virtualvoyages: an old worn book on a black back ground, a glow at one corner of the book (Default)
 I apologize for having sort of dropped of the face of the Earth.  First it was writer's block, then my state was on fire... you know how it is.  (Okay, my state is still on fire, just not where I am.  At the moment.)

In the meantime, enjoy(?) some of my artwork in a meme I found in a SW:TOR fan group over on deviantART.  (I have a long ways to go to be good at art, but I'm fairly certain I've gotten past the Vogon poetry equivalent stage of art.  At least I hope I have.  I take no responsibility if your eyeballs flee in horror.)

Also, fair warning, my sense of humor may at times only make sense to me.  (I r weird.)

Art-like thing with SW:TOR characters.

If you have a deviantART, feel free to comment there (or here).  If not, I'm afraid deviantART doesn't allow visiting comments, so comment away here. :)

The aurebesh in #10 reads "Casino Royale" (as in the 2006 movie).

(The events of which would be a reason to say "no," yes?  ...  No? ... I did warn you my sense of humor may only make sense to me.)
virtualvoyages: an old worn book on a black back ground, a glow at one corner of the book (Default)
Obviously, all the plots in an MMORPG are going to be railroad plots (and much of the time in tabletop gaming as well, really), but there's still the matter of whether one feels railroaded or not. Or at least as if one bought the ticket to where the train is going, as opposed to finding out that somehow your ticket to Orlando was now a ticket to Juneau or London or Nairobi. (Halp! This train is teleporting!)

Most of the time, despite inherently having less choice than a tabletop game (where, say, one's Jedi could devote his or her life to correcting the wrongs the Republic is committing, or one's Bounty Hunter could decide that, actually, they'd rather become a rescuer of folks kidnapped by the assorted despicable governments, or whatever), SW:TOR does a great job of presenting stories that flow naturally and feel as if they contain real choices (even if those choices often lack the consequences they really should carry). But sometimes, they flub up badly.

And they - in my opinion anyway - flubbed in Chapter one of the Bounty Hunter and in Chapter Two of the Jedi Knight

Spoilers under )
virtualvoyages: an old worn book on a black back ground, a glow at one corner of the book (Default)
So, let's just pretend I haven't not posted here in ages.  Still here.  Still playing SW:TOR.  Still writing...or trying to write...or something.

Brief non-spoilery sum-up: the romances in SW:TOR are kind of strange, some of the storylines have plans that really make no sense in them, both factions are evil as frak, and I still love the hell out of the game.  (Though I have a bit of a problem with the flat out black vs. black story.)

Spoiler babbling follows. You have been warned. )
virtualvoyages: an old worn book on a black back ground, a glow at one corner of the book (Default)
First, the nonspoilery review of the two classes I've finished (and they will come as a surprise to no one).

Agent: Totally awesome!  Epic fun spy fiction along the lines of James Bond (though less ruthless if you play Light Side).  Oddly enough, quite possibly the furthest to the Idealism side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs Cynicism, if played Light Side.  The vast majority of LS choices line up nicely with good (though I will note that many only work because this is an idealistic story as you are frequently endangering your mission by being LS) and it is tropetastic in the best possible sense.

Smuggler: I love the dialogue options, but the story did not hold up at all well. I felt like it's twists were more on the order of retcons and the story just felt a bit generic.  (Rather than centered on you/your chosen career the way the Agent story is.)  While it still has a number of LS choices that are on the idealistic side and the story itself could still be argued to be, it's set in a not-so-idealistic world.

Now for the more spoilery class reviews and some tweaks that I think would have made the game a ton better.


Spoilers under cut )

virtualvoyages: an old worn book on a black back ground, a glow at one corner of the book (Default)
First, let me apologize for the long pause in writing! I am so sorry, life and a bit of writer's block has slowed me down. I will get the rest of "Conflicts of Interest" written, I promise!


I don't remember exactly when last December I started playing. I know it was slightly after launch, though by game time I was in it from the beginning. I had to replace my computer in order to play (except for the video card) and I know we didn't get the new one made until after the game launched. In any event, I've been playing for about a year, and loving it. Best. MMO. Ever. (That I have played, anyway.)

So... my one year commentary. The game is mostly awesome, but with a few things I wish were different.

I burbble about the game )
*The fact that I can't decide if the game is presenting a conflict that is Black and White (but with a lot of good people on the wrong side and a lot of evil people on the good side) or Black and Black (with a lot of hapless good people caught up in it) or meant to be Black and White and the writers failed hard makes my fan fic very hard to write sometimes. In fact, that's why I'm having writer's block at the moment, I think. My knowledge of the world is interfering with my characters making in character decisions. They don't have my knowledge, though. They don't know about Belsavis and a whole bunch of other stuff. Argl.

virtualvoyages: an old worn book on a black back ground, a glow at one corner of the book (Default)
In which I ramble about bounty hunters in Star Wars, Boba Fett, and why I've decided to go with logic, rather than canon, in my fanficing. (Which, yes, I'm still doing. I've just been eaten by moving.)

I've been playing SW:TOR and loving it (obviously), as have a number of my friends. We're all Star Wars fans anyway, and the fun we've been having with the MMO prompted us to break out the old D20 Star Wars RPG and have ourselves a game over the internet (we're spread across two states - and even those of us in the same state live in two different cities). We're playing in an AU based off one of the Infinities comics - the New Hope one, I think.

Following my usual tendency to make the most useful of characters*, I'm playing a gambler with the attention span of a squirrel and an affinity for walking into obvious traps (especially when pretty girls are involved). The rest of the party consists of a deserter from the Empire, a mechanic, a drunken Force user, an escaped pleasure slave (who is almost certainly more than she seems), a rebel soldier (or a soldier from what's left of the rebellion, anyway), and a bounty hunter.

It's the last character on the list that prompted this post. You see, the player decided her awesome bounty hunter should have the exact same armor as Boba Fett. Which sounds like a great idea on the surface. You know, before one actually looks at Boba Fett's armor and all it contains and has attached to it. (And, no, I'm not talking about the Wookiee scalps.) I'm beginning to think we should've linked her Cracked's Boba Fett rant. Though, given that she replicated Boba Fett's armor after reading the description of it in one of the source books, it might be a lost cause.

What's wrong with Boba Fett's armor, you ask? EVERYTHING. Even if we skip the fact that he looks rather like a space hobo (seriously, have moths been at his cape?), the dude made some really bad choices.

- He's got pockets at shin level in his pants - which means he can only reach what's in them by bending over or dropping to one knee (not the best choice for a man in a dangerous line of work).

- He has a wrist mounted flame thrower that (at least according to the game source book) is fed from the fuel for his jet pack. Which couldn't possibly backfire horribly. Oh no.

- His jet pack also has missile/grappling hook launcher - because a jet pack is totally where I'd want to launch things from, what with the flammable fuel and all.

- And, speaking of flammable, the guy is wearing a cape with his jetpack. A CAPE!? There's a whole new "No capes!" waiting to happen. (And why has no one fan-arted this?) But that's not the worst!

- The worst, the winner of the "what was Boba thinking!?" award, is the fact that he has rocket darts on his knees.

That's right, guys. Boba Fett has the ability to fire darts with his knees. How, Mr. Fett, do you plan on aiming those? Your eyes are waaaaay up here on your head. Unless you're keeping a second set somewhere else, I'm thinking those darts don't hit their target very often. (Though I desperately want to go all Mythbusters and build kneepad dart launchers and test their aim. Desperately.)

So, yeah, my friend and fellow player read up all that at and just copied it for her character. Knee darts, high likelihood of self-immolation and all. I expect hilarity when she uses the knee darts.

But I can't blame her too much. Lucas and co. came up with that mess and, apparently, no one ever went "Cape and jetpack, whut?" or "Knee darts!? bwahahahahaha" at any point during the design process. This was clearly pure rule of cool with no thought at all for how any of it would actually work. After all, we were treated to another bit of rule of cool/lack of thought with the whole "No disintegration." line.

How the frak are you supposed to collect a bounty on someone you've disintegrated? You can't even prove that they're dead, much less that you killed them. (There is a part of me that wonders if Karrels Javis saying that people will probably think he was disintegrated if your Agent spares him on Hutta in SW:TOR was a writer's subtle poke at the whole disintegrating people thing.) And, besides, bounty hunters aren't, technically, assassins in the first place.

Or at least, they're not supposed to be. The lore suggests they're not (see the Bounty Hunter's Creed), the dialogue in SW:TOR suggests they're not. And yet, there's very little non-lethal weaponry for bounty hunting in either the d20 game or in SW:TOR. Hell, the only non-lethal weaponry my SW:TOR bounty hunter has (so far, anyway) are her electro darts. That's it. And those, by all logic, shouldn't work on people in heavy armor, being darts and all. (Though at least they're wrist fired, not knee fired.)

This has lead to my having to re-equip my SW:TOR bounty hunter for her appearance in my fanfics. She needs to be armed mainly with non-lethal weaponry: the electro darts, flash grenades, stun baton...some sort of ion weapon for shorting out droids or power armor, perhaps a sonic weapon, sticky foam... you know, things you'd actually use to capture someone. Ironically, re-outfitting her makes her more dangerous as a fanfic character, since Plot Armor doesn't work on non-lethal measures (something you'd think savvy villains would take advantage of).

And, no, she does not wear a cape with her jetpack. No flaming "No capes!" moment for her.

Damn, now I want to go fanfic.

And draw Boba Fett's flaming "No capes!" moment.

And build knee darts.

Knee darts. Bwahahahahahahaha!


*Someday, I really should try to come up with a complete badass in some game, somewhere. I always play the comic relief, the voice of reason, or both. Though I suspect that any attempt to make a complete badass would simply result my making a comic relief character with skilz. Look at my writing! My characters suffer from badass decay (or at least get handed the dude in distress ball) by the time I start writing about them! The real problem, of course, is that I prefer characters who are awesome and fallible. That second part tends to punt them out of badass territory.
virtualvoyages: A woman with brown hair and small tattoos under her eyes faces the viewer (Captain Jezari)
I don't care who tries to tell you what about Taris, stay away from it. It's a rakghoul infested cesspit and I don't want to have to come smuggle your ass off it because you fell for the brochures and now Governor Asshole won't let you leave.  I mean it.  There is nothing there except swamp, rakghouls, pirates and toxic waste.  And people who fell for the brochures.

The customs official's a jerk, the governor just cares what it looks like to the people back home, and the soldiers have been stuck there so long they're losing it.  The damn planet needs warning beacons, not resettlement.

Seriously, I don't care if your great-great-great-great grandwhatever had land there, it's not worth it. 

Not than anybody'll listen to me.

Damn being an upstanding citizen.

virtualvoyages: Young woman with brown hair, almond eyes, and a slightly rounded face (Novani)
I'm now a full fledged Jedi, although I still have so many questions I'm not sure I'm worthy of that title, yet.  Master Yuon is gravely ill, and I'm accompanying her to Coruscant, where surely they can save her.  Qyzen is here, too.  Not only is he worried about Master Yuon, but he's decided I'm the Herald of the Scorekeeper - the Trandoshan goddess.

I don't know how I feel about that.  I'm flattered, though I shouldn't be, but Qyzen has seen and done so much that it means a lot for him to think so highly of me.  And it seems even more arrogant to be sure he's wrong.  Perhaps a young Jedi could gain the favor of his goddess, maybe even as a way for her to help him.  Poor Qyzen felt so dishonored by being captured alive by Nalan, I was really worried about him for a while.  Being captured alive is the worst thing that can happen to a Trandoshan.  But now, he feels he can regain his honor - his points - by accompanying me.  I can't actually think of a better guide and teacher, now, than Master Yuon herself, if she recovers.  No, she must recover.  She's too wise and too important.  And I like her.

Though something of a Jedi can remain after death.  I spoke to Rajivari.  To his...his force ghost.  He wasn't what I expected.  He helped me to stop Nalan, and he gave me a lot to think about.

I've done so much.  The Council agreed to help Nalan, and the pilgrims, and even, in a way, the Flesh Raiders.  And yet, there's still so much I don't know and so many things I don't quite understand.  But with the Force and Qyzen to guide me, maybe I can be everything I'd hoped a Jedi could be.

virtualvoyages: A youngish man with dark hair has his head slightly cocked to one side (Kyrian)
One cannot refuse the Sith, so when one asked me to investigate a cult of force users, I complied.  This cult has a "secret" compound not far from the city and has apparently been drawing both Sith and Jedi to it.  As the only force users I've met who weren't highly unpleasant were neither, I can't say I was looking forward to infiltrating a compound of both.

The cult proved to have no concept of secrecy at all, and might as well have posted welcome signs.  They are also, as far as I can tell, completely insane.  They worship a long-dead Sith named Revan, who apparently began his force using career as a Jedi, and have found an altar in a cave near their encampment.  This altar supposedly cleanses their initiates through death.

What it actually does is force lightning one into unconsciousness.  Have I mentioned my growing dislike for force lightning?

Between their unusual use of an ancient security system and the number of battles to the death an initiate has to fight before becoming a full member of their organization, I'd already decided they were no threat to the Empire by the time I meet their leader.  (By my calculation, at the rate the group shrinks with each new member, they should have eliminated themselves by the end of the year.)  As it turns out, the group believes that the Emperor is Revan, and that he's currently imprisoned by the Dark Council.  (The latter isn't impossible.  The Dark Council has far more control than it should.  The former is doubtful, to say the least.)  I would deem them loyal, if extremely misguided.

However, they did provide an opportunity to sow dissension among the Sith.  That might technically be treason, but I believe it's for the good of the Empire.  We would be much better off without the Dark Council's influence, and the Sith are the best weapon against the Sith that we have.

I can at least hope that the new conflict among the Sith will distract Jadus.  That would be to Imperial Intelligence's advantage, as well as my own.


virtualvoyages: A woman with brown hair and small tattoos under her eyes faces the viewer (Captain Jezari)
It'd make me feel all charitable if Coruscant hadn't turned out to be such a dung heap.  And if that lying thieving traitor Skavak hadn't gotten away.  Now he thinks he's hunting me.  I can't wait for him to catch up.  If all the other people he's conned don't catch up to him first.  He was even trading with the Empire!  What an idiot.

He left me another of his girlfriends on my ship.  She seems to think she can order me around just because she's got a line on some dead guy's fortune.  It must be pretty good or Skavak wouldn't have put up with her.  I'll work with her, but if she keeps acting like I'm the hired help, I'm dropping her on the next planet and she can sell her pretty jewelry to get home.

Between her and Corso, I'm thinking about buying ear plugs.

I'd rather work with those crazy droids the Republic's trying to ally with.  They were even starting to make sense.  Or poor Miel.  You know it says something when I'd actually think about teaming up with a cop.  Damn Skavak.  That's another dead guy he's responsible for.  If Skavak does catch up to me, I'll get revenge for him.  Nicest cop I ever met.
virtualvoyages: Young woman with brown hair, almond eyes, and a slightly rounded face (Novani)
I know we're supposed to be serene, never passionate, but forbidding love seems wrong.  Love is a good thing, isn't it?  And if you don't love - if you don't care about people - isn't that the Dark Side?  I don't understand.

And some of the masters are... not what I expected.  They're so judgmental and... I don't know.  They're more like bureaucrats than scholars.  It doesn't feel right.

I'm so confused.

Why doesn't the council allow us to properly protect the Twi'lek pilgrims?  I know they're here illegally, but that shouldn't matter.  And if we had, then one wouldn't have stolen Rajivari's holocron and be going down the dark path.  Doesn't that make it our fault?  Something we should have prevented?

I will have to meditate.  Or ask my master.  Or one of the other masters who are more like what I expected.  Maybe Master Quilb or Master Till'in.  Maybe they can make it seem right.

virtualvoyages: an old worn book on a black back ground, a glow at one corner of the book (Default)

As I said in a previous post, I think SW:TOR has killed WoW for me. I am loving having a voice acted story so much that I don't think I can go back. I'll put up with it so I can hang out with my superheroes, but even that will be hard. The moment someone makes a superhero MMO along the lines of SW:TOR, I'm remaking Keith, Raizel, and Kit (Crystal Avenger) in it - assuming I can make a not physically intimidating inventor, a demon-looking girl* with fire powers, and a teenager with dark-looking powers. None of those seem particularly far fetched (see also the fact that I've made them in two superhero MMOs so far with no difficulty at all). So, MMO makers out there, I can haz, plz?

Speaking of things I'd like to haz, the measure of a mook problem irks me slightly when there's an actual story. I know it's, sadly, in genre for my agent to blast his way in to the villain's lair and then try to get the villain to surrender or give up villainy.   Actually, I take it back, the latter part isn't in genre at all, whether we're talking James Bond movies or Star Wars. It is something I like about the game, even if the bad guys keep answering attempted diplomacy with blaster fire. I'd like it even better if, once in a while, the bad guy actually came quietly or gave Kyrian a good reason to let zir go.** I'd also really like it if Kyrian could break into enemy strongholds in some way more subtle than blasting his way in. I know one version of the agent class has stealth, but the game - like City of Heroes - isn't really designed for people to skip most of the fighting. So even if the stealth were as good as in CoH, it wouldn't really be a good solution.

I wonder if one could design an MMO (or other game) that wasn't quite so centered around blasting everything. I'd love to run around sneaking into places, using disguises and breaking and entering and secret passages and whatnot, getting the villain alone in zir study... and proposing that zie give up villainy. Even if 75% of the time zir response was to shoot at me. I think there actually are single player games like that, but single player games don't let you create your own character, generally.

Part of the mook problem for superhero games, at least,  could be solved just by making a Bioware one. You just have options after fighting into the supervillain lair to, depending on the kind of hero you are, call the police and medics in, make an anonymous tip to 911 (effectively the same, but for unauthorized superheroes), or just walk out because you're the Punisher type and don't care about that stuff. Or something along those lines, anyway. (The fact that people can somehow have non-fatal battles while throwing fire and lightning and such like around is a staple of comic books, so I'm not going to worry about exactly how it is that Raizel isn't incinerating her foes. Because comic books, that's why.)

And, of course, if one tied leveling up to something besides defeating enemies, like, perhaps getting all one's points from quests, you could give people options of sneaking into places vs. walking in the front door without penalizing one of the choices. Hell, I wouldn't mind a game that let one get into places like Tom Baker's Doctor Who generally did. The high point of which was when he (I'm pretty sure it was him and not Peter Davison's doctor) walked up to the front door of some place and said: "Hello, I'm an enemy spy. :) "

Yes, I realize that solely quest based leveling isn't fair to people who don't like doing quests, but what the heck are they doing playing a story-centered game? That's like signing up to play tennis, but not wanting to hit a ball back and forth with a racket. Really, people.

I wonder what would happen if a game made *talk your way in*, *sneak your way in*, *get yourself captured and free yourself*, and *fight your way in* all equally valid and entertaining options.  I have this suspicion that *fight your way in* would rapidly become the least used option, simply because the others would be new and different.  And there may be other people like me who've been longing for options.



* Just realized both of my female superheroes are teens, while my male superhero (who isn't super) is an adult. *frowny face* I don't know whether to be concerned about that or not. Keith isn't exactly old and wise - he's small and thin and doesn't really know how to fight and he runs around fighting supervillains because he can, thanks to his inventions. He may be an adult simply because my mind said he needed more time to get good at inventing, while Raizel has natural powers she's spent her whole life using and Kit just had to get used to weird meteorite power (she's still working on the costume design part). But I digress.



** Holy Spoilers Batman!
In the first Imperial flashpoint, I actually wanted an option to let the guy we were supposed to capture go and fake his death or something. He made some very good arguments regarding what he was doing. Of course, that would require the whole group to conspire to commit treason, which would take some brave and reckless Imperials indeed. Would still be an awesome addition to the options. *Take Him Prisoner* *Fake His Death And Let Him Go* *Kill Him*
virtualvoyages: A woman with brown hair and small tattoos under her eyes faces the viewer (Captain Jezari)
I rescued a hacker from... actually, I don't even know where to begin on the situation here.  Coruscant is just as corrupt and messed up as Ord Mantell.  Maybe worse.  Everything's all sparkly if you've got money, but if you're a refugee, forget about you.  This is why I just do my thing.  The Republic's a crock.

So, I rescued a hacker.  Skavak had paid her to make his past go away.  I got her to put his past back, and then some.  Now he won't be able to walk past a checkpoint without being jumped by the Republic.  And he can't go to his underworld contacts because Kixi also fixed it so he looks like a snitch, or worse.

That'll drive him out.  Then I just have to nab him before somebody else does.  Or find my ship and steal it back while he's busy being a tug of war rope.

As long as he pays and I get my ship back, it's all good.
virtualvoyages: A youngish man with dark hair has his head slightly cocked to one side (Kyrian)
I learned a valuable lesson today: it is unwise to show too little respect to a Sith.  Darth Jadus seems to believe he can requisition me as if I were a piece of equipment, or a slave.  I work for the Empire, for Imperial Intelligence, not for the Sith, and no amount of force lightning will change that.  Though it does bloody hurt.

I regret my earlier flippancy about the possibility of the Sith finding ways to execute me for a hundred years.  I believe they actually could.  At the very least, I'm certain they have ways of prolonging an execution over the rest of my natural life.  It's an inspiration to make absolutely certain I am never caught doing anything questionable.

I will try to be more circumspect in my future dealings with Jadus, but even Keeper seems none too fond of the man.  Though Keeper may not be fond of anyone.  He is unusually displeased with Jadus's attention to Intelligence, I'm certain of that.  I wonder he knows exactly what Jadus is up to.  I know Keeper isn't concerned about the fate of a junior field agent, even one as competent as I am.

My mission has provided a little compensation, though, in the form of an inventor's beautiful daughter.  She's rather spoiled, and I fear she may shortly become an orphan, as her father has made some very poor choices, but she proved a most pleasant way to gather information.  I hope I can reason with her father.  I really do prefer diplomatic solutions.

And now, I'd best be diplomatic with Kaliyo.  She was amused by my meeting with Jadus, but I don't think she was entirely pleased by my meeting with the inventor's daughter.  Though she may have hoped I would ask her to join us.
virtualvoyages: Young woman with brown hair, almond eyes, and a slightly rounded face (Novani)
I arrived on Tython today to begin my training as a Jedi.  I'm so excited, it's all I can do not to go around grinning.  I must try to remember that passion is not the Jedi way.  But it's so hard.  This is what I've wanted, all my life.  And I'm finally here!

The planet is beautiful and Master Yuon Par seems very nice.  I think I'll like training with her.  The only bad thing is that there are savages here, called Flesh Raiders, who are a threat to the temple and us students.  We're safe enough in groups or with our masters, but alone it can be dangerous.

Still, I'm so happy to be here!  No, I must remember that I will be a Jedi.  I must meditate and learn to remain calm, no matter how happy I am.  There is no passion, there is serenity.
virtualvoyages: A woman with brown hair and small tattoos under her eyes faces the viewer (Captain Jezari)
I'm chasing my ship all over the damned galaxy.  And now I've got a pet farm boy.  Just what I wanted.  Okay, he's not really a farm boy, but sometimes he acts like it.  Good in a fight, though.  And knows some interesting people.

Skavak - the damned ship thief - managed to get off planet with my ship.  Turns out he's not a separatist.  He double crossed them, too.  I don't know what he's up to, but he's going to be sorry he ever met me.  And even sorrier he stole my ship.

Getting off planet was a trick, even with the spaceport open again.  There's a bounty on my head now, thanks to Skavak.  And it turns out he was playing Viidu's girlfriend, too.  Only it turns out she wasn't Viidu's girlfriend, she was Skavak's.  Before he ditched her, anyway.

And, yeah, I mean was.  She shot Viidu when he caught her talking to the separatists.  So I shot her.  Maybe it wasn't right, but I couldn't just let her walk out of there.  Not after what she did.  If she'd just tried to get me killed, okay, she didn't succeed, fine, she can walk.  But Viidu was harmless.  All he wanted to do was survive this mess.  And she shot him for no good reason.  I don't care what he walked in on, that was her mistake, and she could've talked her way out of it.  She sure tried to talk me into letting her go.

Damn Skavak.  If he hadn't stolen my ship, Viidu would still be alive.  And so would Syreena.

I need a drink.  I need several drinks.

And my ship back.
virtualvoyages: an old worn book on a black back ground, a glow at one corner of the book (Default)
As you can tell, I've been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic.

And it is AWESOME!  Seriously, it's as if they read my mind for what I thought was desperately missing in MMOs and added about 90% of it.  I am having so much fun, it is unbelievable.  Granted, I am a soloer mostly in MMOs and I'm not sure how well this very story oriented MMO lends itself to grouping, other than with people who are equally interested in the story and who plan to make similar choices.  I've grouped with friends for a flashpoint (dungeon equivalent) and it was fun, but I really don't see myself grouping with random people unless it's for extremely specific things (needing to kill a particular person, say) and then ungrouping immediately.  Though, as this is how I've played in every MMO but City of Heroes pre-veteran rewards, it makes little difference to me.  It might to a more social MMO player.

Though, on that subject, there seems to be actual roleplaying going on in SW:TOR!  So if you've always wanted to roleplay in your MMOs, hop on an RP server and join an RP guild and have at it.  People asking about RP in chat on the two servers I play on (Vrook Lamar and Kath Hound) have been met with variants on "Sure, let's group up" or "I hear guild name does a lot of RP, check them out."  Need I say how different from WoW, at least, this is?  (Which is not to say that there aren't RP guilds in WoW.  There are.  But the general populous, even on RP servers is not friendly to RP.)

I honestly can't decide whether I'm having more fun Galactic Republic side or Sith Empire side (the game is set some ludicrous number of centuries before the movies).  I'm playing a somewhat cynical but basically decent smuggler (Even if she has gotten a few dark side points.) Republic side and she's only getting more and more disillusioned with the Republic.  Empire side I'm playing an agent, who's half-way James Bond of the Sith Empire and half-way a completely soft-hearted traitor.  (I've made all light side choices with him.  It's fun.  And funny, since he's disobeyed orders and done other things that would make Imperial Command not happy.)  Also, if I'm allowed to be an incredible girl for a moment, the voice acting for the male agent is hot.  (Or maybe I'm just a sucker for British accents.)

I should probably explain light and dark side options.  You have dialogues with NPCs for and during quests - not cut scenes like in WoW's Uldum, where you have no input into what happens - but cinematics with dialogue options (like, as far as I can tell, Bioware's other games).  Most of the time, the three options are neutral as far as light side/dark side goes (though very different in flavor), but some of the choices will give you light or dark side points.  For example, my agent had a side quest to stop a woman's husband from running away with her son, who's force sensitive.  He talked to the dad, who made the argument that going to the Sith Academy would either kill the boy or turn him into a monster (the dad was a runaway from the Sith Academy himself).  My agent had the options to kill the father and bring the boy back to his mom to go to the Sith Academy (dark side) or let the father and boy go and lie to the mom (light side).  The Force clearly has no problem with lying.  (And neither does my agent.)

I haven't gotten far enough to know if there are actual storyline differences depending on your choices in the class quests.  I hope there are, but just the flavor differences should make the game replayable in the same class, provided one picks different options.  If there are, then it's got 95% of what I've always wanted in an MMO.  The only thing missing would be different ways of doing quests, though it borders on that at times.  It is so incredibly close to My Ideal MMO.

Now that I've squeeed, I should probably address my minor complaints.  The body-type options leave something to be desired.  Men get to be pre-teen-sized (seriously, the smallest body type looks about twelve to me), "average" (I'll get back to this in a second), superheroic, and fat...if a bit linebackery fat.  Women get to be petite, average (in the sense of typical fictional portrayal of an adventuring woman), a bit Amazon, and chubby.  Personally, I'd throw in several more body types on both genders - men need a small but adult, or at least late teens looking body (an equivalent of the female petite body, basically), a heroic body (between average and superheroic, which is a little "you did steroids, didn't you?"), and a chubby body.  Women need a pre-teen body if the guys are going to get them, a really Amazon body (equivalent to the male superheroic), and a truly fat body to go with what the guys have.  Then the body types would cover a really good range.

Ah, yes, I said I was going to get back to the male "average" body.  I discovered, in looking something up, that the agent's first companion is supposedly five feet tall.  This makes my male agent maybe five nine at most.  (It's very difficult to get one's character to stand next to their companion, so I had to use a line on a wall to compare them.  He might be as little as six inches taller than her.  I am amused.)  Apparently people in the Star Wars universe are a little on the short side for MMO characters.  (If he is five nine, I think that would make him average height in the real world.)  Granted, what I'm calling "average" is still a somewhat slender build.  But it's closer to what one might consider average out here in the real world than any of the other male bodies.  And the female "average" body looks about my size.  I think.  (At this point, if my smuggler turns out to be five foot, I'm not going to be surprised.)

So, we need more body types.  We also need more attractive faces for the men.  (And intentionally ugly faces for everyone.  Not everyone wants to play attractive people.)  As will surprise no one, all of the female faces are attractive.  About half of the male faces are kinda funny looking.  (Unless they look fine on one of the other three bodies...  The faces do change slightly depending on the body you pick.)  It would also be nice if the "complexion" tab wasn't also the eyebrow choice tab.  Basically, the game needs a few more character customization options.  It isn't bad, but it isn't as good as it could be.

Also, we need more player character species.  All of the species from the movies are in game, but we can only play species that amount to "various colors of human."  Twi'lek are the most non-human of our choices, and they're not that non-human.  I know they chose only species that could speak basic for the voice acting, but come on.  Claim our characters are using some sort of translator thingy or something.  Though, I suppose it's also for the romance options.  But, still, they're all sapient species.  And the classes get a variety of species of companions, just have the romances be with their own species or near species if people would be weirded out by a Wookiee romancing a human or something. (Though they shouldn't be.)

Which reminds me, the sooner they add same sex romance options to the game, the better.  Especially if it means that the male and female characters will also be able to flirt with some of the same NPCs who, while not exactly romance options, are still flirtable.  If the game let him, my agent would flirt with or sleep with pretty much anything that's not a Hutt or a Sith (regardless of species) if it kept him out of trouble and got him the information he needed.  My smuggler doesn't seem particularly interested in romance, but that may be because she's focused on getting her ship back.  Or maybe she's just not interested.

In short, the game is awesome!  In fact, it is so awesome, I don't know if I'll ever play WoW again.  (Champions, yes, I'm attached to those characters and have been RPing them in my head since I made them in City of Heroes.  Their stories may be completely in my head, but I still want to finish them.)  But my WoW characters never quite felt like characters.  A couple of them almost did, but never quite formed in my head.  But I suspect even people who've never RPed (even in their heads) in MMOs before are finding themselves thinking about what their characters would do in SW:TOR.


Edit: I originally used "normal" instead of average when referring to the body types.  It belatedly ocured to me that that implied that all other body types were abnormal. NOT what I was going for.  Even average isn't quite right, but I can't think of a better word.
virtualvoyages: A youngish man with dark hair has his head slightly cocked to one side (Kyrian)
Congratulations.  If you're reading this, you've broken all of my encryption, and that is no mean feat.  I almost wish I'd met you.  Though, I fear if I had, one of us would be dead.  I much prefer to think that I'm on a sandy beach somewhere, sipping a drink and enjoying my retirement.  Somewhere the Empire will never find me.

A man in my position would have to be a fool to leave a journal, even one as heavily encrypted as this one, but I suspect I'm already a traitor twice over and I'm fairly certain they can't execute me more than once.  Though, with the Sith, one never knows.  I have no intention of ever finding out; I suspect the Sith have incredibly nasty forms of execution.  I also very much doubt that I'll stop at two treacheries.  They might well find a way to spend the next hundred years executing me by the time I've finished.

My first mission took me to Hutta, with the plan of seducing one of the Hutt crime lords to the Empire.  (In the metaphoric sense, that is.  There are things man was not meant to know, and Hutt mating rituals are one of them.)  Aiding his business and sabotaging his competitor would - and did - do the trick nicely.

I had no difficulty winning over one of Nem'ro's trusted lieutenants as "The Red Blade", though in the future, I will try to avoid using cover identities that belong to actual people.  It leads to complications.  Not that those complications interfered with bringing Nem'ro to the Empire.  In that, I succeeded admirably, by anyone's standards.

However, I suspect that Keeper would be less than pleased that I allowed a Force sensitive boy to escape the Empire with his father.  The fact that his father has no love for the Republic, either, would hardly help his case, or mine.  But I am not fond of the Sith, and it would take a cold man to kill a boy's father in front of him.  I'm clever and composed, not heartless.

Which is why, when Keeper ordered me to kill Javis, the lieutenant I'd won over, (After a Sith attacked his sons, ruining our attempt to bring him to Imperial allegiance.  Have I mentioned my distaste for the Sith?) I urged him to leave the planet, instead.  Keeper must suspect, since Javis rescued his surviving son and, as the message from Keeper noted, he's the only one who would have taken that risk.  Either Keeper doesn't care, or my success is more important than the fine details, such as whether or not I follow orders to the letter.

I'd like to say I'll be careful, but I won't.  I will count on being too skillful and too valuable to kill without airtight evidence that I've gone against the Empire's supposed interests. Which means I will have to keep my new partner happy and entertained.  That she's an assassin and has no apparent love for the Empire works nicely to my advantage.  I should point out that I am, in fact, loyal to the Empire, though not to all factions within the Empire.  But anything that Keeper offers Kaliyo will be tainted by her dislike of the Empire, which puts him at a disadvantage.  I seem to amuse her enough to outweigh the fact that I, too, am Imperial.  If Keeper hopes she'll rein me in, he's sadly mistaken.

Keeper may also be playing an even more dangerous game than I am.  And I'm sharing rooms with an assassin not known for remaining with any employer for long.

I do love my work.
virtualvoyages: A woman with brown hair and small tattoos under her eyes faces the viewer (Captain Jezari)
Before I landed on this forsaken hell-hole, it was all the same to me.  Republic, Empire, separatists, whatever.  If they had the money, I had a ship.  But the damned separatists stole my ship!  That's enough to make me take sides.  And not theirs.

Even if the Republic slobs playing solder here aren't much better.

I know, I know, the Republic's supposed to be the shiny beacon of whatever and all that crap.  But from what I've seen, they're no better than the Empire.  And I'm not about to start hailing the Sith or whatever they do over there.  Okay, maybe the Republic's a little better.  It's funny that a place run by Sith, or wannabes anyway, is such a humans-only club.  And you'd think they were run by Jedi, as uptight as they are about everything.

Though this place could use some Jedi, even if they are boring.  They'd put a stop to some of the crap I've seen.  At least if they're half what they're supposed to be. I don't see them signing off on torture or making refugees run mine fields for food.  Or turning a blind eye to it, like everybody here.  And I'm the criminal?

The sooner I get my ship back and get off this rock, the better.  This is no place for an independent minded business person.  Especially when the only people here I don't want to shoot - besides a few other business people - are the refugees.  And they don't have any money.

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