TOR: Stopping While You’re Ahead

I don’t write much about The Old Republic, but I want to today. So let’s talk about the big PAX reveal! But first – an apparently random aside!

Several years back, I was really into the Warhammer 40K universe. I never played as much as I wanted (I have a partially painted Tau hunter cadre), but I really liked reading the background fluff in each army’s codex and on the game maker’s website.

One day, I was on the Australian version of the game’s website when I came across a story about ‘tank aces of the Imperium of Man.’ The story opened with a little historical context – the tank commander in question had posthumously received the highest reward the Imperium could bestow for destroying a Chaos Titan – basically, a 40-story tall bipedal behemoth – with his tank column. The Titan in question was guarding an important river pass, and the entire warfront had stalled because of it. Against orders, the tank ace departs in the middle of the night, approaching the pass with his tank column under the cover of darkness. Light breaks just as they are beginning to ford the river. The Titan activates, spewing death and destruction, and half a dozen tanks are instantly destroyed. The situation is completely, well-and-truly sucky – the tanks are stuck in the middle of the river, their cover is blown, and the enemy is rapidly responding.

And then… the story stops right there. At first, I was miffed – “Just how the hell does this end?” I thought. But as time passed, the ending as written began to grow on me. I already knew how the tale ended, thanks to the story’s introduction – the tank ace does something completely awesome that results in his death, but successfully destroys the Chaos Titan in the process. Whatever I came up with in my mind was undoubtedly better than what could have been written.

Several months later, I found the same story on the American game’s website, and lo-and-behold, it had an ending – some sort of HTML error had prevented the Australian version from finishing, but not here. Turns out that the tank ace rammed one of the legs of the Titan, then overloaded his tank in a fiery explosion that crippled the warmachine.

I was really disappointed. Knowing exactly what happened didn’t add anything to my enjoyment of the story. In my opinion, it was much better without a ‘proper’ ending – past a certain point in the story, more information didn’t make the story better, fresher, or more engaging.

And that’s how I feel about the inclusion of Darth Revan in The Old Republic. Don’t get me wrong, Revan is one of my all-time favorite video game characters (but sorry, Kreia tops you there, buddy). He was already a complete badass in the first game, and then in the second game it becomes clear he’s run a Genghis Gambit to save the Republic.

But I always liked the mystery of not knowing what happened beyond the Galactic Rim, and not knowing where he went after the game and how he died. Something terrible happened out there, and it changed him, and he had to go back to face it. That’s all the important information I need – any more is overkill, because all it will do is tell me what I already know.

But we’ll find out – we’ve already started to find out – what happened, and the frontier closes on my imagination. I’m not saying BioWare’s stories aren’t good, and I’ll enjoy playing them. I’d just like them to be about something or someone new and different. Expansion pack pasts are rarely a good thing.

This post was inspired by Hunter, but it wasn’t until I reread his post that I realized how similar our opinions were!


7 thoughts on “TOR: Stopping While You’re Ahead

  1. ah ha! someone who agrees! Yeah its not that i’m against revan or anything, he’s a great character. I’m not even against the continuation of his story, its just that, its 300 years later, and it seems like they’re reaching.

    They should leave him be. I agree that the unknown of what happened to him is bound to be a better story than whatever they come up with.

  2. There are things I think should be kept mysterious about Revan, such as their encounter with the Sith emperor, but I sense a true adventure brewing in his sojourn into deep space. Bioware has always had the tendency to surprise me, even I didn’t think ME2 was going to top ME1, but lo and behold. I have a feeling we’ll be pleasantly surprised with what they do to the Revan story, we shall see 😉

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