Not So Scary After All

I’ll be the first to say that new things can, and often do, terrify me. Change is something that I honestly find scary, even though I know I shouldn’t. After all, change can be good. Unfortunately, if you were to thrust me into something that I knew absolutely nothing about whatsoever, I’d panic. I’ll admit that right now. I’m a panicker. It’s what I do.

And yet, somehow, when a guildmate of mine and I had been talking about warzones (SWTOR’s version of battlegrounds), I thought diving into one without a friend was a good plan. Now, prior to the other night, I had never even touched warzones. Operations and flashpoints are also things I’ve never really touched, but, you know, that’s something for another time. Warzones, however, are infinitely more terrifying. Now, you have to understand that on the Imperial side, I’m a Sith Inquisitor and a healer, besides. My primary goal is healing people and making sure the people who are qualified to take out the opposing team can actually do it. Unfortunately, being a healer in a battleground is the equivalent of being a giant target. See, once the opposing team knows you’re the healer, you might as well have one of those giant flashing neon arrows over your head. They will come after you, and you may wind up a smear on the floor if you can’t heal yourself quickly enough.

Despite the fact that absolutely terrified me, despite not knowing what the hell I was doing, I thought it was a wonderful idea to queue up for a warzone. It was only when the queue popped that I started to panic. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, what warzone I was going to be thrust into, or even what the goal of said warzone was. Despite this, I clicked the button to enter the warzone anyway, and was faced with a loading screen I did not recognize at all. Now, I know I could have asked what we were supposed to do once we all came into the warzone (that I later learned was the Voidstar), but I decided against it. Instead, I plunged in, taking minimal instruction via BG chat. Apparently, Voidstar’s two rounds: one where you attack and another where you defend, all in the span of a few minutes. All in all, I think things went pretty well, since both sides never let the other near the datacore, and there were victories all around.

Emboldened, I plunged in again. At least if I got Voidstar again, I’d know what I was doing! It was not to be, however, as I found myself in Alderaan. This time, someone asked if we had any healers in the group, and I was brave enough to pipe up and tell them that I was. Someone was kind enough to bubble me, and the battleground began. I had the most fun in Alderaan, I think, and I found it to be a much friendlier experience than the Voidstar had been. As the Empire ran out to claim the center turret, I followed, and there I remained throughout the battleground, keeping everybody alive as much as I realistically could. Some were higher in level than I was, others were lower, but, to my surprise, I helped make some of the people around me unbeatable, and, under my watch, most of us were. In Alderaan, I didn’t die nearly as often as I had in the Voidstar, and, in the end, several members of our little band even voted me an MVP!

I’m not certain what an MVP vote does once the warzone is over, mind, but the fact that people had voted for me at all made me all kinds of happy, and gave me the confidence to dive in again. This time, I got Huttball. I was most certainly not a fan of Huttball. I died many times there, mostly due to not knowing what the hell I was doing, but I tried to heal whoever was carrying the ball as quickly as I could. Sure, I died several times doing it, but, you know, that happens.

In the end, when all was said and done and I returned to the Imperial fleet, I realized I was actually enjoying myself. Sure, I had no idea what I was doing and I had died multiple times, but I was having fun nonetheless! And I was earning commendations I could spend on pretty moddable gear once I hit level 40 so I could finally wear something that actually matched. Long story short, I tried something that honestly scared me, and it turned out that I had fun doing it. I encourage everybody to give something like that a try because it really isn’t as scary as you might think it is. You might even have fun.

Breaking Point

Everybody has a breaking point. Everything can be fine and wonderful until one little thing happens to tip the scale and cause you to snap. It happens all the time in the real world. Sometimes, you can cover it well. Other times you can’t. As always, what can happen in the real world can happen in a virtual one, too. Our characters are no exception to this, and, sometimes, snapping winds up ruining everything. These are their breaking points, something that will cause them to act in ways you as the player might not have been prepared for, and it can yield some very interesting stories in the end.

I’d like to share one such example with you. Now, I’d like to preface the following story by saying that I’m aware it’s SWTOR-specific. However, as everybody has their own personal breaking points, the concept is in no way specific to any one game. From a roleplaying perspective, our characters are people, too, and they will react as they will to certain events. Some will react more dramatically than others.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Sith Inquisitor storyline as dictated by Bioware, you begin life as a slave (made worse for those who choose to play an alien as the Empire dislikes aliens immensely), but are discovered to be Force-sensitive and are raised for a very specific purpose to become Sith. I won’t say what that purpose is because, you know, spoilers. Suffice to say that in your trials, one Sith Lord likes you the best and makes you her apprentice. As you go throughout the galaxy, obtaining various artifacts, a few of the NPCs may make note that you used to be a slave. If you’re an alien that isn’t a pureblood Sith, they’ll make note of that, too. Rather loudly. According to them, you’re inferior whether you like it or not.

Now, my Inquisitor is a twi’lek woman by the name of Bel’neven (or Belne Ven, if you choose to break her name down into it’s core components). I don’t have to use Bioware’s given storyline as a base to work with for IC purposes, and yet I do anyway. Belne is a former slave, and she knows it. She doesn’t particularly try to hide it, either. She is what she is and she’s come to accept that. Since her status has been raised, however, she feels like she owes the Empire, but there’s a part of her that’s still… a bit pure-hearted, I guess you could say. As a result, I opted to make her a healer, and I’ve mostly been choosing the Light-side dialogue options for her. The reason being that I think it’d be interesting. After all, killing everything in sight doesn’t always get you to your end goal. Sometimes, you need to be diplomatic.

Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go as planned. I had broken my Light-side streak once already on Korriban. Once Belne arrived on Balmorra, one quest in the course of the Inquisitor’s class storyline forced me to break my Light-side streak again. An Imperial that she had been dealing with decided she wouldn’t get what she wanted from him unless she found his son, another Sith, who had gone and gotten himself caught by Balmorran rebels. So, after slugging through Balmorra and dealing with all sorts of crap from various people, she grudgingly decided to find the man’s son for him. Once she found him, the human Sith apprentice decided the best course of action was to greet her by calling her a filthy alien.

At that point, Belne snapped. The “filthy alien” had just torn through a number of people and, oh, look at that! She hadn’t been stupid enough to get caught. She was there to save his butt, and he had to start off being ungrateful. So, to her, it made perfect sense to call him an insufferable fool in return. The sniping continued for a good few minutes, and I kept being prompted with a choice to let him go. I could have, but then he made the mistake of mentioning a Sith weapon he had been after, which I thought Belne’s master might want. Power, after all, is very important to the Sith, and the weapon could be an additional edge.

In the end, the jerkiest Sith apprentice Belne had come across since Ffon on Korriban told her he wanted out of the cell he was trapped in and I was prompted with three dialogue choices: I’m sorry (but you have to die), No (the only way you get out of that cell is in a body bag), and let him go (for the… what… fourth time? Fifth? At that point, I lost count). I weighed my options. I could take the insults like a man and let him go. After all, opinions at likes mouths; everybody’s got one. However, she was above letting people call her a filthy alien now. She was Sith, damn it, and that earned her a certain amount of respect from anybody, whether she was an alien or not. She wasn’t about to just let him walk out of there, not after that, especially after she had tried to negotiate and tried to get him to give her the holocron that revealed the location of the Sith weapon. She had tried to be nice, and being nice hadn’t worked so well. The only option was to kill him. She didn’t want to piss off his father, either, but, in the end, I chose the first option, fighting happened, and Belne emerged victorious, complete with a new weapon to show off to her master once she saw her again.

The whole incident, however, got me thinking. Generally, Belne is a nice woman, at least until you insult her. All bets are off at that point. For Belne, that’s her breaking point. Like it or not, she’s Sith now and she will be treated as such. Fail to do it and shit will hit the fan. This, also, was what sadly got the ex-apprentice’s father killed shortly after when he failed to show the proper respect. The fear was nice, though.

So my question to you, dear readers, is this: what is your character’s breaking point? What’s one thing that will cause them to snap?