Have you ever felt like a stranger in your own toon?

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a sentinel.  I love the playstyle, I love the whoosh, I love the jumping.  I was totally taken in by the badass epic story.  But at the same time, I feel a serious disconnect when she opens her mouth and has the personality of a wet napkin.  Some bullshit like “serving others is both a duty and an honor” makes me roll my eyes and groan.  I know, she kinda has to play it straight, being a super-serious jedi and all.

Once again, serious jedi is serious.

Granted, a lot of people like their characters to take on lives of their own, but I feel like my character is an extension of me.  When some people talk about their characters, they call them by their names.  I just use the first person, like “then I whacked the shit out of him with my lightsaber.”  And if it causes confusion, “Oh, I was on my knight.”  I can’t immerse myself in the game if I’m playing some goody-goody, total shitbag, or boy with whom I can’t identify.1

The Jedi Knight crew… well they just don’t feel like a team either.  T7 is a jedi fanboi, which clashes with Kira’s unconventional sass.  Kira wants to airlock Doc, I’m sure.  Rusk and Scourge basically keep to themselves and don’t play nice with the others.  They only show up together in the same room when the holocron rings, and even then, not always.  It doesn’t feel like a crew – it feels like a bunch of unrelated people who tolerate each other and I’m the lynchpin.   They’re not plotting strategy or playing Pazaak with each other when I leave them on the ship.

Maybe the reason I couldn’t get into being a consular is that she has the personality of a self-righteous wet napkin…

I struggle really hard to get her to say snarky lines, and this one is the best I got.  (Which is damn funny.  I don’t bother to screenie the boring stuff.)

… and the crew is not only distant but annoying.  I mean… THARAN!  And Qyzen ain’t the best conversationalist.  Blah blah Scorekeeper, blah blah honor, blah blah kill da wookiees.  What is really non-team-like is that I have never seen Qyzen and Tharan talk to each other.  Maybe Zenith would be cool, but I’m not sure I could last that long.2

I feel like my complete discomfort with both my consular toon and her companions makes me ambivalent about the playstyle – which, admittedly, has nothing to do with the story, voice, or crew.  If I think about it, sage, has a lot of aspects I like, specifically a resource system that doesn’t penalize you for dropping below 60%.  Still, I am seriously struggling to find the will to level.

Serious jedi moment.

The trooper crew feels like a team but that’s because they’re a squad.  Duh.

Ah the good old days of companion nekked bugs.

Well, except I’m kinda pissed at Elara right now for repeatedly cockblocking me (whatever the girl version of that is – I’m sure if such an expression exists, it’s probably crude to the point of revolting).  But also, we do have our “girl power” moments.

Now, I get the warm fuzzies when my bounty hunter hollers into the intercom, “front and center!”  And they ALL show up and start cracking jokes at each other.

Get your asses up here!

Even Skadge graces us with his presence.

When I had to complete a storyline quest, I could obviously only bring one companion, but the rest of them were standing outside the door of my spaceship, ready to get my back.  It has a feeling of a real crew.

An army of five.

My smuggler feels like “me”.  Wisecracking feels natural to me.

Even though Risha is an annoying as hell, I like the rag-tag crew that I manage to accumulate.  Hello, misfits, come ride with me!

The only thing that would make this shot cooler is if we were walking away from an EXPLOSION.

Smuggler was the opposite of jedi knight for me: hated the scoundrel playstyle, loved the personality.  My husband and I were leveling together, which made it rofl-easy and masked my utter incompatibility with the playstyle, but then I switched mains, and from level 38 on he leveled with my knight, leaving the scoundrel to finish up on her own.  Quitting before finishing the journey was not an option, even though I didn’t want to heal and didn’t like the dps options available to me.  I stealthed half the way, and swore the other half, and made it to 50 through stubbornness.  Now that there’s no more snarking off to be done, my scoundrel lives on the fleet and makes fashion.

So I’ve started a gunslinger after my nervous breakdown about melee dps, and so far I’m willing to stick with it.  I’m still not sure about the playstyle (cover kinda sucks).  The smuggler storyline isn’t so compelling that I must do it again.  No, I’m enjoying it because it feels comfortable.

Back to wisecracking and to BSOCKing the farm boy from Space-Georgia. (And, this time, BSOCKing everyone else too.)

I feel immersed in a way that I don’t with some other characters.  I know that whatever option I pick, I won’t hear the words come out of my toon’s mouth and think “oh ew, didn’t mean to say THAT”.

How would you like a wisecrack *to the face*? I think Corso named this gun “stinky.”

Because every time my toon says something eye-rollingly stupid, or more goody-goody or more evil than intended, it breaks me out of my immersion.  If you’ve done a planet quest a million times, but you don’t spacebar through dialogue because you really REALLY want to hear what your toon is going to say, that’s a good thing!

I know none of this matters for the “endgame” – because when you’re raiding, you never see your toon’s face or hear her voice (ok, that IS a little disheartening.)  But that’s not when you get attached to your toon as an extension of yourself.  You do it while leveling.

How many of you have “stories” from when you were leveling in any game, like the time you almost got ganked, or you took 20 tries to beat this one mob, or you wandered into a high level area when you were low level because you didn’t know better.  Everyone, right?  Even in a non-story-based game, you still have those stories.

To this day, my husband and I giggle about the time when we were playing on a WoW PvP server and some undead rogue kept ganking us.  And then, realizing he was outmatched, he jumped into the water (since undead can stay underwater longer).  Welp, as a druid I shapechanged into a seal so as to swim faster and catch up with him.  Plus, seals can stay underwater indefinitely.  I chased him down and beat him to death with mah flippers (very slowly).

In a story-based game, it’s even more so.  Hell, I recount to you these things that I think are memorable, like Issen smacking the crap out of the amorous Torian.  That dialogue choice and the hilarity that ensued will forever give me warm fuzzies about that toon and that companion.

These stories shape how I feel about my toon and no amount of raiding time logged will change that foundation.

  1. Seriously, I think I’d quit playing if I had to play a male toon, I’d lose interest so fast.
  2. Besides, you can’t even bsock him.  Boo!


You Can Go Home Again: Characters, Crew, and Identity. — 9 Comments

  1. Was neat hearing about your character bonding experiences! Being able to feel immersed and like a class is a good fit is definitely nice!

    Have to agree about the crews as a team bit. I’m not far enough along on my Bounty Hunter and the only other person where it felt like that was with my Agent. My crew members actually talked to each other when I wasn’t around and would talk to me about it and it was pretty neat! On my warrior and inquisitor I feel like it would, realistically, be a terrible idea to ever leave the ship for fear that I’d come back to my entire crew being dead. I guess the idea is that they all fear and/or respect me too much to murder each other while I”m gone. I don’t know.

    I had trouble with the jedi storylines for the same reason though. I just felt like a lot of the time what I ended up saying didn’t match what I wanted to say. I sort of imagined that as a recently christened Jedi I wouldn’t be quite at Obi-wan levels of calm and noble, but it often sort of felt like it forced me in that direction. Or it made me too evil if I chose some of the other options.

    Sith are just as bad on the opposite end of the spectrum. I love my characters but sometimes when I choose a dark side option I’m doing it because it makes sense in context. Like when someone kills my apprentices and I am not going to just shake their hand and let them walk away. And when my character says something like “time to go a-killing” or “I’ve been looking for an excuse for violence” or something, it just feels like the response of a mindless sadist.

    But as I’ve leveled most of the Empire classes already (and don’t know anyone Republic side anymore) I tend to just tab through conversations unless they’re story related.

    • You are SO RIGHT about the sith being “too evil” just like the jedi are “too good.” I have yet to get past the character creation screen with the sith warrior because the evil british lady informs me that it’s “time for a bloodbath” which is.. yes, mindless sadist, exactly.

      I was pretty hopeful when I started out my inquisitor, because you start out as a slave from humble beginnings, so it makes sense that you’d mouth off to your superiors a little and not (necessarily) have that same entitled and bloodthirsty attitude. It seemed, at first, like there was serious character freedom to do your own thing, and not being boxed in like the consular who is “more powerful in the force than I was at 4 years old” blah blah. But soon after that it was typical “FEEL MY STRENGTH” and “how dare you speak to ME that way” all that sithie nonsense.

      • Yeah, even playing a very light side sith inquisitor my options still came across like that. I understand they can’t program 90 different options for every alignment very easily, but it would have been nice if they at least let me explain to a companion or something that I’m just acting like a dick so the sith don’t bury me alive or something. At least that might make me feel a bit better.

  2. I totally understand where you’re coming from here. I was on SWTOR for the first couple months and then i hit a wall and quit. My main toon was a consular and I realized i just couldn’t stand him. He was preachy, self-righteous and deadly dull, plus the soul patch I had picked for him looked more and more (AND MOAR) ridiculous as I leveled up. I hit the end of chapter 1, unlocked my legacy and I was kind of done. Add that to some computer issues and I just up and quit the game entirely.

    I came back about 6 weeks ago and I restarted completely. I left my legacy on whatever destination server it was languishing and rerolled on a new one. I did each class through the starting planet to get an idea of what I enjoyed and now I’m powering though the JK storyline to start a new legacy. The Jedi are still rather unlikeable C’mon BW – Obi-Wan had a personality! Jolee Bindo was one of the funniest characters in SW history. Jedi CAN be fun and flippant sometimes.

    Finding the right class can be tricky. I’m with you, I dislike the smuggler/agent style but enjoy the characters. I picked JK just because I wanna be Luke Skywalker at least once in my life. I think you give the Sith short shrift though – the Inq can be as snarky as the smuggler. The warrior is basically a homicidal version of the bad guy in a John Hughes movie. It’s fun.

  3. I can’t really comment on play style, but I really like my Sniper (cover and all) and the character and everything…
    and the story especially!

    about getting attached to your characters, I don’t really feel the same way… I agree in the fact that I hardly can make myself play a male character… but for different reasons, because I don’t… feel as myself when I play my chars, instead, they’re just a 3rd person (especially in 3rd person view) that I’m controlling.
    and … aesthetically, I much prefer playing a female character than looking at a male one throughout the game… however, mostly I picked my character gender by voice actor/ress… as such, I really enjoyed the voice of female Agent (who played female Hawke in Dragon Age 2) I also made a female trooper, because, well… I’m a big FemShep (Mass Effect series) fan… and she’s voiced by the amazing Jennifer Hale… and in general, female voices are also more pleasing to hear as well… and besides, badass girls are just AWESOME!

    the one Male char I have made so far was the male consular, because it’s voiced by Nolan North (voice of Nathan Drake)

    for companions, since I only advanced till 50 and have more than 2 companions (including ship droid) on my Sniper… I can’t really comment about their relationship with another in other classes, but the Sniper story is very very solid, and the companion relationship (especially between Doc and Vector) are very interesting as well

    also, I try to be as ironic as I can, a Light sided Empire (sniper + inquisitor + marauder), and Dark sided Jedi (consular) (my trooper’s light side though)
    My sniper makes somewhat of a sense, because since she’s not exactly Sith, she isn’t inherently “evil” and she works for the Imperial Intelligence, an agency (although heavily controlled by the Siths) has a prime objective of helping the CITIZENS of the Empire, so whatever is more “righteous” makes sense to be picked… she does not want to inflict pain or suffering, but if it comes to something that threatens the empire, she won’t hesitate to take it(them) down…
    my Marauder, is a bit confusing… the choices I make and what comes out of her mouth doesn’t make too much sense and a bit contradictory (being a Sith and all) but it’s fun on my consular, being light sided at critical points (which sometimes I hate the choice) but mostly because she’s just SO SARCASTIC!!! it’s just SO FUNNY to watch, when she’s going a bit rebellious…

    It was a bit weird on the Consular side however… I try to make him dark (and only lvl 12 so far) but after picking the Dark choices (most of the time involved death of someone) my master seemed so appalled at what happened… but one weird occurrence was at the end of Esseles where he was demanding credit reward, and the next choice (perhaps I picked too fast) he kindly says “I don’t need your credits” … he just DEMANDED rudely for it 1 sentence earlier… and now doesn’t want it?! WHAT?…

    • I have an evil consular (my only really evil toon) and it’s just funny… I don’t think the evil options are incorporated into the story very well. I remember when Master Yuon was appalled and gave me a talking-to and then said, casually, “moving on, we have to blah blah blah”. Clearly no matter WHAT evil things you do, she’s still going to give you the next task, which, to me, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. If you botch the first task by being evil, why would the jedi council keep entrusting you with future tasks? Makes no sense. And, if you’re that evil, why are you accepting the assignments? I guess to sabotage them, but that seems like too much effort to me.

      • yeah… started reading Darths and Droids (from one of your blogroll links… LOVING it btw) and thought, if it was an actual GM and PCs game in the DnD style with dices, a LOT of the choices we make would DRASTICALLY change the outcome of the game… but I guess there really wasn’t much choice other than to “OMG HOW COULD YOU!” then moving on to the scripted sequences…
        as if they made ALL viable choices and had major consequences, by the end of the 20ish hours, there would be as many choices as there are players… (in the millions) not very doable =b

        • Yeah I don’t begrudge them lack of quest “forks” considering that it’s a fully voiced game. Although Garza could send my toon in front of a disciplinary panel with the number of times I disobey orders…

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