Thursday, June 17, 2010

SWTOR moral choices

One of the facets of SWTOR that I've been most excited about are the possibilities behind the moral choices system.  From what I've been able to glean the system that is currently planned is relatively benign and really just a superficial representation of what moral choices really are.  In other words they have no greater impact on game play other than the standard reputation impact.  But what if the moral choices system could be much more than that?  What if the moral choices system were given some teeth?  What if it was given real impact and instead deeply affected game play?

The force and it's light-side and dark-side are central themes to SWTOR and I think a players class and faction choices should be central to how you play.  What I envision for a moral choices system would in fact be a true alignment system and would bring a form of role-playing without forcing players to act and speak in the traditional role play sense.  Currently the plan would accrue light side or dark side points to your character depending on story choices your character makes.  The number of points you accrue over time would effect the characters ability to access certain content and would cause specific NPCs to either really like you or really dislike you.  But instead of this system what I'd like to see are those light side and dark side points actually cause you to change factions and thereby class.  At least for the four Jedi classes this type of system would be most in tune with.

To me, it makes little sense to have a light-side aligned Imperial Spy or Bounty Hunter.  If the classes are being tied to specific factions, as they are in SWTOR, then you have to accept that every player that plays those classes have a like-minded philosophy.  So how can you have a Bounty Hunter that actually believes in the good in things?  How can you have a Imperial Spy that doesn't adhere to the teachings of his faction?  And most importantly how can you possibly have a light-sided Sith Warrior that isn't deeply in tune with the dark side?  It's positively ridiculous in my view.  If a player constantly makes choices in game that increase his light-side alignment then he should, over time, become a Jedi because he most certainly is not a Sith.

This type of dynamic brings about a very deep character development aspect and forces the player to make real choices about their character.  In other words, to act in character instead of the more typical devoid manner in which players usually play in MMOs.  Now wouldn't that be something?