Monday, March 28, 2005

SWG: Crafting Is the Light Side

Flatfingers wrote:
[an advanced crafting game would be] a coherent creative sub-game that would mirror the destructive sub-game of combat
After I wrote these words in the Crafting: A Blueprint for the Future thread, I got to thinking a little bit more about it: Doesn't this crafting vs. combat choice resemble the Light Side vs. Dark Side choice that is at the heart of all the Star Wars stories?

Combat reflects the destructive side of our nature. Sometimes it's necessary to fight to prevent a worse evil (KOTOR II notwithstanding), but to willingly choose PvE or PvP destructiveness because it seems a simpler and more direct path to power -- isn't that Anakin's choice? Isn't taking the quick and easy road the path to the Dark Side?

Crafting, by comparison, is often a slow journey, and there's not much fame or glory at the end of it. Crafters can't even truly create new things -- we can only make copies of those things the developers have predefined for us. But even so, crafting is a creative experience; it is a way to support the other members of the community by making things for them. Crafters are long-term players, spending their hours in service to other players, making the things that bind the galaxies together... and isn't that a good way to think about the Light Side?

Neither crafting nor combat is "right" or "wrong," and neither can stand alone -- in the Star Wars galaxy, both intellectual creativeness and physical courage have important roles to play at the right time in the right situation. SWG ought to have plenty of features supporting both gameplay styles, and SWG should offer exciting opportunities for both combatants and crafters to live out the Star Wars story of choosing what's right even -- especially! -- when doing the right thing is hard.

So why doesn't SWG portray crafting as the Light Side to combat's Dark Side? Why aren't these two ways of playing Star Wars: Galaxies being used as metaphors for using the Force to create or to destroy?

Why doesn't SWG use both crafting and combat to help tell the fundamental Star Wars story of the consequences of choice?