<– Chapter Two ||
Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Star Wars: The Old Republic class storyline for the Sith Warrior. If you would like a spoiler-free summary of the third chapter, please look here. You have been warned.
Now that you’ve crushed Darth Baras’ opposition, secured his power, and help him ascend to the Dark Council, what reward shall you reap for all your loyal work? Well, how about being blown up in a cave and left for dead by Darth Vengean’s former apprentice turned Darth Baras’ replacement for you? Oh yes. That Sith that worked side by side with you to create a vacancy in the Dark Council for Darth Baras to fill is now after your job – at Baras’ request no less! Luring you to Quesh for a mission and then collapsing the cave on you and leaving you to die. However, you have a pair of mysterious rescuers and no, they’re not a pair of mice.
They call themselves the Servants of the Emperor’s Hand and suddenly I’m having Elder Scrolls Dark Brotherhood flashbacks. They have come to tell you that you have been more or less drafted by the Emperor (Yes, the actual real Sith Emperor) to be his “Wrath”. Essentially, you are to go around and kill whoever stands in the Emperor’s way or whoever the Emperor wants. The Servants tell you that your now former master Baras is telling the Dark Council that he is the Emperor’s Voice, essentially the guy the Emperor talks through to the Dark Council and whoever. But the Servants know that this isn’t true, and the Emperor knows it isn’t true, so it’s actually Baras making yet another power play to be above even the Dark Council. What a jerk. Or what a Sith. They’re interchangeable really. Chapter Three is essentially set up as trying to break Darth Baras’ power base and stop his attempt to be declared by the Council to be the Emperor’s Voice and to be obey Baras’ no matter what. The Council seems kind of dumb like that.
Your first task is stopping Darth Baras from freeing his insane sister, Darth Ekkage, from Belsavis prison. Go ahead and take a moment if you need a second to wrap your head around the fact that Baras has siblings. I’ll wait. Ready? Okay. There really isn’t much more than that. You are chasing/racing with Baras’ goons to the deepest depths of Belsavis where the whackjob Sith is locked up. Okay, there is kind of this whole B-plot where you have to work with a Jedi who wants to stop them as well and more or less forces you to team up with him to accomplish your goal (He’s the only one around the let you out of a sealed room. Why you don’t just cut your way out with a lightsaber Qui-Gon style is beyond me. Maybe Breaking and Entering is a Jedi only technique?)
What’s funny with a Sith and a Jedi teaming up to take down the baddies is that it turns the whole planet into a buddy cop movie almost. The Jedi is constantly scolding you for unnecessary violence, and you keep telling him that he’s weak and your going to kill him when this is all over. It’s cute. Ultimately, you do end up tracking down Ekkage, who just gets freed and then immediately kills the goon that frees her ‘because’. You fight her with the Jedi and then get the choice of killing Ekkage because that’s what your told to do or turn her over to the Jedi to be taken away and face justice. Just for a bonus, if you kill Ekkage you also can kill the Jedi if you really want to. You can also just let him go for helping you. But then again, Jedi-cide. Is there any better way to end a planet? I think not.
If it seems like I’m not going into a lot of detail here it’s because there really isn’t a lot of details to go into. Belsavis is just a really simple planet where you have a clear cut object and you just have to keep overcoming the crap tossed in your path along the way (traps, foes, etc) until you get what you want. It’s not bad in that way, it’s just simple. Which is fine for a single planet. Plus Ekkage is just gleefully chaotic evil. It’s worth it all just to watch her kill people just for the lolz but at the same time seem bored by it.
In case you’ve been wondering how the Servants and Emperor know that Baras’ isn’t the Voice of the Emperor, it’s about to be explained on Voss. You see when an aspect of the Emperor (voice, wrath, etc) is destroyed or killed, it reverts to the Emperor. It’s a part of him, so he kind of would know if his Voice was killed. But then how does the Dark Council NOT know? Well, that’s because apparently Darth Baras has trapped the Voice somewhere on Voss, the last place the Voice went for some kind of spiritual journey to get dark power or some Sith thing. It’s up to you to find him and free him.
Your first objective is to go and find the old Voss sage that guided the Voice when he came. This involves mostly just doing a bunch of tedious rituals in order to get him to show up. Which I will tell you, puts my Sith in a BAD mood. You finally talk to the damn Voss who tells you that the Voice wandered off into a place called the Dark Heart in the Nightmare Lands, a place of powerful dark side… energy… stuff. But the only way to follow him is to get a blessing from the Shrine of Healing and a Talisman of Bone from the Voss soldiers fighting in Gormak territory. Now I am already suspect at this point because I will tell you, I’ve been to the Dark Heart before on other characters, and I didn’t need ANY of this crap. But whatever. I wander off to the Shrine of Healing and they explain that in order to receive the blessing it must drain life energy from someone and possibly even kill them (spoiler: No, it doesn’t kill anyone. At all. Not even close.) You are given the choice of sacrificing your own life energy, one of your companions’ life energy, or forcing the Voss healer to sacrifice her own life energy to perform the ritual. I personally forced the Healer to sacrifice her own to do the ritual, because my team and I needed to be in peak condition. We’re going to the Nightmare Lands! You get to sit in the Shrine of Healing. HEALING. I mean really.
The talisman however is where I drew the line with these people. The Voss always get on my nerves so this mission was probably a god send. The troop of soldiers will only agree to part with the talisman if you help defeat a bunch of Gormak because they have some insane superstition that the trinket is helping them win. So only by killing their enemy will they no longer need it and be willing to part with it. So you go and do their jobs for them and come back only to find that they want you now to go back and kill MORE gormak. You have got to be killing me. Are they gonna keep stringing me along and having me run back and forth through enemy territory until every last gormak is dead? I guess I never will found out. Because blessed be Bioware they give you to option at this juncture to just straight up kill all the Voss commandos and take the damn talisman. Oh and I did. There are no words for the sheer amount of joy beaming through my skull at the appearance of that option. It’s a big ‘Skip the BS’ button for a measly 150 dark side points. HOW COULD I SAY NO?
So you finally get the Dark Heart, which to my shocking surprise has NOTHING to do with the second Care Bears movie. Inside you find the Voice of the Emperor, but there seems to be a slight problem. The host body of the Voice has gone insane in the face of the Dark Heart’s madness. The ancient evil that slumbers there has claimed the body of the Voice so you are faced with the dire situation of having to kill the Voice in order to free it. Once the body is dead the Voice can return to the Emperor, but at the same time it means that until a new host is found that for all intensive purposes Baras wins. Either the Voice stays trapped in an insane body on Voss, or the Voice dies. Either way, no evidence to prove that Baras’ isn’t the Voice. Which is one of the reasons that the Sith Warrior storyline is actually really fun is because you’re not up against a stupid opponent. Most are so blinded by their beliefs or convictions that they become desperate and stupid, but Baras has had this all set up way in advance and has clearly proven himself to be a chessmaster in the previous two chapters. Now he’s guaranteed that the actual Voice can in no way be used against him and his pursuit of power.
So after you finish up with a less than successful mission on Voss, your trusted right hand man Malavai Quinn tells you that he has located a space station that contains some highly useful items to take a stab at Darth Baras with. After congratulations all around that Quinn has scored a big win for the team, he leads you to a station and then proceeds to turn two massive war droids on you. Wait. What?
Yes, it would appear that our dear Mr. Quinn was and is firmly in the pocket of Darth Baras. Serving him loyally since you first went to Balmorra and keeping him regularly informed of your progress. So in case you were curious of how Baras’ goons got the drop on you continuously on Belsavis – look no further. Quinn has calculated that these two droids which have been specifically constructed to kill specifically you have a success rate of 99% of doing so. So naturally, you completely dismantle the damn things and beat Quinn around like a ragdoll. Channeling the full power of the Emperor’s Wrath you are pretty much unkillable and deal insane damage during this fight even without a companion. It’s awesome to watch really. But not nearly as awesome as force choking Quinn and then flinging him around the room into the walls and floor over and over. That, my friends, is what we call “Stress Relief”.
Unfortunately, the aftermath of this whole betrayal only ends in one of two ways: Angrily allowing Quinn back to the team, or forgivingly allowing Quinn back to the team. No matter what he renounces Baras now and forever and swears fealty to you and only you and totally isn’t lying this time he promises for realsies. This is probably one of those points back during the beta of the game where you could kill a companion but was taken out for reasons that have been explained hundreds of times by now. Way too much buyers remorse and lack of saves in a MMO mostly. But damn do I wish I could do something to not have that weasel on the ship anymore. Or at least put Vette’s shock collar on him. She’s been loyal! Quinn not so much.
Guess I’ll have to just survive with me knowing that I beat the ever loving &*%# out of him for even thinking of trying to kill me.
Well, it seems that Baras is getting really good at keeping you on the ropes. So now it’s time for the big one. We’re going after his power base. To do that we’re going to need some help though. Turns out that the only Sith that is outright opposing Baras’ claim to being the Voice is overseeing the war on Corellia and unfortunately that has him completely vulnerable for an assassination. So not only do you have to break into the secure REPUBLIC fortress he’s hiding out in and stopping all THREE assassins coming after him and then having to prove that you’re not an assassin and you need his help. *deep breaths* Okay. You get all that? Luckily the convincing is pretty easy when you stop the third assassin right in front of him but dang hasn’t anyone in this galaxy heard of texting? This is getting ridiculous to just ask for some help. Yes, all that is solely for asking for the help of a Sith. For some planets, that could encompass the entirety of the story but here it’s only the first area you visit. Welcome to Corellia, where Sith gets real.
However, once you have gained the help of the Dark Council member, things fall much more into line with what you can expect. There are three areas left on Corellia and each one has one thing that Baras is using to maintain control over the Dark Council and his power base in general. That fits a bit better with what you expect. The first area you have to tackle is the a large database in a secured bunker that holds all of Darth Baras’ blackmail information. With this wiped out you pretty much remove the leash that Darth Baras has on the other Dark Council member. These missions really aren’t ridiculously over the top, it’s mostly just fight through a secured area and hit the button to do the thing or kill the person or something. So beyond the context of what each of these things are there sadly isn’t much to talk about here.
The next task is to eliminate the source of information and scheming that Baras has on the Republic side. It turns out to help manipulate things in the war to his favor and tip off his own forces to give him seen downright clairvoyant, old Barry has himself a plant in the Jedi. Yes, a loyal Jedi is on a Darth’s payroll. Such a shame. Luckily the best way to deal with that is to simply sever the source of information and to do that we can simply murder the Jedi. However, before that you can also try to expose him for the traitor he is and then kill the Jedi. Which is fun. It’s always nice to shatter the spirits of the enemy.
The final strike against Baras comes in the way of breaking his connection to a powerful dark side spirit that he literally has chained up in a basement… or a tower… somewhere not on a first floor. What’s interesting about this bit is actually the mystery around who this dark side spirit is supposed to be. It’s been hypothesized that the spirit is actually Kreia from KOTOR 2, and supposedly the writer of the Sith Warrior story confirmed that this was the intent but I really can’t find a primary source on that, just forum talk. It definitely seems from some of the dialogue that the spirit is more than just some malevolent dark side creature, but there really isn’t a confirmation one way or the other. I still like to assume that its supposed to be Kreia when I play through it though.
To break the connection with the spirit and Darth Baras, you need the help of the Dark Council member that you saved at the beginning of the planet. However, there’s also a trap waiting for you. Lord Draahg (yes, that’s his name) – the apprentice to Chapter 2’s Darth Veggie – is waiting for you to finish what he started at the beginning of Chapter 3. He is going to prove he is the bestest ever to Darth Baras and then Darth Baras will love him like a son and they’ll be happy forever and ever and you will not mess it up! Okay, not really, but it sure as heck comes off like that sometimes. Draahg uses some sort of life draining force curse on the Dark Council member (in case you weren’t convinced that the Force is just a re-skinned version of Magic at this point) and fights you to the death. The only real advice for the fight is to keep moving a bunch because he likes to drop a crap ton of AOE attacks that stick around for a while and hurt like heck. If you’re using a healing companion, keep Draahg away from them because he will drop AOE on their heads and they won’t be smart enough to move 3 feet to the right (QUIIIIIIIIINNN!)
With this Dark Spirit freed, the Dark Council dude saved, and the rest of Darth Baras’ power base left in tatters, the time has come to head for Korriban and confront Darth Tubby himself. The Dark Council dude says he will happily announce you and will meet you there.
Wow. When was the last time I got to write about an actual grand finale? This is pretty much the ultimate showdown that’s been built up for three chapters. You enter the Dark Council chambers and face off with Baras who demands the Dark Council destroys you because he is the Voice of the Emperor. However, you are the Wrath of the Emperor so it’s kind of a stand off. Each of you says the other is lying. So the Dark Council in their infinite wisdom (or complete lack there of) decrees a duel, and whoever wins is clearly the true servant of the Emperor! Which honestly seems kind of a weird line of logic to me, and at this point its becoming increasingly clear that the Empire’s government is a complete mess. The Emperor sends off bits of himself to do different things? Why?! Just call the Dark Council and say “Yo. Do this.” But no, now we have a duel to decide who gets to run this whole thing… which to be fair is a lot more entertaining than actual elections.
Of course, you ultimately beat down Baras after multiple rounds of smacking him. Honestly, I didn’t find Baras to be harder than Draahg. Baras does have some slow cast abilities that probably do massive damage but are easily interrupted. He finally stays down (after you finally get to see him without his helmet on finally) and the Dark Council declares you to be the real Wrath and him not to be the Voice. Yay? Couldn’t the Servants of the Hand tell you that? Oh do they only speak to other Emperor body parts? I dunno. It’s weird.
The only thing to note here is this is chance to see some other members of the Dark Council that pop up in the storylines like Darth Marr who recruits you for the Rise of the Hutt Cartel storyline.
Chapter Three honestly does a great job of feeling like a culmination of everything before it. Darth Baras’ treachery and tactics are well established by this point and to find yourself on the outside of his forces now fighting against him is a way to put a lot of that to use. If there was ever a real weak point it would be Belsavis where the struggle to stop Darth Ekkage from being freed doesn’t seem to have much of an impact beyond killing his family. Yes, she’s a psychopath that would have brought ruthless and unrelenting power to Baras’ cause, but compared to a genius plan to trap the true Voice and destroying Baras’ power base, it seems a bit lesser in ways.
The betrayal of Malavai Quinn could have been done better if Quinn actually had tipped his hand at points showing that he was willing to listen to Baras over you. But he may have and I just didn’t pick up on it. Again, more to look for in the second playthrough.
I just really don’t get the incredibly weird way the Emperor runs things. Like seriously, what the hell.
If the Imperial Agent shows life outside the ranks of the Sith and cleaning up their mess, and the Bounty Hunter shows what life is like outside of the Empire in general, then I would describe the Sith Warrior storyline as the definitive Sith experience. In service to a master, the careful dance of treachery and loyalty, betrayal and internal power struggles – everything that I would view as a Sith trait is found in this plot line. It has a ton of memorable moments that stand out such as the corruption of Jaesa, the betrayal of Quinn, the revelation of Draahg backstabbing you on Baras’ orders… there’s some great stuff here and at no point do I find myself shaking my head at like some of the other stories. While some parts don’t seem to have the impact as others, nothing feels like a waste of time or anything to make your character feel unworthy of his position.
Most importantly, the storyline feels like a whole single narrative. The chapter breaks are not clear lines of this is a different plot like you find in the Trooper storyline. The events of chapter one help set up the events of chapter two and likewise with chapter three. It’s far easier than almost any other storyline for me to think of it as “The Sith Warrior Story” instead of “Sith Warrior Chapter X’s story.” And I really like that. Definitely worth a play through in my opinion.
<– Chapter Two ||