In a third or fourth rate spaceport cantina (you know, the extra seedy kind) somewhere along the Hydian Way, the doe-eyed and optimistic receive some unsolicited advice from the world-weary and obviously inebriated:
"War! That's all this Galaxy has ever been good at. We spin round n' round the confines of this insignificant vacuum, maiming each other for the sick pleasure of the Force. Or farce, what's the difference anyway?"
"Republic, Sepratists, Empire, Rebellion, Jedi, Sith — oh yes. The players are different, if only slightly, but the game is always the same, y'understand? Spill blood, take a station, a planet, a system. Subjugate a people, liberate a people. Lather, rinse, repeat. Brush your teeth. If you're a real warrior, maybe you'll feast on the flesh of your enemy from time to time. "
"But what do I know, eh? I just ply the lanes in my old bucket, getting the goods from planet to station to satisfied customer, and then back again. And in between it all, I sit back and watch blaster flashes rush between the stars. Then I take another sip."
"No, I can't tell you much about war, save one thing: it's good for business."
Even from the earliest stages of development, Sushi and the rest of the Freeworlds: Tides of War team made story and roleplaying one of the priorities of development. So, while everyone's been busy modeling ships and upgrading the Freelancer engine, I've been working on developing the roleplaying meta-game and story that we'll be featuring on the main Freeworlds: Tides of War server.
Crafting the overarching story surrounding the mod has been a fun process, especially for a rabid Star Wars fan like myself. Early on it was decided that we didn't want to diverge too much from Star Wars canon, and so we kept all the main characters alive, the political situations the same, and so on. Rather than create some cataclysmic event to throw the galaxy into chaos once more, we set out to answer a series of 'what-ifs'.
To give you a better idea, here's a summary of how our story has taken shape:
Our story diverges from Star Wars canon in the year 12ABY (After Battle of Yavin), shortly after the events of the Thrawn Trilogy and the Dark Empire series. The newly formed Imperial Remnant, led by Gilad Pellaeon, chooses to go on a massive offensive right after the canonical Orinda campaign. Using surprise to its advantage, the Empire captured two major shipyards back from the New Republic, which is still quite weak after its campaigns against Thrawn and the reborn Emperor.
Meanwhile, Durga the Hutt has a change of heart regarding the Darksaber project, after being being tipped off about his engineer's shoddy work history. Instead, he commits his sizable resources to the creation of a more vast and effective criminal syndicate, which quickly begins to upset the balance between order and chaos.
Corellia, still independent at this point, was in talks to join the New Republic, but as the issues of Imperial aggression and economic destabilization caused by crime became more imminent, the talks broke down. Corellia's strong trade influence throughout the galaxy meant it required a real commitment from the New Republic towards combating crime.
Unfortunately, with the New Republic barely able to defend itself, Corellia saw no benefit in becoming another casualty of the Galactic Civil War. Rather than sit idly by as its economy bottomed out, Corellia vowed to root out crime at the source, becoming the galaxy's de facto police force.
On Yavin IV, Luke Skywalker and his small band of Jedi Knights train in the ways of the Force, having learned a great deal since their recent encounter with the spirit of Exar Kun. Yet even as they grow in strength, Luke begins having sinister visions, each taking place on a stage in an empty theater. Whatever it may mean, Luke and his knights stand ready against the dark side.
All the major factions have a part to play in our story. As we get closer to release, more in-depth faction documentation will be released, filling players in on the various NPC faction leaders, and all the information they need to know about the respective factions leading up to our point in Star Wars history.
We've set our story up in such a way that our players will be able to pick up the various threads for each faction and begin crafting their own Star Wars stories as soon as our server is ready to go.
Last but not least, back in September, we released the Freeworlds:Tides of War Roleplaying Primer, a guidebook that explains our roleplaying system, and also offers examples and resources for those of you who are new to free-form roleplaying. Don't let the thought of rules deter you! We've developed a very open system that we think will make telling a cohesive server-wide story a much easier, collaborative process.
The primer is available for download via this link
We can't wait until release either, but until then: May the Force be with you!