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.


  1. From what I gathered in the pre-release banter regarding the humans, humans with dongles, red humans, and Twi'lek racial choices, it comes down to this: PC choices have to speak in English so their cast of 4 voice actors can do lines and PC races can't be wildly differing models from other PC racial choices so their designers don't have to remodel anything ever. This is Bioware's entire stance on playable races in SWTOR.

  2. They seem to be using a very quality-over-quantity philosophy, which is fine with single-player games but not very good with an MMO, which is supposed to have solids months of replayability.