I am most displeased with Vector this morning.
So let me back up a tad. As with any MMO that you’re going through for the first time, my initial SWTOR run is fraught with trial, error, and crash courses in stabbing people in the back with what appears to be five feet of sharpened rebar. (Does anyone else find it amusing that the “vibroknives” show up as these GIANT stabby things that Pyramid Head from Silent Hill would use?) So while I think I’ve been doing fairly well — I just hit Light V last night — a week ago I realized that I’d been neglecting my companions’ affection ratings quite seriously. I just kind of assumed the game would have them level up rapidly as with any other BioWare title, but I guess I should’ve realized that this is an MMO, and MMOs mean “Everything takes longer.”
So while dialogue options that pleased my companions was gradually, gradually bumping up their affection, overall the picture was quite dismal. At level 40, my highest companion affection was in the 4K range (out of 10,000) with everyone else being considerably lower than that. And that’s a shame, because I honestly like my companions and their stories, but they just weren’t coming frequently enough with the pace I was setting, especially since you really have to juggle all five and get them equal dialogue time.
That meant I needed to play Father Christmas and go gift shopping. I decided to radically rework my crew skills setup by dropping Cybertech (which was a money drain anyway), selling off salvage components, work up Slicing to 400 (for the third time — don’t ask), and picking up Underworld Trading with a focus on getting companion gifts. With three of my four companions off doing Slicing missions to generate some shred of profit, I didn’t feel bad having a fourth constantly out getting gifts for him or herself. Which is slightly twisted, but I’m ignoring that.
Anyway, it’s paying off handsomely. Not only have I been boosting my companions’ affection through the roof (after doing some research as to which companions like which objects), but every time I reach some invisible milestone I get treated to a bit more of their story AND some very yummy XP. I think there’s a lot of rewards in this game for people who stick it out with a character to the higher levels, and this is one of them.
Back to Vector. Now, some people are put off by him, as he’s (slight spoilers for the rest of this article if you haven’t played the Agent class) a “Joiner” — a person who deliberately allowed these intelligent bugs to connect his mind to the hive. Bug-man. I’m cool with that and his fully black eyes. I even like his quiet sense of humor. But I know that he’s the romanceable companion for the female Agent, so I’ve had to dance carefully around him because I’m not really interested in triggering that. No [Flirt] options for me, no sirree! But at the same time, I want to keep him on my good side during these companion dialogue quests, because you can rack up a nice chunk of additional affection for each one. So last night I was being polite to him, telling him he was my friend and all that, but I most definitely wasn’t flirting or choosing any dialogue option that said “Please, Vector, shove your tongue down my throat.”
Which, of course, happened anyway because someone at BioWare has a weird bug fetish that I don’t want to think about, and I was yelling at the screen for him to GET OFF ME RIGHT NOW but my character was getting into it and I eventually had to curl up in a ball on the floor until the cutscene was over and my wife asked me why I was sobbing quietly and I had no good answer because who is going to sympathize with you when you tell them that a bug-man sexually harassed your avatar?
I… need a minute. Thanks.