A long, long time ago in a land far away, there was a beautiful princess, handsome rogue, black knight, evil king and a brave lad about to take his first steps on a great adventure. Oh, did I mention the menacing castle, wise wizard and two bumbling dwarves for comic relief. Sound familiar? It should because Mr Lucas not only lifted a classic fairytale template but the childlike morality that goes with it. So, in SWTOR you tend to be pushed to one moral pole or the other in order to benefit from alignment rewards.
This was not always the plan though. Back in the hazy genesis of the game there was talk of having three factions: saintly, chewing-the-scenery evil and normal people just looking to make a buck. But as the game evolved that went the way of other ambitious ideas and we ended up with the binary factions each gaining one of the neutral classes. Perhaps they didn’t want to stray too far from WoW’s recipe or maybe three factions was more work than they could handle.
The ghost of the third faction still haunts the corridors of BioWare Austin, as has been acknowledged by the promise of neutral gear sometime in the indeterminate future. So, to draw a long bow, perhaps a third faction is a concept that could be dusted off and re-examined because the game could certainly benefit from it.
Now before I go further, this is a mental exercise so don’t go flaming about problematic details, we’re painting with broad strokes here. So grab some Giggledust and lets go down the rabbit hole…
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first, since much of the ground work is already in the game. The neutral faction already has two classes: Bounty Hunter and Smuggler. Now if my math is correct that leaves us a class short. Rather than introduce a new one I’m going to suggest ‘Revanites’ where neutraly aligned Republic and Empire plays could defect to, but probably not until level 50 once the class story is out of the way. Why complicate things.
Now we need a capital. What’s appropriate and easy? Hutt Space in one form or another predates either The Empire or The Republic and Nar Shaddaa rivaled Coruscant as a trade hub until the Kyyr system’s star went supernova and destroyed the Ootmian Pabol trade route, so we’ve got our capital city. Unless BioWare feel like building Bilbousa. Nah, didn’t think so.
So what’s the point of having a neutral faction? In a word – Endgame. To avoid changing too much of the existing game during levelling, specifically voiceover and story, a neutral faction would really exist to create added gameplay dynamics in warzones and, if it’s ever fixed, open-world PvP. Potentially it could help balance factions by allowing the two smaller ones to team up against the largest. Or not. Wholesale slaughter can be fun too.
More to the point, since endgame content is still a bit thin it gives Bioware the opportunity to develop new material that will make level 50 gameplay more compelling and stand out from other offerings in the genre.
Before I wrap this up, I’ll just say again, this is purely a ‘what-if’, it’s not fully thought through because I’m not a game designer. I also understand there would be a lot of work to make it happen, so don’t waste your time pointing that sort of thing out. But taking all that into consideration, why not join in this flight of fancy and tell us what would you like to see if a third faction was a possibility?
Throw a comment in below!