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The Bounty Hunter story is broken

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Story and Lore > Spoilers
The Bounty Hunter story is broken

OldVengeance's Avatar


OldVengeance
10.05.2012 , 09:22 PM | #1
I know I'm not the first person to notice that a the storyline for a Bounty Hunter is completely incompatible with a Lightside character. But I don't think even I realized just how badly the storyline makes no sense until I reached the Act 1 finale. There was already an increasingly jarring feeling when it comes to gameplay vs story, seeing as a Lightside Bounty Hunter still helps the Empire do all the terrible things across Tatooine, and Balmorra for no reason other than money. But the entire first act is nothing but the Bounty Hunter hunting and murdering people for sport. There's no way this makes sense for anything but a darkside Bounty Hunter or an honorable darkside Bounty Hunter.

"Noble" BHs look like insane psychopaths or characters who make no sense. But it's not only the PC that no longer makes sense. Mako also makes no sense, she's supposedly this sweet person who disapproves of excess violence and cruelty but she leaves a literal mountain of corpses in her wake while helping to assassinate a Jedi Master because... she's competing in an assassination contest for personal glory. The entire first Act builds up her desire for revenge against the people who murdered her adoptive father but she killed hundreds of innocent people herself without a second thought. And assuming the families of those hundred or so Republic crew we slaughtered on the way to Tarro Blood don't spend all of Act 2 and 3 plotting their revenge, I will assume it never comes up again. It's like she doesn't really understand what her profession is.

I've played a villain twice in the game with TOR's story (my Warrior and Inquisitor) and liked it but those were characters which I knew and intended to be the bad guys. Sure they might be worse than my Bounty Hunter and
Mako objectively speaking, but they both know they are darkside monsters. Mako and a Lightside Bounty Hunter are murderous scumbags who don't seem to realize it. I honestly found my sympathy evaporate for both of them as I neared the end of Act 1. There are some sidequests that I decided I could skip because they crossed a line but this was the necessary finale for the class quest in Act 1.

Probably the moment that sums it up the whole disconnect between character and story and gameplay was one scene in Nar Shadda when the Hunter breaks into an office murders everyone there and then can spare the last survivor say "What do you think I am, a psychopath?" I actually began to wonder if that was intentional.

I get that maybe Lightside might mean different things for an Empire character than it would a Republic one but Why would MAko and a Lightside Hunter have any sort of moral standards when they thoughtlessly kill hundreds of others every day? The ones that either of them do want to spare seem totally arbitrary in the end.

The storyline makes so little sense that it makes me wonder why Bioware even gave me the option to be Lightsided. It just feels so sloppy.

Andge's Avatar


Andge
10.05.2012 , 09:53 PM | #2
I totally agree with you on this. Though my wondering about this inconsistency with a light side character killing 100s of innocent people started with the Jedi Knight; the case with the JK may not be as bad as the Bounty Hunter as the end goal in the JK storyline is not money and personal glory. But still; traditionally, JKs don't kill unless that is the only option. And during the JK story you also get to choose to spare the life of NPCs. Yet for most quests you kill dozens of human beings without blinking.
And the issue exists for the SW as well; I don't want to post a spoiler, but generically speaking a light side SW spares the one NPC after the other and even promises one of his companions that they will be working for the light side. And at the same time he constantly helps fulfill the goals of the Sith.

How utterly lame and ridiculous this makes e.g. light side choices of sparing NPCs lifes aside, I guess it is simply impossible to make an Action MMO without having PCs kill.

Tbh, this is just one out of several things that have made me come to the conclusion that the Star Wars universe is - contrary to popular belief - NOT a suited universe for an MMO.

Just to mention a few other problems;
-the lightsabers becoming lightbats. Sure, we've gotten used to the fact that an officer wearing a black cotton uniform can withstand several hits with a lightsaber before he goes down, but you really have to suspend your disbelief for this not to totally take you out of the SW-universe.
-on the same note, the SW universe is filled with granades and laser weapon. In the game this translates into even people wearing cotton uniforms withstanding several direct hits with explosives, often without taking any visible notice of it - even though they are surround by explosions, fire and smoke.
-then there is the matter of 50% of the entire population in SWTOR being Jedi or Sith lords. SWG found a way around this. But then again; if one is going to play a SW game, you will want to be able to play as a Jedi or Sith - even if you're just a casual player.

These are just a few examples.

But when that is said, as I've stated before in the forum, generally speaking the narrative side of SWTOR is disappoiting and underwhelming. Which is why I am in no way sorry to see Daniel Erickson leave Bioware and SWTOR.

OldVengeance's Avatar


OldVengeance
10.05.2012 , 10:02 PM | #3
I think the issue is that sure, lightside characters kill lots of people, but unlike a Jedi or any of the other Empire's other characters, a Lightside Bounty Hunter appears to have no reason for any of it except money and glory. A Lightside Sith or Imperial Agent can be seen as a good person getting by in a bad place. A Bounty Hunter doesn't seem to have any reason not to leave if morals get in the way.

Pubsam's Avatar


Pubsam
10.05.2012 , 10:07 PM | #4
I played my BH as someone who started out as a neutral but mostly selfish thug who gradually morphs into someone somewhat honorable and a bit disillusioned with his whole profession. I feel like the story played kind of well into that arc, but you're right, playing as LS through most of Act I makes little sense.

All BH's have to be a bit selfish and brutal to even participate in The Great Hunt in the first place. Of course, I find it hard to understand a character that was full-on pacifist LS even becoming a BH in the first place - if your BH is that character, honestly its motivations are probably poorly thought out. The best I can come up with is the BH being an unfortunate Hutta native who is only hooked into The Great Hunt for a chance to get off Hutta, but otherwise doesn't care about the credits or glory. Even then though, why would a nice guy become a good enough BH in the first place for Braden to notice him?

Also, I'm not really sure you can count trash mobs that we kill on our way to objectives as any sort of moral indicator. For one, those guys are automatically hostile, so there is no choice to kill them. Also, these mobs and their placement and their auto-hostility is not very realistic and is just an MMO-standard. If you add them to your conception of your character's morality, the gentlest and nicest Jedi Consulars would be disgusting killers. Everybody's gotta kill those things.

I do agree though Mako makes no sense. It might have been interesting if the story acknowledged her major cognitive dissonance problem and her story arc was her toughening up a bit in response, but instead it's presented that it's normal to be a totally nice kind person who doesn't like hurting others but is also a big fan of human bloodsport and abets murders.
Time for a nap.

OldVengeance's Avatar


OldVengeance
10.06.2012 , 06:56 AM | #5
It's not that I thought of my Bounty Hunter as a pacifist, but I did think of him as a harsh but noble vigilante. I thought of him as an honorable warrior who wanted to make the galaxy a better place by catching or killing people who deserved it. I don't think that's an unheard of attitude for people in the galaxy or an unreasonable concept for a character to want to play. After all, the very thing I did right before the killing spree on the Aurora was have a respected Mandalorian tell me "There is no finer thing than the blood of an enemy righteously slain."

But the game's story doesn't really seem to support that type of character in the long run. At first I didn't have too much of a problem because Hutta and Dromund Kaas have no shortage of people like that, but it got harder and harder to justify all the Hunter's clearly dishonorable actions (murder, theft, treachery) as time went on. And it was made all the more jarring and bizarre by the fact that we were supposed to hate Tarro Blood for being a dishonorable murderer.

I'll admit, most of the time I agree that the mobs aren't really an indicator of morality but there are exceptions, when they insert themselves into the story (like the Sons of Palawa or the Organa guards protecting the Willsaams for instance). Most of the time, they are people you are forced to kill in self defense and that is fine, but with the Act 1 finale it got me thinking why I was fighting them. They asked you surrender and you could say "Nope," "No," or "Hell no" respectively and then they are the ones defending themselves from you. But even beyond them, I found the image of the final boss stuck with me even more. For Bounty Hunters, Act 1 has only a darkside ending and a more darkside ending. The game obviously considers murdering a Jedi Master in front of his Padawan without killing her the Lightside choice, but you're still essentially playing the role of Darth Maul killing Qui-Gon.

It was pretty clear to me early on that an MMO is not the best format for telling a story, but despite that TOR has managed to provoke some genuinely powerful emotion in it's story a few times. The Knight storyline had the strongest ones for me, but with the Bounty Hunter, they actually managed to create the exact opposite reactions it needed to. After the slaughter on the Aurora the game seems to present a feeling of triumph and relief. Mako and Gault did too, but after such a huge bloodbath (there were SO MANY of them) I felt like my Lightside Hunter should feel like broken horrified man, slowly coming to the realization that he had become everything he ever hated. But instead I was paraded down around while the Huntmaster praised me as the greatest homicidal maniac of them all. To compare them, the lightside ending of the Jedi Knight story on Voss left me genuinely moved. The lightside end of the Bounty Hunter story on The Aurora left me horrified at the people I killed and more so because of all the praise I received for it.

And where do I go after this? Straight to Taris where the missions given to me are to A) Hunt down the Mandalorians who had the courage to follow Canderous Ordo's vision, B) Destroy a planet's peaceful reconstruction efforts because they are "an affront to the Empire" C) Find and kill Revan himself.

I felt completely disconnected from the story and character by this point. All while Mako and her otherwise fun romance arc kind of starts to become slightly creepier because she seems so convinced in her delusion that she's a good guy and not a killer.

At times the whole thing felt like such a twisted parody of a hero's journey that it seems almost impossible that it was written this way unless that was the intent. So I'm forced to conclude that while parts of it are fun, the Bounty Hunter class quest is all but terribly written. All Empire Lightsiders are kind of on questionable ground because they still serve the bad guys, but with the Bounty Hunter it's the only one where I feel like I'm forced to played a true villain no matter what. Honestly, it seems like my choices are a sadistic assassin for hire or a hypocritical assassin for hire. At least with an Agent or a Sith story I can conceive of them being an anti-hero or a noble person caught in a bad situation.

When Mako first asked if we were the bad guys I didn't feel like it was the case, but after killing a Jedi Master and over a hundred of his shipmates for sport I think it's undeniable: We are the bad guys.

Bleeters's Avatar


Bleeters
10.06.2012 , 07:11 AM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by OldVengeance View Post
Destroy a planet's peaceful reconstruction efforts because they are "an affront to the Empire"
Not to mention contaminating medical supplies with the rakghoul virus, sabotaging the Republc's efforts to control the infection and testing biological weapons on Cathar settlers, amongst other things. My agent had a hard time actually fitting most of what Taris quests involved into her personality, act two agent story events and your general stance of being under the Sith's thumb nonwithstanding. My Bounty Hunter practically skipped the entire planet.

Empire quests are problematic like that, sadly. Belsavis was pretty absurdly nonsensical too, and I agree it's even worse as a Bounty hunter in particular.

Mandalore: We're Mandalorians. You know, those guys who act like psychopaths in every game we're included in, and are effectively Sith without the force powers. You should join us.
Bounty Hunter: Absolutely. I would love to become a Mandalorian, despite repeatedly stating previously how I prefer my independance, am in no way interested in become officially connected with the Empire and my personal belief that your methods are barbaric.
Me: (╯□)╯︵ ┻━┻

Imperial Guard: So, there's these Sith. They're called the Dread Masters. They radiate fear like you cannot comprehend. Whole armies fall before them in terror. We're trying to spring them from Republic custody. I'm also implying that if you fail to assist us here, we'll have you killed.
Bounty Hunter: Cool. I'll go free them then, despite being only losely affiliated with your Empire and capable of walking away any time I want to.
Me: (╯□)╯︵ ┻━┻

Skadge: I love killing people! I'm a barely constrained homocial maniac, and I threaten you repeatedly. Can I join your crew?
Bounty Hunter: Sure thing, buddy.
Me: (╯□)╯︵ ┻━┻

So on and so forth.

Forgon's Avatar


Forgon
10.06.2012 , 07:45 AM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Bleeters View Post
Not to mention contaminating medical supplies with the rakghoul virus, sabotaging the Republc's efforts to control the infection and testing biological weapons on Cathar settlers, amongst other things. My agent had a hard time actually fitting most of what Taris quests involved into her personality, act two agent story events and your general stance of being under the Sith's thumb nonwithstanding. My Bounty Hunter practically skipped the entire planet.

Empire quests are problematic like that, sadly. Belsavis was pretty absurdly nonsensical too, and I agree it's even worse as a Bounty hunter in particular.

Mandalore: We're Mandalorians. You know, those guys who act like psychopaths in every game we're included in, and are effectively Sith without the force powers. You should join us.
Bounty Hunter: Absolutely. I would love to become a Mandalorian, despite repeatedly stating previously how I prefer my independance, am in no way interested in become officially connected with the Empire and my personal belief that your methods are barbaric.
Me: (╯□)╯︵ ┻━┻

Imperial Guard: So, there's these Sith. They're called the Dread Masters. They radiate fear like you cannot comprehend. Whole armies fall before them in terror. We're trying to spring them from Republic custody. I'm also implying that if you fail to assist us here, we'll have you killed.
Bounty Hunter: Cool. I'll go free them then, despite being only losely affiliated with your Empire and capable of walking away any time I want to.
Me: (╯□)╯︵ ┻━┻

Skadge: I love killing people! I'm a barely constrained homocial maniac, and I threaten you repeatedly. Can I join your crew?
Bounty Hunter: Sure thing, buddy.
Me: (╯□)╯︵ ┻━┻

So on and so forth.
You can refuse being a Mandalorian you know.

The Skadge thing is pretty spot on though.
Quote: Originally Posted by milmo View Post
No, we need to rant on how this game is exactly like WoW and when we learn it's not like WoW we go into a blood rage. We must aim to be inconsistent, incoherent and contradictory.

Bleeters's Avatar


Bleeters
10.06.2012 , 08:11 AM | #8
Really? Because I'm pretty sure I tried and got slapped with a 'you will do it anyway' style response.

Hrmmm. In that case, fair enough.

Slowpokeking's Avatar


Slowpokeking
10.06.2012 , 09:21 AM | #9
I think BH's story has many funny elements, but the major plot is a bit weak. Not just lack of choices, almost every planet is capture/kill somebody, the struggle with the republic hounds only took like 2-3 quests. The act bosses also got little characterization compare to others'.

Pubsam's Avatar


Pubsam
10.06.2012 , 09:26 AM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by OldVengeance View Post
It's not that I thought of my Bounty Hunter as a pacifist, but I did think of him as a harsh but noble vigilante. I thought of him as an honorable warrior who wanted to make the galaxy a better place by catching or killing people who deserved it. I don't think that's an unheard of attitude for people in the galaxy or an unreasonable concept for a character to want to play. After all, the very thing I did right before the killing spree on the Aurora was have a respected Mandalorian tell me "There is no finer thing than the blood of an enemy righteously slain."
How would a 'noble vigilante' even get off Hutta? You'd have no interest in The Great Hunt and would refuse Nemro's first contract. Actually a Hutta vigilante would likely have his hands full trying to kill all the Hutts and their goons. He'd be living with the Evocii, plotting raids.

Also, why would someone who cared about justice become a BH? I'd assume he'd refuse contracts unless the marks were someone he considered bad? You realize that bad people are the ones that typically employ bounty hunters, and the marks are usually just unfortunate victims?

At the end of the day a bounty hunter is someone who is OK with killing/capturing people for credits. One that was constantly refusing contracts on moral grounds would seem very unattractive to the types of people in the market for shady thug characters to off someone for them.

It's not as bad as a pacifist BH. But I have trouble understanding the motivations behind a vigilante becoming a bounty hunter. Wouldn't a bounty hunter be a typical target for a vigilante? It's not an unreasonable character to play as another class - actually I'd say BH is the worst for it though since the BH is by definition a criminal of a much higher order than the Smuggler.

That said, playing LS in Act III is good. In fact my BH probably ended up being a lot like your vigilante in the end. I had no idea I'd make him so LS as he started out Act I with motivations appropriate for one who picked 'bounty hunter' as a profession. The type of guy who says, "If they money's good, then so am I," when asked to kill some poor sap. Of course I might spare the sap when I get there, but simply agreeing to go in the first place I can't really see a vigilante type doing.
Time for a nap.