So I was headed into the city with my lovely bride on Saturday to do some shopping, and we were talking about my Imperial Agent, Versteckt, and the Rattataki mercenary, Kaliyo, his companion. I was complaining that even when as a Bond-style spy, I am playing a part to ingratiate myself with, say, a terrorist cell, I lose affection points with Kaliyo when I am not a belligerent SOB. I am roleplaying a spy who is also playing a role, and my companion "doesn't get it." She seems to lack the understanding of subtlety I need as a partner. I even went so far as to say I don't like Kaliyo because of this trait.
Note my descriptions: I have an emotional response to the way my computer generated, non-player companion is acting.
Sctrz said it's a simplistic AI. I don't think it's AI at all. Some dev team designated the points lost or gained with each response (it may have been partly automated, given the way the 1-2-3 responses are all similar.) But beyond the technical aspect, I dislike having to think about how she will react to a conversation response I feel is appropriate to Versteckt's personality and motivations.
Yesterday on my Sith Assassin, Tollkirsche, I finally got to the point where I have a second companion, the pirate Andronikos Revel. Since the Inquisitor story currently involves him it makes sense from a RP standpoint to take him along. Besides, I want to see what a different companion is like after 20 some-odd levels with Khem Val, the buzzkiller. And guess what, the Dashade got all butt-hurt about it and went off to the ship to pout! AND I ACTUALLY FELT BAD.
For those that said (without ever playing it) that the storylines of SWTOR would inhibit their ability to roleplay, I present my likes and dislikes of these characters as evidence to the contrary. Think about that for a second. I am talking about an emotional response to a character in a computer game. If that is not both compelling roleplay and storycrafting, I don't know what is. Isn't tabletop RP basically the same thing: players reacting on behalf of their characters to the story or scenario that the game master is presenting?
I realize that some forms of roleplay are far more "open" to the player's preferences on how to interpret the characters than SWTOR is. But I would argue that there is far more built-in opportunity for RP in SWTOR than any other online game I have played. Sometimes you can play the role you are given, and still enjoy the story.
Now if I could just lay down to sleep on my bed in the Captain's Quarters.