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The Darker Side of Life: A SWTOR-RP Weekly Column

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1) How has your opinion of using companions in roleplay changed since before launch, if at all?

My opinions were initially entirely negative. I was very disappointed that we all used the same set of companions within a class. Since playing the game, however, I've started to feel more positive towards them. The ability to choose what gear your companions wear, and the customisation kits allow us all to make quite unique looking companions. All you need to do is give them a name, and brief backstory to explain why they have to follow you around, and you've got yourself an IC companion. That said, there are a few limitations - Dashade are nearly extinct, so using Khem Val may be seen as bit of a 'lorelol', for example. Every Bounty Hunter having a Jawa companion, or every Smuggler knowing a Wookiee might get a bit silly, too. There's also the issue that companions cannot actually speak for themselves, and the obstacle of reaching some kind of consensus on how companion speech should be represented.

In short, I now feel that they can be used in RP, but you've got to do it cleverly - always with the lore of the setting, and other roleplayers in mind.


2) How is your server community shaping up? Any highlights or desires you care to share?

The community on The Progenitor is shaping up nicely, a friendly bunch with lots of storylines popping up already, and even if you can't get involved with them, it's nice to walk past somebody and hear snatches of their conversation - getting a glimpse into what they're up to. We've got a good, varied selection of guilds, and a VERY healthy number of actual roleplayers on the server. It's great to see that almost anywhere you go, there are roleplayers there. We've got public chat channels for roleplayers, and they're both great, depending on what you like to chat about.

I have seen a lot of Sith calling themselves Darth, though. :p


3) Has being able to play the game changed your stance on settling RP conflicts (Dice/Duel/Emote)? Why?

Having roleplayed in other MMOs in the past, my views on settling conflicst in RP have not changed a great deal since playing this game. I was never a fan of the dice rolling to determine success or emote-fighting, since this is a highly visual format for RP, and aside from the text, it's just two people staring at eachother. Duelling's obviously the best option, but it has a number of problems around it anyway. First - there's gear. For the sake of looking as they want to, many roleplayers wear lower-level gear on their characters, rather than the highest tier PvP sets, because maybe they think they look a bit silly. This means you've got characters who might be the same level, but with vastly different equipment, that can create a very real and insurmountable divide between characters in a duel. Then there's level itself. Not all roleplayers believe that level should represent how powerful their character actually is, but in a duel, any gap between the levels of participants will put the lower of the two at a disadvantage.

I think it really just has to be agreed OOC between participants when an IC conflict needs to be resolved.


4) How have you seen public and private RP developing? Have you seen any conflicts over use of public areas?

I've not really seen any such conflicts, the TOR game world is MASSIVE, and we've all got a lot of room to set up bases of our own. A lot of people use their own ships for RP meetings, or little empty rooms out of the way of other players if they need to. I've not seen anybody trying to lay claim to big chunks of questing hubs, or try to make themselves owners of whole fortresses yet. Undoubtedly this will happen on occasion, as you get players who want RP to be a massive power trip, but I think most realise that it's more about playing a character for whom life is a struggle, than a super-powerful dark lord of Hades these days. I have seen a lot of RP going on in cantinas, random political discussions, arguments, and business dealings. I've seen people questing together IC, it's been great. There's a lot going on on our server right now, and it's hopefully going to stay that way for a long time yet.
Posted Jan 13, 12
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1) How has your opinion of using companions in roleplay changed since before launch, if at all?

I find it rather difficult to RP at all at the moment with people outside my guild because of the lack of chat bubbles. (Yes I'm trying to say this as often as I can so that maybe, just MAYBE bioware will somehow come across it some day). What do chat bubbles have to do with companions? It makes em that much harder to use in RP!


2) How is your server community shaping up? Any highlights or desires you care to share?

My server community on Shien seems alright so far. The economy has been preaty reasonable on the republic side so far, and as time goes on I am starting to encounter more random RP here and there. Because of the insistance of Lardass server being the Mecca Server, there isn't to my knowledge a great deal of organization between guilds and such yet. The server does have a good sized community though, aaaaaaaaand outside of all that, I feel it's too early to say yet.

3) Has being able to play the game changed your stance on settling RP conflicts (Dice/Duel/Emote)?

No.

Why?

It's re-enforced it actualy, as dice dueling isn't an option in TOR, and emoteing is made more difficult by the lack of chat bubbles. Yes, I went there again. Duel is really the best option at the moment.


4) How have you seen public and private RP developing? Have you seen any conflicts over use of public areas?

Yes. It's slowly picking up as more peopel get further along/done with leveling.

And to the other question?

No.
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Posted Jan 13, 12
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1) How has your opinion of using companions in roleplay changed since before launch, if at all?

I find it utterly ridiculous when people claim their companion to be the actual character from Bioware's storyline, and I've seen people do it far too frequently. I have no problem with people using companions, just as long as it's "my Wookiee partner" and not "Bowdaar". My stance has been the same on this pretty much since I first read about companions.

I don't use them IC myself, but neither of my characters really need them. I may use them in the future as flavor NPCs for guild storylines or something, though.


2) How is your server community shaping up? Any highlights or desires you care to share?

The community seems decent enough, from what I've seen. I've been left a bit traumatized by all the political drama and godmoding snowflakes on my old WoW server and tend to whine a lot about random RP, but when my friends actually drag me by the ear into it it's never as bad as I think it's going to be. People haven't even metagamed my character's class, which is... very surprising.


3) Has being able to play the game changed your stance on settling RP conflicts (Dice/Duel/Emote)?

I've always been an emoter when it comes to RP conflict. Until recently I've had too crappy of a system to be able to duel properly, but even so, I don't take levels and gear into account for RP, so I don't consider dueling to be a fair judgment. If someone spends all their time online RPing and developing their character instead of farming PvP gear, it's not really fair to them when someone waltzes up and challenges them IC while wearing full Centurion gear. RP conflict should be settled with RP.

I do miss dice systems for larger DMed events, but I'm not aching over it.


4) How have you seen public and private RP developing? Have you seen any conflicts over use of public areas?

Other than cantina RP, people seem pretty insular at the moment, but the game's pretty new and everybody's still feeling things out. I'm guilty of it too (my reason being the one I gave earlier). I've thankfully not had any trouble with people claiming private areas. My Empire guild is one of -many- that uses the Ziost Shadow as their "guild ship", but people on it seem to mind their own business, and we even got an OOC message at one point asking us if we had any problems with an event happening near where we were having some private RP. It was very refreshing!
Posted Jan 13, 12
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1) How has your opinion of using companions in roleplay changed since before launch, if at all?
I keep my companions namebar off and only have it out now and again as crewmember/servant
The inability to rename the companion makes it always a background personality. I don't want to have to silence every channel they speak in (have 4 Vettes in same party group saying same thing in same voice...not RP friendly) so prefer them to be scarce.
Uless you are in that guild "Your Companion" then everyone in in the guild title...lol

2) How is your server community shaping up? Any highlights or desires you care to share?

Lord Adraaas has a larger community/population; therefore more trolls but all and all doing well. My visits with friends on smaller RP servers, seems that they are having open RP dialogue more often

3) Has being able to play the game changed your stance on settling RP conflicts (Dice/Duel/Emote)? Why?
I've alwasy been proponent of RP OOC discussion to decide likely outcome. Dice is too random and PvP/Duel is too likley to be uneven.



4) How have you seen public and private RP developing? Have you seen any conflicts over use of public areas?

I've seen a lot more RP this weekend as people settle down out of leveling fever. And well done at that.
Not seen conflict yet but then again not enough RP guilds staking spot claims that I've noticed.
Posted Jan 16, 12
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My game is in the post at this time, so I cannot comment on how things have developed for me. Having recently joined this site to find a guild, I find your column quite fascinating. Good stuff!

On the issue at hand, I obviously have no prior experience of RP in TOR, but I will certainly be using my companions as hooks for RP to establish my character(s) when I enter a potential RPing locale. Having a conversation with my NPC for laughs can also provide entertainment for other players even if they don't wish to join in.

However, using NPCs as characters distinct from those everyone recognises from their own identical storylines will be crucial. Having multiple same-named clones hanging around risks hugely breaking immersion (though a popular droid companion that is all the rage this season is more plausible), so once other RPers are engaged I think NPCs would need to go off and "run errands".
Posted Jan 16, 12
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41 posts
1) How has your opinion of using companions in roleplay changed since before launch, if at all?

It hasn't. I don't use them in my roleplay and I don't intend to use them. Although I can see some very limited possibilites for some of the companions, I just tend to get a little embarrassed when Qyzen appears while I'm roleplaying, stands on the bar next to me and presents me with some random rock he's discovered. Thankfully most people seem to be accepting of the fact that a Trandoshan didn't really just appear and disappear next to me. Strong am I with the Force, but I'm no David Copperfield.

2) How is your server community shaping up? Any highlights or desires you care to share?

It's shaping up nicely. Prog was a bit of a late starter, as far as I could tell, on the Republic side at least, but there are now pockets of roleplay springing up all over the place, and the community's really open and friendly. I think I've yet to encounter any real elitist jerks or lore-fascists, or even anyone "too cool" to roleplay with me, being a mere RP scrub from a guild few have heard of.

3) Has being able to play the game changed your stance on settling RP conflicts (Dice/Duel/Emote)? Why?

Not got in to any, yet, but I think this could prove to be a bit of a stumbling block in a universe so full of merciless homicidal psychopaths with red glowsticks. So you've defeated someone in a Duel. Now what? You're Sith - surely you should kill them. Does this mean you should OOC insist they delete and re-roll, or are we forced down the comic-book villain "You're lucky I'm in a good mood. Next time, Gadget! Next time!" route?

4) How have you seen public and private RP developing? Have you seen any conflicts over use of public areas?

Public RP as in more than just a couple of people engaged in roleplay is usually just a wall of fast-moving text which is hard to keep track of. Even worse if it's cross-factional, although people on Prog seem to have gotten into the habit of using stars in /s to denote actions, which is good. Roll on speech bubbles. The only real conflict over use of space I've seen is jerks driving around in speeders the size of A-Wings and parking on the heads of anyone roleplaying at the bar in Rep Fleet. I've seen that on a few occasions, but I guess there's nothing you can do about that. My guess is we'll obly have to weather that storm until Mists of Pandera comes out.
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Posted Jan 16, 12
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1) How has your opinion of using companions in roleplay changed since before launch, if at all?

I absolutely thought it was brilliant when on the second day of pre-launch play, I interacted with a Republic role player who had named all of his companions differently than their given moniker so that he could utilize them in RP. Just as the class story line is there to be used and molded and somewhat borrowed from in order to build a unique character concept, the companions themselves can be modified slightly (via names and IC'ly given personality quirks) to involve them in your character's role play. I believe in using the tools we are given, and BioWare has given us such a diverse toolbox to work with. Ignoring the companions in role play is a person's prerogative, but should they aid me in furthering a story or help me in placing a plot point, I will not refuse to use them.

2) How is your server community shaping up? Any highlights or desires you care to share?

I really enjoy that I am able to message people from the server forums on SW:TOR-RP and ask them questions in-game and they do not seem overly busy or too put-out to discuss a point or anything with me. It shows the strength of the community both on the forums and in-game. I have been able to create in-guild and intra-guild role play and am currently working on two things that are larger than just the guild that I happen to run, one of them is a cross-faction event. I am able to arrive at an RP hot-spot and begin to interact with anyone and find it entertaining, regardless of my character being a "regular" or not. That shows the willingness of the community to interact, grow, and work with others in a capacity beyond their own noses. And for me, it shows that I am not so concerned about being insular that I wish to involve the community at large in my own role play and story lines.

3) Has being able to play the game changed your stance on settling RP conflicts (Dice/Duel/Emote)? Why?

I've rarely been one to settle conflict via actual combat. I am much more quick to settle conflict through conversation, regardless of the character I am playing. Although I suppose with the lack of availability of dice rolling, emote dueling would have to be the appropriate way to handle things in these situations, and I am not comfortable with this, due to propensity for some players not to "play to their level," and others to "overstate strength and/or prowess." That being said, there is often an unfair gear discrepancy between characters to settle conflict via duel only. So I believe I will stick to my preferred method: The pen is mightier than the sword.

4) How have you seen public and private RP developing? Have you seen any conflicts over use of public areas?

I see cantinas being used often, but this does not surprise me; bars are often popular places to hang out. I enjoy this aspect of the game as I am guaranteed to know that should I wish to finish off my night with twenty minutes of role play or so, I can take my character to the Republic Fleet or another such location. Certain cantinas also breed communities which breed in-character relationships (read: friendships) and interactions which allow for broader story lines. While I am fond of world RP, and I attempt to interact with characters out in the world as much as possible, I do support cantina and social role play as a way to broaden the opportunity for IC communities and thus stories to grow. As for conflicts, there are loudly stated opinions in several places which do lead to some hot-headed actions - none of which that I've witnessed have actually resulted in violence; however, blasters have been drawn, and a lot of peacocking around the bar has occurred. Funnily enough, on the occasions I have entered into cross-faction role play, I notice this less; perhaps people are less likely to run their mouth when Force Lightning is on the menu.
The Cash Legacy
Deception is a profitable business.

Posted Jan 17, 12
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3039 posts
1) Would your character(s) be able to sense another force sensitive character on their own?

2) Would your character assume someone is Jedi or Sith based on the way that they are dressed?

3) Would you or your character consider a character evil because they are showing darkside corruption?

4) Would any of the above be considered metagaming? How would you RP a hidden force sensitive in spite of it?
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The Darker Side of Life, a SWTOR-RP Weekly Column
Posted Jan 18, 12 · OP
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444 posts
1) Would your character(s) be able to sense another force sensitive character on their own?
As a Miraluka and a Jedi Master, I would think yes, at least to some degree. The canon ability Bioware's given us is sense force alignment, after all. That said, like all things in MMO RP, consent kicks in. Also, there's what I like to call the "notice" factor. Just because you can perceive a thing doesn't mean you're paying attention every moment of your day. For someone not wanting to god mod or meta-game while still remaining true to their character's abilities, this is a good compromise position.

2) Would your character assume someone is Jedi or Sith based on the way that they are dressed? Well, I run with my nameplates down, so for the most part I have no clue what people actually are. Assuming that you're not running about in ebil black robes scowling and going muhahaha of course. For the character though, I think the whole force perception thing is going to kick in. Doesn't matter if a Sith isn't wrapped up in black robes, a character with force perception who turns that ability on them is going to sense at least their alignment and strength in the Force. Again though, the operative words are, "turns that ability on them." To see something, you have to be looking for it most times. I'm not a fan of the paladin ebil throbix organ that so many characters sprouted in WoW RP. Yes, it's in character, yes it makes sense, but come on. Surprises have value in story telling. Fun trumps, IMO.

3) Would you or your character consider a character evil because they are showing darkside corruption?
Yes. Irredeemable? No, but evil? Yes. To align oneself significantly enough to start showing corruption, you have to have made several choices, taken several steps down the dark path as it were. It's Aleris's view that doing so is an inherently selfish or evil act. The Jedi way, in her view, is the only way that puts others ahead of a force user's own concerns. To her, there's no grey, no middle ground when it comes to the dark side. In this, she's very orthodox in her bent.

4) Would any of the above be considered metagaming? How would you RP a hidden force sensitive in spite of it?
Consent. Consent is the key factor that changes whether role-playing these extra sensory perceptions is metagaming or whether such abilities are valid sources of IC information. Role-playing is a social partnership. Both parties involved in a scene need to agree to the ground rules. Purists like to say that if everyone sticks to canon, then the ground rules are known. Players don't then have to break immersion and there will be no problems. Canon, however, is a big tangled mess on many issues. It's subject to interpretation and inherently divisive. Therefore, it all comes back to talking, OOC'ly, with the other participants in your scene and agreeing what the ground rules will be.

Final thoughts on these questions, after reading through my answers.
There's an old saying, "Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead."

If you have some facet about your character that needs to remain unknown, like force sensitivity, the safest way to deal with that is to simply not let folks know, period. This would seem to go contrary to my initial advice about communication, and it does, because it's a pragmatist's position. Communication is great, if you have trust. With strangers, maybe not so much.

So, given that fact, if I wanted to play a hidden force sensitive, I would roll a secondary character specifically to act as that character's public persona, i.e. a trooper or a smuggler or a bounty hunter or an agent. Make up an avatar as closely (or not so closely if disguised) matching the original as possible, and simply play that character when I would be interacting with players from whom I wished to keep my secret. In this way, there's no "scanning" that can occur without your consent. Level your real character on the side and pull the switch when appropriate to the storyline. Expect some gripes from folks who think they should have been able to know your secret, but hey, it's your story to tell and why should they get to ruin it, no?
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Posted Jan 18, 12 · Last edited Jan 18, 12
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166 posts
]1) Would your character(s) be able to sense another force sensitive character on their own?

Yes. My character has been using the Force for decades, so she can recognize it in others when they are not trying to hide it.

2) Would your character assume someone is Jedi or Sith based on the way that they are dressed?

Yes. Not necessarily in the clothing, but the presence of a lightsaber. If there's no lightsaber, then she might assume they're one based on how they're dressed, but would confirm it by looking for the individual's Force presence.

3) Would you or your character consider a character evil because they are showing darkside corruption?

Yes. I've never been a fan of the idea that you can be a 'good' darksider. While I acknowledge that a darksider is able to have good intentions, the very fact that they are a darksider shows that they have evil methods... and for me, what determines evil is action, not intent. My own character has (or perhaps had, it is up in the air) good intentions, but she's become a ruthless, merciless darksider in the process. She's evil, now, and that shows clearly on her face. Her ultimate goals are irrelevant--what matters are the actions she has taken to reach it, which have been undeniably evil.

4) Would any of the above be considered metagaming? How would you RP a hidden force sensitive in spite of it?

I don't RP a hidden Force sensitive and I don't believe in doing so. The closest my character will do is hide her Sith corruption, but only for the sake of showing a 'pretty face' when dealing with those not in the Sith Empire (for example, while conducting business on Nar Shaddaa). She won't hide her lightsaber or her presence in the Force.

As far as metagaming goes, I always ask in tells whether or not I can uncover it.
Posted Jan 18, 12
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