This Week in Co-Op: Force Lightning Never Gets Old
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This Week in Co-Op: Force Lightning Never Gets Old

Channeling Mike's inner Emperor Palpatine

Though The Old Republic is definitely an MMO in the post-WoW mold, what it does with the storyline brings me hope for co-op in future Bioware games. You see, whenever you're in a conversation with an NPC, your entire group attends the conversation with you. If a group member is not in the immediate vicinity, they are given the option to hop on via holographic projection.

Dialogue options are available to everyone, and the game does a dice roll to see whose character chimes in. If a choice would lead to gaining Light or Dark Side points, the players who didn't choose to go that path won't be saddled with any ill effects. It feels very natural, and made me *really* want to see something similar implemented in, say, a new Mass Effect game with *campaign* co-op.

So with all this in mind, a guildmate of mine and I decided to roll through a large chunk of the Sith Inquisitor storyline together. The Inquisitor is a lightsaber-wielding badass who invests heavily in lightning-based Force powers. Being a Sith, one might be inclined to do such things as torture an innocent NPC by filling them with lightning, or being freeing someone from this mortal coil via a well-placed lightsaber strike. Luckily, Bioware agrees, and many of the options for resolving a conversation involve these very things!

We carved a path of destruction through our starting planet of Korriban, and eventually began to make our way to Droman Kaas, the Imperial capital. We were given two options of travel: take a standard shuttle and be bored, or take the Black Talon, the fastest ship available. Naturally, we chose to take the Black Talon, which led to our very first Flashpoint, SWTOR's version of the standard MMO dungeon/instance.

The basic premise is that while on board the Talon, you are given alternate orders by a superior of the captain in charge of the ship, and he will need some "convincing" to play along. Unfortunately for him, two nasty Sith feel his insubordination needs to be punished, so when the time came, we both decided that he should be put to death. I "won" the conversation and was rewarded by seeing my character carry out the foul deed. This did not please my partner, who felt that he should have been the one to make the killing blow.

Without spoiling too much, I can say that your new orders entail chasing an Imperial defector to a Republic ship, and overtaking it to recapture him. Several bosses stand in your way, as well as plenty of Repubic troopers and droids. Really nice loot starts dropping. I win those rolls as well.

"You've really got the roll hacks on today," my partner remarks. I inform him a true Sith needs no such things. I won every piece of loot and almost every conversation until the very last decision of the Flashpoint, where my partner and I need to "deal" with another NPC.

I lose the roll, but the hate flowed through us both.

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