SWTOR Class Storyline Review: Imperial Agent – Prologue

|| IMPERIAL AGENT || Chapter One –>

Warning: This post contains spoilers for the prologue of the Imperial Agent storyline in Star Wars: The Old Republic.  To see a spoiler-free summary of the storyline please check this page instead.

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Welcome to the cleaning crew, Agent.  From this day forth you will have no identity, no friends, and no allegiances to anyone but us.  You are a ghost, a shadow, a passerby that is forgotten as quick as you are seen. Your mission will be to protect the Empire’s interest across the galaxy, to serve the orders of the Sith and to tidy up their messes.  This is your life now, Agent.  Welcome to Imperial Intelligence.

The Imperial Agent is exactly all that and more.  While the bounty hunter claims a paycheck, and the Sith war for power with each other, it’s you that will be behind the scenes of everything, picking up the pieces and ensuring that no matter what happens – the Empire wins.  Imagine James Bond, meets Ghost in the Shell, meets Mission Impossible, meets the Bourne Identity, all tossed in a blender of intrigue and action with a finger fully pressed on frappe. That’s what you are in for.  You’ve probably heard murmurs across the internet about how the Agent story is probably one of the best stories in the game, and this is not blind hyperbole.  But that’s for later, and now you are a fresh faced agent, just created, completely green and arriving on Hutta.  Let me give you the sit rep on the Prologue for the Imperial Agent.

Hutta

Oh of all the places to get stuck on your first mission.  This has got to be some kind of form of Imperial Intelligence hazing.  Hutta, the stinkball, is home to a powerful hutt named Nem’ro.  Nem’ro controls a ton of the resources here, and it’s up to you to secure a partnership with the hutt and the Empire by any means necessary.  Your handler, named “Keeper”, which I guess is supposed to be cute because of the ragged mangy akk dogs we are that we need a keeper not a coordinator or a commander, wants you to secure a new identity from an alien in town and make a good impression with the Hutt-in-charge and get to working on setting up an alliance.  The alien – Jeeg – has the identity of ‘The Red Blade’ set up for you.  It’s the name of a criminal of some renown, no one knows what they look like and the Real Blade is supposed to be on the other side of the galaxy by now.  The only real hiccup with this plan is that a couple of low life parasites made off with the crate of goods you were supposed to present to Nem’ro, so it’s up to you to get them back and get to Nem’ro for a meeting.   The meeting can go well or decent based on your choices really.  Either way you get introduced to several members of Nem’ro’s crew: Karrells the old timer, Kaliyo the muscle, and Tothrezen the…  uh…  dumb one that Nem’ro likes?  Really Toth doesn’t do much other than he’s the current favorite, a complete jerk, and dumber than bricks so Karrells always has to pick up his messes.  Keeper identifies as Karrells as the best target to get buddy buddy with and you go off using a bit of overhead info to help put Karrells back in Nem’ro’s limelight.

How you do that is pretty much taking care of problems for Nem’ro around the planet. Doing things like reclaiming ore from the renegade evocii (the locals that sold their planet to the hutts) that was stolen from Nem’ro’s mines, and breaking into the the rival hutt Fathra’s factory and blowing up a drilling shaft that’s being used to pillage Nem’ro’s gas deposits.  You’ve pretty much ensured yourself a man on the inside with Karrells until a slight problem arises.  Karrells’ kids?  His sons that he won’t shut up about?  Turns out they were just killed.  By a Sith.  So the chances of Karrells being sympathetic to joining the Empire pretty much will be blasted into space as soon as he gets the news.  Thus Karrells turns from your best asset into your biggest liability and we all know what to do with liabilities. Actually, beyond the straight order to just kill Karrells, you can technically just tell him to lay low, get the heck out of town, and not to contact anyone in order to spare his life.  Which seems counter to doing your job, but hey, he was a nice guy for a gang leader murderer thug.

The plan at this point radically shifts as you actually pin the murder of Karrells (or the attack if Karrells hid) on the rival hutt Fathra and using a Republic computer spike so it looks like the Republic and Fathra joined forces to take out Nem’ro.  But Nem’ro needs proof before he goes to war.  You volunteer to find said evidence for justice for poor Karrells (he was your buddy after all. Mwahaha.) and Tothrezen accepts your help.  However, Kaliyo is more suspicious.  She follows you to your room and confronts you about killing Karrells.  Your only choice really is to let her in on the loop because as it turns out – She’s not mad!  She actually wants in on the heist.  So you introduce her to Keeper and he offers her a job working for Imperial Intelligence under your command.  She takes the job under the condition that if Keeper ever refers to her as a loyal servant of the Empire again she’ll break his jaw.  With that settled it’s off to Fathra’s!

The ultimate goal inside the palace is pretty easy.  You kill lieutenants to get their security badges and then download the altered files that show that Fathra has been dealing with the Republic.  Of course, a bunch of Fathra’s goons try to stop you but that really doesn’t slow you down.  The actual choice to the whole thing comes in the form of whether you scorch part of the files or not.  Why?  Well these are all of Fathra’s records.  This shows that Fathra has had dealings with the Republic now, but also that he’s been in cahoots with half of the businesses that work for Nem’ro.  If Nem’ro finds out, Hutta’s gonna run red with blood which will make Nem’ro happy but destroy a lot of his merchant empire on the planet.  So it’s actually a nice real difficult choice.  You risk exposing this whole thing as a scheme if you damage the files, but you protect Nem’ro’s assets or you can just focus on keeping Nem’ro happy and if he slaughters his own city it’s his own dumb fault.  Either way, the records are proof enough that Nem’ro’s hated rival is working with the Republic and that he needs just as much help, so he gets on the holo contacting the Empire for assistance.  Mission complete.  Almost.

It would seem that on your way off world that the actual, real Red Blade is here and he’s not pleased that you’ve been using his identity.  How did he find out?  How did he get here so quick?  I dunno, but I blame Jeeg.  To me though he’s just another loose end to wrap up.  And by that I mean bury in the ground completely.  Or I suppose technically just leaving him dead on the hangar floor.  That works too.

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Dromund Kaas

Welcome to the home world, Agent.  Here you are the secret police and the clean up crew.  Which is a weird position to be in when people are terrified of you and at the same time you have to clean up their messes.  Speaking of messes, no sooner than you arrive at Imperial Intelligence HQ and you bump into Keeper and Darth Jadus himself.  Jadus is a creepy ol’ big sith dude who always wears a mask.  Honestly, he’s probably one of the cooler Sith NPCs in the game.  He’s very philosophical, not afraid to exert his power, has a unique agenda (more on that in a moment), and looks bad ass.  He’s not interested in the power plays like Baras or untold hidden power like Zash.  Best of all (or worst of all depending on your outlook) he seems to have taken a liking to you in particular, and tells Keeper he wants you to be the agent for the job he was apparently describing before you arrived.  That job?  Eliminating a terrorist cell on Dromund Kaas.  A uniquely boring terrorist cell at that, as they have no formal name, no motive or connections, and their only reason for resorting to terrorism is literally “we are not satisfied with Imperial policy.”  I’ve seen tweens on Tumblr with better reasons to get upset, let alone resort to terrorism.

Keeper sends you out to go find an alien slave that was once used to transport messages between political dissidents and supposedly kept copies of said messages “encoded” in his native language.  It’s encoded in the sense that Imperial nobility are too fricking racist to bother to learn any language other than Basic, I guess. Oh yea. And if you play an agent that’s not a cyborg, human or pureblood? Get used to putting up with the incredible racism from your team mates and other Imperials. They love bringing it up. Like calling you a ‘creature’ or ‘alien’.  Lots of “you people” crap.  You can also get to know the rest of the Imperial Intelligence team before you head out.  They are:

  • Watcher Two: Genetically engineered to be a ‘Watcher’.  But she has a quick tongue and can even keep up with Kaliyo in the insults department.
  • Lodenth: The token alien. He’s here to help understand Alien stuff. Like psychology. Or reading something other than Aurebesh.
  • Fixer Twelve: A former agent turned mechanic. He claims to be the guy who keeps the whole place running, which makes me wonder what the hell the other eleven fixers do.
  • Watcher Three: The new guy. I will not be shocked if he dies.  He is after all, the new guy.

If you are wondering where Watcher One is at the moment, he’s gone supposedly AWOL working with Darth Angral in the Jedi Knight storyline.  Anyway, you head off to find the slave in question – one Jurithus by name – who got caught up in the slave rebellions surrounding the giant statue in the jungle.  You hunt down and question a rebellion leader named Rebellion Leader and inject him with a serum you picked up before you left HQ.  This pretty much turns his mind into Jello so you can extract info from him.  Unfortunately the info you get is that Jurithus died in the jungle (or on the opposite platform from the one you’re on it turns out. Again, Jello.) You can then put rebellion leader Rebellion Leader out of his misery and shoot him (Dark Side) or command him to turn himself in (Light Side).  You go grab the datapad and since it’s “encoded” it’s off to Lodenth to translate.  Keeper checks in with you and tells you to head back right away – Darth Jadus wants a word with you.

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Darth Jadus finally lays out his grand design to you personally, since you are his ‘personal agent’ now it seems.  He no longer wants Dromund Kaas and the Sith to be central repository for hate and fear in the Empire.  He wants to ‘democratize fear’ so that every citizen of the Empire on every world – be they human, Sith or alien – can experience true fear and absolute hatred.  This is something he clearly cares deeply about and it’s weird.  On one hand, that’s messed up.  On the other hand, he wants everyone – not just the Elite – to experience the same thing.  Which is a unique perspective in the Empire where society is firmly divided between Sith and pretty much everyone else.  Jadus is planning on taking a starship with a few thousand dignitaries, sith and even slaves around the Galaxy to show them his ‘vision’ for the Empire and he wants to ensure that these dissidents don’t do anything to stop this.  He asks you to trust absolutely no one, since he knows that the terrorists to have contacts in the highest levels of power throughout the Empire.  He finishes the meeting by asking you to kneel before him.  Which you can. Or not.  If you choose not to – he kills you.  Not just in a cut scene. You die.  You have to rez.  He seems to expect you to be able to come back from being killed also.  Which officially makes Jadus the first character that I know that is aware that death is temporary and may in fact be leaning on the fourth wall a bit.

After the meeting and possibly coming back from the grave, Watcher Two sends you to the cantina for your next lead. Apparently, a weapons designer by the name of Theovor Mindak has contacts with the terrorists. But Mindak works for the rogue sith lord Grathan.  You need a better in.  Luckily, Mindak has a spoiled party girl daughter who is upstairs at the moment.  You can try to use diplomacy to cut a deal where she inherits all her daddy’s wealth and power (Light Side), flirt with her (She’ll see through it), or just beat her (or a combination!) to get the info out of her and get her access codes.  You can also kill her when its over if you want to tie up loose ends (Dark Side).  Using the access codes, you can find Mindak in his lab and you find out why he helps the terrorist – because he is dissatisfied with Imperial policy.  Okay, actually he’s a bit more specific.  It seems that Imperial Intelligence grabbed his wife one night and hauled her off to who knows where and she was never seen again.  No word on WHY she was hauled off, but I can see how this would sour his outlook.  It doesn’t matter if you go light or dark, sincere or snark with Mindak, you’ll have to fight him and his robots either way.  Once he’s dead, you grab his files and head back to base while Watcher Two deciphers them.

Once you get back, it’s time for a meeting.  Darth Jadus phones in as he’s readying his ship – The Dominator – for launch. We know the terrorist’s target: The power conduits to Kaas City.  By blowing just one it would set off a chain reaction that destroy every power source across the capital.  All the conduits are under strict military guard save one – the one that lies under the Dark Temple.  At this point we finally get some explanation as to what the deal with the temple is.  Like that apparently the temple was only opened up just under a month ago and after workers started vanishing to an ‘unknown phenomena’ (ghosts) they blocked access to it.  No I don’t know how they built a conduit under it without ever being able to go inside until just recently.  Especially since the access tunnel is IN the Temple. Though I suppose the terrorists could have just used that tunnel to blow a hole into accessing the conduit.  Still, this is the first but far from the last time we’ll receive information about the game’s setting that is exclusive to the Agent’s storyline.  Keeper wants to send in a squad of agents to suppress the terrorists, but Jadus says that the Temple is sacred and he will not allow non-Sith to just run about willy nilly in there.  Jadus decides it will be you and you alone that goes into the temple.  Keeper is not pleased, doubly so if you thank Jadus for the job.

The mission is actually really simple.  You bust in, take down three whole bombs, and then find an injured terrorist to interrogate.  You can talk or hit him all you want but what you get out of him is this:  There are multiple cells across multiple worlds.  Their reasons for doing this are vague but seem to center around the idea of standing up against Imperial Intelligence in particular.  And if you let him talk long enough instead of straight killing him when given the opportunity, he’ll reveal he’s terrified of the ghosts taking his mind more than he is afraid of you.  You can help him out by getting him out of there (Light Side) and he’ll be more ‘cooperative’ in looking for the Cells, or just ditch him in the Temple to let the ghosts have him (Dark Side).

When you get back to headquarters, the entire place is in chaos.  It would appear that while you were out stopping the terrorists, they had a secondary target in mind – The Dominator.  That’s right.  They blew up Darth Jadus’ flagship just as it was leaving Dromund Kaas, killing all three thousand-ish people on board including Darth Jadus himself.  This is followed by a proclamation by the terrorist leader – The Eagle – to the entire Empire.  He explains that they have proven that the Sith are not all powerful by killing Jadus.  That they will continue to strike.  That the Empire is bad and needs fixed.  That Imperial Intelligence can just grab you if you even think anything bad about the Empire and make you vanish.  Really, it’s mostly generic freedom fighter rabble rousing but we know who was behind it.  Time to go ge-  wha?  Oh there’s one more mission?  Ah yes.  The exciting conclusion of chasing down a starship before it leaves and planting a mouse droid on it before the military blows things up.  You run in and click a crate, then watch a cutscene before leaving.  That’s it.  Whoo hoo.  Despite the ‘we must beat the military there’, they never do show up.  Kind of a let down after the awesome reveal of the Eagle and the destruction of the Dominator.  I guess they had a quest quota to fill for the XPs?  Meh, we get the new title of “Cipher Nine” out of it, and our own ship.  Also, don’t be a goof like me.  Just because Keeper says that they’re trying to leave the starport.  THEY ARE NOT AT THE STARPORT.  They are at a docking area just across from the Cantina in Kaas City.  I quick traveled all the way to the actual starport only to be left very confused.

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Final Thoughts

The start of the Imperial Agent is a full blown taste of what you’ll be getting in Chapter One.  There’s intrigue, deception, manipulation and eliminating lots of enemies of the Empire.  In a lot of ways it feels very straight and by the book, but on the other hand it offers you a real chance to get into the headspace of the secret police of the Empire.  They aren’t exaggerating when they say that Imperial Intelligence can show up out of nowhere and make you vanish.  You are fully authorized to kill whoever you want and rest assured that the Watchers will make sure that no one else finds out if need be.  The only place you have to be cautious is outside of Imperial jurisdiction as shown on Hutta with Karrels.  It’s kind of scary to think about what you can do as an Agent if you look at it from the outside.

It’s also quite interesting coming back and playing this story a second (and third I’m sure you noticed with the screenshots) time.  While everything seems straight laced and by the books missions, there’s actually a metric ton of foreshadowing given in the prologue about the events that will transpire in the next chapter.  Not to get too spoilery, but the Prologue gives you all the clues you need to piece together the mystery in Chapter One.  But it also sets up red herrings, misdirection, and a sense of you don’t know who is on the level.  Simply put, there’s a lot more going on in this chapter than you will realize on your first play through it.  Which is awesome.  You can come back later on a new character after you finished an agent and go, “Oh. OOOOOOH. I GET IT!”

We also get our first companion, Kaliyo. Who coincidentally at the time of this writing has just been re-introduced in the Knights of the Fallen Empire storyline.  Kaliyo is anti-authority to the point of being an “anarchist”.  Anarchist like punk bands in the 80’s and high school kids who draw that ‘A’ symbol on their folders use the word, not like the actual political manifesto way.  She’s also a love interest of the male Agent.  I have only had a few chances to flirt with her, but honestly Kaliyo comes off a LOT like Jack from Mass Effect 2 without all the emotional baggage and breakthrough that can come from that romance.  So I’m not sure I can say I personally am the biggest fan.

Overall, I think the Agent has a good start.  I can see how it can be deceptively simple and straightforward to a first time player. I remember thinking it didn’t get good until the end of Chapter One.  But now re-playing it, I can see all the awesome connections and set ups that were actually going completely under the radar on this one.

|| IMPERIAL AGENT || Chapter One –>

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Posted on February 11, 2016, in Class Storyline Reviews, The Old Republic and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. That first paragraph is a literal quote by Keeper, isn’t it?

    Technically you never die in the Old Republic, you just get “defeated” and then revived, so Jadus knocking you out isn’t really immersion-breaking. It’s just funnier and more memorable to make you run back yourself than showing a cut scene of you passing out and then waking up again.

    Still, this is the first but far from the last time we’ll receive information about the game’s setting that is exclusive to the Agent’s storyline.

    That’s true for most classes though. Until you play a knight or a warrior, you have zero idea who the Emperor is and what he’s up to (with me choosing a trooper as my first character, I remember that being so confusing in my first playthrough). Only the trooper knows the real reasons for Republic and Empire resuming hostilities. Only the bounty hunter knows the fate of the first Supreme Chancellor. And so on and so forth.

    • The first paragraph is actually a mix of Keeper’s ‘Welcome to Dromund Kaas’ speech and the ‘Welcome to the MiB’ bit from the first Men in Black movie. I felt the mash up was appropriate.

      As for the setting bit, I suppose I should clarify. While it’s true most classes get information about the setting that is exclusive to that storyline, usually the information gained is pretty much only necessary to that storyline as well. Oh sure, the Knight and the Warrior learn about the Emperor. But that information contributes next to nothing to a bounty hunter playthrough, or a smuggler. They never interact or even hear mention of the Emperor in their stories.

      However, every Imperial character will go to the Dark Temple for something at least once. And while the side quests will explain about the ghosts and the haunting, it’s ONLY in the Imperial Agent storyline are we given the explanation that this is an issue because the Temple was only cracked open a measly few weeks ago after centuries of being locked up and inaccessible. Not even the ‘investigate the ghosts’ side quests mentions that info, and would leave you to believe that the temple was always open but only recently for no explained reason did the ghosts begin acting up when actually the recent intrusion is what awoke them.

      As another example, from Chapter Three without being too spoilery, the Imperial Agent learns explicitly that the Empire is actually flat-out LOSING the war. A point that without knowing that made Darth Marr’s chat at the start of Makeb seem a bit out of place since according to the Imperial side planetary quests, the war was going quite well. But no, because of Sith infighting and Baras & Thanaton diverting resources for personal feuds, Agents are told flat out that the Empire is losing and at this point it’s just making the Republic blow resources by working for it. Agents are also the only ones to learn WHY the Voss are so insanely determined to remain neutral, though that explanation IS spoilery so I’ll save it for now.

      So I suppose I should say that the Imperial Agent reveals setting information that affects and can inform the other class playthroughs as well as fleshing out the setting. The Knight and the Warrior kind of pair up in terms of learning whats up with the Emperor in the same way, but no other class has any interaction with the Emperor. The Consular has more on the Emperor’s Children but it doesn’t do anything that brings any new light to the Jedi Knight’s brief interaction with them. The Bounty Hunter does explain what happened to the old Supreme Chancellor, but I want to say that only the Trooper ever meets the old Supreme Chancellor before Saresh (If I am remembering correctly).

      The Agent story will give you intel that is exclusive to its class story but will carry over and inform every other playthrough. I suppose that’s what is so interesting about it.

      • That’s pretty damn cool. 😀

        And I appreciate your detailed reply, thank you! I really need to finish replaying the agent story some time soon. My memory of the agent’s ending on Voss is very fuzzy, but I do remember that it was quite a revelation compared to what the other classes got to see.

        Still, on the whole I’m afraid we kind of have to agree to disagree in terms of how important the exclusive content in various class stories is to the overall experience. It’s true that every Imperial player gets to go to the Dark Temple, but do people really care that much about the details of what’s going on there?

        In comparison I remember being almost frustrated with not knowing what was going on with the Emperor. He was made out to be a big deal in the Revan flashpoints, and then at the end of the Ilum story arc he was suddenly being usurped by Darth Malgus… what was going on there? When I actually levelled up my first Jedi knight it was a huge revelation.

      • I’m actually curious to see your thoughts on the “big choice” later on in the story, which is probably the biggest choice you have to make in the imperial agent storyline. I can’t think of a way to put it without spoiling it, so I’ll stop here. I’ll comment more when you get to that part in the review.

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