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Sexual violence, slavery, and genocide. Just another day in the Empire?

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Story and Lore
Sexual violence, slavery, and genocide. Just another day in the Empire?

tehjai's Avatar

02.06.2012 , 12:09 PM | #491
Quote: Originally Posted by Raazmir View Post
Just want to point this out.

The players are the ones sexualizing the shock collar thing, not the writing. In fact you don't get to have an intimate relationship with the companion at all if you don't take the collar off of her, eventually all she'll do is say "I don't want to talk to you anymore unless you take this thing off me."

I don't blame the OP though. A LOT of the player commentary on jaesa and Vette presents an undeniably skeevy, creepy face of the community.
But the OP has conflated a popular player viewpoint and what BioWare has deliberately given us in the story. Insofar as the story's concerned, Vette's treatment -- the shock collar -- isn't sexualized. The creepiness of players, to say nothing of how quickly the OP's mind *had* to sexualize a male-female interaction, doesn't mean that that's how it was written.

Just means you have a kinky mind or that you're skeevy as hell. But that's not BioWare's fault, like the OP claims it is.

Quote: Originally Posted by Tamaranis View Post
But seriously, the internet, there's 50 pages of people shouting down a stance the OP didn't take.
Which stance? The "this aspect of the game is too scandalous for my sensibilities and should be removed" stance? Or the concern trolling for the poor women (given the tone of their argument, I don't think Shampoo is a woman; what they say reads more like a man telling us women what's what)? Or being offended that evil people do evil things in this game?

All of those things were brought up at varying points in the thread. The OP posts more than once.
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Ceihra's Avatar

02.06.2012 , 12:20 PM | #492
I have only read the opening post, as I am a slow reader and would rather get back to playing than reading forums all night
I did however feel the need to voice my opinion on the matter.

Firstly, to Shampoo, you are in your full right to feel the way you do about the game and empire side. I, however, do not agree with you.

I play mainly empire and as a girl, i have not been bothered at all about the things you bring up. Allow me to elaborate:

Quote: Originally Posted by Shampoo View Post
Recurring motifs involve acting out sexual violence against your female slave Vette--who seems to take it all in jovial stride, killing, enslaving and torturing people and aiding in targeted genocide against specific canonical races. These may be themes expected and accurate according to the extended universe, but the poor presentation is ugly and unwelcome.
Quote: Originally Posted by Shampoo View Post
Oh well--there's always shocking (sexually harassing) your sex slave Vette and romancing her with gifts until she marries you.
One of your main issues seems to be with Vette. She is a slave, and in this world, slaves wear shock collars. It is "practical" and helps keeping them in line. Yet you seem to connect the shock collar to her being a "sexual slave"... Why that might be is not a territory i want to get into, however, there is a HUGE difference between shocking a slave for getting out of line or because you're in a bad mood - and "sexually harassing" her.

Please also note, that it is your CHOICE if you want to keep the shock collar on her. You're given ample oportunity to remove it, and it can even be done without getting lightside points, for those people who refuse to get lightside points because they want to go all evil.

I would honestly be terribly disappointed, if the game decided for me: "Hey, you're gonna take the collar off your slave because you're such a nice sith, and wanna be nice to your slave" without me having the option not to.

And yes, i know the male sith gets the option to make Vette watch, while they're having sex with an npc. I saw the option, when my husbands warrior got to it. I dont see the problem! Sure, it can be consided degrading towards Vette, and is really not nice to her at all - but not all women in general! In my opinion it is more insulting to me to be told, that I as a woman is being degraded because of what is done to some female npc in a computergame.
Also please remember that: 1) Vette does NOT like it if you make her watch, 2) it is your choice, if you want to make her watch or let her leave and 3) you dont have to have sex with the npc to begin with - once again, its a choice

Quote: Originally Posted by Shampoo View Post
...and naturally comes the marketing this material to young adults who lack so much as one strand of facial hair.
In my opionion it is not the games responsibility to raise peoples kids. The game has lots of violence, which i am sure other people have pointed out - but this does not seem to be the issue you're having with the game. No, it is how it makes women and slavery seem. Well, if parents havent already taught their kids how to treat women, and that slavery is wrong - i doubt there is much Bioware can do in that department.
Please stop making it the medias problem, if young adults cant tell the difference between right and wrong.

Honestly, i read alot worse things in the daily newspaper, about things that is actually happening in my country or the world in general, than anything that's been portrayed in this game. And newspapers arent rated "T" or "M"

Quote: Originally Posted by Shampoo View Post
If the writing was smart, if it was well done and conveyed the sense of dread with an element of satire or commentary, or even presented itself as remotely problematic I might be able to stomach playing an Imperial.
If I understand it right, the only imperial class you have played is a sith warrior. Yet you base your entire opinion on the empire side of the game, based on this one class storyline. Perhaps you should try one of the others before passing judgement?

Quote: Originally Posted by Shampoo View Post
This is where the game deviates from kotoR in a very detrimental way--you're actually punished for neutrality, and yet the majority of the community plays the nearly slapstick evil Empire (minus the humor). If not addressed in a timely manner, I can see the following problems significantly reducing subscription figures; a) a cascade of negative press, b) being World of Sabercraft c) terrible, childish, offensive writing.
This is the only part, where i only slightly agreed with you. The part being, that you are "punished for neutrality". I am still hoping they will implement more items for neutral (like they have for light and dark)
The rest, however...:
"b) being a World of Sabercraft" - please please please stop comparing the game to world of warcraft. I see this all the time in every game and I am sure others are as tired of this as i am.
"c) terrible, childish, offensive writing" - once again, this is based on the warrior storyline. And based on the fact, that you apparently chose to keep the shock collar on Vette as an easy way to get darkside points (trust me, you can get plenty of darkside points in other ways - it is not a must). I really recommend you try more classes, before passing judgement on the entire side

Right, that was it for me, as i will not even begin to discuss the article that was being linked to. Back to my game and my burger!

Malkosha's Avatar

02.06.2012 , 12:23 PM | #493
I some ways I agree with the OP, in other ways ... not so much.

How many times have you made a choice during a dialogue, only to see your avatar say, "Time for some Violence"? To me that's somewhere between being over the top and just plain corny. I think more could have been done to make some the evil dialogue choices less slapstick and instead, have those choices actually carry some weight. Sadly, lines like this are presented quite often. Its not just a one time deal. Yes Virginia, even video games have cheese in them.

Sith are feared for a reason. Slavery, oppression, murder and mayhem are more than just tools: They are a way of Sith life. For a Sith, these things are so ingrained into their society that they give it no more consideration than either you or I would when it comes to brushing our teeth. To a Sith, these things aren't evil at all. Its the natural order of things. You can go with a LS Sith of course. One that rails against the meaningless violence. The outcome of our choices however remain the same. You will, for the Empire, kill people and break things. Only your reasons will have changed. In many ways, this mirrors real life.

Yes, BW could have toned down the Empire ... the Sith in particular ... but in doing so, would they have corrupted the story? Would they have been true to what the Empire really is? I don't think so. When the Sith return, the republic is fearful and they go to the extreme to warn others. The title Jedi char in the opening movie, sacrifices his life so Chan can escape and get the word out. They have a genuine fear of the Sith. After you play one you will know why. Change that and you become like Gulliver who can't figure out why which end of the egg you break really matters.

Finally Vette and the "T" rating. I have to wonder why of all the companions in the game, you get to punish this particular one with seemingly carefree abandon. They even make easy for you to do it. Does it send out a wrong message to females or worse, to young males? I'm not really sure on this one. If we latch on to a certain mindset, we can see the absolute negative in anything, esp when we look for it.

Having said that, just on the Vette issue alone I would have given this game the "M" rating. Given a slave to dominate in any way you seem fit ... and the dialogue says just this thing ... as well as the added bonus of shocking her into submission is much different than implied slavery and torture. It's actually doing it in game, up close and personal. Probably a little too much for the kiddies.
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lomijoma's Avatar

02.06.2012 , 12:44 PM | #494
After watching I'm pretty sure its not sexual abuse at all. In fact, the Sith Warrior actually enjoys torturing lesser beings for fun and not as a sexual thrill. Maybe you're just looking at it differently, and with a far sicker mind.

By the way, you can't romance Vette while she still has a shock collar on. I have a 50 juggernaut and, while I did remove the collar once I got off Korriban, I find nothing sexual about shocking her. Vette will sometimes say witty remarks after being shocked, but for the most part in that video she expressed pain and usually asked him to stop (sometimes screamed at the warrior).

As far and equality for all species and genders in the Empire, theres no such thing. To the sith, humans and purebloods are the more powerful species and are looked upon highly. Aliens are lesser beings to the sith. As far as genders go, Twi'lek females are usually dancers and males are usually workers, building momuments are structures. (Twi'lek being an example.)

Just the way I look at it, is, Vette is similar to Eleena Daru, Darth Malgus's slave lover. Darth Malgus treated Eleena has an equal and loved her, even though she was his slave. Though Malgus did kill Eleena at the sacking of the Jedi Temple (the trailer that I forgot the name too) for saying his real name, Veradun. Also he said that she was his greatest weakness. (He was extremely aggressive towards Jedi Master Ven Zallo who had deflected a blaster shot back at Eleena and pushed her to a pillar.) Although after he killed her, he regreted it which fueled his passion and hatred.

You can keep Vette as a slave and shock her as much as you want or even just not use her OR you can remove the collar and produce a friendship between the two of you.

Just my thoughts.
I'm a Hutt in human form plotting to overthrow the republic

TrollBerzerker's Avatar

02.06.2012 , 01:36 PM | #495
This is almost definitely an elaborate troll post.

If you played the game you'd know that nothing you do to Vette is sexual torture. You'd also know that males get enslaved and put in shock collars all the time.

Also if you played WoW you'd never, ever hold its writing up as an example of anything good, ever. Maybe a long time ago, but it hasn't been that way for years, it's only been getting progressively worse.

On the off-chance this is a serious post: the Empire has a very weak narrative outside of the Imperial Agent. Go play Republic for story.

Kaskava's Avatar

02.06.2012 , 01:39 PM | #496
Quote: Originally Posted by Malkosha View Post
Having said that, just on the Vette issue alone I would have given this game the "M" rating. Given a slave to dominate in any way you seem fit ... and the dialogue says just this thing ... as well as the added bonus of shocking her into submission is much different than implied slavery and torture. It's actually doing it in game, up close and personal. Probably a little too much for the kiddies.
So you would give this game an "M" rating based on 1/42 of the game? Makes sense, if you don't think about it. Of course, from the sound of your post, you want the same sort of nanny-media that the OP wants. If you think something might be too much for your child, don't let them participate. The ratings are just a guideline, it's up to the parents to decide if their child can handle the game or not.

The fact that Vette wears a collar, and has been ensalved makes sense. She snuck onto Korriban, the Sith Holy World where only Sith, select servants of the Sith, and some elite Imperial soldiers are allowed. Then she broke into Naga Sadows tomb, a place sacred to the Sith where only Sith are supposed to go, in an attempt to steal an artifact.

The only reason she wasn't killed immediately, or given to the Inquisitors is because she's the only one who's managed to get past the obstacles. Now, how do you insure her cooperation? There's always the threat of death, but that doesn't really stop her from from running away the first chance she gets. The most convenient way is the shock collar.

If you're playing the truly dark Sith Warrior, you can keep the collar on because she's now a slave. You use it to shock her when ever she gets uppity because she's a slave. Sith don't like it when their slaves get any ideas. Even Barras says that the only trustworthy being in the galaxy, or something like that, is a "properly beaten down slave."

Or, you can reward hard work by freeing her, such as freedom is in the Empire, and take the collar off.
This just in: Expanding on an ending no one likes is not improving said ending. A polished turd is still a turd.

Aurondarklord's Avatar

02.06.2012 , 01:55 PM | #497
Vette is only sexualized if you choose to make her so. But, of course, you can sexualize any character in the game that you have control over. I can have my pink skinned sith pureblood marauder dancing around in his skivvies in the middle of Vaiken if I want to. I can dress Jaesa, my psychotic apprentice, up in the slave Leia bikini, and because it's moddable and she wears light armor anyway, actually fight effectively with her like this. If players want to be pervs, they will find a way to be, as either gender and any race or faction. They did it with night elf mailbox dancing too. The story itself does not do anything to especially sexualize Vette, her default clothing options are not particularly revealing, her dialog is only suggestive if you pursue her romance option, which is true of every companion. In fact, Bioware made it so that you can only pursue the romance option with her if you remove the shock collar, to AVOID the implication that her slavery is sexual in nature. The only instance of the shock collar being referenced in any sexual light is after you and Vette get married, she comments that she still has it, and makes a comment suggesting she'd like to experiment with consensual BDSM involving it, which is kinky, but harmless. At this point in the story, mind you, she has risen from slavery to become the wife and right hand smuggler of one of the most powerful and important lords in the Empire, rather mirroring your own rise from slavery to the Dark Council if you play a Sith Inquisitor, so I don't think her willingness to be a sexual sub in any way denigrates her, it just shows she's not a prude and has a very trusting, comfortable relationship with her husband.

I personally see Vette as one of the strongest characters in the game. This girl has been crapped on all of her life, but NOTHING you or anyone else do to her can ever break her snarky, chipper spirit, and she ultimately rises above it and becomes a pretty damn important and capable person in the galactic scheme of things. She doesn't just ride the Sith Warrior's coattails, she's right there on the front lines with him or her, taking all the same risks.

Now yes, you can very often in this game be an abusive tool to the same characters you were flirting with two seconds ago. I remember one female guard on Korriban I was allowed to flirt with twice, then I selected an option that said "you've got legs", which I assumed would have my character compliment her shapely legs, but what he actually said was basically "you can walk, go do it yourself". Thana is another good example, you can go back and forth between flirting with her and threatening to murder her. But this problem exists with most games that have dialog choices, in all sorts of contexts. If I want to, I can have my character politely ask NPCs for help and negotiate with them, then turn around and murder them for no reason. I can have my character object to killing on moral grounds right after taking another quest where I murdered everyone involved for fun. Unfortunately if you don't sort of decide ahead of time what your character's personality is like and select dialogue options that match that personality, you can come off as quite bipolar, lol. But once again, this is player choice, if you want to select dialogue options that make no sense following from what you selected before, you can do it, but it produces fairly incoherent writing.

As for the issue of buying companion affection and this making them come off as materialistic or suggesting an abusive relationship where you, as the abuser, beat your companion up, then buy her nice things and she immediately forgives you, remember that this same dynamic can take place with any companion regardless of their or your race or gender, it does NOT allow you to progress Vette's companion story without removing the collar. When it comes down to it, companion gifts are an essentially non-canon game mechanic that exists because companion affection has an impact on how fast they do crew skills and such, and players in games like this don't like to be mechanically punished for role playing decisions. So you can use the gifts to max out affection with companions you don't use a lot, or whose personalities conflict with your alignment or dialogue preferences. This is necessary for you to be able to play a character with a coherent personality. If companion gifts were not available, players would have to play their character as having a totally different personality in the presence of each of their companions, or end up with a character that was permanently sub-optimal. Making players choose between RP and min-maxing is a bad design decision.

As for this game being darker or more disturbing than what's shown in the actual star wars movies, let's look at some of the things that happened there. In A New Hope, a man tortures his own daughter then commits genocide for no reason, stormtroopers set an elderly couple on fire, and one of the heroes maims someone for getting rowdy with him in a bar. The other movies cover such topics as patricide, child killing, decapitation, and slavery, including Leia's, which IS implied to be sexual, or at least sexually degrading. Don't tell me the Empire isn't full of horrific atrocities or that slavery isn't common in star wars lore (though it's somewhat illogical given the prevalence of droids, who can do a slave's job much better and never rebel). The game certainly presents all this in an appropriately negative light, you get DARK SIDE points for doing it, and can become so evil it starts to actually make you physically ugly.

Saying "oh won't someone please think of the children!!" is not appropriate here. This game is rated Teen, young children should not be playing it. by the age of 13, one should be able to expect a person to have a sufficiently developed sense of right and wrong and fantasy and reality that they will not by adversely influenced by having the ability to shock a blue alien in a video game.

notladnai's Avatar

02.06.2012 , 01:57 PM | #498
What's funny is your indignation over violonce in a video game when I'm guessing you pay taxes to the Fed...

Kaskava's Avatar

02.06.2012 , 02:09 PM | #499
Quote: Originally Posted by Aurondarklord View Post
The only instance of the shock collar being referenced in any sexual light is after you and Vette get married, she comments that she still has it, and makes a comment suggesting she'd like to experiment with consensual BDSM involving it, which is kinky, but harmless.
Wait, where was I when this happened?
This just in: Expanding on an ending no one likes is not improving said ending. A polished turd is still a turd.

Wiseobiuma's Avatar

02.06.2012 , 02:36 PM | #500
Quote: Originally Posted by Ceihra View Post
Right, that was it for me, as i will not even begin to discuss the article that was being linked to. Back to my game and my burger!
Well said