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Lightside, Darkside And That Thing Called Story

Published by under Blog,Game Mechanics,PvP,speculation on Mar. 23. 2011.

All of us have played single player games at some point, and in games produced by BioWare, we all know how choice matters to your overall playing experience.

This is all well and good in that single player game, but how does this effect us in the MMO space. Not having to think past the end boss in these games, is something we’ll be very weary of in the MMO world. After this end boss (1-max in an mmo), some will say, that the real game begins.


Lets say that you know a little about TOR, and that you have not just clicked on a random page on the interwebs. You will all know that SWTOR will have story driving it forward. This is the major difference along with the Voice Over (VO) that sets TOR above all those other games out there.

Now, I am not going to suggest that story is a bad thing, and I’ll say right now, that “I, MrWarlock, do say that TOR will be the best playing experience from start to max level” and you can quote me on that.

With that out of the way, how does the story, with its multiple choices placed before you, going to effect you, and how will you end up?

Well, we know that even before the end game, choosing the light or dark side, will give you an item or two (Editor note: this was not 100% confirmed and is still speculative). Though these are mere trinkets, as leveling and most importantly end game items will far surpass anything you will gain as you progress through the game. What could make and brake your class is the accumulation of said light and dark side points.


In an interview from Pax, it was stated that playing a dark side class, locked out an opportunity of gaining a light sided item (in this case a set of gloves) (Editor note: Referring to this Q&A session). This may sound a little trivial to some. Yet this was the first hint on light/dark aligned items existing in TOR.

Now, add the untold benefits that light and dark side points play in gaining skills, and you can start to see a patten.

If you learned before playing that a light sided Trooper was the best way to go as Tank and a dark side Trooper was more devastating in DPS wouldn’t that mean that what you thought was only story choice is now no longer a so called choice?


This has long been highly hinted at, and another Q & A from Darth Hater confirmed this to be true, you can find the post here.

To most this will not mean a great deal, but if your into the min/max spec’s it could make all the difference.


Being viable in end-game, may it be Raids, PvP or a good all round PvE player, is a very fine line, between good, bad and down right broken. Fairly soon after reaching end game, word gets out. If you chose the wrong path, say a dark side Trooper tank, you will no longer be sought out by groups trying to do the hardest content in game.

Ok you may look like a tank, walk like a tank, but you’re more akin to a walking egg basket. Any damage you receive will give your healers a major problem, and there is only so many wipes your Raid will take before you’re replaced by that light sided tank.

This is only an example, but mark my words, this may well happen when TOR hits.


No matter how you candy coat it, what story elements that appear to give you a choice will soon be taken away from you. If you know before hand that only light side points will make you competitive with the end game looming. What was once a choice, now become a constant foregone conclusion.

No matter how bad you want to kill someone or take all their belongings, doing so will leave you one step closer to having a “broken” class, that none want to be around.


I’m all too aware of having a broken class, ever since the days of Ultima Online, I have noticed how the PvP community dictates the game’s mechanics within MMOs.

In a matter of 4 months, I was forced to drop the 2-hand Sword skill on my PvP killer class to use 2-hand Spears, then back to Sword and shield. Then in a few short weeks, I was forced to change again to use Shield and Mace. But wait, this got the Mages up in arms, as Mace took away all their stam, and they this needed to kite.

Soon after I was playing with a Shield and a short Spear, with Deadly Poison, as this had the greatest amount of hit rate. With all the Nurfs going on, the PvE players, who had small groups of 2 or 3, to take down a dragon, now needed 10.


At least in Ultima, you only had to retrain a skill. In TOR, if you’re the owner of a broken class, you will have to re-do the full content of the game, from scratch. Sure, you can make some interesting, set ups with an almost broken class. But they really boil down to being more of a pest, than any great threat. They tend to be the sidekicks, of the great PvPers not getting the kills, but it does make them a very effective, helping hand.

Something you can well do without, when numbers are at a premium in warzones, but highly sought after in open world PvP.

Not many people want to be a bit part player in MMOs though.


Some food for thought, just before you decide to kill that big mouth senator, for sending you off to be ambushed, in some lonely swamp. Will it brake your class if you do?


Until we meet again, MrWarlock signing off.

One response so far

One Response to “Lightside, Darkside And That Thing Called Story”

  1. Force Meridianon 25 Mar 2011 at 1:41 am

    An interesting side-question to this is, considering the presence of light and dark alignment-related items, will the developers be incorporating items that require a neutral, or Gray alignment?

    It will completely depend on how this is implemented, but I see the Gray path as being more difficult to consistently maintain than going full on light/dark. You have to be aware of your alignment at all times, and you may find that some conversation choices may force you to choose between light and dark, with no middle ground. I’m curious how many people will shoot for this kind of playstyle, and whether or not it will be supported.