The quoted text addresses making uninformed choices in The Secret World. This is the rival ‘story is 4th pillar’ game to SWTOR. I’m not comparing the qualities of the two games here, I never played TSW and have no interest in doing so. The topic of uninformed choice is very relevant to SWTOR however. I’ll requote the subsection of the original text of most relevance to this post:
Making decisions without knowing the background, the people or motives invokes us to rely more on our intuition, for better or worse… and I have never had an experience as thought provoking as this in terms of game stories and my own morals.
I like the conversation system in SWTOR, and the choices that you have to make. I do wish however that the Light/Dark side alignment system had been left as a story-related mechanic only. They should never have attached gear rewards to that!
Instead it should have only had an effect on how you are perceived by your companions and other NPCs who could justifiably know at least some of the decisions you have taken. Perhaps some other force sensitive types could intuit a general feeling of your moral stance as well? This could affect the dialogue options available as well as the kinds of welcome you receive.
I can’t see that light or dark gear is that useful in a game with PVP and PVE raiding endgame? Unless they’ve released new ‘tiers’ of alignment gear it seems like a mistaken confusion of a clearly RP/story oriented mechanic with the MMO staple of gear progression.
Of course this is old news now and the time is long past for making core changes to the game’s mechanics. When I played through I ignored the alignment system’s gear linkage – I chose what I thought was right for my character on a case-by-case basis. Often he accrued some dark side points due to Bioware’s sometimes dubious interpretation of their own moral compass. But that didn’t matter, it added to the game that I was thinking about my character’s motivations at such a level and so often. No other MMOs have really taken me that far into characterisation and for that I applaud Bioware. In the same way that TSW made the quoted author think about morality, SWTOR was very effective at making me question my character’s moral choices, especially as a (mostly) Light side Jedi.