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We’re on planet Tython, home of the Jedi School For the Not Particularly Gifted. I’ve spent our first day at school out enjoying the nice weather around campus, walking through the woods and slowly bludgeoning Flesh Raiders to death with my glowing raver baton. This is not what I thought life would be like as a Jedi.
This Jedi Master wants me to rescue a group of students, who wandered off or got lost in this vast three-acre wilderness. Not the students in cages that I rescued last episode. No, he doesn’t seem to know or care about those guys. But somewhere out in the wilderness are another three students and I need to find them. I’m given a beacon. I need to give the beacon to the lost students and then a shuttle will be dispatched to pick them up. They need my help, because apparently the students here haven’t been trained for combat.
Dude, we have shuttles? I know everyone is surprised to see Flesh Raiders using advanced weapons, but I’m pretty sure they don’t have anti-air cannons. You could probably just fly over and find them in like two seconds.
Also, I know I sound like I’m beating a dead bantha, but you’ve got a lightsaber, man. We’ve got a clone army of Jedi holding the walls. Why are you asking the guy with the safety sword to do this? Your students are trapped in a warzone and your plan is to send other ill-equipped students to rescue them while you stare off into space?
(Again, the platform here has eleven Jedi on it, doing nothing. If BioWare could just demote some of these Knights to unarmed scribes or students it would smooth this right out. It’s bad enough to have gibberish like this in World of Warcraft, where nobody reads the quest text. But if you’re going to spend two hundred million galactic credits making the all-voiced story-driven MMO, then you need to treat your environment design with a bit more care. The environment is just as much a part of the story as the spoken dialog.)
I don’t suppose you have a new weapon for me? I’m not asking for a lightsaber. Well, I AM, but I’m not expecting one. I’ll settle for something sharp and dangerous. A blade? A pointy stick? Anything? No? Ah well. Forget I said anything. I need the XP and you’d probably just end up in a cage with everyone else.
I manage to find the students hiding in a small clearing. Someone else is already rescuing them. Actually, there’s a line. You don’t have to wait, but it feels strange to just wade in.
Once the other rescuers depart, I talk to the kids. One of them is injured. Another is completely bonkers and wants to run out (with the injured guy in tow) and get revenge on the Flesh Raiders.
So the Jedi haven’t been teaching these kids combat skills. But they apparently haven’t been teaching them any sort of mental discipline, either. What HAVE they been doing with these kids?
This is actually your first chance to accrue light side / dark side points. As in the past BioWare games, this is presented as a series of choices but it’s really only a choice you make once and then re-affirm repeatedly afterwards. There’s gear restricted to the higher and lower points on the light / dark scale, so faffing about with roleplaying will just limit your options.
I can encourage these kids to run off and get revenge – which is obviously stupid, since they have no combat training – or I can tell them to stay put and wait for the shuttle. I don’t want you to think that I’m cherry-picking the derpy dark side options, so I’m going to stick to the light side, which is probably how this area of the game was intended to be played.
I hike back to base and tell the Jedi who sent me that the kids are all right. Provided you can call “useless, under-trained, unbalanced, and ill-equipped” people “all right”.
He gives me some new boots for my trouble. Not a lightsaber, but boots.
One of the layabout Jedi masters calls me on my holocron. (A different Jedi master. Not that you can tell them apart. 90% of the Jedi here are young human males with brown hair in brown robes with the exact same haircut.) On one hand, I LOVE that they’re putting mobile phones into this sci-fi setting and letting us talk to people far away. On the other hand, the writers often forget I have this thing and make me walk halfway across the world to speak to someone.
In fact, how come I had to come back to base to talk to that last guy? And now that I’m thinking about it – which I’m sure is the source of my troubles – why didn’t the kids call for help themselves?
Master Layabout is injured, which is interesting since I left him on the landing platform where no Flesh Raider could ever possibly reach. He makes up some bantha poodoo about being injured rescuing some padawans, but he specifically sent me here to find out what was going on, and I didn’t see him in the field. I figure his wound is self-inflicted. Wuss.
He says the Flesh Raider attacks are being staged from a nearby cave. Guess who has to go and seal up the cave? I’ll give you a hint: Not Darth Revan.
Still no lightsaber.
You can see that the “Why don’t I have a lightsaber yet?” thing was going to be a running gag. Having played through this content before I wrote this, I can promise that the gag was going to run for a very long time. I think the writers were trying to use the lightsaber as motivation for the player, but it just made everything stupid, lame, and annoying. The lightsaber was dangled in front of the player for far longer than made any kind of sense. (Which means it would have been really cathartic to complain about it. Too bad I quit!)
Ah well. SWTOR is still running, which is more than I would have guessed way back in 2012.
The good news is that I’m going to re-post my Let’s Plays from Lord of the Rings Online and World of Warcraft. Those originally ran at The Escapist, but it’s been a few years and I think they’ve been languishing in the archives to too long. I’m going to repost them here (probably on Sundays) with mouseover text, fixed links, fixed typos, and maybe some additional Tolkien-weenieThis is what you call a Tolkien scholar that’s lacking in the ‘scholar’ department. observations.
Thanks for reading.
 This is what you call a Tolkien scholar that’s lacking in the ‘scholar’ department.
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