Sick Wars: The Ugly Darkside

Saturday I lost 13 hours playing Bioware’s newest MMO: Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR for short). I’ve also played it about five hours on and off while sick, when my energy is high enough to kill droids, but too low for keeping up with work email. It’s super awesome, and I highly recommend people trying it out. I was skeptical of the whole WoW + Lightsabers + Bioware cutscenes, but my friends talked me into playing it, and I admit, it’s really fun. I actually care way more about my characters in SWTOR more than I ever have in WoW, the cut scenes really add to the experience, and I feel like I’ve gotten a chance to really chose how I want to play my character’s persona.

One of the key elements to the persona is the choice whether to be light side, dark side, or ambiguous side. This isn’t about whether you chose to fight for the Republic or the Empire, but the choices within that. Do you charge a bounty to find some chick’s kid? (dark), do you strike down a traitor? (dark) or get her to confess (light)? My favorite was the rather morally ambiguous situation of two jedi trainee lovers. Some older jedis asked you to spy on them to see if they were getting jiggy. If so, they would be kicked out of the jedi order (passion fuels hatred of course). The light side choice was to turn them in, while my moral compass said let them keep on keepin’ on, which was darkside. Bioware has done a good job keeping the situations from being one sided or trite and so it’s often interesting (especially if you “roleplay” a character).

From what I can tell, there are three ways to optimize this choice: max light, max dark, or alternatively somewhere in between. My first character was a Mis’inam a dashing Twi’lek Smuggler. I’m playing him as a mostly good guy (he can get irritated, especially when people have tried to kill him). My second character was blind yet attractive Nadasia a  Jedi Shadow, and I’m playing her full lightside. Don’t worry about her disability, she can still see using the force. My third character I decided to try was a Jedi Knight, and I opted to play him evil. So of course I made him a race with horns, a bunch of scars, weird face tattoos, and made him all aged. To top it off, I named him Lucifern (I was going to steal Piers Anthony brilliant palindrome and named him Natasha, but alas ’twas taken).

Here are the photos of my low-level dudes:

The moral of this story why did I feel it necessary to make my evil character be ugly? Even in a fever induced state I had trouble with the idea of playing an evil character. Did I feel the need to disassociate with him by making him scarred?  Was my choice to make dashing good guys and ugly bad guys similar to how other players chose? Or is there no consistent pattern? I’m curious, and I may try to see if Bioware has any extra information on this.

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