Monday, January 23, 2012

An MMO Far, Far Away, Part 2

Level 15 going on 16. Maybe once I'm off Dromund Kaas I won't be sick of hitting things with lightsabers anymore and I can work through my Sith Warrior's rest bar.

My bounty hunter is a rattataki, which is a good jumping-off point to bring up an issue I have with Star Wars: The Old Republic that is, at least to some large degree, Bioware's fault: The race choices. What is a rattataki? Where would someone who doesn't read the excessive amounts of Expanded Universe fiction know them from? Well, let's see, there's Asajj Ventress, who was never in any of the movies but who has played a significant role in the ongoing Clone Wars show (and is one of my favorite characters). Except, wait... She's not actually rattataki. That got retconned. She was just raised by them or something. So that would leave...absolutely no one. I'm still playing one because I love the look of them, but they're hardly an iconic Star Wars alien.

You know what? Let's do a good old-fashioned list:
  1. Humans. Blah blah blah humans boring boring. Why are there so damn many humans? I can kind of understand the Imperial side of things because they're a bunch of bloody racists, but still. Humans are boring.
  2. Cyborgs. Like humans, but with shiny bits. I don't really think of cyborgs being an iconic Star Wars thing because, even though some of the major players all the way back to the original trilogy were technically cyborgs, they didn't have shiny bits. Still, in any sci-fi setting it's good to have that option.
  3. Twi'leks. This was a necessary alien race, because they are all the fuck over the place. Which leaves me wondering why they seem to have so little political power. I vote for an all-Twi'lek Empire.
  4. Zabrak. Here's where things start falling off a ledge. To start, Zabrak aren't even a thing. That name applies to a subset of Iridonians. There was an Iridonian in something your average non-alpha geek has seen, though. His name was Darth Maul. He was in the most maligned movie in the whole series, possibly one of the most maligned works of fiction in the whole canon. I'll give them a pass, though, because at least they're in the movies.
  5.  Mirialan. AKA Those Two Green Jedi Chicks In Episodes 2 and 3. They do look pretty awesome, but I'm not sure why a race characterized as highly spiritual gets to be Smugglers.
  6. Rattataki. Again, they did have a well-known member until she was retconned. You can play a character who looks like Ventress, at least.
  7. Sith Pureblood. So you mean "Sith" isn't just a name for bad Jedi? It's a race? Who look like skinny Eredar from WoW? Well, okay, if you say so...
  8. Chiss. Mostly notable for looking like red-eyed Nightcrawlers, the Chiss were introduced to the Expanded Universe in an early-90s series of novels. See also that thing I said in my last post about EU writers feeling a need to insert new things into the universe to mark their territory. They've continued to be in novels and comics but not actually any movies or anything.
  9. Miraluka. They're eyeless humans who see through the Force. Exciting, I know. Notable Miraluka include no one you've ever heard of.
 I understand there are always going to be a million different reasons for choices like this. One of the biggest ones in Bioware's case may have been their desire to reuse as much as possible from race to race. Every race has the same body types, the same hairstyles, the same basic features. They're only set apart by skin color choices and, sometimes, features like Twi'lek lekku and Zabrak horns. Voices vary only by class, not by race. Your human male Sith Warrior will have a different voice from your human male Sith Inquisitor, but not from your Sith Pureblood Sith Warrior. (Sith Sith Sith.) For someone who can spend hours messing with character creation, it's kind of a letdown for me. I know it's expensive to get all that Bioware voice acting in place, but I'd still like to have more varied races.

The odd thing is that there are even NPCs of other races. There are Rodians here and there, and a few Nautolans (another personal favorite), and a Togruta companion for one of the classes. The Smuggler class gets a Wookiee friend. (I realize cutscenes in Shyriiwook would be ridiculous.) It's possible they have plans to update that all as they go, and the Long-Suffering Roommate likes to keep reminding me that the game's only about a month old. But when you're only changing the heads anyway, why not put more variety in there?

Also I would like a seduce-able female companion for my female bounty hunter plzthx.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

An MMO Far, Far Away

Yes, it's been a while since I posted. Between work and school I've been bludgeoned about the head and shoulders with more other work that I care to think about, and on top of it...well, I'll be honest, I haven't had much to say. (Astonishing, I know.) I'd like to start making semi-regular (biweekly?) comic book review posts, but in the meantime, I've been dealing with a timesink even more nefarious than work or school: a new MMO.

This post is going to sound grumpy, moreso than I really feel about the game. Like the rest of the internet, I'm more inclined to talk about the things I don't like than the things I do. Human nature blah blah blah. I'm not actually the sort to keep paying for something I hate, though, certainly not $15 a month, so I'm not saying not to play the game, or that you're <insert insult related to intelligence here> for doing so. These are just some things that bug me in between giggling over cutting down a whole group of enemies with a single Death From Above.

The problem with writing about The Old Republic is that I end up writing about a lot of things that don't necessarily have anything to do with this specific game. Most of my complaints relate to the franchise as a whole, the world as seen by someone who's been doing a bit of worldbuilding herself lately, and some opinions about RP communities that will probably make some of my old WoW friends hate me. There ARE a few things that can be laid almost entirely at the feet of Bioware, but as I plunge through the gooey muck that is my thoughts most of what I find is completely out of their hands. Perhaps I'll make the things that ARE their fault a second post.

To start out with, there's something that I first came to understand when I was involved with a Star Wars tabletop RP group: The Star Wars universe has a mind-bogglingly unrealistic amount of cultural stagnation. I could understand that in a setting where FTL travel isn't possible, something where it took years and decades and centuries for ideas and technologies to get from one world to another. Star Wars is not that setting. Star Wars is a setting where people can just pop from planet to planet in, at the most, a couple days. And despite that, it's a setting where over 3,500 years of cultural and technological development has led to...slight changes in droid aesthetics? There were apparently more changes in the galaxy in 40 years following A New Hope than there were in 4,000 before it. This was likely due to the number of Expanded Universe writers looking to pee on some new territory in the post-Return of the Jedi setting by introducing massively game-changing things like the Yuuzhan Vong, but the point remains. I know that Star Wars never claimed to be hard sci-fi, that it's the poster child for science fantasy as a genre, but it still bugs me a bit.

The other thing that bugs me, the one that's going to make me a pariah, is that WoW has made me sick to death of large RP communities. I'm on an RP server in SWTOR, just as I was in WoW. In theory I love RP. Give me 5 people at a D&D table, I'm cool with that, I love it. Give me a couple dozen who all think they're super-important because they were Internet Famous in some other game, who tell other people that they're trolling if they state an opinion about RP they don't agree with, who get all bent out of shape if someone says something that shows an ignorance of some lore minutiae, and I will spend an evening playing by myself while I seethe over how much I hate them all. I love RP, but RP communities drive me up a wall. I'm just as bad, in some ways, and I'll admit that. I bristle at people RPing character types that I find out of place, overdone, or just plain annoying. I facepalm at bad grammar. And this, in my opinion, makes me just as unqualified to contribute to their community as they are unqualified to have a place in my everyday life. I used to love RP, but RPers killed it for me.

Now I'm going back to leveling my bounty hunter while I think about what I want to complain about in my next SWTOR post.