SWTOR Forces Players to Share Surname Between All Characters?
Star Wars : The Old Republic just recently revealed its new legacy system. Players who complete the Chapter 1 storyline may choose a Legacy Surname. And then, they have opportunities earn Legacy Experience Points which in turn raises their Legacy Level. So what’s the catch? The first is that the Legacy Surname must be unique. No problem there! The second is that the name is shared among all characters a player has on that server.
Legacy System: Helps or Hurts Role Play?
Being a die-hard Iron Realms gamer, this concept was completely foreign to me. Like Ultima Online, Iron Realms allows independent surnames with a free-form naming system. If my alts in any of their five popular MMORPGs shared the same surname or bloodline, there would be serious allegations questioning my integrity as a player! Each game also offers some kind of family system allowing characters to choose their own level of involvement. Additionally, tying a surname to a given name is completely optional!
Some Star Wars players like this change, and applaud the new Legacy Surname system. Forcing all characters one person plays on the same server to wear the same surname helps to eliminate the concept of anonymous griefers. (For players who wish to take advantage of the Legacy System without revealing a surname, the option exists to turn off the display.) However, some other players feel the game is trying too hard to compete with similar MMORPGs, like Lord of the Rings or Guild Wars. One disgruntled gamer likened the change to a one-person guild system that desensitizes players to the concept of true roleplay.
A legacy system is great in its own right. It offers players an opportunity to earn bonus rewards at certain milestones. But when the rewards come with strings that restrict the ability to roleplay a character to its full potential, as with Star Wars’ new family system, it makes the game less appealing. Combining two otherwise unrelated elements might work in a themepark environment. But combining the two in a sandbox format where players are encouraged to interact and work together to enhance the roleplay setting? Not so much.
Part of a successful roleplaying adventure lies in the freedom of creativity. Forcing characters to do things like wear a surname linking them to their alts sucks the fun right out of the game. One perk to Iron Realms games is that characters aren’t locked into a any kind of social environment within the realm. Even the ones who do choose to join a family system within the game are still often welcome within the ranks of clans belonging to families of spouses, friends, or even adoptive parents. One of my characters belongs to five different family clans, and not one of them is relevant to his blood family!
What are your thoughts? What if Iron Realms forced all characters using the same Iron Elite account to wear the same surname, or belong to the same family system? How would this change the way you play your characters? Answers to these questions and all other comments are welcome in the section below!
Author: Penelope Swain