Archive for September 24th, 2010

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There Aren’t Enough Scoundrels In My Life

September 24, 2010

Han Solo to Bioware: I think you just can't bear to let a gorgeous guy like me out of your sight.

Another Friday, another Star Wars: The Old Republic update. The Smuggler class gets its profile filled out today, receiving new entries under “Specializations”, “Known Associates” and “Starship”. This class was probably still one of the least popular as recent as two months ago, if forum polls are any indication, but I think more eyes are turning to these dashing rogues now that a steady flow of Smuggler information has started to become available.

A thought occurred to me while perusing the new entries. “Gunslinger” and “Scoundrel” for the Advanced Classes, a Wookiee named Bowdaar as one of the choices for your companion, and the very Millennium-Falcon-like XS Stock Light for a starship. Yes, all very iconic. But I can’t help but think they may have gone a little overboard with the Smuggler.

Bowdaar looks like my cousin Nimo.

Don’t get me wrong, I think being iconic is a good thing. Iconic draws fans of an IP to the game. Iconic is familiar and nostalgic. Iconic lets people live out their childhood fantasies of being like the blaster-slinging, smooth-talking, handsome, mischievous and swaggering Han Solo. But here’s the deal, you gotta take Chewie and the Millennium Falcon too. That’s just the way it is.

Ultimately, I’m sure there will be adequate customization options and multiple companions to choose from at launch, but today’s update has made me consider the “No two Smugglers are exactly alike” statement that has presented with the information. Okay, I don’t doubt any would be exactly alike and I know I don’t have to choose the Wookiee companion if I don’t want to, but what I see behind today’s update is Bioware’s intention to make the Smuggler class experience one based on pure imitation.

Starship: XS Stock Light

The truth is, every other class is also based on imitation and is an emulated experience to an extent, so I don’t know why I’m assessing this in the Smuggler specifically, though I suspect it’s because the blatant Han Solo fantasy in which the class is steeped in is so in-your-face that it’s hard to overlook. His influence is in the outfits, the weapons, the ship, and even the attitude and animations.

In this, I really can’t fault Bioware, since and Han Solo is by far one of the most recognizable Star Wars characters in the mainstream population and I’m aware there aren’t too many other prominent Smuggler archetypes in the IP to work with. However, I do hope Bioware can incorporate enough of their own ideas for a Smuggler beyond what we’ve seen in the movies, so that when I make my own Smuggler she can distinguish herself as her own character and not just another “female Han Solo”.

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