Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Beyond Dark Mondays

Dark Mondays are fun. Rampaging through the undergrowth as a wolf-pack of Legionaries laying waste to the bewildered wildlife – it's definitely fun.

But it's a bit rubbish if you want to know the storyline. There's always someone waiting for someone else to catch up, and you become acutely conscious of people standing around on your account. So it becomes a space-space-space storyline with a best guess of which flavour cynicism you want to display. And any sense of narrative is lost in the rush. However it's a great way to blast through heroics and group content, but we do still need to go back and play slower time through some of the quest hubs to have any hope of keeping track of who is doing what to whom and why he, she or it is doing it to him, her, it or them.

And missing out on these storylines would be a great shame for any of our imperial characters. Because these narratives (sometimes) open up the perspectives on the stories for all our characters. As with a book, shifting the narration from a first-person perspective to third-person opens up the focalisation and creates a breadth and depth to the narrative. Of course, as with a good book, sometimes there are excellent reasons why it's only the one perspective, but a game like TOR seems to me to be very strongly geared towards encouraging you to play alts and alternate stories.

The legacy system, the pace of levelling and the ease of experience gain - it's all subtly designed so that when you roll your next character there will still be new discoveries to be made as you explore the gameworld. Naturally, this is intensely frustrating for the completists in our community; if you're hung up on seeing everything on the one character you have decided is your main, then you will be spending a lot of time looking at grey quests in your mission log. (Although your codex will be beyond fabulous.)

Damn, even playing the same class but with a levelling buddy can totally open up your experience. Different stories, different responses, dark deeds – a winning roll by the one morally-dubious character among us in Esseles won us all the Backstabber title to our great amusement the other night.

Don't just live a little, live a lot...


  1. Aye, Dark Mondays are tricky to handle, with so many people on all at the same time, the focus on story has really taken a back seat in favour of hunting world bosses and datacrons. The logistics of splitting everyone into groups worked well for the heroics though.

    We're going to try and spread out the planets enough so that people don't feel they have to rush through them to get to the next one in time for the next Dark Monday. Next week we'll be taking a break to PvP while people hopefully group up and take on the Dromund Kaas quests in their own time, obviously this depends heavily on people taking to time to visit the dark side on days other than Monday :P

    When all is said and done though, maybe we should try a Dark Monday that is focussed just on just questing and see how it works out. Inevitably, we're also going to have to face the fact that many more people will want to join in Dark Monday when the Legacy system is improved with the next patch, and how we'll handle the influx of new people so they don't feel left out. Interesting times ahead for the Imperials!

  2. Yup. I think Dark Mondays are a blast - and there's definitely no criticism intended in the above. There's just no way to have that many people gathered together and allow the time for story to linger. And also, we are all having so much fun rampaging together, I don't want to be slowed down by the narrative. Really this is just a reminder that there is more to discover on the dark path...

    Something that is really working for me on the Republic side is having a questing partner - Rouf and I have a jedi knight and consular working in tandem; we always quest together, and it makes the mission conversations fresh and rather more interesting. Last night, a quest giver not only acknowledged that there were two of us but that I was a non-human, and you can never quite predict which way the conversations are going to turn. (Although I do have something of a tendency to run off following random strangers as I'm often paying too much attention to guild chat. *grin* Sorry, Rouf.)

    I think making Dark Mondays too quest based would be tricky however with operations groups. We kept having issues this week with who tagged what, who got the refreshes, waiting for all members of a group to check a node before it respawned, items dropping, all that faff.

    Definitely interesting times for the Imperials ahead. And I think we can continue to find ways to encourage people to explore their dark sides.