I know you can only use them when you are solo, but I could be wrong).
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Posted: Jan 18th 2011 4:08PM kjhasdfjkhk said

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@Larry Everett

I don't think it will be as black and white as you are making it seem (unless you know something I don't, which is entirely possible). I don't think every Jedi coming out of the academy is going to be told before they go out into the world that they are the galaxy's one and only hope and future of all things rests on their shoulders. I would assume, at most, they would make you out to be an elite soldier, part of an overall army or faction (Republic, for example) and you can make a difference in your own way, but not that you will eventually become the leader of said faction or army and ultimately become the ruler of the galaxy. It seems silly if they would make every story into that. If it were the case, it just begs the question, why would they make an MMO in the first place? I'm guessing because they saw how much money Blizzard was raking in and wanted a piece of it, but I don't think they would make the entire game only applicable to people who enjoy single-player RPGs and everyone else who doesn't like it can bugger off.

I do know what you mean about the story and I hear you as a fellow roleplayer. Telling tales of your grand exploits only to have another Bounty Hunter beside you say he did the exact same thing can get a little tiresome, but that's not to say that you can't make up stories for other things that you may not have physically done in the game, but your character has done in his backstory (or even current-story that is of your creation but not necessarily what has actually happened throughout the game). My plan personally is to create a character, rather than a story, and deal with situations I am put into as story segments arise and deal with them in the way my created character would deal with them. Everything else in the middle, I have no problem with making up from scratch, which in all honesty is what roleplayers do in all MMOs that aren't story-driven.

I think my best advice would be to run with a group of friends who you also roleplay with through the majority of the game content. That way, the people you talk to who have also experienced the same content as you will have experienced it WITH you, so it's a lot easier to wrap your head around the fact that two people did the exact same thing.

But again, that leads me back to my initial point that this is nothing new. Even in a non-voiced game where people skip quest text, they still complete the same tasks as anyone else. If you tell someone you just collected 10 pumpkins for some farmer down the road, they can tell you that they just did that exact same thing themselves. I don't really see much difference other than the fact that your character is voiced and talking to quest givers, but again, you can choose (to an extent) the way they react in situations and what they choose to say; decisions which are made based on the personality you choose for your character.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2011 9:07PM boytype said

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@kjhasdfjkhk Its called The Heros Journey. Author Joseph Campbell, who was also a fairly renowned professor of social anthropology and comparative religion and mythology, wrote a book called Hero with A Thousand Faces in 1949.

It was the first part of his life long study of the Hero figures and situations that were common among an incredibly wide range of dissimilar cultures from all over the world, and how there seems to be an almost unprecedented level of commonality among the stories that we as humans choose to tell, and about the figures that are the focus of these stories.

His monomyth, as it has been called, can very easily be seen in the vast majority of fantasy fiction, modern films, and possibly most transparently in games. and George Lucas has said it was one of his primary inspirations for the original star wars trilogy many hundred times over.

so you cant really bag on BioWare for using it as a framework for the stories of their games. 80%+ of all stories told through modern media (Games, Movies, TV shows, Books, Theater) do the same thing.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2011 3:18PM bleed0range said

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Look, all MMOS do this for the most part like said above. You are not starting out at the very best but to be considered "one of the best" or "has the most potential" type character. Your objective through the story is to become the VERY best at what you do. Boba Fett is not the only amazing Bounty Hunter. IG-88 and others are also out there.

When I log into SWG's Tansarii station the NPCs there say my character name like I'm some kind of hot shot. The whole beginning tries to paint you as some kind of "more important than others" character, the Empire is after you. When you arrive on Tatooine you don't have a speeder, you are at the beginning of what you are doing. The "story" in SWG doesn't lend much after that to your character itself, but you have to put it out of your mind that every other player is doing the same quests, with the same abilities as you. There isn't much story in SWG, there will be more in SWTOR. So basically you have to just forget that every character is playing the same thing when it comes to roleplay. I mean, that's technically true for any MMO.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 3:39PM nomoredroids said

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I can't figure out why Bioware is making an MMO if they're going to have everybody be "the best." The thing that's aggravating about MMOs is that they all try to squish single-player stories into a massive game world. It's silly.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 8:06PM DancingCow said

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SWTOR has me hooked for gameplay, particularly the fact that very few abilities have cooldowns so it's more a matter of me playing the game than playing UI whack-a-mole driven by cooldowns.

The story part will be a bit of a side-dish - though I agree with the author that it does create a bit of a schism for every player to be 'the best' in an online environment.

But in eg. WoW and nearly every other MMO on the market, players enter the same dungeon repeatedly and slay the same 'unique' boss mobs multiple times. How realistic is that?

And literally millions of players help the same NPCs retrieve the same lost objects which they always lose in the exact same place.

Suspension of disbelief kicks in for these scenarios and I'm pretty sure it will for SWTOR's everyone-is-the-best problem.

Posted: Jan 19th 2011 4:12PM Existentialist said

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Perhaps the game you're looking for is really EVE online?

While the lore says we are indeed Gods among men, most of us aren't Gods among Gods, and that is really the part that counts.

Let me quote Digital Communist, an EVE online player that put it better than I can put it and the quote seems to fit this article.

"Here's a shocking truth about EVE:

You are not guaranteed to make money, or advance in the game. You are not entitled to skillpoints, shiny toys, good relationships and a wonderful e-reputation. You are only entitled to a newbie ship, basic clone and complimentary unit of tritanium. When some other player gets in your way, they aren't actually robbing you of something you were promised for your $15/month. CCP only promise access to the server, to play under the same set of rules and tools as everyone else. If you fail at it completely, you can't cry about it to GMs.

The simple solution to someone killing you and making you miserable is to kill them more, kill them harder, and inflict ten times the suffering they wished upon you. Then when you've done all that, make a post about it and have a giant community-wide circlejoyfest at their expense. Release branded merchandise of your holy crusade, and generally profit from their miscalculation in every concievable way because someone who insists on being feared and hated is only beaten when you become far more terrifying at the same game."

See in EVE you can fail. You aren't the best unless you are the best.

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