((The RP XP with MJ #37))
No, it’s not the next expansion, and I seriously doubt we’ll see “playable droids” in our SWTORian future, but who says you can’t make your own rules in an MMO?
ONCE IN A LIFETIME
Here’s a run-down on your typical cantina RP:
~ A Jedi Knight who has become disillusioned with The Code and seeks peace through passion. (Could also be a Sith who has become disillusioned with the Empire and seeks power through peace).
~ A Twi’lek slave/dancing girl looking for a master (or temporary master, or any form of ERP).
~ A Mandalorian who drinks Corellian whiskey through his helmet while spouting phrases in Mando’a.
~ A Smuggler who drinks hard, flirts with the ladies, and swears (sometimes using actual canon swears like “kriff” or “kriffing”)
~ A Soldier fresh off the front lines looking to drown his sorrows (until the next PvP queue pops).
Sound familiar? The pain behind your eyes from rolling them so much is almost enough to send you into PvP–not that there’s anything wrong with a stereotype now and again (that’s how they become stereotypical), but you’d like to see something new. Once in a great while you find a RolePlayer who breaks the mold, who creates a character so rich with background, so unique with characterization, so specifically animated, it renews your RP spirit and gives you hope that there’s more beyond the “bar scene.”
I was lucky enough to bump into one of these characters while trolling around Vaiken Spacedock looking for a random RP encounter. When my character was “scanned” (Cyborg species emote) by a heavily armored individual who then walked away without a word, my curiosity was piqued. I ran him down and immediately went into a stream of IC incredulity, throwing out my best “Hey! What’s the deal!?” exposition. To my delight, the response was instantly intriguing: “That information is restricted to personnel without authorization.” No matter how I pressed, I was flatly denied and told repeatedly that I was “not authorized to access the unit.”
The lack of emoting, the painstaking enunciation of every word… By the moons of Corellia, I’m talking to a droid! Sure enough, this character (whose floaty name identified him (it) as “Sentient” from the guild “Execution”) was a flawless portrayal of an assassin droid, even down to the look—which reminded me of the poor victims Lord Grathan’s cyberneticist on Dromund Kaas. **SPOILERS (for anyone who just picked up the game yesterday)** Remember Captain “Duchess” Sarnova’s quest just outside Grathan’s estate? The one where she asks you to find her missing troops, and you eventually find that the poor slobs are being turned into droids to do the Empire’s bidding? Sentient even had that “look,” though somewhat sharper and more fear-inducing.
IMAGE: Left – One of Captain Sarnova’s (inset) men converted into an assassin droid. Right – The real deal, “Sentient.”
After our brief RP, which was even more inspiring because Sentient refused to be baited into a drawn-out chit-chat (he is an assassin droid, after all, and has programming to follow—no time for idle BARPing), I caught up with him and asked if he’d mind being interviewed for the RP XP.
AN INTERVIEW WITH AN ASSASSIN DROID
How long have you been RPing?
“I must have been about fourteen or so when I first started RolePlaying, though it might be even further back than that. One of the first places I RolePlayed was in an infamous Korean MMO called Ragnarok Online. I don’t RolePlay on any other MMOs at the moment, though I had a brief stint on World of Warcraft.”
How did you come up with the concept for Sentient?
“When I initially joined SWTOR, I recognized a lot of similarities between the different characters I observed. I always like to do something that would provide me with an interesting challenge. I’d always been fascinated by the concept of artificial intelligence and non-organic characters in video games, for example, Legion in Mass Effect… They can often end up coming across as more human than the human characters—and subsequently acting as social commentary on our own species and its shortcomings. I was not someone who wanted to see a droid class at first, but I believed it would be a welcome addition to the game and one that I personally would love to see. In addition, I’ve always been something of an in-universe droid sympathizer, seeing as most characters view them as nothing more than slaves and tools for a decadent organic culture.”
Do you keep notes on how you believe a droid would behave? How do you keep consistency in the portrayal of Sentient?
“Interestingly enough, I’ve never kept any notes, but I make sure to keep the character acting in a subservient role. [I do, however] take regular screen shots of conversations with other characters to form a literal ‘record’ of dialogue and information so I can refer back to it at a later date and pull up that information much like a droid would when accessing memory logs within its internal databanks.”
What is Sentient’s background?
“Sentient’s creation is one that is marked with a number of underlying agendas, many of which I can’t go into detail about as they’re relevant to an upcoming storyline within the guild. I can provide you with some basic information, however. Sentient was created as part of a secret black project called the ‘Sentient Heuristics Initiative’. The objective of which was to develop an operative that would be infallible and utterly loyal to Imperial Intelligence, and more importantly the Dark Council. No danger of being reprogrammed or brainwashed, and incapable of going rogue as a number of organic agents had no doubt done so in the past. Holowan Laboratories, a well known canon staple, were employed as external contractors to build the actual unit itself. However, just as the project was nearing completion and the unit was just about ready for launch, the entire initiative was scrapped and shut down. All records were destroyed, all personnel involved in its development were quietly taken care of and the unit itself was scheduled to be consigned to the scrap heap…”
Now that’s a lot of detail. While it’s not typically necessary to go that deep into your character’s background, the more you have stored up as backstory, the easier it will be to “act” when RolePlaying in the open world. Sentient’s “role” becomes easier for the player to articulate because he knows what the character has been through.
What advice would you give to other RPers out there looking to improve their RP, or enhance their RolePlay?
“Don’t be afraid to experiement. Don’t settle for something that’s within the realm of familiarity. I also suggest observing other characters and seeing what others have done, and noticing what kinds of characters seem to be more popular. …At the end of the day, RolePlaying is about having fun!”
If you’d like to know more about Sentient’s portrayal, his guild, or the possibility to crack his programming in RP, feel free to send him a PM or in-game message. You’ll find him on the Ebon Hawk server.
Sentient allowed me to break protocol (pun intended) and share with you his recipe for crafting the appearance of an “assassin droid” based on what I glimpsed from “Inspect Character.” Note, these are only suggestions, and most of the medium and heavy gear (particularly on the Sithy or BH side) look fairly “mechanized.” There is a lot out there to pick up, craft or buy that can be mixed and matched (and now “dyed”) to fit any droid portrayal you want to create. If it looks “droidy,” go for it. Here’s some of Sentient’s recipe:
Head – Polished Marauder Headgear / Ablative Turadium Headgear
Chest – Ablative Turadium Vest
Belt – Black Hole Mender’s MK-2 Belt
I do believe you can craft the head and chest pieces at Synthweaving Level 54.
If you come up with your own droid character, let me hear about it! My smuggler is in need of a new protocol droid to replace C2-N2. If you have a special twist on characterization, motivation or appearance, let me know. If you have any RP ideas or “spins” unique to the art and you want to be featured in a future column, drop me a line!
((The RP XP with MJ)) appears exclusively here on swtor-life.com. You can contact MJ directly at swtorliferp(at)gmail.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @MJswtor.
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