I've seen many, many characters come and go during my years in The Old Republic. The above pictures represent a selection of past and present characters in the order of their creation and a group-shot of the 7 characters who I currently keep in active service, 2 of whom are newer whilst the other 5 have been around for a lot longer.
See which of the 7 you can recognise the levelling pics of. :P
When I say "many" characters, the 16 I chose for the collage were just those that I happened to have screenshots of from the character-select screen which showed their faces. For example, a notable absentee from the collage is my very first character; a Commando. The only screenshot I have of him is with his orange helmet on, so he's receiving no more love from me - as if he ever could.
There were other images which I had - including one for the Twi'lek Sorcerer - but added to the current 16 this total came to 19, and that's not a fun number to work with.
If I had proper shots of all of my characters, you'd be looking at an image of 40 characters (appropriately enough, only 40% of whom - not including the 3 instant 60s - have ever made it up to or beyond Level 50), so in this respect it's perhaps a very good thing that I could only find and use 16. I know for a fact that there are more, but I honestly can't remember enough details about them to add them to the list, so I'll stick with the nice round number.
We won't be speaking of the "accidental Kira Carsen Gunslinger", though...
I first thought of this subject as a minor 'fact' for the Creative Blogger facts list; I would touch on the shifting ratio of male:female characters and how I often used elements of my own personality in constructing those of the characters, yet I realised that I could do so much more with this as an actual blog post, so here we are.
In this post, I'll attempt to demonstrate what goes through my mind when I create multiple characters and what causes various ones to stick whilst others have been abandoned and deleted.
Since I have an enormously difficult time forgetting story events, I like to shake things up between each playthrough to 'trick' myself into believing that the overall experience is new; this may pertain to everything, or just simple little things such as only their gender, their advanced class, or their alignment.
As an example at the 'small' end of the scale, my original Trooper and the one who replaced him were both male and all but identical with how their stories played out, but the first was a Vanguard whilst the second was a Commando; by contrast, the Smuggler, Agent - who actually had two predecessors this applies to - and Warrior who went on to replace their predecessors were all the opposite gender and advanced class and have made very different responses the entire way through their stories.
One thing I do find absolutely fascinating to compare is how the number of female characters compared to the number of male characters has changed over the years as part of this 'distracting differentiation', especially in the context that I am myself male; the first twenty characters (ending at the lone male Cathar) only had 5 females compared to 15 males, whilst the remaining twenty comprised of 14 females and only 6 males. This results in an incredibly close final tally, with 19 females to 21 males. Not that I particularly mind this, as I've slowly come to realise that I actually find it far easier to connect to and empathise with female characters than males, and I have no idea why this is yet.
Doesn't mean I can write them any more convincingly, though...
Amusingly, there has been one recurring trend regarding Smugglers and Agents and their genders. Whilst I haven't created any new Snipers or Gunslingers beyond those who are active today, those which preceded them, including on other servers, were all female whilst all Operatives and Scoundrels have been male.
Additionally, even though, as you'll read a bit further down, I put 'myself' in my characters, none of the human characters have ever been designed based on my own image. This is just something which I 'do' in all the games I play of this nature, although this game actually does have a more extreme deviation of this trend. I have used virtually all letters of the alphabet in coming up with character names, save for two; the letter 'Q' and the letter which my own first name starts with. I don't think this is anything more than coincidence, but it's still fun to point out.
Anyway, on with the list.
The first instance is nearly always their playstyle. If I find myself enjoying the class, they're going to be frequently used in some way; this is how my Gunslinger usurped my Commando, another class I really enjoyed the playstyle of, as Main in 2014, and is now why my Sorcerer is actually getting some love now that I'm becoming proficient with Sage. Conversely, disliking the playstyle alone is not enough to turn me away from the characters, as the Guardian and Juggernaut are both kept around due to other aspects of their characters.
The second instance is the 'character' themselves. This isn't so much to do with their voices, which we can't control, or even their looks (although you may have noticed certain recurring trends...). Instead, I like to concoct little stories surrounding my characters - which I'm sort-of attempting to turn into "something bigger" for the three current Imperial characters - just to keep myself entertained. For an extra bit of fun, I tend to put elements of my own self into these characters, even if it's not obviously apparent (for example: the Sage has my 'uncapped' ambition) and even if it ends up being self-deprecating. It is this that mainly keeps the Juggernaut around, given that he plays a part in another character's background story. This also totally negates the potential "meh" factor of certain characters' class stories.
The third instance is the outfit potential. Yes, I admit it, I am a 'Space Barbie' advocate. With the advent of Outfit Designer, this is thankfully far easier than it used to be, but at the same time I honestly do not believe that abandoned and deleted characters would have remained high in my good-books if this had been implemented sooner. The new Guardian took over the mantle of "Jedi Knight main" from her only predecessor because of this, due to my absolutely adoring the outfit which I had come up with for her. This is also why I haven't felt particularly connected to any of my Bounty Hunters...
The fourth instance is species. I simply despise Rattataki, Zabrak, and Togruta, due to their lack of discernible eyebrows, whilst Chiss are unnerving with their blank red eyes. Otherwise, I've had a somewhat diverse range of characters; I've owned one Chiss, one Mirialan, one swiftly-deleted Rattataki and Zabrak, two Cathar, two Twi'leks, three Sith Purebloods, and four Cyborgs. Granted, this is 15 characters when I've previously stated to have recalled 40, so 25 of these remaining characters have been human, but it's still something, I guess. Coincidentally, only two of my characters have changed species permanently; they were both Human before turning into Cathar, and both were also Jedi Consulars!
The final instance is faction, but this is a very minor instance. I have always considered the Republic my 'home' in-game due to the fact that that was where I started out initially. Whilst Imperial characters get the superior stories and animations and the more logical abilities (Juggernaut's nonsensical bleeds notwithstanding - we're not all Ponda Baba!), the 'nature' of the Republic is just so much more welcoming to me. This doesn't prevent any Imperial characters getting a look-in, of course - notably, the Sniper was my absolute main for a year whilst all other characters were all virtually abandoned and only because she got into a guild which did things at a time I could actually make (a rarity for the American server) - but I don't think I'll be focusing there again with any great conviction now that I'm on Republic side virtually all the time again.
As a brief sidenote, I must make mention of the instance of Companions. A lot of people say that their connection to the class requires a similar connection to their Companions, but I've come to disassociate the Companions from the individual character for the most part, and I can thus mostly overlook this potential problem. I must admit that I was actually privy to this 'Companion favouritism' for a while since my Agents used HK-51 exclusively because I didn't really like any of their Companions at the time (I have since grown more fond of Lokin, though!). That said, the Consular still has my least favourite whole-selection of Companions available; the only reason why the Hunter isn't at the bottom is mostly because of Blizz...
KotFE also plays a part in this. Whilst I still think that the majority of Companions belong with their original class more than they do another, this expansion now opens up many more possibilities for truly 'securing' what you think a class should be, even though we can't yet cull our Companion lists. For example, an Agent can surround themselves with Imperial officers, diplomats, and Intelligence agents, whilst a Smuggler can have a team comprising of scoundrels, knaves, and ne'er do-well cads. I'd love to think that we'll be able to construct our own individual Companion lists at some point, but I'm not holding my breath.
They have to go, their Planet needs them
Discounting the 3 instant Level 60s - two of which have been abandoned back on The Harbinger - I've created, I thought I'd need to give some context as to how liberal I have been with deleting and abandoning characters. Of the remaining 37 characters:
- 4 have made it up to Level 65
- 10 have made it up to Level 60 (three abandoned; one deleted)
- 15 have made it up to Level 55 (five deleted)
- 16 have made it up to Level 50 (one deleted)
- 2 are 'still alive' below Level 50 (one abandoned)
- 19 have been deleted whilst levelling
As you can see from the fact that I've deleted 26 characters and abandoned 6, I'm very liberal when it comes to deciding that this character isn't worth keeping or that character isn't worth keeping. In the majority of cases, it's solely because I eventually became disillusioned with the specific characters for various reasons, often because I've found the alternative Advanced Class as being better suited to me, and rarely due to any other factor. There are only a few specific cases where this is not the reasoning behind their replacement, so thankfully this section will be mercifully rather short.
The very first instance of me deciding that I was going to utterly replace a character was in late 2012; I had a Vanguard Tank as my main at this point in time, and was... sorta... decent at it. That is, until I signed up to Tank EC HM with my then-current guild. Long-story short, even though I was familiar with what I had to do I messed up a lot due to the pressure I put on myself, and I subsequently decided that Tanking was not for me from that point forth (and there was much rejoicing). This then led to the creation of a DPS Commando on New Years' Eve who eventually replaced him in March of 2013 - although the Vanguard stayed hanging around until June for some reason - and became the "Hutt Cartel Main".
This, in turn, started a slippery slope; other Tank characters I had at that point were scrapped in favour of new DPS characters, and soon this also applied to Healers as well.
I find it amusing to say that all of my characters are now DPS given that halfway through 2012 I openly opined that "DPS was boring as you just 'meld' into the background, but Tanks and Healers can actually do something noticeable" when it came to Flashpoints and Operations. It's funny how these things work out sometimes.
As much as I find it hard to repeatedly "get into" stories, I like to use the levelling experience as a chance to see whether or not I can 'connect' with the character's playstyle early-on (especially if the character is a different Advanced Class to their superior counterpart), and as you can infer, this rarely ever works out.
I don't take hints easily!
I'm honestly surprised that I held onto the Marauder for so long considering, given that I had absolutely no connection to the class at all...
There have been a few cases where my reasoning for abandoning different characters - actually refraining from deleting two of them! - was simply because I didn't like the backstory I'd crafted in an attempt to connect with them. These cases actually led to their being replaced easily, as it proved much easier to construct entirely new scenarios for their replacements than it was to reconstruct a new story for the previous characters. Coincidentally, all three of these characters were the exact same advanced class as their predecessors (Guardian, Sage, and Sorcerer), which just goes to show... something.
I don't always get the opportunity to look back and see where I've changed regarding my own character preferences in this game, so it was mildly entertaining (and in some cases cringe-worthy due to various screenshots) to delve back through the images I've kept over the years and analyse how things have developed.
I don't think I'll be doing any more restructuring at this point. I've done it far too much and I'm now happy with all of the characters that I've kept around on The Red Eclipse. I'm still to try to bring a new Hunter into existence, which is the class I've always found hardest to connect with, but this is the extent to which any developments regarding characters will go.