Seduced by the Light Side: Playing a Light Sith in a Dark Sith World
On the other hand, I’m constantly playing mental Twister to justify myself. I’ve invented a whole backstory for my character so that he makes even a small amount of sense (A Force-sensitive who might have ended up a Jedi if his family wasn’t wiped out during the last war, for whose deaths he blames the Republic) and a whole code of honor to justify his choices.
The fact is, I’m only a Sith because my Game Front brethren are. They chose Dark Side in the beginnings of the game, so I followed suit. Now I’m committed, and when we have run into party conversations as a group and they shout in text, “Light side!?” as they see my choices, I respond that my character is like Worf of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” — penchant for violence, strong feelings of honor and justice. But I always feel a little guilty for not embracing playing the game the way you’re “supposed to.”
There are a lot more considerations for a neutrally aligned Sith, though. BioWare hasn’t really gone out of their way to make the game playable for me. Sure, you get plenty of rewards if you kill everyone you meet, poison villages’ water supplies, nuke defenseless Republic fleets and assassinate political opponents, or if you deal in mercy and spare lives. Going full Dark or full Light earns you the ability to purchase and use special items like relics. Being neutral has no such rewards.
In fact, as SWTOR stands now, players like me are penalized and constantly pushed toward committing to being fully Dark or fully Light. To me, that has some interesting effects. Like making moral decisions in life, every decision carries a pretty heavy weight. Should I spare a character because that’s what I want for my story, or kill him because it’s better for my character? Those kinds of decisions are fun to make, especially because you can’t bounce back to an earlier save and see what could have been different.
At the same time, gray Sith are left out in the cold. We’re actually left worse for playing the game with an eye toward story rather than personal power and maxing our characters. And that boils down to the fundamental schism in SWTOR — it’s an RPG and an MMO, and those two things are not always aligned. In this case, they’re diametrically opposed to one another.
BioWare has said that upcoming content updates for SWTOR will include some love for the “Gray Jedi” character conception, so we neutrals will gain some rewards that other players can’t get. That’s exciting, but it can’t come fast enough. Right now, for at least one Sith Marauder, every mission is a chance to be seduced by the Dark Side (or Light Side) and the cool toys that come with it.
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