Knights of the Old Republic EP28: Jerka Corporation

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Nov 11, 2015

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 103 comments

Link (YouTube)

I blanked out during the show, or I would have noticed that HK-47’s habit of characterizing his own statements was re-used by the Elcor in Mass Effect.

I also mentioned how this one Czerka woman has a better facial design than anyone in Skyrim, despite her artist having a fraction of the polygons and texture budget to work with. I’m happy to report that Bethesda finally seems to be overcoming this. I’ve spent a few hours with Fallout 4, and it looks like the scourge of the potato-faced Bethesda mannequins is over. I’m not suggesting they’re the best or anything, but I think Bethesda is finally able to stand with its contemporaries.

But I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for artists that can do amazing things under tight texture and polygon constraints, and this game does a lot of that.


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103 thoughts on “Knights of the Old Republic EP28: Jerka Corporation

  1. Guildenstern says:

    Okay, did I go crazy, or was the embedded video an Extra Credits episode instead of Spoiler Warning for a second?

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      Lately Youtube player for some reason likes to play a second of the previous video you watched before starting the new one. For reasons.

  2. Orillion says:

    Re: the faces, I feel like they actually overcame that in Skyrim. Faces were both good looking and actually not-pretty enough to pass for the kinds of people that would survive there.

    1. Henson says:

      I think Shamus is referring more to Skyrim’s tendancy to make all faces look the same, and be devoid of any sort of expression. They all have this blank stare to them, like they could be interchangeable. Which is, of course, a very different problem than Oblivion had.

  3. Timothy Coish says:

    Playing KOTOR 2 now. They actually managed to make Czerka a little bit interesting on Telos, portraying them as self-interested but competent people, and the aliens (forget name) as well meaning but kind of bumbling types. In KOTOR I’m just happy that they’re mostly not cartoonishly evil, mostly.

    1. Wide And Nerdy says:

      I appreciated it at first too but as far as I can tell, we only have Czerka’s word to take for it that Czerka is better at this than the Ithorians. It could still be that “slimy businessmen try to justify their exploitation thing” especially since they’re already established as being in the slave trade.

      I really liked it on DS9 when Nog showed Jake the upsides of trade. DS9 is to TNG as Obsidian is to Bioware. In a lot of ways really.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        I didnt like how one sided that episode is.It showed none of the perks of not having money and trading.The federation ended up looking just so dumb in it.

        I much preferred siskos interactions with quark,because sisko can be a shred businessman when it is needed.

        1. Wide And Nerdy says:

          You have the entire rest of the Star Trek canon to show the benefits of their post money society and pretty much every episode heavily featuring the Ferengi paints them as an entire race of Snidely Whiplashes (well, at least till DS9 where they became sympathetic Snidely Whiplashes), complete with the hunched over hands crossed thing Snidely likes to do.

          I think they could afford one episode devoted to showing the benefits of trade and commerce.

          1. James says:

            this is something VOY could really have talked about, here is this “post money” peoples trapped on the other-side of the universe, and its not really talked about much. granted VOY missed a lot of opportunities.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Man,voyager couldve been such a great love letter to Genes vision.Imagine if it was about voyager going through this sector of “pagans”,slowly forming alliances and a federation outside of federation,all based on the “federation gospel” “preached” by the wise captain janeway.Patching up voyager with different tech from various civilizations,while trading the values of the federation for them,improving other races way of life.

              Instead,its voyager going through this sector of pagans,establishing enemies left and right,all based on the federation gospel preached by the psychotic captain janeway.*sigh*voyager was mass effect 2 before mass effect 2.

          2. Daemian Lucifer says:

            I think they could afford one episode devoted to showing the benefits of trade and commerce.

            I dont have a problem with that.I have a problem with them portraying the federation way as stupid and inferior at every step.It breaks one of the cardinal rules:If you want the concept of your story to be presented as smart,dont do it by dumbing down a previously established concept.Do it by presenting how your idea is actually smarter than that concept on its high.Siskos interactions with quark show that.Jakes interactions with nog dont.

            1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

              True. It was pretty good the time Sisko got Quark to do something by handing him a bill for all the rent and maintenance he hadn’t been charging all these years. It was dealing with Capitalism on its own terms while simultaneously showing a logical advantage of the Federation way.

              Still, what was the real disadvantage? Jake can get free food of his choice, shelter, medicine, transport to any number of places, entertainment via the holodeck or access to Federation arts and literature. He just can’t get a Willie Mays baseball card because the guy who happens to have it wants material compensation. And really he didn’t end up needing it. Nog may have used Ferengi methods but they’re methods Jake could learn to use himself without violating Federation principles. The Federation is shown bargaining frequently.

              1. guy says:

                The downside is basically that they don’t have a way to get things which aren’t available to everyone for free. Like a physical object that derives perceived value from rarity. The best option is probably a society with money in which the things they have more of than people will want are free.

      2. guy says:

        All evidence actually suggests that Czerka is worse at it than the Ithorians. They’ve put in a lower bid, but in the regions that have been turned over to them the terraforming process is failing.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      What makes czerka in kotor 2 so interesting is that you are not forced to work for them the for the entire game and give them godlike artifacts of the past.

    3. John says:

      No, they’re still pretty awful in KotOR 2. The list of crime, evil, and stupidity includes (in no particular order):

      – commissioning the PC to perform bad deeds
      – dealing with the Exchange
      – sheltering wanted criminals
      – amassing a mercenary army
      – failing to control said mercenary army
      – top-level executives betraying one another
      – top-level executives betraying the PC
      – sending doomed expeditions into a military bunker infested by malfunctioning murder-bots

      1. Grudgeal says:

        You forgot:

        – Smuggling illegal substances through their private hangar.
        – Sending said mercenary army to raze the Ithorian compound if you expose Czerka’s corruption.

        And, of course, the clincher:

        – Giving you Dark Side points.

  4. Warclam says:

    Doo doodle-doo! Doo doodle-doo! Doo doodle-doo! Doo doodle-doo!
    Translation: yeah, the unplugging jingle made it into the recording.

    It really bugged me when Carth told you off for doing evil things. Somehow, Bastila and Carth tag-teaming the nagging is just hilarious instead.

    If you don’t have the double droid party at some point, even just for 10 minutes while you walk around, I will be sad.

  5. WILL says:

    After all the HK-47 goodness in the sequel, it’s hard to come back to the more boring, not quite as insane HK-47 of KotOR 1. It doesn’t help that his backstory doesn’t really affect the story.

    1. keldoclock says:

      If you like HK-47, you’ll like Creepio from the Auralnauts Star Wars redub.

    2. Wide And Nerdy says:

      The voice actor really stepped up in the sequel, but I think the writers punched up his dialog too. Where in the first game HK is comically enthusiastic about getting the chance to kill again, in the sequel he is hilariously indignant if you tell him you’re not going to be ordering assassinations.

      Then Obsidian went on to prove that not only could they handle HK, they could make their own funny robots. Like the Yes-Man and Muggy. Bioware floundered in its attempts to recreate the success of HK.

      1. Mersadeon says:

        ‘Love’ is making a shot to the knees of a target 120 kilometers away using an Aratech sniper rifle with a tri-light scope… Love is knowing your target, putting them in your targeting reticule, and together, achieving a singular purpose against statistically long odds.

        1. SlothfulCobra says:

          Truly the best of the Bioware romances.

      2. Grudgeal says:

        And the Toaster.

        Well, the Toaster was basically Murray from Monkey Island. Only a toaster.

        1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

          Yeah. Really the whole Sink is solid. It was built because Obsidian looked at fan mods and saw that a lot of them included new player homes that had all the crafting stations (both Beth and Ob don’t tend to put all the crafting stations in the same residence).

          They probably knew they couldn’t give us something as elaborate as the best player made mods but what they could so is give us even more types of crafting, a home tied into the lore, and turn the crafting stations into characters. They were also smart enough to give you the option to turn all that off whenever you want.

  6. Ninety-Three says:

    So Spoiler Warning’s back this week. I’m sure this information goes out somewhere and I just haven’t seen it, but when you take a week off like last week, where do you announce that?

    1. Christopher Kerr says:

      Shamus doesn’t often mention it directly, but if there’s no Diecast (or if the Diecast is running on a skeleton crew) they won’t have recorded Spoiler Warning either.

  7. Volvagia says:

    I know the episode title is probably JUST a pun on the word jerk and the character Czerka, but it also kind of reminds me of those Johnny Turbo comics naming their evil corporation Feka.

  8. Wide And Nerdy says:

    The HK-47/Elcor habit of preceding their statements with descriptors wouldn’t just be fun for major characters. It could be really handy for internet discussion.

    The Elcor inherited this verbal tic. Then Shale from Dragon Age Origins inherited his disdain for meatbags. They’ve tried to recreate the success of HK-47 and haven’t managed it. It would be utterly beyond them now.

    1. Zekiel says:

      Agreed. But we’ll always have Elcor Hamlet.

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        The thing I always loved about that is that the lore about Elcor communication says that its very subtle and nuanced, its just that its so subtle, its completely imperceptible by the other major species.

        So they could well be giving the most beautiful and nuanced interpretation of Hamlet ever performed, but to us it comes off as a joke.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          What you are saying is that the hamlet is best preformed in the native elcorian.

    2. James says:

      i liked Shale, she hated pigeons and meatbags. and liked punching darkspawn into mush

      1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

        HK was so awesome that a character can fall short of him and still be cool. That’s how I see Shale.

  9. ehlijen says:

    So for headgear we’ve got so far:
    N64 controllers
    Federation Starships
    Bespin cloud car earplugs
    Alien horseshoe ship wisdom visors (if you stick your face in one of those you need a wisdom booster!)
    Tron displays

    Can’t wait till we get to the welding sith mask/slab of metal to glue to the front of your face.

    1. StashAugustine says:

      The worst thing about KOTOR II is still that you can steal Nihilus’ mask but you can’t wear it

      1. Mersadeon says:

        That annoyed me as well, especially since it would have been so thematically appropriate for some incarnations of the Exile.

  10. Hector says:

    I do so love how the Sith in this game are EVIL and absolutely love every minute of it. There’s no embarrassment : they want to wave red lightsabers about and recite British-accented speeches about the DARK SIDE!

    On the flipside, I did like that Czerka actually isn’t quite the same from planet to planet. On Tatooine, it never felt like they were just evil for the heck of it.

    1. Humanoid says:

      Obviously each branch of Czerka on the various planets is an independent rogue cell.

    2. John says:

      Czerka isn’t a sinister conspiracy. It’s just a sprawling conglomerate that prizes money over other stuff. If the Sith represent the lure of evil, then Czerka represents the banality of evil. They work with the Sith on Korriban, where their evil business ventures include, uh, some mining and also food service contracts for the Sith academy.

  11. Neko says:

    Assertion: HK-47 is the best character in the game.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Agreement: I agree.

    2. Michael Miller says:

      Correction: HK-47 is the best character in any game.

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        Obvious Statement: How we put up with all the sloshing noises from other meatbag characters, I’ll never know.

        (My favorite part is that you can reply “Come to think of it, neither do I”).

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Have you noticed that they talk faster than in the actual movies?

    Of course we havent noticed that.Because we arent such massive NEEEEEERDS like you,Josh.

  13. Wide And Nerdy says:

    I believe the Ithorians naturally stare at the ground all day as their survival depends on foot hygiene, but to deal with other species they’ve had to start bending their necks backwards to look us in the face. Doing this all day every day dramatically increases their stress and their risk of being attacked by Ithorian foot parasites leading to a greatly diminished lifespan.

    But they’re too polite to say anything about it. By the time we get to Return of the Jedi its just that one guy.

  14. Mersadeon says:

    I gotta say, I always felt as if the Elcor-speech-gimmick made no logical sense at all. Doing it every once in a while I could understand, but doing it for every single sentence seems impractical without adding much information. We constantly communicate via text nowerdays, and we don’t need Smileys and other aids in every sentence.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      They are only doing it with aliens,because the nuances of their communication are lost otherwise.

      1. Mersadeon says:

        Oh I understand that. I’m just saying that during text conversation, the same thing happens, but it’s not necessary to state additional information before the start of every sentence.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Since we dont know their alphabet,it very well may be the case that they have letters or accents or something to that effect.

    2. Felblood says:

      An Elcor has two mouths, and he is accustomed to transmitting two bands of auditory data. From the grammar they use when speaking with single mouthed creatures, it’s likely that the second stream would be the sort of emotional and grammatical data we transmit with our body language and tone of voice.

      Thus, it just doesn’t feel right for them to transmit boring old subject/predicate data without trying to convey some of the greater context.

      Additionally, they might try to apply it universally, because they know that their monotone voices are really disconcerting without it, and they can’t be 100% sure what any given bloodthirsty, alien carnivore might read into it, if they left any room between the lines.

      1. Lachlan the Mad says:

        Incidentally, two-mouthed creatures and creatures who show disdain for how slow humans communicate also appear very regularly in KotOR 1. That Jawa they talked to in this episode did it, as do those two-bodied merchants that look like a pterodactyl riding on an Elcor’s back.

      2. Mersadeon says:

        Oh I know the in-universe reason for it, I’m just saying it doesn’t make sense for them to do it with every single sentence – especially since in the game they even do it when it is absolutely detrimental to their cause, which the HK knockoffs in KOTOR2 also do, but you can explain that as strict programming whereas the Elcor come off as incompetent when they basically admit to “nervously state” something.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          If their language already does that,then yes it is necessary for them to do it all the time.

          1. Mersadeon says:

            I feel like the codex would have mentioned that, because that would be a far closer, more obvious justification for it.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              It does mention that their native language conveys emotion in numerous subtle ways.Its not that far fetched to assume that the intonation of how they pronounce stuff does equal the “Emotion of sentence:Sentence” they use for galactic basic english.

  15. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Why is the force persuade “youll lover your price”,and not “youll give it for this piece of string”?I mean,isnt it the staple of jedi to use the force to make the vendor accept something worthless for their goods?

    1. Humanoid says:

      It’s suggesting that love is worthless for the Jedi.

      1. When it actually has negative value, enough to rule it out of their lives by law.

    2. Bubble181 says:

      Lore-wise, because the Force can make you do/accept things slightly out of normal, but not something absolutely contrary to your own wishes and ideas.

      Of course, this is completely undercut both by a bunch of Dark Side options in this game and in KotOR 2, and even in the movies.

  16. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Vampires arent decadent and laughing it up.They are sparkly and hang round teenagers.

    1. Wide And Nerdy says:

      I like to think Dracula and Nosferatu are hanging out going “I know we do depraved blood magic rituals and all, but that Edward creeps me out. Did you know he likes to hang out at high schools and date teenage girls?”

      1. – I didn’t want to tell you this, but have you not seen Mina? She could be your grandgrandgrandgrandgrandgrandgrandgrandgranddaughter. While that foolfaced girl only could be Ed’s granddaughter.
        – But she got big boobs, man.

  17. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I'm not suggesting they're the best or anything, but I think Bethesda is finally able to stand with its contemporaries.

    As long as they dont talk,you mean?Because dear god their talking animations are out of this world.And into the world of cthulhu and madness.

    1. Supahewok says:

      I also wanted to add that their contemporaries now include CDProjeckt and Witcher 3. Do they still stand then?

      I haven’t played Witcher 3, but you truly have to have been living under a rock to not hear how gorgeous everybody says that game is.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        I also wanted to add that their contemporaries now include CDProjeckt and Witcher 3. Do they still stand then?

        Not even close.

        Also,witcher 3 has something that I dont think Ive seen anywhere else:Beggars with no legs and people missing hands.

        1. el_b says:

          kriea in sith lords has a missing hand

    2. Shamus says:

      I might not be the best person to judge talking animations, since I tend to read the subtitles and click through the audio.

  18. Mersadeon says:

    Oh god, I have this gigantic rant about the prequels and the Old Republic stuff and the way they portray time. You’ve scratched the surface with the whole “thousand generations” thing, but it’s just all SO screwed up and it makes makes me nerd-rage.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Thats your gigantic rant?A single sentence?Come on,you can do better than that.Wall of text us.

      1. Alexander The 1st says:

        I’m pretty sure you get Dark Side points for egging people on to wall of text in comment sections.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          You do?Then I should start doing it more often.

          1. John says:

            They may give you Dark Side points, but they don’t give you XP. You’re going to have to find some other way to grind your way to Level 15 before you can cast Force Storm.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Eh,evil is its own reward.

      2. Mersadeon says:


        Okay, first: why the prequels completely screw up the timeline suggested by the old trilogy.

        The original movies implied heavily that the Empire has been around for a loooong time. The prequels making that a ridiculously short time kills much of the threat of the Empire – instead of this indomitable force that has reigned supreme and dominates culture, it’s now nothing more than a fascist upstart. It’s barely even a generation old (depending on how you count generations), meaning that EVERYONE in the universe older than a teenager remembers a time without the Empire. They all grew up in the Republic.

        This also makes it incredibly implausible for them to have all this equipment. Even if they dedicated 100% of industry towards producing new military stuff, by the time of the old trilogy, they still wouldn’t have replaced all their stuff. Most of the stuff they’d have to use would be re-purposed Republican stuff. This is not implied by the old movies (but they at least made a nod to it in the books and even officially recognize some Clone Army cruisers in the Handbook of Imperial Forces).

        Now don’t get me wrong, every evil fascist empire needs a starting period. But the old movies were obviously not set in one – it clashes so hard in tone.

        Of course, there’s also minor design issues, like how the Clone Army of the old Republic already had star-winged fighters when the X-Wing was such an experimental, hugely innovative idea. So the universe went from “heh, three wings on each side, really good” to “you know what? Just one wing on every side, make it shitty” and then suddenly thought “OH MY GOD what if we put TWO wings on each side”. More on that later, though.

        Now the real rant: unintentionally using “cycles” in the Star Wars universe.

        See, the Old Republic MMO really screws some stuff up. It makes the whole thing cyclical – an evil Sith empire vs. a mostly righteous Republic. But since Star Wars constantly gets new content stitched to it on the wrong side, causality is completely wonky. See, if the prequels didn’t exist, you could assume the Imperial ship designers thought “hey, remember the ships of the old Sith Empire that terrorised the Republic? Let’s design our ships to look like those so they strike terror into the blablabla”. But that doesn’t work – Imperial designs are based on Clome Army designs, that’s why all the Star Destroyers look like Venators etc. So… REPUBLICAN designers went “you know those Sith Empire ships that have a really bad connotation and struck terror into the Republic? Let’s design our ships like that!”. That makes no sense. No empire does this. This would be like post-war Germany designing Bundeswehr stuff to look like Wehrmacht stuff. That’s the opposite of what you want to do, or you alienate your own populace.

        It also means that suddenly, retroactively, no idea is new. The Empire is suddenly just a bad copy of the Sith Empire. This again robs the Empire of its original threat and atmosphere: not only have these fascist upstarts only been around for less than a lifespan, they’ve ALSO copied everything -aesthetics, organizational structures (like Sith Inquisitors), philosophy- from an earlier empire.

        Again, these things could all work in a story. But they don’t if you do it the wrong way around, everything about Star Wars seems unintentional and accidental. And I’m pretty sure it’s obvious as to WHY the Old Republic time is basically a copy of the old trilogy time (and in-universe, vice versa) – because they realised they needed a universe to set more Star Wars shit in, with all the stuff that people expect, without having to weave through the dense Expanded Universe canon or intentionally subverting it and disappoint expectations. So they just copied it.

        This wasn’t nearly all, the ship aesthetics stuff is just an example for it all. You can find this same theme in every bit of the lore and design.

        Why does it hurt the overall feeling? Because it doesn’t mean anything. Mass Effect, for all it’s faults, AT LEAST kept the idea of cycles going and had it as an intentional, central theme. Cycles were a thing. Something characters could notice, think about and comment on, and like in most Sci-Fi that uses a “cycles” theme, there is some significance, a meta-commentary about it. Star Wars doesn’t have that. It’s not about inevitable change, not about how a bureaucratic democracy always falls into violent fascism, it doesn’t have any intentional implications to its theme of “cycles”. It’s just cyclical because the people behind it needed more stuff that was like other stuff but not actually THAT other stuff.

        1. Mike S. says:

          Lord knows I have no brief for the prequels, and I don’t find the process as they portrayed it convincing. But the original trilogy isn’t terribly consistent about the timescale for the rise of the Empire and disappearance of the Jedi.

          On the one hand, Han Solo and the Death Star leadership think that the whole idea is bunk put forth by a few vestigial fanatics. So the Jedi as guardians of the peace for a thousand generations should be well before their time to be so obscure.

          On the other, the Jedi Knights were hunted down by Darth Vader, recently enough for him to either betray and murder Luke’s father (Star Wars) or be Luke’s father (Empire et seq.) So the Jedi were active until after Luke was born.

          Since in the original trilogy we don’t really know how old Vader is, you might be able to stretch the timeline another decade or so for the first version of the story, with Luke’s dad among the last victims. But once his betrayal and the destruction of the Jedi are basically simultaneous, it’s hard to push it back much farther than the prequels have it.

          The Empire likewise does feel as if it’s been around a long time. But Republic institutions aren’t completely vestigial (Leia’s position as a Senator is treated as having some weight, her diplomatic status is expected to be respected, and the Empire’s being willing to move on her regardless is somewhat shocking.)

          And of course the Empire is based heavily on Nazi Germany, which managed to acquire that lived-in look (including lots of brand-new, fascist-iconography-bearing ships and aircraft and uniforms) in well under a decade after taking power. The characteristic look is based on Riefenstahl films from three years after Hitler became Chancellor, two years after he declared himself Fuehrer. So a fast transition to the Empire being all-encompassing and seeming irresistable has precedent.

          (And anyway, it’s George Lucas doing worldbuilding– looking for too much depth or consistency is a mug’s game.)

  19. Trickquestion says:

    You guys made some good points but I will contend that 10,000 is actually an incredibly small number within a such an explored galaxy with such a large number of inhabitable planets.

  20. SlothfulCobra says:

    You know, it’s weird, I get really ticked off about most fantasy worlds where they’ll just tell you that hundreds to thousands of years whizzed by without any technological or aesthetic changes, and barely any historical developments relative to how much time passes, but I’m mostly fine with the way Star Wars throws around these large amounts of time.

    It kind of feels like there’s enough aesthetic differences in all the various ships and junk that there could at least theoretically be all sorts of technological differences between the repulsorlifts and verbobrains that you, as a casual viewer, wouldn’t really understand the particulars. It’s like how a casual person without much education in the middle ages wouldn’t see that much differentiation between armors of the early and late middle ages, even though there’s centuries to a millennium between the two. Contrast that with Aragorn walking around with a sword that’s been patched up after being broken for 3,000+ years, and Gandalf’s walking around with a sword that was lost down a hole for 6,000 years, which in the real world would mean he’s got an obsolete weapon that predates iron, and just barely makes it into the earliest of bronze weapons, but it’s pretty much as functional as any “modern” weapon (maybe even moreso, because blah blah magic). Middle Earth is stagnant.

    There’s also the fact that most fantasy timelines that I run across have just been put together by one person who decides that a thousand years can go by with relatively little happening, whereas with Star Wars, it’s a universe that’s been put together by a bunch of different authors who try to move away from each other so that they can plausibly write stories where they won’t severely affect eachother. It’s not a singular piece of lore that’s been written from start to finish, it’s just bits and pieces of something larger being filled in.

    1. Alexander The 1st says:

      I’d also make an argument for Tatooine working really well here – in this game in particular, they refer to why Czerka is even in Tatooine – they want to settle to try and make use of what seemed to be good ore, and Anchorhead is one of these really old places where corporations in the past try to set up to get at the ore, find out it’s bad, and try to make the best of it.

      It never works out though, because eventually they pull out of Anchorhead and leave the civilians stranded there…only for enough time to pass that another corporation comes along and tries it again…usually 300 years later…

      Unfortunately, Czerka is back at it in TOR, IIRC.

      That said, it works because it kind of thematically fits with fantasy genre setups of deserts having hidden treasures underneath – no matter how little fruit a desert bears, everyone always wants to try and look more to see what might be found.

    2. Felblood says:

      “Middle Earth is stagnant.”

      No. Middle Earth is declining. The Ages of gods and elves and magic swords is coming to an end, and the age of farmers, millers, machinists and architects will take its place. The Hobbits will inherit Middle Earth.

      It’s not just that the technology never advanced beyond what was needed to forge magic swords. Even if they had all the knowledge and tools, the peoples of Middle Earth could never hope to create magical swords of that caliber, because that kind of magic simply doesn’t exist anymore. (Though once you reach the point where you can forge Rings of Power you can expect the gods, dark lords or your own hubris to blast you back to the stone age pretty quickly.)

      It’s not just technology either. Middle Earth doesn’t make people as magical as it used to. Balrogs were used as line infantry in Morgoth’s demonic armies, and some of the wizard kings of the First Age could slay them even if outnumbered. Fast forward to the Third Age and even a minor demon (Corrupt Miar, but yeah, he’s a demon.) from the First Age is “beyond any of you.” Aragorn is special because his traces of Elven heritage allow his family to stay magic longer than other Men, but he’s still absolutely nothing compared to his ancient ancestors.

      See, Tolkien really *got* how history worked, and he made a point that every generation of a culture was different in some way from the one before, especially among the Race of Men, because that was their thing. In fact, creating Middle Earth grew out of an etymology (the study of how language and word meanings change as they are passed down) simulation that he developed in his spare time, using his skills as a linguist.

      It’s all the people reading his works and emulating them, without picking up on this (*cough* Gygax *coughcough*), that has turned SF/fantasy fiction into a mess. So many are enamored of nonsensically empty timelines with impressive-sounding millennia stacked between the story beats, as window dressing without regard for what sort of impact a thousand years would actually have.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Technically faerun is in a magical decline as well.There used to be magical floating cities back before mystra cut the magic off and caused them all to fall down.

      2. Zekiel says:

        Great post. To niggle, I thought that Men would inherit Middle Earth and Hobbits would die out – because isn’t it supposed to be like a mythology for our own world? Maybe I’m just thinking of The Hobbit there and it was all superceded by stuff from LotR and the Silmarillion though.

        1. Phill says:

          My memory agrees that the conceit was that the Hobbits also faded into history as humans became the only species left. But I didn’t take Felblood as being literal there; it was just a different way of restating the previous sentence.

          The days of heroes, wizards, warriors are over. The future belongs the people who make a civilisation work: the farmers, the day labourers, the wagooneers. People looking for grand adventure belong in history. People looking for a satisfying day’s work and a beer down the pub in the evening are the future. People who share the attitudes of the Hobbits, rather than literally being Hobbits themselves.

    3. Josh says:

      There’s actually an interesting element of truth to the idea of finding a 3000 year old sword; because you’re right, it would be bronze. It’s an interesting archaeological problem that crops up when you move into the iron age, because if you leave an iron or steel sword in the ground, even for a few hundred years, it’ll rust away and decay into something more akin to a corrugated rod. You’d be lucky to be able to hit something once without snapping it in half.

      Go back to a few thousand years ago though? All the swords are bronze (or perhaps copper if you go back even farther, although those would almost certainly be too short to call “swords”). Bronze doesn’t rust. You could potentially find a 4000 year old bronze sword lying in the ground somewhere, polish it and refinish the edge, and it would basically be as good as new.

      Granted of course if you took a bronze sword into battle against someone with late medieval gear, you’d still have a bad time; it would still be “obsolete.” But it would be usable. You’d have a much better chance of restoring a 4000 year old bronze sword than you would a 400 year old steel sword.

  21. Tever says:

    I’d read a four-part series about what the people of Tattooine eat.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Worms and spice.

    2. Felblood says:

      Blue milk.

    3. Grudgeal says:

      Nitpickers who visit their world just to ask that question.

  22. Jokerman says:

    Yeah, i was quite surprised that Bethesda earned enough XP to unlock the perk that allows you to make characters than can actually move their eyes.

  23. Metal C0Mmander says:

    So I’ve been wondering for a while when Josh is playing for spoiler warning if what he’s doing could be considered roleplaying? I mean when he was playing Fallout it kind of worked because he was just out to hurt people but here where he switches between good actions and puppy kicking ones at the drop of a hat I’m not so sure. And it’s reflected by the game being unable to understand and respond to his character (although this game can’t really recognize most sort of nuance anyway) and, in my honestly biased opinion, makes for a worst viewing experience.

    Anyway the word of the immortal Yahtzee Croshaw explains it far quicker. “this is a roleplaying game so let’s motherfucking roleplay!”

  24. Majere says:

    The distressed Ithorian soundclips on their own are heartbreaking enough that I go out of my way to be nice to them no matter what.

  25. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Hey Rutskarn:
    Yakatoka!Kee alna!Yoya kee!

    Wait…crap,wrong gibberish again.And its not even extra terrestrial this time.

  26. Phantos says:

    This episode marks the first time I’ve ever seen or heard HK-47. I gave up on KOTOR just before this part. People called me crazy, but this whole season has been the Spoiler Warning crew going: “Oh God, I don’t remember it being this bad!”

    1. John says:

      It helps a lot if you played it when it was new. I played it the year it was released and it was the first CRPG I had played in something like 10 years. I loved it. The first time through I didn’t notice how clumsy a lot of the dialogue and plot were. It also helps if you play straight Light Side and don’t spend too much time dwelling on the various evil options.

    2. Cinebeast says:

      It’s funny, I’m in the same boat. I think I missed my chance to get into KOTOR. I’m going to sound so shallow, but based on what I’ve seen I’d take any of Bioware’s most recent games over this one in a heartbeat, even ME3.

      1. Warstrike says:

        I don’t know. I got the iOS version because of the show, and my boys and I are really enjoying it.

  27. Nidokoenig says:

    27 minutes in, Josh, I think that table-neck is calling you an ‘oofter, you gonna just take that?

  28. Decius says:

    Fallout 4 has good character models? I had deja vu back to Half Life, with failed lip sync, flat inflection, and especially the thing where the time between starting one line and starting the next was a lot longer than the length of the audio.

  29. Fists says:

    I like the bit where you said Jedi should have been Greybeards, not sure if it was a deliberate reference but it was pretty clear.

  30. Galad says:

    What happens if you try to force persuade the vendor at the shop where you buy HK-47? Is it a stupidly high check? Does the price get reduced to 2500 if you’re successful?

  31. guy says:

    I have a strong fondness for weird speech pattern characters; there’s an anime where a certain set of characters narrate themselves in the third person.
    “Did you steal my ice cream?”
    “‘No’ says Misaka while enjoying the refreshing taste of mint.”

  32. Will Riker says:

    You complain that there’s nobody at Czerka who hates Czerka…while standing in front of the office with a guy who hates Czerka and will repeatedly help you out if it means screwing over his company.

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