Every time I roll up a new SWTOR character, I keep having the best of intentions to walk down the dark side. After all, my operative is pure light (with a few revenge-related hiccups along the way), so it’s all about seeing how the other side lives. But the weird thing is… I’ve never been able to stick with a dark side character for very long. I simply cannot connect with one.
It could partially be that most “evil” choices are of a sociopathic nature, playing to murder, betrayal, and utter greed. Extremes aren’t always that attractive. But I think a more important aspect is that I’m always looking to connect with my character, and while I might make noise sometime about being the rebel anti-hero in a game, there’s a line that gets crossed when my avatar becomes the bad guy or gal.
Playing an evil character, for me, satisfies a morbid curiosity about what may happen if I pull the red lever. It may even be gratifying to not always play by the goodie two-shoes rules or to put annoying NPCs in their place. But very rarely does it end up endearing that character to me.
Weird as it may sound, I genuinely care what NPCs “think” of my character. I certainly do care what I think of him or her too. When I am helpful in a quest or perform some feat of justice, it makes me smile inside. I become endeared to this character, because they’re what I’d envision I would do if I was in their place and had their capabilities (and utter fearlessness of death).
None of us in real life are truly good, but I think that most of us aspire to be and are attracted to virtues lived genuinely. It shouldn’t be surprising that these feelings translate into video games, especially ones that seek to emulate (on a basic level) the moral choices we face.
Thinking of all of this, I had to pull the plug on my new bounty hunter. I just couldn’t play the bad guy, even over on the Empire side. I spent my monthly cartel coin allowance to unlock a Twi’lek and rolled up a new (female, because the male voice is way too deep for my taste) bounty hunter.
I made a game of seeing how quickly I could blitz through Hutta to catch up with where my old character was at. I think I clocked in at under an hour, picking light side choices all of the way through. This time around, the character “fit” a lot better and I was able to sink into the role. Sure, she may go dark side choice now and then if it fits the situation, but she’s not going to be cutting off any more heads and giving them to grieving widows.