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SWTOR Class Storyline Review: Imperial Agent – Chapter One

<– Prologue || IMPERIAL AGENT || Chapter Two –>

Warning: This post contains spoilers for the first chapter 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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The hunt is on the find ‘The Eagle’ and all his little terrorist buddies across the Galaxy.  But before that can start, you’ve been called to a special meeting, with a special little insane someone.  That someone would be Darth Jadus’ daughter – Darth Zhorrid.  She has taken her late father’s seat on the Dark Council and she’s not about to give it up to anyone.  Of course, she also delights in being an utter disappointment to her daddy.  Where Jadus was cool, calculated, and seethed with a undercurrent of hate, Zhorrid is just plain batty.  She sics her guards on you as soon as you walk in the door, then giggles when you kill them for instance.  She comes off as completely insane right at the go and worse yet, you HAVE to work for her.  She demands it.  Of course, even that isn’t simple because while she is fine with you running around and going pew pew with terrorists, she wants you to also find the REAL killers of her father.  Which in her head are decidedly not the terrorist but some vast conspiracy within the Dark Council.  She wants that dealt with.  Not for revenge on her father though. Oh no.  But because she REAAALLY likes having his seat on the Dark Council and doesn’t want anyone to try and oust her.  With that demand given, she shoos you on your way where Watcher Two drops your next assignment – destroy the terrorist cells on Balmorra and Nar Shadaa.

And since this is the last time I will be talking about a ‘Chapter One’ story…  what the heck is the point of giving you both of these at the same time?  They do the same thing with Alderaan and Tatooine.  Watcher Two even mentions to handle the order you do them in “your discretion” BUT there’s a clear leveling curve to the game.  The enemies on Nar Shadaa are several levels higher than Balmorra.  You are meant to do them in order, but then they hand you both quests and say “Do them in any order” but you CAN’T.  I dunno. That irritated me all the way back in Beta and I just wanted that off my chest.

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Balmorra

The war torn planet of Balmorra is just ripe for trouble.  It’s not exactly a shock that the first terrorist cell would turn up here.  Actually what’s more surprising is that it’s just a singular terrorist cell.  The Eagle could probably have the entire resistance and the Republic “defectors” in his back pocket. Instead, it’s just one dude named Gray Star and his team.  Aside from the fact that Gray Star sounds like a character on some weird SatAM space western cartoon, this should be cake, right?

Well your first job is to get in touch with your local contact in Imperial Intelligence who hangs out in the office of a warehouse.  He points you to HIS inside man who has already infiltrated the Resistance – one Sanju Pyne.  You go and get the official introduction with the Resistance’s number two: Chemish Or (Her last name drove me nuts, because the quest instructions always say ‘Return to Chemish Or’ and EVERY SINGLE TIME I immediately asked in my head ‘Or what?’ before it finally dawned on me at the end of my third playthrough that it was her name).  She wants you to do a quick job to run over to the Droid Factory and snag a crate of power cores.  Depending on your conversation options, Chemish can be quite upfront with you about what they’re for – turning them into explosives to blow up Sobrik, the Imperial town on Balmorra.

Honestly, this is probably one of the more annoying missions here simply because it uses one of those big square rooms with a pit that you have to fight around clockwise to reach the destination (it pops up a few places in the game, and I always hate it) but you eventually find the power cores and get contacted by Sanju.  Sanju warns you that a lot of innocent imperials will die if you hand back those power cores but he suggests a way that there is no possible means to detect foul play but render them harmless.  Stick them in a giant magnet.  Okay, not really but that is pretty much the idea. You run the crate through the machine and it fries all the cores.  This is your Light Side option and the results work out in your favor.  Kind of?  Sure, Chemish is still super suspicious but there’s nothing she can pin directly on you. Even her own people attest that the cores are old and could have failed at any time.  The dark side option of course is just bringing Chemish the cores.  She pretty much trusts you that point.

How you chose to resolve the last mission determines how the next one begins.  Either you are in the doghouse with Chemish and get one last chance to prove yourself, or she has a vital mission for her new cohort.  The job is pretty much just ‘Go into a cave and download some data before wiping it’ but the complication comes in the form of the entire place being gassed with toxins that either drove the terrorists insane or just killed them.  So you get to fight your way through to get the data.  Again though, Sanju calls in with some brilliant advice.  You should send him a copy of all the data so he can make sure that the Imperial spies on the list can all get extra protection or removed from the planet.  Which you know, won’t be suspicious at all.  I’m starting to think that Sanju is trying to get me killed.  But it turns out I’m wrong.  See, if you give them the data you are immediately make Chemish’s ‘suspect list’ but you are given a dark side option to instead throw Sanju under the bus and blame him for it all to keep your cover.  Which may seem cruel, but if you don’t give Sanju the data, he’ll try and duplicate the list on his own and start sending off protection anyway and he will be killed by the Terrorist Cell (or you) when you return to their secret base.

So at this point, you are either on the Cell’s bad side or their star quarterback (or um… a midfielder I guess for anyone outside of the states?) regardless there will be one final super-special-awesome mission that only you have the skills to complete.  So of course the game disregards your choices, right? Well, not exactly but we’ll get to that in a moment.  The mission is to break out an unknown terrorist cell member from the Republic base holed up in the Balmorran Arms Factory.  To do this you need to find said agent, deliver a package as well as coordinates to a safe house.  Now when you arrive, provided he is still alive Sanju will contact you to reveal that this ‘agent’ is actually Gray Star himself, and Sanju has a plan to divert Gray Star to a different safe house where he can be apprehended by the Empire with Sanju replacing him and sending out dummy orders that essentially turn the cell into an unwilling arm of the Empire.  This is probably Sanju’s best plan yet, but it can only come about if you make all the right choices leading up to this point (Light Side at the ‘Get the List’ mission, don’t take the dark side to sacrifice Sanju) otherwise you’re only real option is to just kill Gray Star and make a split back to Sobrik for debriefing.  When you get back to the ship, Watcher Two contacts you to update you that they have intercepted terrorist information that refer to a mysterious new weapon called “Eradicators”.

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Nar Shadaa

Our next stop is Shadowtown in Nar Shadaa, an Imperial prison for dissidents that need to just be tossed someplace to rot away the years.  Our contact here is in the high security cells and goes by the name ‘Watcher X’.  X was imprisoned when he went mad and starting becoming more and more paranoid and making strange connections claiming conspiracies everywhere.  But  he’s still trustworthy as a former Watcher he has the sensation of physical pain when he disobeys are an order from a superior (part of the Watcher genetic programming and training) and if that doesn’t do it, he also has a bomb lodged in his head.  So you know, incentive to not mess around.  That doesn’t mean it’s not risky because Watcher X is a genius and been playing the game a lot longer than you have, as demonstrated by his ability to walk you through the steps of sizing him, the room, and the situation up when you first meet.  Watcher X gives you the run down of the situation: the terrorists are manufacturing and testing a new genetic modification called ‘Cyclone’ that enhances the users speed and agility allowing anyone off the street to become a natural assassin.  Downside is that the stuff is lethal, it will burn you up from the inside not long after injecting it.  You need to shut down the manufacture and distribution of this stuff to cripple a potent tool of the terrorists.

Watcher X however will need a sample of the drug in order to track down its maker.  This can be done by getting a sample of the stuff or having it in the bloodstream by getting it injected.  He points you to a genetic modification black market dealer that would probably have connections and then offers to make it more convincing as a buyer by injecting you with a toxin that will temporarily mimic genetic damage (No, I don’t know how that’s possible. It’s science. I don’t have to explain it.)  You can take the shot and it will give you a better ‘in’ with the buyer if you plan to go the peaceful route, yet sadly the dealers (a brother and sister pair) tell you that they just sold their last vial of cyclone to some evocii (The natives from Hutta).  If really play up the fake the weak and broken act though, you’ll get some extra dialogue from Kaliyo.  You then can track down the evocii dead in an alleyway and extract a blood sample.  Of course, if you want to go the dark side route with this you’ll quickly find out that those sibling dealers were lying as after you blast their kneecaps and say some nice threatening words, they’ll take you for a slaver and hand over anything you want to leave them alone – including a vial of cyclone.

The next bit of the mission has Watcher X sending you to Duros to find a Bio-scanner in an old lab.  This will lead you to discover the…  /sigh ‘genetic markings’ identify that the company who produced it is called Synchet.  Synchet however went out of business five years ago. Luckily there’s a former Synchet executive holed up still here on Nar Shadaa in a palatial casino suite that no one but his droids (and his one non-droid assistant) can gain access to.  What you need again is an ‘in’, something to make this guy – Jordel Tlan – NEED you.  Watcher X’s suggestion?  Poison him.  Use the chemicals in the lab with the bio-scanner and whip something up, then give it to a drink delivery droid and enjoy.  Or I suppose if you didn’t want to be needlessly cruel (although not earning Dark Side points), you could just convince Netula, the assistant, to let you speak to Tlan by telling her to tell him it’s about Cyclone.  There’s that I suppose.  But really it’s much more fun to watch the fat jerk squirm a bit while you interrogate him and dangle the antidote like a juicy bait.  Either way will net you the intel you want:  VerveGen, the subsidiary of Synchet that dealt with genetic mods, was sold off in the liquidation years ago to an anonymous buyer who paid in cash.  Well if that ain’t a big yellow “TERRISTS IZ HUR” sign, I dunno what is.  Tlan points you to the VerveGen offices in upper Nar Shadaa where Watcher X has you hack into the HoloNet around the area because he’s blockaded from doing so.

You head back to Shadowtown to meet with X who has discovered a rather large deal is about to go down for a batch of Cyclone.  Undoubtedly, the terrorist cell leaders will be in attendance and thus security will be higher than ever and all employees dismissed early for the day.  The only ones permitted to enter or exit will be the mindless droids.  Which thankfully Watcher X wants to turn you into.  Okay not really, but he does want to stick implants into that will fool any sensors as well as project a hard light holoprojection giving you the appearance of a droid.  He offers to give you anesthesia to knock you out for the surgery but you can refuse to let yourself be unconscious around Watcher X and get the implants put it while fully awake and not numbed up at all.   You make it into the VerveGen offices no problem and can sit in on the meeting with the local terror cell leaders on HoloCall with The Eagle, and you are given ample chances to ‘spring the trap’ and announce your presence or just keep waiting until they all start wondering why the heck there’s a droid standing behind them.  If you wait, you’ll get the option of letting the non-terrorists corporate flunkies go for some Light Side points.  Then you fight!  Afterwards, you find the sole survivor – a cyborg – shivering on the ground and you get the moral choice of either letting Watcher X hack his brain or convincing him to confess in exchange for his safety.  Either way, you get your final target now that the leaders are dead: a massive communications hub used to schedule meets and drop offs with other terrorist cell members.

The adventure on Nar Shadaa ends with you destroying the massive array which sends a ripple effect across the HoloNet and glitches out systems planet-wide… including the Shadowtown prison complex.  Yeah, you get a call from Watcher X right after who explains that yes, he has escaped.  Yes, this was his plan since the moment you stepped into his cell.  But the whole thing was mutually beneficially.  He asks you to lie to Intelligence about his escape and in exchange will give you a ton of intel on everything from Watcher Two and her mental conditioning to Kaliyo’s full background and all known aliases.  A tempting offer really without much time to decide since his call is nearly interrupted by Watcher Two’s.  If you choose to confess that Watcher X escaped, you are tasked with hunting him down at the spaceport and eliminating him.  Otherwise, well, good job agent. Head back to your ship. Job is done.  Oh and Kaliyo thinks you’re a coward.

Interlude

Did I say we were done with Nar Shadaa? I’m sorry. I meant Darth Zhorrid is here to be a pain in the patoot and send us right back there.  Oh yes, how could we have forgotten our new dark lord Darth Zhorrid?  She is most cross with us for failing to find Jadus’ REAL assassins.  Not those silly terrorists, but the Dark Council members who are planning to usurp Zhorrid as well! Of course!  But the Darth has a job for you to redeem yourself with.  Go back to Nar Shadaa, find this guy named Vyord Yanol who used to be an advisor of Darth Jadus, and drag him back to Zhorrid so she can extract all of her daddy’s secrets from the “force-blind” (which I can’t help but feel is some manner of slur in this context, like mudblood or muggle) in exchange for a pat on the head.  Or you can kill him and get slapped in the face.  Also, fun fact about this interlude:  If you do the mission normally, you find that Zhorrid’s office is covered in corpses from people she’s been torturing to make ‘music’ (Why do the good Darth’s all die and we get stuck with fruitcakes?) but if you make mention of blaming Keeper in the dialogue with Zhorrid at the start of the mission, you’ll arrive at the end to Keeper being tortured by Zhorrid instead.  After that, Watcher Two contacts you with another clue about the Eradicator weapons:  the terrorists want to “burn the galaxy” with them and they require targeting codes.  My guess is either a satellite or an internet mob.

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Tatooine

Tatooine is home to a terrorist cell called the ‘Ghost Cell’ due to their expertise in stealth and infiltration.  Watcher Two directs you to a recent defector from the cell who left as a ‘matter of conscience’ who will only meet you in person.  You then get in touch with them from holocall terminal.  Not entirely sure that this person knows what “in person” means.  She asks you to destroy the Imperial but easily hackable holocam droids all over the city and then trade them to a junk dealer who will give you a mouse droid for them.  In your confusion about the trade, the mouse droid rushes off and you chase it to your meet location.  Where the defector gasses the room and then points a gun at your head.  Ah, isn’t a government job grand? Once its clear who you are and that neither party was followed, she apologizes and introduces herself as Mia Hawkins.  Mia is a former resistance fighter against the Empire turned member of the Ghost Cell who left the cell when they started kidnapping civilians to use as ‘target practice’.  She explains that the cell is insanely difficult to track because not only are they stealthy masters-of-disguise, they have hard-light holoprojectors that allow them to look like anyone.  Crazy? Not really when you pulled the exact same stunt to pass off as a droid not one planet ago.  The Cell is instructed by an individual simply called ‘The Old Man’ who carries out his teaching in ‘The Village’ (Not associated with M. Knight Shammylammy). Unfortunately, despite fleeing from there, Mia has no idea how to reach the Village.  But she does know that there is a supplier that hangs out in the local cantina called ‘Dragon Eyes’.  She suggests tagging suspicious people with trackers and then follow anyone that heads off when you announce you are looking for Dragon Eyes.  Sure enough, Mia lets you know that she’s got the beat on a rodian who rushed off right after, but also that you have Ghost Cell assassins tailing you.  Mia says she’ll go after the rodian, and directs you to a windfarm to deal with the assassins and… uh… hide the bodies afterward.  Well, at least there’s an honest understanding between the two of you.

When you reach the wind farm and clear out the former inhabitants (Tusken Raiders, nothing lost) and set up some traps to blow up the assassins.  After which, Mia shows up!  She even starts to flirt with you some.  How nice of her.  And not suspicious at all that you said you were going to tail a rodian but are instead here and suddenly have become very attracted to me and oh gee is that your knife impaling my gut?  Yea, if you don’t call her out on being a fake she stabs and poisons you.  It’s actually one last assassin using that holographic disguise mentioned earlier.  So you really don’t have an excuse to fall for this one.  I mean, your not the Sith Inquisitor. HA.  Meanwhile, the REAL Mia has tracked down Dragon Eyes who turns out is actually a goon for the Exchange named Milosh Varta.  You head up to his home to find he’s not there, just his wife is home.  And some of you right now are realizing the dire consequences that sentence poses especially in the wake of the ‘hiding the bodies’ comment and you would not be wrong.  Indeed there are a variety of ways you can deal with Varta’s wife: you can force her to leave, you can force her to stay and then threaten and/or harm her to gain leverage or you can just kill her as a message to Milosh that you are not messing around.   When Milosh finally comes home, the pay out of your previous action comes full circle with the addition of a few more things like blackmail or bribing Milosh into helping. In the end the result is pretty much always being that Milosh tells you that he has no idea where The Village is and that he leaves the supplies in crates in the desert to be picked up.  When you return to Mia, you find that she has fled offworld knowing that no matter how things went down, you’d be forced to eliminate her as well.  Aww.  And we were having a nice/vaguely threatening relationship depending on which characters I was playing.  She sent all her intel files to Keeper though.  That’s nice.

So you hide in a box in the middle of the desert only to be whisked away to the far corner of the map. You fight through the Village to finally find the Old Man… and Mia.  Apparently they used the holographic disguise to pose as some Imperials and arrested her.  Apparently, Mia was part of the Old Man’s Big Plan (which would be a good name for this episode) in which he singled out Mia as the most likely to defect and ultimately lure an Imperial Agent out to the middle of nowhere to get killed and replaced by a Ghost Cell holo-disguised doppelganger.  Which I would criticize as a plan where a lot of things could go wrong, but at the same time it actually worked out for him and I came. So uh… who’s the real fool?  Anyway, you fight the Old Man and his team and then get a light/dark choice that ultimately doesn’t matter because if you don’t kill him, he’ll just kill himself.  Then you can deal with Mia by either: letting her go, asking her to surrender, or just kill her.  And that’s another cell wrapped up.  Back on the ship, Watcher Two has another update.  Intelligence had a failed raid on the Eagle’s base of operations.  They found the place trashed and the Eagle already gone.  However they have gained new intelligence on the ‘Eradicators’.  They are techno-organic weapons with organic batteries fitted inside a weaponized technological shell and that means the terrorists can grow more wherever they have land to grow crops.  That’s bad.  Yea, we’ll go with ‘bad’ for that news.

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Alderaan

Last we have Alderaan, home of the never ending dumb politics.  Here we are supposed to make contact with a man named Vector Hyllus who has been absorbed into the hive mind of the local insectoids, the Killiks.  He will hopefully provide direction to a financier of the noble houses that has been funneling money to the Eagle’s terrorist network.  Vector is our first new companion since we met Kaliyo way back on Hutta, and he’s also the female agent love interest.  He’s apparently also quite popular with the ladies?  I know of several people I’ve met online over the years that profess to adore the bugboy but honestly I always found him a bit off putting.  He’s kind and curteous as would be expected of a diplomat but everything is coated in this veneer of ‘not right’ that comes from his Killik joining.  Be it the black eyes, the tendency to refer to the first person as ‘We’ instead of ‘I’, or just the weird offhand comments about the songs and colors of the universe…  Vector always strikes me as a guy who is one secret away from being a stereotypical serial killer. As opposed to Kaliyo who is possibly an actual serial killer.  Anyway, Vector informs you that based on the documents he was given, the financier deals with a large number of Alderaan’s noble houses including House Cortess who is a vassal of the Imperial aligned House Thul.  He mentions that would be a good place to start your trail and then gives some tips on how to approach them (like show strength, be courteous, and DO NOT MENTION YOU ARE FROM IMPERIAL INTELLIGENCE.)

House Cortess follows in the same vein as pretty much every other house on Alderaan: They like to make you work for it.  Favors, go here, go there.  For instance, before Cortess even lets you in the door, you have to go and find their droids that disappeared.  Not even their men.  DROIDS.  Then you get to meet the Baron and Baroness who have nothing more than a name to give you: Denri Ayl. The one person that seems to fit the profile given to you by Vector.  But Denri has been missing for months, and no one knows where he went.  The Baron assures you he will do his best to find it, but it’s probably not best to rely on the guy who lost droids five minutes from his front door, so we should probably check in with Vector again.  Luckily, the Killiks come through using their weird hive mind thing.  They ‘remember’ a member of House Alde who had dealing with Denri Ayl and that the House had extensive records kept their.  This leads you to break into the massive estate of House Alde and find Ayl’s journal in their databanks.  There you have some insight into what Ayl has been doing:  he brokered a deal with the Mindak family on Dromund Kaas (See: The Prologue),  helped set up a construction effort in the Broken Valley on Balmorra, and also meetings with individuals only referred to as “C” and “EE” that warn him away from dealing with House Thul (who has Imperial ties) just before the Jadus assassination.  Hmm.  Presenting these and more to Vector allows you to confirm that yes, it appears Denri Ayl bankrolled the terrorist attack on the Eradicator.

Taking the info you’ve gathered to the Baron will also net you an additional clue as he assembles your intel with his vaguely never defined gathered intel (my guess is that it’s actually nothing and he’s just reading the documents you have with local knowledge in mind), and he tells you that it appears that Denri’s last dealings were sending him to House Rist – likely for protection – and that since they are a house of assassins and thugs that you should avoid them and just wait for Denri to finish his dealings there. Should only be a month or two.  Which is kind of a no go.  Then the Baron’s wife – Chay – chats with you after her husband leaves.  She confides inn you that she believes you can turn the tide and show the other noble houses not to fear Rist.  Also she tries to seduce you.  For some reason.  I mean you can take her up on it.  It doesn’t really change anything from I can tell.  Just happens.

The trip to Rist is a pain in the rear – dealing with Rist always is in these missions.  Who the heck builds their home in a single long winding corridor? I get the whole Rist = Hiss sound alike and poison assassins thing but you don’t have to make your home into a giant snake too.  Anyway, you finally find Denri Ayl there and he taunts you saying that he knew you were coming and that you have his files before sending Rist goons at you while he runs away.  You kill a bunch of faceless mooks and then fight Denri proper to be given the choice to: Dark Side – Kill him OR Light Side – Offer to help and then have him die anyway.  These Light Side options don’t ever seem to work out in this storyline, do they? Well maybe his computer will have some info.  Oh lookie he had a phone call just before we got there. With Baroness Chay Cortess.  She cheated on my cheating with her! Or something.  Well perhaps we should just have a chat about that in person and see what she has to say about- oh.  We’re not allowed in anymore?  Siccing the attack droids on us?  Do they shoot bees?  Or is that Vector? Speaking of Bugboy, he’s got a plan to get us into House Cortess – break the generators using “fingerlings” (small killiks who nest on the fingers of big killiks. Which is disgusting. And creepy.)

Once the generators are blown, it’s back one last time to House Cortess to “visit” that is to say team up with the Killiks to completely rip apart their defenses until you get inside.  There you find the Baron and his wife arguing about what she has done.  The Baroness defends her actions as doing what was necessary to protect House Cortess’ interests which confuses me a bit.  Which part was protecting their interests? Joining forces with a faction of Anti-Imperial Terrorists? Sending a representative of the Empire to their deaths and then threatening them directly when they returned alive? Seducing you?  What part of any of this actually would have helped House Cortess in the long run?  You are a vassal of House Thul who is aligned with the Empire.  Your estate is literally adjacent to Thul’s territory.  There is no way this ends well for you.  The Baron seems very much aware of the utter stupidity his wife has committed and has her killed right in front of you to prove his loyalty.  However regardless of if view this as unnecessary, sufficient, or not enough it doesn’t matter. The Killiks want their share for helping out in this plot too and they’ve decided that they want House Cortess’ lands and estate for the expansion of their nest.  That means the er… ‘removal’ of the former residents by some means.  This is where it falls down to you to make the choice.  You can choose to defend House Cortess right after they put you through hell and tried to have you killed, thus having to fight several waves of Killiks and making Vector betray the nest out of loyalty to the Empire or you can give the killiks what they want and kill the remaining members of House Cortess who would rather die than have ‘bugs’ live on their land (It was established on the annoying droid mission way way waay at the start that Cortess dislikes the Killiks to the point of being borderline racist about it.)  Once the decision is made and the battle won, it’s time to send off the Baroness’ files back to the Watchers to comb over and to get off this planet.  Keeper contacts you to let you and Vector know that he has contacted the Diplomatic Service to have Vector permenantly reassigned to your command.

OH! And fun side note, after the Vector recruitment cutscene you can run back inside House Cortess.  If you gave the place to the Killik’s they’ve already begun converting the place into a hive.  Just a little easter egg that I missed the first few times.

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Finale

Back on your ship, there’s an emergency call from Watcher Two: They’ve tracked down The Eagle to a swamp on Hutta.  You take off and head into the base, fighting your way to the rear where you find The Eagle letting his people know that they need to scour the swamps for something.  As soon as they leave, he reveals that he knows you are there and the mission was a pointless errand to spare them from you.  The Eagle then waxes on and on about the growing revolution and how the rebellion won’t stop regardless of what ever you do to him. Typically freedom fighter rhetoric.  However there are a few bits of info that he will drop that is useful to know.  Namely that the Eradicators that have already been launched will not be stopped by killing him.  They are designed to just start randomly blasting things if they don’t get orders after so long.  Also that The Eagle has an accomplice, a mysterious partner that has aided him from within the Empire and provided him with the technology for the Eradicators.  The Eagle only holds half the codes for the Eradicators, and the unknown partner holds the other half. The battle with The Eagle is short and ends explosively as the terrorists seems to prefer taking himself out with a thermal detonator than be taken captive.  In the wake of the explosion, Watcher Three arrives with a team of soldiers to confirm the Eagle’s claims. The Eradicators will begun randomly blowing stuff up unless you find the mysterious partner and their half of the code.

Back on Dromund Kaas, Keeper has called a meeting with you and Watcher Two.  An operation to start dismantling Eradicators is underway based on the unlaunched one you found on Hutta, but the projections aren’t looking good.  It would take up to weeks to find and dismantle them, and there is no way of knowing how long it will be before they activate.  The only sure way to deal with this threat is to find the codes.  Luckily, Watcher Two has been analyzing the transmissions from The Eagle’s base and found a number being sent to the uninhabited Artus System, so that’s where your search will begin.  Before you leave however, Darth Zhorrid would like a word.  You can also have a brief aside and romantic entanglement with Watcher Two before you leave.  You find Zhorrid battered and bruised from going to make a scene at the Dark Council demanding respect and power and the Council in turn decided to kick her Sith butt.  She demands her revenge on the terrorists since they are the ones who put her in this un-respected position before her tutelage under her father & master was complete.  Naturally, you will be the one to do this for her because you are her most trusted agent or the agent who owes her for failing so many times.

When arriving in the Artus System, you find and land on an Imperial Dreadnaught drifting in the depths of space.  You rendexvous with Watcher Two who gives you an ear piece so she can talk to you through the ship.  Then you begin exploring the place.  There’s a bunch of crazed people who will wildly attack you if you get close all over the ship and some brief journal entries that just go to explain exactly how this all ended up being like this: The ships residents began as 100 or so survivors of a year long trip that became a disaster before they were saved and subsequently abducted by one they only refer to as The Master.  The Master subjects the survivors to psychological torture – depriving them of resources, randomly trapping them in darkness for unknown periods of time, and various other stress inducing acts – driving some to insanity, some into gibbering messes of fear, and others into a pure rage.  You eventually find the helm of the ship and find out who the Eagle’s ally, the Imperial Traitor and The Master is:

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That’s right. Darth Jadus.  The Sith whose assassination launched the entire drive to find The Eagle. He apparently faked his death to fall outside of the eyes of both the Empire and the Dark Council, he manipulated and supported the terrorist cells into uniting under the Eagle to manufacture the Eradicators and disperse them across the Empire, and then he drop all his responsibilities onto his inept daughter to ensure that the Dark Council had their hands full dealing with her spoiled tantrums and whiny demands.  Why did he do all this?  To use the Eradicators to annihilate the rest of the Dark Council’s power bases and strongholds, to spread fear of an unknown threat in the sky, and then to return from his self-exile to claim the Empire as his own and begin his ‘Epoch of Fear’.  All he needs now to complete his master plan is you and your half of the codes.

Watcher Two begins crunching the numbers in your ear and laying out the odds of survival in the various possibilities to counter Jadus’ plan.  Watcher Two recommends that you activate the Eradicators just long enough to gain Jadus’ trust and allow you to sabotage the ship so it can’t escape, then trap Jadus in a ray prison until the military arrives.  Of course if you don’t want to risk the few tens or hundreds of thousands of lives that might get wiped out while you handle things in Watcher Two’s plan, there’s the much riskier plan of shutting down the Eradicators completely which will leave you to directly deal with Jadus’ wrath and even if you manage to get away from him, it’s a suicide run to go set the ship to explode and then get off before it does – worse yet, if gives Jadus a chance to escape.  Of course, there’s the third option.  One that I don’t think you can actually do in any of the other storylines: You can join Jadus.  Yea.  Sign on with the villain.  We are talking about a man who wants to disable the Imperial’s obsession with a hierarchy of lineage and power and establish equality for all under a regime of eternal fear and terror.  Especially if you’re an alien in Imperial Intelligence I can’t say that would sound horrible.  I mean, your treated like scum despite being the secret police.  Watcher Two will protest, but if you agree with the “bad guy” you can by all means join him.  If you do, you won’t have to scramble across the ship, you can rat out Watcher Two in the hanger, and Darth Jadus names you his “Hand” (Formally, The Hand of Jadus) and sends you to Dromund Kaas while his Eradicators rain down destruction to clear up his chair – in other words he wants you to kill Darth Zhorrid.

The first chapter pretty much ends right after the mission.  Either Jadus is arrested, Jadus escapes or you serve Jadus.  The eradicators either did no destruction, minimally acceptable destruction, or ALL the destruction.  Now, of course, what becomes of you from some of these choices…  well, well see when we get our next big mission in Chapter Two.

Thoughts

The Imperial Agent story has been compared to James Bond in a favorable sense, and this is the chapter where quite honestly it probably shows that the best.  You are traveling around the galaxy in pursuit of an evil organization bent on destroying your government, and you have to infiltrate, sneak, lie and kill your way to success.  Each planet brings a little bit of something different to the formula, from working under cover to infiltrate the cell on Balmorra to dealing with a dangerous rogue agent on Nar Shadaa to having to work with the enemy on Tatooine.  Honestly, of any of the worlds it’s Alderaan that is probably the weakest.  I mean no one’s motivation is explored or even makes a lot of sense.  The secret intel you get from the financier does very little to give insight to the plans even once you know the truth of the ending.

Speaking of the ending, I will say that I am NEVER going to get tired of that twist.  Even more so than the first time I saw it, which had my jaw on the floor, the second and third times I had the fun of actually getting to see exactly how much of that twist is set up in advance.  Oh and it is.  The first time I saw it did seem to come out of left field, but damn there is PLENTY of hinting in the Prologue about what Jadus is planning to do. All his talk of the democratization of fear and showing people his new vision of the galaxy.  Yeah, that’s this.  That is exactly what the Terrorists are doing.  They are democratizing fear.  How did Jadus survive? Well, he knew the attack was coming.  He was the one commanding the terrorists.  That’s also why he would do seemingly stupid things like demand that one lone agent be sent to stop them in the Dark Temple instead of squad.  He wanted you specifically – his chosen – to see his machinations.  Jadus was evil, but a genius as well.  Heck, I was honestly expecting that The Eagle didn’t even really exist outside of holo-broadcasts.  Then the fact that you can actually join him?!  Oh man, how different would that be if the Jedi Knight could chose to join Darth Angral at the end of Chapter One?  Or have the Trooper realize that Tavus was right and go rogue?  That’s pretty much what this story is offering you.

Now is the first chapter flawless? Naw. There’s little bumps and problems here or there. The interlude mission here is pretty pointless, then again it’s a job for Zhorrid so isn’t that just par for the course.  The characterization can seem weird on some of the NPCs, especially the one-world-only characters.  Darth Zhorrid pretty much only exists to be annoying and make you hate working with the Sith that rule over you, and then she just vanishes from the story completely without closure unless you chose the join Jadus and kill her.  Supposedly she comes back to play in one of the six endings of Chapter Three as the founder of Sith Intelligence, but she has no affect on the rest of the story.  The Intelligence team however is given a lot of time to shine and get to know them, I had no issue recalling Watcher Three when he came back at the end of the Eagle’s base, Watcher Two is a great character as well as Keeper.  The only new companion you get here is Vector, and as I said before I have never been a fan of the bug man.  Though to be fair, I think that was part of his design.  He seems to be very ‘alien’ in a Lovecraftian sense in terms of what he says, how he speaks and of course those pure black eyes.  More power to you if you like the guy, but honestly I think he fits in more with the ‘In the Mouth of Madness’ crew than on my ship.

I will say that just like the prologue before it, this chapter does a wonderful job of setting up things of whats to come.  From plot elements that will become more relevant further down the line, to just setting the tone of mistrust and deception that oozes from every chapter of this story.  This isn’t the Jedi where good and evil are oh so easy to differentiate and this isn’t the Sith where power plays are these massive spectacles on par with the Red Wedding. This is the world of espionage – and you have no allies here.  Till next time.

<– Prologue || IMPERIAL AGENT || Chapter Two –>

SWTOR Class Storyline Review: Smuggler – Chapter Two

<– Chapter One || SMUGGLER || Chapter Three –>

Warning: This post contains spoilers for the second chapter of the Smuggler 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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So you’ve got the riches of Nok Drayan, you got a new partner who is the former crimelord’s daughter and the heir to the throne of an entire planet, you got nothing but wide open space ahead of you.  What better time than to sell out?  Yeah, well it seems like we had to put something in the story to justify why the heck the smuggler is a “Republic class” and not just some third neutral faction.  The Bounty Hunters have that whole ‘The Mandalorians are on permanent contract with the Empire’ thing, so now Smugglers get this.  What is this?

Well, after a quick holo call from Darmas Palloran (He’s that cheerful fellow from Coruscant that you beat handily at Sabacc and helped you find Skavak) telling you to come to Port Nowhere.  Unfortunately, Port Nowhere is essentially a starship turned into a hangout for smugglers and pirates, which means it’s a rough crowd.  Doubly so once they get wind about that bounty Rogun the Butcher put on your head.  Rogun’s goons are even there waiting for you and they got Darmas!  So now we have to save the gambler but for good reason. He’s got us a gig: Becoming a Republic Privateer under Senator Dodanna.  Essentially becoming an officially government sanctioned smuggler.  Doing the more nebulous jobs that can’t officially be on the Republic’s books and what not.  All with a fat paycheck.  Well, as they say: “A gig is a gig.”

However just as your leaving, Port Nowhere is attacked by the Voidwolf.  Who is the Voidwolf?   Well, he’s a big shot Imperial admiral who apparently has teamed up with Rogun the Butcher.  And he’s got the place surrounded.  Darmas sends Port Nowhere off into the hyperlanes to get away and you run off to your first official job as a privateer.

Balmorra

Our first job is the war torn world of Balmorra.  Oh boy. Yay.  Nothing like a stroll through the war ravaged hills of the factory and droid part ridden country side to get back to work and remind me that I’m not retired after scoring the treasure of a lifetime.  Apparently, the job here is to work with the Resistance and smuggle some much needed provisions (You know, food, water, medical supplies, grenade launchers) from their double agent contact in the Empire codenamed ‘Golden’. All the while you keep bumping into a Mandalorian zabrak named Akaavi Spar who is looking to kill a man named Moff Tyrak to avenge her destroyed clan.

You eventually track down the shipment to an Imperial base warehouse, but low and behold it’s not actually there.  However, ‘Golden’ is.  And Golden is actually Moff Tyrak.  And he wants out.  In fact, there wasn’t any supplies.  He just said that to the Republic so they’d send someone that could extract him because the Empire seems to be on to his whole double agent act.  Something about not normally being able to afford multiple mansions and luxury speeders on a Moff’s salary.  Shocking, I know.  Moff Tyrak quickly proves to be an annoyance – but an entertaining annoyance.  Kind of like that butt monkey that you like to see get kicked, and boy howdy do you get plenty of options to kick him.  Since no one is willing to extract Tyrak just because he can’t manage his money without the actual shipment, Tyrak leads you to where you should be able to get what you need – the Balmorran Arms Factory.  What a weird place to keep completely innocent humanitarian supplies.  Huh.

You break into the factory with minimal assistance from the Moff, but as soon as you take your eyes off of him for like two minutes he ‘scouts the area for anyone coming’ and then somehow – I’m sure he has nooooo idea how – they all show up to stop you.  With him in tow.  Aaaand with him shouting crap like “That’s him! That’s the one!”  Nerves on a Jedi on this guy I’ll tell you what.  Luckily, Akaavi shows up again to help and to get her ultimate revenge on the weaselly Moff.  She declares that she is here to avenge the deaths of Clan Spar.  But the Moff doesn’t know what she’s talking about.  She states that she knows that Moff Tyrak signed the order to kill her entire clan that had faithfully worked with the Empire until then.  Tyrak then realizes what happened.  See, he just signs any death order that comes across his desk.  He doesn’t even read them.  After all, their wouldn’t be a kill order if they didn’t deserve it.  Akaavi is to say the least flabbergasted that her arch-nemesis is no mustache twirling super-villain but a moronic bureaucrat. You can encourage her to just let it go, or to take her revenge and be done with it before she decides on joining you on your ship because quite frankly she has nowhere else to go.  You also get the choice of what to do with a fleet’s worth of high tech weaponry that you’ve just acquired.  There’s a few options including give it to the Republic (you know, what the Republic sent you there for) or sending it to Port Nowhere to be sold off to the highest bidder (Because money).  I took the Port Nowhere option myself.  Being King of the Pirates isn’t cheap you know.

On your way off planet, you get word that your success in pillaging the Empire’s weapons has caused The Voidwolf to execute several captains under his command for the failures to stop you.

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Quesh

As you head off world and deal with the consequences of maaaaybe the Republic not receiving those high tech goodies like they were expecting, you also get a message of a bunch of other Republic privateers pinned down by the Voidwolf’s fleet on the Planet Quesh.  They claim that if you help them, they’ll help you and I like people owing me things, so it’s off to the poison planet!

You make it to the hidden landing area and wipe the Voidwolf’s forces there, but the other captains explain that unless you take out the targetting computers in a nearby Imperial base, that the Voidwolf will just lock on and blast them as they try to leave.  Also, as an added kick you find out that Beryl Thorne is there with the other Privateers. Beryl was the nice smuggler lady you met way back on Taris that A) Didn’t like Risha and B) You had a chance to sleep with.  This naturally will make things awkward if you A) have romanced someone, B) Brought that person along and C) Triply so if that person IS Risha.

So once you blast your way into the base, you finally get to meet the Voidwolf.  Sort of.  It’s a hologram. He’s still on his ship.  But you get to see him finally, and talk to him in person.  He explains that you are no threat to his plans, that he is completely ready for anything you can throw at him, and he will see you dead.  You can naturally point out that he’s going to a lot of trouble to be ready for you and wanting you dead for someone who is no threat to him.  In fact, for being such a non-existent threat, he’s really gone out of his way to study up every detail of your personal adventures and life.  His response is naturally to send more goons after you.  You kill them and blow up the computers.  You go back to the privateers and can tell them that in exchange for saving their worthless lives, they can either go back and do their duty for the Republic (Light Side) or that they now work for you instead and should report to Port Nowhere for further orders (Dark Side).

No, I wasn’t kidding about being the King of the Pirates.

Hoth

For once, I actually enjoyed Hoth.  No seriously, most times in these class stories Hoth feels like a complete drag.  It’s a huge planet with only a couple of actually story missions that really just ends up with you running around on a speeder for 5-15 minutes at a time trying to get between point A and B, staring at the bleak endless white.  But the smuggler story here?  There’s actually crap going on.  It’s not just a macguffin hunt.  I mean technically if you distill it down to its raw parts it kind of is – but not how you might think at the beginning.  Rather for the Smuggler, you end up trying to navigate and slip through the political power struggle of the major faction on the planet – The White Maw pirates.

The actual reason you’re on Hoth is actually that the Republic wants its hands on the White Maw’s top secret cloaking technology.  Something so powerful it can hide an entire fleet.  They send you there with nothing but the name of a Jedi master to get in touch with only to find that he’s not there – he’s dead.  However, Jedi Master Guss Tuno is there to help you.  He’s the assistant/replacement for the missing Jedi Master.  His idea to get you in with the White Maw so you can swipe the tech is to make it look like your stealing some good stuff from the Republic’s storage depot/ice cave (Let’s be honest, they are all ice caves.)  Only the higher ups will know, but the rank-and-file won’t to help keep it looking legit so you’ll have to fight your way in.  However, once you do you find out that: No the higher ups don’t know, No there was no replacement for the missing Jedi, and yes you are very definitely really stealing this crap.  Guss comes clean and explains that he works for the White Maw, enslaved by their boss – Shie Tenna – who he offers to introduce you to in exchange for his dirty lies.

Shie Tenna is a hulking brute that seems to be quite fond of keeping his men in line with fear and displays of power.  You are introduced to him and his lover Alinna who vapidly hangs on his every word in his secret cantina base (read: ice cave) arranged by – but strangely not present – Guss Tuno.  Shie wants you to help him take over the White Maw by removing the other bosses’ from the equation.  By which he means killing the rival.  However, once Shie Tenna is out of ear shot, Alinna speaks to you and reveals that not only is she not as vapidly moronic as she lets on to Shie, she’s pretty much the brains behind the White Maw.  She manages the operations, handles finances, sets up plans – meanwhile Shie Tenna blows stuff up and postures.  Her suggestion is to expose Shie’s rival as being an Imperial sympathizer who plans to sell out the Maw to the Imps.  The White Maw may be a pack of psychotic pirates, but they all have a fierce passion for being free to do things their way.  The Imps would not work out well in that equation.  So the choice is yours whether the wipe out the rival base or to turn them against their leader. When you return, Shie Tenna declares you be brothers-in-arms!  Only to reveal that he also apparently killed his brother and throws you into a wampa holding pen (Ice cave.)  Luckily, good ol’ Guss is there to bust you out with another lead on getting in good with the White Maw.

And I’m not even going to string this one along – yea, that lead is also a trap.  A bunch of Gand bounty hunters waiting to take you out.  Guss confesses when you save him from the bounty hunters as well.  He isn’t a Jedi Master (though he is force sensitive. He dropped out of Jedi school), he’s not some White Maw slave – he works for Rogun the Butcher.  Rogun sent Guss to arrange for you to be taken out.  Guss sees that you’re a good guy and just can’t bring himself to go through with it.  With that out of the way, he’s willing to help you break into the White Maw fortress (Not actually an ice cave for once) and to get the cloaking tech…  which turns out to be a bit more complicated than you might have first thought.

So it turns out that once you breach the White Maw’s fortress and defeat Shie Tenna, you find their “Cloaking Tech” and it’s actually just an alien kid with severe brain damage.  Turns out the species the kid belongs to has a defensive mechanism that renders them and everything around them invisible to the eye, scans, radar… everything (which is an impressive evolutionary feat I must say) but they can only do this when they are scared of something.  So the White Maw beat him whenever they want the fleet cloaked. Alinna, Shie Tenna’s girl from earlier wants to actually save the alien kid and get him offworld somewhere safe.  At this point there’s a bunch of different choices you can make to decide what happens next.  You can smuggle them offworld, you can convince Alinna to take over the White Maw, YOU can try and take over the White Maw, you can force them to give the Alien Kid to the Republic, or you could give the Alien Kid to the Republic but also send Alinna with it to make sure it gets treated right and Alinna gets off of Hoth and being stuck with the White Maw…   So yea, a lot more options than your typical “This is the Light Side” and “This is the Dark Side.”  Which I really do enjoy.  Not all these choices can be broken down into simple binary solutions and I get a kick out of the fact that the game will let you explore multiple solutions to a single problem.  I personally sent the kid and Alinna to the Republic to ensure fair treatment (Cause it’s the job, but I don’t trust the Republic one bit in terms of treating the downtrodden fairly) and I personally took control of the White Maw faction.

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Finale

So we’ve helped the Republic, we’ve lined our pockets, and we’ve got a good start on building our criminal empire.  What’s left for this space jockey to do?  Well, how about a sick burn on the Empire and snubbing both the Voidwolf and Rogun the Butcher while you’re at it?  The job is the King’s Ransom – as in that’s the name of the ship.  An Imperial treasury ship that transports all the wealth and trade between Nar Shadaa and Dromund Kaas.  That’s right.  It’s essentially a Star Wars train job.  To help out there’s another chap who has been on the wrong side of Rogun’s ire and is looking to make a score.  But before you can take off, you have to help save a safe cracker from the Hutts who plan to sell him off to Rogun’s goons to be… well… butchered.  You get the choice of either simply killing the Hutts or bargaining with them and stealing their business right out from under Rogun.  Either way you’ll have to deal with Rogun’s goons but at least you might get out of having to fight the Cartel thugs while you’re at it.

Once the team is all together (the safe cracker, the muscle, and you – the looks and/or brains) you hop on a private shuttle provided by Senator Dodonna herself to infiltrate the King’s Ransom. You fight through the ship until you reach the vaults and break into them, where you find a random assortment of awesome old antiques – several of which are actually references to the original Knights of the Old Republic games.  In the final vault however, you find three Moffs hanging out and talking trash about the Voidwolf.  They mention how he’s not Imperial born  and yet rose through the ranks with unprecedented speed.  Seems like a lot of the other Imps don’t much care for the Voidwolf, and yet as soon as they see you they don’t spare a moment calling him to get him to come and help.

The Voidwolf’s help however is not exactly what the Moff’s expect however.  The nefarious admiral announces that since the war has just started up again, the Imperial military code dictates that if a ship is at risk of falling to the enemy (That’s you), then he is well within his rights to destroy said ship to prevent it from being taken.  So he does.  That would be the cue to GTFO.  Grab whatever loot you can and make break for it.

Back on Nar Shadaa, you divvy up the loot (you can take your share, let the other two keep it all, or kill them and keep it all for yourself) and go your separate ways ala the end of any Ocean’s Eleven movie.  But just as you round the corner, Senator Dodonna is there and being threatened by Rogun’s goons and a pack of strange beasts that are all wired up with some weird cyborg stuff.  You dispatch the beasts and Dodonna thanks the stars you showed up when you did.  She wants to know exactly what these are, where they came from and how the heck Rogun the Butcher got a hold of them and could transport them as weapons.

That little plot point ends up immediately kicking off chapter 3, so I’ll see you on the other side to find out what happens next.

My Thoughts

I’ll admit, I was extremely skeptical of the whole ‘Republic Privateer’ plot point.  It just seemed like a flimsy way to tie this into the whole two faction system.  However, what it also ended up doing was opening up a wider array of moral choices.  You weren’t just locked into ‘Selfless’ or ‘Greedy’ or ‘Live’ or ‘Kill’.   There was also the matter of the job you were hired to do.  So now things start to divide into three ways: Greedy, Selfless, or loyal.  You can help the locals at the cost of the job and yourself, you can be greedy at the cost of the locals and the job, or you can do the job at the cost of the locals and yourself.  This diversifies things a bit and starts to spread out the choices and implications of them.  Do you become the loyal hand of the Republic?  Do you play the dashing rogue hero?  Or do you go full greed and become the new pirate king?  All are viable directions you could take.

This really shines through in the Hoth mission.  While there isn’t a ton of long lasting effects to these choices, it still feels like you are really given a solid choice.  It’s not a simple binary choice either as I said.  You get multiple different ways that story can end and you can even combo some of them up.  If Alinna doesn’t choose to lead the White Maw, it opens up new options for what happens to the pirate gang that are independent of how you choose to deal with the Cloaking Alien.  It really feels like you can actually role play in this chapter and feel like you are your playing YOUR smuggler and not just a light/dark smuggler.  A feeling that does have the tendency to permeate a lot of the other stories.  It’s not speaking less of the other class stories as much as it speaks much higher of the smuggler.

In terms of the chapter structure, Chapter Two felt mostly like a bridge between the end of Chapter One and the setting up the starting of Chapter Three.  It does deal with the consequences of becoming the notorious finder of Nok Drayan’s loot and does a fair job showing how that kind of exposure ups the stakes for you.  It also thrusts you into the realm of being not only the target of Rogun the Butcher – still on your tail since the prologue might I mention and one of the only main villains that spans all four parts of a Class Story – and starting to reveal the Voidwolf as a serious threat.  The Voidwolf is ruthless, cut throat and efficient.  Imagine Grand Moff Kilran if he was raised in the mob instead of an Imperial Academy.  That’s the Wolf.

Chapter Two also starts to lay the groundwork for the more or less three major archetypes your smuggler can follow: The Republic Hero, the Contractor, and the Pirate King.  To elaborate, you can tow the government line and support the Republic and try to do the right thing and end up being this mythic folk hero of the Republic.  Not bound by rules, but still looking out for the little guy.  The Contractor is more of a ‘in it for myself’ kind of vibe.  You do the job, you get paid.  No loyalties beyond yourself and MAYBE your crew.  Finally, you can actively try to use the Republic’s work to your advantage, build alliances, and gain subordinates while putting together your own little criminal empire based out of Port Nowhere.  Honestly, I found that route to be very fun.  These three trends will continue to play out through Chapter Three culminating in the grand finale.

We also gained the remaining members of our crew in this Chapter.  There’s Akaavi Spar who is a mandalorian.  Her personality is that she is a mandalorian.  It’s like honor this, and clan that.  She doesn’t even like you very much when she first joins the crew, viewing you as some sort of cut throat merc without dignity or honor (to be fair, she can be entirely right.)  If you prove her wrong, it can open up a romance option with her.  Honestly, I didn’t find her to be anywhere near as intriguing as Risha in terms of the romance department.  She spends most her conversations talking about revenge and how you surprise her.  It doesn’t help it that her voice seems almost constantly monotone about everything unless she’s angry.  So happy and sad Akaavi are creepily similar voice inflections.

The last member of the crew is Guss.  Guss is a drop out Jedi who is force sensitive…  kind of.  He can do a couple of things with the Force – but nowhere near enough to do anything like the most basic padawan can achieve at the start of Tython.  He left the Academy and fell in with Rogun and his goons.  Guss can be viewed as annoying lost puppy that won’t start barking.  He’s got a serious hero worship thing going and I can see how it would be annoying to some people.  Honestly, beyond trying to teach good ol’ Guss to be a proper criminal and to come to grips with what he wants to do with his life, there’s not much to say about him.  Oh, he’s a Mon Calamari.  There’s that too I suppose.

<– Chapter One || SMUGGLER || Chapter Three –>

SWTOR Class Storyline Review: Jedi Knight – Chapter Two

<– Chapter One || JEDI KNIGHT || Chapter Three –>

Warning: This post contains spoilers for the second chapter of the Jedi Knight 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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Alright, welcome back to the epic quest of the Jedi Knight to stop the forces of evil.  Only we already did that at the end of Chapter One.  As I said, just like the Trooper and Bounty Hunter, the Prologue and First Chapter of the Jedi Knight’s story is a complete narrative and wraps everything up nicely at the end.  It could have easily been the end if not for that pesky “We’re only level 30” thing.  So we have two more chapters. But UNLIKE the Bounty  Hunter and Trooper stories, the Jedi Knight knows exactly what story to tell with the remaining chapters: We’re going after the Sith Emperor.  Oh joy! Could the stakes be any higher?  I think not.  Yes, this is probably one of the most defining plot developments in the game, since the result of Chapters 2 and mostly 3 of the Jedi Knight will set the stage for what we would later see in the Shadow of Revan and the happenings on Ziost.

The story begins with you returning from R & R on your ship only to be contacting by the spectral image of Master Orgus Din.  He’s a ghost!  Which I suppose means we need to watch out for the Sith Inquisitor.  Orgus reveals that there is a trapped and dying Jedi on the planet Tatooine that needs your help, and carries information that will be vital to fulfilling your destiny.  So you travel to the middle of fricking nowhere in Jundland to find a crashed starship and a bunch of Sith gold mobs.  The Jedi is chilling out and meditating in the ship.  So… he is saved? I think?  Was I necessary?

Apparently, he couldn’t send a distress signal because techno babble and the plot demands we save him but he is carrying news that he must deliver to the Jedi Council on Tython and urges you to deliver it while the medical crews arrive for him.  So you go to Tython – a statement for the record you will be hearing A LOT in these next two chapters.  You waste a ton of time going back to Tython for one cutscene again and again.  The Jedi Council reveals there master plan that the info was for: Their going after the Sith Emperor.  But first, they will need some things.  You are tasked with helping other Jedi Masters on planets to help gather the necessary resources to have everything you’ll need for a successful assault on the Secret Invisible Space Stronghold of the Sith Emperor (Ask them about their Seafood Combo Platter) and capture him.  Yes, capture.  Apparently they don’t want to kill him because it would create a power vacuum.  Boo.

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Balmorra

This planet is where the Secret Invisibile Space Stronghold of the Sith Emperor’s (Try the Veal) cloaking shield was developed. The hope is to find the original prototype of it so the Jedi can jury-rig a device to cancel out the cloak.  Of course, since Balmorra is heavily entrenched in a battle to oust the Sith Empire who have a hold on everything here, that means teaming up with the Resistance.  Who don’t like the Republic. This will be fun.  You also get to meet your liaison with the Resistance – a man named Doc.

Doc is one part humanitarian and one part sleazy skinamax star, right down to the mustache.  When he’s not trying to save lives or protect the innocent and making sure everyone gets a chance to live, he’s flirting with anything that remotely resembles a female.  If you bring Kira with you, he flirts with her endlessly. If you are a female, he will flirt with you endlessly.  And I mean ENDLESSLY.  It accounts for nearly 80% of his dialogue on Balmorra.  If you ever want to feel some empathy for women who have to deal with men hitting on them and swinging widely with pick up lines like they were a scythe – play a female Jedi Knight and meet Doc.  Dear god, I wanted to punch him.  He’s also the female love interest, which is all sorts of weird to me.  But hey, it takes all kinds right?  Someone has to enjoy that kind of person.

The next couple of missions are basically just grunt work soldier-ing for the Resistance.  Collect med packs for the wounded, take out guards and sensors so the Resistance can break into the computers to grab intel, and ultimately saving one of their spies that was trying to secure the prototype from an Imperial jail.  This spy however is ultimately revealed to be in great health for being imprisoned by the enemy for two weeks.  Like suspiciously good health.  It seems she cut a deal with the Empire to spill intel on the Resistance in exchange for safety.  The Resistance wants her dead on the spot, but it ultimately comes down to you – the Jedi – to decide.  It’s also during these missions you meet up with the Jedi Master you’re helping: Warren Sedoru.  He’s an old grizzled scar-covered Jedi who has a natural talent for reading people and tactical thinking.  He also happily admits to letting you do all the work since you’re youthful and far more skilled with a saber.  I like his honesty.  He’s a keeper.  Can I have him on the ship instead of Doc?

You finally grab the prototype by breaking into the Balmorran Arms Factory, a task that’s honestly way easier than it sounds.  You kill your way through some nameless Sith guarding the thing, likely tipped off from our spy friend that people were interested in the prototype and then go in to grab it to find that the Resistance is already there and ready to cart off with it.  Okay. First. What?  Second.  That’s mine.  Third.  What?  How did they get in here?  How did the Sith not notice them?  Were they crawling around the vents or something?  If that’s the case why didn’t I get to climb the vents?  Bah.  The Resistance says that since the prototype was made on Balmorra it belongs to them and no one else, screw you and screw the Republic.  You can either negotiate with them or just threaten them for it, you don’t have to fight either way I don’t think.  You get the prototype and get the heck off the planet.

Quesh

Time for a small side track from the mission.  It appears that Master Tol Braga (the Jedi who came up with this Kidnap the Sith Emperor plan) has a padawan that was a former Sith stationed on the planet of Quesh that he hasn’t heard from in a while.  Braga is worried about him since the tensions are rising between the Republic and Empire on Quesh, and he wants you to go make sure everything is alright.  Which, of course, isn’t the case.

Apparently, the former Sith is having a bit of a hard time getting over some his old bad habits.  Namely slaughtering a bunch of unarmed Imperial prisoners when they mentioned he was a traitor and that the Emperor’s Wrath was coming for him.  Now you can honestly help this Sith-Turned-Jedi overcome his temptation to the Dark Side, or you can convince him to embrace it fully because ‘Hey, it’s a war. Go kill people.’

The really interesting bit comes when the Empire breaks into the base and you have to repel them.  When you finally wipe them out, all of them, you bring up the force field for the door only to be greeted by a massive hulking Sith Pureblood named Lord Scourge.  Scourge is the Emperor’s Wrath.  The very hatred of Emperor embodied in a living person.  This is important because this is first time on the Republic side we are introduced to the concepts of the ‘Aspects’ of the Emperor.  Be it his Voice, Wrath, Hands, etc  the Emperor has many servants who act as vessels of his will.  They literally become a part of the Emperor.  There’s a lot more of this to be found in the Sith Warrior storyline where they go into it with greater detail, but this is an important thing to remember for what comes at the end of the Jedi Knight story as well.

Scourge’s appearance here however is little more than a glorified tease and cameo.  He talks to you, says some cryptic things, and then buggers off.  Okay?  Thanks for the visit, Scourge.  Quesh then ends with the padawan deciding to either return to Tython to cleanse himself of his Dark Side emotions, or to meditate on the concept of embracing them as a weapon for justice in what is a clearly soon to erupt war.

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Hoth

The second piece of the Secret Invisibile Space Stronghold of the Sith Emperor (Every Thursday is Sith Ladies’ Night) caper is to get the schematics and floorplans to the Stronghold.  Impossible, you say?  Well not to Jedi Master Leeha Narezz. She’s discovered that the only non-Sith to see the interior of the space station – the architect (because there are no Sith architects, silly. They don’t build up, only tear down!) – and apparently that individual crashed on Hoth with the schematics on board.  So we’re off on a scavenger hunt to find it.  Which seems to be just what you do on Hoth.  Go looking for things that crashed here.  This is what? The fourth time we’ve done this?

However, we do make a new friend in the process.  The Republic Military is lending a hand with this ‘save the galaxy’ mission and giving you full authority over the 301st.  Or what’s left of them as when you find them there are two remaining and one of them is dying. Our last good soldier standing is Sergeant Rusk, who is brutally efficient at his job.  He lists off success and failure in terms of percentages, he doesn’t care if you are wounded or dying you will finish the mission, and he’s not actually that much of  a jerk for it.  Just a guy who wants to be the best damn soldier out there and expects anyone who signed up for the Military to be willing to die for the cause.  It’s an extreme viewpoint, sure.  But he never comes off as mean.  Just a bit odd.  His men however don’t feel that way.  Even after replenishing the 301st’s numbers, everybody else views Rusk as a hard ass trying to make them do things like eliminate threats proactively and other things that equate to ‘work’.  I dunno. I dig Rusk.  I would like to trade Tanno Vik on my Trooper for Rusk.  Please?

The rest of Hoth plays out pretty simply with only the occasional diversion where the military calls you up wanting things in exchange for borrowing the 301st.  The first one of these is to take out Imperial turrets and its mandatory.  The second is to destroy ammo dumps set up by the pirates and you can talk Rusk out of doing it or just doing it himself without you.  The whole mission ends with you getting to choose whether you want to square off with pirates or Sith (There’s a meme waiting to happen) and breaking into a massive dreadnought ship to grab the schematics.  Narezz happily heads back to Tython to await you there.

I didn’t talk much about Narezz because she doesn’t seem to have much in the way of personality.  She instead has robots.  Two droids – the Meedees – that she claims will one day have the power to wield the Force like any living thing.   There.  That’s her whole schtick in just about every conversation.  “We need to get X oh bee tee dubs my robots are awesome.”

Finale

You want a big flashy finale to a middle chapter? Here it is.  This thing is huge, so pardon me if I may miss a beat here or there.  You return to Tython to get ready for the big assault on the Emperor when it’s revealed by Master Tol Braga that the endgame of this whole plan is not just to capture the Sith Emperor but to bring him back to Tython and convince him – through what I can only imagine is a well thought out and reasoned debate – to TURN TO THE LIGHT SIDE.  Oh geeze. I am so suddenly having doubts about this plan.  Not just me either, as the rest of the Jedi Council shows up to talk about their own trepidation with this plan. Namely that the Jedi I saved way back on Tatooine at the beginning of Chapter Two who was told he couldn’t go on the big important save the universe mission and you are going in his stead JUST had a vision! That you would turn EVIL if you went, so he should go in your place and save the day.  I clearly sense absolutely zero ulterior motive here.

You do convince the council the let you go and you begin the assault on the Secret Invisibile Space Stronghold of the Sith Emperor (Now serving breakfast) where you infiltrate and work your way through the base.  For those who have already completed the story on Ilum at some point, you might recognize the layout of this place.  I don’t know if it’s intentional but the Secret Invisible Space Stronghold of the Sith Emperor ( Original Fortress. DO NOT STEAL. ) has a very similar construction, layout, and design as the Not Secret But Totally Invisible Space Stronghold of Darth Malgus ( My OF is better than Your OF ) and I want to say that considering they are both cloaked, they are either the same fortress or Malgus totally intentionally stole the Emperor’s idea.  Anyway, you finally breach the Emperor’s sanctum and face off in combat with his Wrath, Lord Scourge.

Once you defeat Scourge, the other Jedi show up (Thanks for the help, guys), the attack on the Emperor begins proper and then promptly ends as the Emperor kicks everyone’s butt almost instantly.  You are the last one standing and even then you still go down to the POWAH! of his Sith lightning.  Once you wipe, the Emperor talks about how you all shall become his new weapons and his dark work begins.  Yes, indeed. You become Evil.  In a cutscene at least.  You train to become a powerful Sith, you kill innocents – or at least it’s implied.  I get kind of this weird disconnect at this point, because they say you have been under the emporer’s control for a long time.  Long enough that the other Jedi you were with become fully fledged generals of the Sith, but you never leave the Stronghold.  You are always shown fighting droids, and even at the end are “just” being given the privilege and training to interrogate prisoners.  So did you wage war in the name of the Sith? I think you do, but it’s never explicitly shown.  It sure as hell makes less of an impact to reveal that while you under Sith control you spent months killing Imperial droids over and over.

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After an unknown period of time, you are finally freed of the Emperor’s control thanks to a handy visit from Master Orgus’ ghost.  Who apparently took his sweet time getting in touch. I guess Jedi force ghosts are less reliable in manifesting than Sith ones, because those jerks are always around.  You jail break your companion from the Emperor fight and then book it to the hangar to get out.  It’s useful that you’ve been helping the bad guys for X amount of time, because now no one fights you on the way out.  However, when you get to the hangar, you find someone has already sprung all of your friends and unlocked your ship: Lord Scourge.  Yes, the big raspberry has decided to join forces with you to help stop the Emperor.  He has foreseen it.  No, seriously. That’s not a clever Star Wars joke.  He really did.  He forsesaw you fighting the Emperor. He wants to help because it turns out that the Sith Emperor isn’t out to win this war.  No… He wants to devour and absorb all life in the Galaxy to become a super-god.  And since Scourge lives in the galaxy, he kinda has a vested interest in seeing it not die.  You all hop on board the ship and… /sigh.  You head back to Tython.  Once there, you relay all this info to the Jedi Council and you begin your new mission: Stop the Emperor from killing everything.  Good plan.  I like it.  I’m happy to be apart of it.

Can someone else do it?

Final Thoughts

The second chapter of the Jedi Knight storyline is essentially the set up for the big climax.  The equivalent to the Prologue to Chapter One.  However instead of being a step back, it does very much feel like a step up in terms of scale.  You are preparing for what is probably the biggest mission any class in the game gets to experience.  On top of that, it gives you short but solid characterization for all of the Jedi Masters you are fighting with so that their defeat and ultimate fate in Chapter 3 actually carries some impact.

This chapter and the one that follows actually has some of the most crossover potential in terms of information given next to the revelation of what exactly happened to the Supreme Chancellor to cause the switch to Saresh from the Bounty Hunter story.  Here we find out what happened to the Emperor’s Wrath, which not only gives us a sense of how the third chapter of the Sith Warrior starts, but when since we also find out that Scourge doesn’t defect until after your “long time” in service to the Emperor.  Apparently the break between Chapter 2 and 3 of the Sith Warrior was quite a break.

The companions in this chapter are actually solid and interesting characters.  They have well defined personalities that don’t require to unlock half of their ‘on the ship’ conversations to get to know them.  You know that Doc is a flirt that cares about the well being of everyone, and that Rusk views the world in terms of calculated risk and victory.  Rusk is honestly one of the better ‘soldier to a fault’ characters I’ve seen done in the game.  Even Elara Dorne cracks that ‘by the books’ exterior here and there, but Rusk?  You either do the mission or die trying.  There is no quitting, no hesitance, no questioning a superior.  If you die, you will die in the service to the Republic and protecting the freedoms and people of it.  Doc on the other hand is the opposite and they contrast each other well.  Doc believes everyone deserves a chance to be healthy and safe.  He believes in prisoners over killing and that no one is above getting a fair shake.  He also constantly flirts with anything resembling a female to the point where I think Scorpio in the Imperial Agent storyline would be in trouble (until she fried him to a crisp.)  It’s interesting because it’s creepy, annoying, and ever present but at the same time – and I fully admit that as a man I might be completely misreading this and be so completely off base, so if any woman would like to weigh in on the comments by all means I welcome your experiences with Doc – but it never felt as…  insulting as Corso’s hypocritical attempts at chivalry.  It felt more like Ron Stoppable from ‘Kim Possible’ trying to get a date for the dance, keeps getting shot down but also keeps trying.  Then again, Ron Stoppable didn’t continuously try with the same girl that rejected him over and over and over.  So yea, back to creepy in a way.

Scourge spends all his characterization going, “Hmm. I see.  Unexpected. Interesting.” over and over and then he joins your crew at the literal last minute of the Chapter.  I will say that I did LOVE that his justification when challenged that Sith only act for selfish reasons is that wanting to save the Galaxy from the Emperor is horribly selfish as he does not want to die.  That right there made him my favorite companion for Chapter Three.  Sorry Kira, gotta bench ya.

The ending of the chapter is probably one of those things that really could go either way depending on how you interpreted the events.  You’re told you are the Emperor’s tool, that you have been for a long time, and yet it never explicitly shows you doing anything outside of killing droids for training under a Sith overlord.  If you honestly believe that you have been attacking the Republic under mind control, that is a big impact that not only confirms the visions about you, but would make the final chapter one of atonement as well as saving the galaxy and gives the eventual battle with the Emperor that personal edge of revenge that would tempt you to the dark side in a classic Star Wars fashion.  But how that actually plays out is to be seen next time.  Till Chapter Three, folks.

<– Chapter One || JEDI KNIGHT || Chapter Three –>

SWTOR Class Storyline Review: Sith Inquisitor – Chapter One

 

<– Prologue || SITH INQUISITOR || Chapter Two –>

Warning: This post contains spoilers for the first chapter of the Sith Inquisitor 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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Ah, the Sith Inquisitor.  Are you a raving madman or cunning deceiver, brilliant tactician or brutal murderer?  I will say this, more so than any other class in the game the Sith Inquisitor has a very clear line between Light and Dark sides, to the point where you could easily make a Goofus & Gallant style comic about the two paths.  With most classes, you can see the merits of mixing things up and sometimes making light and dark choices by need.  I would argue that is very much NOT the case with the Sith Inquisitor.  The Light Side choices are almost always about freedom/kindness/manipulation, the Dark Side ones just boil down to ruthless torture and murder.  So you can kind of see how the two concepts REALLY don’t mesh well.

To those who don’t recall where we left off – because it has been a while – we defeated a ghost that turned out to be our great-great-great-great-great-grandpa and have been tasked by our master, Darth Zash, to find four relics of Tulak Hord, none of which include that cool armor set from the Nightlife cartel packs.  So it’s essentially a mcguffin hunt, but as you’ll see this one is a bit more interesting than the early Consular mcguffin hunts.  Because it’s rarely not about finding the relic, but finding a way to get to it.

Balmorra

This is a perfect example of what I’m talking about.  You know exactly where the relic is as soon as you arrive in Balmorra.  The real problem is that it’s at the bottom of a toxin filled mine shaft that would instantly kill you as soon as you got even halfway to the bottom.  Indeed, it’s explained to you by the kindly Imperial officer you meet that the only thing that can survive the toxin is the mutated genetically engineered colicoids.  So the task is simple: become a colicoid.

While that does sound insane, there is merit to it.  You’ll need to get some additional research and the de-defect a scientist to help construct a formula to resist the toxic waste. The scientist is hesitant but you can persuade him by promising that no harm will come to him and he’ll be allowed to return to the Republic once his work is finished, or you can just taze him bro with sith lightning.  Once you recruit the scientist, your Imperial officer liason uses his cooperation as leverage to force you to go save his Sith son who was caught by the resistance while looking for an ancient sith relic.  You have to do this mission sadly. The good news is you can just kill the kid and get the relic yourself (Note: it’s a crappy lightsaber. Not work it other than to piss off Officer-Dad.) or just send the kid on his way and dealing with his lip.  I mean it too.  Whether you help him or attack him, he will not shut up about how you are lousy Sith compared to him, how dumb his Dad is, how pathetically slow you are at saving him.  They REALLY made it easy to want to kill him.

Of course if you do that you have to deal with the Sith’s Dad, who will promptly try to kill you if you harmed his son.  Either way you then deal with the scientist by letting him go or killing him and take your injection to climb down the glowing green hole and get your relic. I hope you can start to see what I mean about having a hard time with a ‘gray’ play through of the Inquisitor.  Dark side is torture with lightning and kill, light side is bargain and honor your deals.  I suppose you could always promise to reward them and then kill them instead, but it certainly doesn’t work the other way around: “Zap! ZAP! Do as I say! Zap! Okay, now you can go. Toodles!”  Unless you are completely insane.  Of course, there’s enough dialogue options for the Sith Inquisitor that work in that vein that you could easily play your character as someone who makes the majority of Batman’s rouge gallery seem like down to earth sensible folk.

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Nar Shadaa

The Gambler’s Moon is where we see the introduction of the second major theme in the Sith Inquisitor storyline.  Along with usual lost and ancient techniques & relics for power, there is also the ever running concept of the ‘power base’.  While it won’t play a major role in the story until much later, we are introduced to it here with the opportunity to establish a small cult in your name.  Why would you do this?  Well, so you can take down another Sith’s cult. Another Sith who happens to have a relic of Tulak Hord.

Your cult starts with just two people: an angry young man who is fed up with the world, and a young woman who idealistically is hoping for change.  Yes, that is cheesy. But how are YOU going to start a cult? With well rounded and fulfilled individuals? Ha! Anyway, it’s time to start spreading your good-ish name around.  You get a choice of how to accomplish this: you can either break into a pharmaceutical company and steal a cure to a disease called the Rot and cure people with it, or kill of a local gang that has been terrorizing the locals.  The choice is really up to you, it’s a light side/dark side choice though even the light side choice of stealing a cure is a bit dark.  After you complete the task, your cultists will contact you about finding a new location for your ‘church’ and ask you to meet them there, where you are immediately jumped by the other Sith’s goons. Yay for security!

There is a bit of a hidden dialogue at this juncture where you can actual have an ‘intimate’ encounter with at least the female cultists – not sure about the male one as I never played a female inquisitor.  You just need to talk to them before you head off to the next mission.  Though be warned, it is dark side points to have your way with them, and the non-dark side points option is pretty much “Ew, your icky. Go away. Stupid head.” So you’ve been warned.

The next objective is to steal the Sith Cult Leader’s followers by performing a miracle during his big meet & greet shindig. To pull this off you convince a municipal employee to blow the gas pipes under the building when you give the signal (how you convince him is entirely up to you) and thus create a ‘groundquake’ – a name that only make sense once you realize there’s no ‘earth’ so what else are they gonna call it?  This is enough of a feat to steal a good chunk of the Sith’s followers, and successfully tick off the Sith Lord.  Which was the goal, I think?  Either way, it works and the Sith invites you to his base of operations to deal.

And lo and behold the whole thing turns out to NOT be a trap.  No, serious.  There’s a bunch of enemies standing around in the usual pack layouts like you would have to fight them, but they stay green and non-hostile.  It’s probably one of the better psych outs in the game, because you totally are waiting for them to start attacking and they NEVER do.  Instead you just run in to meet with the Sith Lord, who has his own surprise in store.  It seems that the Tulak Hord relic drains people of their force power and then he attacks you himself.  This fight is really annoying because of the aforementioned force drain.  You don’t recover force naturally, and all your abilities take twice as much to use.  The one way to actually sneak by this whole thing is to die and then resurrect, which removes the debuff.  You won’t get it re-applied because the Sith Lord doesn’t put it on you, it’s triggered by the cutscene ending and since you don’t have to watch the cutscene again, you are free to beat the Sith senseless.

So you got the thingamajig but now what is left to deal with but the cult.  You again get three choices: Screw’em and leave, leave the Sith in charge, or leave your loyal flunkies in charge.  As far as I know, the only thing this really changes is a few letters you get as you level up. I might be wrong on that, and I’ll be sure to mention it in future installments should these people ever re-enter the picture.

Interlude – Ghost Great Great Grandpa’s Hat

After completing Nar Shadaa and Balmorra, you will be visited once more by Ghost Gramps who tells you that Zash is planning something.  While the general response is “No duh.” you can actually respond in the hilarious “No! Zash would NEVER do that to MEEEE!” way that leads to Ghost Grandpa plainly stating, “You are naive.”  Why call attention to that? Well because it is probably the best way to summarize the Sith Inquisitor storyline as a whole.  We haven’t got there yet, but trust me – your character is dumber than rocks at times.  Anyway, to prepare you for battle the Ghost Granpappy sends you back to Korriban to retrieve his helmet.  A mask model that is usually reserved for level 40-something Sith Warriors, so that’s cool.

The whole mission is fairly short and just involves fighting through a dude’s house and then either killing him or persuading him to give up the helmet, then running back to the ship.  Really, the worse part in my opinion is getting back to Korriban to do this whole thing.  The entrance is right by the Dark Council chamber so you have to go all the way to the Academy, up the elevator, and down the hall and that’s before the mission STARTS.  Gah!

Tatooine

Okay, I’ll be straight with you here.  This is the worst planet in the entire first chapter.  I mean, the others are not about FINDING the thing but how to GET the thing, right?  Yea, this is just find the thing.  With a side order of revenge for your new companion Andronikos Revel. The mission is literally: 1. Find Andronikos, 2. Find the Pirate, 3. Find the Sand People, and 4. Find the Thing.  This is quite literally a straight line across Tatooine.  The only thing that diverges or affects anything is whether or not you deprive Andronikos of his revenge and kill the guy yourself.  That is it.

Even Andronikos is a weird mixed bag.  You are first told that he doesn’t like people or trust people, but by the end of one job that doesn’t even end well he wants to sign on to your ship’s crew.  His backstory is also familiar: a pirate captain that was left adrift and almost went mad after his crew mutinied, only for his former crew to end up going insane from a cursed relic.  Next he’ll be insisting that he’s CAPTAIN Andronikos Revel.  Blah, can we just move on?

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Alderaan

Compared to where we are coming from, Alderaan is my favorite world in Chapter One. This is just one of those times you get to be manipulative and sneaky as an Inqusitor and it really feels like how I wish the entire class would play.  The whole situation is that the final relic is stored in a vault, and only House Organa has the key.  In order to get that key, you will need some sort of dirt to manipulate them which you find in House Alde.  It seems that the heir to the House abandoned his duty and more importantly his fiance to go train as a Jedi.  A Jedi in love? Tender.

To lure the Jedi back to Alderaan, you go and break into House Rist and find their heir, the scorned woman from the holo that totally doesn’t still have feeling for the Jedi, not at all, b-baka.  And this is where it gets fun, you can actually take the story down a few paths here.  The first is to lure the Jedi back by forcing the Rist woman to call him and ask to meet at their ‘special spot’, you can kill her if you want and then go and kill the Jedi for the key.  On the other hand, you can convince the two to work things out.  They’ll both meet at the special spot and you can help them reconcile, convincing the Jedi to abandon his oath to the Jedi Order to be with his beloved.  To reward you, he gives you the key.  So instead of killing your way, you can actually manipulate a Jedi to fall from grace.

I really like the whole manipulation angle and using your enemies weakness against them.  It was really what I was hoping the Inquisitor would be for the most part, and this world really shows how strong that approach is.  You can mastermind a way to either have a Jedi fall, or lure a Jedi to his doom in a way that no one will be able to find his body or even know where to look which simultaneously strikes a blow against the Jedi, House Organa, and gets you the key to go and nab the relic from the vault.

Finale

The end of the story comes in two parts.  The first is another visit by Ghost Grandpa who wants you to retrieve his lightsaber that has given to a retainer of your ancient family before Tulak Hord destroyed everything.  The ancestor of the retainer is now working off her father’s debt at a Nar Shadaa casino, a debt incurred when her father bet everything – including the lightsaber – to a corrupt known-for-cheating gambler.  You need to go and get it back so she can unlock the case for you (because Bioware wanted you to visit the casino twice since it wasn’t being used for much else).  Now that you have your grandpappy’s lightsaber, it’s time to go and deal with Zash.

Now here’s where you either saw it a million miles away or got an awesome twist: Zash wants to betray you!  You can’t say there wasn’t ample warning for it. In fact, her wretched form is starting to rot away. So she wants to put her soul in your body.  Which sounds a bit too fantasy even for Star Wars, but hey I’ll roll with it.  Your morose monster of a pet, Khem Val, disrupts the ritual and somehow ends up body sharing with Zash.  The two of them now trading off who controls the body.  Of course, Zash is furious. All her planning gone to waste.  She even made sure that her loyal apprentices were to become YOUR apprentices, and to ensure YOU became a Lord of the Sith so when the conversion happened she would be ready.  So she tries to attack you in Khem’s body but that pesky loyalty oath is apparently biologically ingrained so even when it’s not Khem, Khem Val cannot hurt you.

So the chapter ends with all your new loyal servants coming to hail you as the new Lord Kalig.  Yay you!

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My Thoughts

The first chapter of the Inquisitor’s story is…  good.  I can’t call it great because it does have some missteps, but at the same time it fixes the biggest issues I had with the Consular story.  With the exception of Tatooine which is honestly just a straight up treasure hunt find-the-thing mission, each story explores a different facet of working around complications to obtain your goal.  You have the deal with Imperial command and bargaining on Balmorra, you have to build a power base and use it against an opponent on Nar Shadaa, and you have to manipulate your enemy into a trap on Alderaan. While you are still looking for the same Mcguffin over and over, it’s handled so different each time that you never really notice.  It makes for a very enjoyable playthrough that keeps you engaged fairly well.

The downsides on the other hand are more so to do with the over arching plot.  Zash’s scheming is poorly handled, and this really carries over from the Prologue.  Every single person you meet flat out tells you not to trust Zash, and at no point past Korriban are you ever given a worthwhile reason to trust her.  She constantly makes enigmatic promises of your rise to power, but that’s all it is – vague promises.  By the time Lord Kalig shows up and flat out tells you she wants to betray you, well what reason do you have to keep going along with this plan?  But for some reason, you do. You bring her all the relics, and then guess what? She betrays you! Shocker.  The only reason you don’t die is because Khem Val saves your butt, establishing sadly what will be a long series of “Someone saving your butt” moments that extend well into chapters two and three.  I would rather have had one of the interludes be something along the lines of finding some means to counter Zash’s ritual, the two counter rituals exploding and resulting in Zash and Khem Val sharing a body.  SUPPOSEDLY this is what Kalig’s helmet is for, but when the time comes it is never brought up, so I have no idea.

The only other thing would be a small one but I would really have liked to see the relics have more effect than just be a macguffin.  I mean, on Tatooine we establish that one can drive you insane (something we hear about but never see) and the one on Nar Shadaa can drain force power.  The other two are essentially trapped under rocks, but still could affect things around them.  The Alderaan vault IS guarded and the Balmorra altar was surrounded by colocoids.  It was just a little something that I think would have added some flavor. Not a big complaint.

No the BIG complaint is going to be next time as we dive into Chapter Two of the Sith Inquisitor story.

 <– Prologue || SITH INQUISITOR || Chapter Two –>

SWTOR Class Storyline Review: Bounty Hunter – Chapter One

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

<— Prologue || BOUNTY HUNTER || Chapter Two —>

bountyhunter_chap1_1There’s nothing like the thrill of the hunt, the rush of competition and utter carnage that awaits a competitor in the Great Hunt.  A handful of bounty hunters after the biggest prize in their profession, and not only do you have to take out your appointed bounty but also take out the other bounty hunter you’re competing with?  This is going to be fun.  Luckily, I got my best gal Mako working the intel angle, my freak called Treek packing a double barreled blaster, and a ship droid that…  apparently likes repainting my ship over and over.  Sigh…  Well, Miss Crysta Marko the Space Texan, where am I going first?

Balmorra

So our first target is some big wig admiral working on the seige of Balmorra.  Which right from the get go just goes to show you how different this is from any of the other Imperial class stories: Your first target in the Great Hunt is an Imperial Admiral.  Wow.  If that doesn’t tell you that the Bounty Hunter is on the outside of the Imperial power structure, I don’t know what will.   Unfortunately, said Admiral is a bit of a recluse.  He stays on his ship above Balmorra and never leaves the damn thing, and there is no chance of sneaking aboard something like that and not turning it into a suicide mission.  The next best thing is to lure him out.  Mako has a lead on an officer on the ground that works intelligence for another officer that works under the admiral and is looking to take over his superiors position by impressing the admiral.  Sort of.  See this is the Empire, where impress means “remove the competition” and thus is hiring for someone to discreetly sabotage his boss’ work on Balmorra and to make him look better by comparison.  I can’t POSSIBLY see how this could backfire, but what the hell it’s the best shot at dragging the admiral out of hiding.

The “accidents” you have to pull off are all pretty simple.  Help a slicer install a virus into the droid factory and then eliminate her as a loose end.  Stir the colocoids out of their subjugated state and into a full blown frenzy by killing their queen.  Finally, you steal a tracking device from a Republic ship being used to ambush and prove the link that the Republic is involved on Balmorra and stick on a garbage ship.  Each time reporting back to a gleefully scheming officer who stands in delight with his “pet” Cathar who I will refer to as Murglegurgle because honestly that’s the first thing that comes to mind when I see her jumble puzzle of a name.

After handling the accidents, the superior officer is so totally canned and you talk to the officer and convince him that the best way to show off to the admiral is to meet him in person so the duped officer calls the admiral to arrange for a meeting. Naturally, you and for some reason Murglegurgle are invited as well.  When you show up for the meet – and here’s a shocker – the Admiral is MAD at the officer because these flubs should have never happened if he was doing his job as intelligence. Ha! Don’t care. Time to take out an admiral.  But wait! There’s a surprise twist: Murglegurgle is your rival bounty hunter for the hunt! I am so shocked! Only not!  Because she clearly had alternative intent all through the planet chain.  She was always listening in.  The camera always included her in the background watching the conversations.  Still it was a pretty good build up for the twist and other than the camera angles hinting something was up, she never came close to tipping her hand in the whole thing.  Which was impressively done.  So with Murglegurgle dead, and the Admiral bagged it’s off to the next hunt.  Oh I suppose you can kill the wormy officer if you want. Don’t know why you would.  His dumb ass just helped you move on in the Hunt.

bountyhunter_chap1_2

Nar Shadaa

The next target is a former assassin turned security expert calling himself the Eidolon. Crysta is kind enough to point you to a contact named Gele’ren, a twilek who wants the Eidolon gone on behalf of the Hutt Cartels and who happens to work with Anuli, an old friend of Mako’s (Boooyfriend? COMMENCE TEASING!) and would like to see the Eidolon taken down to improve his stature with the Cartel and maybe become a boss himself.  I’m not entirely sure how the Cartel hierarchy works here. Sometimes they work like a gang, sometimes they’re more of a company, and sometimes it’s just “We all work for hutts.”  I have no clue.  The plan however is to once again force the ever elusive target to come to you instead of finding them.  What better way to accomplish this than by completely ruining  the Eidolon’s business ventures.

The first job is to blow up an entire warehouse of weapons for the Republic worth billions of credits. Really, that’s it.  We’re just gonna blow up a warehouse.  You have to admit there’s a sort of dangeresque mentality to this whole thing that makes me laugh.  No, we don’t sneak around.  No, we don’t blackmail.  We blow things up.  It’s brilliantly simplistic methodology and I would expect nothing else from the Bounty Hunter.

The next bit is some non-hutt concerning business with a certain rival in a certain Great Hunt.  Anuli actually helps pin down some strange order going towards one off beat warehouse here on Nar Shadaa.  Mako thinks this is probably where you’ll find your rival for this planet.  It turns out your rival is a team of ugnaughts who pilot a droid together.  Kind of like a weird Power Rangers set up only the robot doesn’t break apart into seperate smaller robots…. I think.  Apparently, they made it into the Great Hunt by having their droid malfunction and blow up killing everyone else in the melee.  This tells us two things: 1) These are some very lucky pigmen and 2) there was more than one melee, cause that sure as heck did not happen at the end of the prologue.  I would remember that.  So is the melee a standard part of the Hunt?  Because they made it sound like it was a necessity due to the number of entrants from the Hutts or other crime lords. So where there other melees on other planets to help trim things down?  No clue.  This is probably the only time we ever hear about another melee beside the one you participate in.

From here on out, it’s back to business nabbing the Eidolon.  In classic fashion, this quickly becomes an eye for an eye beat down.  You post all his secret dealings across the holo for all to see thanks to a security expert named Zee, and the Eidolon smacks back with going after Gele’ren and Anuli.  This actually seems to hit little Mako way more than any of the possible reactions your bounty hunter has.  She has a moment of utter hopelessness in the face of the fact that yes, even bounty hunters must face the repercussion of their choices and actions.  This is actually where we get introduced to a reoccurring question that gets posed in the bounty hunter storyline: are you responsible?  You were hired to take down the Eidolon.  Without your pursuit Gele’ren and Anuli wouldn’t be involved.  So is it your fault they died?  Are you responsible for those who get harmed or are you simple a tool of your employer and they should be blamed?  This question is actually central to the entire bounty hunter storyline as you’ll see in Chapters 2 and 3.

Finally, you’ll have a chance to take in the Eidolon.  Just before you get to your showdown you’ll be contacting by a representative from the Hutt Cartel who notifies you that they will give an extra reward for delivering an alive and detained Eidolon to them.  It won’t interfere with the hunt and you’ll still get credit for the bounty.  It’s just an extra bonus because oh do they want to make this scumbag suffer and hey, so might you.  So there’s your chance.  The option comes full circle when you finally do take down the Eidolon and facing the possible result of endless sufferring at the hands of the Hutts, he begs you from one warrior to another to give him an honorable death.  While not as prominent or frequent as the idea of responsibility, is the choice between profit and honor.  This becomes a bigger deal when the Mandolorians get more involved in the story later on and you will often get the choice to fulfill a bounty or give them an honorable death by combat or some such.  This is actually a weird inversion of the ‘take them alive’ light side or ‘kill them’ dark side choices in the game.  Killing them honorably usually results in light side points with the bounty hunter, where as straight up murder will result in ‘dark side’.  It’s a weird moral gray area to dance in, but that seems somewhat fitting for the hunter.

Interlude

Your hunt gets interrupted by the Huntmaster’s assisstant – Lek – who calls you back to Dromund Kaas.  Instantly this puts Mako on edge as the Huntmaster and his team are not supposed to contact anyone directly while the hunt is on. However, it turns out that they have a rather unique situation on their hands and that the entire target list for the Great Hunt has been stolen and is set to be auctioned off on Hutta.  This is naturally bad because of its effects on the Great Hunt.  Finding out you’re on the target list is pretty much a big “go underground. Leave galaxy now.” flag and it will screw up everything. You are being tasked by the Huntmaster himself to go and retrieve it and “take care of” any potential threat to the hunt: the slicer who stole it, anyone who might try to buy it or is aware of it, or just anyone who showed up to the auction really.  Most importantly is to try to find out who leaked this intel.

The mission itself is just a short hop back to Hutta to kill a ton of people.  But it has some nice moments like seeing Nem’ro’s secretary who handled your payments in the prologue again.  The real point of this whole thing is revealed in the big twist of who leaked the list to the sliver: a mandolorian.  The Mando did manage to hide his identity through voice filters and hiding his face, but there was one big clue.  The mando wanted to make sure that Tarro Blood’s targets were left off the list.  Well, that’s an interesting turn.  Who could benefit from that?  While your gut says Tarro himself and yes, that is true, the gambling scene surrounding the Hunt has put just enough incentive in exterior hands to move the indicator into ‘reasonable doubt’ in the eyes of Lek and the Huntmaster. Bah!

bountyhunter_chap1_3Tatooine

Your next target is on Tatooine and no sooner than you arrive than you get a ring from Crysta the Space Texan letting you know her pre-recorded briefing for this target is null and void.  Looks like the target caught wind of being a target and decided to high tail it but was shot down by your opponent in the hunt for this world sending the target – a Devoronian named Tyresius Lokai – plummeting into the desert. The good news is because of that, he’s probably still on the planet and is probably looking for a new way off.  So your first visit is to the spaceport traffic droid who tells you that no “Tyresius Lokai” exists in the records, but another Deveronian is about to depart.  Deveronians are apparently quite uncommon according to my MakoWiki, so the chance of there being two both trying to get off the planet at the same time is a bit fishy.  Treek! Fetch my investigation hat!

Of course the guy who claims not to be and to never have heard of Tyresius Lokai is in fact Tyresius Lokai.  He runs off leaving you to deal with his goons who happily divulge after being smacked around that your opponent in the Great Hunt – a Rodian named Veeboo – is in a cantina and may have info on where the ship crashed and where Lokai might head.  Veeboo is a fricking worm who took a huge pay out from Lokai to let him go.  After prying out that Lokai was going to see the “Lady of Pain” about a new ship (this is a really weird place for a Planescape reference honestly.) After the tip, I just blasted Veeboo.  Seriously, what is with all these wimpy rivals?

You find the Lady of Pain in the middle of talks with Lokai.  You offer her anything for Lokai instead and she asks for entertainment.  Apparently she needs a champion for her gladiatorial blood sport match this afternoon and you volunteer.  Lokai gets hauled off in chains and all you have to do is take care of one lousy gold mob and everything is in the bag.  Sort of.  Seems like Tyresius slipped away using a grenade in a false horn and took off into the Dune Sea with a speeder and a ship part. So now you have to chase him again! GAH! This guy is SO dead when I find him.

So into the desert you go, and actually not that far really.  The ship apparently crashed a hop, skip and jump north of an Imperial Outpost and right behind a sand people camp.  Tyresius on the other hand is one not to give up without some resistance (considering that’s all he’s done this entire time, this should not come as a shock) and he’ll send a couple of waves of disposable droids at you.  When you finally catch up with him, he has one final offer: Kill him.  Well, not HIM him, but a genetically identical duplicate of him that he just keeps around for uh… “emergencies.”  This is yet another one of those completely railroad-y decisions in the game that gives you no choice but to agree with the deal.  I do suspect that probably at some point in development you could refuse and just kill Lokai, but hey dems de breaks and here’s a new companion. Deal with it.  Of course, our new friend can’t go around calling himself “Tyresius Lokai, man who died in the great hunt” so he takes a brand new name: Gault Rennow.  He’s our DPS long range sniper companion.  I want to throw him out the air lock but can’t.

It’s not like Gault is a bad character at all.  He’s a snarky, selfish, con artist and self-titled businessman that is always looking for the quick and easy credit. His conversations are usually pretty funny. Funnier than most of our companions at least. No, really what has always irked me about Gault has been two-fold: first is the completely forced way he joins your crew.  The game just ignores the myriad of reasons this is a BAD IDEA and just shoves him into your hands and walks off like giving a love note to s-sempai.  Second is the fact that the guy is just a complete weasel.  His introduction is all about paying off people, getting others to do his dirty work, and squirming out of every situation.  He just comes off as slimy as a overly greased comb-over on a used car dealer. It just always put me off.  No matter how snarky or sassy his commentary gets, I just feel dirty when I work with Gault.

Alderaan

Alderaan, also known as dead planet walking, is either the most frustrating or most enjoyable RP experience in the entire first chapter of the Bounty Hunter storyline. Namely because you spend the entire planet trying to hobnob with noble elites who think your petty blue collar work beneath them.  At the center of this whole thing is House Girard who has the intel you need to locate your bounty of the day: The Durasteel Duke.  Named such because he is supposedly nigh unkillable with nerves of… well…  durasteel I would assume.  So to get the intel you need, you get to play errand monkey for a bunch of stuck ups in fancy duds that seem to enjoy bickering with each other.  Lots of in-fighting in this House it seems.

Most of the jobs you have to do can either go down in one of two fashions: You behave, or you don’t.  You can either put up with the self righteous jerk or you can break his nose and force him to take the package even though your employer was supposed to deliver it in person.  You can help the old curator of the museum find the fake relic that has the clue while covering him from oncoming fire or you can just smash all the priceless ancient jugs until you find the right one and get the heck out of Alde (You know, instead of Dodge.  Cause it’s House Alde.  Oh whatever.)

Things get interesting once you try to hunt down the duke at House Rist.  There’s a bunch of awesome booby traps to dodge and avoid.  The whole thing kind of turns into Indiana Jones for one area.  This is the kind of thing I wish they did more of in this game instead of just combat, combat, more combat.  Have puzzles! Put a maze in there!  I mean, they eventually added some more of this with Rise of the Hutt Cartel bu seriously, it works really well and I find it to be such an enjoyable break.  However, all is for not because you apparently JUST missed the Duke and found out that Rist already killed your rival for the planet for you. Yay? That’s not all though.  Impressed with your skill, the assassins of House Rist make you an offer: Kill House Girard.  All of them.  They promise you a fat paycheck to finishing their contract for them.  My first playthough I didn’t take the money because I wanted to stay loyal to my employer.  On a second time, I realized that these were professional hitmen and women with a contract to kill them anyway.  They were gonna die no matter what. Might as well get paid. Plus you get a title for doing the deed! You get to be “Homewrecker”.

So you finally get to the Duke at House Organa’s pad only to find out that the Duke has actually been dead for like weeks.  Natural causes, or some accident, or some other way that did not involve my blaster.  Apparently the Duke’s sister has been running around as him in a holodisguise to ensure that his diplomatic work finishes before they announce the death.  But hell, she doesn’t wanna deal with the likes of a bounty hunter that chased her across 3 noble houses and half the planet.  She just gives you the duke’s body to turn in and begs you to just leave her alone.  Which I always do.  Hey, why waste ammo?

The planet wraps up with a return to House Girard where the patriarch of the house that was signing your check has died to natural causes (Lots of that going around).  You still get paid, but you were also made his legal representative way back at the beginning to deliver that first package to Count Butthead.  So it falls to you to decide who is the successor to be the head of the house.  There’s actually three ways this can go:  1) Side with the son. You’ll get the Knight of Alderaan title if you are male and the Baroness title if you are female.  2) Side with the daughter.  No titles but you get light side points.  3) If you agreed to take on Rist’s contract, kill them all and get the Homewrecker title.  The Homewrecker option ONLY appears if you agreed to Rist’s offer earlier though.  Now with that settled, it’s time to go toe to toe to the finals of the Great Hunt.

bountyhunter_chap1_4

Finale

The finale for chapter one is actually told in two parts.  The first of which has you travel back to Nar Shadaa to meet with a former champion of the Great Hunt – a mandolorian who just happens to be the teacher of Tarro Blood and his lackies.  It turns out that Tarro has one last sneaky little trick up his sleeve and the former champion wants to warn you about it to help preserve the honor and integrity of the Great Hunt.  Naturally, as is almost always the case with these things he can only tell you about it in person. No unsecured communications.  Even though you have an expert hacker with a computer in her brain that should be able to get us a clean line.  Whatever.

When you show up to the meet you find that Tarro’s lackies did follow you there.  Shock!  If only we could have avoided this by not meeting in person at one place where our enemies could get us both.  You get the option of either slaughtering all of Tarro’s goons or having an honorable duel to the death.  Either way though and the former champ still takes a shot and dies.  But if you chose the honorable duel, you did get some kind final words about you are the true ideal of what the Great Hunt and Mandolorians should inspire to be.   Not so kind words if you just blow them all to hell.  But you do get revenge.  Sweet vengeance on rye toast.  With a side of OJ.  AND PAIN!  *cough*  Moving on.

The actual conclusion comes in the form of one last bounty, and boy is it a doozy:  Get on board a Republic military dreadnaught, disable its hyperspace stabilizers so it gets shredded in the jump,  kill a Jedi master, and then set a timer to throw the whole ship into hyperspace to destroy it.  Oh, and also get off the bloody thing before it goes and defeat your rival. Very important.  Naturally, nothing is simple.  Your attempt to ‘sneak’ on board is immediately met with a troop of soldiers who already caught your rival – one Tarro Blood – who happily informed them that you would also be arriving soon in hopes to save his own skin.  He’s locked in the brig now.  You on the other hand get to fight your way through a now completely on alert ship.  By the Force, Tarro Blood is so slimy that I’m shocked all the fangirls who squee over $%#*stains like Draco Malfoy aren’t created fan shrine websites to his Bieber looking ass.  Those are still a thing right? Fan shrine sites?  Or did they just all die when Geocities went offline? God I’m old.

While rigging the ship to blow, you do stumble upon the brig and Mr. Blood sitting in a cell.  To twist a quote a certain moment in a certain game – This is the part where you kill him.  (This is that part.) And joy of joys, you actually get a choice in your method of dealing with this anthropomorphized mosquito. You can either leave him in the ship to be ripped apart when the hyperspace jump goes off, or you can be the honorable man and let him out to have a proper duel to the death or you can be just as much of a prick by agreeing to the duel, letting him out and then shoot him dead before he has a chance to grab his gear.  Surprisingly, Mako is very much on board with the leaving him here to be shredded idea.  I on the other hand went with the duel on my Powertech and the shooting him before grabbed his gear bit.  If this toad was gonna die, I wanted to be the one to pull the trigger.

Now that Blood has been dealt with – and OH! WAS IT SATISFYING – we can finally go after the actual target.  The Jedi is hanging out on the bridge with his padawan when you arrive.  He tries to force you to surrender, leading to probably one of the most screencapped moments of the game:

JEDI: *waves hand for Jedi Mind Trick* You will lower your weapon and surrender.
BOUNTY HUNTER: *mock waving hand* You will realize what a complete idiot you are.

The master realizes he doesn’t have much alternative to fight and then realizes he doesn’t have much choice to lose. Badly.  It’s important to note that this is the first Jedi Master you have to take on for the Great Hunt, and possibly your first Jedi opponent ever (Suppose it depends on what you do on the planetary storylines). So a victory is impressive.  You of course are also free to either let his apprentice go or to kill her as well.  But between you and me – let her go.  Trust me.  It’ll make sense in Chapter Two.  Makes for a MUCH better story in my opinion. Anyway, with the bounty dead and handled, it’s time to set the ship to blow and get the heck out.

The whole thing ends back on Dromund Kaas where you are given a triumphant award ceremony proclaiming you to be the grand champion of the Great Hunt!  Wealth, fame, and employment await! (So like the opposite of college nowadays.)  The ceremony ends with a notification that you have been called to meet with Mandalore.  THE Mandalore.  Like the big head honcho of the entire Mandalorian people.  He’s got a special task for you it seems.  But that can wait, for now its time to celebrate!

My Thoughts

Originally, I had long held that the Bounty Hunter storyline starts strong and then dwindles toward chapter three but after replaying the storyline I may have been somewhat blinded by it being the first storyline I played.  It’s still great. Don’t get me wrong.  There’s a lot of fun, and has a solid tale of personal glory mixed with revenge.  Tarro Blood is a scum bag villain that revels whose presence is felt almost constantly as he continuously attempts to sabotage your chance at victory. The final showdown with Blood, no matter which way you choose to end it, feels so satisfying and enjoyable.  More than just about any other ‘rival’ you have in other storylines.  The Great Hunt is a wonderful framing device for the story that always ensures you have something to work towards on each planet.

I was however slightly disappointed that each planet only had one bounty.  I was hoping that each world would be like Hutta where you are constantly chasing different people.  However, that was my first time playing the story.  After chapter two it sank in exactly what the hunt was about.  It’s about HUNTING. Setting traps, luring out the prey, and tracking across every environment possible. Going back and looking at the Great Hunt that way was a much more rewarding experience…  sometimes.  Other times, like on Tatooine, you just want it to be over and it starts to really drag chasing Tyresius only to have him slip away every single time.  Especially since after all that, you are forced to bring him along.

The storyline wasn’t flawless by any means either.  The weakest bit by far was the idea of the rival bounty hunter that you were supposed to square off against.  Let’s count how that goes down: One playing in the shadows till the very end (Good!), one trying to rebuild their winning megazord and die unprepared (Meh.), one got paid off and dropped out (Wha?), and one is dead by the time you get to the planet (You’ve gotta be kidding me…).  So after the first planet, the rival aspect is pretty much pointless until the showdown with Tarro.  This could have been something that really elevated the whole experience.  Not only having to hunt down a bounty but also have to stay a step ahead of the competition.  Maybe Tatooine would be a little less tedious had it been a three way race between you, Tyresius trying to escape, and your rival trying to catch Tyresius.  Maybe the arena battle for the Lady of Pain would be against your rival who has been working his own connections to get Lokai.  It just seems like wasted potential.

Same thing with the leaked list in the interlude.  All it ultimately ends up doing is adding another thing on the list of Tarro Blood’s offenses.  Like was it supposed to be some shock that Blood was cheating? The whole story started with him cheating!  It doesn’t even get him a single demerit with the Huntmaster or his crew. So what was the point?  I mean, it could have been a big turn for the character.  He gets kicked out of the Hunt, and then goes on a mission of revenge and starts killing your rivals and even the Durasteel Duke in an attempt to sabotage you since you were directly responsible for his expulsion and ruining his shot.  That would have been something!

For all its missed opportunities, the bounty hunter storyline is still one of my favorite first chapters.  It establishes you as someone who is only on the Imperial side by contract and have very little interest in the power plays of the Sith or the clandestine cloak and dagger plays of Imperial Intelligence.  In fact, you actually go directly against them at times.  Much like the smuggler, the hunter doesn’t feel like he’s part of his faction but simply works within it.  So why the Empire and not the Republic for the Hunter?  Well, we’ll get into that when Chapter Two rolls around.

<— Prologue || BOUNTY HUNTER || Chapter Two —>

SWTOR Class Storyline Review: Jedi Consular – Chapter Two

<—  Chapter One ||  Chapter Three —>

Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Star Wars: The Old Republic class storyline for the Jedi Consular.  If you would like a spoiler-free summary of the second chapter, please look here.  You have been warned.

He is called “Lord of the Large Pants”

With the Jedi Order saved from the threat of the Dark Plague, it’s time for you to get a new job to save the day.  Namely, it’s time to play Star Trek and escort a bunch of diplomats around the galaxy to convince them not to break away from the Republic.  Not even joking.  Meet the Rift Alliance, a coalition of worlds that are thinking of leaving the Republic because they feel neglected and their needs ignored by the senate.  These worlds include but are not limited to places like Manaan and Balmorra.  Although I don’t think Balmorra is a Republic world actually.  However it is funny to see the Manaan representative make mention of the ecological nightmare left on his planet after the events of Knights of the Old Republic.  That made me giggle.  But I’m getting a head of myself here. Before you get to hang out with the representatives, you have to save them.

See they were all on this big party ship that they were going to use as a base camp while working with you, but it got hijacked by the Empire!  So you have to fight your way to save them.  After that, it’s decided that they’d be much safer on your ship than the party boat.  Which, okay, kind of makes sense. But my ship doesn’t even have enough beds for my crew, let alone the rest of these people.  So…  I hope the chairs are comfy?

Balmorra

The first stop on our “fix the galaxy” tour is Balmorra. Essentially the mission is to put the representative from Balmorra in charge of the planet, and in exchange he will make sure that Balmorra joins the Republic.  So it’s NOT part of the Republic at the moment.  In order to change things over, we need to find the old president and have him pass over the authority to the representative.  Because that’s apparently how presidents work now.  No elections, just point a finger and say “Tag, you’re it!”

The real issue is that the now currently in charge Sith overlords have got the president in hiding somewhere, and that’s where I come in.  Well, me and the rebellious revolutionary known only as Zenith.  Zenith is a jaded freedom fighter, and I don’t much blame him considering the history of Balmorra: abandoned by the Republic and handed over to the Sith, and depending on what happened during the Imperial storyline their unofficial support from the Republic Military not only pulled out but also publicly confessed ensuring no future support.  Yea, I’d have a chip on my shoulder too.

You pretty much spend most of the planet playing back up for Zenith in an effort to track down and save the president.  Fortunately, you are a bad enough dude or dudette to do so.  Downside, President is being guarded by Darth Lachris, the sadistic Sith you met at the end of the Imperial Balmorra storyline (Yes, this is what happens to her).  Upside, you get to kill a Sith! More downside, she royally messed up the President’s brain so he can’t do anything even if you save him.  This leads to the somewhat disturbing option of using the president like a meat puppet to pass the torch of leadership.  It’s cruel, unethical, and I did it in a heartbeat.  What? My job was to get a new president for Balmorra, not to make sure the old one lived to a ripe old age.

Quesh

Quesh is the usual short single mission that really isn’t worth talking about usually.  This one does set up some important plot threads for later, so that’s a step up from the Trooper.  The gist is that the Rift Alliance had a secret science lab on Quesh that they totally didn’t mean to neglect telling you about but oh by the way the Imperials are attacking it and it has some superpowerful tech hidden there please oh god fix it.  The super tech in the lab really doesn’t do much except offer you a choice of how they develop it.  Maybe this comes up in Chapter 3? I don’t know.  So far all it did was get me a piece of mail with a severely under level blue quality companion gift.

What Quesh does introduce is two ideas:  the first is that a tracking device was found on your ship, which means that you might have a spy on board.  This is actually a great diplomatic conundrum.  Do you tell the diplomats – one of which may be the spy – and diminish their already low opinion of the Republic’s ability to keep its house in order, or do you keep it quiet and risk worse damage being done by the spy as you try to figure out who it is without letting the others on.  I actually really liked that twist.  Sadly it doesn’t last long as we’ll see.

The other thing that happens is that we see Nadia Grell, daughter of one of the diplomats, join you on a mission and display an impressive use of Force power.  Yes, it appears that little Nadia is a force sensitive and a powerful one at that.  Nothing comes of that immediately, but it does come up more later that I can promise you.

Behave! Or the Jedi will eat you.

Hoth

Your final job for the Rift Alliance is to help a team of their soldiers finish their job and back on their way home.  A task the Republic troops on Hoth have been most unhelpful in completing (Of course, the troops on Hoth just got hit by a surprise attack that knocked out their power, are getting cornered by pirates and Imperials, and are seeking a powerful weapon to use to help win the war. But taking care of the one squad of Rift troops that wanna leave the cold planet while they’re stuck there? Not a big priority shockingly.) The job is to kill one Captain Valon, a two bit pirate who was attacking the Rift Alliance’s shipping routes that has suddenly become a lot more problematic.  See, the word on the street is: Valon is immortal.  Yup. Can’t kill him.  Why even try? And these poor guys are stuck on the ice ball until the Immortal Pirate is dead.  Wow.  Sucky job.

Of course, one quick smack around from a Jedi and the jobs done right? Sadly, no.  While the rest of the team is often getting ready to celebrate leaving, you get a message proving that while you did seemingly kill the man and leave him cold and lifeless on the floor, he is still alive and kicking. It’s up to you know to figure out putting him in his grave. Luckily, you find out that the Empire is after Valon as well.  Something about stealing an experimental healing armor?  No… you don’t think…  I see.  Well, time to bust up a lab for answers.  And after ransacking and pillaging the Empire for some sweet sweet secrets, you find out that yea it’s the armor that keeps him coming back.  You also find out that Valon’s plan is to raise a massive star ship from the ship graveyard and use it as his new flagship as the future immortal pirate leader of the White Maw. (Aaaand he might be searching for One Piece.  Maybe.  No clue.  But hey, it gives us an excuse to rap on the way! Ready Qyzen?)

Ultimately, you find the pirate, use the secret technique of ‘Keep killing him until he stays dead’, and you and the troops get to leave this Popsicle stand.  Afterward, you get a new crewmember! Lt. Felix Iresso has joined the brawl! I’d love to tell you all about Felix but so far at least, he’s a bit of a cardboard cut out.  Seriously, the guy doesn’t have any really stand out-ish qualities while you talk to him on Hoth beyond he is willing to straight up lie to his men if it means not destroying morale.  Beyond that, he’s a soldier aaaand that’s about it.  I mean, he seems like there’s definitely some backstory stuff that I’m sure to get into as I keep shoving gifts into his face.  He seems perfectly happy to leave the military behind to sign on with you. But that’s it.  Kind of a weak sauce companion compared to the fairly strong personalities we’ve met so far.

 

No, Sir. We weren’t trying to steal Pay Per View.

Finale

The finale is short.  Like seriously short.  You finally track down which of the diplomats is the traitor/spy/guy who keeps stealing the cable, but oh no! He was JUST sent off on an important diplomatic mission with Royalty! I sure hope that hi jinks don’t ensue.  To make a long story short, everyone’s dead when you show up.  You just walk through the ship littered with dead bodies until you find the King and Queen of WePaintsOurFaces-vania with the traitor diplomat who to the shock of no one is actually a Sith. Dun dun yea yea.  More importantly, he is one of the Children of the Emperor.  Ah, now that IS different.  You fight, you win, you save the King and Queen. And that’s it.  The finale is seriously just that one fight.  Well, two if you kill the bonus gold star robot boss trapped behind a door.  But it does set up the next leg of the journey with the introduction with the Children of the Emperor.  I do wonder if Miss Kira Carsen will be showing up for  cameo?

Final Opinion

The second chapter of the Jedi Consular story is a lot of set up for whats to come it seems.  The whole traitor thing REALLY doesn’t get played up to its full potential, and it really could have been something great.  With diplomats constantly pushing for more info, the risk high of angering them and the Rift Alliance continually looking for a reason to abandon the Republic that, quite frankly, they owe nothing.  Instead, the diplomats are grumpy but mostly content to just sit around, give you your space, be polite in the face of whatever happens.  It’s not a catastrophic let down because I really do dig the whole political angle of the Jedi being explored, so I would definitely rate it above something like Trooper Chapter 2, but it really could have been something amazing but became satisfied with being meh.

Our new companions feel like two variations of the same archetype.  Both Zenith and Felix are soldiers, but while one seems worn out and just wants to be done, the other is super jaded from broken promises.  Still, recruiting them back to back just makes the comparisons even more startling.  Especially since Zenith is introduced with so much more character and gusto than Felix.  Almost like they blew all their cool ideas with Zenith and had nothing left for Lt. Iresso.

In the end, Chapter Two decides to just settle with doing what it does.  It doesn’t strive for amazing, it doesn’t break down into terrible or tedious – it just is.  Which is a shame.  It really did have potential.  But the whole thing still hasn’t lived up to the horrendously boring snoozefest I’ve heard it claimed to be on the forums.  So who knows what awaits us beyond in Chapter 3.  I mean, besides the Children of the Emperor. (OH YEA!)

<—  Chapter One ||  Chapter Three —>

SWTOR Class Storyline Review: Sith Warrior – Chapter One

 Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Sith Warrior storyline in Star Wars: The Old Republic.  If you would like a spoiler free summary of the storylines you can find them here.

<– Sith Warrior Prologue ||  Sith Warrior Chapter 2 –>

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The Sith Warrior.  A powerful fearsome enforcer of Darth Baras.  Now armed with a starship capable of reaching the ends of the galaxy.  Fear is your weapon.  Your master’s enemies are your enemies. And with Darth Baras’ deep undercover spy network being found out and eliminated, it falls to you as the servant of your master’s will to put a stop to any possible threat to your master’s doings.

Balmorra

Baras’ spy on Balmorra is a big shot officer in the Republic forces that are “not officially part of the resistance”.  But before you do that, it’s time to make sure that you cut off any possible loose ends to the spy. That includes his son.  The blabber mouth kid has got himself taken in to the custody of the resistance, so it’s up to you to bust him out and either mind wipe the bugger or silence him for good.  Then you’ve got to take out the spy in the Balmorran arms factory.  This is probably my favorite scene in the whole planet, because you defeat the soldiers guarding the spy (his own squad that he commands) and the last one gets to live just long enough to witness the true betrayal of the commanding officer that he was moments ago ready to lay down his life to protect. The spy quite properly asks the Sith Warrior to just kill the trooper and put him out of his misery, and you can or you can force the spy to do it.  I honestly just killed the trooper because there’s no reason to be so mean to this guy.  Especially since he then explains to you quite plainly that he knows why you are here, that he is ready to die, and he knew that he was a liability as that would be cut out one day by Baras.  Really reasonable for a guy I was sent here to kill.  I mean seriously, based on every other class I’ve played in this game I’d expect him to just turn tail and run and try to buy his way out, but no.  He knows his place, and he knows it’s time to go.  Doesn’t mean he isn’t going to go without a fight though.  He’s a soldier after all, and if he’s going to go out, it’s going to be in honorable combat.  Which is fine by my dark knight Sith Warrior.  Honorable combat it is.

You also meet your second companion here.  Malavai Quinn.  And he’s an imperial trooper that helps you.  He proves to be quite skilled as after you eliminate the spy, he finds that an investigator was listening in on the whole thing and to make matters worse, the investigator is a Jedi.  You hunt and stop the Jedi who informs you that she already has sent the information off to Baras’ old foe Noman Karr and his padawan who can see people’s true nature.  This shocking twist is only interrupted by Quinn who scoffs at the whole thing and explains that he intercepted the information so that Karr never received it and the truth dies with the Jedi.  So Quinn is apparently a bad ass with communications, and is also quite adept at combat, and flying your ship, and many other duties.  He’s kind of just an all around bad ass who is stuck on Balmorra for some reason.  It’s mentioned that a lot of higher ups want to see him stay there,but Baras rewards him with a recommendation for officer-ship and says his debt with Baras is wiped clean.  Whatever that means.  Apparently I didn’t ask the right questions to find out what that was or it’ll come up later.  Anyway, Quinn is a proper Imperial soldier through and through. Kind of like the Empire equivalent to Elara Dorne I would say.

Nar Shadaa

Baras’ spy Agent Dellocon has run to hide under the protection of Darth Baras’ rival Lord Rathari. In order to get to Dellocon, the Warrior must draw Rathari out of the shadows and remove the protection.  To do this, you must disrupt all of his operations and dealings on Nar Shadaa forcing a confrontation that will give you an opening to the agent. Rathari kills the woman assisting you and challenges you to a duel.  He then refuses to duel a lowly apprentice and has his lackeys do it.  Finally, you defeat Rathari and he kills Dellocon for you (stealing your kill if you wish to offer some disapproval) and then you are free to do with Rathari as you see fit and he acknowledges your strength and takes whatever punishment you dish out.  Even asking for a swift death if you wish to kill him.

There’s a small interlude after Nar Shadaa where you assault a Republic tracking station that has been keeping tabs on you for Noman Karr.  You break in, kill everyone, and have a fun confrontation of taunting the Jedi and making your intentions generally known.  He becomes more resolved than ever to keep his padawan safe and out of reach, so Darth Baras decides the next course of action will be to lure her out by destroying everything she holds close and dear.  This will be interesting.

Tatooine

So first up on the whole “destroying everything she holds close and dear” road trip is a visit to the sandy dunes of Tatooine and slaughtering her old master that helped develop her unique power.  Of course, the master just happens to be a remote hermit who know is sure where he lives.  But your assigned assistant from Darth Baras has an idea: let’s retrace the padawan’s steps. So first up is to ‘subdue the devil of the desert’ and bathe in its… shiny… stuff.  Maybe blood.  They’re not very specific.  I’m going to go with blood.  And subduing it with a lightsaber to the face.  Quinn, do you object? No? Excellent. Stab the giant desert bug and become shiny.  Then you can enter the sand people encampment and figure out what happened next because heck, I wouldn’t mess with someone covered in shiny sand demon bug blood juice stuff.

So the next thing the padawan did was bathe in a spring to purify herself.  Really?  We’re doing this?  The game is actually gonna make me take a bath.  Dangit.  Okay actually it’s more so like meditating at a spring and facing your inner self, who you must defeat to move on.  This is one of those things that makes me really want to do a second character with the opposite alignment to see if it changes.  Because my encounter was extremely dark side orientated which made sense because I was dark side.  So I have to wonder if you have a light side Sith Warrior, if this whole thing changes.  Either way, when you defeat yourself (Insert “That is why you fail” joke here), you receive a vision of the deep desert where the Jedi lives.  Your assistant says she will not follow because no one goes to the deep desert and survives, which is funny because I’m pretty sure I’ve done it AT LEAST 7 OTHER TIMES.  You think an experienced tracker would know about all the other people, and the established bases in the dune sea that are not filled with dead people but whatever.

Finally, you get to meet the Jedi proper.  He goes on with his usual Jedi blather about how I will fail, and how I will now die here, and how I will never find out anything. Luckily, he has a little buddy.  One that is more than willing to spill the beans to save his master.  Unluckily, I killed them both anyway because such was the will of my master, Darth Baras! (I’m a good Sith. We’ll a bad Sith.  Who does good.  Good to his master, not to like other people.  You know what I mean.)  But we do learn a very important clue, a name: Jaesa Wilsaam.  Well how about that.  Time to put that intel to use.

Alderaan

I wasn’t joking when I said we were gonna put that intel to good use.  We’re going after Ms. Padawan’s family.  And we are going to kill them.  Or that’s what Baras wants at least.  You don’t HAVE to technically. But as we’ve stated that this playthrough is me being a good bad sith of bad done good but bad-ness.  So we’re killing them.  But first we have to find them.  And to do that we have to use this sniveling Thul politician to locate them.  Unfortunately, he’s a fricking weasel.  So he constantly tries to divert the conversation, blame others (including you), and poorly manipulate others to do his own personal bidding.

Case and point, he tells you that a House Alde noblewoman had Jaesa as a servant at one point and that you should kidnap her and bring her back to him to be properly interrogated.  Well, it turns out that no.  She was not this noblewoman’s servant.  Actually, the Thul jerk has been attempting to woo her unsuccessfully because he’s a creepy freak so he just figured he’d get you to kidnap her so he can…  well, I don’t want to think about how he’d “interrogate” her.  Because that’s kind of sickening to be honest.  I actually let her go after threatening some good information out of her.  Just to irk the Thul Jerk Creep.

Next is a bunch of filler about trying to track her down, breaking into a high security station, hacking the planet, blah blah blah.  Ultimately, it leads to the fact that you find the Wilsaam family in the center tower of the Organa palace/castle/estate/I-hate-nobles.  Upon entering, you are challenged by their sworn guardian: a Jedi Knight.  Oh fun.  They think they can stop me.  And if you choose to kill the family, you get probably what is the FUNNIEST moment in this entire chapter.  Instead of dueling the Jedi Knight to kill the family, you just force push the Jedi out of the way, and double force choke Mommy and Daddy at the same time, and THEN the Jedi fights you.  Because he failed.  Failed so hard, I dare say this falls into the Epic Fail category.  This probably wouldn’t have been nearly as funny if it wasn’t for the fact that it pretty much subverts EVERYTHING ELSE in the game, where you declare your intention, then fight the gold mob, and then deal with the target. The Sith Warrior is just like “NOEP. KILL TIME.” and I was on the floor.

After dealing with the family, Darth Baras gets a hold of you and says that the Slimy Thul Jerk Creep has been telling your master that you’ve been goofing off and messing around this entire time, trying to further your own agenda.  Not shocked.  However, upon clarifying the whole mess, Darth Baras gives you a present: You can deal with the Slimy Thul Jerk Creep anyway you see fit.  Ooooh yes.  And his Sith bodyguards will do nothing to you, because they are more loyal to the Darths then they are to a loser politician.  It’s murder time again! HAHAHAHAHAHA!  Ahem. I mean.  Goodie.

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Grand Finale

The finale of chapter one comes at first in the form of an invitation from Jaesa to meet her and settle this between the two of you, since it’s clear that both of you are just pawns in a battle between your masters.  And you’ve already guessed what happens, haven’t you?  Oh yea. Jaesa isn’t there when you show up.  Just two of Nomen Karr’s Jedi goons who have big heads about wanting to beat up a Sith.  They also are dead. (Okay, you CAN send them packing with their injuries as a message to Karr, but why?) Turns out Jaesa did plan on meeting you as she said, but Nomen Karr stopped her and sent the goons as an uh… “elaborate” trap.  Like you didn’t expect it to be a trap to begin with.  This however is immediately followed by an actual message from Karr sent to Darth Baras, challenging him on Hutta.

This is the fun part.  On Hutta, you have to fight Nomen Karr three seperate times (Protip: Heal before talking to him each time) and taunting him into releasing his anger.  During these fights, he stops using his Jedi Knight abilities and starts using more abilities from the Sith Warrior arsenal (Force chokes, slams, ravage, etc) and he goes further and further dark side. Swearing up a storm about how he’s going to kill you, maim you, hurt you, and is going to enjoy doing it.  Meanwhile, innocent lil’ ol’ Jaesa makes her entrance to see her master frothing at the mouth.

At this point there’s two distinct paths that the rest of this encounter:  you can use dark side choices to complete break her and destroy her world view by forcing her to use her “true nature revealing” power on her own master to expose the darkness he’s had in his heart all this time, thus causing her to doubt the power of the light side and convert.  That for the record is the way I went.  The other choice is just to disillusion her into joining you without completely breaking her, and thus becoming much like the Inquisitor and having a doubtful Jedi join you, but doesn’t want to go Sith.  Either way, she becomes your new apprentice.  But she can only be romanced if you converted her to the dark side.

Final Thoughts

Despite how simple everything seems to be described here, the Sith Warrior storyline is actually really amazing and enjoyable.  Mostly not because of the plot, but because of the conversations and interactions.  If you ever wanted to be the supremely bad ass dragon to a big bad, and just wander around terrorizing the universe – you can be that! If you are the noble servant to a dark master, who only kills when necessary – YOU CAN BE THAT! If you want to serve your master loyally or start to subvert him to overthrow him later – both are viable paths to take!  The story may be simple, but how to get to tell it is extremely varied based on your choices.  And really choice seems to be the big thing for this leg of the Sith Warrior’s journey.  You can choose to obey or disobey, you can choose to kill or spare, you get to choose to convert or simply recruit an apprentice.  The choices are really what makes this storyline shine.

I’m not saying the actual plot is that bad either. Just simple.  Your master’s spy network has been compromised against impossible odds. Time to eliminate any possible loose ends and then stop the source of the problem: a padawan. But the padawan is in hiding! Well, start killing everyone she has a close bond to, that should lure her out.  It’s a simple but well executed story.  There’s no real twists or turns, no mystery, but still exciting as you serve as the right hand of Darth Baras and execute his will across the galaxy (or not).  It’s fun because you already feel powerful going in, there is no build up to earning your place.  You are Vader at this point. Full stop.  And it’s pretty awesome to have that much authority and power in Chapter One.

I’d say more about your new apprentice Jaesa Wilsaam but you literally get her right at the completion of Chapter One.  And considering the girl has two distinct versions you can get to know, I’d rather play around some with that before I say my piece on it.  I will say this: Dark Side Jaesa? She is one freaky lady.  Like makes me wanna take shower after talking to her dark side.  So, there’s that.  Now I have to shower from thinking about it.  Yuck.

<– Sith Warrior Prologue ||  Sith Warrior Chapter 2 –>

Irreconcilable Differences on Balmorra

So I’ve been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic again with my girlfriend lately.  Shooting up bad guys, leveling, having laughs, and saying extremely mean – and deserved – comments at Corso (She plays a Trooper, I play a Smuggler).  However, as we traversed the threshold that is Chapter 2, we came to a slight… problem.  See, at the start of the Smuggler storyline in chapter 2, you meet one Akaavi Spar:

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She’s a bad ass Mandalorian Zabrak on a mission to avenge the death of her clan. Her early appearances are marked with events such as blowing up a small army of dudes, beating you getting into a highly fortified prison, then walking through a door with Imps beyond it, the door shutting only to open seconds later and for the Imps to be dead.  She is the very embodiment of Bad Ass and stands with other paragons of Bad Assitude like Spike Spiegal, Master Chief, The Road Runner, and Clint Eastwood.

This was my reaction to meeting Akaavi:

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This was my girlfriend’s reaction to my reaction to meeting Akaavi:

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And this is us working out our differences between her reaction and my reaction:

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I’m sure it will all work out just fine. Right?

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