The Spirit World Part 4: Attacking Bioware – A Help Guide

(This is the final part of a community-driven story – check out Part 1 herecheck out Part 2 herecheck out Part 3 here)

So, you are crawling through a sewer about to attack Bioware.

Yep that about sums up my current situation.

What are you trying to achieve from this help guide?

Honestly I have no idea. You haven’t been much help so far.

Then why did you summon me?

I’m crawling through a sewer, I want someone to talk to.

You summoned me just to talk? Great. Is my help so under-appreciated?

Please, you give the least helpful advice I have ever heard.

Oh, is that what you think? In that case, I’ll be off.

I summoned you, you need to stay untill I’m are done.

No, I only need to stay until you complete what you told me you were trying to achieve. And this time you set no conditions.

In that case, I am trying to free BioWare from the control of EA and the reapers.

What’s Kendra and her gang doing?

They are going to create a distraction in the street so that nobody interrupts me.

What about furry red yoda?

Apparently he is an informant for the underground resistance.

Underground resistance?

Can we focus on me?

Fine, if you are in the sewers, keep an eye out for pipes leading to Bioware.

What do they look like?

How should I know? You are in a sewer, they don’t exactly label them for your convenience.

Damn it, this feels like where I should move up. I’m cutting a hole with the lightsaber.

Make sure the hole you cut doesn’t fall on you.

It’s cut, I don’t think anyone above saw.

What does it look like?

I think it’s a car park.

Pull yourself up, but try and remain undetected.

I can’t even see anyone in the car park.

It would be wise to go quietly.

I thought my main problem would be smell.

Oh right. In that case I would recommend you just run for it.

And this time I’m taking the elevator.

Again, I’m going to recommend against it.

And what was your excellent logic for that again?

They would be expecting it.

Look, I’m going up there to kick some ass, you can either complain or help me.

Does it seem like I want to help you?

I thought so. Ok, I’m in the elevator. Top floor, same as last time.

Don’t you think it strange that nobody has tried to stop you yet?

Shut up, I need to ready myself.

Ok, two points. First, you have no idea what to ready yourself for and second, now you want me to be quiet, after telling me you only want me here to talk to you…


I’m telling you, those doors open and you are either fucked, or the luckiest person alive.

How lucky do you think I need to be?

The only way you are going to survive is if nobody up here has any idea you are coming and nobody has any weapons.

You think I have that little chance?

Oh no, I think even if that’s exactly what happens, you will still figure out a way of hurting yourself.

Some help you are…

Just tell me when the doors open.

They are opening now.

What’s happening, what do you see?

The floor is entirely deserted apart from someone sitting in a chair on the other side of the room.

Who is it?

I think it’s Stephen Reid.

Told you so.

When? When did you tell me?

Just before.

No you didn’t, the only thing you told me was that I was going to die!

Stop talking to yourself.

No, you stop talking to yourself.

Lame, real lame.

BioWare have fired all their staff who ever fought against EA. I don’t think it was BioWare’s decision, more pressure from EA.

Sucks to be him.

What now?

Now, I’ve been thinking about that. I think the best thing for me would be to join the resistance, help them for a while. You should probably get back to your own life. This world is soon to see war.

But can’t I help?

There is nothing you can do. You can’t fight, you talk to yourself and you smell like a sewer. Your purpose was to keep my lightsaber safe from BioWare so it wouldn’t be destroyed when this day came.

Ask him what happens to BioWare now.

What happens to BioWare now?

Bioware is now but a shadow of its former self. With a decent chunk of the staff joining the resistance, the resistance now knows exactly how they work. There won’t be anything they can do to help EA other than continue to make games.

This concludes “Attack Bioware Via The Spirit World Help Guide”.

Well, here is the lightsaber back.

Thank you.

In order to return to the real world click your heels together three times.

Farewell strange world.

Did everything go as expected?

With the idiot, yes. Everything went mostly as planned.

Is the resistance in place?

Downstairs waiting for you.

You did well guide, I dismiss you.

This concludes the “Joining the EA resistance in the Spirit World, a help guide”.

I said I dismiss you!

An original Ken Clark / TOROZ production

The Spirit World Part 3: Re-Entering Earth’s Atmosphere – A Help Guide.

(This is Part 3 of an ongoing community-driven story – check out Part 1 here, check out Part 2 here)

So, you are in an escape pod re-entering the earth’s atmosphere and there are warning lights flashing inside.

Actually I got the warning lights to stop by pressing some buttons.

What are you trying to achieve from – wait, what, do you know what you pressed?

No, not really. but they were getting annoying.

I’m not going to call you an idiot, but that was the worst possible thing you could have done.

But you have no idea how annoying they got!

And now you have no idea what the problem was.

The interface kept flashing something up saying navigation error.

Well then, looks like you are going to have to try and land this yourself.


Let’s start with the obvious, what controls do you have.

There are only 5 buttons. The one I pressed to launch. Then one each that says Silent, Yes, No and Pop.

Why would they label a button Pop?

Should I press it?

I have no idea.

What!? You’re meant to be a help guide.

I didn’t say I knew what I was doing. What do the other buttons do?

I pressed Launch to launch, Silent to turn the alarm off, Yes to confirm turning the alarm off, I assume “no” was my other option there. And the ground seems to be coming up rather fast.

Well then, looks like you don’t have a choice.

Ok, I pressed it and a panel popped off revealing another button and a joystick.

Press the button and grab the joystick. Seeing as you have no idea what you are doing, things can’t get much worse.

The button activated some kind of thrusters and when I used the joystick it sent me into a wild spin.

Why are you so incompetent at flying? Try to level out.

That’s harder than it seems, and it looks like I’m going to crash in the middle of a town.

Try and slow your decent.

What, you think I haven’t been trying that. You think I want to be in a wild spin falling towards my death?

Fine, be like that.

The joystick just broke off.

You are one useless pilot, you know that?

What, I’m falling towards my death and you decide to mock my piloting skills even though I’ve never been in one before.

How far away is the street?

I’m about to hit a build – ARGHH…


I hit my head when I collided with the building and now I’m bleeding.

How bad?

It hurts, a lot.

Is the pod still moving?

I.., I can’t tell.

Try and open the door.

I can open it, but not all the way. I think the door is jammed.

Use the lightsaber to cut your way out of the pod.

I think I’m about to throw up.

Focus on my voice, you probably have a concussion. Grab the lightsaber and point it away from yourself.

I just threw up.

Activate the lightsaber and cut a hole big enough to crawl through.

The blade looks like a shining pearl.

Cut a hole. You need to get out.

I’m doing that.

Where did you crash?

I think I crashed in a bar. But I cant be sure, there are two of everything. I may have crashed into a bar for twins.

You need to get somewhere safe. Try and get outside the bar.

My legs don’t work properly.

Fine, stumble towards the door and tell me what you see.

I’m there, it looks like eight Troopers are heading over here.

Those Troopers probably saw you crash and are coming to investigate.

Troops be on the way, and you gots some explaining to do.

Whats happening?

I’ve got ten guns pointed at my head. Who are you, and can you lower the gun?

The name’s Kendra, and you crashed in here all uninvited like. Now, we got the Empire ’bout to crash through that there door and I aint know nothin’ ’bout you.

You cant walk and you have a concussion. You should consider cooperation. It’s your best chance.

I’ve been trying to infiltrate Bioware, but nothing went according to plan. And now it turns out EA is being controlled.

We know – Reapers control EA and they control Bioware.

Now, I’m going to raise an army and attack Bioware.

I dont know you, and I dont trust you. But the way imps are headed this makes my guess the two of you aint so cozy. So, this is the plan. You come with us. We escape. And if we like you. We might just help you, for a price.

Take the deal. It’s everything you need right now.

Deal. Now, how do you plan on escaping? By now this place is surrounded.

We always have a way out, it aint no pleasure cruise.

Please tell me it doesn’t involve sewers.

Please tell me it does involves sewers.

It involves sewers. Before we go, grab a weapon from behind the bar. I dont plan on leavin’ much for the imps.

This concludes “Re-Enter Earth’s Atmosphere In An Escape Pod Via The Spirit World Help Guide”.


I am so glad I don’t have to do this. For the next stage I suggest ”Attacking Bioware Via The Spirit World Help Guide”. However, in the meantime I would recommend… a change of clothes.


Community involvement:

Option 1) Attack Bioware via the sewers

Option 2) Attack Bioware via the street


Community involvement 2: Pick off-hand weapon

Option 1) Blaster Pistol

Option 2) Sawn-Off Shotgun

Option 3) Other

Option 4) None – Stick with Lightsaber


Voting will close a week after release. Post your vote in comments!

For sneak peaks at the next part join SWTOR Gamers of Oceania

An original Ken Clark / TOROZ production

The Spirit World Part 2: Escaping Bioware – A Help Guide.

(This is Part 2 of an ongoing community-driven story – check out Part 1 here)

So, you are trapped in a bathroom at Bioware HQ and there is a crocodile man wielding a lightsaber about to storm in and capture you.

Yep, that sums up my current situation.

What are you trying to achieve from this help guide?

I’m trying to stay alive.

Which bathroom are you in?

I’m not sure, it was a bit of a blur as I was running.

You have no idea whether you are in the male or female bathroom?

Well… there were a few women in here when I entered, but they left… immediately.

I think its safe to assume that this is the female bathroom.

Why does any of this matter?

It could become relevant at a later date.

The crocodile man sounds like he can’t open a door.

He is a crocodile man with a lightsaber. I don’t think the door is going to be much of a problem.

Oh… there goes that plan.

What plan? You had no plan, that’s why you summoned me.

Well you haven’t been much help have you?

Hey, I’ve kept you alive.

We are stuck in a bathroom with a crocodile man about to break the door down. I’m not going to be alive for much longer at this rate. And we still don’t have a plan.

Hey, your about to have your soul ripped from your body and you are choosing to argue with me instead of letting me think?

Ok, I’m sorry. Now, how do I escape?

Is there a window?


Ok, I am out of ideas.

What, that was your big idea – a window?

It would have worked.

Oh shit.

What, what’s happening…?

The crocodile man has crashed through the door.

Back yourself into a corner. It may give you a couple more seconds…


(Some time later)

Urgh, my head.

What happened, did you faint?

Get up.

Wha, who are you?

My name is Stephen Reid.

Are you injured, can you run?

I’m fine.

Good, I would not have been pleased if my companion had hurt you.


Yes, Qyzen Fess as I like to call him.


I need to give you information so that you can do this properly next time… Then, I shall allow you to escape.

I don’t think he can hear me. Act like you can’t hear me.

That’s what I’ve been doing.

But you don’t know all the facts and therefore have just been running around like a mad man talking to yourself.

Well, what is this information.

Bioware is owned by another company.


Everybody knows EA controls Bioware.

But not just EA. EA is controlled by an entity much older than this planet. They call themselves the Reapers.

You mean from Mass Effect?

We were trying to warn humanity with Mass Effect.

Wait up. The Reapers are real?

I have said all I can. Now you must leave. There is an escape pod behind you. Also, you are going to need this.

As soon as you can, RUN. Also what did he give you.

He gave me the lightsaber.

Cool, let me know when you are in the escape pod.

I’m in, how does this work.

Press the big red button, it should take you to Bioware and remember, you mus—

What happened, why cant we hear him?

The door closed.

Why would the door closing prevent you from being able to hear him.

Whoa, we are in space. And I think Stephen Reid was on a space station.

You’re kidding. You actually got to go to the EA space station.

EA have a space station?

Yea, its more like an orbital station though.

Is there a difference?

As far as you care, no. Anyway what colour is the lightsaber.

I’m not going to activate it untill we are on the ground.

Why? I’m curious.

I would rather not punch a hole in this small escape pod.

Good point. What’s happening in the pod?

There is a flashing light that says warning on it.


This concludes the “Escape From Bioware HQ Via The Spirit World Help Guide”

Wait, you cant leave me like this, what do I do?

For more help guides visit…

What, I need help now!

I would suggest the “Planning An Attack on BioWare HQ Via The Spirit World Help Guide”. However, in the meantime I would recommend… Try and land the pod.


Community involvement:

Option 1) Allow the pod to try and land itself

Option 2) Try and land the pod yourself



Community Involvement 2: what colour should the lightsaber be?

Option 1) Blue

Option 2) Red

Option 3) Other


Voting will close a week after release. Post your vote in comments!



For sneak peaks at the next part join SWTOR Gamers of Oceania

An original Ken Clark / TOROZ production

An End to an Embargo, and Fanfiction is still Red-Headed

Well… The Media Embargo is officially ended. IGN is saying that they will be offering regular updates of coverage on the game until the actual launch. Does this mean we are going to get more information? Do we really WANT more information?

Wait a sec… What the HECK am I saying? OF COURSE we want more information! The question is… Do we want more info, or do we want the game? And of course the answer is WE WANT THE GAME! NOW!  But as in all things that humans do, “you can’t always get what you want” – according to the Rolling Stones anyway. So, we should be seeing a veritable blitzkrieg of information coming our way shortly. Some of it is already here, we are seeing more and more interviews, sit downs and talks with people showing up on the updates on With the launch date now less than sixty days away, we are likely to be seeing a whole lot more than we have before.

On that note, it should be said that there is remarkably little beta footage available and most of what is available on the internet is fake. Most beta testers either don’t want to face Lucasarts’ legal staff (I don’t blame them one little tiny bit by the way), or they are so enamored with the game that they don’t want to take the chance on not being able to play at launch. I am actually going to go for the second answer there. I have talked with a few people who are in the beta, including my colleague Mark. All of the ones I have talked to have been VERY careful about possible NDA violations. They really, REALLY want to play the full game when it comes out.

We have been raised, many of us, in a world where litigation is second nature. If someone bumps into you on the bus, you can sue them. You probably won’t win, the judge will likely laugh you right out of court, but you CAN sue. It’s not taken for granted, but it isn’t seen as serious. For those of us who have never been in a courtroom anyway (DON’T ask…It’s too embarrassing…) People see the NDA on a game, scroll down to the bottom and click ‘accept’ generally never thinking about it. It’s just not taken very seriously most of the time. Until now.

What is it about this game that is different?

It’s an MMO. There have been so many MMOs recently that few people can keep track of them all. Free to play, subscription, WoW clone, whatever. So many kinds of MMOs are out there now.

It is a Star Wars game. Well, there have been a bunch of those as well, some great, some not so good.

It’s fully voiced. That is new for an MMO.

It’s story-driven. That is not new, but the heights to which Bioware and Lucasarts seem to be taking it are.

All of this adds up to the fact that we have a new type of game coming. A massively multiplayer online role playing game that looks, sounds and plays like single player game. Will it work? I dunno. But I can’t wait to roll a trooper and blast some Sith scum.

Okay, we are going to be seeing a LOT more media on the game now. Good. And we have seen more fan creation recognition as well. But – no mention of the fan fiction section of the forum. I guess people just don’t have time to read all of the good stories that have been posted. It isn’t intentional that the fan fiction writers (including myself) are treated like red headed step children. The community coordination people have only a certain amount of time to find, select and choose which works will be featured in the Fan Fridays. I know this. But it doesn’t make me feel very good to be essentially shoved to the side, even by great artwork.

As was said in the podcast a while back, fan fiction is a lot of work. Admittedly, some of it is not very good. I include my own stuff in that. Many writers are trying out writing for the first time and selecting Star Wars because they like it, or find the framework that George Lucas has created to be easy to write in.  But reading things is time consuming. Even if it is an incredible work, it takes time to read something. Looking at a piece of art is easy. You look at it and say ‘It’s good’ or ‘Eeeew…’. But reading some of the admittedly very good works on the fan fiction forum takes time. Even if it is not my own story arc, which is at 95 chapters and counting, many people simply don’t have the time. I do think Bioware could at least MENTION the fan fiction forums, but then again, if they did that, would they have to spotlight one of the works every time? I don’t know. I won’t pretend that it makes me feel good to be ignored, but I do understand about time constraints. Maybe with the raising of the embargo, more attention will be given to the great works that have been languishing in durance vile in the deepest darkest recesses of the fan fiction section.

Okay, okay… I know… I go off on tangents. So sue me. NO! It was a joke. A joke! No! Don’t call…the…lawyers…*sigh*

Ah well… Maybe by the time the next story is due I will have made bail.

Mad Max beyond Thunderdome Masterblaster via image

An Interview with a Poster: Setie

For this week’s piece I am interviewing a regular at the TOR forums.

She has been posting in the forums there since October of 2008, a month before I started. She has seen great acts of fan fiction and roleplaying come to pass, and also some not-so-great acts go belly up. She has been a frequent collaborator, conspirator and sneaky plot-writing helper of mine.

We don’t know her real name of course, and it is probably a good thing. She has all the subtlety of a boot to the head when she gets steamed. But we know her and we love her! Everyone give it up for the Darth Mama, Setie herself!

Edward: Hello Setie, I have a few questions for you today, if you don’t mind.

Setie: Oh no you evil fiend, whatever will I do… 😛

Edward: 😀 In general terms, Setie, what are you in real life?

Setie: I’m a homemaker with a 3 (almost 4) year-old and now a 2 month old.

Edward: O.o Wow… You are busy then. How long have you been doing RP and fanfiction in online forums?

Setie: RPing I’ve only been doing about a year or two in forum form.   Before that it was tabletop and LARPing.  So I had something of an idea of what I was doing.  Fanfiction writing I’ve been doing about ten years.

Edward: What got you started in writing fanfictions?

Setie: Fanfictions I was always coming up with.  I’d spot holes in the plots of games I’d play and then I’d just go, “Well this could happen…” The writing then spawned the RPing.  I use RP forums to sharpen the pen so to speak.  If I’m struggling with a character and just not understanding them, I can put them in an RP and slowly it’ll shed light on how the character works.

Edward: What drew you to TOR in the first place?

Setie: Besides the fact that KoTOR was awesome and I played it some 20 million times?  Or that I grew up watching the original triology and loved it so?  That prequel junk needs to die in a fire by the way.  Plainly put, it’s Star Wars.  Even better, it’s a wide open time of Star Wars where anything could happen and you had plenty of heroes and villains to boot.  The tales of such a time;  be they of mercs, Jedi, Sith, or folks in between, needed telling.

Edward: What do you think is the most rewarding thing in writing fan fictions?

Setie: Telling an awesome story.  If you’re in a role play that clicks with good people, posts will be flying and usually that’s a good thing.  Some of the stories written by people are just awesome to read.  You can tell they had a blast writing it usually too from how it’s done.

Edward: What do you think could be improved in fan fictions?

Setie: The attitudes of some people.  I’m not sure what it is but there are folks out there that seem to think of role playing as a game they must win.  They don’t understand the idea of telling a good story, they just want to be the alpha dog who is the biggest and baddest person.  Quite honestly I do not understand these types of players.  I personally love making weak and broken characters.  It leaves tons of room for growth then having some character that is perfect and can stop traffic with their bare hands.  Remember kids, being a badass does not mean never taking a hit, it means taking a hit and then getting back up.

Edward: What do you think is the best writing you have done?

Setie: Honestly, I don’t think any of my best is out there yet.  It’s all stuck in the novel I’m writing or trying to.  I have various really good spots of writing in various roleplays and fanfics but my best is reserved for the novel.

Edward: Good for you, do you plan on getting it published someday?

Setie: We’ll see. First things first.  I have to finish it.

Edward: Indeed. Well, this is a question some people are likely to ask. What kind of character will you play when TOR comes out?

Setie: All of them of course and likely multiples of them if what Bioware says is true.  I’m a story addict so I’d want to know all the different stories out here.

Edward: Why am I not surprised at that?

Setie: Because you know me and have seen my spectrum of characters, none of them are alike.

Edward: Is there anything you might want to say to New Zealanders or Australians who read this blog?

Setie: I want to visit there someday.

Edward: So do I. Well, thank you for your time.

Setie has posted a number of fanfics and roleplays on the SWTOR forums. She is a frequent and respected poster, both for her insights and her biting wit on occasion.

At the moment, she is working on several story lines, most having to do with her main character Setsuna Andal and the machinations that surround her. We will likely be seeing a lot of Miss Andal in the near future. Waiting in the shadows are some dark forces that wish her powers under their own control. Of course, there are other beings who wish to see Setsuna free from manipulation and will not take kindly to people trying to hurt her. The stage is set for a battle royal for the soul and sanity of a young woman, tune in at the community to find out what happens.

Discuss on our forums

Fan Fiction and Star Wars: The Old Republic

What is fan fiction? Ask five different people and you will likely get five different answers.

According to Wikipedia, “fan fiction (alternately referred to as fanfiction, fanfic, FF, or fic) is a broadly-defined term for fan labor regarding stories about characters or settings written by fans of the original work, rather than by the original creator”. I personally write fan fictions for SWTOR, because I have loved Star Wars since I was a small child. I saw Episode IV A New Hope from the back seat of my Dad’s car in 1977.

But a writer does not have to be a total Star Wars geek like myself to write good stories. The main thing that is required is a good story. I cannot count the number of stories I have read and thrown away because the story did not engage me. Just because a story has a thousand pages, does not make it a masterpiece. As Yoda so wisely said, ‘Size matters not’. Without substance, it doesn’t matter if you write ten thousand pages, it is still not a good story.

Just like making a film, a good story is complex. It needs a good plot, solid characters, epic action, intriguing twists, good dialogue, not too much or too little humor, and a hint of mystery, horror, or whatever else the writer wants to add. Without at least a good grounding in all of these, the reader will not be hooked. And that is the bottom line; you want the reader to enjoy what they read. In the case of a published author, they write so that so the reader will buy the book. In the case of fan fiction, it is a little murkier. What do the authors of such fictions seek?

It isn’t money, since for one thing, if authors start charging for fan fiction, they get into copyright infringement. If they don’t own the rights to the story, they have no right to sell it according to international law. Lucasfilm and LucasArts in particular have no sense of humor when people start doing things like that. Because the internet allows for anonymity, it makes it very difficult for people to say ‘This is my story’. Anyone else can come along and say ‘No, it is MY story’. Who is the actual author? Who knows. Is it bragging rights? I wrote more threads and posts online than you, so I am better? Again, who knows if that author cut and pasted from some other source. The internet is a wonderful resource and a horrible temptation. So much information is just sitting out there, virtually free (no pun). It has been said that most of the ideas have already been done. That almost all of the great masterpiece story ideas and plots have already been published by other people and to an extent that is true. But… If you take some of what someone else did, and modify it slightly, and add some of your own ideas, you can create something that seems fresh and new.

A case in point is Episode IV, A New Hope. There is nothing in the original Star Wars movie that had not been done before. The evil empire, the quirky companions who happen to have the key to defeat the evil empire, the captured princess, the evil villain in black, the hero from nowhere, the wise old man who becomes the hero’s mentor, a mystical energy force. All of these and more are known plot elements from stories that date back hundreds of years. George Lucas did not come up with the script for Star Wars by himself. He wove the elements together and added in a few touches that were distinctly his own. And in doing so, he created something amazing – a modern day myth. Love it or hate it, he created the world that we know as Star Wars, and it simply took off from there.

I have been writing SWTOR fan fiction since December of 2008. I’m afraid the story arc is a bit on the long side and not all of them are good. These threads recount a story of a trooper who is more than just a normal soldier, and his family who are anything but ordinary. I write because I have to. I have the bug. I can’t seem to not write. It is almost like an addiction, but instead of having to take things in, I have to put things out in writing.

I personally believe that the future of fiction will lie greatly in fan created works. For one thing, they are free. For another, a reader can read part of one and say ‘I don’t like this’ and go to something new. If you don’t like a book you bought in a bookstore, maybe you can get some credit at a used book store somewhere. BioWare in particular seems to have a good handle on story. It stands to reason, as they have created some of the greatest story-driven games I have ever played: Baldur’s Gate, Jade Empire, and Knights of the Old Republic to name three. I would be willing to bet that some of their writers are following the stories that are submitted as fan work on After all no-one, no matter how good or dedicated, can have great ideas 24/7.  If some of my work helps in the creation of an epic Star Wars title, I would be honored. For myself, they wouldn’t even need to give me credit. But then again, I am one of those strange Star Wars fanatics.

Over to you: what Star Wars fan fiction has inspired you?

(Editor: In regards to this post’s picture, yes, I know Splinter of the Mind’s Eye isn’t fan fiction. I love that book, so sue me)