Star Wars: Where are the heroes?

I was planning to write something about the new series of videos of gameplay of Star Wars: The Old Republic but it looks like someone has already stated exactly how I felt. The four videos show off four classes, the bounty hunter, a sith, a mercenary, and one other that I can't recall at the moment. I have embedded the videos below if you wish to watch them first before continuing my article as that would make my article more understandable.

The main thing that stood out to me while watching was every time Bioware was exclaiming that combat would be "HEROIC!", all we saw was the player clicking and shooting at 2-3 enemy targets. Their concept of heroic and special is reached solely by the number of enemies one can engage at the same time. Yesterday, when playing my Deathknight on WoW, I mowed down 16 monsters that were my level, I can do much more as a mage.

When they speak about how heroic their game will feel and how much time and effort they are putting into the voice acting, I get the feeling that the designers aren't MMORPG players, some could be noobs to the genre. What makes combat feel heroic is giving the player the feeling like they did someting that makes a difference. In most MMORPGs, nothing a player does usually has any lasting effect. After the area is reset, the monsters reappear and another player(s) comes in to do the exact samething you did and the thousands of players before you did. The rare instances where something did feel heroic, the fall of Kerafym in Everquest on a PVP SERVER(large scale organization was difficult as all players could kill each other, which made AoEs very dangerous for the raid), the opening of the AQ gates(once per WoW server), and the season finals for the WoW arena tournaments. The thing that these all have in common is it left a lasting mark on the world.

So considering that definition of heroic(which is a hell of a lot better than killing 3-10 enemies at once, which everyone can do), the players aren't going to feel heroic at all. Killing multiple targets will become the new norm since it can be done at the onset of the game by everyone, so therefore it will become ordinary, not heroic. If they wanted to design a game that would be heroic, they would have to drastically change the foundations of the game to allow for each and every player to truly affect the world around them without it becoming repetitive or the 'norm'.

This would mean a more dynamic world, one that changes with and because of it's players. This was how it was like for a time in Everquest 1. GM events were almost daily and unique rewards were given each time as were cross-server wide announcements of the heroes. But the cost of staffing to achieve this was what made Sony scale back on this. The amount of GMs required to manage and administer the events was costly enough that Sony couldn't afford it.

I believe events like this are one of the best ways to create a dynamic world which would give the player the opportunity to feel heroic. The designers would create a front end system for GMs to manage their events, a system that would be incredibly customizable and allow for immense amounts of possibilities so as to prevent repetition in events. Although this kind of heroism is limited because not every player will be the winner, that is precisely what makes it heroic. By definition, a hero someone who distinguishes himself from the "normies", someone who is an "ideal", who everyone else "looks up to". So making every player a hero, and on top of that, right from the start of the game, would render their heroism meaningless.

Sorry if this dragged on a bit, but my need to write about my feelings on this increased each time I heard the term "heroic" uttered in Bioware's videos... which was a LOT.


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