Earlier today we talked about the classes of Star Wars: The Old Republic. We talked about the importance of classes, and how they define a player's sense of self in-game. So often, though, the role you play in an MMO is only important to you as a player. Your experience, your job, in a group is where your class stands out. When you're alone, when you're pulling out your quests, you're doing the same thing as everyone around you. That apparently is not the team at BioWare's idea of what questing should be. Join us to walk through comments from head writer Daniel Erickson about class-based storytelling, the importance of playing an evil character, and the goals of giving players the chance to be heroic ... together.
Daniel Erickson, Lead Writer BioWare Austin: So, class-based personal stories. Let me get the big ones out here. We have classes in the game, and every class has a different story. Now this is not like every class has a couple of quests that show up that say "Hey, you're this class, let's do this!" No. Every class has a story that will take you from the first level of the game to the last level of the game. And none of those stories are the same. In the same way, to give you an idea, faction stuff is split up between the Empire and the Republic.

"If you roll a Jedi character and you play them from the first level to the last level, and then you roll a Sith and you play them from the first level to the last level, you will not see one repeated quest, line of dialogue, or piece of content. It is a 100% different story experience."

The only classes we're talking about today are the Jedi and the Sith. If you roll a Jedi character and you play them from the first level to the last level, and then you roll a Sith and you play them from the first level to the last level, you will not see one repeated quest, line of dialogue, or piece of content. It is a 100% different story experience.

That is not to say you won't see the opposite side of the same conflict, because again it is very important that we have our two factions interacting a lot, because it is about war. We don't play common people, we don't play people doing interesting, normal sorts of things, we play huge heroes in the Star Wars universe, which means the war is important, the conflict is important. Big, big exciting things.

Again, to give you ideas for those class stories, this allows us to write the single most unique adventures we've ever done. In every BioWare game we've ever done before this we had to write a "jack of all trades," really fairly generic, "Hey, we don't know in Baldur's Gate if you're a warrior, if you're a druid, if you're a mage, if you're playing good, if you're playing evil." We now know you are a Sith.

You have a Darth Vader fantasy. You are playing – for all intents and purposes – the Sith RPG. All of your characters in your class story, all of your quests, the context ... you start the game on Korriban training to be a Sith and that is your world, and that is your context. And you're going to take that context into the world and then interact with the rest of the galaxy.

How do you keep the story progression consistent when playing with others? Say I just blew up the Death Star and my friend says, "Oh, I'm supposed to do that on Friday."

Daniel: My best reaction to that would be, "And ... we're out of time!" But I'll try. It is the biggest complexity of this. In the same way you could wander down the hall later and say, "Hey, it totally turns out I'm Darth Revan!" and then friend would say, "Screw you! I'M Darth Revan!" and you guys could have a fight.

"You start the game on Korriban training to be a Sith and that is your world, and that is your context. And you're going to take that context into the world and then interact with the rest of the galaxy."

They had to canonically decide genders. Revan is canonically male, the Exile is canonically female. If you played KOTOR II and you played it as a guy you were like, "What? She but – he but – Is there a Crying Game ending I didn't unlock?"

So yes, if you can't separate yourself from the game aspect of it – and that's true for all RPG experiences – then you would absolutely run into that. Again, because there are all the different class stories, you would literally have to be the same class and different levels talking very specifically, and then the guy who's the higher-level player probably gets slapped for spoilers anyway.

This article was originally published on Massively.