As many of you may know I play Star Wars: The Old Republic [hereinafter called SWTOR] and I am enjoying it. Well, last night I was in my ship, chatting with my male companion Corso and doing a bit of ‘flirting’…
[Hmmm...-thinks- I may have to backtrack here a little otherwise they are going to think I'm really strange]
Ok, in SWTOR your character inherits a companion npc* quite early on in the game. This companion fights with you and is a little like a Hunter’s ‘pet’ in WoW* except that it gains affection towards you instead of ‘loyalty’. Most of this affection is linked to the choices you make while you are questing – do or say ‘good’ things and it grows, do ‘bad’ things and it diminishes. The more affection your companion feels for you the more effective it is as a companion. I’m a female Gunslinger [don't ask] and my companion is a human male who acts as my tank* so logically the more it ‘likes’ me the better it will be as a tank.
Now I had read that it was possible to have a ‘romance’ with your companion so I was a tad curious to see how this would play out. My first clue happened a few levels* back when I’d ‘flirted’ with another npc during a quest. I suddenly noticed that Corso’s affection went backwards [as evidenced by the red light and minus number that flashed up on the screen]. Was my companion… jealous? How interesting…
Clue no.2 happened last night. As I said, Corso and I were in the ship and the question icon was floating above Corso’s head so I clicked it only to discover that my sweet, country-boy companion was drunk! Not rolling on the floor and being obnoxious drunk, just drunk enough to make a pass at me! Being a responsible woman of mature years I did not lead the poor lad on for long but, I cannot tell a lie, some primal part of my sub-brain was a little chuffed. Yes, I know, how can a grown woman flirt with a digital picture and enjoy it?
Sadly, my strangeness does not stop there. A few minutes after all this drunken flirting, and after being told that ‘You are the strongest woman I’ve ever met Captain’ [how can you not love a 'man' who says things like this?], Corso and I were down on the planet trying to finish off a quest when the truly odd thing happened. This particular quest was one of the ones with ‘stages’. You complete one part and at the end of it you get a message flashing up on screen basically saying that you have unlocked the next stage. I generally just grit my teeth and keep going because the rewards for completing all stages are better, however last night I was tired so when I realised that another stage was about to be unlocked I took the ‘bad’ choice on offer. In this case I had been sent to find a serum that was needed to save the good guys from a plague I can’t spell. To get the serum I had had to fight my way through umpteen corridors and chambers full of evil pirates and I was tired. I wanted to finish and go to bed.
So what was this bad choice that I made? Well, I could force the pirate medic to give me the serum or I could let it keep the serum for all the ‘sick pirates who would die without it’ while I went off somewhere else to find another batch of serum to take back to the ‘good guys’. Like I said, I was tired. I wanted to go to bed and these were just digital people. Right? So I chose to let all those poor bad guys die. AND THE RED LIGHT AND MINUS NUMBERS flashed up on screen from Corso!!!!!!
I had blotted my moral copy book and my companion was displeased with me
Did I laugh it off as just a few numbers that I could make up the next day? Did I log off and go to bed with a clear conscience? Like hell I did My heart sank and I think I may have blushed. I know I wished that I’d given in and done the rest of the stupid quest. And I know I felt ashamed of myself – both for betraying my principles AND for being such an idiot about a damn game.
Unfortunately, like so many of our real life decisions, once made they cannot be withdrawn so now I know two things -
1. I can’t roleplay for nuts and,
2. Even imaginary moral decisions are important to me.
Is this a hangover from my Catholic upbringing? Or is it more about who I am and how I see myself? Whatever my personal answer may be I know I won’t be taking the easy option again. I also know that I won’t be playing my Sith character anymore unless the storyline allows for some kind of ‘conversion to the light’ when a Sith accumulates too many ‘light’ points. It might be interesting to see how a ‘good’ Sith storyline plays out but my nerves are still a bit too jangled to find out. If anyone has played a good Sith and can give me some pointers I’ll be eternally grateful.
npc* – non-player character, in other words a character controlled by the game AI.
WoW* – World of Warcraft online
tank* – a class that defends other players by drawing enemy fire onto themselves
levels* – a form of in-game progression based on the accumulation of XP [experience points]