Why the Smuggler is the true hero of SWTOR

Having leveled a Smuggler, Jedi Knight, and Trooper either to 50 or damn close, I have to say the actual writing for the Smuggler is some of the best in the game. Perhaps it was the fact that I played my JK and Trooper straight, but the generic good guy thing got old fast. I longed for Kira or Tanno Vik to screw with my character’s tight-laced demeanor. It got old to select the seemingly default ‘1’ option and find my character suddenly straighten up and deliver a canned “FOR HAVOC SQUAD!” or something similar.

But the Smuggler kept that swagger through the whole thing, never missing a chance to crack a joke regardless of the dialogue choice you picked. The idea that the galaxy was nothing but a ripe fruit ready to be eaten came across loud and clear, which felt so much more Star Wars than the themes of duty and honor that ran through the other stories.

Then again, perhaps that’s why I rolled a Smuggler in the first place. To me, Star Wars is about the glittering possibility among the stars — the crazy aliens in the Cantina scene or the revelers in Jabba the Hutt’s barge. It’s not about “hokey religions and ancient weapons” but simply about the chance to experience life on the edge.

Lately I’ve been working on Westerns and Samurai films with my Lit and Film students, covering some of the themes that films such as The Magnificent Seven and The Last Samurai cover. One that has resonated strongest with my students was the idea of Honor before Law, that life on the frontier is about strength and a personal code rather than arbitrary law. Characters do the right thing not because they are being forced to, but rather because they want to, because they know that it must be done.

To me, this theme is writ large across the story of the Star Wars Smuggler, from Han Solo to Silvia up above. While the Jedi has his code and the Trooper has his orders, it’s only this idea of Honor that keeps the rogue in line. The fact that there’s nothing concrete preventing him or her from leaving is what makes that scene where Han Solo returns to save Luke’s bacon  all the more powerful. It’s choice, pure and simple. The choice to do the right thing.

It’s that choice that makes me love playing a Smuggler. That and the ladies. Risha got it going ON.

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