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 second chapter, please look here. You have been warned.
So last time we completely dismantled a compromised spy network, rooted out a hidden padawan and then converted said padawan to our side using manipulation, lies, trickery and cookies. So how do we follow that up? Do we ascend to being a powerful Lord with a spy network and servants of our own? No! We get to work for our boss’ boss. That’s right, there’s someone even above Darth Barry and his name is Darth Vengean. And while your first instinct may be to pronounce that Darth VEGEN (Also not to be confused with Dark Vegen, the toast loving villain of the Johnny Test TV show), it is actually pronounced like Vengeance but without the -ce. So like Ven-Gen. Not much better.
Anyway, Vengean and Baras have a new job for you: Plan Zero. Which despite it’s cool name, is actually just “Kill this list of big wigs in the Republic brass”. Well, okay. I can do that. I’m very good at killing things. Just like Jaesa’s family and master. Right Jaesa? Jaesa? OH GOD PUT DOWN THE MEDICAL TABLE!
Taris is where suprisingly four of the generals you need to kill are. That’s convenient. So the entire planet quickly devolves to “find a general, kill a general, repeat.” I’m not going to go into every little detail of tracking down these guys because honestly for the most part it isn’t worth it. However it is worth noting that we do meet our next companion: Lt. Pierce. Pierce is a soldier. That is his defining characteristic. He is not a boot kissing promotion craving soldier like Quinn, but more of a rough and tumble, down and dirty, smoking in the mess with the boys while playing poker kind of soldier. But he also knows his stuff. And is bad ass to boot. He actually holds off several hundred republic soldiers by himself. Now it’s important to note, he does this off camera. When he’s actually in your party, he can maybe take like… three? That said he is a tank, so killing isn’t his strong suit. (Neither was tanking really so he stays on the ship)
No, the thing I really wanted to talk about here was the final mission on the planet. You, Pierce, a small army, and all your other companions team up for a giant assault on the Republic base. Yea, that only interesting thing from all of Trooper Chapter 2? It’s just a regular planet mission here. Oh, and they do it right in this storyline too. See, the mission requires you to divide up your forces into three teams. One is the assault team, one deals with the traps, and one deals with stopping reinforcements and Quinn stays at the base coordinating (There goes my healer…) Now the big difference here is that it actually matters who gets sent where. If you send the wrong person on a job, they will fail and it will make things harder for the assault team. Extra mobs if the reinforcements arrive, turrets if the traps team fails, and dealing with mercenaries if you can’t apply the right pressure to make them run. Quinn makes it fairly clear who should be assigned to each team, but you can put Vette, Jaesa or Pierce on any of them. I was just happy that there were consequences to incorrect team assignment. See, Trooper storyline, THAT’S how you do a mission.
Narratively, the generals all seem to be working on a super power battery to fuel weapons, ships, droids… anything really. That increases the power of whatever they’re installed into tenfold. Which doesn’t sound scientifically possible. Wouldn’t that just break most things? Don’t most devices have some sort of ceiling to how much power they can use, hence the term “overload”? So they invested billions of credits in a battery that will overload their stuff? I mean, if they were built to use that 10x power, sure that’d make sense. But then it wouldn’t be 10x the power, it would just be the expected amount of power because it was built specifically to use those batteries. Republic military! What the heck is wrong with you? Anyway, it’s implied Vengean and/or Baras wants the tech, but I was just told to kill them, so I did. Just left the stuff there. They can send someone else to collect it if they really want it.
Quesh actually begins not on the planet at all but on a ship floating in orbit around it. The ship is apparently being attacked by the forces of one Admiral Monk, another target of Plan Zero. You have to fight your way through the ship and stop the attacking Republic forces but unfortunately, once you reach the bridge Monk is nowhere to be found.
According to the captain, Admiral Monk shot off in an escape pod to the surface of Quesh. You get ready to depart, but the Captain appears to be quite upset. He doesn’t want to be part of these ‘games’ of Darth Baras and attacks you. Honestly, I pleaded the fifth. I was just sent to kill these guys. Not to play schemes & scenarios. That’s my Inquisitor’s job. So I had to kill the captain. It was self defense. And fun. Lots of fun.
Down on Quesh, you finally find Admiral Monk who claims to be one of Baras’ deep cover agents, and that there’s some sort of scheme against Darth Vengean? And that Monk knows the truth and he won’t be silence because he’s loyal and his cover is intact! But I don’t know anything about all that, and honestly I am getting tired of being dragged above my pay grade. I was told to murder kill destroy, and murder kill destroy I shall. Farewell Admiral Ninja!
The final stage of Plan Zero sends you to the frigid world of Hoth, and the target is a Jedi master named Xerender. A notoriously pain in the butt Jedi to find it seems as he constantly is able to give you and Baras’ flunkies the slip. (I am not Baras’ flunkie, I’m his apprentice.) Not to mention that this troublesome Jedi has employed the help of an entire clan of Talz! Okay, not an entire clan. Apparently, the Talz are also being hunted by a former clan member that was ousted out and wants revenge: Broonmark. You and Broonmark sort of compete for the kill as it where as you keep running into him, fighting him, and ultimately working with him to get what you both want.
The trick to finding the Jedi is really to find what he’s after. Some sort of secret super weapon hidden among the icy caverns and wrecked ships. Of course, the mystery is actually fairly quickly banished as you figure out that the Jedi is after not a “weapon” in a traditional sense, but his former master named Wyellett who crashed on Hoth years ago, and has been living off the Force ever since (cause you apparently can do that) and thus has granted him profound insight into the nature of the Force. To make things interesting and way more personal, it seems that our stranded Super-Jedi was also a former rival of Darth Baras and even captured Baras’ lightsaber years ago. Which honestly seems like a bit overkill in the ‘it’s all tied together’ area, but it also allows Baras to find the Wyellett because he can kind of sense his lightsaber? And read its mind? Crystal? I have no clue. It’s space magic. I give up trying to make sense of this stuff since man first asked why the lightsaber stops at yay high.
So you find Wyellett and Xerender, and pretty much just kill them. Yea. That’s about it. Okay, well you also help Broonmark get his revenge and he agrees to come with you. I like him. He’s all super bloodthirsty and grumpy, but also fuzzy. Kind of like a really tall Treek that can’t heal. You are also given the chance to spare the Wyellett or even just hear out his gift of wisdom about the true nature of the Force. Which I really didn’t take him up on either offer. He’s a Jedi, I’m a Sith. It just makes more sense to not listen and just kill the old man.
It seems that all those people I killed talking about schemes and tricks may have been right, because no sooner do you get back to Darth Baras on Dromund Kaas then he explains that this whole thing was a trick to get his master, Darth Veggies, out of favor with the Dark Council so that he can (read: YOU can) kill him and Darth Baras can take his position on the Dark Council.
You end up teaming up with Darth Vegemite’s apprentice who has betrayed his master to join up with Darth Baras. Clearly he wants to bat for the winning team. Which is a sports metaphor or so I’m told. He helps you break in to the fortress of Darth VeggieTales by doing absolutely nothing as you kill your way through the Darth’s servants. Supposedly he’s handling the security, but honestly I couldn’t tell you if he did or not. I know he shows up at the end to help take his share of the credit.
The battle with Darth Vegeta is pretty epic as well, combined with the dawning revelation of Baras’ plot against him and the warnings that Baras will betray you as well it serves as a good capstone on the Chapter 2 plot. The whole bit ends with a return to Baras who welcomes you and his former boss’ apprentice as his new lieutenants in his new order of his new Sith-y-ness. Wonder how long that will last.
In terms of middle chapters, the Sith Warrior does a pretty good job. It builds on the scheming nature of Darth Baras but no by blatantly letting you in on his plans. Instead you find confused military officers and Sith that you kill for just doing what they were told. You get to be in that position of ‘our mutual boss told us both to come here and kill each other… hmmm….’ kind of plot that is so fun to watch unfold, but this time from the inside.
Maybe its just me but the idea of getting to watch a grand chess master scheme unfurling from the perspective of one of the pawns (ie YOU) is actually really cool. It does a great job of establishing Baras as this powerfully manipulative magnificent bastard that really does have everyone around his finger. Which you got a bit of that in the first chapter, but not nearly to this degree.
The villain of the chapter is however less than interesting. Which I suppose is fine since his only real purpose is being someone to off so Baras can make a power play for a seat on the Council. If there was anything else to be done with it I suppose he could have tried to make a deal with you behind Baras’ back to try and take out your master. Something like “I know what Baras is up to. It won’t work. Come join me.” but then Baras knows that Veggie knows and plans around it with you retrieving some kind of powerful tool to get the upper hand. But that might have been a bit much for the short middle chapter.
As for your new companions… meh. Pierce makes an excellent foil for Quinn as the pragmatic soldier versus the cunning officer. Quinn does things by the book, but Pierce realizes that the book isn’t prepared for everything and sometimes you have to go with your gut. It’s a nice change of pace that shows the difference in the mentality of the troops that serve the Sith. Broonmark on the other hand is a giant hairball that hangs out in the cargo bay of the ship. Really all you get to know about him in his initial encounters on Hoth is that he is A) Ruthless and B) Out for vengeance. Which naturally makes him useful but he does not make much of an impression.