SWTOR: This IS the game you’re looking for

Star Wars: The Old Republic
“Not as clumsy or random as a blaster, a cuter weapon for a more fluffy age.”

And then there’s the moral alignment system to consider. It’s seriously flawed, and for the anal retentives like me, that will grate on the nerves constantly. Your actions and words when speaking to superiors and mission-givers determine whether you receive light side or dark side points. The game does not encourage a middle ground, as some equipment requires a certain level in dark side or light side to equip it, and isn’t one of the fundamental motives for playing an MMO having the coolest gear?

But the concept itself is flawed. As a member of the Republic or the Empire your actions should go toward the benefit of your side. But there seems to be no internal consistency. What we have here is a confusion between morality and ethics. Morality is acting based upon the standards of your societal upbringing, and for that reason being moral means something different to everyone. Ethics, on the other hand, defines being good or ethical as acting for the benefit of as many people as possible, while being unethical or evil is acting for your own benefit only. This constitutes a sufficiently rigid framework for every player to know what decision they make grants them light side or dark side points. It also shows how both light and dark side cancel one another out, making for the near constant stalemate for which the Star Wars franchise is known.

But here, you’ve basically got to be a submissive, shit-eating little bitch if you want to earn light side points as a Republic member. And as a member of the Empire you must be dumb, mean-spirited, short-sighted, and an all around destructive dick if you wish to become strong in the dark side. Obviously, if either course of action were taken at a societal level it would result in the destruction of the Republic and Empire respectively.

Star Wars: The Old Republic
The badasses Jedi and Sith are presented as does not jibe with the behavior you’re expected to exhibit for light side or dark side points. Also: STAGE DIVE!!!

When I asked Zarex about it, he said developers had added a patch which allows you to see what faction points your choices give you ahead of time, and not to worry since your Flashpoint and PvP gear at cap level are far better than moral alignment gear anyway. Thus does laziness outdo a great effort. Thus are the enriched experiences of Dionysus given over for the common riches of Apollo. Thus does an unstoppable force meet an immovable object. Thus do I run out of metaphors, and we are all a little poorer for it.

Star Wars: The Old Republic
…You know, maybe trading Dionysus (left) for Apollo (right) isn’t such a bad idea after all. It would be kinder to the cattle population, certainly.

Bottom line, Star Wars: The Old Republic is possibly one of the most entertaining MMOs to come down the pipe in a long time. It does a lot of things right and pays impeccable attention to detail, but it’s not conducive to long-term play in those who pick it up just for the heck of it because of the limited endgame and strictures imposed by the storylines. EA’s depressingly familiar mercenary tactics in trying to increase profits will most likely come around to bite them in the ass. But what amounts to a mosquito bite to a giant like EA will probably be SWTOR’s death knell. In the meantime, I wholeheartedly recommend you give it a shot while you still can.

Pros:Fun storylines make grinding less painful.
Incredible graphics.
Companion system blows competition out of the water.
Cons:Overly linear gameplay. No free-roaming.
Moral alignment system can bug off.
EA’s going to soak you for every penny they can.
Game producer's website:Bioware
Official website:Star Wars: The Old Republic
Game available at:Star Wars: The Old Republic


About The Author

John Richard "Chrysophase" Albers
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John Richard Albers, an author, armchair psychologist, amateur historian, freelance, peacemaker, dragonslayer, warmaster, and part-time herald of the apocalypse, hunts ghosts when he isn't hunting crazy people. He holds dual bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and English Literature, is working toward a degree in parapsychology, and is acting CEO of Prior to Print Proofreading LLC, where he gets to torture editors instead of them torturing him for once.

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