Star Wars: The Old Republic Column: Modification Madness at MMORPG.com

One of the remaining sort-of mysterious features of Star Wars: The Old Republic is the game’s heavily touted item modification system. Despite the upwards of 20,000 posts on the game’s official forums clamoring for an ‘Appearance Tab’ a’la most contemporary MMOs, BioWare has often stated that the game’s item modification system made such a tab basically needless, which is why they are not planning on implementing one. Even so, outside of some infrequent but illuminating remarks from the game’s developers, the system remains overall mysterious.

As early as this summer, BioWare got a bit more specific, using the example of a Tusken Raider outfit to illustrate the versatility of the system. Using the item modification system, players would basically be able to keep their items (such as some random Tusken Raider outfit) up to snuff all the way to level cap, and perhaps beyond. However, in the absence of concrete specifics (such as a detailed write-up/section on the official TOR website), most fans have been divided on how confident they are this system would adequately replace the much desired appearance tab, and this void has obviously left room for a lot of rampant speculation.

This is why the game’s official forums light ablaze when one of Daniel Erickson’s many interviews is auto-translated from French to English and features remarks that fuel those doubts. Recently, when Daniel spoke with the folks over at Jeuxvideo he supposedly made some comments (again, translated) stating that “most items in the game aren’t moddable” and that there are basically a few items without stats that provide players with the ability to achieve an “iconic look” e.g. Obi Wan Kenobi’s outfit and basically wear those for an extended period of time through the modification system. While I’m sure some players might appreciate this sort of thing in addition to the robust individuality offered by a mod system that allows all items to be customized this way, the notion of replacing that design did not go over well with fans of the game.

The reason for the inconsistency in BioWare’s comments on the Item Modification system has to do with the fact that the system is actually in flux at the moment, which is apparently why we don’t have concrete details on it just yet. In an effort to provide some clarity, BioWare’s Allison Berryman jumped in on the forums to caution users regarding the accuracy of translated comments and noted that BioWare is actually using their Game Testing program to you know, test the game, and this means they will sometimes test radical changes in the program. This means it is likely that Daniel Erickson was referring to the item modification as it is currently implemented in Game Testing, not necessarily the final version of the system.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic Column: Modification Madness at MMORPG.com.

Jedi Romance in the Old Republic – Darth Hater

Opening logo to the Star Wars films

Image via Wikipedia

Romantic arcs are integral to BioWare‘s game design style. This is true all the way from Baldur’s Gate II to Mass Effect 3, and Star Wars: The Old Republic is no different. By giving our companions gifts and picking the appropriate dialog choices, we may gain enough affection to pursue a romance with them. This process also leads to additional quests given by the companion and a richer understanding of who that companion is. However, this romance system isnt without its controversy, especially when it is concerning the romance arcs of the Jedi Knight and the Jedi Consular.

BioWare announced that pursuing a romance as either a Jedi Knight or a Jedi Consular will result in our characters gaining dark side alignment points. This announcement has obviously caused a lot of distress in the official forums. BioWare is taking the stance established in the Star Wars prequel films, specifically Episode II: Attack of the Clones. The film established that the Jedi Order forbids romantic relationships, as it is a form of attachment. The Jedi believe attachment can lead to the dark side. In an interview we conducted during last year’s Jedi Immersion Day, Daniel Erickson expands on this concept:

Daniel Erickson said:

When you follow the Dark side as a Jedi, what it means is that you’ve given into your emotions. You gave into the hate, and even the love. One of the things you got to see today with Tython is that there is an entire quest in there to introduce the concept of romance leading to the Dark side. It is absolutely forbidden in the Jedi to get married and to have romance. According to the rules, you can get married with permission, but it very rarely happens and you basically have to prove to them that you don’t particularly care about the other person. So it is complicated, and usually done to protect Force bloodlines.

To provide a counterpoint to this logic, Alesul started a thread a couple of months ago. “Romance. To make a point Bioware..” is already at 92 pages and counting. He starts by saying:

Alesul said:

Okay. There are threads about this but Bioware has to see that giving DS points for romancing is really a bad idea. They are contradicting themselves. Let me quote the wise Jolee Bindo:

“Love doesn’t lead to the dark side. Passion can lead to rage and fear, and can be controlled, but passion is not the same thing as love. Controlling your passions while being in love, that’s what they should teach you to beware, but love itself will save, not condemn you.”

Straight from Kotor 1. And if I remember correctly at some point in the game he tells us that he had a wife (not sure about wife) or that he was in love as well. Is he a dark jedi? No. He is not.

Please Bioware consider this because I don’t want to be left out of a part of this magnificent game because I want to roll a lightside Jedi.

He points out that in Knights of the Old Republic, BioWare reasoned a way for Jedi to be able to be in a romantic relationship and still resist forming attachments. Although Jolee Bindo’s wife did fall to the dark side, there are other examples. Alesul again offers another example, building on what DavidForce had to say:

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Community Pulse: Jedi Romance in the Old Republic – Darth Hater.

Star Wars The Old Republic-Achievement Unlocked: Achievements | Ask A Jedi

Galactic Republic Emblem

Image via Wikipedia

In one of the other exciting developments (you know, aside from the official release date) from the Eurogamer Expo, Daniel Erickson confirmed achievements for launch! The guys over at Darth Hater condensed everything from the informal Meet and Greet, which you can read in its entirety here!

Better get this one before TOR comes out..

Question: Will there be achievements in the game

Stephen Reid: There will not be achievements in game at ship, correct?

Daniel Erickson: Not correct.

Stephen Reid: Not correct?!?

Daniel Erickson: Not correct. Achievements have made ship in fact. They’re not going to be the achievements, the crazy achievements that you have to place everywhere, that are like, “Hey if you drink 6 beers and fart in a cantina,” those are not going the achievements to go in. Version 1 of the achievement system which go in, which is actually doing big, heroic stuff, because there’s a ton of great optional content in The Old Republic, like, “Hey, I went to every world and kicked the world boss’s ass.” Those kinds of achievements. That’s going to be the level one system. People need reasons to go back to planets and run around and do that other stuff, so that will come second. The first system is, “Hey, here’s my bragging rights, here’s the bad ass stuff I did in-game.”

A nice surprise for everyone! Achievements are certainly a great means for motivating the player-base to do certain activities, if only at least once, and provide the collector / achiever / completionist in everyone something to do. They definitely offer people goals, and can offer fun rewards for everyone involved. Some people don’t like and don’t participate as much, but there are plenty of others who really enjoy this aspect of the game, and it’s good news that it will be there on launch day.

And sometimes, you cut it a little close…

What do you think of the inclusion of achievements at launch?