16/11/2019

You are Nautolan, I am here with you

One of Onslaught's big bullet point features was the addition of Nautolans as a new playable species, again something that we hadn't seen in a few years. (Togruta were added in July 2015; how time flies.) While they were ultimately decoupled from the expansion purchase when its launch was delayed, they were released alongside the rest of 6.0, so I still consider them a part of Onslaught.

While I'm always interested in new playable species, the new story and gearing system were way too interesting for me to even think about rolling up a new alt in the first couple of weeks, but now that we're getting close to a full month of Onslaught, I decided to take the plunge and look at what life is like as a "noodlehead" as I've seen some people fondly call them.


As someone who quite likes playing around with the character creator, the first thing I noticed was that the sliders for Nautolans were kind of awkward. For example you have the choice of several different faces and head tentacle options, but instead of giving you a slider for each, there is only one called "head" which makes you scroll through more than seventy (!) permutations of all the different combinations, which makes it very hard to find the one you like best.

The same issue exists with their skin patterns and pattern colour. I really have no idea why they did this because it shouldn't be because they ran out of sliders. I went back to check and cyborgs for example have more sliders already. Going with this setup just makes the whole process a lot more awkward than it needs to be.

My second problem was... that I was kind of disappointed that player-created Nautolans look very different from the NPCs that we've had in the game for the last eight years. I really should have known better, considering that I went through the same cycle of expectation and disappointment with the Cathar. I guess I just hadn't given it any real thought beforehand.


In the case of the Nautolans, I can even kind of see why they had to be changed: the existing NPCs all have absolutely huge eyes and very narrow jaws, which I expect doesn't mesh with all the facial expressions that player characters have to display in cut scenes, so porting those features onto the skeleton of the player character model was always going to distort them a bit. I expect I'll get used to the new look over time.

One thing I definitely hadn't anticipated though was how disturbing I would find my own Nautolan to look at in cut scenes. You see, I have played characters of every single playable species in game at this point, except for one: the Miraluka, because their lack of eyes bugs the crap out of me. Nautolans do have eyes, but they are huge and not very expressive, though NPC Nautolans do at least blink a little occasionally. My little Nautolan Shadow on the other hand just stares into space with the most wide-eyed expression, without ever flinching, and it's actually kind of unsettling.


Let me look into your soul.

What makes it even worse is that for some reason all Nautolans have this little smirk by default, so that even in serious cut scenes in very unhappy circumstances, they always seem to be smiling a little - combined with the bug-eyed stare, this gives them a slightly creepy, doll-eyed expression, and I'm not sure I'll manage to get used to that.


I know you've come to kill me, but as you can see on my face I find this notion vaguely uplifting... apparently.

Looking around the forums and reddit, reactions to this new species also seem to be mixed. Some, like Swtorista, are absolutely in love, while others are more disappointed, for the reasons I listed here and others. I'm honestly still kind of undecided myself. I definitely don't love the Nautolan model, which is a disappointment in so far as this was actually a species I was actively looking forward to (unlike the Torgruta for example, which I didn't particularly care about), but Cathar also weren't everything I had hoped for at launch but definitely grew on me over time (and their hair options, which were very limited initially, did get expanded later on for example).

I don't expect Nautolans to be changed in any major way at this point, but just giving them the ability to blink or even just tugging at the sides of their mouths a little to give them a more neutral default expression would already go a long way in my opinion.

6 comments :

  1. A couples of days after i played the story, i tried to create a nautolan. I had a special character in mind, so i was looking forward to the new species.

    But i couldn't make it work. There was not a single option, that was satisfying enough to create the new sentinel.

    What put me off, was foremost the dirt in their faces. No neutral option. Just when i thougt "this will work", i had to add dirt into their face. No...not going to happen, Bioware. Absolut unplayable. Just like the weird looking male Togruta.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To be honest I can't really relate to the complaints about the "dirt" as I really like the freckles and have them on a lot of my characters, including my main. ;P But yes, I agree that it would be nice to have "blank" complexion option.

      Delete
    2. I don't mind freckles. Some of my characters have them too.

      Maybe it's because of graphic settings...but the nautolan customisation looks more like a heavy sunburn. It sets itself heavily apart from the skincolour. On a yellow nautolan it looks brown. Not appealing at all.

      Delete
  2. While I'm glad they added the Nautolans, the species itself doesn't grab me. I still have Cathar and Togruta characters working their way to level 50 and Corellia. (Heck, I am finally working a Rattaki to level 50, that's how far I am behind on species.)

    Its good that they've added the species for those that really like them. I'm just surprised that they haven't added more species to the Cartel market. Releasing a new species each year would seem to be a profitable item for them (or a good way to keep subscription numbers up during slow periods).

    Still, given the complaints about the faces I can see why Bioware has been slow about adding them. You would think they would add at least a couple of faces like the NPC models. Though those might really be a disaster given the all of the animations required for the cinematics and emotes. I do wish they would explain their reasoning behind the differences. I mean, we know that new species have to speak Basic to be considered. Knowing the issues with animations would help (some) folks make more considered requests.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suspect that new species aren't as profitable as we think. I mean, I'm sure they sell, but in terms of effort vs. reward making new armour sets probably gives a lot more bang for their buck than going through the effort of modelling a whole new species.

      Delete
  3. I haven't really played my Nautolan yet (I rolled one on Darth Malgus, nothing on Star Forge as of yet and I'm not working on anything else on Malgus' until I'm done with my Main-Clone vanilla run), but seeing this I'm glad I chose to go with a Smuggler -- certainly the perpetual smirk will be less off-putting considering the smuggler's persona in general. Also, I like playing it as the "pretending to be oh so innocent", which huge eyes help. Now, the consular can already be slightly off-putting (specially full LS), as they seem ethereal and detached, even more so with unblinking eyes! Hahaha
    I have a Miraluka as well, and she's -also- a smuggler, so I think lack of eye expression won't bother me much. I mean, I don't think I've run story with a "regular eyed" smuggler yet (I have a Pureblood Sith Smuggler who's stunning, but I think she's still on Taris in her 70's; one of my many DvL surviving toons).
    Same time as I did it, I also rolled a "Black"-Miralian Trooper and I'm in love with her, she looks so right for the fem!trooper (I've been struggling with feeling happy with a fem!trooper to do Vanilla + expansions (I was VERY unhappy with my original one, I'm not happy playing vangard, and I was very disappointed with my twi'lek... I could change the later, but the first was always going to be a problem, so she was relieved of life, I rolled a zabrak instead, but I wasn't that thrilled at it either, so now I'm just happy I've found her a look I can get behind!)

    ReplyDelete

Share your opinion! Everyone is welcome, as long as things stay polite. No sign-in required. I also read comments on older posts, so don't be shy. :)