Tobold's Blog
Thursday, December 01, 2011
Watch what you are saying!

Just a short post on conversations in SWTOR, and the consequences of choosing one reply over the other:

What many blogs have already reported is that sometimes replies in conversations can give you light side or dark side points. By default a symbol in the middle of the wheel where you click to choose those options shows whether your reply gives light side points, dark side points, or nothing. You can turn that off if you prefer to be surprised, although in many cases it is rather obvious which reply is good or bad.

Sometimes conversation options are marked with a consequence in brackets, like [Attack] or [Refuse quest]. Unsurprisingly that means exactly what it says on the label, so choosing the option with the [Attack] label leads to you getting into a fight.

In the early levels, most of the time your conversation choices are completely irrelevant. You can test that by either choosing [Refuse quest] at the end of a conversation, or pressing ESC, both of which options make the NPC completely forget you, so you can start the same conversation again and choose other options. And it turns out that whether you tell the crazy Sith Lord that his animal dissection experiments are crazy or whether you admire him for them has no consequences. It only slightly alters the way he responds, but then leads to exactly the same next bit of conversation and reply options.

Once you get a companion around level 9, reply options have another angle added: They change the affection level of your companion. You can look up what your companion likes and dislikes in the codex. And when for example it says that your companion likes protecting women, and dislikes hurting them (even the bad ones), your choice of action in the next conversation with that girl who betrayed you will change your companions affection level towards you. Even if otherwise there is no consequence, nor light/dark side points attached to those options. Note that there is no hint telling you about that, you need to be attentive to your companion's likes and dislikes without the game helping you.
Now if they'd just borrow in-party conflicts and loyalty quests from their other games.. My Sith Inquisitor's brutish underling kept complaining about toadying up to superiors and the affection meter actually went into the negative, but I don't know whether he'd actually rebel at some point.
@Mike, I actually think the decision was that companions will never leave you nor can you permakill them.

I found out taking the Light side may get my BH a small bribe showing up in the mail. This was an unexpected complication that I felt my BH would not be indifferent to.

I want my BH to be DS. Yet I want Mako to like me. And there is conflict which is a bit frustrating. Which I realized is good game play.

So I think my BH priorities will be to *never* fail a contract; no sad story will have me betray my employer. Then try to juggle what pays best, what earns me DS points and what Mako would like. I was assuming I would just do a cartoonish "always DS" algorithm and this is more nuanced.

The other philosophy is to play your LS/DS the way you want and just spend some credits on companion gifts to buy or at least rent affection.
I wondered why I was getting some strange affection results from my companions, I never knew the likes/dislikes existed.
I think that the plus sides and the down sides for this system are almost the same.

Namely, a lot of what you say and do affects things, but not by very much. The DS and LS meters are so ridiculously large compared to each individual choice, unless you are very OCD about it, you never really have to worry about taking a contrarian position in any given quest. Any small act of wrong you do as a generally good person and any small act of good you do as a generally evil's a drop in the bucket. So you have the tandom benefits/drawbacks of your decisions not mattering as much, while at the same time, you don't have to be super aggressive about making all your choices based on the individual rewards, you can relax and...gasp...dare I say it? Role play your character...

Same with companions. You can go out of your way to do things they like, but at the end of the day except for the most diametrically opposed actions, you won't drain their affection faster than you fill it. Even if you do, you have gifts. Same story, each particular instance matters less, but it frees you to act...freer.
the affection part brings interest in conversations I think.

It is particularly interesting when the light/dark choice conflicts with the one you companion likes and you get negative affection if you choose light side for example.

Of the course, if you know it in advance you can choose the companion who will like your choice (for example, if you want to spare the bad guy at the end of coruscant, better take T7)

I'm not 100% sure but I believe you can always press esc and restart the conversation, and take another choice. I feel this is a bit stupid.
"And it turns out that whether you tell the crazy Sith Lord that his animal dissection experiments are crazy or whether you admire him for them has no consequences."

Yes, but how you turn in the quest does have some consequences. I found this out after completing it one way with my warrior and differently with my inquisitor. These consequences are minor and don't change what actually happens to your character, but they can add/subtract from the story of that character.

As for the companion likes/dislikes, I didn't know that was in the codex either. I enjoyed experimenting with my answers to try and find out for myself what they liked/disliked though.
If companions won't leave, be killed, or go on strike, what's the motivation to keep them happy?
I intend to play exactly as I want and companion sensibilities be damned!
"If companions won't leave, be killed, or go on strike, what's the motivation to keep them happy?"

If the makers wanted to add motivation, they could make happy companions perform better. [I don't have any idea whether they have done this or not.]
And sometimes the quest resolution option you pick doesn't seem to match what you might consider LS/DS.

For example my Imperial Agent chose to ... be intimate with ... someone that threatened to betray them. For which she received LS points. Apparently in The Old Republic sleeping around is a good thing.

Of course the alternative was to kill the blackmailer. I assume that was the DS option.

One criticism of the LS/DS system I have is that LS points seem to be awarded 100 points at a time. While DS points are 50 at a time. Which means that to go DS you have be a complete bastard.

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