04/07/2020

Mental and Physical Discomfort on Alderaan

Contrary to my expectations, Alderaan did not treat my pacifist Jedi well. I thought I was off to a good start, remembering right away that one of the heroics should be stealthable, and it was (the one to retrieve data spikes from the Killik cave). For some reason I'm more familiar with the heroics on Alderaan than with those on most other planets, so I knew right away what would work for Pacis and what wouldn't.

Other than that though, the planet was pretty much a bust. Despite of the sheer size of the map, I think I only found four other quests that didn't require me to fight anything. There were quests to capture either a joiner or a Killik alive, but both would have required me to beat them up first. Others seemed to tack mandatory kill requirements onto otherwise peaceful objectives almost randomly. In short, it was annoying.


I randomly ran into a DvL boss - after all the trouble I had killing them, I couldn't resist taking a picture.

One thing that was interesting though - if somewhat uncomfortable - was that I was forced to think about the limitations of Pacis' pacifism. It's a question that's actually been on my mind for a while but that I didn't really have to confront in practice until now.

Basically, I originally conceived of this project as more of a gameplay challenge than any sort of moral message. As such, the rules were fairly straightforward: don't attack any living creatures, not in the open world and not in cut scenes, and if they aggro on you first just run away.

However, over time I couldn't help but also think of the roleplaying implications of playing a character that literally wouldn't even hurt a fly, one that would rather be beaten down and revive at a med droid than throw a single punch. She must have pretty strong convictions about right and wrong, no? So what if I'm being asked to do something that isn't a personal attack but results in a lot of harm being done to others as a direct result? Wouldn't she hate that too?

This question became a very real concern when I picked up the quest Infestation at Wardpost Duvaal. It asks you to recover a bunch of "insecticide mines" and use them on the Killik hives. I didn't really have a good feeling about that but was hoping that as long as I was only destroying the hive structures I could justify it as merely doing property damage. Still, when I walked up to the first hive, I hesitated. I placed the mine. A friendly Killik appeared, walked up to the hive and fell over dead.

I just stood there and stared for a good minute. How horrible! Strictly speaking, I hadn't violated the rules of the gameplay challenge, but in in-world terms, Pacis had just been directly responsible for a living creature's death for the first time. I was kind of surprised by how intensely wrong that felt. I abandoned the quest without completing it.


I did that. ;(

Later there was another, similar moment when I did a mission to mark Imperial landing pads for bombardment, but then in the cut scene for mission completion they didn't show the pads being destroyed but rather an Imperial transport being shot down mid-air. It wasn't quite as bad as seeing the Killik fall over dead right in front of me, but it still felt wrong somehow. I suspect this won't be the last time I run into this sort of conflict.

On a more humorous note, remember the weird bug from KotET launch that caused certain characters' head and left arm to swap places when standing still on an animal mount? I posted a picture of it here. Now, this bug was fixed in relatively short order and I hadn't really thought about it in a while except when freaking people out in a Twitter thread. While doing those quests on Alderaan however, I was horrified to find that a variant of this bug has resurfaced after the most recent patch, though I'm not sure which animation exactly triggers it. I first noticed it happening when scanning databanks in Castle Panteer, but have since also seen it pop up after clicking on lore objects and some other interactables. Just what even is this, Bioware?! Fortunately it has since been acknowledged as a known bug and will hopefully be fixed soon.

1 comment :

  1. Ooooh, I had thought about that often but didn't want to pry. However, I'm not shocked you felt strongly about it - you may not be on it regularly, but you've invested quite a lot of time and energy on Paci. She was bound to leave her mark upon you. :)

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