Good day, TORWarriors! Today I’m here to talk to you about weather effects and why we need them! At some stage in your education you’ve probably been made to study some type of play or poetry. So you’re probably familiar with a literary device known as pathetic fallacy. Pathetic fallacy essentially means the weather mirroring emotions.
This is avidly seen in The Revenge of the Sith with the fight between Anakin and Obi-Wan. As they fight, lava explosions occur in the background and ash constantly falls in the background. It’s plain to see that the ash resembles Anakin’s clouded mind and the lava as impending destruction. This enhances the emotion seen on the screen, “you were my brother Anakin! I loved you!” *shivers*.
This is why we need weather effects for Star Wars: The Old Republic. The game is great as it is. However, being on Hoth with no snowstorms or snow fall is a slightly hollow experience. They’ve captured the arctic feelings superbly – but when quests center on people getting lost in the blizzard and there isn’t one, it’s kind of silly. My favorite planet so far is Belsavis. Not only does it have a story that I loved from KOTOR (I won’t divulge information, you’re spoiler safe!), but it also has some snow fall. It’s rare and only in specific small areas, but it’s there.
Belsavis is a paradox. It’s got rainforest type settings in the middle of gigantic glaciers. And the story is of the same quality as the other planets (amazing). But, the snow fall and slightly darker lighting (moody) gives me goose bumps. I absolutely loved it. The snow fall really made me feel immersed – I only logged off because server maintenance made me. But up until that point I had played for five hours straight without ‘game fatigue’.
Music is often used in the same way. When someone does something bad, you get brooding music; when someone does something good, you hear heroic music. When these things are missing the impact caused by such decisions is less. But when you have the music there, it is greater – when you have the weather mirroring the emotion along with the music you have something extra special. And we all want this experience to extra special.
I’m not saying having night and day. Personally I feel night and day in games is a little stupid. A quest giver isn’t going to stand up straight all night and day waiting for someone to come around to help them. But having weather effects triggered by certain quests – such as someone being stuck in a blizzard – is an immersion must. I hope we see weather effects in the future, because it is the sole thing that would make the entire game extra special. The game is already special, and aspects of the story are extra special. But the minor quests could become so much grander with a thunder crack here, or a blizzard there.
What do you think? Would you like to see weather effects in the near future?