Hyperspace Beacon: Human High Culture

BioWare games are notorious for interweaving allegories on racism in their plotlines. If you take Mass Effect, for example, Navigator Pressly was a human who had major issues with aliens -- especially Turians. Inversely, the Citadel Council was definitely prejudiced against humans because the human species was rather new to Citadel space and rising to power too quickly by the Council's standards. These undertones help give the Mass Effect story depth and real-world relevance.

Although it's not an overt plot point in the Star Wars series of movies, speciesism does sometimes play a heavy hand in the Expanded Universe. In the Galactic Empire, this is known as Human High Culture. In the high political offices of the Galactic Empire under Emperor Palpatine, humans were regarded as superior to other species of the galaxy. Humans were, after all, most numerous, and they also did not originate from a single planet like most species. But the roots of the Human High Culture date back further than the events in Star Wars: The Old Republic. They may date all the way back to the first Dark Jedi to rule over the Sith people on Korriban.

With this idea of Human High Culture in mind, I would like to talk about the species available to the SWTOR Imperial classes. In the May edition of PC Gamer UK, an over-ambitious reporter incorrectly announced a list of species and class combinations. What I would like to do today is make my own list based on what I know of Star Wars lore and announced species in the game. Continue after the break as I compile the list.

Rattataki are warriors and gladiators on their home world. In general, this makes for a proud species, especially since conquering and physical prowess are staples. Nevertheless, the rebellious Darth Vich took the Rattataki as his own people, and a good chunk of his personal forces were made up of this soldier species. When the Vich rebellion failed, the Rattataki were taken as slaves of the Empire, and if I were to guess, I would say they were not treated too kindly in a nation where humans are highly regarded.

What does this have to do with class choices? I am of the mind that species and class are very much related -- not because certain species cannot wield the abilities that others can, but because there is a story associated with each class. So the question isn't "Do the abilities fit the species?" but rather "Is the story appropriate for the species?" In the Sith Inquisitor's story, the player starts as a slave. And some Rattataki are Force-sensitive, so it make complete sense for Rattataki to be an available species for that class. Obviously, we know the Rattataki will be Bounty Hunters, and this makes sense because the Bounty Hunter is about the hunt. Rattataki are about conquest. It fits.

As for the PC Gamer announcement that the Rattataki will be Imperial Agents... I don't believe that it will make it to release. At this point in Star Wars history, I do not foresee the Rattataki being willing and loyal Imperial soldiers. It is possible that a part of the lore history not yet revealed will make it possible for Rattataki to be Agents, but until then, I'm sticking with no Rattataki Imperial Agents.

We know that the Chiss are Imperial Agents -- that's a given, and it totally makes sense, too. The Chiss Ascendancy has a deal with the Sith Empire (the only nation the Sith didn't completely conquer). It would make sense that there would be loyal Chiss Imperial Agents. PC Gamer listed them as Bounty Hunters, too. I'll buy that one. Really, I can't see why too many species wouldn't fit the Bounty Hunter storyline.

One class not mentioned by PC Gamer that the Chiss would fit well is the Sith Warrior class. But are the Chiss even Force-sensitive? They are! The first one who came to my mind was Sev'rance Tann. Maybe that's because I'm a fan of Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds. It's a bit ambiguous in its canon, but she was a Sith acolyte, a General in the Separatist army, and a follower of Darth Tyranus. But if you are looking for a more canon example, look at Nuru Kungurama. I am not as familiar with this character, but he was a Jedi Padawan during the Clone Wars.

Referring back to the PC Gamer list, I note that Purebloods were listed as Sith Warriors and Sith Inquisitors. The Sith Warrior storyline makes complete sense to me: They're proud Sith trained to be Force-sensitive soldiers for the Sith Empire. They fit the bill better than humans, if you ask me. But I don't believe they fit the Inquisitor's role so well.

It goes without saying that the Pureblood Sith will be very Force-sensitive, and they would certainly be able to wield the Force with the same skill as any other species of Inquisitor. However, the story just doesn't seem to fit. Sith Inquisitors start as slaves. I just do not see any good reason for the proud and lofty species of the Sith to ever become slaves in the Empire. Again, maybe I missed something (or it's not been revealed yet), but it just does not seem right to me.

As for the other Imperial classes, it's possible that we may see a Pureblood as a Bounty Hunter. Perhaps your Sith didn't go to the Academy -- maybe he's just an average citizen of the galaxy. He's got to make a living somehow, right? Bounty-hunting would make a good profession. Still, I don't know that we would see one as an Agent, primarily because Sith are naturally Force-sensitive. I don't see the Empire taking a Force-sensitive and dropping him into a role that would require him to not use the Force.

There are three more species I would like to talk about next week. Tune in next Tuesday for the Zabrak, Twi'leks, and one other species that is not on the Imperial list (but perhaps should be). Until then, galez tave Verztis buti su j'us! (That's from a fan-created Sith language by Listarchos of the Ahazi and Starsider galaxies of Star Wars Galaxies.)

Star Wars: The Old Republic is finally here, and the Force is with Massively! We've prepared a Hutt-sized feast of class introductions, gameplay guides, lore roundups, and hands-on previews to help you navigate the launch period and beyond. And don't forget our weekly SWTOR column, the Hyperspace Beacon!