Fan Fiction: The Light Sith Code

If you ask me, one of the most fun things you can do in SWTOR is play a light side Sith. You’re a true chaotic good hero: passionate, free-spirited, and valiant, fighting to bring positive change to the world.

My warrior practicing lightsaber technique in Star Wars: The Old RepublicIt gets me to thinking sometimes what would happen if, in the long term, Jaesa actually succeeded in her mission and led some light side reformation of the Sith. Not turning them into Jedi, but accentuating the more positive aspects of Sith philosophy to create a new order of people who use their passion to bring freedom to the galaxy.

Because when you think about it, there’s a lot of good in the fundamental philosophy of the Sith. I certainly think it has more redeeming aspects than the dehumanizing Jedi Code.

All this got me thinking about what a Light Sith Code would be like. How would their philosophy look if they tweaked it to accent the positive traits of Sith ideology — freedom, embracing one’s humanity, self-empowerment — while discarding the more problematic elements.

This is what I came up with:

Peace is fleeting; passion is eternal

Through passion, we gain knowledge

With knowledge, we take action

Through action, we bring justice

With justice, our chains are broken

The Force shall free us all

The first line was the trickiest. “Peace is a lie” is the most obviously dangerous part of the original Sith Code, though even there arguments could be made that it is still a positive message.

I’m not the biggest fan of the inquisitor class story in SWTOR, but one of my favourite moments in that game is a conversation where the inquisitor and Ashara discuss Sith philosophy, and especially the “peace is a lie” segment. The conclusion they come to is that it doesn’t necessarily decry peace, but only illustrate that peace is not a means unto itself. You don’t make the world a better place by sitting under a tree waiting for enlightenment.

My Sith inquisitor in Star Wars: The Old RepublicMy challenge then was to illustrate this in just one line. I’m not sure I did as good a job as I could have, but generally the idea is that peace is admirable, but ephemeral, and we must instead rely on our passions — our convictions — to guide us in an ever-changing universe.

Beyond that, I also appropriated the one part of the Jedi Code I actually like — the veneration of knowledge over ignorance — and wrote it in first person plural, rather than singular, to counteract the tendency toward selfishness that tends to run through Sith ideology.

I know many Star Wars fans will say that “light Sith,” or any Sith that aren’t evil, is an oxymoron and a contradiction of Star Wars lore, and I freely grant they may be right. But I think it’s a lot more interesting to view the Jedi and Sith as both flawed, with pros and cons on both sides, and at least in the context of SWTOR — the only Star Wars I much care about — light side Sith are definitely a thing.

And really this is just for my own amusement anyhow.


WoW: End It All

The first Warcraft game came out in 1994, when I was four years old (though I think I may have been five by the time I got around to playing it). Over the next twenty years and more, the story that began there has continued, through games, books, comics, audio dramas, and even a movie. I’ve been there (nearly) every step of the way.

Antorus, the Burning Throne in World of Warcraft: LegionAnd by and large, that story was the story of the Burning Legion. Even when the demons and their fel magic were not the central theme, it all tied back to them one way or another.

Now, with the release of Antorus, the Burning Throne, the story of the Burning Legion has at last come to an end, and I can’t escape the feeling that this is also the end of Warcraft… or at least Warcraft as we know it.

Yes, recent plot revelations make the Void arguably the greater threat, but it just doesn’t carry the same weight of history the Legion does. Over the years, if I ever pictured a final conclusion to the story of Warcraft, I pictured a final glorious confrontation with Sargeras and his Burning Crusade.

And now it’s here.

I say all this to give you an idea of just how much of my life this story has been, and how surreal it is to finally see its end. In so much as an entertainment product can be, the release of Antorus is a Major Event in my life.

Fair warning: This post will contain copious spoilers for Antorus and all that follows.

Rise, my broken world:

Argus the Unmaker in World of Warcraft: LegionThere’s a lot I like about Antorus, and I don’t want to send the impression that my view of it is entirely or even mostly negative, but if I’m being honest, it did leave me a bit disappointed.

One problem is that over the course of Legion we’ve already fought and killed pretty much everyone who was anyone within the Burning Legion. So most of Antorus is just taken up by fighting no-name demons who feel like filler. Varimathras is really the only big name here, and without his original voice actor, he just doesn’t feel the same.

Things do get a lot more interesting in the later parts of the raid, where the story shifts focus to the Titans. But the trouble there is that it’s a good story… but about 90% of it happens off camera.

For instance, there’s no explanation of how the Titans’ souls wound up in Antorus. Last we heard, they were on Azeroth.

Now, the Legion has been running roughshod over Azeroth for months now, so it’s not exactly far-fetched that they could have grabbed the Titans’ souls somewhere along the line. But it just seems like that’s a story that would have been worth telling.

I’m especially curious what happened to Wrathion, since he was (implied to be) the current host for Aman’thul’s spirit. Did they kill him?

The Argus encounter in World of Warcraft: LegionI also don’t understand how the Titans suddenly resurrected themselves, or how they were able to defeat Sargeras. Last time he fought them, he was able to kill them all himself, and that’s when they were at full power.

It just feels unfinished.

It’s also a bit of a shame to see the Titans so scaled down. They’re living planets, and they’re supposed to have the size to match. I realize there’s no possible way that could have been made to work in a game like this, but it just doesn’t feel right to be fighting Aggramar and have him be “only” forty feet tall.

On the plus side, I love the idea of using a twisted version of Titan architecture for the deeper parts of Antorus. Because of course Sargeras isn’t a demon; he’s a Titan. His inner sanctum would reflect that. It’s not something I ever would have thought of myself, but it makes perfect sense.

Also, the final fight against Argus the Unmaker is glorious. One of the absolute most mind-bending, crazy, over the top boss fights I’ve ever seen in a video game. Even on Raid Finder difficulty, it’s incredibly intense, and it does feel like a worthy end to the epic saga of the Burning Legion.

Taken all in all… I honestly still don’t know how to feel about Antorus, and the Legion’s end. There’s good, there’s bad, and there’s a mountain of expectation and history to overcome. It’s hard to process.

Your crusade is over:

Azeroth and Argus in World of Warcraft: LegionWhat I actually liked a lot more than Antorus was the quest that immediately follows, wherein you deliver Illidan’s last words to his brother and Tyrande. It’s very a personal, touching moment, and it’s the sort of things video games could really use more of.

Both of them seem rather unfairly harsh to Illidan, but then they always have been. Being misunderstood is kind of his thing.

I am very glad Illidan finally got the heroic end he deserves.

On the other hand, the quests in Silithus are crushingly depressing. Not even in an enjoyable “beautifully tragic” sort of way, like the Crusader Bridenbrad storyline. Just in a “I don’t even care anymore” sort of way. Even Khadgar seems to have been broken by it all.

And yes, it does seem clear that Horde players are going to be forced to be evil whether we like it or not once again. At least with Garrosh, it was clear from the start that there was dissent within the ranks. Now everyone seems perfectly fine with being cartoonishly villainous.

Also, did they seriously replace Saurfang’s voice actor? That level of heresy is simply unforgivable.

This only increases my growing conviction that it may be time to move on from WoW after Legion. The story is not going anywhere I like, and flawed though it may have been, I don’t see how they can ever top Antorus.

We just fought and defeated a living planet. There is nowhere to go from here but down.