Friday, April 8, 2011

How do you play an evil Character in an mmoRPG?

The spark for this post came from Spinks post about "Do you play evil Characters in RPGs?" Which was not about any of the things *I* wanted it to be about.
So I thought I'd make this post and talk about what I'd hoped Spinks would have touched down on. (And try and bribe her, to throw in her 2 cents too... Do you accept paintings?)

How to play Eeeeeevuuuuul in an mmoRPG
The focus point being the RPG part. The opcomming mega-blockbuster-epic-super-win game (I am so not looking for a Job at any gaming company now... I... I love you, Bioware...) Star Wars - The Old Republic.
The game where, you either play the racist elitist Warmongering slave-torturing Empire, or you play as the peaceloving bunny-hugging, flowersniffing Republic, also known as the good guys or the bad guys.

This is a major change of direction from any other MMO that I am aware of, in wow you have the honorable misunderstood horde, and the honorable self righteous aliance (or is that the other way around), they are both similar, but on opposite sides in this conflict due to interesting and complicated accidents. And more times than others they have to band together in order to fight greater and *real* evils of the world (Burning Legion, Arthas, yourmomma!! ect ect). Same with Rift, where you have the loyal followers of the ancient Gods and the not-so-loyal-more-of-an-screw-you-deities-variety (and I'll bet with anyone, that sooner or later they will also be banding together to fight giga-rifts, or something along those lines). So when your protagonist all of a sudden is a puppy-kicking "I want power" type of person, in a society filled to the brim with back-stabbing plotting and scheeming villans, from the school-nurse over to the trash-collectors and up to the emporer himself, you have to ask yourself two questions:
1. Why does my avatar do what he does? What motivates him to kick said puppy?Are anyone only evil? and
2. How on earth does a whole society of evil backstabbing plotters and scheemers survive? Isn't every single thing being developed or build, constantly getting blown up? Aren't every single inventor more occupied with avoiding poisonous darts than surviving? Who, in a society like the Sith, would ever settle down to become a moist-farmer? How does this society work?

Lets start with the first one. Back in August of 2010 I tried to give my own version of how the Jedi propaganda had only made it *seem* like Sith where bad, when in reality The Empire where the good guys! (Go read it, I'm sort of kinda really proud of that piece), that one got shot down pretty badly by the release of the first swtor book 'Fatal alliances'. In that book, Sith where once again eeeeeevuuuuul (but not completely unbelievable, so the book works), and considering the 'Knights of the old Republic' games, it's not really that shocking that Sith seem to have become cartoonish villains twirrrrrling their moustahces and petting their cats.
The good guys over on Darthhater made this fantastic piece on 'Ideology of a dark lord' that throws out plenty of bones, for us players who want to play as an Empire loyal subject.

The thing is, I am a goodie too shoo, I've killed of my characters in Vampire rpgs in order to save their imaginary families. I am a sucker for the whole knight in shining armor thing. My friends, at least my gaming friends, are not so much.
That was not a big deal when I played with them in WoW, I could still roll a noble Orc, or a wise Tauren and tag along their warlock undead world conquerers (Why, yes, Lamaron, I was thinking of you), but this time around... It's going to be hard for me to be anything near noble or goodhearted, or non-scheeming. I have to be a bad guy, if I want to play with my friends. And I'm taking that task to heart, it's going to be healthy for me, to try and push myself a little bit. Try and be the bully, be the Darth I know lives within me. It is going to be hard. But hopefully it will also be giving.
At least I've convinced Mrs Dwism to get the game too, and we'll duo as Jedi knight/Jedi councellor, so I get to have a little good guy action on the side!!

But today I stumbled over this little gem from the official swtor forum. Its from managing editor Alexander Freed and it reads:

Imagine living in a society where you're taught that great men and women - the brilliant, the inspired, the powerful - should rise as far as they can, and lesser men and women are uplifted by following and supporting the highest of the high. Imagine your society has believed this for centuries, and - after suffering terribly a long time ago - built a magnificent and powerful nation that celebrates art, achievement, struggle, duty and conquest.

This is a culture where every citizen serves the state - at least for a time, in the best capacity he or she can - and where that contribution is honored. A culture where a great number of joys and vices are permitted - in the proper context, so long as they don't interfere with one's duty.

Of course, that's not necessarily how you'd view it if you were a slave. Or someone who suffered from the random whims of the powerful. Or someone who believed that species isn't an indicator of inherent potential. Or...

Well, there are plenty of reasons to see the Empire as a tyrannical, billions-strong cult without conscience, kept in line by propaganda and unearned rewards on one hand and terror on the other.

But most Imperials wouldn't see it that way.
And I'm getting it. They *are* evil, but now -to me- the Sith seem Plausible evil, instead of cartoonishly evil. I am going to have a blast I think!

1 comment:

  1. No evil man stops to consider the possibility that he's evil, only good men do so. Evil is having a flawed perception of the world, and the unfortunate drive to do something about it.