Looking for Love in Alderaan Places
Star Wars: The Old Republic is shaping up to be much more than WoW with lightsabers. It’s impossible not to compare the two, and there are plenty of categories where WoW still has the upper hand but I’m having a blast and I have to give credit to the folks over at BioWare for creating such an awesome game.
The “you’ve got your single player rpg in my mmo” approach is paying off in spades, at least for me. Playing WoW for almost 7 years, I stuck pretty closely to my main characters, but I never really felt like there was a strong connection to them. Now I know why: they were generic shells with no voice and no personality. ToR remedies this in typical BioWare fashion with excellent voice acting and extensive dialogue trees with strong moral decision-making. The immersion is deepened and I find myself actually playing my character in a consistent way. Like adding bacon to a cheeseburger, ToR gives me something that I didn’t realize was missing from my MMO and it’s going to be hard to return to a game without that extra flavor.
My first character is a Sith Inquisitor/Assassin and I’ve been playing him as a hardcore bad-guy. A stark contrast to my Alliance Paladin (although I’m still wearing dresses). TOR grants you points based on how evil (or good) your decisions are when navigating the dialogue trees.
(Jedi Mind Trick: you can enable the show conversation alignment option in the interface settings to make it easier to decipher which decisions will net which gain).
The benefit to building up these dark (or light) side points is access to special gear that can only be equipped after achieving certain dark/light levels. The rewards are pretty similar regardless of your desired path, the only penalty comes from being indecisive as the points are awarded on a sliding scale, with one side negating the other. (eg. obtaining 100 light points and then acquiring 100 dark points puts you back at 0–with no special for neutral gear.)
I just finished up a questline on the planet of Balmorra where I was not-so-subtly asked to help out an Imperial Officer by killing his wife for cheating on him with a Republic Spy. I escorted her to a deserted outpost, disabled the surveillance equipment and then carried out the execution in true Sith fashion. There was an option to let her go, but I would’ve lost out on some precious dark side points.