Knights of the Old Republic EP1: Knights of the Dumb Questions

By Shamus
on Aug 26, 2015
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

321 comments


Link (YouTube)

Warning: We average about ten inflammatory / controversial assertions a minute for the first few minutes of this video. So expect broad statements about the BioWare catalog, Star Wars, D&D editions, and the historical importance of this game. Try not to freak out.

To be clear: I kind of overstated the importance of this game in making me an RPG fan. I was indeed a shooter guy in the 90’s. But I was also really into System Shock and Deus Ex, which I think qualify as RPGs, even though I didn’t think of them that way at the time. I just thought of them as “interesting shooters”. Ultimately I think it was the one-two-punch of KOTOR and Morrowind that made me realize that RPGs were my jam. This is why I never played Baulder’s Gate or Ultima. They pre-date my interest in RPGs, and I was never able to get into them retroactively.

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Footnotes:



A Hundred!A Hundred!A Hundred!201321 comments? What, did somebody start a flame war or something?

From the Archives:

  1. Kian says:

    I’ve watched one minute of the show so far.

    What do you mean this is “the” Bioware RPG? Where’s the NeverWinter Nights love? That was my first PC RPG, and it was (and still is, there were new mods out the last time I checked not so long ago!) awesome. KOTOR’s engine was NWN’s d20 engine streamlined and made more cinematic, with D&D’s alignment cut down to one axis.

    I’d be surprised if there’s anything really “new” in KOTOR that wasn’t in NWN already.

    I suppose someone who played Baldur’s Gate will pop up now and say how NWN cribbed everything from it in turn, but I didn’t play that one :P

    • Artur CalDazar says:

      They seem to be talking more about how it affected people.

      I never played KOTOR until some time after ME2, skipped over that and jade empire so the importance placed on it seems excesse to me.

      To me KOTOR is most of all what shamu says, it’s super duper Star Wars in tone in ways most games fail at.

    • Rutskarn says:

      I never felt that way. Neverwinter Nights felt like an upgrade of their traditional Baldur’s Gate-styled RPG into a modern 3D title. More accurately, it felt like a tech demo for a toolset that upgraded the Baldur’s Gate-styled RPG into a modern 3D title. I played the game like twice and I can’t say I remember or care about any of its characters. There were plenty of moments where it was clear that the engine wasn’t made to tell *this* story, but to tell *a* story–and that this story was ultimately as good as any.

      In terms of storytelling, scope, and assets, KOTOR was a huge paradigm shift. It introduced in a single stroke a lot of genre staples that are still prevalent today and didn’t exist in the NWN days. By contrast, many of the revolutionary things NWN introduced died off without surviving to another generation. We’ll talk about some of the former as the season progresses, and now that you’ve brought it up, I might go into the latter a bit as well.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        I understand most games should be crafted with the goal of having the game reinforce the story but both of the Neverwinter Nights games were created with the goal of being engines that could handle Dungeons and Dragons modules. It seems like an engine where one story is as good as another is something to be called for in this case.

        And given the sheer number of modules created, especially for NWN2, I think its a special kind of success, one I doubt we’ll ever see again (although frankly, as long as the software remains compatible with current PCs, we don’t really need another, and I’m sure that’s part of why they’ve never tried, wouldn’t be good for business).

        • That was one of the reasons 4e was made the way it was, from what I heard.

          No D&D video game could truly keep up with all the official rules, especially when supplemental powers and feats came into play. 4e was meant to not only bring MMO players into the pen & paper fold, but also to have a ruleset that could be easily coded into video games.

          I don’t think that worked, and it probably won’t, entirely. Too many things one plays RPGs with people for can’t easily be simulated unless they’re contextual. That’s to be expected when you have a DM that’s a human and can make decisions on the fly as opposed to a series of scripts and number generators.

          • Raygereio says:

            That was one of the reasons 4e was made the way it was, from what I heard.

            Nah. The whole “4e is just like some dumb videogame” shtick started as nothing more then an excuse for the grognards who hated 4e to look down on those who liked it and to feel smug and superior.

            During development of 4e, WotC did look at videogames for inspiration. But that’s all.

            • I said it was a reason, not the reason, and “what I heard” involved talking to people who worked on it, so it’s a bit more than grognard griping.

              And I don’t look down on it to feel superior. I look down on it because it was bad pen-and-paper game design. It says something that you can’t just “swing my sword and hit someone,” but you have to choose from a menu of “powers” all named differently. Character design pretty much had to follow optimal builds or you’d have fun dying. You couldn’t sell any items, no matter how powerful, for more than half (or was it a quarter?) retail value, which made me wonder why anyone made magic items at all.

              That’s just to start with. They saw WoW eating their lunch and they wanted it back. They let it be too big of an influence and it wasn’t as warmly received, which is why games like Pathfinder were able to do as well as they did.

              • Ranneko says:

                It says something that you can’t just “swing my sword and hit someone,” but you have to choose from a menu of “powers” all named differently

                Yeah, it says “Wow, basic attacks are boring, wouldn’t it be better if even the basic I hit it with my sword attack was more interesting.”

                4E really does not want people to sit there and just use basic attacks all day with maybe a feat or two or the occasional spell, which is all low level combat in third edition really ended up being.

                As for selling items, that has always been the case with stock D&D rules, adventurers are apparently really bad sales people because by default they can only sell non-trade goods for half their listed values.

                • Wide And Nerdy says:

                  Yes the “half resale” rule was always there. I think 4e was even worse.

                  Everything about 4E’s treatment of magic was about squeezing it into this framework of combat powers that might have an effect that lingers a whole two rounds or (and this was the mark of a true archmage) being able to move 4 squares, *ahem* I mean 20 feet and also fire a bolt at one target with the same attack.

                  Its like the story of the farmboy who found the magic boots that let him fly at walking speed for 12 seconds 3 times a day.

                  Or the mysterious wizard who could throw a fireball once per battle, had a special magical attack that he could keep using until it hit someone and then was spent for the day, and could spam single target arcane blasts after that. He had no non attack powers of course. Because there’s no such thing as “not-combat” for magic to be used on*. Hmph “not-combat”! Don’t speak of such silliness my boy.

                  Or the fearless leader who could, through the power of his words, somehow make a guy move 20 feet without provoking attacks of opportunity while somehow closing one of his wounds. This is the stuff stories are made of. Not video games for sure.

                  *I know about 4E Rituals. I’m holding off comment on them because I don’t want to be that mean. They might as well not exist anyway.

                  • Ranneko says:

                    Yeah, 4E was incredibly combat focused. You couldn’t make a character that couldn’t fight and all of the detail and thought was put into the combat rules.

                    As a result I found it to be a pretty fun combat system which leaned heavily on a battlemap, but not a particularly good roleplaying game.

                    • Bropocalypse says:

                      What’s ironic is that 4e’s combat isn’t even very good. It’s slow as hell. The one thing they focused on, they didn’t even master.

                    • Wide And Nerdy says:

                      As much as I hated the final result, I will acknowledge that there are things I liked. I like that Fighters got more to do. I liked that they could actually tank and draw aggro (previous editions had the occasional odd special ability along these lines but its something any fighter or paladin should be able to do).

                      I liked the Marshal (or whatever the tactical class in the first players handbook was called.) I never got to try it but it would have been fun playing a character that could reposition other characters and help them use their abilities more effectively.

                      I’m mixed on the healing. On the one hand, it feels a bit gamey, on the other hand, it basically codified what people were doing anyway given that you could just say “Ok, so now we camp” and many DMs wouldn’t stop you or would look obtuse if they did so too often.

                      I liked the idea of skill challenges. It needed work but it was a good start. Sadly, they introduced it in the wrong edition because 3E would have been much better for skill challenges given its variety of skills.

                      And as horrible a job as they did with Rituals, I do like the basic idea of separating less structured out of combat utility magic from grid and turn focused combat magic. Its just that making it a feat and giving it such ridiculous costs ruined it. What it needed was its own mana pool or something.

                • Joe Informatico says:

                  I know you whippersnappers who probably don’t remember pre-3e D&D don’t always hear this message properly, but if you think a rule is stupid, and you’re not part of organized play (RPGA or whatever) you don’t have to use it. That’s the whole point of playing a game with a human being instead of a computer: so they can look at the rule and say, “Well, that’s just stupid.” Before just reducing the answer to a single line in the 3e rules, selling equipment was the subject of numerous Sage Advice columns and 2,000-word essays in Dragon Magazine. Which is the better way to go is an exercise best left to the reader.

                  • And that was my mantra for those who don’t like any system as well, to be sure. However, it’s work to ignore some mechanics, especially when the publisher keeps reinforcing them to the point you might as well be using a different system.

                    D&D is often the best system available for playing D&D. It adapts poorly to other scenarios, yet it’s (depending on version/players/DM) quite satisfying for a medieval sword ‘n’ slashery session.

                    For everything else, I just recommend picking an easy-to-adapt set of rules from wherever one wants and then just picking whatever world they want to play in.

                    An example could be the RPG, “Brave New World.” If you like superheroes and dystopia, it’s worth finding an old copy to read. The setting is wonderfully crafted, and J. Michael Straczynski said it influenced his writing for the comic book “Rising Stars.” The RPG mechanics, however, stink. Players have powers, but all the Superman-like heroes (“Alphas”) are gone, and you (a “Delta”) could arrange your stats quite easily to be less of a superhuman and more of “some person who’s pretty skilled at lots of stuff,” yet still classified as a Delta as far as the game is concerned. But again, the setting is a pretty awesome construct that really deserved better. Anyway, in such an instance, it’s probably easier just to get another game system to run the world than it is to keep tossing out rules that don’t work with the campaign.

                  • Wide And Nerdy says:

                    There’d be way too much I’d have to ignore to make 4e work. And way too many rules I’d have to write myself. I’m not going to buy a system I have to redesign. 3e and every prior edition are close enough that what little homebrewing you have to do is acceptable.

                    But we’re on 5e now. It has its own problems but at least its not 4e.

            • MadTinkerer says:

              “During development of 4e, WotC did look at videogames for inspiration. But that’s all.”

              Ah, nope.

              Here’s the thing: like many others, I gave 4e it’s fair chance, and I don’t dislike 4e because I like 3e better, I dislike 4e because of 4e and because of how it was handled differently than all previous versions.

              Normally, a tabletop RPG company saves major rule revisions between editions. They don’t attempt to “patch” the game in-between major splatbooks. They don’t assume customers are going to all buy the Player’s Handbook and then Player’s Handbook 2 when it comes out and then Players Handbook 3 when it comes out. If the option is there, that would be fine, but the rules were written with the assumption that all players would be buying new major core rulebooks.

              The second worst of the major sins was that those patches didn’t even make the rules better, they made the game more complicated and slower. 4e started out okay. It was missing some important features because of the designers’ skewed priorities, but the 4e PHB was altogether “all right”. Even the PHB2 wasn’t terrible, despite the skewed priorities meant we still didn’t have all the classes. But in-between PHB2 and 3, new books became a structural problem rather than a solution (in programming terms: SO MUCH CRUFT). Soon problems that were introduced that could not be solved with new books, because new books just kept making things worse.

              There were quite a lot of other problems, but it wasn’t just a case of grognards having edition preferences. It wasn’t just because WotC were treating a tabletop rules set like an online game that could be “patched”, though that was one of the major problems. 4e was written with very specific marketing priorities that ended up sabotaging the game as a whole in a way that had never happened with previous editions.

              AD&D took some inspiration from Ultima and Wizardry and other computer RPGs which were inspired by OD&D. Gygax said so in Dragon Magazine, go read it. Adding content inspired by digital games to D&D is almost as old as D&D. That was never the problem. Treating the tabletop game as if it was a MMORPG in terms of the marketing of the books as if they were MMORPG expansions* was what killed 4e. Certainly one of the biggest factors, in any case.

              *Reading back over my post to make sure my point is 100% clear: if you still don’t see the problem, the problem is DMs are not MMO servers. 4e and all supplemental material was written as if they were, in terms of rule changes.

          • Grudgeal says:

            The irony in this is that the D&D edition best suited for making a videogame, wasn’t. 4E would have been a very good base for a new generation of Baldur’s Gate.

            • Adam says:

              By the time they got around to having someone actually make a 4e video game, everyone had basically stopped making BG/KotOR style rpgs, so they made an ACTION RPG out of it instead. (Which was an alright game, but a BG style rpg could’ve been so much more fun with 4e rules to work from)

              • MadTinkerer says:

                The fact that they dropped the ball with this just goes to show how terribly the whole thing was handled compared to 1e (three major campaign settings and dozens of video games based on each), 2e (explosion of original settings and dozens of video games based on those settings including Planescape Torment), and 3e (explosion of licensed spinoffs + reviving old settings + OGL + KOTOR and others). It was nothing less than total incompetence that led to the dearth of D&D licensed games during 4e.

                We didn’t even get an MMO based on the 4e rules. The failure of 4e was thorough and complete.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          I understand most games should be crafted with the goal of having the game reinforce the story

          Thats not quite true.You can do it the other way around(you build the story to reinforce the gameplay).You can do it with any of the elements actually.Pick one(or two)to be the priority,and craft others to boost it.

      • John says:

        In a lot of ways, Knights of the Old Republic is like Neverwinter Nights with Star Wars on top, at least in terms of structure. For example, each act in the original campaign for NWN had several areas that you could visit in any order, each with a plot coupon and a bunch of sidequests. After you obtained enough plot coupons, you got to go to a new area for a boss fight. That’s basically KotOR, right there.

        The difference between NWN and KotOR is that NWN‘s content is mostly filler and KotOR‘s content isn’t.

        • DrMcCoy says:

          Not just in gameplay structure, but KotOR is also very clearly a modified NWN in terms of code and engine structure. Infinity Engine to Aurora Engine is a huge cut, while the next iterations (Odyssey, Electron, Eclipse, Lycium) are “just” variations on the same theme, with bits and pieces changed and added to the base Aurora Engine.

          They all use the same scripting language too, NWScript.

          • John says:

            Oh, sure. KotOR even straight-up reuses some NWN graphical assets. There’s a couple of kids in the Upper City on Taris who are straight out of Neverwinter. KotOR also reuses a lot of the NWN speaking and emoting animations.

            Here’s another fun fact. After releasing KotOR Bioware actually went back to NWN and added a KotOR-style camera/view. Unfortunately, NWN wasn’t really designed to be played that way, but it was a nice and probably-not-to-difficult gesture.

          • Wide And Nerdy says:

            I was just playing some KOTOR a little while ago and had the infamous NWN snap back* happen to me a couple of times while I was running around. It would appear you’re right. I’ve never had that happen when playing KOTOR on PC but I’m guessing the game strains the resources of a smartphone moreso making the error more likely to occur.

            Am I right in remembering that NWN runs as a client and server even when you’re just playing yourself? Would that explain the snap back?

            *Where the game glitches and suddenly you’re back where you were before you started running.

            • Supahewok says:

              I’ve had that snapback when playing on PC. Don’t ask me to remember details, its been a few years, but the game was not straining my system at all. (Besides the cut scenes not working, that is)

              I also often had a weird bug on Taris. I believe that it always happened after buying T3-M4. All of my movement keys EXCEPT for Strafe Right quit working immediately afterwards. It took me a few tries to even figure out that Strafe Right worked, since its not something you use, well, ever in the course of normal play. My 13 year old self almost gave up on playing the game, but once I finally figured out that the Strafe Right key worked, I managed to move to an area transition and the loading screen seemed to fix it.

              Its happened a few times over the years since, with different computers, although it didn’t the last time I played.

              Not particularly relevant, but I figured I might as well say it.

            • DrMcCoy says:

              Oh, yes, that snap-back. Much love for that one. Yeah, the server-client architecture is what I too suspect being the reason for that. Some race condition in the command queue handling, possibly.

              And yes, KotOR (and KotOR2) still runs a client and a server. From what I’ve seen, the game classes (objects, areas, …) are neatly divided into server and client versions. As far as I know, that’s still true in NWN2 and the Dragon Ages as well.

      • Cilvre says:

        I agree with you on that, i dont recall most of the characters from neverwinter nights anymore, though i can speak in detail about the characters from the baldur’s gate series. However I had the same issue with KOTOR. I can only recall HK-47 by name and the ending, but otherwise most of the game didn’t stick in my head as interesting.

      • The vanilla Neverwinter Nights game was very much a toolset demo. The two expansions were boss, though, they really hit some good storytelling bits in there and created some iconic (or annoying, depending) characters.

        Deekin?

      • Taellosse says:

        I have to say, as a huge fan of NWN for a LONG time, you’re totally right about this – the actual campaigns for that game were deeply forgettable, and don’t even hold a candle to either their earlier or later work. They felt like generic D&D tabletop campaigns from beginning to end.

        The thing that made NWN great wasn’t the official campaigns, but the robust, and comparatively approachable, toolset. It allowed for the creation of an amazingly vibrant community of modders, who developed TONS of extra content, much of which was truly fantastic, everything from new models and creatures to classes and whole story campaigns. As a result, I played all 3 official campaigns exactly once, but kept playing NWN for something like 5 years, entirely on user-generated content.

    • Supahewok says:

      No. NWN and Baldur’s Gate are quite different mechanically. They used different editions of DnD rules, and both play and look quite differently.

      KOTOR is “the” Bioware RPG because it codified the way Bioware’s tropes would be presented for Every. Single. Game. Afterwards. The central hub with companions scattered about, emphasis on the relationship between the PC and companions, and Bioware’s 3 act structure of tutorial area + first location / multiple locations that can be done in any order / climatic battle tying the previous areas together (Admittedly, that last one has loosened in Inquisition from what I hear), among others. Baldur’s Gate 2 had some of those ideas in a larval state, but there is a very clear structure present in KOTOR that Bioware has never deviated from since, merely explored and widened.

      Also single-player NWN was crap. Cliche-ridden main story, too much padding, can only have 1 companion at a time and they rarely have things to say about your current situation. And the mod community was way less widespread than people give it credit for. It was a vibrant scene, but a vibrant scene in 2002 means maybe 15,000 people. Only a certain type of RPG fan is even aware of its existence; you can’t make any widespread cultural claims with it.

      But to not come across too ascerbic, the breadth of NWN’s mod scene always amazes me, although I was too young to know much about using the internet at the time so I’ve never made use of it. It is quite a gem to a few people. But only a (relative) few. It wasn’t what kicked off the current growing mod support in gaming; I’d lay that at the feet of Minecraft and Skyrim, the former an indie niche thing that drew its inspiration from elsewhere and the latter being the latest in a line of historically moddable games, again unrelated.

      • Galad says:

        As one of those relative few fans, who know and love NWN1 as ‘quite the gem’, I’m sad to say you hit the nail on the head on quite a few points. Just about all of them.

      • Taellosse says:

        While it wasn’t especially well-written, the protagonist has zero personality, and the companion NPCs are largely forgettable, NWN’s official campaign has the exact same structure you describe. It’s actually the first game Bioware made that uses it most clearly. The two expansion packs don’t have that same plot structure, exactly, but the one that launched with the game absolutely did, complete with a “plot twist” 2/3 of the way through that is meant to shock you.

        In a lot of ways, NWN was the game that Bioware used to introduce many of the elements they later made into staples of their games (including the game engine, which was modified slightly to make KotOR and Jade Empire, and extensively to make DA:O and DA2), even if they do exist in a more larval state there.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Vanilla nwn sucks.The only good thing about it is the aurora toolset.The expansions were great however.

      BUT,kotor is the one everyone knows about.Its the one that put bioware on the map.Its also the cutoff rpg for bioware.I mean go back to the podcast episode where people list their favorite characters in the comment,and aside from me,no one even remembers that there were bioware characters before this game.

      • Corpital says:

        Huh, just read the comments for the podcast. The lack of Jan Jansen makes me sad.

      • Grudgeal says:

        Given all the Giant Miniature Space Hamsters around, Bioware sure haven’t. Minsc is great. Jan Jansen is really funny, and I like Mazzy in her “tiny, but fierce”-ness.

        Also, I like Keldorn. It’s rare to meet a paladin who isn’t a holier-than-thou arse in a game, and also an old soldier who isn’t a shell-shocked mess. Edwin is also pretty great; he’s like carting around Iznogoud in your party.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          I meant amongst their fans.Of course bioware remembers what they did.They practically reuse minsc in every single game they make.

          • Zekiel says:

            Do they? I Hadn’t spotted a Minsc analogue in any of their games. Plenty of Jaherias and Imoens and Korgans.

            • Wide And Nerdy says:

              There’s no one quite like Minsc but if we’re just talking eccentric boisterous bruisers:

              Mass Effect 2 = Grunt (he has a certain childlike glee about fighting thats reminiscent of Minsc).
              Dragon Age = Oghren (Due to his drinking, I love Oghren. I wish he’d call more often)
              Dragon Age Inquisition = Iron Bull. Ugh, what a disappointment. He was supposed to be a fun boisterous character, but Bioware doesn’t know how to do that anymore. I just learned that Vivienne can cow him with constant scolding (something I never encountered because I kicked Vivienne out of my party first chance I got). And they saddled him with the Very Special Episode about Krem (who was himself an excellent character if they’d just left out the Very Special Episode dialog) and used him to say “you know, belonging to a group of zealots who completely control your life because they know best is not so bad.” Which made me want to rip my scalp off. But he was a Minsc type character otherwise.

              KOTOR = HK47 kind of fits, if you squint. He’s certainly every bit as good at comic relief.
              Mass Effect 3 = James kind of. And we see Grunt again.

              • HK47 was funny the first play through until the middle. Then he became repetitive to me and lost fun. Then in the next playthroughs he became annoying and I turned from loving him to hating him. He’s like Jar Jar (I’m obviously exaggerating), trying too much to be funny. The character I found most funny and I most love is Jolee Bindo. He is awesome and he brings a kind of humour I like much more, it clicks more smoothly to put it so.
                And I hate Bastila, specially from my first play through. I go leveling up, I do all the searching for her, fighting for her, freeing her, then she comes all uppity demanding -I- thank her with no appreciation for what I did to her. And then she’s all preachy about force stuff. I really loved killing her. In the mission where we sneak after freeing her she also got hatred points from stepping in every mine I was trying to dismantle. The next playthroughs I didn’t hate her as much, as I didn’t take any level at all and in the scene where I found her I just ran about avoiding death while she dealt with the enemies. So in that case it makes sense for her to claim being the one doing the butt saving.

                • Wide And Nerdy says:

                  What redeems Bastila for me is that her arrogance is plot important. And obviously there’s reasons why she might be a bit more standoffish with your character considering, but I get that that wouldn’t be obvious on a first playthrough.

                  The other thing that makes it work for me is that the game lets you needle her constantly. Take notes Bioware. If you’re going to include an insufferable character, you need to give your player options to call them out regularly. This alone would have redeemed Miranda.

                  • RCN says:

                    YES! THIS! A thousand times this!

                    “Sheppard, you may come into my office. Now, about your performance.”

                    “Miranda, I’m the captain of this ship. You should relinquish your seat to me.”

                    “What? But this is MY office.”

                    “And this is MY ship, with MY airlocks. Also, you should give me a military salute every time I walk into the room.”

                    “But you don’t require that of the other crew!”

                    “Well, I happen to LIKE the rest of the crew.”

                    “I brought you back from the dead! You cannot…”

                    (Renegade Interrupt)”LOOK HERE, bubble-butt. First of all I didn’t want to be resurrected by Cerberus. If I COULD, I’d have handed you ass-first to the council for them to do whatever the hell they want with your precious genes, but the Council doesn’t want anything to do with me anymore PRECISELY because I was brought back by the ‘special-needs’ brigade here. Now, you should leave these quarters, I’m sure my fish would appreciate the larger space. Go find an actual crew bunk to squeeze that WMD of yours into.” (Paragon interrupt is the same, but you’re not a dick about it, and therefore is completely useless)

                    Miranda leaves in tears, mumbling “You don’t even feed your damn fish.”

                    A bit too cruel? Not to me.

                  • True everything, but the hatred has already been planted and once you get into the dark side there’s no turning back.
                    So I think from now my signature during this let’s play shall be…

                    ________________
                    Kill Bastila.
                    Kill Bastila!
                    KILL BASTILA!
                    And make it painful.

                    • Bubble181 says:

                      While I’ve often killed her, there’s just *too* many great fun to be had with a properly made dark Bastila near the end. A LS saved and reconverted Bastila’s still a whiney little female dog,though.

        • Zekiel says:

          +1 for the Keldorn love. I really like his world weariness.

          Also Edwin, Haer’Dalis, and Yoshimo… Ah, good days.

          • Grudgeal says:

            I still remember Jan’s pun-riddled little feghoot to Jaheira about the nude theatre. Good times, good times. The Unofficial Banter Pack was pretty good at it too. Most NPC mods tend to add too much of a “unique snowflake” factor to the game to my liking, but the Banter Pack generally felt like it fit right in, like Minsc and Imoen and Jaheira talking about Khalid and Mazzy and Korgan and Jan talking about their dislike of short jokes.

      • RCN says:

        What do you mean Bioware never had memorable characters before KotOR? Minsc and Boo would beg to disagree! Though personally, I always thought Edwin and Viconia were more interesting. And Anomen, because I guess I’m a masochist.

        The Neverwinter Nights games seem to have this Expansion curse, though.

        The Original didn’t have much to show, the first expansion tried but quickly gave up on allowing your customization to interact with the world more (in the initial area there are several conversations where you can use low-level spells to solve problems, like casting “Scare” on a kobold leader to avoid a battle or casting “charm” to convince a guy to open the way for you) and the the second expansion went all-out with the story (they even managed to make Aribeth interesting… by turning her into a Blackguard).

        Neverwinter Nights 2 was very similar, but the order was skewed. The original didn’t have much to show (though at least the NPCs were much better, Sand was delightful, Neeshka and Khelgar were fun to have around and… Qara was wonderful at making me picture her burning in a fire she started herself), the first expansion went all in with the story (EXTREMELY heavy on Forgotten Realms lore, and HOLY SHIT at Okku and One of Many) and the second expansion tried to make your customization more important for the world, but again it only delivered in the very early game…

        Now that I think about it, Morrigan seems like an attempt at redoing Qara with actual motivations for being a complete bitch.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Never said they didnt have memorable characters,just that very few people played those games.Again,go back and read the lists in the podcast comments,and aside from me,no one even mentions anything before kotor.

          • Thomas says:

            When I read your list I had a moment of wondering who a character was until I realised the Baldur’s Gates were totally possible sources for people.

          • Wide And Nerdy says:

            Its easy for me to miss things with characterization when I have to read everything (in a video game). I suspect that if Baldur’s Gate had been made in a later generation that some of its characters would have been more memorable. I liked Imoen and Minsc even if they didn’t make the list.

            And none of our lists seemed to include villains [KOTOR Spoiler] with the special exception of Revan. I’d put Irenicus above most if not all of Bioware’s other villains. He’s up there with Loghain and Saren. Not that Bioware has a ton of competition for best villain. They’re not nearly as consistently good with that as they are with squadmates.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              I would definitely put irenicus and sarren on the list if I had more space.In fact,I was debating with myself whether to put irenicus or the couple,but went with the second option because while they do have a good villain in their future games,they never give you a married couple as companions ever again.Which is a shame.

        • Neverwinter Nights 2 was Obsidian, not Bioware. Totally different company with a very different approach.

      • DrMcCoy says:

        That makes me sad. I’m still a huge Nathyrra fan.

        • John says:

          Nathyrra drives me nuts. There’s this bug in the engine or scripting somewhere such that once she casts Improved Invisibility, she essentially stops contributing to combat, no matter what instructions you give her. (I’ve seen this happen with other companions in other modules, too. I don’t think it was always present, but it definitely happens in version 1.69.) And even without the bug, she’s much less effective in combat that Vahlen. I wish that there were more compelling narrative reasons to take her, or that the game let you do something sensible such as substituting her Lore or Spellcraft checks for yours where appropriate.

          So I always pick Vahlen these days. Because of course I’ve got Deekin with me. Who doesn’t love Deekin?

        • I was such a Nathyrra fan that I named my lotro character after her, and keep reusing the name.

          Of course, by the time I’d gotten bored with lotro, went to wow, got bored with wow, and came back to lotro I’d completely forgotten where the name came from. Be right back, need to go replay hotu!

    • Grudgeal says:

      I consider NWN to be the transitory state between BG2, which was an isometric and almost tactical real-time RPG, to the quicker-flowing and more actiony combat of KOTOR that would later evolve into Jade Empire and Mass Effect. The toolset is a sort of weird transitory fossil that couldn’t find its niche, and the campaign was pretty much the prototype of the bioware cliches with its series of hubs that each led up to the hunt of a single MacGuffin before going on to hunt the next MacGuffin in the next hub. On the flip side it lacked the charm and companions that would allow most of its successors to overpower those flaws.

      To this day, my best memories of NWN was from playing Shadowlords, or Penultima/Eternum/HeX Coda, or the paladin modules, and not from anything bioware actually wrote.

      And I still don’t know how that paladin lady could wear that armour. Her neck was uncovered; a single overhead swing would kill her.

    • GloatingSwine says:

      The actual Neverwinter Nights campaign is pretty bad though. Even at the time it was mostly praised for the potential it would have for other people to create modules or run servers with the DM tools, and this was back in the day when most people couldn’t get them anyway because dialup was still the predominant form of internet connectivity.

      Neverwinter Nights did set a lot of the structural norms of Bioware games for ages to come (the Bioware Three Locations structure is basically repeated for each act, Act 3 even nests one of its locations with a mini Bioware Three Locations), the gradually progressing dialogues with NPCs (albeit the companion characters were super limited), Bastila is basically exactly Aribeth without the personal tragedy and with a lot more smug, and the D20 implementation in KOTOR is super similar (KOTOR uses the same engine as NWN, albeit massively upgraded, as did the first Witcher game).

      NWN is a sort of awkward pupal stage of KOTOR, but people remember KOTOR because it’s interesting and NWN isn’t.

      Also, NWN has aged really badly. Even worse than Baldur’s Gate because of the curse of early 3D.

    • Taellosse says:

      KotOR is the “first” Bioware RPG for many people because it was the first one to appear on console, which at that time was a VASTLY larger market than PC gamers. Both Balder’s Gates and NWN were PC-only titles, and had a comparatively small audience when they were new. KotOR, by contrast, was a huge early hit on the original XBox, and then also did well on PC later on. In a lot of ways it’s what put Bioware on the map as a major development studio.

  2. WILL says:

    I’m actually hoping for more KotOR 2 discussion, it’s a vastly more interesting game, especially when compared the first.

    • Bloodsquirrel says:

      KotOR 2 is only interesting if you agree with Chris Avellone’s hateboner-driven navel-gazing about Starwars. Otherwise, it’s so busy fawning over Avellone’s senile mouthpiece character that it forgets things like narrative cohesion, memorable characters or story moments, or being able to play the main character as anything other than a dialog prompt for Kreia’s verbal diarrhea.

      • WILL says:

        You realize the point of Kreia was that you could disagree with her? She was preachy but that was the point – if you’re sick of her rambling there are other characters with other ideas about how to deal with the Force or morals and they’re just as right as Kreia. All over the game are moments where you can downright tell Kreia she’s wrong and sometimes if you have a good explanation she’ll accept she’ll stand down and consider it. Things like war, death on a massive scale, etc… a bunch of things experience by the Exile and the companions – she knows relatively little about them and you can confront her about it.

      • Gruhunchously says:

        I dunno, being an ass to Atton was pretty fun. And you got to Force Persuade some dudes to jump into a pit, before dancing in front of a crime to distract him while you robbed him blind.

      • lurkey says:

        As opposed to juvenile power fantasy written in a style of CliffsNotes, with a protagonist who’s either painfully naive Forrest Gump or comically evil Forrest Gump, antagonists who’d be rejected from a Saturday morning cartoon for being too cartoony and tropes posing for characters as your companions? Two can play this game. >:-)

        I’m gonna be happy like a Gamorrean in the mud throughout this season. KOTOR for me is like Fallout 3 for Shamus – fun to play, but oh god so dumb it hurtz me brane, what are you people raving about, seriously.

      • Smiley_Face says:

        No, that’s one of the requirements for KotOR 2 being GOOD, not interesting. You can love or hate the way it subverts the standard underpinnings of Star Wars, but in either case it’s something to talk about. The game is a total mess with a lot of serious problems, but again, that’s interesting. And that seems a much more relevant criteria. As for the rest of what you said, narrative cohesion is a problem (probably THE problem), but there’s definitely some memorable characters and story moments, and the decision to have main plot elements revolve around events that are known to the character, but not the player, is an unusual one. It’s not just another run-of-the-mill game, for better or worse.

        That said, if Josh finds it difficult to record KotOR, I imagine that 2 is significantly worse – I have to work hard just to get it to run on a current PC, and even then it’s still a crash-tastic mess. That, the overcomplicated narrative, and the game’s early pacing problems would probably make it a bad call.

        Still, I’d enjoy seeing it, and I expect it would be mostly eviscerated, but definitely interesting.

        • Seriously? Because they JUST, like, a month or two ago, released an updated version of Kotor2 designed to work on Steam and to easily accept community mods. It runs dandy on my brand-new computer. And you can get it for like 6 bucks and download the big restored content mod to go with it.

      • Thomas says:

        Well you’re factually wrong because it’s my favourite all time game after New Vegas and yet I loathe all of Kreia’s philosophies and utterly disagree with their application to the Star Wars universe.

        And as I’ve pointed out on this blog and around the internet many many times, people misinterpreted Avellone about what he said on KOTOR2, he has explicitly said that ‘KOTOR reminded me why I loved Star Wars’ and that he though the issues he had with Star Wars were an interesting way to challenge the player _not_ a gospel which he wanted the player to believe. That is why he put the challenging words in the voice of the villain and then made her do obviously evil things.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Hey,obsidian fan guy!We dont take kindly to your types around here.

      • Grudgeal says:

        We don’t? Didn’t we spend some 50 episodes talking about New Vegas?

      • Supahewok says:

        Honestly its funny to me because if you remember some of the older posts on this blog Obsidian is almost universally reviled, up to the point of Fallout: New Vegas’ release, after which they’re almost universally praised. Its one of the few complete 180’s of Shamus’ and his audience’s opinions. Its a shame Shamus isn’t up for Pillars of Eternity, since its really Obsidian’s most complete game, although I think it could make a season of Spoiler Warning. Josh has played it, and if you don’t do the optional mega-dungeon you CAN get through the game in about 20 hours.

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          They’ve typically shied away from games where most of the dialog is text. Otherwise I’d totally agree with you. Its a shame. If they could make that work, it might be a fun season.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Um,if by universally reviled you mean in the broader populace,yeah Ive seen that.It sucks.But universally reviled here?Nope.Oh we do bitch about them making buggy games,but its always in the “Man this has so much potential,its so cool!If only it didnt crash every half an hour.”.The same way people here like bethesda “Yay freedom,yay fun!If only they had a writer who has finished 4th grade.”

          • Supahewok says:

            I’m surprised you don’t remember, as you’ve been here pretty much the longest of the regular commentators. Go back and read Shamus’ articles on NWN2 and the marketing of FO:NV. The hate for Obsidian is strong, both with Shamus and the audience. But sometime after FO:NV was actually played by Shamus, Obsidian was mostly forgiven, and we have a lot more thought about the constraints they’re put under by publishers, both by Shamus and the audience.

            Here’s some quotes.

            [About Mass Effect when first announced] “However, if other previous trends continue, then in three years Obsidian will come out with Mass Effect 2, a game which will trap you on a spaceship with a crew of dysfunctional morons and sociopaths who all hate you yet still call you their captain for no discernable reason. The gameplay will consist of navigating dialog trees which insult or infuriate you in various ways, for sixty hours, until your ship at last crashes into the sun and the game ends.”

            This whole thing about NWN2’s plot door.

            This Experienced Points article.

            Initial reaction to FO:NV’s trailer.

            I guess that’s more links, rather than quotes. Anyway, the bile is a little more personal than lamenting wasted potential.

            Bear in mind, I am in no way trying to call Shamus out on anything. It’s just a small point of amusement to me a certain opinion of his has drastically changed over the past 8 years, and I was merely pointing it out. A lot of things have stayed the same; the hatred of DRM, analysis of game mechanics and story, etc. But the only two major changes in opinion I can recall are about Obsidian as a studio and Steam as a service.

          • Supahewok says:

            My response has been in moderation for 4 hours, probably because I linked 3 different articles on the blog, so I’m going to copy+paste the bulk of the comment and tell you where to find the links. Shamus can delete the other comment if he wants to.

            I’m surprised you don’t remember, as you’ve been here pretty much the longest of the regular commentators (Well, you, Raygereio, and maybe Krellen. I don’t remember who was first). Go back and read Shamus’ articles on NWN2 and the marketing of FO:NV. The hate for Obsidian is strong, both with Shamus and the audience. But sometime after FO:NV was actually played by Shamus, Obsidian was mostly forgiven, and we have a lot more thought about the constraints they’re put under by publishers, both by Shamus and the audience.

            Here’s some quotes.

            [About Mass Effect when first announced] “However, if other previous trends continue, then in three years Obsidian will come out with Mass Effect 2, a game which will trap you on a spaceship with a crew of dysfunctional morons and sociopaths who all hate you yet still call you their captain for no discernable reason. The gameplay will consist of navigating dialog trees which insult or infuriate you in various ways, for sixty hours, until your ship at last crashes into the sun and the game ends.”

            The whole thing about NWN2’s plot door. (“The Plot-Driven Door”)

            The Experienced Points article from when New Vegas was released, 2010 (“Obsidian Does It Again”)

            Initial reaction to FO:NV’s trailer. (“Fallout: New Vegas Developer Interview”)

            I guess that’s more links, rather than quotes. Anyway, the bile is a little more personal than lamenting wasted potential.

            Bear in mind, I am in no way trying to call Shamus out on anything. It’s just a small point of amusement to me a certain opinion of his has drastically changed over the past 8 years, and I was merely pointing it out. A lot of things have stayed the same; the hatred of DRM, analysis of game mechanics and story, etc. But the only two major changes in opinion I can recall are about Obsidian as a studio and Steam as a service.

            Also want to make a point that when I say audience here I mean the audience of this blog, not the general gaming population. And the audience here didn’t begin to come around to Obsidian until the Experienced Points article after F:NV was released, where the commentary is mixed. Before that, folks here were pretty dismissive of Obsidian as a studio.

            • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

              What’s hilarious about this comment is that it’s a pretty good description of Mass Effect 2 anyway…

            • I never noticed much hatred for Obsidian beyond their maze-like level layouts. I thought it was understood that more often than not, the crash-prone games they put out were largely due to budget cuts at the last minute or being told at the last minute they had to rush the product to market.

              I do recall Shamus giving the Fallout New Vegas trailer a “developer commentary” he composed which was largely “hurr-durr explosions,” but I think he’d admit that was a giant misconception and a bit of a carry-over from Fallout 3.

              It’s also interesting to think that his commentary on Fallout 3 probably wouldn’t have been as harsh had he played Skyrim first, since it made the character interaction in F3 seem like the Royal Shakespeare Company by comparison, and went some way to showing that the karma system, while flawed, was at least a means of expressing your character’s actual character.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Oh yeah,neverwinter nights 2 is an obsidian thing.Yeah,that one was bad.

              • Nimas says:

                Way late, but I really enjoyed NWN 2. I didn’t even mind the plot door of stupidness.

                And then they killed one of the most likeable characters….and made me party with her murderer. Yeah, at that point I was *not* happy.

                It didn’t help that she had like 3 regen items, and frankly could have fucking taken him (also the walking around injured scenes before didn’t make sense with those).

    • John says:

      I don’t want to talk about The Sith Lords! So many bugs! So many half-assed extraneous mechanics! It hurts me.

      • Thomas says:

        What kind of thing are you talking about mechanic wise?

        • John says:

          Mostly the randomized loot drops and the item-crafting. But also the so-called “influence” so-called “system”. Oh, and the lightsaber stances. And there’s probably more that I’m forgetting.

          • MrGuy says:

            Well, then I’m glad you don’t want to talk about it. Seems like it would be boring and painful.

            • John says:

              A long time ago, I put all my Sith Lords bile in a text document, just to get it out of my head and to keep me from re-typing it in places like this.

              • Wide And Nerdy says:

                Well, something to say in its defense, at least now on Steam they’ve included the Sith Lords Restored Content Mod as an officially supported Steam Workshop mod. Steam Workshop makes it quick and easy to install along with a few texture packs I found on the Workshop as well. It works brilliantly so far, far easier than what I had to do the first time I played KOTOR 2 (also with the Restored Content Mod).

                Its to the fanbases credit that they’re still updating that mod and at this point, the bugs are very minimal, better than a lot of triple A games at launch lately.

                Also, in Obsidian’s defense, when they finally got a project of their own where they weren’t being screwed over by their publisher, Pillars of Eternity had very few bugs at launch (mostly minor ui glitches) and those were fixed quickly. Obsidian has taken the criticism to heart and done good.

                If anybody wants to say I’m carrying water for Obsidian, so be it. I don’t care and I won’t apologize.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                Before this I wanted the guys to do kotor 2 in a spoiler warning because its a cool game.But now I want them to do it because I am curious about that text file of yours.

                • John says:

                  Oh dear. I’ve oversold it, haven’t I? It’s really just a numbered list of things in the game and ways that people talk about the game that make me angry. It’s not very well written, and can’t possibly live up to whatever expectations you may have now.

    • GTB says:

      I liked Kotor 2, and in fact i recently picked it up again when it was released on steam recently in a “will work on your modern shit!” version.

      But the biggest thing I remember about it when it came out originally, was how you could immediately tell it was an obsidian game because it had a great storyline and it was buggy to the point of being unplayable.

      It’s obvious to me that obsidian should just write books, in some kind of collective fashion.

  3. Wide And Nerdy says:

    I’d love to see some Trask fanfic where it turns out he has insight into the fundamental underpinnings of the universe. He comes back as a force ghost and reveals that inspite of what the Jedi Council tells you, the Force is about killing dudes and completing assigned tasks. Only then can you grow strong in the force. Also, its important to study Force Wave so you can spam it and win every combat.

    And in my head, Trask exploded that last door closed, with explosions from his mind.

    Chris, you were going to talk about how KOTOR’s combat system was better than Dragon Age Inquisition’s. I still want to hear that one.

    One thing that frustrated me about this game is that with the level cap being so low, there’s this tension between leveling as you gather XP and holding off leveling so you can gain as many of your levels as possible in the Jedi class you access later.

    I also hate the turret sections in this game. They’re hard enough to beat on a PC with the turret moving so slow, but they’re agonizing when you play on a smartphone (which I’m doing right now because of Spoiler Warning). It doesn’t help that if you fail the first one, you can be started quite a ways back and even if you saved at just the right point, you have multiple cutscenes, loading screens and conversation sequences between the last possible save point and your next attempt at the turrets. Hate the turrets. Worse than the Mako.

    • Viktor says:

      Okay, the way I have an easy time with the turrets:
      Use the minimap. It doesn’t show you height, but you can work around that, and just knowing where a cluster of enemies is basically guarantees a kill.
      Spam the attack button. Their hitbox is forgiving, so don’t be precise, just guess at how much to lead and shoot in the general area until dead.
      Don’t change targets often. It’s often better to wait for one to come into range than to spin around and try to locate a different one.

      And yes, the turret sections suck and add nothing to the game.

      • lurkey says:

        The way I have easy time with turrets: install the “no fucking turret minigame” mod.

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          I wish there was a way to get that on the smartphone version. But its nice to know it exists in case I play it on PC again. Thank you.

          And thank you as well Viktor. Sadly, I don’t think all of those tips will work out so well on the smartphone version, particularly spamming the attack button because part of the problem with the smartphone version is that you have to tap the screen to shoot or drag to aim, you can’t do both at the same time like the PC version. Aspyr really dropped the ball here.

    • John says:

      You know, it isn’t really necessary to maximize the number of Jedi class levels you take. The game is perfectly beatable either way. Actually, my favorite combat-oriented build is to take 7 levels of Scoundrel and 13 of Guardian. You can catch enemies flat-footed with Force Jump and deal massive Sneak Attack damage. You can one-shot kill rancors and it gets you through the unending waves of reinforcements on the Star Forge really, really fast.

      • MrGuy says:

        Sure. It’s not a decision that cripples your character (at least for certain playstyles).

        But I agree that, if you want to roleplay as an aspiring Jedi Master, it’s weird that you’re prevented from gaining some Jedi skills if you advance too many levels before you unlock Jedi.

        It feels like the game is punishing you for maxing XP and advancing your character early in the game, which is (IMO) the absolute opposite of what you want a levelling system to accomplish.

        Sure, if you happen to read GameFAQ’s before you start, you’ll know to make the (non-intuitive) decision to delay levelling. And if you read GameFAQ’s, you’ll know exactly how many levels you can take early and still max out Jedi. But the game doesn’t make this obvious.

        Given that “Be a Jedi!” is probably THE most likely desired “role play” in this game, why design mechanics that fight that?

        • John says:

          I take your point. Who wouldn’t want to play with as many Force powers as possible?

          On an only loosely related note, I have often regretted reading GameFAQs. I like to play games that let me experiment with different strategies (or builds, as in KotOR) and while I sometimes get good ideas from GameFAQs, that site can be really didactic about the-best-thing-to-do whereas I am much more concerned with a-potentially-fun-thing-to-do.

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          Yup. I always want to play Mage first. The only exception is when the fighter class has cool movement abilities baked into its gameplay. And the while the Guardian does have a pretty cool Force Jump ability, thats all it has along those lines and this engine clearly isn’t built for that.

          Actually, thats something I’ll give Dragon Age 2 some credit for. I liked what they did with the Rogue. Before that, I only wanted to play Mages, but DA2 made Rogues fun with all their leaping and darting powers.

          Heres as good a place as any to include a fun fact for smartphone players. If you want to modify your save file for any reason, it uses the same format as the save files on the PC version. You can copy your files from phone to PC, modify them with any of the save editor tools out there, and copy them back to your phone.

  4. Humanoid says:

    My first RPG was Ultima 8, and yeah, I have a disproportionate fondness for a game that’s not anything special. If it wasn’t for that fact, then it’d probably occupy the same kind of spot as KoTOR, a playable but unexceptional game that faded from memory pretty quickly after finishing it.

    • Ilseroth says:

      My first RPG was Dragon Warrior 3 on the NES. I really liked the concept of building a team of adventurers and going out and killing monsters… and the fact i was like… 5, meant I didn’t really care about the fact that the game was a crazy grindfest.

    • djw says:

      Hah! Ultima 8 was not exactly my first RPG, but it was the first RPG that I played on my first computer, and for that reason I have giant nostalgia blinders for that game.

      I played Ultima 7 *after* 8, and I still like 8 better. Nobody seems to agree with me on that though.

    • Matt K says:

      Mine was Dragon Warrior 1 on the NES but I was crap at it so never got past the first dungeon.

      My first real RPG, as in one I actually played a bunch and beat, was Lunar the Silver Star for the Sega CD (which was one of the few games worth it for the system). And man did that game kind of define what I like out of an RPG experience. It had tactical battles, a great storyline, memorable characters and the clincher, having all your characters involved in the battle, none of this only 3 people crap. It even had great voice acting.

      I was disappointing when I went to FF7, my next RPG, and it completely lacked of most of these features, including the voice acting which was a surprise to me at the time.

    • Flailmorpho says:

      My first RPG was Oblivion, that started my long love-hate relationship with bethesda games

    • Attercap says:

      I grew up playing PnP and CRPGs. My first CRPG experience was playing Phantasie on the C64 with my older cousin, as he allowed me to name and direct the actions for 2 of the characters. But my first true CRPG of my own was at the age of 12 with Bard’s Tale II (also on the C64). I don’t really miss the days of pulling out graph paper to map corridors (and praying no teleport traps were involved). …Especially when I later played Wizardry IV and needed scientific graph paper because the maps were so huge.

    • MichaelGC says:

      I think mine must have been Dungeon Master – they were up all night thinking o’ that one – on the Atari ST. It was legitimately terrifying, as I’m sure all will agree.

      Actually barely remember it in detail, but I do remember one sorta-clever trick it had which you couldn’t do these days: as you were going down a dark corridor, the floppy-disk drive would spin whenever it was loading the next face-eating monster. So, occasionally the game would just spin the drive at random, just to screw with you. Effectively enough, I might add! – especially at the age I was then. (Long ago in a galaxy not far away…)

    • Syal says:

      My first RPG was Super Mario RPG, followed by Final Fantasy 4, followed by every Final Fantasy.

      And then I played KOTOR and Morrowind and thought “if these were combined into the same game they would be perfect”.

  5. SlothfulCobra says:

    Josh, no! You forgot to steal Trask’s clothes!

  6. Wide And Nerdy says:

    You commented that KOTOR is the only game that has more romance options for women than men.

    Actually Dragon Age Inquisition has more for women as well. Men get Cassandra, Josephine, Dorian, and Iron Bull. Women get Blackwall, Sera, Iron Bull, Josephine, Cullen if they’re human or elf and Solas if they’re elf.

    Some straight guys weren’t exactly happy with that because one of their two options is the only one without a sex scene but honestly, just play a girl and romance Sera if that’s what you’re after. Doesn’t get better than that.

  7. Smiley_Face says:

    It’s going to be fun watching you pick through this game, it’s always a lot of fun to watch, and this is a great game for just being comically evil.

    I never realized when playing through this how stupid your eyebrows move while you sit around choosing a conversation option. I now can’t unsee it.

  8. Zombie says:

    I dunno, some of the Separatist ships feel Star Warsy. Plus, the Clone capital ships are basically Star Destroyers with two towers.

    For swords vs. blasters: Holy shit is it painful to play with guns. It’s like they miss almost every shot, and do almost no damage. It feels like the game is punishing you for daring to not use lightsabers…… I mean, “vibroswords”. This also just completely flies out the window when it comes to companions that use guns, where they can actually do damage, and hit the broad side of a barn. But, I also kinda like thats its somewhat tied to the story. Like Would Reven really be good with blaster weapons? No. He’s a freaking Jedi, he uses a lightsaber, so he’d be really good with melee weapons.

    The combat system is just, ugh. Like, its fun enough, for an early 2000s RPG, but they hide everything on that red cycle menu. If it just showed you all the attack moves you have, that would be great, but you gotta cycle through everything to find the one skill you want. The queuing up this is also really, really annoying when you need to heal up during a fight because you have to pause combat, un-queue any queued up things you wanted to do, find the health kit on the little wheel thingy on the bottom hand corner, use that, the re-queue everything you already did. You can’t drag something in front, you can’t prioritize one action above another; it can get pretty frustrating against bosses and anyone who has poison abilities.

    The Sith are kinda trying to do both, while having already basically destroyed the Endar Spire. They want to find Bastila, and they want to kill all the Republic soldiers. But they already kinda blew up the ship to be able to board it. Oops.

    Oh Taris. You are the most uninteresting planet in this game outside of Yavin 4. You are basically one giant sewer level, followed by a boring base fight, a weird swoop bike race, and then another annoying base, with the most annoying boss fight there is, especially considering what happens to the boss.

    I liked Juhani, but yeah, there are much better companions in this game. Jolee Bindo (We should totally pick him up first, he makes Mannan a little more fun with his companion mission thing), HK-47, Bastila, Mission and Zaalbar. It is kinda nice though that You can totally just kill her and no one bats an eye, since she starts out as a dark jedi. You have to actively work to get her to be a companion, but I don’t remember how. I still have the game guide for this game, so I might have to break that out.

    • WILL says:

      The way guns work in this game is they will fire ~6 shots, but only 2 of them are actual rolls – the other 4 are just visuals and will ALWAYS miss. You can tell this by having a 100% accuracy character with a rifle, half the shots always miss but you land your 2 attacks.

      Guns are more viable in the sequel.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        Which dovetails nicely on HK-47’s suggestions for how to kill a Jedi in KOTOR2. “If I see one more idiot attacking a Jedi with a blaster pistol, then I’ll kill them myself.”

        So, as he suggests, use explosives, gas, shrapnel. The Spoony One also suggests flame-throwers.

        The only time I’ve seen blasters done successfully on screen is with Jango Fett taking down some nameless Jedi with a blaster, so badass. And even he had to fire a strategic volley designed to force the Jedi to give him an opening, a feat he couldn’t repeat against Mace MonkeyFightin’ Windu.

        • But then Lucas made him climb a wall and point his body downwards to fire his jetpack-missile at Obi-Wan. Because guided missiles don’t exist and you have to position yourself like an idiot to fire them effectively…

          * shakes fist at George Lucas *

          • Wide And Nerdy says:

            LOL Yeah. :) Always made me wonder why the backpack. Iron Man got it right with his shoulder and wrist mounted missiles (considering what a thermal detonator can do, there’s no reason wrist missiles couldn’t be a thing).

            • Had I been filming it, the backpack wouldn’t be a problem. Jango would deploy the missile, and it would pop upwards a meter or two above his head, and then a targeting system would fire maneuvering thrusters to aim the missile, followed by the primary propulsion sending it at the target.

              The more I think about it, the odder the version we saw in the movie seems, since the fight choreography was always as exciting as possible.

              • Wide And Nerdy says:

                I know that would be effective but it still looks odd to me that you have a missile mounted on someone’s back pointed straight up, even if its a guided missile.

                • It’d make a better “smart bomb” thing, like maybe a gizmo that showered the area surrounding him with flechette grenades. However, we’re stuck with the design thanks to the costume from ‘Empire, so you have to make do with what the toy molds have said the world is like.

                • Upon further reflection, I’d be interested to know if it even was a missile, originally. In the original trilogy, his backpack was only a jetpack, and the only thought that it might pack a missile was due to one of the action figures having that capability as a gimmick. I always took the backpack’s nose cone shape to just be an extension of its Rocketeer-like function, with the toy “missile” being about as canonical as half the accessories action figures came with back in the day (which is to say, ziltch).

                  I wonder if Lucas took it into his head that since they’d made the Boba Fett toy have a missile launcher, he felt obligated to justify it in the movies?

                  • Wide And Nerdy says:

                    It always amazed me that Boba Fett ended up being latched onto as this epitome of cool when fans had so little to go on. I believe at least half of his canon onscreen time and dialog comes from the Star Wars Holiday Special (well, prior to Kid Fett of the prequels)

                    And now you’re telling me the action figure established part of his character.

            • Bubble181 says:

              Also, wrist missiles *are* a thing in the sequel.

      • Adam says:

        Oh god did I break dual-pistols with atton in the sequel. Watchman blasters with critical hit bonus upgrades, combined with sneak attack and jedi-atton’s paralyzing powers. I was one-shotting fools left and right, in an engine that very rarely allows you to do that. Extra attacks are king.

    • LadyTL says:

      Funny, I always just used health items from the inventory screen, no use animation and didn’t disrupt combat though you could only use one item at a time because of combat rounds.

    • Jonathan says:

      The cycling menu probably exists because KOTOR was also a console game.

  9. Tuskin says:

    I was going to go to bed.

    But no. You had to go and do this.

    Damn you all.

    (Yes I need to watch it now)

  10. drlemaster says:

    I recently started playing SWTOR (my daughter and I share a WOW account, and we were looking for a free MMO we could play simultaneously). Just got to Taris with my smuggler. Thought they has some weird backstory for that world, now I realize they just set it 300 years after this game. That’s actually kind of cool, as Bioware continuity goes. Compared with, say, the Mass Effect 2 beginning.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Yeah.Having a game jump a generation or two to the future(or past)is often way better than making a direct sequel.Gives you the ability to have the same setting and history,similar mechanics,AND not have to explain breaks from the original continuity,or the player choices.

  11. StashAugustine says:

    KOTOR is weird because it was the first real RPG I played (especially if you count playing halfway through Taris at a friend’s house in sixth grade) and it got me into the genre. But then I tried playing it again a few months ago and I couldn’t stand it. The writing, at least at the beginning, feels like someone transplanted a D&D campaign into Star Wars and the combat is really atrocious. It does a real good job of having interesting characters and it nails the visual Star Wars atmosphere but I guess that only works once for me. Personally I blame KOTOR II.

  12. Steve C says:

    I see a powergamer error right off the top. You went with all even stats. Should have gone with all odd stats. Why? Because the “Valor” set of spells give your party a +2/+3/+5 bonus to all your stats making odd + odd = even.

  13. Alternate title:

    You know what to do with that big fat butt!

  14. Mr Compassionate says:

    Yay Mumbles :3

  15. Hermocrates says:

    This episode actually covers precisely as far as I ever got in KOTOR, so I’m really excited to see the rest of the season!

    Nothing against the game, I just could never get into these old-school RPGs, and I tried both NWN and KOTOR. It wasn’t until I picked up Pillars of Eternity that I could really sink my teeth into one of that style.

    I agree though, this game does seem to really capture the Star Wars spirit magnificently. It looks at least as solid as Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2 to me.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      Yeah, Pillars really does show what you can do when you aren’t quite so beholden to the goal of adapting a tabletop rpg.

      • Hermocrates says:

        I won’t say I fault KOTOR et al. for adapting pen-and-paper mechanics into a video game, but trying to play them just made me think, “I really just wish I were playing pen-and-paper D&D or d20 Star Wars.” I think Pillars of Eternity managed to be just different enough to not evoke those feelings, although it does do a good job of scratching my D&D itch (that I’ve had for the past three years of not living near any of my role-playing friends).

    • Matt K says:

      Honestly, I am pretty into old-school RPGs and I still couldn’t get into this game (I tried playing it maybe 5 or so years ago). I got as far as the intro town and just didn’t care much to continue.

  16. Flailmorpho says:

    QUICK EVERYTHING IS BLOWING UP WE NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE NOW after 5 hours of me explaining this plot’s backstory and who everyone is

  17. Christopher says:

    I’m a console guy(who never owned an original xbox), so I had barely heard about this game before the comment section started buzzing with anticipation for this some weeks ago. It looks fun, so far. And interesting, considering this is where their template came from, but without an earlier game to compare to it’s sort of just another Bioware game. I’m happy I’m not playing, because this mix of dice rolls and queuing up attacks with real time movement and third person, behind the back camera is so frustrating to me. But fights are over quick. The dialogue goes by fast too, now that no one has to say your lines out loud. The music that I never remember in any of Bioware’s games is here some loud and majestic Star Wars thing that’s right up my alley.

    Visually, I think it’s about as appealing as Bioware’s other games. Except their ass tech. Mumbles and Josh made the right choice. That butt is AMAZING.

  18. FuzzyWasHe? says:

    I hope when the time comes in the play-through that we all can celebrate the wonderful Jizz music of Star Wars.

  19. Phantos says:

    Oh, how I despise this game. Mechanically I mean, the story and characters are alright. But the combat where absolutely nothing you do is good enough, you miss every attack and every enemy always one-shots you instantly? It’s wretched.

    I was able to save-scum my way to Tatooine before I got fed up and quit. I wonder how far the SW crew will get.

    • Thomas says:

      It’s one of those systems where the beginning is much much harder than anything else. I actually really like how Bioware balanced the game for KOTOR because it’s easy enough that you can win with almost any build and party composition.

      Want to be a blaster wielding jedi? With enough Dex, fine. Want to be a single wielding unhittable fighter? Fine. Want to take the two droids? Fi- well that’s kind of awkward because of how healing works but anything else is fine.

      • Phantos says:

        I mean, it’s been a long time since I last played it. Maybe I just had really bad luck with that invisible dice-rolling stuff going on underneath the hood. Or maybe by sheer coincidence I missed the one way to do it that would actually lead to success.

        But it never felt like I was losing because of something I did wrong. I got about halfway through the game and no matter what equipment, no matter what my stats were, no matter what party I had, no matter what strategy I used, the game just made me eat shit ALL of the time. It never felt like there even was a “right” way to play, or even an easier way. Every opponent in the game felt just ridiculously, unfairly overpowered compared to what I had access to at the time, no matter where I went.

        It’s not even like the first hour of Morrowind where your attacks always miss. It was like Oblivion’s auto-leveling system, except even the mudcrabs were an extra 30 levels above you.

        To this day, I don’t understand how anyone could beat this game. And this is coming from a guy who literally just yesterday beat a Dark Souls playthrough with the HUD turned off.

        • Thomas says:

          That’s odd. Did you have a difficulty setting on max or something (Does this game even have difficulty settings?). I thought KOTOR combat was easy enough that you didn’t really even need to apply your buffs to fights, it was just about killing the enemies even quicker.

          I have distinct memories of the Malak fake boss fight sucking so much because I wiped out all his health in one hit but Bastila still cries “No he’s too strong I’ll save you” or whatever.

          And I’m not a powergamer or anything, I would never come close to beating dark souls and I don’t think I’ve ever optimised a build. It’s possible I’m confusing some of it with KOTOR2, but I thought KOTOR2 had the harder fights (in one or two places).

          It’s strange, I wonder what happened. You know that you can look at the dice rolls in the combat log right? It’ll tell you all the numbers and thresholds

          • John says:

            KotOR has difficulty settings. The big difference, as far as I can see, is that as the difficulty settings get harder, enemies have more health, more health-packs, and more grenades. I’ve noticed that on the hardest difficulty level I tend to run a little low on health-packs myself on Taris and to a certain extent on Dantooine. After that point, however, there doesn’t seem to be much of noticeable effect.

          • Phantos says:

            I don’t think I was playing it on some Impossible F U Mode. If I had been, I would have known to just lower the difficulty if it was giving me too much trouble.

            It’s not like a game that comes out today, where I’ll sometimes try a harder difficulty setting to see if I can get the achievement or trophy or whatever.

            And watching this episode of SW, it doesn’t look like they’re doing anything really all that different from what I was doing. So if the game isn’t supposed to be impossibly hard, I’m not sure why it was like that for me. :/

            • guy says:

              Huh, I never had much trouble. I don’t know what to tell you for the early game, but in the late game stun effects are where it’s at. For lightsiders, you want the force push tree; it scales to a massive AoE that does a ton of damage and has decent odds of stunning. Also, Destroy Droid does exactly what it says. Force Lighting is even better, but lightsiders have to pay a premium in force points. Darksiders get a discount.

              The early game is very glass-cannony, since it’s based off DnD. Hit points start low enough that a lucky damage roll with heavier weapons can one-shot some classes, but rise much faster than damage. I guess I’ll recommend focusing fire and mostly avoiding special attacks to start with. Because you don’t lose combat effectiveness as you take damage until you’re actually at zero, it’s very important to take people out of the fight quickly instead of distributing damage so you make the enemy damage output fall. The caveat is that you want to get your melee guys next to their ranged guys. The special attacks aren’t very good to start with, but the penalties go away as you upgrade them. Power Attack is probably the only one worth using with one rank.

              Also, shields. Once you get them in quantity, use them constantly. Never let anyone be unshielded.

            • Syal says:

              Did you take all the non-combat classes and feats or something? There’s definitely easy builds and hard builds in the game, and I’ve had a few characters that couldn’t beat the game, though I’ve never had one that had trouble getting to Tatooine.

              Stun powers are huge in this game, maybe you didn’t use them?

      • Attercap says:

        My first KOTOR play-through was tough… until I got force lightning. Then I got area lightning and the game bowed to me.

    • Entropy says:

      I imagine through the whole thing, since honestly the game isn’t that hard and I’m pretty sure all of them except maybe Chris have beaten it before.

  20. MadTinkerer says:

    “This is why I never played Baulder’s Gate or Ultima. They pre-date my interest in RPGs, and I was never able to get into them retroactively.”

    Holy cow, the guy with a D&D blog turned tech news & editorials has been playing RPGs for almost a decade less than me. Since you were not an RPG nerd in the 1990s, shall I (possibly) blow your mind about a fact you might not know?

    The original West End Games tabletop Star Wars RPG (retroactively labeled “the d6 system”) was the beginning of the Expanded Universe canon. There was stuff that predated the Star Wars RPG, like Splinter of the Mind’s Eye and the Star Wars comics, but all of the non-movie stuff was not considered canon even at the time. And then WEG pointed out to George Lucas that the RPG is pure writing with no film budget limitations and they’d totally let him have actual creative oversight to make sure everything worked together. And so a lot of the RPG, for quite a few years, was considered to be the same kind of canon as the films.

    The current state of things has been completely different for a while, thanks in part to WEG imploding and WotC getting the license to do a Star Wars RPG, and then even more stuff happening between then and now, but it was really fantastic to hold an RPG supplement in your hand with the authors confidently informing you that OFFICIALLY everything you read and imagine is just off-screen.

  21. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The big twist is:You will become a jedi at some point!

    • tmtvl says:

      Yeah, the point where you’re forced to become a jedi is where I stopped playing.

      That;s my main problem with Star Wars games, you can’t roleplay, so while the Jedi Knight series are great, KoTOR sucks.

      • Entropy says:

        Well, you can roleplay, just within the constraints they give you. Like how in Mass Effect you can’t not be a badass space marine. You can be a slightly different flavour of space marine if you like, but you’re still Shepard.

        That said, it would be nice to have more options. But you totally can beat these games with blasters and force powers if you want to. Pretty sure there was a KotOR 2 lets play like that.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Role playing is not the same thing as undirected sandbox.

      • Raygereio says:

        That;s my main problem with Star Wars games, you can’t roleplay, so while the Jedi Knight series are great, KoTOR sucks.

        Your problem isn’t with Star Wars games. It’s with computer RPGs.
        As we don’t have AIs that can replace the position the GM has in a tabletop RPG and which can react to the player and generate content on the fly (*), you have to follow a pre-written story. The boxed canyon.
        The Bioware style cRPG does present you with choices, to give you the illusion that you have influence over the story. But ultimately – like in all cRPGs – you’re always a fixed character within the story.

        *: The technology for this totally exists by the way. It’s just that people working on AI tech don’t work in the videogame industry. And the game would have to be text based as generating voice and 2d & 3d assets is still problematic. Which means that this sort of game would be pretty much unsellable and there’s no way you’d get funding for it.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Even with a live gm you will not always be able to do whatever pops in your mind at the moment.Especially if you are in a preset story,like in a module.A good gm will guide you in a more subtle way than a computer,sure,but the rails are always there.This notion that “rpg means you get to do 180 spin whenever the wind changes directions” is wrong,and I hate bethesda for making people think its correct.

          • The best game sessions do let you do whatever you want within the bounds of reason for the setting. Even without a module, the DM has a story set up, and they may or may not want you murdering the king before they even give you your mission. Maybe it’ll be a straight up “no, you can’t kill him” or maybe it’ll be “if you try, the guards will cut you down before you even get one step towards the throne” or maybe you can go ahead and murder the king and you’ll be given the mission by the Prince Regent.

            Even if you don’t get that variety, the potential with a live DM far exceeds that of a computer game, even one that’s nearly all text-based.

            I look at the freedoms offered thusly:

            Pen & Paper RPG: You can do whatever your stats and convincing the DM is feasible allows, which could be nigh limitless.

            Computer RPG: You can screw around to a far greater degree than any human DM or player group would tolerate, within the bounds set by the devs.

            Two very different flavors of freedom, neither of which are total.

    • Galad says:

      Is that really the biggest twist in the game? Doesn’t sound surprising at all. I’ve only started getting into KOTOR1 recently, having obtained it form a star wars bundle quite a while ago, and I only have 1.5 hours ago, so just barely past the introductory sequence we saw in this episode. I think I’ll do a marathon this weekend. If I can. It’s not like I don’t have dozens of other good, newer games to pick from..

    • RCN says:

      Pffft. That’s not been a twist ever since Star Wars: Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight, where the title pretty much gave away what would eventually happen to Kyle Katarn during the game.

      That’s right, he got involved in a War in the Stars!

  22. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I disagree with Shamoose about combat:It looks waaay better than dragon age combat.Especially once you start using powers.

    • Humanoid says:

      I’ve only played the tutorial of DA3 so far, but yeah, I do have significant difficulty keeping track of when abilities become available. Compared to that, selecting exactly one ability to queue every 6 seconds is pretty straightforward.

      Tracking timers/availability is a problem with most MMO-style cooldowns where the only feedback the player gets from the default UI is that the button for each ability gets partially greyed-out. But in moddable games, to use WoW as an example, mods can make this kind of thing very obvious – I can, for example, configure a trivially simple WeakAura to pop up a massive image in the centre of the screen, accompanied by a trumpet fanfare, whenever an ability becomes available.

    • Thomas says:

      I’d prefer to play DA:I combat (on a console), but I think even now KOTOR combat actually _looks_ better. The enemy and you are animated together so your actually making contact with your swords! To me that’s totally worth all the downsides to the KOTOR system. Duelling swords is the Star Wars dream

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Well yes,the system is not perfect for playing(it has a bunch of quirks that arent easy to get into),but it looks fantastic.The downside of it is that after seeing all the neat stuff it has,it makes the prequel trilogy look even worse,and jedi fights there even more laughable.Yoda pinballing around is extremely lame compared to the light fest you get to see in this game once you unlock a bunch of force powers.

        And when the layer is in the zone,having everything set up for a fluid game,when you watch fights without them being paused all the time,its a real spectacle.

        Even the blasters are made like that,always animating a bunch of missed shots on top of those that hit,to give you the feel of lasers zipping around all over the place.

  23. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Whats a jedi?

  24. DeadlyDark says:

    Huh. So I wasn’t the only one who’s first RPG was KOTOR. Wow. I mean, it was about a year since I became full-fledged PC gamer (before that was no PC, but a few years of NES). And I was a fan of Jedi Outcast of that time (games has issues, but it was one of my firsts, so I let it slip) and my thought was “It should be like JK2, right?”. Well, I opened for myself a new genre, and I was in love with the game and played KOTOR like dozen times (which would be the mine most replayable game; and I must add, first three-four of them would be done on pirated version* with no voices and movies), so yeah. Because of that number of replays I know every corner and… Have no intention of replaying it again. And come to think of it, the best heir of KOTOR would be DAO. At least that’s what I felt playing DAO at the time. I still feel, it was closer to KOTOR, than, say, Mass Effects.

    Though, I must add, I was able to play retroactively Planescape Torment and Baldur Gates games when they was introduced in GOG. I found that interesting experience and not that hard to try today.

    Must add, the second RPG of mine was Gothic 2, not Morrowind and man I loved that game. Played Morrowind few years back and while there are some good ideas, overall game felt very dead. So I guess, back at the time of flame wars “TES3 vs G2” I would be on Gothic’s side. … . I need find time to replay Gothic. Haven’t done that for ages.

    And now I can watch first episode of the show )

    *Not proud of it, but that was reality of the time. Since then, I bought “SW Best of PC” collection, and later steam version. I think, I bought almost every game I pirated in youth.

  25. Corpital says:

    Vividly remember trying to scoop up all the XP without actually leveling up and beating the very last arena fight on the first try. Never managed to beat the guy with lvl2 ever again. I hope he’ll get shown the thunder.

  26. DeadlyDark says:

    Now that I watched…

    I always put points on intellect. ’cause skills points. And I love being multitasker, know everything, do everything.

    I disagree about StarWars-y feel. Jedi Outcast and, hell, first Jedi Knight (oh, these corny FMV, I love these) beat it. Though, yeah, KOTOR give them run for their money, on these I can agree.

    Yeah, I don’t mind interface explanatory dialogs, but they do seems very strange. At least, Bard’s Tale made fun on them.

    I remember Trask in SWTOR. I smuggled his head on Alderaan. Being smuggler is fun. At least he had romance on every planet and joked every time and then. Still need to play last expansion pack but.

    Oh well, SFDebris done his videos, now you. No need to replay the game for at least couple of years )

    • MichaelGC says:

      Aye right! – this is definitely one of my favourite games to not have to play! :D

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Yeah, I don’t mind interface explanatory dialogs, but they do seems very strange. At least, Bard’s Tale made fun on them.

      I dont mind it either,but I prefer games where tutorials are separate from the main game,thus this thing is completely avoided.

      • MichaelGC says:

        KotOR 2 did a slightly better job of that – nice little in-game & in-story tutorial, but entirely skippable if you were on your fifteenth playthrough. Plus you got to play as R2-D2’s great-grandad, and trundle around on the outside of the ship! Woo.

    • Mmmm, skill points. They mocked me when I got the feat that made Knowledge skills class skills and mocked me again when I put 14 in int.
      They stopped mocking me after the third clearly-labeled pit trap (Dm house ruled pictograms were knowledge dungeoneering) they all fell into. Revenge is best served with a side order of rust monster and otyugh.

  27. MichaelGC says:

    So it sounds like the Scout class is just there to waste everyone’s time – why is that? Specialises in useless stuff, is it?

    PS I found the wiki list of ‘most important attributes’ quite amusing, given Josh’s comment:

    Soldier: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution
    Timewaster: Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom
    Scoundrel: Dexterity, Intelligence, Charisma

    • djw says:

      Scout class gives you implant feats for free, which is nice. Also, if you want to upgrade HK-47 all the way you need repair, and *I think* scout is the only class that gets that as a class skill.

      You can cheese your way to a high enough skill with force valor and a tool belt though, so scout is not strictly necessary.

    • Aldowyn says:

      Does KotOR not have a feat comparable to weapon finesse, letting you use dex for melee weapon to hit bonuses? Because I always stack dex, myself. Getting like 35 AC at the end of the game is hilarious.

  28. AJax says:

    New season. Hooray!

    @13:16

    With Chris on this. Oh god, do I hate the combat in Dragon Age: Inquisition. I just lowered the difficulty, changed to gamepad and just held down the right trigger on every encounter. Playing that game with a KB&M was insufferable.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      I took it a step further. Got a trainer that removes cooldown on powers and gives infinite mana, then spammed the cold dash power to zip through areas. And the game STILL feels long and grindy.

  29. Grudgeal says:

    I never really liked KOTOR. I mean, sure, I finished it, but I never really liked it.

    For me, who started RPGing with Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale, KOTOR was pretty much Neverwinter Nights IN SPACE with its ridiculously fast-paced and local combat that rewarded building your main character into the Ultimate Killbot over party composition and combined arms tactics.

    The story was pretty much ‘eh’ and after listening to David Warner’s Irenicus ranting about “how we shall all suffer” or Kevin Michael Richardson’s Sarevok and his “I will be the last, and you will go first”, Malak was just ‘that mumbly dude with the mask’ to me. It was, again, Neverwinter Nights IN SPACE; go to hub, do sidequests, find MacGuffin, fight boss, go to next hub. I mean, unlike NWN at least it *had* a final boss that was foreshadowed, but that wasn’t a very tall bar.

    Also, as a player of Star Wars d20, I was annoyed by how many shortcuts they’d taken through the system. Like someone mentioned above, the ‘middle range’ classes like the Scout and the Sentinel were essentially pointless: You either went full melee monster with soldier/guardian or you went spellcaster with rogue/consular. No real point to going middle road in a system that valued in-your-face-kill-them-NOW kind of combat. Also, ranged weapons were criminally nerfed.

    I won’t deny parts of it had its charm, but I will never be able to see what all the fuss was about.

    • DeadlyDark says:

      You know, of all Bioware villains Sarevok is the best. He was manipulative, calculating, he was politician in addition of being strong. I liked his evil plan (because it was politics first, evil magic power last). And yeah, I can see, how man can see KOTOR as watered down BG2 (BG1 was a little different, and I like BG1 a bit more, tbh). Still, KOTOR being first RPG of mine, I do feel kind to that game.

      • Grudgeal says:

        Another thing Sarevok had going for him is that you, as both player and character, knows he’s there from the beginning and you know he’s got it in for you. Unless you skip the intro (and why should you), you’ll keep the image of this great spiky knight who sounds like the right hand of Satan himself in your mind. It’s a great motivation and also helps in that while you only start moving in his direct circles by chapter six, you’ve known he’s been out there since the beginning.

      • Zekiel says:

        I disagree (Irenicus and Saren are both better IMO) but I do love Sarevok. He was smart, he was strong and yes he was rather delusional – but who knows, maybe his evil plan would have worked if CHARNAME hadn’t stopped him?

        Malak can just piss off though. Rubbish Darth Vader wannabe.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I liked nwn mechanically.Sure,it was bland as hell and nonsensical,but at least it incorporated the rules in a nice,easy to use way.Which was a step up from baldurs gate.And while I do love games with wonky mechanics like bg and fallout,I prefer games where the mechanics just work.Also,once you get the hang of the combat in this game,its a real visual spectacle.I wasnt really into star wars before I played kotor.So I guess I am somewhat similar to Shamoose and some others in that this was my first real intro to star wars,while I was an rpg fan before.

  30. Thomas says:

    It’s amazing to me how long Bioware sucked at the very beginnings of their game. Mass Effect has the same kind of clunk in dialogue and things happening (and comparing the beginning of this game to the beginning of KOTOR2 is night and day).

    I cant really think of a Bioware game that starts smoothly. Maybe Baldur’s Gate 2?

    • DeadlyDark says:

      I have to disagree. KOTOR2 beginning sucks. Empty rooms with no eye candy at all with some chores to do that lasts two hours, almost no story progression, no sense of mystery, no story hooks at all. At least KOTOR1 intro was 15-20 minutes fast.

      Though, in my opinion it very rare to see any game/film/show that does beginnings right. But, it’s even more rare to see satisfying endings at all. (That’s why I wasn’t upset about ME3, I mean, I know that chances of seeing good conclusion is slim at best, and at least ME3-ending has some good ideas.)

      • Thomas says:

        There’s a ton of mystery with KOTOR2’s beginning. I agree it sucks to replay through, but it’s all mystery and atmosphere at the start (as much as the engine can handle).

        Why are you here? How did it happen? Who is the lady in the Morgue? Who is doing all this? Why are they doing all this? The actual sidequest objectives for the beginning in the game are: Solve the mysteries of the events of the past few days

        • djw says:

          The beginning of Kotor 2 is my favorite part.

        • Syal says:

          KOTOR 2’s intro was less clunky but I wouldn’t say it’s better. It fits the game’s tone of “everything sucks and everything you learn makes it suck more” just as well as KOTOR’s fits the tone of “Let’s lightheartedly discuss this immense threat in exhaustive detail”. Which means it’s a successfully ugly place that I don’t want to spend much time in.

      • Aldowyn says:

        It takes like 2 hours to find a set of clothes. With Atton snarking the whole way, if you’re a lady.

        I actually like the beginning of mass effect the best, walking around talking to Jenkins, Chakwat and Pressly. Most of Origins’ titular origins are pretty interesting, too.

        Never liked Bioware’s in media res openings they’ve been doing. Inquisition is much poorer for it, IMO.

    • Grudgeal says:

      There is a mod called Dungeon-Be-Gone for Baldur’s Gate 2. I think that speaks volumes.

      “Chateau Irenicus” is a mysterious, alien world the first time you play it. By the second, you find a few new things you skipped the first time. After about five times, you know everything and start to wish you can just skip it. By the tenth, it’s a great roleplaying aid because you *will* be feeling like the Main Character just because you finally got out of that stupid place again.

      • Thomas says:

        I don’t really think that’s necessarily the sign of a weak beginning though. Every RPG opening is going to want to be skipped by players eventually, its just a flaw of the whole idea. The beginning is always going to be a little less open and something between you and the ‘proper’ game and it’s the part of the game that you’ll see the most times and so get the most burned out on.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Hmmmm…I dont know if bg2 and hotu count as good starts,considering both are sequels,and put you practically in the middle of it.Jade empire opening maybe?

    • MichaelGC says:

      DA: Origins, maybe? I haven’t played them all, but Dalish Elf, Human Noble and Mage were all pretty strong openings, I thought. Also, having the six different starts does go some way towards attenuating opening-fatigue after multiple playthroughs, o’ course.

  31. Raygereio says:

    You guys are vastly overstating the importance of Strength in this game. You can just leave it at 10 (so you won’t have a negative modifier*) and forget about it.
    Lightsabers are finesseable in KotOR1, so it uses either Str of Dex (whichever is higher), to determine the AB score. And the damage bonus from Str is negligible since crystals will be your main source of damage boosters.

    Dex on the hand also gives an AB boost to ranged weapons which will come in handy on the first planet because you generally don’t want to level too much, meaning you’re way to squishy to be in melee. And dex gives bonuses to defense and reflex score, which are both quite important as the jedi robes we’ll be wearing won’t give much armour.

    *: You can even leave it 8. The most common stat-boosting items are ones that gives a bonus to Str. You’ll have a positive modifier in no time.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Yeah,but finesse means wasting a feat.Not that you would need it,since you can get all the ones you want and still have a few spare.Evasion is nice though,but constitution is better.

      However,all the physical attributes fade in comparison to mental ones.Both light and dark side allow you to stunlock all the enemies and slice them to pieces with ease.You just have to pick whether you want your stunlock to also drain their health as well,or if you prefer robots to just explode around you when you snap your fingers.

      • Raygereio says:

        You don’t need a feat to finesse lightsabers in KotOR1. You do in KotOR2.

      • John says:

        Yes, this is absolutely a viable strategy, and in fact my preferred playstyle.

        Except that it doesn’t work on the final boss. No matter how hard I specialize in force powers, Malak always, always, always makes his saving throws. The best I’ve managed is to knock him back a little with Force Storm. I’ve never been able to stun him.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          But he also loves showering you with droids.Which is hilarious when you have destroy droid.Alone,he is a pushower,even if you dont specialize in melee.

          • John says:

            I dunno. The first time I played, I didn’t understand the game’s systems very well, and to the extent that I did my character was focused on force powers. I spent a lot of time running away from Malak in order to heal. I really only managed to beat him through the creative application of save-scumming. Ever since then, I’ve made sure that my characters have a certain basic minimal competency in melee. I agree that Malak is beatable, no matter what build you may have chosen, but I can’t go so far as to call him a pushover.

            Just out of curiosity, do you exploit the “deactivate the timer on your status effects by passing from one area to another” bug before you fight him? Because that makes a huge difference.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Nope.Didnt even know about that bug.

              But I am a munchkin,and I had plenty of experience with bioware rpgs before kotor,so I was a really powerful force user at that point.

          • Aldowyn says:

            he’s a pushover the first time around, but the second time he can be pretty scary. I was getting hit with 50+ damage every single round in the latter half of the fight this last time I played. (I think he buffs up)

            The problem was I had *no way* to destroy his healclone things, so I had to kill him like 10 times.

    • Supahewok says:

      Nah, Str is still the best for a melee build. If I recall correctly you get bonuses to Str on either end of the alignment scale, so there’s no point in focusing on Dex instead. Furthermore, Force Jump, Force Wave, and Force Heal all work with armor, so if you’re a Guardian who doesn’t get that many Force powers there’s no reason to actually wear robes. As a matter of fact, there’s a Heavy Exoskeleton suit of armor or something available at the Yavin IV Outpost late in the game, that with the armor mods gives you +3 to Str and Con. Combine that with Str implants, Str gauntlets, and Power Attack, and you’re talking some crazy additional damage on top of the saber crystals. You don’t have as many opportunities to boost up Dexterity, or at least I don’t remember finding them.

      I literally had my main character go solo in the Star Forge with no problems, just for funsies. A single Power Attack dropped just about anything in there.

      • Raygereio says:

        You don’t have as many opportunities to boost up Dexterity, or at least I don’t remember finding them.

        Yes, exactly. Meaning you can safely dump Str at character creation and favor Dex, or the mental stats.

        • Supahewok says:

          You don’t need Dex if you have armor, and you need a minimum of the mental stats if you’re going Guardian. Pump up that Str all the way, and spare a bit for Con.

          If you’re going for Consular to be a space wizard, your advice holds. But Soldier -> Guardian has absolutely no need for Dex, and little for the minimums in Int and Wis. I forget how much Cha affects dialogue in this game, so you may want some of that.

          Points of Dex you don’t use beyond the first half of the game are points wasted from a min-max perspective. Jedi with armor shouldn’t bother with it.

          • Raygereio says:

            What you’re describing is just wrong. Wearing armour means you’re not using lightning, push, or any force power that’s cool!
            If you’re not going crush anyone standing in your way with your mind, then what’s the point of being a Si… I mean Jedi?

            That said: Yeah, if you’re min-maxing towards being meleedude who does nothing but swing a lightsaber at stuff. Then sure, go wild and spend every point on Str.
            But my original point was you don’t need to invest in Str at all for a melee-jedi build and for builds that want to do anything other then solely swinging a lightsaber, you’re better off spending those points elsewhere at character creation.
            Like we both said: Boosting Str is easy. Boosting Dex and especially Wis & Cha less so.

            • Supahewok says:

              Go back up to what I said previously. You can use Heal, Push (including its final form as the Stun King, Wave), and Jump while having armor on, along with Destroy Droids and Saber Throw. That’s everything a melee fighter needs in this game (and since blasters aren’t great, you ARE going to be a melee fighter) and is probably all the Force Powers a Guardian can fit in unless you manage to do all of Taris at Level 2. They don’t get a lot extra, and besides, they don’t have the Mana to make use of them. Jump into a group of Sith, blast ’em with Wave (or Destroy Droids), Power Attack them into Kibbles, rinse and repeat whilst Healing as necessary.

              Sure, the buffs powers are nice, and so is Lightning, (and those are most of what armor limits, along with some of the kinda meh Dark Side Powers) but the former is what you have other party members for, and the latter I consider suboptimal, both for roleplaying reasons (the dark side doesn’t feel very satisfactory) and because it locks you out of armor when Wave is an equal substitute that lets you keep the armor.

              If you leave Str at 10 and, say, Dex at 16, you’re gonna waste a significant amount of item bonuses just to get to the point that the game will start using your Str score over Dex. And once you’re wearing heavier armor, that Dex score becomes useless, as it doesn’t give you its bonuses. Actually, since its dragging down your Str items, its worth than useless, its actively holding you back. Its not worth it.

              That said, I’ve never tried a Sneak Attack melee build, which might be what Josh is going for. I don’t remember the Sneak Attack rules for this game, maybe heavy armor negates them. In that case, Dex is what would be needed to help survive later.

              We aren’t in disagreement about other ways to play the game. If you want to play with the buff powers and Lightning, yes, you need robes, and therefore need Dex to up your AC. But a focused melee build is better served by pumping it all into Str, and I feel that overall a focused melee build fits KotoR 1 best.

              The second game is much better served with a Force focused character. More robe variety (including ones that give a bit of AC), more defensive options, and more Force options in general, plus more levels to gain powers.

              You know, it occurs to me that I would’ve really liked if the games added a Jedi’s Wisdom modifier to their AC alongside Dex. Would totally be in line thematically, and helps beef up squishy Jedi builds.

  32. Thomas says:

    What makes the fourth-wall breaking in the MGS tutorials so much better than in KOTOR? The main character breaks the fourth-wall in response.

    Imagine if KOTOR did it metal gear style, so when Trash tells you to press the character portrait, you get a dialogue options
    1. The Character Portrait?!
    2. And then I assign points to level up, right?
    3. But we need to escape the Endar Spire!
    4. “…”

    It’d make me forgive it a little at least

    • Grudgeal says:

      Old Man: Ye’ve already proven that ye know how to move around and attack with your weapon. Let’s talk a wee bit about jumping.
      The Bard: ‘Course I know how to walk around! And jumping? Heh, I know how to jump!
      Old Man: Press the Triangle Button.
      The Bard: Wha’? What’re you on about? What button? You’re completely insane, aren’t you? Y’know, I ran into this other guy once; he kept talking about mice I couldn’t see!

  33. ehlijen says:

    Wow, you guys have a lot to say about this game. I hope the sheer quantity of comments settles down a bit, because it felt to me like you didn’t enough time to actually discuss each point.

    On the droid vs overloading console: You can do both and get both XP. All you have to do is fix the robot first and then hurry to reach the console before it opens the door.

    Question though: How is Regina going to get with Juhani with Josh at the helm? She’s distinctly not an option for dark siders. Is Josh actually going to try to play light side?

  34. Alex says:

    @14:30:
    “Hey, Trask! Look at me, I’m a Jedi! I’ve got a lightsaber and everything!”
    *bzzzzzt*
    “…That’s not her lightsaber, Regina.”

  35. Daemian Lucifer says:

    This is why I never played Baulder’s Gate or Ultima. They pre-date my interest in RPGs, and I was never able to get into them retroactively.

    I might be wrong,but didnt you play planescape:torment?What drew you in to go through that one,and not these two?

    Also,wasnt fallout before kotor as well?And that one has even wonkier ui than baldurs gate.

    • Shamus says:

      Yeah, I played both Fallout and PS:T. I hated the gameplay of PS:T, though. I was willing to meet it halfway because of how much crazy, interesting worldbuilding there was. I wanted to go through the game a second time and try other paths, but the gameplay eventually drove me away. What a friggin slog.

      Fallout is a really interesting case. S.P.E.C.I.A.L. is SO MUCH better for computer mediated play, as opposed to just dumping the D20 ruleset into your game. Hex grids. Mad Max world. Ridiculous freedom.

      I didn’t play PS:T until it was ages old.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        You should at least give a shot to the enhanced editions of baldurs gate(at least the second one).Those improve on the gameplay and some weird choices the originals had.

        Also,2 is mostly situated inside the city,quite similar to planescape.And the art of it is still great.

      • Originally, Fallout was supposed to use the GURPS rules, but SJ Games pulled out of the development, purportedly over having the Vault Boy pictures in the character screen and the execution scene in the introduction. Most people just say “creative differences” and leave it at that.

        So out went GURPS and S.P.E.C.I.A.L. was born.

      • MichaelGC says:

        Have you tried Shadowrun: Dragonfall? Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but it’s a cyberpunk/fantasy story-heavy RPG with vaguely X-COMey turn-based combat. I’m favourably disposed to cyberpunk and TB combat, but I’m far from a rabid fan – and I thought Dragonfall was excellent.

        • Grudgeal says:

          Shadowrun: Hong Kong came out last week by the way. I thought it was really good.

          • MichaelGC says:

            Glad to hear it! – that it’s good, I mean: I do own it, but haven’t fired it up yet. The first one (Returns) certainly had it’s problems, particularly at launch, but they made large strides with Dragonfall, so if HK is as good as Df, then yaaay.

            • Aldowyn says:

              I’m almost done with Hong Kong, and I don’t think it’s *quite* as good as Dragonfall in my estimation? Certainly better than Dead Man’s Switch, though.

              • Supahewok says:

                Is it not quite as good as Director’s Cut Dragonfall, or original release Dragonfall?

                • Grudgeal says:

                  Mechanically it’s the best one yet, better than Dragonfall Director’s Cut.

                  Campaign-wise… Well, that depends on your tastes I suppose. It’s less focused than Dragonfall’s, and lacks as clear a progression since you don’t have anything like the Alice Fund to work towards. You’re also much more resource-starved. Personally I liked the Hong Kong setting, I liked the characters (both party members and NPCs) better and I didn’t mind a little bit of aimlessness in the middle.

                  The combats were generally easier than Dragonfall’s as well. Especially the final boss.

  36. squiddlefits says:

    Okay Josh, here is what you want to do: build all the jedi npcs to use ranged weapons only, and all the non-jedi to use melee only.

  37. Zaxares says:

    Yeah, as much as I still prefer the Golden Age of Bioware RPGs, I have to admit that Shamus and Co. are right about KotOR. It was the template that formed the basis for all of their successive (and extremely successful) games. Jade Empire, Dragon Age and Mass Effect all use the same narrative structure and game arc design that was pioneered by KotOR.

    Fun trivia fact: Carth Onasi is voiced by Raphael Sbarge, who also voices Kaidan Alenko in Mass Effect. Thus, the first time I played ME1, the only other sci-fi RPG by Bioware, and I met Kaidan for the first time, I was all like, “Holy shit, Carth??” XD

    I wonder if anyone else was disappointed that you couldn’t romance Mission. Yes, I know, she’s a teen, it would be inappropriate. But I just LIKED her whole spunky, kid sister persona she had going.

  38. A lot of the questions and joking complaints remind me a ton of the Plinkett reviews of the Star Wars prequels:

    “What’s a Sith?” Really, in Episodes I-III, even knowing what a Sith was should’ve been grounds for a heavy interrogation and seeing if you tested positive for Dark Side points. Because nobody even seems to think the Sith are a thing, yet Chancellor Palpatine mentions them out of nowhere (but nobody catches on that he’s evil, nope!) and in spite of only having faced one that we know of, Obi-Wan casually tosses off the line, “Sith Lords are our speciality!”

    It goes with the oddball way the Jedi went from well-known protectors/mystics with their HQ on the capital planet of the galaxy to “mythical religion nobody remembers” in under 20 years.

    As for the tech, it goes with the fact that Star Wars isn’t science fiction, it’s space fantasy, and it’s in a constant state of medieval stasis: That is, because you have wizards (it’s the only factor I can think of), technology reaches a certain plateau and never goes any farther unless it’s needed for plot reasons, and then it’s quickly discarded or destroyed.

    And finally, Josh? I’m sorely disappointed in your choice of music for the closing sequence. I don’t care what copyright laws you’d be breaking, it’s a bigger crime that this didn’t play over the ending credits.

    • MichaelGC says:

      That was so awesome I was forced to go and buy Star Wars Party off of iTunes.

    • Zombie says:

      The thing with KoTOR is that the Sith Empire and the Republic are at war. Everyone knows who the Sith are, they’re the bad guys trying to rule the galaxy. Its not until hundreds of years later, when there are only a handful of Sith and the “Rule of Two” thing that most people forget/don’t know about the Sith.

      • Ugh, the “Rule of Two.”

        Did the fandom/canon ever work out if that was meant to mean there were only ever two Sith in the galaxy at once, or that if you found one, they always had an apprentice?

        And even THAT made no sense when 99.9% of the time, it seemed the way you became a Sith Lord was by killing your master. The Sith are practically a problem that take care of themselves.

        I also know there was this whole “The Sith are a race!” “No, the Sith are an organization!” “No, the Sith are extinct so now the word ‘Sith’ is a title!”

        Bah. Star Wars’ continuity is bantha poodoo.

        • guy says:

          The Rule Of Two specified that there would be a Sith Master and he would take exactly one apprentice who would not take any of his own. The apprentice was expected to try to kill the master, become the new master, and take an apprentice. Palpatine and Vader augmented this with a lot of subordinates who had force powers but did not count as Sith because they didn’t know special Sith knowledge.

          • John says:

            That’s pretty much exclusively in the licensed stuff, not in the films. There are never more than two Sith per movie.

            • Aldowyn says:

              Palpatine just keeps getting new ones XD

              In a lot of the non-movie stuff it seems pretty common for the de jure apprentice to find an apprentice of their own to help them overthrow their master. Basically the premise of the force unleashed. (Although that was pretty bad, so…)

              • John says:

                Well, Return of the Jedi is kind of like that. (Both the Emporer and Vader try to use Luke against the other.) It does seem like a fairly reasonable extrapolation. It’s just not something we see on screen.

          • INH5 says:

            Apparently the EU justification was that the Rule of Two is a way to contain the power hungry nature of the Sith. In the past, when a Sith Master had taken multiple apprentices, this frequently resulted in the apprentices teaming up to kill the master, then immediately betraying and killing each other. As a result, the surviving apprentice would be much weaker than his/her master, only stronger or luckier than the other apprentices. Over the long term, this resulted in the Sith getting weaker and losing their competitive edge against the Jedi.

            Taking only one apprentice at a time ensures that when the apprentice inevitably betrays and kills the master, it will be because either the apprentice has grown stronger than the master (and thus is clearly qualified to take the master’s place) or the master has gotten weak or careless (and thus is clearly no longer qualified to be a Sith Lord). Either way, it allows the Sith to remain strong despite frequent employee turnover.

            Which actually does sound like a pretty interesting answer to the question of how a society of such cartoonishly evil people could possibly function. Still, it probably would have been better for the movies not to raise these sorts of questions which they were clearly unequipped to answer.

            • Except that still makes no sense. If I’m a Sith Lord, of power level 15 (pretty dang high) and I train up this apprentice who’s a power level 11, then he’ll never kill me and killing him would just be a waste of all the time I put into them.

              Why wouldn’t there be some method of saying “Here’s your evil diploma, you can call yourself a Sith, now make room for the next schlub I’m going to train up while you go out and find some place to build your own den of darkness”? I mean, having treachery and murder being a way to climb the actual power ladder of the Sith Empire could be a neat thing, but combining that with the fact that training a Sith means that someone with a lot of experience is going to have to get killed is stupid, especially if every Sith Lord knows this is how things work.

              It’s like how Voyager made Kes’ race be only able to reproduce once and that produced a single offspring. That’s not a sci-fi idea, that’s a recipe for extinction that shouldn’t have been viable in the first place.

              • INH5 says:

                Like I said, it would have been better if the movies hadn’t brought this up in the first place. But the fact that the prequel trilogy is sloppily written is old news.

          • ? says:

            But Palpatine didn’t follow it anyway since he trained Darth Maul before killing his master. In fact he didn’t kill his master until the final battle in Phantom Menace (in fact he might have lost his first apprentice before becoming a master himself, hard to tell time between two planets). And nothing of value was lost when old EU was purged by Disney. (except Knights of the Old Republic comic series which was a masterpiece :P )

            P.S. As I’m double checking on Wookieepedia Palpatine’s Master’s Master also violated the rule by having two apprentices. Which sort of makes sense that order powered with selfishness treats rules as broad guidelines.

  39. After playing this game and the Mass Effect series, I became convinced that the job at Bioware with the greatest job security and range of creativity was “Future-Tech Powered Door Designer.” I don’t think two areas shared the same powered door designs, did they? And they were all pretty cool, if impractical (I mean, you’d sometimes need a whole floor’s worth of space above and below a door for all the parts to slide away and let you pass).

    Whoever has been coming up with these things must have the most interesting house, I think.

  40. John says:

    Knights of the Old Republic will always have a special place in my heart. It was the first time–and sometimes it seems like the last time–that I was playing the same new game as everyone else. I had just bought a really beefy laptop with–get this–a dedicated graphics card, and it seemed like a whole new world of possibilities was open to me. So I bought a copy of KotOR. It didn’t install properly. So I exchanged it for a new copy. That didn’t install properly. But the third copy did! Joy!

    I’d played computer RPGs before, but KotOR was really, really different. I could walk around in real time! I could turn in increments of other than 90 degrees! I could see my party members! There was a built-in map utility, rendering graph paper unnecessary! And so, so much talking! I have since played through the game about a zillion times. I’ve learned where and what the exploits are. Some of the dialogue sets my teeth on edge. The construction is obvious and crude in spots. But I will never forget my first stroll around the Upper City on Taris. Wow.

  41. Warclam says:

    I haven’t played KOTOR, but I watched SF Debris’ review of this game so I know the outlines. I’m surprised that Juhani is dismissed, because she seemed like one of the most interesting characters to me. I’d like to spend some more time with her and give her her dues.

    • Thomas says:

      She was my favourite of the KOTOR characters, although I understand why HK-47 is most people’s first choice. I don’t get the Zalbaar love, he’s super boring as a character. I guess it’s because he’s copying another original trilogy moment beat for beat?

    • Gravebound says:

      Yeah, Juhani/HK-47 is my team. Even when I try playing with other teammates I always end up back with those two. (Or Juhani/Bastila if you do the item duplication tricks and can have 3 jedi with the most powerful lightsabers :P)

      This is why I never played Baulder’s Gate…

      …and it shows, because it’s ‘Baldur’s Gate’ :) and as clunky as the first one is I still enjoy it.

  42. Drew C says:

    So Josh as the master of bugs and breaking shit I’m assuming you know about how double bladed lightsabers are bugged in KOTOR, so that the penalties for two weapon fighting are not applied when using it? So you don’t need two weapon fighting feats in order to use them effectively. Would be nice to know if they fixed that and if they haven’t that would be food for thought for Jedi party members.

    Also didn’t Bioware have to remove the Juhanni lesbian plot after Lucasarts freaked out about it?

    • John says:

      No, it’s still there. I was kind of surprised the first time Juhani asked me out. The difference between the Juhani romance and the Carth or Bastila romances is that there is pretty much no flirting involved. If you complete the Juhani, er, quest and then talk to her at a certain point near the end of the game, she will state (very gravely) that she is attracted to you. Then you go off and beat the game and there’s no follow-up whatsoever.

      There are a couple of hints about Juhani’s orientation in the game, but they’re not really blatant. One is easy to miss–you need to have Juhani with you in order to trigger it. You only get the other if you kill Juhani when you first meet her.

  43. 4th Dimension says:

    What’s a paladin? ;)

  44. Bespectacled Gentleman says:

    If this season goes well (who am I kidding), I hope you’ll consider playing the second game as well. There’s a lot of non-standard Star Wars stuff in there that could make for a lot of interesting commentary. Keep up the great work.

  45. Destrustor says:

    I always kind of hated how much of a waste of space the Endar Spire’s interior walls were. Just a big dumb half-cylinder of nothing tacked on to the sides of every corridor, where you can’t stand or store anything, whose only purpose seems to be to allow you more room to see around corners.
    I don’t get it. I’d think a spaceship is the one place where maximal volume efficiency would be one of the most valued aspects. I guess it’s just an art design decision to make it look more future-like.

    Also, I really love how you can just stockpile your levels for an easy power-up+full heal combo whenever needed. I think at one point I got to the star forge with about three levels in stock, just because I never leveled up unless absolutely crucial to my survival.

  46. Hush says:

    I thought Juhani’s romance plot was cut out entirely, and only the little hints remain because voice-acting is expensive and they were already recorded.

    But whatever. Nothing terribly interesting in terms of plot here, so let’s talk mechanics. As hinted in the video, KoTOR is easy, and lightsabers and force powers are so strong it almost doesn’t matter how chargen goes…and then there’s the ranged option. The closest thing KoTOR has to a challenge mode. My third run in KoTOR was with a gunslinger. It was an interesting self-imposed challenge, and certainly possible to try, but melee and lightsabers especially are far and away the optimal combat tools here.

    In any case, I look forward to seeing how the crew reacts to the good and bad of KoTOR. I’ll try to be more of a commenter and less of a lurker this season. For now, I leave you with Uncle Hush’s secret family recipe for a KoTOR 1 gunslinger!

    Start with a scoundrel, then add DEX and WIS until both are 15, then sprinkle the rest around to taste. Put in as much Demolitions as you are allowed. Toss in Two-Weapon Fighting, and you’re ready to play!

  47. Phil says:

    I’m one of those people who’ve never played KotOR, but was definitely born a wee bit before it came out. So, I’ll be having fun trying to listen to you all and read the tiny ass-subtitles to follow what’s going on.

    So, 4000 years before the Star Wars movies, eh? That mean Archer hasn’t fought the Xindi yet? *runs*

  48. The head of the jedi that dies is my favourite from the females. Choosing that revealed me one thing: if you do, then she has a different head. The game has this nice feature that makes sure you won’t find an NPC with the same head as yours.

    I’m almost sure you’re equipping the swords wrong: the small in the right hand and the long in the off hand, which cancels the penalty reduction from using a small blade in the off hand.

    • djw says:

      They must have copy and pasted that feature from Baldur’s Gate 2 then. I choose the Yoshimo face for my first play through (because I didn’t know any better) and when I met Yoshimo he had the face of the crazy psycho halfling from Baldur’s Gate 1, which made very little sense to me at the time, since Yoshimo was human.

  49. Heregoesnothing says:

    I actually found the ship designs one of the few things I liked about the Prequels. In the OT the only parts of the galaxy we see are the minimalistic Imperial ships, the scavenged together rebel bases and ships, or the total dumps on Tatooine. It made a lot of sense that the earlier, more prosperous time and places had a different aesthetic.

    • That’s because everything that Lucas didn’t know how to do was done by competent people. Ship & set design, fight choreography, special effects, etc. were all things he couldn’t screw up beyond the reasons for them existing.

      It’s why I often refer to the prequel trilogy as a very good demo reel for Industrial Light & Magic.

  50. Blovsk says:

    Well, this is a super-interesting, super-influential game. Tons of the stuff that got emphasised in this had been pioneered during BG 2, in particular the (introduction->open variety of quests -> linear cutaway section -> finale) structure and the ‘base’.

  51. INH5 says:

    If I remember right, I played Anachronox in either 2001 or 2002. This means that even though I’m 2 decades younger than Shamus, I’ve been playing computer RPGs longer than he has. My mind is blown.

    But unlike Shamus, I never became a big computer RPG fan. I started with shooters (specifically Dark Forces, the first game in the series that would later be called Jedi Knight), and I had a similar reaction to him when I played KOTOR. Whereas Anachronox had a turned based combat system that was obviously different from action games, KOTOR looked like a TPS but didn’t at all play like one, so it was disconcerting and never really gelled for me. For whatever reason, I didn’t finish KOTOR, and I didn’t buy any other RPGs for several years. I bought and played for Neverwinter Nights 2 in 2008, and then I bought Mass Effect 2 on a whim during the 2011 Steam summer sale. Since then, I’ve been looking more into this genre. I think the main reason I never got much into RPGs is that I just don’t particularly like the typical DnD medieval fantasy setting that the majority of them are set in.

    Well, I did also buy Freedom Force and its sequel, but those are weird RPG-RTS hybrids.

    —-

    I have to say that I don’t particularly care for the opening of KOTOR. It starts with a big action scene and then, while the ship is being attacked, the story stops for a massive exposition dump. These two things are pretty at odds with each other, and a lot of the exposition seems unnecessary. The original Star Wars doesn’t tell the audience anything about the context for the opening battle until after the action scene is over, when Darth Vader is interrogating people.

    I think something similar could work here. Just open on the PC as a crew member of this ship that is being attacked, and don’t bother explaining anything except that which is strictly necessary for the player to learn the game mechanics until after you escape the ship. I think most players would figure out what they need to do, especially because the vast majority of them will already be well familiar with the Star Wars universe.

  52. Daimbert says:

    I’ve recently replayed KotOR, and am now working on Sith Lords. The first time I tried to replay it — with Melinda May as the main character — I found the combat a bit clunky and the dialog a bit dumb in a lot of places. It also locked up on me a lot, where it was still running but I couldn’t move around at all. Later, I got a deal on the Star Wars package at GOG, and so tried it again, this time creating Phil Coulson as the main character (I’m running May in Sith Lords) and had a MUCH better experience, and really enjoyed the game. I also just finished the Mass Effect series, and think that I like KotOR better, even now, than pretty much any game in the series (which fits with where I ranked them on my list of favourite games [grin]). There are quirks to the combat, sure, but the story is interesting, the characters are interesting, and it doesn’t overload you with crap, both in story and in gameplay.

  53. Jokerman says:

    The way i got into rpgs is similar to Shamus, only a generation after with Mass Effect 1 and Oblivion before that i was more about platformers and spectacle fighters both genres i rarely play now.

    But luckily, Jade Empire and Kotor were not to far away to have aged much, i enjoyed them more then ME.

  54. Groboclown says:

    Fun fact. Ruts brought this up. So my daughter was born around the time this game came out, and we did a bit of playing it together recently.

    Obligatory xkcd

  55. John the Savage says:

    Shamus, did you play tabletop RPG’s before this game?

  56. djshire says:

    Play Ultima…all of them (except 9). You will see so much of what modern RPGs use to death in the games that used them first. Also, 4 is a game where the goal is a to not just do the usual dungeoneering and item collection, not for the purpose of killing the big bad, but to be the ultimate embodiment of a good person.

    Baldur’s Gate is fun if you’re a D&D player, but if not, not really worth it.

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