((The RP XP with MJ #12))
Corporal Wex had been with Hazard Squad for a year, but he’d never seen such wanton destruction, such careless regard for civilian life. The Imperial freighter that wasted the area was either piloted by Kowakian monkey-lizards or the pilot and gunner didn’t care whether they hit his men, the Jedi, the civilians or even their own Sith brothers.
He had ordered two of his surviving men to scour the rubble, debris and nearby alleys to look for the two Sith while he and the Jedi consular helped the local medics with some of the wounded.
As more local security and emergency medical personnel showed up from the spaceport, Wex and the consular were able to pull away and re-join the hunt for the Sith.
The Jedi Master, Kendris, stepped up to them as they stood by one of the enormous craters on the quad. Wex pulled on his helmet and adjusted the radio level as he pretended not to listen in.
“My Padawan located the Twi’lek and is escorting her back to the Regail,” Kendris said.
The Miraluka lifted her head and spoke softly. “I have contacted my enclave. They will be sending additional help for these people.”
“They’re survivors. We need to find the Sith responsible for this, Consular Vu-don.”
“I find it intriguing, Master Kendris, that vengeance permeates your thoughts. It keeps you from being mindful of the Force and clouds your judgment.”
Kendris stepped in front of the Miraluka close enough to move her veil with his breath. “And what would you do? Hm? You would sit idly by and allow this to happen?”
Misha Vu-don’s voice hardened, but only briefly. “I believe if you search your feelings, and take a good look around you, you’ll realize this was no Sith attack. This was personal and had nothing to do with you nor Tarik, nor even Corporal Wex’s squad. This attack was not meant to decimate the people of this port, either. It was a strike of anger directed at the Sith, not on behalf of the Sith.”
Wex’s helmet radio crackled. “Beggin’ your pardon, sir, but why would they do that?”
Vu-don turned her head in the direction of the spaceport’s heart. “The answer lies with our Twi’lek friend. I sense the Imperial Military is at odds with the Sith Order over what it is she knows.”
“Then I suggest we find out what that is,” Kendris grumbled, and moved off toward the docking bays in the center of the port.
Wex started to follow, but Vu-don reached out and touched his arm. “A moment, corporal.”
The trooper stopped and turned to the consular.
“Your squad has been charged with escorting Master Kendris and his Padawan, but you have not been told why.”
Wex shook his head slightly.
“If you responded with a gesture, corporal, I could not see it. My species cannot s–“
“Oh. Right. Sorry, I, um, no. I haven’t been told why, sir. It wasn’t my place to question.”
Vu-don nodded slightly with a smile before following the glow of Kendris’s footsteps. “Perhaps you should, corporal. Perhaps you should.”
With the recent announcement of the official server types for Star Wars: The Old Republic, (via David Bass on 11/3/11 here). I thought I’d throw out some ideas this week for which one would best suit your RolePlay style. And, while I was at it, I thought I’d talk a little bit about RP styles and what separates the “hardcore” from the “casual” RPer. Note that I’m using the terms in relation to RP as RPers have used them, and more precisely how I perceive them. They’ve got nothing to do with what kind of gamer you are and each person’s version of “hardcore” and “casual” are different according to their experience.
Regardless, how does that apply to the revealed server types?
I know what you’re thinking. The choice for RP is a coin flip if you don’t care about PvP. There are only two clear choices for RolePlay in TOR, RP-PvE and RP-PvP.
Ah, not so.
There’s a lot to be said for the RPer’s environment. What goes on in the game around you is just as important as the story you create with your own RolePlay. You’ve probably heard the word “immersion” thrown around a lot, usually with an eye-roll by someone who doesn’t see how important gameplay and environment can be to RPers — and even PvEers who enjoy their own particular brand of singular RolePlay, projecting themselves into a game as an escape, getting lost in the Star Wars galaxy and forgetting about real life for awhile. Immersion is to RP what a stage is to an actor. Your surroundings help feed the impression of the virtual reality you are helping to create through your in-character actions.
There’s more to it than the pretty set design and art direction Bioware and LucasArts have built for us. Those around you will play a part in the immersion factor as well. If you’re trying to RP — or even just enjoy the game — it can be difficult to do so while someone’s avatar is /dance grinding against you or trying to jump on your shoulders. When it comes to RP, some aren’t bothered by distractions while others try to avoid them all together.
Fortunately, the server layout will help you find a home that corresponds to your play style. It will also give you a range of distractions (or freedoms) depending on the server type. Let’s take a look at the different types of RolePlayer and how they would mesh with each of the server types and I’ll show you how your “surroundings” can be markedly different from server to server from an RP perspective.
Bioware has stated that RP-branded guilds will get their default starting home on the RP-PvE server. Those wishing to do some serious PvP or retreat to the solitude of PvE-only, can switch at a certain point in the game and your guilds can even re-locate if it’s not what you had in mind. How do you know which server will be right for you or your guild, for you personally, or for your RolePlay style?
The Casual RPer
The Casual RPer will pick up a little in-character stuff here and there, but they don’t go to all the trouble of creating a background or history. A Casual RPer responds to a request for RP with a shrug. They don’t really care one way or the other….
You’re considered “casual” if you spend time among your RPing friends just “listening in” and offering the odd comment here or there, but when it all comes down to it, you’d rather just play the game or PvP. You really don’t get into “pretend” and you don’t necessarily think it’s cool, but you’re tolerant of it and your girlfriend is into it, so you get by. If you’re in a guild, chances are it’s not an RP guild. If it is, you may not stay long because some of the people there “creep you out.” Or, you may actually find yourself intrigued enough by it to keep going.
So, what’s the best place for the Casual RPer?
On RP-PVE >>> If you’re a Casual RPer who is interested in the game and the game story, this is the place for you IF you have friends who RP regularly that you also may want to group with for Flashpoints and in-game team content.
On PVE >>> If you don’t really care if you ever RP at all. You’re far more interested in the game story and if you never RP it won’t matter. If you happen to make friends with another player on PvE who gets into RP from time-to-time, that’s cool too.
On RP-PVP >>> If you like to play the game imagining what it would be like to be your character, and even shout in-character battle cries or insults during PvP matches (an admittedly casual approach to RP), this could be the place for you. If you’re into PvP and Min-Maxing — but don’t mind the occasional RP diversion — this is the place for you. You can pounce on some opponents, then head back to the local cantina and talk about your victories in-character. Or not.
On PVP >>> If you’re considering giving up on RP all together, or if your idea of RP is, “I will use the Force to seriously PWN some n00bs!” then this is the place for you. Not much to say other than to tap you gently on the shoulder and say, “Um, you’re not an RPer… at all… Don’t pretend you are.”
The Light RPer
Unlike the Casual RPer, a Light RPer will pick it up more often than not and actually like doing it. They don’t necessarily seek out RP guilds to join, but don’t mind RPing with them if the opportunity arises….
You’re considered “light” if you actively participate in RP with your friends but realize the line between RP and PvE (or PvP) is thin to the point of almost being non-existent. To you it’s all part of the game and you’re here to enjoy it. You may have an inkling of a history for your character and you think the whole idea of creating a character who “lives and breathes” in the Star Wars universe is pretty cool. You might join an RP guild, but you’ll make it known that you probably won’t make it to every RP event. You also don’t engage in FRP (Forum RolePlay). That’s just too much work and takes too much time away from the game. You’d rather just immerse yourself in all that TOR goodness in- or out-of- character.
On RP-PVE >>> This is the perfect spot for you. Don’t move. You can get some RP in with friends, dig deep into the game content, and even pick up the odd “flagged” PvP match from time to time. There are plenty of RPers around for you to hone your craft and you can learn a lot by joining them.
On PVE >>> You might find yourself hurting for RP if you get into PvE; find that you’re enjoying the game but then realize there’s no real place for you to do any RolePlay. You may get lucky, however, and find a part-time Light or Casual RPer here you can create stories with.
On RP-PVP >>> It’s going to be an uphill battle for RP. You may actually give up on RP all together if you repeatedly find yourself getting pounced outside a designated safe zone by a PvPer. Still, if you enjoy the PvP aspect of the game, but also really dig getting into character with friends while in a safe zone, this may not be a bad place for you to be.
On PVP >>> You don’t really expect to RP at all, do you? You’re just saying that.
The Heavy RPer
A Heavy RPer gets deep into the story of their character. They’ll have a background, history or at least have an in-depth lineage that will add dimension to their RolePlay. A Heavy RPer enjoys the game and gets into the game (though they rarely, if ever, PvP). But, to them it’s all about extending the content beyond the designers’ vision. Heavy RPers often refer to the “voice” of their character in much the same way a method actor will take on a different persona to get into a role….
You’re considered a Heavy RPer if you opt to RP every time. You actively seek out other RPers to join you and “act out” in-character, or you hope someone will approach you in-character and start a story, or at least join you in some personal characterization practice. You’ll play the game, sure, but only to get extra cosmetics or gear you won’t really use for anything other than appearance aesthetics. You may be an “altoholic,” creating multiple characters with varying stories. You like to create stories and adventures by introducing intrigue or mystery into RP. If you’re in an RP guild, there’s a good chance you’re leading it. Sure, you may spend a lot of time chatting Out Of Character (OOC) with your guild mates, and even enjoy meeting new people OOC, but when you’re “in-game” you’re “in-character.”
On RP-PVE >>> Not a bad option. In fact, this will be the perfect place for you to blend your RP with the environment when you’re not simply “RPing for the sake of RP,” getting a group of friends together in-character and taking on a Flashpoint while in-character, then gathering at a cantina or aboard ship to discuss it in-character sounds like a good time. If you’re playing a trooper, you might do it as an official “After Action Report.” As a Jedi, you might be “Preparing a report for the Council.”
On PVE >>> The perfect hiding place for you and some close RP friends. While this server isn’t slotted for RP that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. PvEers wandering by will probably ignore you — unless they themselves are closet RPers or “Light” or “Casual.” Otherwise, a PvE server might be a nice place to settle down, enjoy the game, and establish some solid in-character background.
On RP-PVP >>> If you want to add “realism” to your RP and don’t mind actually taking on other players in actual combat, this is for you. Sure, RP is encouraged on the RP-PvP server, but I’m sure there will be bands of RP-slayers out there just waiting for the chance to gank a wandering smuggler who was otherwise minding his own business. Still, it’s not a bad place for you if you want challenge in your RolePlay. Can you stay in-character during PvP? Can you use the PvP matches you get into as filler for characterization? Consider this: What if you have some RP friends who like to play on the opposite faction? You could really create some good stories between your two sides as you meet on the field of honor to duel and “War” among the “Stars.”
On PVP >>> “You’re taking an awful risk, Vader.” Sure, you can RP on the PvP server. You’ll get killed at every turn and you won’t find anyone else to RP with you, but you can do it. If you’re lucky enough to find another RPer on the PvP server, the two of you will have to enjoy your story-building in shadowy corners between gank-fests, hiding out from everyone else as “outcasts” from the virtual society around you.
The Hardcore RPer
Some Heavy RPers consider themselves “Hardcore.” You’re free to do that. I’m not the RP dictionary. I’m merely reporting on classifications of RPers I’ve witnessed myself. But, ask yourself this: Do you live and breathe your character? Do you stay in-character the entire time you’re in-game? Do you refuse to PvP (at all) because it’s so “immersion breaking”? Do you spend long hours writing fan-fiction dedicated to your character — as a first-person journal? Do you have serious problems with things like the inability to “sit” or “swim” in an MMO? When you RP, do you go to great lengths to add exposition to your lines (Scratches the old scar on his cheek and scowls, “I’m never going back to Ord Mantel”)? When you need to break from the game, do you do so in-character (“I’m sorry.” Glances around the cantina, suddenly fearful. “I-I have to go. I-I think I’ve been followed!” [log])? Mmm, yeah, you’re hardcore.
On RP-PVE >>> You won’t mind it. You can max out your gear for aesthetics. In fact, the PvE will be good for your SRP (Singular RolePlay). Because, let’s face it, you’re in-character even when it’s just you. You probably even “act out” conversations with your companion characters aboard ship (and, no, I don’t mean the scripted dialog. I mean making up conversations in your own mind to round out the companions as well as your own character). This is a good spot for you because there will be a lot of other Heavy or Hardcore RPers around for you to write with. They may OOC-break from time-to-time, but if you can overlook that part of it, you’ll be fine here.
On PVE >>> Mm, nah. Not unless you want to do your Hardcore RP hiding from the questers like the Heavy RPer on the PvP server.
On RP-PVP >>> No way. If you think it’s ridiculous that a gang of Imperials and Sith would appear out of nowhere and pounce you just five meters from a “safe zone,” this isn’t for you.
On PVP >>> You can stop laughing now.
Ok, so maybe I was wrong. Maybe it’s not possible for any RPer to RolePlay on any server. Finding a Hardcore RPer on the PvP server would be like finding hygiene on a Hutt. But, beyond that, you have to admit there are some interesting possibilities for you depending on your play style and RP type.
Me? I consider myself to be a “Heavy,” though I cut my teeth on SRP with games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect, and I’m sure I’ll develop extended stories even for my companion characters. I’ll probably have 16 characters spread between RP-PvE and PvE. We’ll see. It depends on what the voices tell me 😉
You can follow MJ on Twitter at @MJswtor. You can also contact him directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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