((The RP XP with MJ #29))
Darth Tagious stood over the corpses of six Republic soldiers and sneered through a rasping exhale. A jutting steam pipe nearby added to his hiss, the sound echoing off the rusty tubular chambers of the Works deep within Coruscant.
He angled his head up, his piercing red-tinted eyes glaring miles through the heavy structures as if he could see his apprentice with the human Padawan they had left to die.
“So, Veetha… you mean to betray me to the Jedi,” Tagious breathed. “Let them come.”
Of course it didn’t really come as a surprise to the Sith Lord that his Rattataki apprentice would turn on him; it was every good apprentice’s challenge to eventually try. But the ebb of Force energy off the girl was different, clouded, masked in some way.
Tagious left Veetha with Tarik for a reason. He wanted to be done with her. He wanted to use her to lead him to the Jen’Hutis.
His sneer became a shallow laugh, then a roar of victory. Who better to lead him than the illegitimate daughter of a Jedi Knight?
During the recent SWTOR Guild Summit, Daniel Erickson was asked about mounts (like dewbacks or taun-tauns) during the RP Q&A. He reportedly replied with, “How does that help you roleplay? What would you roleplay with your animal friend?” It may have been serious, or jokey, but it got me to thinking…
How would you RP with your animal friend? Then I thought about the other tasty goodies coming our way with patch 1.2, and beyond, and what use they’d have in Star Wars RolePlay. I’ll resume the series on casting, directing and producing in a couple weeks with a link back to #28. Oh, and before I get started, don’t forget that next week is the MJ Q&A. You still have time to send me your questions. My contact info is at the bottom of this column.
Now… let’s take a look at the Guild Summit and talk a little about the opportunities coming for RolePlayers in patch 1.2 and the future of Star Wars: The Old Republic as it pertains to us “creative types.”
Egran looks around the crowded room until he notices someone he recognizes. He waves and calls out, “Hello, Orit!”
Pe’Nalaru strokes her lekku and remains huddled in the corner, hoping no one notices her.
Orit says: “Hey, Egran! Over here!”
Sasham paces the floor as he talks. “I don’t know, Vendis. I’ve tried and tried, but I can’t get Pe’Nalaru to even acknowledge me.”
Egran says: “Orit! Orit, how you doin’ you old spacer?”
Vendis nods. “Your Twi’lek friend is hiding in the corner as usual. Go talk to her. I need to stop Egran from making an ass of himself again.”
Imagine following the example above in the chat box. And, no, it doesn’t matter where you move your chat box in the pending U.I. update. It’s still a pain in the bantha to follow on-screen activities while decyphering the script in the scrolling box.
I put this first because it’s the Holy Grail of RPers in SWTOR. For those of you new to MMOs, “Chat Bubbles” are the bubbles of type that appear over a character’s head when you chat (think comics) — typically in addition to what appears in the chat window. The benefit of Chat Bubbles is obvious; in a crowd of characters you can easily see who’s talking even if you don’t know their names or have nameplates turned off. You can imagine the difficulty of trying to follow any conversation of three or more characters without them, and wouldn’t you rather watch the action than the chat box?
The good news is, BioWare has identified the technical issues that killed chat bubbles during Beta and it looks like we may soon have our beloved talk indicators back. As to what exactly that issue was, I couldn’t say. I heard a few different things, one of which blamed frame rate issues when chat bubbles are active. If that was indeed the case, a lot of the problems will be fixed as new graphic options become available (such as lower settings for shading). Whatever the case, it looks like the bubbles are coming, so have patience, young padawan.
Viless waves over the conscript. “Sit down.”
Lerum approaches the table the Sith Lord indicated and takes a seat.
Viless glares down at the young potential apprentice. “The time for your final test has come.”
Lerum nods from his seat, nervous as he realizes the Sith stands over him symbolically as a show of strength and power, as well as stature. “Yes, my Lord.”
CHAIRS TO SIT IN
You can’t “sit around a table” and plan a strategy, or enjoy an RP’d “dinner date” if your characters can’t sit at cantina tables or stools. If chat bubbles are the Holy Grail of video game RP, “sitability” is the sword Excalibur.
The promise of “more places to sit” has gone out among the masses, so it’s only a matter of time. I would expect more and more “click-to-sit” chairs coming over a series of patches, probably concentrated first in areas with the most RP and RP potential. In other words, expect more places to cop a squat in your ship before you see a random bench outside Kaas City glow as you mouse over it.
Fendrik contemplates removing his helmet before the lieutenant comes back, then thinks better of it.
Cham turns to Fendrik. “Is this another drill?”
Keelos looks past Fendrik to Cham. “Ain’t nothin’ goin’ on here, man. I’m tellin’ ya it’s another drill.”
Jo’nara approaches the three troopers cautiously and lowers the hood of her robe. “You all with the same unit?” she asks, indicating the matching armor.
Cham says: “Yeah. 112th Armored Division. Why?”
Jo’nara shrugs. “I saw you all clustered together and wondered what was up. It looks like some kind of drill.”
Keelos says: “See. Told ya.”
Oh, there’s so much here to love. Lowering of the hood, matching of the armor colors (or matching of the armour colors in the UK). Well, good news, RPers….
Orange gear — aka “The Modable Stuff” — is spun gold for RPers because it means you can collect and maintain a look while changing or enhancing your armor without sacrificing style and overall appearance. Don’t like the “Samurai shoulders” on your Jedi Consular? No problem. Craft, find or purchase that perfect brown robe with the orange box around it and fill it’s slots with modules.
And, yes, I said “craft.” Coming soon: “craftable oranges” (not the kind that grow in Florida). So, hold on to those crafting skills and stock up on your favorite mods. There’s more to come.
Also promised are more varieties and clothing styles, the “match hue to chest” option which lets you style your armor to a uniform color instead of mix-matching with your fingers crossed. It’s all good.
Oh, and what good is having a glorious crown of horns on your noble Zabrak Jedi if they’re hidden by the hood of his robe? One day, my friends, we’ll be able to lower those hoods in dramatic style. Even if it’s just a ‘click,’ the end result can lead to dramatic moments in your epic RolePlay.
Barsil looks up from his datapad. “Did you know Bunta Eve is just around the corner?”
Reeka says: “So?”
Barsil says: “SO!? Man, it’s only the most anticipated event of the year! ((The entire guild is going!))”
Reeka says: “((Really? The whole guild?))”
Barsil says: “((Practically the whole server. Dude… it’s an event!))”
EVENTS TO CELEBRATE
BioWare has been asked by party-going RPers from every corner of the globe and the response has come back: yes. Yes, there will be server-wide one-time events. So, for those of you who miss your “Life Day” celebrations back in SWG, have no fear. Something… we don’t know what… will be celebrated massively on a global scale. Tuck a pen into the spiral spine of your LOLCats calendar and stand by.
“Good day, master!! I know how much you love it when I re-paint the ship every time you leave, so I did it again! Oh, and that wonderful aroma you’re experiencing is–”
Maybe it was a joke, but even so, there was no mistaking the cheer of the crowd when Georg Zoeller (and correct me if my attribution is wrong on this one) suggested a vocal restraining bolt for the ship droid.
Good RP can be born out of great RP space and BioWare has promised to extend, grow and accentuate the Old Republic ambiance. Look for sets with more moving parts, audio emotes, more space for RolePlay, NPC population increases, nameplate customization and more.
And even if we can’t shut him up anytime soon, we can at least look forward to more goodies and modables for everyone’s favorite chatty ship droid to make him more useful (oh, and that goes for 2V-R8 as well as C2-N2).
Too much ambiance as it is? Want to get through the first few levels faster? You wished for Sprint at Level 1. You got it.
Lardin glares at the Chiss Smuggler. “You new here?”
Geff looks up from his drink, his red eyes piercing the trooper. “Who wants to know?”
Lardin says: “Well, we don’t get too many Chiss through Ord Mantell these days.”
Geff says: “That so? Well it so happens I chose not to follow in the footsteps of my father.”
Lardin leans on the bar. “What’d he do?”
Geff takes a long pull of his drink. “He’s an agent for the Empire… and a damn good one.”
Oh, imagine that. What if your family legacy could show up in the strangest places, revealing the nobility of your first character’s DNA across factions and classes. There’s a lot coming that you can unlock for RP richness. Legacy, social, alignment and valor unlocks are in the works and promise limitless possibilities.
When you think about what you can do now with class, alignment, gender, advanced class… the permutations are crazy (BioWare, I need more character slots! Please!). Now you’ll soon be able to unlock even more combinations — and Legacy won’t just be limited to familial connections. There will be room for adversaries, adoptions and much more.
Imagine reaching Level 50 with a given species and unlocking that species for all the other classes in your Legacy. Heroic abilities will be unlocked across classes in much the same way, and Valor rankings will unlock brawling. Cantina bar fight, anyone?
Bilene reaches down and strokes the mane of her taun-taun.
Warnick squints up against the driving snow. “Welcome to Fort Frosty, major!”
Bilene pats the taun-taun’s neck and pulls a ration pack from her belt. She opens it and reaches around to the braying animal’s mouth and smiles as he eats it.
Warnick says: “You know if you didn’t have that animal, you probably wouldn’t have made it this far.”
Bilene says: “He’s more than just a pet to me, sergeant. ‘Hero’ and I go back aways. This taun-taun saved my life.”
Warnick reaches up to pat the animal’s broad flank. “He’s very special, then. You’re lucky to have each other.”
Bilene dismounts from the taun-taun and leads him to the stables nearby. “I trust your men will take care of him while we discuss our plans.”
COMPANIONS, PETS & MOUNTS
Having your friends ride along with you on a taxi probably won’t happen, and you can probably scrub the idea with companions too. Imagine the logistical — and comedic — nightmare of having Khem Val riding on the back of your taxi speeder bike with his enormous mitts wrapped around your waist. And for those who have been wanting this… M1-4X? On a speeder?
Yeah, some things we’ll have to let go. So, yeah, all you dastardly dark-siders, you’ll never be able to “kill off” a companion. And, as much as you’d love to stab Theran Cedrex in the face “On Accident,” you’ll have to let his pomposity live on. Not only would the game be more difficult to manage without companions, some story lines would simply die an unnatural death without their contributions.
But what about pets and mounts? We’ll see. Pet’s are a definite, but there was no firm answer on mounts other than an indication that they’re “on the list.” As to Daniel Erickson’s jibe about being able to RP with your pet mount, I think I answered above in the little scene between Troopers Warnick and Bilene. Subtlety in RP is an art form. I trust my fellow RPers will think of unique and creative ways to use their mounts in their epic stories without actually marrying them on Life Day.
Yeffig looks up from his desk. “Yes? Are you the new agent reporting for this garrison?”
Erd stands perfectly still, masking his nervousness behind a stone face. “Yes, suh! I am, suh!”
Yeffig looks back down at the stack of datapads on his desk. “Well, I’m a busy man Erd Wilen. Let me see your orders.”
Erd hands over the datapad with his orders. ((You can check my bio. I wrote it like an Imperial dossier.))
Yeffig take the datapad and reads in silence.
Yeffig says: “((Sweet. I should do that with mine.))”
This is something I’ve longed for myself. I don’t know what the mechanics of the system will be, but BioWare has acknowledged a pending Character Profile or Bio system. Will the Profiles contain intel related to your other Legacy relations? It would be nice to have that option as well as plenty of space to layout a complete history of your character if that’s the way you roll.
A character Bio/Profile system can be useful in RP. Not only can you incorporate it into your scenarios as I did with the above example, Character Bios make finding other RPers fun and interesting. They’re usually written in first person. They’re usually creative and full of detail. They’re usually entertaining and intriguing. PvPers and Grinders have no use for them, so if you see a character with a creative profile in the future… give ‘em a friendly “/e wave.” I guarantee they’ll “/e wave” back.
Well, that’s all I got. Sorry I couldn’t give you more detail, but I wasn’t actually at the summit and couldn’t even pry myself away from my “day job” to tune in to the live stream. I think I gave you something to think about, though; a nice little dream of pending RP possibilities and awesomeness await.
((The RP XP with MJ)) appears right here on swtor-life.com every Friday. You can follow MJ on Twitter @MJswtor, or you can write to him directly at swtorliferp(at)gmail.com. He answers every email. THERE’S STILL TIME TO SEND IN YOUR QUESTIONS. Next week’s column is RP Q&A #3, so SEND IN THOSE QUESTIONS — And if you’ve sent him a question before and he hasn’t answered it yet, send it again.))