This week let’s do something a little bit different. Last Thursday Swtorista, with the help of her audience, devoted her stream to a discussion of and tier list ranking of the major romances of Star Wars: The Old Republic. These romances can evoke very strong and divisive opinions, and for many people are an important, if not the most important, relationship our characters have in the game.
If you’ve spent any time in the SWTOR community you can probably guess which companion romances rated the highest: the sassy yet approachable girls-next-door that populate most of the original class stories, and Lana and Theron.
I’m not here to criticize anyone’s story choices or dismiss any of these characters as manic pixie dreamgirls. Because I get it. I fell for Kira immediately; Vette is hilarious, and Mako is absolutely not just a pretty sidekick, buster. As far as Lana and Theron go, It’s a credit to SWTOR’s writers that they were able to introduce two strong romantic interests after the class stories that stuck with many players. Certainly at this point, our characters have spent much more time with them than our original companions
I do, however, want to examine two of the romances that crash-landed at the bottom into the F tier and explore why they are so hated, but also give them the love that many players seemingly refuse to: Doc and Corso.
SWTOR’s most successful romances are with the companions we as players get to spend the most time with before even starting the romance. Felix Iresso is a good example of a love interest introduced too late in the story to really stick the landing. He shows up two-thirds of the way through the Consular class story, and with so little time left, he starts macking on the Consular for flirts almost immediately after joining the crew. In my own play through, I quickly friend-zoned him, but it’s a shame because, once I got to know Felix, I discovered he’s a real mensch, and maybe if they’d met earlier, my Consular might’ve given him a chance.
But Corso and even Doc are introduced early on, but their romance arcs are rarely rated highly. I think there are several reasons for this. Some of them are based on their characters, some comes from gameplay issues and others are based on how players might react to the characters.
First off, Doc and Corso can be a bit much to take. Doc is basically the SWTOR equivalent of Schmidt from New Girl, and Corso was expressly envisioned as an annoying little brother. They are not cool, and it makes sense that everyone should want their character’s love interest to be cool. It’s also fair to say that their initial attempts to woo our characters don’t get off to a good start. Corso gets drunk and makes a god-awful pass at the Smuggler. As for Doc, he is definitely a guy whose guiding philosophy is “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
For the majority of companion romances (and in particular to the most highly rated ones), it is the player who initiates the flirting. I’m not a psychologist, but there might be something to the notion that some players might react uncomfortably to their avatar being hit on by an aggressive non-player character, whether it is male like Doc or even female like Kaliyo. I don’t believe this reaction is wrong. I can see how one person might feel like having to watch their character receive unwanted attention might hit too close to home or another feel like their character should not be the passive one in the game’s most significant relationship.
One of my favorite SWTOR love stories is with Aric Jorgan. He does not jump into it after the first flirt, but as his relationship with the female Trooper matures, his reaction changes and he and the Trooper end up in a sweet love story together. That is not how things play out with Corso and Doc. Regardless of our characters’ initial response to their come-ons, Corso and Doc keep trying. Someone who does not take no for an answer is at best a pest and oftentimes much worse. I imagine the writers and developers wanted to give players plenty of opportunities to jump into the companion romances so that they wouldn’t miss out, but fending off repeated overtures from characters you’re not interested in can feel less like banter than harassment.
I do understand the negative reactions to Doc and Corso. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to want to shove them out the airlock, but I also want to defend them and suggest that it’s worth giving one or both of them a shot. In each case, I suggest that you need to commit to the romance early on, and then you might discover they are, in fact, diamonds in the rough. And if it doesn’t work out, always remember that Lana and Theron will be waiting for you in Shadows of Revan.
Justice for Doc
Doc definitely has, as the kids say these days, “Main Character Syndrome”, and that’s apparent from the moment he is introduced in the Jedi Knight’s story. I take that as a sign that he’s a bit of a buffoon and a comic relief character. This is further reinforced by the fact that Kira starts dunking on him the moment they meet, and even the Jedi Knight’s dialogue options very often allow them to get in on the action too.
If you are a member of Generation X like me, you may very well recognize one big inspiration for Doc: the actor Bruce Campbell who is best known for his roles in the Evil Dead movies and the TV shows Xena: Warrior Princess and Burn Notice. I am certain that it is no coincidence that Doc rocks the exact same ‘stache and soul patch as Campbell’s character Autoclytus on Xena. Bruce Campbell specializes in playing comedic characters who aren’t as clever, charming and skilled as they think they are, and that sounds almost exactly like Doc. Like Ash and Autoclytus and Sam Axe, the humor of interactions with Doc comes in realizing that he is all talk and no game and then calling him out for his douche-baggery. Players who don’t get the connection to Campbell may very well have a different impression of Doc, but I think the game indicates pretty clearly that he isn’t to be taken too seriously especially when you start meeting his former girlfriends exactly none of whom come out of the relationship at all impressed with him.
But Doc’s heart is in the right place. He is out in the front lines of the war helping people when he could have a cushy practice on a core world. He may complain about it, but when push comes to shove, time and time again he does do the right thing.
All that said, the thing I find most amusing about Doc is that if he were a player character in SWTOR, he’d be a Smuggler. And not just a Smuggler, he’d be a Smuggler whose player mashes the [Flirt] button EVERY SINGLE TIME it lights up, which seems to describe how many, many people play their Smugglers. So if you find Doc to be a sexist and annoying pig, take a moment to pity poor Risha who has to deal with the same thing across the multiverse of SWTOR’s Smuggler storylines. #JusticeforRisha.
The Kind of Guy You Can Trust
Corso’s your buddy. Corso’s your pal. Corso will hold your beer while you go do something stupid. Corso will help you move even if the elevator in your building is busted. Corso will pick you up at the airport no matter how late your flight gets in. Corso laughs at your jokes, even the ones he’s heard before. Corso’s a righteous dude.
And, yes, Corso Riggs is a nerd and a dope who has absolutely no idea how to talk to women. I can relate. It is possible that, in my life, I may have, on an occasion or two, been less than smooth in my interactions with the opposite sex. If I can figure it out (kinda), I gotta believe that there is hope for Corso too.
Like a lot of you, I didn’t think much of Corso at first, but as his romance with the Smuggler played out, I discovered to my surprise that he grew on me. Part of the fun of it was calling out his old fashioned attitudes and then as things developed eventually seeing that he really is a big, dumb sweetheart. But still a nerd and a dope. Some things you just can’t change.
Tell Me What You Think and Win a Prize!
But I want to hear from you! Who is your favorite SWTOR character to smooch? Leave a comment below to enter a raffle I am hosting for a special in-game mount for your characters: your choice of an Opal Vulptilla or a brand new Mandalorian Heavy Jet Pack mount that debuted with patch 7.3!
To enter, leave a comment below with the following information:
- Your character name (be mindful of spaces and special symbols!)
- Your faction
- Your server
- Your favorite SWTOR romance
- Which mount you hope to win: Jetpack or Opal Vulptilla
That’s it! For every 10 entries, I will draw one winner up to a maximum of 3 winners.
I will accept entries for two weeks from this posting and will randomly select winners on June 27, 2023 at 1 PM ET.
If you prefer not to comment publicly, I also accept entries via email at email@example.com or through Twitter.
There are no country or server restrictions on any of the prizes that will be awarded.
This giveaway is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with LucasFilm Ltd, BioWare or Electronic Arts Inc.
We’re on the honor system here, so one entry per person, please.
Please only enter for yourself!
Good luck, and may the Force be with you!
If you’re a new visitor, I hope you’ll take a look around. I’ve been translating SWTOR’s alien languages for a few years now and sharing commentary about the state of the game as I see it.