I’ve spent the majority of my many hours in Star Wars: The Old Republic playing alongside a spunky Jedi Shadow named Kira, whose stealth and damage-based talent specialization neatly complemented my Jedi Guardian’s tanking. When she wasn’t backing me up in a fight, she’d often drag me along on missions of her choosing, badmouth me for some silly decisions I’d made, and helpfully run off to gather raw materials I needed to craft new lightsaber hilts. I’ve met few friends in MMORPGs who’ve been so reliable.
The thing is, Kira isn’t human — she’s an AI companion character, and the way that she and her ilk are integrated into both my character’s combat and storyline is just one of several aspects that set this ambitious MMO apart from its competition. It’s not without its shortcomings, to be fair, but I’ve had more fun in The Old Republic than in most other MMOs over the last decade — and I’m not even a diehard fan of the Star Wars universe.