Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Smuggler's Journey

A few days ago I jotted down some notes on heroic pathways in Star Wars.  I did this because I wanted to give myself some context for commenting on the Smuggler's class story in StarWars: The Old Republic.  The Smuggler is one of the last classes I have to level significantly, and unlike my Jedi Knight, I want to pay a little more attention to the story as it goes by.

Taken as a whole, I’m a little bit disappointed with the smuggler story so far.  I keep waiting for it to make the jump into the larger conflict, for my smuggler to go Han Solo on me and come back to face the Death Star.  To this point, the smuggler has been able to visit many worlds where the titanic struggle between freedom and tyranny rages, but without the struggle touching them personally.

Being a Star Wars fan, the mythos has always been dominated by this conflict. That’s what the story is all about, and being in that universe is my opportunity to further the cause of freedom.  

The prologue to the smuggler story, recovering my stolen ship, allowed me to see the inside view of  tyranny first hand.  Liars and thieves abound in the universe and many people less capable than my smuggler are daily victims of it.  Here was my chance to see what it felt like to be disempowered, to have my livelihood and home taken away from me by the whim of some conscienceless, amoral bully, and feel what millions in the galaxy must feel at the hands of Sith and warlords and mindless beasts.  

I guess what I’m saying is that I was beginning to pick up the threads of my heroic path

The second part of the story, however, has been less engaging.  For me, it has been more about discovering the character of Nok Drayen rather than reclaiming his treasure.  But neither of these goals seems particularly noble or heroic.  I hoped that by uncovering the legend of Drayen I could understand what it means to be a smuggler in the Star Wars universe;  what heroic aims can they aspire to, what ennobles them as characters.  But none of what I’ve seen so far really connects me with any larger galactic struggle.  

When I finally learned the big reveal about Nok’s true identity, my feelings of ambivalence continued.  I was initially pleased with the connection to Risha and it helped me understand her character more completely but ultimately the resolution lacked resonance.  I felt more satisfaction at the demise of Skavak, than at the outcome of my “treasure hunt.”

I want, like Han and Lando, to come to the point of realization that there is something larger than myself that is worthy of my commitment, something worth fighting for.  When do I get to take up arms against the enemy and hurl myself with all the force I can muster against the might of the Empire?

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