The Revan Cosplay Story

ImageImage

While playing SWTOR I may have had to steal a certain relic from a collector. Unfortunately my character was unable to keep it, but it got me thinking, that would look really fucking cool on my wall, and you can find anything on the internet.

Enter My Wicked Armor. This guy does absolutely amazing work. If I had Romney’s money, I would get almost everything he makes. Unfortunately I am a serf, so I commissioned just Revan’s mask. Considering my KOTOR obsession for the last decade, it seemed like a good idea and wasn’t going to destroy my wallet like the full outfit would have.

I don’t know who came up with it first, but either myself or Bunny thought of cosplaying as Revan for PAX East, and the more I thought about it the more I wanted to do it. Anyone who’s dealt with me and costumes knows I absolutely loathe to half-ass something. If I’m going to dress up as something, I’m going all out. No jedi-robe-t-shirts or dumb shit like that. Fortunately my nerd-level is high enough that I’ve been carrying around a Jedi robe for seven years. It typically lives in my trunk in case I break down on the highway.

So, now with a cloak and a mask and three weeks before PAX, can I get a worthwhile costume put together? I wanted to wear the custom robes my character always wore in KOTOR I, but that was just going to be too complicated for the limited amount of free time I had. Instead I chose to go with movie-style robes in the colors I used for the custom tunics. I found Twin Roses Designs online making tunics in the general design that I wanted, but they were too costly plus I didn’t have enough time to special order what I wanted. At this point I’d done enough research online that I was confident I could make the tabard myself, and really didn’t want to have to try and get the under-tunic right, so I bought one from them, and got the fabric I needed for the tabard at a local fabric store.

Next I needed pants and boots. I wanted to get a certain color of pants that should’ve been a pain in the ass but Kohl’s had exactly what I needed. In fact, they’re my normal work pants in a different color. I enjoyed the convenience. Bunny and I took a trip to the Army Surplus store in Salem, MA, and got boots. Now I just had to put the damn thing together…

With a balaclava and the mask and robe I already had promising results. Next I needed to make the tabard. Lots of geeks debating the best way to do it online made it easy. I cut out a rectangle the size I wanted the tabard to be, and then taped it to angle properly at the waist to lie flat. I then made a pattern from that paper and started cutting and sewing. It was even easier than I hoped.

ImageImage

Now that the front pieces were done, I had to figure out what I wanted to do for the back. In KOTOR the movie-style robes looked the same on the front as they did on the back, and that drove me insane. I greatly preferred the solid back on the robes that were standard in the game. I decided fairly quickly to go with the solid back. Once I made that piece, it was time for the super-fun task of putting it all together with presentable seams.

ImageImageImage

After a lot of effort I managed to make it work out with the tabards still the correct length and the seam line where and how I wanted it on the shoulder. This I think was the hardest part of the entire outfit. With this part assembled I could finally make the obi to finish the piece. At first I tried to use just eye hooks to hold it together but I was having too much trouble getting them anchored well with the thread so I put in a zipper for extra support.

Back when I was a lad who had a job but didn’t have to pay rent, I could afford to spend my money on silly things, like Force FX lightsabers…Image

They’re glorious toys and I’ve certainly gotten my money’s worth, especially since I bought each one for half price on eBay. However I had a problem. Back when I bought these they didn’t make them with detachable blades, and I had no interest in carrying one of these around with a 3-foot polycarbonate blade that looks far less cool in daylight. And I had just as big a problem showing up unarmed. I needed a solution, and the internet provided once again. And so, at the age of 27, I built my first lightsaber (although I’ve owned 8 before building any).

ImageImage

The belt I had been using to hold things together while I tested the tabard was covered in quicksilver logos, so despite it being a decent belt type for the outfit, I had to go with something else that I later regretted, but I was doing this on the cheap. After all this work, I was fairly pleased with the final result…..

ImageImage

I got LOTS of people stopping me for pictures. These two were sent to me but dozens were taken. It took ten minutes to get to and from the bathroom, really messing up my time budgeting. I was really glad so many people thought it was worth stopping me for photos. The downsides? Extremely limited vision, and DAMN that outfit was warm. After about 4 hours I started feeling ill and had a migraine not long after. I retreated to the car and passed out after taking painkillers. Luckily for me I didn’t miss any panels I’d been planning to go to, and was okay to catch the Dragon Age movie. I’m still tempted to put it back on (after some minor tweaks) but I can’t think of a way to fix the overheating problem effectively. What I really should do is ditch the WOOL cloak but the head is fairly ruined without the hood. So far I haven’t found any solution I like, but maybe that will change.

MMO bubble

Image

I have some mixed feelings about SWTOR going free to play. I am super excited that this means my nephews and brother-in-law are going to be able to play the game at last. I’m also very hopeful that people who played the game in the past with me will return now that they won’t have to pay to play necessarily. What worries me is that many others will take this as a sign that the game is dying and jump ship.

I played KOTOR I and II to death. I have a PC mainly so I could play KOTOR II since it never came out for Mac OS, and every time I’ve wiped the hard drive — until this most recent time — the first two things I reinstalled were KOTOR. This time, the first things I reinstalled were Origin, and thereby SWTOR, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age. This computer was last upgraded so I could play SWTOR as high-powered as possible.

Image

I played WoW almost as long as I’ve been with Bunny (staring with 2.1, The Black Temple) up until the Cataclysm expansion (4.0). I played it as long as I did partially for the game itself, but mainly for the people who played with me. When the SWTOR beta came out Bunny and I both let our WoW accounts expire. I slept very, very little those weekends, and still couldn’t do much because I had to work a lot the whole time. What SWTOR is to me is nothing less than KOTOR IV. Why IV? Because this book was KOTOR III. The Jedi Knight storyline picks up where this book left off, albeit a while later. The end mission for the Knight is to complete Revan’s mission from the very beginning, before the Star Forge was ever discovered. This hit all the right buttons for me.

It doesn’t take long to realize that SWTOR has its flaws, mainly being balance and end-game content. The phrase isn’t new, but “Come to the Dark Side: We have Cookies” has never been more true than in this game. The Empire stories are more fun, their outfits awesome instead of moronic, and the player base knows. Good luck trying to do PVP if you’re playing Republic. They didn’t do a lot of things WoW has added over the years because of how they wanted players to experience the game for the first time. Makes sense, but it was a bad move. A lot of the features we’ve gotten so used to in WoW are extremely frustrating to do without, and BioWare isn’t adding them in fast enough to appease everybody.

Today I saw that WoW for the first time since I’ve been playing has dropped to 9.1 million subscribers. This doesn’t surprise me because after SWTOR, I don’t think I could ever go back to an MMO that wasn’t fully voice-acted. WoW does the best it can, but sometimes it also tries too hard (The Harrison Jones content in Cataclysm). Telling a compelling story can be difficult, and most of the time quests in WoW just felt like grinding for the sake of grinding. Penny Arcade made the point best years ago. Sometimes the story was interesting, but mostly “go kill this,” followed by “collect 20 of that,” and “bring me this guy’s face.” Quest givers were lifeless more often than not. SWTOR is a vast improvement over this to me. First of all, the voice acting makes the quest givers far more interesting. I may still be going to kill this, but I’m going to kill this “because that bastard stole my research and is selling it to the Hutts.” It’s amazing what voice acting will do to mask away the daily grind. Compared to this, for me all of WoW is grinding for the sake of grinding.

The Bonus Objective mission system is also pretty awesome in this regard. “I need you to fix these six transmitters, and if you want to kill those 20 Mandalorians who fucked with them in the first place, that’s cool too.” So I have to fix the transmitters to complete the quest and continue the story, but the Mandalorians are listed as a Bonus, so if I’m bored with killing things I don’t HAVE to do it. Most of the time I still do these bonus objectives, but just knowing that I don’t have to do it to advance the story makes a big difference.

The other thing that WoW dropping to 9.1m subscribers got me thinking about was lifestyles. I sure as hell don’t have enough time to play an MMO anymore. I find time for SWTOR when I can, but playing WoW I missed out on a lot of other good games because WoW just took too much time. I wonder if MMOs in general are on the decline as more people wake up and realize their WoW main character has ONE YEAR of play time logged. If that game wasn’t more about the people playing than the game itself, I wouldn’t be able to see that as anything but a colossal waste of time. Even now, it can be hard not to see it that way, and more people I know are starting to think along those lines.

If you haven’t played SWTOR, look me up in the fall and I’ll tell you what server I use for my characters. Subscriptions may be optional now, but mine’s running strong.

Image