Is That What I Said?


As always Penny Arcade is spot on in their observations.

In SWTOR choosing how your character acts is a big deal. You choose between Light and Dark (capitals, yes!), how you interact with people and what your companions think of you. The choice you are faced with the most is dialogue options. Three ways to react in a conversation.

Recently my jedi consular Mae-Lin was facing a dilemma. Two choices was before her:

1: tell a lie on behalf of another person, for a noble reason.

2: insist that said person do the right, although hard and potentially dangerous as it may be.

Now Mae-Lin is a good jedi but not an emphatic person. She sticks to the high and narrow and does not understand how anything else is a choice. I decided it would not be in her nature to choose to lie (deciet is, after all, a trait of the Sith) and so I picked the second option. I was very surprised to see my characters face contract into an omnious mask as she adopted a threatening pose. “You WILL do what I say” was the response I saw my character deliver. Barely bothering with disguising the “or else”. Dark Side points followed.

This was very distressing to me since it was not indicated at all in the dialogue option that this would be what she said or how she would act. Rather the option I had hinted at a mildly scolding tone what I wanted to say was: “do what is right”. Luckily you have the option of abandoning a mission and start over before the effects of your choices are applied. It feels like cheating but that is, to me, better than feeling that I had been cheated myself.

Meanwhile, on another planet, Kean the bounty hunter is standing in an office and the secretary refuses to let him in to see the important person. Three choices are on display and I choose the rude one resulting in my gun pointing at the man behind the desk. Not intended. Afterwards, as the mistake has been taken care of and Kean is allowed to go see the important person, I want to scold the secretary but end up cracking a bad joke.

SWTOR is focusing heavily on these conversations. It is amazing that each and every quest is acted out in voice and all (a feature that truely raises the bar) and the storytelling you experience when doing an instance is very captivating (yesterday poor Torill was so absorbed in the story she forgot to survive quite often). But I feel frustrated when I have three options to pick from and I know none of them are going to be what comes out of my characters mouth. They set a tone, certianly, but as I have tried to exemplify above that tone is often misinterpreted. I want to know when my character is going to pull a gun inside an office and I want to be warned in advance if picking “Alright” will actually turn into insulting the angry Sith lord.


2 responses

  1. Adrian

    Uhm – when you hover your mouse over your dialogue choice, you can see if that particular option bestows dark side or light side points whenever applicable… 🙂

    December 30, 2011 at 14:39

  2. That helps a lot! Still, it does not make up for the “random behavior” problem. I’d like to be able to know what my character will do and say.

    December 30, 2011 at 20:21

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