Where’s the dialogue option for “Friend Zone”?

I am most displeased with Vector this morning.

Most.

Displeased.

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.

25 thoughts on “Where’s the dialogue option for “Friend Zone”?

  1. battlechicken January 30, 2012 / 9:26 am

    HAHAHAHAHAHA.

    I like Vector, I can’t help it. My sniper is married to him now. He writes me romantic love notes and sends me gifts in the mail. My husband has taken to saying, “Why don’t you get VECTOR to do it?” when I ask him to do something for me… >.>

  2. Anon January 30, 2012 / 9:26 am

    This post read like something from Going Commando’s blog.

    Poor syp =/

  3. rowan January 30, 2012 / 9:41 am

    Um yeah, so any romancible companion is going to romance you when their affection reaches certain plateaus. Is this really a surprise? Not being sarcastic here, that is a major reason I roled mostly male characters this time around. 😉

  4. ArcherAvatar January 30, 2012 / 10:01 am

    Cute… but underscores another of the issues I have with the design choices made by BioWare with this game; companions as a means of slapping a bandaid on the many problems associated with the “trinity” class system.
    We may consider that particular necrotic horse well and truly beaten, so I won’t re-hash it extensively here again, however, given the subject matter of the most recent TL;DL I would just like to point out that SOMETIMES it’s not about folks wishing for SWTOR to fail just because of schadenfreude… sometimes folks are criticizing the game because it has serious flaws…
    There is no such thing as “too big to fail.”
    BioWare made some very poor design choices in the eyes of many, and are quite deservedly being called out for them.
    Fans of SWTOR need to grow some thicker skin. Folks aren’t just “picking on” you or your game. There are legitimate critiques that are pointing out very real flaws… flaws many would not like to see perpetuated ad infinitum throughout the MMO genre.
    It’s not necessarily all malicious, or personal…
    and it’s not just because of “jaded” players criticizing every new game…
    it’s very specifically about SWTOR, and about some poor choices we would like to not see repeated… again…

  5. Julie Whitefeather January 30, 2012 / 10:14 am

    O.K. Syp, we must be playing two different versions of SWTOR. Last night (maybe there was something in the virtual water last night) my pirate companion approaches me on the bridge and hits on me. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it, the flirt options aren’t always labeled “flirt” as you found out. However all I got was a little kiss…you must have it going on more than I do.

  6. Ravven January 30, 2012 / 10:30 am

    This post made me literally go HAHAHA out loud at my desk right now. Thanks for that, I needed a laugh today. Great post, and now I really have to go level my baby Agent.

    And Julie? The romance with Andronikos is totally worth pursuing. Total romance-novel stuff.

  7. Wilhelm Arcturus January 30, 2012 / 11:10 am

    Wow, SWTOR never ceases to surprise. If I read this right, the game guides you in developing successful polygamous relationships as well as providing a warning on the dangers of playing on peoples affections in order to get them to do what you want. Sort of a cult leadership simulator.

  8. rowan January 30, 2012 / 11:59 am

    SPOILER!
    @Wilhelm, more than you know. My Inquisitor has a devoted cult on Nar Shadaa.

  9. swtorSPEC January 30, 2012 / 12:07 pm

    I have been curious how the companion roles tie into the game as you progress. I’ve recently started using Bowdaar as my main companion and and he is lacking in the affection points, my droid is even worse as I see no benifit in having it tag along.

    For a companion to be romancable, do they have to be of the opposite sex?

  10. Warsyde January 30, 2012 / 12:42 pm

    Wait, you can send 4 companions out on crafting assignments at a time? How does that happen?! I can only send out 2.

  11. loire January 30, 2012 / 1:15 pm

    It must be rough not having full control of your character’s story advancement in a game all about story.

  12. Tremayne January 30, 2012 / 1:54 pm

    Warsyde – it’s level dependent. I could send two when I was in my 20s, 3 in my 30s and 4 now I’m in my 40s. It’s the only level-dependent part of the crafting system, however – apart from having to get your first companion to get started, a low level character can do everything a high level can, it just takes longer as they can’t run as many missions in parallel. Plus of course the financing thing, but a smart choice of crew skills is self-financing.

  13. canazza January 30, 2012 / 2:31 pm

    A slight spoiler for the Agent chain, near the end you lose one of your female companions for a short period. Up until then I’d been keeping it purely professional.
    When you get them back though, there’s three options. None of which are labelled “Flirt” (being a male agent). Indeed, the one labelled “… you’re okay!” actually launched me into a full on possessive snog with her. She had her full face-mask helmet on too. Mmmm… Spikey. Got 120 points in her favour though so it’s not all bad.
    The next companion ‘mission’ sees her with another man and *all* of the options assumed you were dating. Even the seemingly neutral one could be taken as playing hard to get (and actually lost points with her for choosing them).

  14. Tramell Hawkins January 30, 2012 / 3:04 pm

    @Warsyde As you level up you get to send more companions off to do missions or craft.

    Funny write up Syp lol.

  15. Stormwaltz January 30, 2012 / 3:49 pm

    Hey Syp. I linked this on my Facebook page, and one of the SWTOR writers said you should never see anything like this – all options that lead to a romance *should* be clearly marked with a [Flirt]. It’s possible you accidentally hit one without noticing, but you should file a bug so the team can look into it.

    (I got the impression they take romance access issues pretty seriously, due to the possibility of children blundering into them. Not that children should be playing SWTOR, but we all know you can’t stop a determined kid with permissive or inattentive parents…)

  16. Attic Lion January 30, 2012 / 5:56 pm

    Yeah, Vector is the black sheep of my collection of misfit toys. I even like SCORPIO more, and she’s just a bit of a horrible bitch and annoying as piss to gear up to boot. Not only is Vector boring, but he keeps hitting on my blueberry and he’s obnoxiously light sided. Plus the whole killik thing is one of those thoroughly stupid EU things I wish people would forget about. It’s right up there with the soul stealing dinosaurs, Kyp Duron, Luke’s Force ghost girlfriend, The Crystal Star, and frankly the entirety of the New Jedi Order. But enough of that.

    There are a few things you should know before you sink a large amount of time into a gathering skill just for the gifts. Firstly each individual mission has its own pool of gifts to choose from, so it’s hard to get all the types of gifts you need from 1 skill. You may have to pick up another gift skill as well, or settle for lesser ranked gifts at 400.

    Also, probably the easiest way to get companions up from 0 to a respectable level is to just buy a boatload of the rank 2 gifts from the vendor on the fleet. ~30k credits should be enough to get you into the 4500 affection range if you only give them things they really, really like. I did that with Dr Lokin when I first got him at 32 and he was at 10k before I hit 47.

    Oh, and just in case, for reference the IA companions gift preferences are:
    Kaliyo: weapons
    Vector: cultural artifacts
    Dr. Lokin: tech
    Ensign Temple: imperial memorabilia
    SCORPIO: tech

  17. Memphis January 30, 2012 / 6:01 pm

    So all in all… Just like I said when I read between the lines are their promos, demos, etc, all they did really was make a shinier version of WoW with better dialogue, and even more things to grind? Whooo! 2/3! Now lets see if the “Innovative (That word has lost all meaning)” level up system of Reckoning IS just allocating skill points and getting perks as I gathered from reading into what they were saying XD

  18. ScytheNoire January 31, 2012 / 11:54 am

    I had a similar horrified reaction to you. I normally play female characters because I like to play dress-up with them. Plus I’d rather stare at a woman for hours on end than a man, even in a game.

    So when I started working on my reputations on my Jedi Shadow, I became horrified when Lt. Iresso put his slimy hands all over my woman and kissed her. I was disgusted. Right after this, I swore I’d never play another female character until they have same-sex relationships.

    So strong was I with this conviction, I went and deleted two level 27 females I had and re-rolled them as males. I still have two 50’s that are female, but they will be a reminder to my mistake. And I shall always regret that night on the ship with Lt. Iresso.

  19. selly January 31, 2012 / 7:29 pm

    I think some of those affection gaining responses (even if they weren’t flirts) are still flirtatious enough that you might end up leaving the NPC thinking you’re attracted to them. There’s usually three answers: one with affection, one without, and one that causes negative. In the cases of NPC companions you can romance, it may be wise to stick to these neutral choices because a lot of the affection gaining ones might be misconstrued.

    In your case, though, I think you may have already triggered a romance. My friend who has a 50 has discovered that once you’ve already -triggered- a romance, two of your options become flirts while one is a break their heart. I think perhaps in your quest to gain Vector’s affections and gain the most affection you might have triggered a romance. D:

    In this case, giving gifts might be the wisest choice for affection gains – and it’s much faster than conversation, anyway.

    On my Consular I barely had Qyzen’s affection up to 1.2k by the time I was 30 and I partied with no one else. I generally made choices he liked or choices he was neutral on (you usually gain a lot more points for choices they do like, and generally -1 or so for ones he didn’t). By contrast, Khem Val has 1.2k affection points for my Inquisitor at level 12 and he hates everything she says with gigantic -30 to a whopping -90 drop offs. I think I’ve given him maybe 10 gifts that my mercenary earned leveling the lower levels of diplomacy.

  20. rowan January 31, 2012 / 8:15 pm

    How does the track back work, Syp? I linked to you on my blogspot blog, but it doesn’t show up here.

  21. Syp February 1, 2012 / 9:09 am

    I saw it pop up the other day Rowan… seemed to work fine.

  22. rowan February 1, 2012 / 9:38 am

    Weird. Maybe it recognizes me and doesn’t show my own links.

  23. Tairgire February 1, 2012 / 1:29 pm

    As a Consular, I totally told Tharan no thanks. He was even disappointed. Next conversation with him, he tells me we have to quit our little fling. My husband says the companion is probably just delusional, like one of those guys you say no to way too nicely so he thinks he’s totally your boyfriend. (I’ve only ever seen that on TV shows, but that means it happens for real, right?)

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