Sunday, March 31, 2013


Secretly datamined from months of impossibly hard work, I bring you the secret fourth race of the Dominion: The Stemdragon!
Behold! The might stemdragon!
Oho, they thought they had us fooled, showing us this mighty race as a simple beast to be defeated in the brutal wilds of Galeras. They were so very clever. But here it is folks, the race you would be foolish not to play. Just take a look at all the amazing features this badass comes with!

As quoted by the devs at Carbine
"The stemdragon is a unique predator native to Nexus. This giant plant-animal hybrid utilizes its ability to masquerade as local plant life in order to ambush its prey. Keeping its massive lower body burrowed in the ground, the stemdragon erupts from the earth when prey draws near, snapping up any creature fooled by its disguise. Its heavy, rotund lower body is supported by no less than five pairs of legs, ranging from muscular hind legs to the more vestigial top limbs. It has a long skinny neck, ending in a narrow head equipped with dangerously powerful jaws and a mouth full of jagged teeth. Its rear is covered in a number of large thorny spikes, which the stemdragon can launch as a barrage of prickly missiles.

As a carnivorous plant, stemdragons are partly dependent on sunlight and absorb nutrients from the ground when burrowed. However, they prefer fresh meat and will patiently wait for a succulent morsel to stumble across its path. Although they are often found near the Whimwood forests of Galeras, they can be found in other parts of Nexus as well. Their ability to burrow rapidly into the ground allows them to conceal their large forms, as well as provide a defense mechanism on the rare occasion when they are outmatched."

The mighty stemdragons may have once ravaged the hordes of both Exile and Dominion alike if it were not for the impressive negotiations of the noble Cassians. With dedication, poise (and a few lost emissaries) they convinced the stemdragons to join their side. With the might of the Empire at their back the stemdragons were free to do what they loved most: DEVOUR

Available classes: Stalker, Unknown,*
(* class yet to be revealed)

-Unique feature: The Stalker Stemdragon forgoes their stealth abilities in favor of equipping a set of claws for each set of limbs. That's five pairs of mayhem and destruction!

No one can escape your hunger!

Devour: Not very good at pvp, but always wanted to do well? Never fear, with the mighty stemdragon you can use this ability to completely frag any player who gets in your way. And with the right talents you can shorten your cooldown to once every minute. Wicked!

Lone Wolf: Tired of playing nice with others? Look no further, the stemdragon is so big and so powerful they can SOLO DUNGEONS ON THEIR OWN. That's right, no more rolling on loot against those other miserable miscreants. Just storm on in and steamroll those bosses into dust!

Trail of Dust: Unfortunately the amazing bulk of the stemdragon is just too big for a mount. But who cares when you have this sweet move! Activating this ability allows you to move at 400% speed! Can't fly? Who cares! Reach into the sky with your crazy neck. Nothing is outside your grasp!

Raiding? Why bother when you can BE A RAID BOSS! Set yourself up in a weekly queue to join enemy raids and delight in MAYHEM and CARNAGE. Use a brand new set of EPIC abilities to send them packing!

Just let them come!
PLAYER HOUSING: Forget plots, stemdragons receive entire ZONES. Populate your zone to be the perfect tropical getaway or turn it into the deadliest pit on the Nexus. As you devour enemies throughout the game you will unlock them for your land so you can completely customize your lair to your heart's content!

I sure hope the Devs here have something equally as awesome planned for the Exiles or it's going to be lights out for them! They will drown beneath the mighty thorny tides of the stemdragon!

Designed from the ground up as the most badass monster we have ever seen make it as a playable race, this beast is sure to dominate the Nexus. With style!

Wait what? I beg your pardon! I certainly do not remember anything about--
SHHH, shut up Hawkens! Uhh...hey, everything is fine here folks!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Why I Love the WildStar Community!

After the surge of WildStar enthusiasts from the phenomenal display from the Carbine team at PAX, I felt I would be remiss if I did not talk about one of the most crucial and one of the most enjoyable aspects of MMO gaming: Community

The community that plays together stays together.

A solid community is essential for a society to function. If the community is strong, the society thrives. If the community grows weak, then the society will fall to the poison of those who betray their own.

Along the lines of Hawkens' remark here, it is my firm opinion that regardless of how fancy or advanced an MMO is, the community can ultimately make it or break it. Really it is one of the best parts of online gaming. No matter how clever or engrossing the game is, it is all the social interactions that really make the setting.

Despite whatever prior gaming experiences one might have there is always a first time for every new game we attempt. We all have to learn and grow as we take our first infant steps in our world. It is only natural to reach to those around you with greater wisdom then yourself. To seek those with more experience and use their words to adapt and to flourish. This is the community's greatest and most powerful time to shine. By bringing a positive experience to new blood you greatly encourage them to not only just enjoy the game more, but to stay. From investing into friends, future random dungeon runners, and roleplaying partners, it becomes a future investment into the life of the game. When a game community thrives, so does the new content from devs. A good community rewards all.

Even after a player has left the realm of n00b and joined the realm of experienced players, community is still critical. MMOs are HUGE and contain so much content. PVE, PVP, roleplaying, rare spawn hunting, crafting, raiding, exploring...there are really so many aspects that is it difficult to be an expert in all of them simultaneously. A roleplayer might enjoy the hard work of a theorycrafter, allowing them to compare already tried and true builds to apply to their character. Or perhaps a staunch PVE player wants to learn more about PVP. By working together and sharing their advice and experiences, veteran players can continue to cement the positivity of the community around them for the benefit of all.

On the complete opposite, a rude, mocking and intolerant community can ruin gaming experiences for everyone involved. They don't just hurt the people they target, they poison the community as a whole; slowly seeding a vile atmosphere that is difficult to recover from. Repeated offenses can even cause people to remove themselves from the community entirely, turning off general chat channels or other communication channels.

For example, when I first joined World of Warcraft during the Burning Crusade expansion I was so excited to meet this amazing concept of hundreds or even thousands of people all interacting together. Although I won't say that the community was perfect by any means, I found this first experience for myself mostly pleasant. Even the infamous “Barrens chat” was amusing. (I'm not saying I had terribly refined tastes for humor at the time and one could only take so many Chuck Norris jokes).
I always wanted to buy this t-shirt (image found here)
But what was the most important was the mostly civil interactions between other people. When I asked questions into general chat, I was usually answered, even if they were terribly naïve and foolish.

Today, however, I have found WoW to have one of the worst communities. After returning from a year away to try out the Mists of Pandaria expansion, I found myself beset by many new features I had not seen before. I figured that a quick question over general might save me a couple of minutes trying to hunt down the system online. I was wrong. Immediately mocked by some or yelled at to search online by others, I instantaneously regretted asking. Oh and it only got better. When I walked into the brand new dungeons for the first time, I found that the in-game dungeon manual was really not that much help. So I figured I might as well ask my group for just a quick hint on anything they thought was important to know. Dead silence. Nothing. In the dozens of dungeons that I have attempted asking questions of my teammates I have received no answers. Even after I learned the fights through trial by fire, I still tried asking to see what would happen. It's quite depressing really. Dungeons used to take teamwork and skill and people used to at least say hi to each other, or thank you at the end. Now that is the exception to the rule. Most dungeons are run in pure silence as though the other bodies with you are only barely tolerated nuisances that you must deal with in order to progress.

Now on the other end, my experience with The Secret World was much different. Though the game itself is no where near the extreme polish of WoW, the community is far better. When first starting out, I found the combat systems and questing systems to be almost overwhelmingly different from previous gaming experiences. This time though, when I asked in the general chat for help understanding the game, I was overwhelmed by the responses. People were actually HELPFUL. Overall I saw more positive and helpful communications then most anywhere else. It was very refreshing!

My experiences with SWToR fell somewhere in between. In the initial months of the game, the community was very enthusiastic and very helpful. Once the drastic server mergers began, the community began a steady decline. At this point in time I have found most people engaged in general chat to be as rude, obnoxious and unhelpful as WoW. However, within guilds and at least the roleplaying circles I was a part of, the feeling was the complete opposite. They were still loyal and helpful to one another.

Then I found WildStar.

Mind blown

Lured in by the exciting faction videos, I felt a lot of enthusiasm for this upcoming game. Here was a very promising looking MMO that I could really get into and I just had to share this excitement with others! The very first thing I did was to make this blog. I jotted down all my ideas, got an introduction up and set up the visual style of my brain child and got ready to share. Though when it came time to join in with the community, I balked. Would it be worth it? Would the hype be the only thing keeping people civil towards each other or would I actually find good people here? Would they except me or would I just be lost amongst the other new enthusiasts and largely ignored? I admit it took a lot of courage for me to step in and give it a shot.

And it was so worth it!

The very first sign I had was when Jeremy Gaffney was the first response on my blog. (You can check it out here) I mean wow! I was stunned! A WildStar dev actually took the time to read my words and leave me a comment!? As I was busy wrapping my mind around this concept, Gaffney went on to ask a question directly to the roleplaying community on the subreddit thread I had created to showcase my blog. From there I was fortunate to find some of the excellent folk from Though I was still nervous, I forced myself to join up and start talking to them. I have not once regretted it. The community here is amazing. There are so many people from all over, all happily sharing in their love of WildStar and using it as a way to meet and make new friends. Everyone is friendly and helpful. The chatbox is always fun to watch, and the creative genius is fairly bursting from our forums! People take the time to reach each others introductions and character sheets. They even leave behind positive remarks and if there is ever any criticism, it is always constructive and polite. This is echoed further still on WildStar Central and even other blogs and podcast sites such as Settler in Exile and Nexus Weekly.

Simply put, I have never met a better community. I entered in tentative and nervous and was welcomed with open arms. My blog has received so many positive comments from the community there and has spurned some excellent discussion. Their acceptance and interest in my favorite character of all time, Agent Hawkens, has been utterly flattering and a complete blast. No where else can I joke about an imaginary warplot of vending machine bosses with a dev and fellow fans and then turn around and joke with the talented Mr. Kurtenacker about taunting us with all his tweets on the upcoming music. The tight connections between the development team and their fans is utterly phenomenal. This is no longer just some game we are hoping for, but a game we are a part of.

It will be a great and wonderful ride to release. And it's all thanks to the community.

You guys rock!

Thank you once again for joining us, dear readers! As always feel free to leave comments and suggestions to either myself or Agent Hawkens and we will reply as soon as able.

Monday, March 25, 2013

It's Over One Thousand!

As of last Saturday, the Scowling Cassian broke 1000 views! Before I could even put out a thank-you (I wanted to leave up the juicy PAX info a bit longer) we had already hit 1600! Thank you so much to all my readers out there, I couldn't have done it without you! <3 And, of course, thank you Agent Hawkens for your continued support.


Though there were no more Dev Speak videos at PAX, there were many more tasty tidbits that came up. Today I'll make a short article here with some bullet points and links for those of you still scoping out this past weekends events. Hawkens and I will return to our normal roleplay blogging later this week.

To start with, here are some notable videos from PAX that you might be interested in:
This Dev Speak video was a promising addition to the already amazing video collection the team has given us

(An amazing video by the dev team, showcasing their phenomenal housing system. More then we could have ever expected! For an in-depth dissection of the video, check out my previous article)

(A video showcasing the Halon ring (including the infamous vending machine monster!), some chat about early game content (including some advanced gamer concepts), and then a TON of neat tidbits about player housing)

We also received many excellent articles from the online gaming community:




For more links, articles, fan videos and pictures, check out this bigger listing on WildStar Central:

There were some other small tasty tidbits we received throughout the weekend as well:

-Confirmed ground and flying mounts (flying mounts to be unlocked at cap)
-The developing team intends to do more Dev Speak videos
-There are sliders in the character creator (body sliders unlikely) and the creator is still under works for more options
-The dev team has not yet made pets, but wants to (Press Demo: 24:05) and they will be allowing animal pens outside of your house
-WildStar will be at PAX Prime
-There will be a cash shop with housing items (although they will prefer for players to still obtain most stuff in-game)
-Beta will be in a "month or so" said Gaffney
-Expect to hear about the new races and or classes "soon"

All in all the majority of posts said that WildStar took PAX East 2013 by storm. They took MMORPG's Most Innovative Game of PAX East 2013. I'd like to put out a thank you on behalf of myself and Agent Hawkens here for their incredible efforts and successes as well as a hearty welcome to all the brand new WildStar enthusiasts joining the community.
Victory for WildStar!

Oh! And check out this sweet new banner for the Scowling Cassian. It was made as a gift by Ender of Thanks Ender!!!

It was so awesome Ender, Hawkens even cracked a smile at it!

Friday, March 22, 2013

WildStar Pax East 2013- Housing

Hold on to your seats folks, it's time for WildStar's PAX East 2013!
Sadly, Hawkens and I were not able to make it there, but we will be doing our best to keep up with as much of the amazing reveals as possible and give you our personal insight!

And without further ado, let's start with our first HUGE reveal from today! This video linked on Massively covers all the AMAZING things we were hoping for and more for one of the best integrated features of WildStar: Player Housing.

Oh and if you haven't seen this video yet, check it out here or on Massively. (The Massively article also features more screenshots and a brief look at some new zones)

To begin with we have a brief and humorous introduction from our Dev speaker. And for those of you who would like to see the hilarious disclaimer, I've posted each part here so you don't have to go through all the stop-starting yourself. 
Click on this picture to make it larger.

And then we jump right in to the video. The Dev begins by assuring us that player housing isn't just an added bonus for WildStar. It is an important feature of the game itself.

So how do you get this? To start you find a Protostar Housing Specialist. Though the amount hasn't been disclosed yet, you buy the house from them and then are sent immediately to your skyplot to start building.

From here it sounds like the housing system features a sort of “Harvest Moon” feel to it, allowing you to clear out monsters and other undesirables. Personally I really like this idea. I feel this helps begin building the 'relationship' you will have with your land. You get a bit of time to interact with it for the first time and obtain the sense of belonging as you shape it from the ground up with your own hands.

Next, you build a campsite followed by a starter home. And then, the Dev goes on to explain, you can “go on to buy some pretty crazy domiciles” 
           A campfire                  A small house            An even grander house

Now from what we've seen thus far there is a bit of variation between the housing looks for just the base structure alone. I wonder if your options will be based on your race or if you will simply have some racial themed options available to anyone. Or at least your faction. So far I have yet to hear anything further on this point. Judging by the rest of the video, however, I doubt we will have to worry about being too constrained to a small number of looks.

The Dev continues to explain that you can pretty much do anything to customize and decorate your house. “Inside, Outside, Walls, Roofs, Doors, Windows, Wallpaper, Furniture, it's all fair game” He says as a mind-numbing array of different examples fly by. I was beginning to get pretty excited at this point.

Then we see this:
There arrow points to the tool where you can see three separate manipulation rings. The cone is circled.

Take a look at the manipulation rings we have here for moving the objects. Look familiar? To me they look /extremely/ similar to the same rings used in the creature creator for SPORE. That is a VERY good thing! You could theoretically place, tilt, turn, move anything in ANY way you wish if this is the type of tool we're getting! The cones you see at the outer edges may also allow us to changes the heights and width of some objects, if they work similar to the ones in SPORE, giving us even more options!
By holding tab in the creation mode you got this set of manipulation tools in SPORE (pic from here)

So as we mentioned earlier, the housing feature in WildStar is a integrated part of your gameplay, not just a nice but largely unimportant perk. Apparently you will be able to find pieces to outfit your home from random drops, quest rewards and even crafting! Though I still expect we may see a microtransaction system one day for even more items, I really love that this is a part of the game itself!
       Get items from drops                     quests                      and even crafting!           

Okay, so to put into perspective how excited I am about this, I will sidetrack a tiny bit. Both my sister and I loved playing Morrowind. It was a great game. But the thing we loved most was it had the perfect tool to feed our obsessiveness to personalize an area and decorate it as our own. We typically would kill a shop owner and take their house as 'ours' (mwahahaha) to start with. Next we would spend countless hours painstakingly arranging our items around said house. In Morrowind, almost every item could be placed on the ground respectively to where you were standing. This meant I could find a large table and put down individual pieces of paper and place a specific alchemy ingredient on every single one. I could put baskets of kwama eggs at the entryway, decorate the dining tables with a full set of dishes and food, place entire armor sets on display or even arrange candles and lanterns to shine light where I wished. For some reason this was so entertaining to us that we would completely forget the game itself for days on end to arrange our house or collect more items to place there.

So yeah, being able to find items in the open world, make them and then place them however I wish? Amazing. I might have a hard time walking away from my plot!

And it doesn't end here. WildStar housing is expected to act as our home base and will feature even MORE benefits then just the awesome creation tool. For instance:

Logging out in your house will give you more rest xp then anywhere else. Oh, and the more cool items you have, the more rest xp you will get!
Small room and few things = small xp bonus. Big room with LOTS of stuff = many xp bonuses!

Outside of your house, you will be able to expand with other external buildings and plots. These features are called Plugs. There will be specific parts on your land you can place them, called Sockets. They aren't just for looks either! You can plant a garden to harvest for cooking, build a mine to obtain more ore, build target dummy plots to practice your skills and even build your own crafting centers. These plugs can even give you daily quests, right there at home!
The clear distinct sections are Sockets, while the unique features that fill them are Plugs. (Ex-The Helipad like Plug) Also the image in the upper right shows a quest icon above something in a housing yard.

Afraid that your housing would be limited to only yourself? This video goes on to explain that housing can be made private or be opened to friends, neighbors or even the general public. They can also do more then just look, they can even help you with your plot! Friends can help by harvesting materials, such as plants from your garden or by helping you to fight off bandits from your plot. In return they can receive parts of the reward or even a bounty for fighting off the threats!

Oh and you can get a personal raid portal that comes complete with a buff. Huzzah!

And that's pretty much it for now. The Dev noted that this was “only the tip of the iceberg for housing” but that he couldn't tell us more just yet. Honestly I've seen more then I ever expected in my wildest dreams! Not only will this be a fun and rewarding part of the gameplay, but it has limitless potential with our fantastic roleplaying community!

Just think about it. Want to live with your sweetheart? You now have a house. You could create an “inn” for your guild perhaps or maybe a classy estate to show off your power and riches to the enlightened masses. Build a network relay or a creepy science lab. If there is really as much customization as we've seen so far, this could /really/ enhance the experience of the roleplaying community!

That's it for now. Stay tuned for more WildStar Pax news!

P.S. Hawkens would really like to be able to fly this copter. That is all.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What is WildStar?

Today WildStar Wednesday provided us with a hilarious and spectacular video that is a must see for all fans and a great introduction into this IP for those destined to join our ranks. 

Today's post will be my reactions and comments to the video along with anything Agent Hawkens cares to add or redact. Enjoy!
 To begin with, we have a fairly stunning introduction complete with the epic announcer voiced by FredTatasciore. Gorgeous scenes...and then we really hit the kicker with the cupcake comment and the humorous “things are about to get BEEPING real”'s WildStar. Humor at its finest.

Blazing through we come across some of the sweetest ship designs I've seen in a long while. I mean, I all but licked my X-70B Phantom every time my Imperial agent boarded his ship. What with its sleek, sexy design. Okay I might have licked it once or twice...when no one was looking. But seriously, look at these ships in WildStar! As I was growing up, my father and my uncle loved to play this old star ship table top battle game called Silent Death. Through many years of spiriting off their models to go run around the house with, I really grew attached to the concept and design of these futuristic crafts. From their promise of freedom and potential to their ergonomic, exotic or sports car like design, I have always loved star ships. It might be a small deal for some but this is a HUGE deal for me. Seeing these ships makes me want to fly in one SO badly!
Space missions anyone?

Introduction of Factions:

Short, sweet and to the point. Good use of video splicing for portraying the races. Dominated, of course, by my favorite: The Dominion, a powerful interstellar empire that prides itself on kickin' ass.

We prefer the notion of 'impressive military conquests'

Short introduction of other hostile races and ...omg I serious love the hysterically laughing Draken at the end of this part. It reminds me of my insane Sith Inquisitor from SWToR: Kestral the Mad, who thought he was a colicoid. Hmm....perhaps I should recreate him as a Draken...

Action Combat:
Aww yeah, this looks like fun! Looks like we have a reference to a gun toting class (maybe the spellslinger but hopefully a hint at one of the unrevealed classes) Also...holy <redacted> did you see all those sweet moves the Stalkers were using!? Wait...seriously Hawkens?

We maintain an air of professionalism even if you cannot.

Yes well back to the Stalkers! Leaping around stabbing everything around! Reminds me a lot of my Imperial Agent on SWToR and that is a VERY huge compliment coming from me. I seriously loved my agent to death.

I hope not literally...

You're still standing here smarting off to me like usual, aren't you?


Oh! And the way that last stalker slides in his claws with that cocky smirk on his face? So badass. I was already going to play a Stalker...melee stealth AND tank, my two favorite roles to play. But this made me want to play one even more...if that's even possible. *wistful sigh * I uh, think I'll go take a cold shower now.
Aww yeah!

Wait what!? These things are HUGE! I mean, I know they told us they would be big, but I was really blown away by the size of these plots! At 2:08 it looks as though the opposing plot also holds some sort of machine, perhaps a vehicle? I would love to see mechs, hover speeders or even those sweet jet helicopters from earlier in the the video, be a part of PVP combat. Oh and I'm pretty sure that's a siege tank of some sort at 2:15. Also, was I the only one who wanted to shout 'headshot' after the epic BOOM! Announcement?
The ship (?) is on the left and the tank on the right

(Also seriously, is that a Mechari with the supposed Exile team shown at the beginning of this introduction? Just mean Carbine! Also is that a green male Granok or something else?)
A good, short example of the unique parts of these paths. We have the explorer opening a secret tunnel, the soldier attacking some impressive swath of enemies, the settler building a large post/town of some sort and the scientist flailing around some adorable and deadly critters. I think the thing that impressed me the most here was the tiny bit with the settler. Now I know they told us this path could do things such as build hubs or boost npcs, but I was always really skeptical. I mean what's to keep us from building a million hubs over ever inch of terrain then? I figured we'd just get some small, interesting but less impressive feats to perform for the settler. But from what I've seen so far, perhaps I'm incorrect and they are really letting us do what they said.
This looks promising
Also...that Granok woman. Hilarious.

Player Housing:
The words and images here seem to imply a large amount of customizing options for your personal house. I wonder if placement of objects is locked to fixed points or not, or if we have race or faction specific items. So far this looks really awesome, especially the part I heard awhile back for growing a garden off seeds you find in the wild.
Huh, I wonder what this character is with this strange symbol over their head...

Elder Game:
I do feel like they may have wanted to emphasize a bit about the concept that Elder game happens after level cap, but otherwise the promise of deep story looking into the great mystery of the Eldan was pretty awesome.
This looks pretty epic!

Dungeons, Raids, PVP Battlegrounds and Adventures:
A quick, but satisfyingly brief look at these important features that I look forwards to exploring and learning in the future. (Especially with the awesome raid ideas they mentioned not that long ago)

And you've got a rich, deep, unforgettable experience that's guaranteed to Blow Your Mind”
The series of quick videos and game images here is awesome. It really sets up the hype alongside the epic announcer. I got goosebumps here, all that barely contained excitement surging to the surface.

Oh and then they blow up the Nexus.

Because this is WildStar and even if we have this awesome, epic story, it's still a game.

And we are here TO. HAVE. FUN!!






Sunday, March 17, 2013

How to Play the Lovable Jerk (And not go too far)

When Han Solo was about to be frozen into Carbonite, Lea kissed him and told him that she loved him.
“I know.” Han Solo replied leaving many fans laughing to themselves or swooning over his brazen audacity.
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) (Dir. Irvin Kershner)
Did you know Harrison Ford actually changed his lines here to better fit Solo's character? (image from here)
So why did the audience not condemn him for being rude and arrogant? Because Han Solo is a lovable jerk.

People come in all shapes, colors, sizes, orientations and personalities. Therefore it is no wonder that the characters of the roleplaying community are just as varied as in real life (for the most part). This includes heroic traits and questionable traits as well. In tabletop gaming these traits are usually called perks and flaws. Flaws tend to be negative aspects to ones character that give back points to spend on perks for ones character. Now, although perks can be nice and desirable such as higher levels of education, generosity or extra strength they are, in my opinion, sometimes rather boring. Flaws are much more interesting and excellent roleplay tools for a character. Is your character irritable? Are they prone to fits of anger? Do they have to overcome a lack of education? Do they have a physical infirmities to make up for? Are they misogynistic or maybe even racist?

These qualities can make for some very interesting roleplay tools but they can also run the risk of being very distasteful and even offensive to some other players. So how does one play a character with these questionable traits without making them extremely unlikable to the point no one wants to play with you?

I have found in my time roleplaying that there are two key tools to playing a character with less desirable traits and these often take the combined efforts of both the player and the people they spend time with: Character Growth and Moderation.

Take for example the TOR iteration of everyone's favorite agent: John Hawkens. Hawkens was an agent of Imperial Intelligence stuck as a defector in the Republic when a botched run forced him to execute his Sith lord in order to prevent them from systematically decimating the survivors of his team. The thing was, Hawkens was still a loyal Imperial. Finding himself struggling as an outsider amongst the enemy was a difficult situation for him and it heavily colored his personality.

Are you really going to make me sit through all this?

Come on Hawkens, it's a good example! To begin with, Hawkens was bitter and rude. Though he accepted that the rule of the cruel sith needed to be ended to preserve his people he only just barely tolerated that it meant he would need to work alongside the very people he was at war with. When the SIS (the opposing Intelligence force) interrogated him, he was largely unhelpful and often times irreverent to their authority over his asylum. Eventually he ended up earning enough of their trust to be allowed to work through them, a process which was shortened to give him a reason he was allowed to work with others in the roleplaying community. It was at this point that, although he would do his work unquestioningly, he preferred to stay a recluse, speaking to others only when necessary and reveling in their hatred of his Imperial heritage.

Once a man told me to lose my Imperial accent in order to avoid being shot by Republic troops. When I told him that in that case I would at least die with honor he just hung his mouth open in stunned silence. It was quite amusing.

Hawken's character at this point was barely likable. In fact, he relied mostly on his intrigue towards other characters to survive in the community. Thanks to the inquisitive and compassionate nature of many of the Republic characters, they slowly dragged his story of defection from him, allowing a glimpse into a much deeper personality then his abrasive surface. By providing this window into his humanity, his bitterness and irritability became more tolerable.
Though his toleration of others certainly took time (Screenshot from SWToR)

Not long after his guild began to get to know him, Hawkens ran into one especially good curveball that changed the course of his personality forever. While briefly disclosing his hopes to one day contact his family to let them know he still drew breath he encountered a shock when a character he was not overly familiar with offered to do the information run for him. This character had very little motivation to help him at this point, in fact, as Hawkens had largely avoided or scorned her bubbly nature. But through a series of amazing roleplay writings, they became unlikely friends.

(If you'd like to read the short story that changed Hawken's character. You can check it out here.)

And thus Hawkens began to grow.

The evolution was subtle and took time, but the agent slowly evolved his perspective on the world around him. He became someone easier to interact with and made efforts to not just hide in the corner and let the world pass him by. In fact, he even ended up the leader of a small intelligence operations branch within his team, providing a key link with SIS assets and information. Slowly his blind hatred of the Republic began to blur as he learned their faces and names, as he was forced to accept they were not much different at their cores then his own people. Rather then simply preach Imperial superiority, he tried to teach those around him about the strengths and benefits of his culture, to make them see their enemy as more then just obstacles to overcome. Of all people it became the agent, the assassin himself, who had the greatest reverence of the lives around him.

I believe I commented on this three posts ago, yes?

It was this very evolution that made Hawkens lovable. He never lost his irritability and actually earned an endearing reputation for his quintessential scowl. His hardened exterior became a challenge to overcome and his mysteriousness became an alluring attraction to discover. As one of the very few defectors who did not wish to actually defect, Hawkens was an exotic personality even amongst his own people. But to bring this back to my original point, these traits all took time, growth and careful moderation to achieve.
 photo JohnColored.jpg
In almost every instance I drew him, I had to add in Hawken's quintessential Scowl. (image by author)

Had Hawkens remained the bitter recluse he had begun as, he quickly would have driven away all interested parties. Who wants to play with someone who will barely speak with them? Had he remained solely convinced on the might of the Imperials and allowed no redeeming qualities to show for the Republic he would have quickly turned irritating to others. Who wants to play with someone who will never recognize your positive qualities or what you represent? Though Hawkens retained the chip on his shoulder and certainly was prone scorn and indignation he also made it clear that he was much deeper a character then his harsh exterior. It was that softer center that he tried to hide that made him interesting. By not always being angry or irritable (moderation) and through his evolution of his perspective, personality and dreams (growth), Hawkens not only became a more lovable character to myself, but to the people who interacted with him. Those who could see that their efforts, just like in real life, could help shape the people around them into better people then they began.

One of the best parts of roleplay is the ability to interact with others. To have these unpredictable personalities and situations that shape our characters and those around us in ways we never could have guessed. And it is this very growth that helps us to play the lovable jerk. They never have to quite give up some of those less desirable qualities if you don't wish for them to, but if they learn to grow, to see new perspectives and ideas they can become much stronger for it. If they show their good despite their rough edges, if they show a willingness to be impacted by the people and events around them, they can retain a strong personality.

However, if they do not grow, if they stagnate and refuse the help of those around them, these very same characters may find themselves reviled. If they can never let go of their misogynistic tendencies or if they are always cruel to other races other then themselves, they can grow irritating and maybe even offensive to play with. Though these aspects can add realism and flavor to the world of roleplay they can also take away a lot of the fun when used poorly. We deal enough in real life with strife and acts of cruelty and inhumanity. Isn't it nice to have, in a least one place, the control to see the overcoming of such things?

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the lovable jerk and how to play them well. Now if you will excuse me, I think I owe Hawkens a drink before he scowls a hole through my head. 

Until next time!


Thank you once again for joining us, dear readers! As always feel free to leave comments and suggestions to either myself or Agent Hawkens and we will reply as soon as able.

(This blog topic was suggested by Evion from Thanks Evion!)