<– Chapter Two || SMUGGLER ||
Warning: This post contains spoilers for the third 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.
When last we left our intrepid smuggler, they had just foiled a scandalous attempt on the life of Senator Dodonna using cybernetically enhanced beasts of unknown origin. The Senator tasked us with the job of hunting down where these beasts came from and how Rogun the Butcher got them. To find this out, there’s only one place to go and one person to talk to: The man with his hands in every plan – Darmas Palloran who sits chilling at Port Nowhere. Turns out that Darmas is completely on the ball on this one and has already got your answer by the time you arrive. The animals come from the planet Voss, a newly discovered world with insanely strict laws governing the coming to’s and going from’s the planet. Somehow Rogun managed to get these beasts off world, and that means going to Voss for answers. Sadly that will take some time. See, you’re not a fancy Jedi and you ain’t Republic special forces, so you’ll have to get to Voss the good old fashioned bureaucratic way – by getting a permit. That means it will take time. Luckily, Darmas has another lead you can pursue in the mean time.
It seems that our good friend/headache Rogun the Butcher has a bit of business on the secret prison planet of Belsavis. He’s apparently aiming to break out his old mentor who goes by the name ‘Ivory’. Ivory taught Rogun everything he knew, so he’s a powerful asset to Rogun AND to you against Rogun. Also I feel its worth mentioning that somehow it is actually easier for me to get access to super secret prison planet than it is to get a parking pass on the diplomatically neutral world of Voss. Keep that in mind the next time you go through there. That every other class is pretty much in the express lane to getting to go to Voss compared to the Smuggler and the rest of the galaxy.
So your first task to go get Ivory from his cell. Bit of a problem there though. Belsavis is in the middle of the biggest prison riot in the planet’s history thanks to the Imperials. So the guards aren’t exactly sure if Ivory is where he should be nor can they guarantee safe arrival to the cell. Could be worse though. They could be out of Space Coffee and Donuts, which they clearly aren’t given the ABUNDANCE of guards and prison personnel just standing around at the main compound. Get to work, you lazy pieces of trash.
It turns out that the cell is not empty at all. It’s full of explosives! Seems like when Ivory flew the coop he wanted to leave a goodbye present. You find a tunnel after taking cover that was dug into the stone that clearly indicates good ol’ Ivory has been contemplating getting out of here for a while. I mean that’s not poured cement we’re talking about. It’s solid rock. That’s determination! So you know that Ivory is out, and it seems from reports that a lot of Ivory’s crew is being busted out as well. Except for one. You race to a guard station where they have the last member of Ivory’s team in holding to see if she has any ideas on where Ivory has gone. But sadly, the girl is insanely fanatical and just spouts gibberish. The bad news rolls in as it becomes very clear that the guard holding her their was holding her not for you – but for Ivory. Ah, corrupt prison guards. Nice to see that even in the level 40’s that we’re still slumming it as a smuggler. One of Rogun the Butcher’s personal assassins joins you from the rafters and kills the girl, so you quickly have to take out both the assassin and the corrupt guard. And we’re back to square one with the whole ‘no clues’ thing. But wait! The guard has a list of names. Names to set free! Potentially for Ivory! Another lead! HUZZAH!
This lead sends you down to the prisons to meet up with two more members of Ivory’s crew whose names I never bothered to learn because I immediately just started calling them Bebop and Rocksteady. Their comedy relief henchmen essentially who you can – through no great effort – convince to fight each other instead of you. With them out of the way, it’s time to deal with the big ol’ gendai they let out and try to get some answers. Honestly, I don’t know how we really plan to defeat a friggin gendai since they establish on Imperial Nar Shadaa that they essentially can regenerate from almost nothing to the point that they had to run the corpses through meat grinders to stop them from coming back. Here you just blast him and walk off. Maybe he does regenerate. Not much reason to worry about him staying down so long as you can get out the door. Anyway, you get your next clue about Ivory’s location – the Deep Vaults.
Now where in the Deep Vaults? Never really pinpointed but the mission marker tells me where to go and I follow. Apparently, Ivory headed to what at least appears to be an ancient Rakata starship hanger complete with repaired starship. I’m suddenly having flashbacks to the end of John Carpenter’s The Thing. Ivory says he’s going to use this ancient starship (Up next on The History Channel) to blast off and leave Belsavis. This is actual fairly funny considering that a few scenes back with Ivory he was ranting about he was mastering the ancient Rakata technology and no longer needed to escape. Meaning that he was going to use the Rakata technology to escape? I’m not sure. But sinister plotting is a foot as that assassin you killed earlier isn’t dead! But he is! He’s actually just got like a dozen identical twins! What the fu-?!
Cornered by the baker’s dozen, you quickly learn that they’re not just there for you. It seems Rogun considered Ivory too risky to have alive in or out of prison. This opens up the brilliant opportunity to negotiate. You and Ivory team up to wipe out the goons and then you can press your leverage on him to either get intel on Rogun from him and send him back to the prisons, just flat out kill the guy or – my personal favorite – bring him with you and smuggle him out of the prison to work under you and teach you the ways of being an underworld boss. Heck. Yes.
This first interlude is just a really weird brief break. A Jedi Master, Sumalee, who is apparently yet another old friend of Risha’s gets a hold of you and asks you to retrieve another old friend of Risha’s who is an SIS team member from Hoth. She’s pinned down and on a mission investigating something that isn’t really important to the plot at all but because of this she can’t trust anyone in the Republic base. In other words, she needs to be smuggled off world.
I honestly don’t know what the point of this was beyond reminding you that you are a smuggler and to introduce Sumalee who has a minor presence in the story ahead on Corellia. Beyond that it’s just an experience buffer. You could have easily stuck this in the Interlude-less Act 2 (unless you count Quesh as an interlude. Might as well given how short those class story missions are.) Sumalee isn’t so vital that she needs introducing, and we already know that Risha is friends with everyone in the galaxy (Heck, she’s friends with Vette from the Sith Warrior storyline! That’s cross storyline friendship!)
Well, looks like those permits have finally come through and we can land on Voss. Or more accurately the space station orbiting Voss and then take a shuttle down. But we’re totally allowed to be there now. Unlike all those riff raffs and undesirables. Like the Exchange. Who run a massive criminal base just outside of Voss-Ka… Why did I have to wait for the paperwork again? I thought I was a smuggler. Like just in the last mission I smuggled friggin PEOPLE. Can I just smuggle things off of planets? Can I not smuggle myself? To make things worse is that the Voss assign you a chaperon to keep an eye on things. That won’t put a kink in these plans at all. Seriously, Dodonna has to be the worst negotiator ever to get me here on just these terms. Luckily, our nanny isn’t completely useless. He actually leads us to the aforementioned Exchange base. Seems our babysitter has a eclectic taste for offworlder music that the Exchange can get him. He introduces you to a fixer who is willing to put you in contact with Rogun’s smuggling ring for a meet if you help him gather up some Voss artifacts to sell.
So once you get him set up, he sends you off to this meeting with Rogun’s team and this may come as a shock to you but Rogun’s lackeys recognize Rogun’s number one kill on sight most wanted. I know. I didn’t see it coming either. Shock. They’re not dumb either. These guys not only have found a way to work with the Voss’ hated enemies – The Gormak – but found a way to smuggle Gormak modified cybernetic animals off world. Better yet, they actually got a plan together as soon as the fixer arranged the meeting. They’re going to pin the whole thing on you. They knock you out and take off just in time for the Voss Commandos to show up and see only you and an entire smuggling operation. Wow. This sucks. Luckily, my chaperon is willing to do the talking while I sneak off. He apparently trusts me implicitly as long as I tell him that I’m not lying. How the heck have the Voss survived contact with the outside galaxy?
You rush back to the Exchange Fixer (Honestly, more than anything else I am utterly shocked how somehow the Exchange ends up being the good guys here) and explain what happened. He feels terrible about how sour the deal went since after all he’s a business man and has a rep to think about. But if the Gormak are involved, he does have a shipment going to the Gormak later and he can freeze you in carbonite (you know, it’s easy. Like going to pick up some milk from the store. Just a quick carbon freezing and then back to work on Monday. Takes years off your face, dahling.) so you can sneak past their lifesign scanners and get into Gormak territory.
When you arrive, you come face to face with “Gormak Zac” the ‘Human Gormak’. Essentially, a human who went native. He was momentarily in the earlier scene with the smuggling meet but we didn’t really get that much about him other than he was the contact between Rogun’s goons and the Gormak. However, he’s not loyal to Rogun and defnitely not on his payroll. Once you explain the situation and what Rogun’s been doing, Zac will happily help you since its against even Gormak law to sell abominations from the Nightmare Lands – a market Rogun’s female lackey is hoping to bust in on. He helps you escape if you promise to help stop her. Turns out that it’s two birds with one stone since while going after her in the Nightmare Lands, you get a chance to record a meeting between her and a Sith Lord that proves that you weren’t the smuggler to the Voss. Well, not THAT smuggler at least. You fight the abominations, the Sith and Rogun’s henchwoman and head back to Voss-Ka for your big fat… criminal… trial. Damn.
The trial isn’t even remotely fair either. You prove your innocence handily with the recording but then they change the rules after the fact and charge you with all this other crap you did while on the planet that you weren’t on trial for. So, in Voss law, it doesn’t matter if you can prove you didn’t murder a guy if you even DARED to jaywalk while proving your innocence. Forgive me, honeycomb eyes. You can choose to take your licks will gives you an entirely optional and don’t-need-it-to-progress side mission of delivering packages to various planets, OR you can throw your babysitter under the bus when he volunteers to shoulder the blame for the whole incident. Don’t be a dummy, kids! If you do the crime, let your buddies do the time.
So the words gone out. Between the hit on the Voss operation and the royal mess up with trying to eliminate Ivory, Rogun is calling in all his remaining lieutenants to a secret meet on Tatooine that you just happen to have got the deets on. Time to put an end to this pain in the rear once and for all. However, as you confront Rogun and square off with his goons, a pair of strange Sith appear. They delight in revealing the twist: The Voidwolf is the real bad guy! Okay that’s not the actual twist. It turns out that Darmas Palloran and Senator Dodanna are in league with the Voidwolf. They’ve been pitting you and Rogun against each other so the two of you wipe each other out, leaving Darmas to control the criminal underworld. Senator Dodanna’s privateer “project” was actually just a front for you to acquire things FOR the Voidwolf so she can earn ruling over an entire planet once the Imperials conquer the Republic. They both have been playing you for a sap!
Next comes the big choice. Rogun’s been hounding you since level 1. He’s come after you time and again. This is your chance to kill him. But that’s not the only option. You can also force him to work for you and for him to give you his share of the criminal underworld. Revenge or profit. It’s a race between my two favorite vices. Take your pick!
With Rogun dealt with in one way or another, it’s time to go for the Voidwolf and his partners in crime – Darmas and Dodanna. You reunite with Master Sumalee (Yup. Super vital to establish earlier for this express purpose) and try and convince her of the Senator’s guilt but without proof there’s not much hope. After all, Dodonna’s a well respected senator of Coruscant, not scum like Darmas. Speaking of which, you do scope out Dodanna’s partner – Darmas’s – safehouse and find he’s working with the Corellian rebels to blow open Supply tunnel 26, which happens to be the ‘artery’ of the underground tunnel network that many soldiers died to seal up so the Imps couldn’t use the tunnels to invade all of Corellia. You find Darmas preaching to a bunch of Corellian revolutionaries who have all been told that you were a traitor who stole White Maw cloaking tech and Balmorran weapons for the Voidwolf (Technically accurate, but not knowingly). You can respond by either opening fire, try to convince the angry mob that Darmas is an Imperial, or you can be like me and convince them that Darmas is trying to steal the women of Corellia – which apparently turns out to be somewhat true as he’s been flirting and asking girls back to his ship since he got there. (Who knew?) He flees back to the Imperial’s base when cornered by siccing droids on you.
To get to Darmas, you need to get inside the Imperial base that is in a commandeered hospital. Only way to get through that many guards is to attack various targets to lure them out and then sneak in using the revolutionaries’ doctor contact. Once you make contact with the doctor, he mentions he was expecting a captain with an injured leg and notes that the only way in is on a stretcher – so he shoots you. Once inside you find Darmas talking to a weasely Corellian politician that helped sell out the planet to the Imps, and here you can either kill him, turn him into the Republic to testify against Dodonna, or let him escape in exchange for all the info he has on Dodonna.
Next is to get to Dodonna, who fled to the Voidwolf’s men as soon as she caught wind that this was going down. They’re holed up in the Museum of Alien History, but the only ‘safe’ way in is through an old abandoned selonian tunnel that was caved in. After blowing through some walls, and fighting escaped zoo animals that decided to live there (Raising the question of how long they’ve been down here. Did they escape the zoo during the invasion and get stuck? Or did the zoo just really suck at its job?), you find Dodonna affixed with a slave collar and cleaning the floor for an Imperial Lieutenant. She’s willing to tell you about the Voidwolf’s plans – that he’s building a pirate fleet to attack the Republic ship yards – but will mock your attempts to arrest her since she knows she’ll just walk free in exchange for all she knows about the Voidwolf. Instead she wants ‘free free’ – to just be turned loose and let vanish into the greater galaxy. You can let her do that if you want, or you can lie to her and then kill her once she’s turned over the evidence. After all, it’s just a lie for a lie. However as a nice touch, if you do take the lie and kill route, your smuggler will look away as they pull the trigger. Just one of those ‘not completely heartless’ moments that I really enjoyed.
Finally it’s time to go for the Voidwolf. To get to him, you’ll need to break into the weasely senator from earlier’s home and stow away or catch a ride with him to the Voidwolf’s flagship. After the Jedi Master Sumalee gives some not-so-Jedi advice on breaking-and-entering (She was Risha’s friend, remember?), you go and deactivate all the cameras and sensors from around the house. Then you defeat the guard captain and force him to walk you through the security system that will fry anyone who isn’t authorized or not with someone who is. You then meet the senator who offers you a deal to work with the Voidwolf. In the moment you might sped thinking that offer over, he calls the guards on you. What a toad. Then you have to chase him down to get the codes to take off in his shuttle by either just killing him or forcing him to give you the codes before letting him go. Either way you take his ship and we’re off to see the Voidwolf.
The finale starts IMMEDIATELY as you board the Senator’s ship, so be ready. From there it’s your standard ‘fight through the ship’ mission that if you’re like me and are playing every class mission – you’re quite used to. There’s a mini boss in the form of the Voidwolf’s Underboss at the end of the first area which is actually a refreshing change of pace. There’s also a small easter egg I found of a female officer kicking back with her feet on the table watching a double than life size holo of a female twilek pole dancing. So there’s a fun bit of same sex… uh… interest? When you finally reach the end of the ship, the Voidwolf is ordering his new pirate fleet around when you interrupt, and the various captains decide that they will serve whoever wins. Because as pirates they all work on some weird Mad Max style set of rules where only the strongest is worthy of loyalty or some such. You fight and defeat the Voidwolf, who tries to trick you with activating a thermal detonator when you kick over his assumed dead body, but you throw it back at him blowing him up.
With the Voidwolf dealt with, your new pirate fleet wants to know orders. You can tell them to pay a tribute to you and then disperse, to attack the Imperials, or to serve you as pirates and to plunder from the Imps AND Pubs while they fight each other. Then, because the Voidwolf is an ass and has to pull ever villain card from the deck, your crew informs you that a self destruct is imminent so you have to go find an escape pod. AND THE IMPS ARE STILL FIGHTING YOU ALL ALONG THE WAY. WHY? DO YOU WISH FOR DEATH THAT MUCH?! And in case you didn’t finish up any business planet side – good news! You crash back down on Corellia after escaping.
The ending of the story depends entirely on what you chose on the Voidwolf’s ship. I’ve done this storyline twice and have got two completely different endings to this story: When you chose to have the fleet attack the Imperials or take the money & have them disperse, you get a medal ceremony with Supreme Chancellor Saresh and Master Sumalee where I was proclaimed a Republic hero. If you choose the pirate option? Well the three captains show up to give you a share of the haul, Ivory and Rogun show up too if you had them join your team. They announce that galaxy wide you are being called ‘The Bandit King’ and you can reopen Port Nowhere as your personal pirate fortress. So Galaxy’s greatest hero or greatest crime lord. Not bad for a two bit smuggler who just wanted to run some guns to a bunch of freedom fighters on Ord Mantell.
My Reactions & Looking Back
Chapter Three is a really solid cap on an overall solid storyline. Again, I think the thing that seems to really encapsulates the smuggler story is momentum. The stakes keeping getting raised, the dangers escalate, the threats get more menacing – that kind of thing and Chapter Three carries on that whole process really well. I was initially very worried when Skavak was defeated at the end of Chapter One that we would have a repeat of the situation in the Bounty Hunter or Trooper storyline but no, because the story had the foresight to neither string us along with the annoyance of Skavak for three chapters but to also include a secondary villain to wait in the wings and occassionally send goons after you to remind you of his presence with Rogun the Butcher. Rogun is first mentioned right there on Ord Mantell and you don’t actually ever come face to face with the guy until right before Corellia. All the while he exists as a threat to you. The Voidwolf may write you off as insignificant but Rogun wants your head on a plate and he keeps gunning for you the entire storyline.
That’s the kind of momentum this story has. No matter whats going on, there isn’t a lull in the danger. It never diminishes or even stays constant. It’s always growing. From Skavak to Rogun & the Voidwolf to the surprise betrayal of Dodonna and Darmas, you find yourself constant fighting an uphill battle – which is what good drama should do. In the Trooper storyline, there is no major threat to fill the gap of losing the first chapter’s villains. The Bounty Hunter kind of meanders around in Chapter Three without a clear cut idea of what you’re doing beyond ‘earning favors’ to cash in for the ‘where to fight the bad guy’ coupon. Here though? Everything ties together. Everything plays a part in the overall story. That junk robot Skavak wanted from the Seperatists? The ‘freaky trophy’ from the Imps? All used as items for trading to get what you need for the treasure. Your seemingly unrelated privateer missions? That’s how Dodonna and Darmas buy their way into the Voidwolf’s inner circle. The only point where the connections are stretched at best is a few of the interludes and even they aren’t pointless – just not necessary. The smuggler story just builds until you – a lone plucky starship captain with no backing from any major organization – either takes down an Imperial admiral and his pirate fleet to save the day or rises up to become the most notorious pirate king since the days of Nok Drayan.
The one other perk to the story is that it’s funny. Like honest to goodness funny. I found myself constantly laughing while playing through this. Especially if you play it with kind of a gray morality. The light side stuff falls on the side of ‘help the innocent, save the day’ and the dark side stuff is mostly ‘get paid and kill anyone in your way’ but the gray choices usually fall firmly in the snarky category, and it is SO worth it to pursue that route.
There’s a reason I listed this storyline so high on my list of Worst to Best storylines. It really is a well constructed and fun storyline. It has two distinct endings that change based on your choices instead of just some basic fluff of a changed line in a default ending like the Jedi get. It never feels like it slows down or stalls, and it always has some new wacky card to pull out to put a smile on your face. It also exposes you to a side of the Star Wars universe you don’t get to see much of in the other storylines – the seedy underbelly. Oh sure the bounty hunter starts on Hutta and there’s scum everyone on a Hutt controlled planet but beyond that your clientele seems to be those who can afford your fees. Here? Your a smuggler. By definition you are working below the legal line. Which leads you to meeting the more colorful characters in Star Wars.
Seriously, I don’t think anyone will be disappointed playing through this storyline. Do yourself a favor and give it a try. I never thought it felt like a slog and I’ve played through it twice already.
<– Chapter Two || SMUGGLER ||
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Warning: This post contains spoilers for the first 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.
Oh the life on the open space-way. The thrill of adventure, the sights and sounds, the constantly having a jerk tail you around and try to kill you. Yes, when last we left the Smuggler we had just retrieved our starship from the dirty double dealer known as Skavak, who had stolen it in the first place while you were trying to unload some ‘illicitly transported’ guns to the war torn world of Ord Mantell. Seems that Skavak was working with a woman named Risha and he was stealing everything they needed for some epic quest to obtain the long lost treasure of the fabled space pirate Nok Drayan. Course now that all that stuff is on your ship and you have your ship, Risha is more than willing to deal with you instead of Skavak. Which puts you on the fast track for fame and fortune as soon as you finish the most epic of trading side quests since trying to get Big Goron Sword in Ocarina of Time.
The Treasure Hunt begins. First you need an astro map from a vault on the bombed out world of Taris. Risha has a contact that doesn’t much like her, so it’s up to you alone to seal the deal and get the map. But as always, there’s a hitch. To get to the map, Beryl Thorne needs to finish her jobs on Taris and her partner came down with a slight case of the Dead. So it falls to you to finish the jobs and make the deliveries so you can get your map. First task? Deliver some sensors to a scientist. Turns out he needs some help setting them up and is willing to pay as well, so that’s a quick hop into Rakghoul territory to lend a hand.
Next is to go pick up the second delivery, which were found with the tattered remains of Beryl’s partner who got Rakghoulified it seems and dropped off with the Republic Outpost. To make matters worse, you seem to have gained the special attention of one major workaholic customs official that seems to constantly pop up wherever you go. Luckily, the sergeant that has your next delivery is willing to make a sweet deal. Turns out he knows Risha too! (Who doesn’t?) And for a little help dealing with the local scavengers, he’ll make sure you get not only your next delivery but a tasty side of diplomatic immunity.
Now with the last delivery, it’s time to collect the core samples and get back to Beryl. Right? WRONG! Turns out the core samples were stolen by scavengers during a raid. Aw man. Time to recover the supplies and find the core samples which reveals that Beryl’s old partner was neither dead nor a rakghoul. In fact, that deveronian son of a hutt actually just backstabbed Beryl to steal the core samples – which are really Tarisian relics – and sell them on the Imperial market, instead of selling them to Taris survivor descendants for a modest finder fee. What scum! So a pox on him and back with the core samples so Beryl can tell us where to find our vault. Which she does! Only there is – say it with me now – a problem.
Turns out the vault is in “Zone Zero” a no-mans land area of Taris where there are worse things than Rakghouls wandering about. So it’s time to check back in with Risha and see if you two can whip together a plan for how to get into that vault! Luckily Risha is prepared. Because Risha is always prepared. So you get to the vault deep in Zone Zero to find that Skavak’s men are already hammering away trying to get into the vault, and boy oh boy are they not happy to see you. Skavak is, however. This is the perfect chance to kill you and get the map. Not that it happens that way. You kill the goons, grab the map and hop back in the ship on your way to Nar Shadaa. Even Risha gives you props.
You know, it never occurred to me until this point that despite it being essentially the Hutt capital not many class stories actually deal with the giant slugs themselves. I mean granted a lot of the time you are there for some kind of clandestine operation and getting the authorities (if you can call them that) would be detrimental to your cause. But would be really be so hard to say “Hey, have you seen this guy? Also, here’s a thousand credits. You never saw me.” I dunno. Nar Shadaa seems like an easy place to buy people off is all I’m saying.
The reason I bring this up of course is that unlike most class stories the smuggler is dealing with a Hutt directly. Well, some of the time. Most of his time you’re dealing with his assistant/butler/majordomo person thing. Apparently our dear friend Risha has lined up a deal (or as the Hutts refer to it – a non-binding passing interest) to exchange a rare animal that is identical to but named differently than the hundreds that I’ve slaughtered across multiple worlds for an experimental starship engine. Problem is that the Hutt wanted it as part of a pair – the last male and female of its species – to eat (Yes. Eat. He wants the ‘rarest’ meal in the galaxy.) And since some PETA wanna be’s stole his female, he doesn’t exactly have any need or desire for the male. However his butler-person suggests that the Lord of the Feast is frivolous when it comes to changing his mind, so if you can find the other beast then the worm’s interest in yours may be renewed.
And that’s the general set up for the most of the planet. Running around and trying to track down the Alien Animal Liberation Front to get back the creature they stole so a Hutt can gorge himself on it. I’m not saying the hippies don’t have a leg to stand on here – these are the last two of an entire species after all – but there’s no room for mercy when you want to be King of the Space Pirates. Or at least not for ill tempered carnivorous beasts that look the same to species that I know for a fact aren’t about to die out because they keep bloody respawning! Your adventure eventually leads you to a mad scientist who in a delicious bit of irony has the PETA-phile locked up in a cage to experiment on. She apparently wanted to deal with the mad scientist to get the animal off world but instead became a test subject for what I will assume will ultimately be some sort of cyborg human centipede thing. Silly mad scientists, but not stupid because as soon as you explain who the animal actually belongs to the doc quickly returns it via hover sled because he maybe insane but he’s not crazy enough to cross a Hutt. Beyond that the only real choice is whether or not to leave the activist in the hands of the mad scientist. Do you want to fight for the safety of the rich girl with a token cause that just dragged around all of Nar Shadaa? Or just leave her there to get some… new life experiences? Up to you really.
There’s also a B-plot to this planet that comes up every time you meet with the Hutt’s traveling all-you-can-eat pleasure cruise of hedonism that sails around Nar Shadaa involving a wookie named Bowdaar. It seems that Bowdaar is a slave to some random gambler that couldn’t pay his debts to the Hutt and thus left Bowdaar as collateral until he could return with the payment. He never came back. So now the Hutt uses Bowdaar for ‘entertainment’ and pits him again mercenaries, gangs, starved wild beasts, and anything else the worm can dig up all the while trying to handicap Bowdaar by doing things like poisoning him, draining his blood, and putting him up against massive odds. I think the point of this whole thing was meant to contrast with the PETA Patrol trying to save the alien porkchop but it never really clicked for me. Wookies are intelligent, the mutated Akk Dog thing is not. Wookies have societies, can use tools, build homes. The combo platter again does not. So it seems weird to try to equate either of these things. Then again, I have met people who view animals such as dogs as more valuable than people, so maybe that’s what their going for. Except the Hutt was going to eat it and render its species extinct… so… Hutts are horrible. That’s the moral. Hutts are ****ing horrible.
Once you prove to the Hutt that you and Bowdaar are more trouble than your worth, you get your engine and you get to keep the wookie. Bowdaar is one of the BEST companions because a) You get him in Act One and b) he’s not Corso. So now you can bring someone else along instead the space hillbilly. He’s honorable, enjoys fighting, but not brutal massacres. He also apparently knows how to bar tend based on a few cutscenes on the ship. Generally the big thing with Bowdaar is that he honestly just wants to be treated like a person. Not a slave. Not a ‘thing’. Keep that in mind and his affection will soar during your conversations with him.
So before you can head off too far you pick up a distress signal from a lovely lady. Her ship broke down waaaaaay waaaaaaaaaay out in deep space and she needs a hand. You know, because this doesn’t sound suspicious at all. But hey sure anything for a lovely lady, not my smuggler has made any headway on the whole Risha angle. Speaking of which, Risha warns you that this may be a trap and she’d rather not get stranded out in space with no captain and all the cargo. She advises bringing the wookie.
This interlude is short. Extremely short. The whole area consists of maybe three rooms with a few fights dotted in them. When you reach the end, you find out that it is actually – dun dun dun – a trap. Looks like the stranded lady is actually one of Skavak’s presumably many ex-girlfriends and figures killing you will win back his heart for her. Unlikely, as Skavak is just as convinced as I am that this young woman is a bit unhinged. She sics a bunch of robots on you and when that fails falls back on her portable blaster shield to protect her. Which is does until Skavak reminds her that the batteries on those things are notoriously short and hangs up. Sure enough like a well timed comedy routine the shield comes down and you can then deal with her as you see fit: blast her or let her go for being a poor deluded sap trapped in the web of love and lies that is Skavak’s dating life.
The best part for me though was coming back to the ship to start working on my own web of love and lies by blatantly lying to Risha when she immediately assumes it was a trap and you were a fool for even bothering by telling her that it wasn’t that at all. The lady just needed some space gas. That’s all. All handled. No prob. I’m the man now uh… dawg?
Meanwhile, in a completely different plot. A lone Jedi searches the galaxy for a ruthless Sith. Her journey has taken far and wide but she has finally cornered the enemy of all things good on the backwater world of Tatooine. There she seeks out information and bumps into a smuggler who literally knows nothing and normally that’s where it would end. Except the story isn’t about the Jedi is it? Yes, Tatooine is a quirky little chapter of our storyline where our smuggler gets trapped in the middle of an epic feud between the forces of Light and Dark and pretty much has nothing at stake in the fight. Really! You’re there to find some reclusive gangster and make a trade for a rare navigational computer, and that’s it. You got meet with his lieutenants, figure out how to enter his secret desert hideout, and go make the swap. But somehow you keep stumbling into this massive battle between a Jedi and Sith almost like your the cast of Blazing Saddles breaking through the sound stages for other movies.
You first bump into the Jedi at a local bar where she deals with some local rapscallions before chatting up with you. She advises you to leave, to give up your wicked ways and is completely ignorant to any attempts at flirtation. Unfortunately for her, you have business to do. Business that requires breaking into an overrun warehouse and getting a fancy horn, because only the person holding the horn may speak to the gangster (Apparently the gangster learned how to run his operation from kindergarten teachers.) On your way to pick up the horn, you bump into the Sith who is also looking for the gangster for some other unrelated to what you want reason. The Sith says that since you and she are both looking for the same guy, why not team up? If you’re a male smuggler, she even not-so-subtly offers you a uh… “once in a lifetime experience” behind closed doors if you agree to work with her. Well… that’s a first. I don’t think my bounty hunter ever got the ‘Don’t freeze me in carbonite and I’ll jump your bones’ conversation option. Though personally, I find in my best interest of NOT DYING to stay as far away as possible from between a Jedi and a Sith, so I declined and went along my merry way.
Except that when I go meet up with the lieutenant to pass along the horn so he can show me the way to his boss, the Sith shows up AGAIN. Only this time with a battalion of Sith Troopers to take the horn by force. The henchman scoots away through a hidden door, leaving me to fight them all myself. I’d be more upset by this, but lest we forget who we are dealing with here. This is the fabled scum & villainy of Tatooine after all. They would leave you behind as they save themselves. Luckily – kinda, sorta, not really – just as the last of the troopers falls, the Jedi shows up to help. She warns you again to give up your ‘wicked ways’, is blatantly oblivious to any kind of flirtatious subtext, and is devoutly set on finding the Sith… still. Luckily, now you know where the Sith will be and it’s time for the dramatic showdown.
The setting? A picturesque oasis hidden in a cave in the Dune Sea. The objective? Try not to get killed by the wacko light and dark side zealots while making a deal. It’s a duel of the fates, a battle of the heroes, and I am really just trying to stay out of the way here. I just came for that computer over in the corner. Can I just… no? Sigh. So sure enough things get nice and heated once all the parties assemble, and the fact that the gangster is a recluse who hates people and noise makes this even worse. You do get the choice in the end of who to help – the Sith or the Jedi – and the game is nice enough to offer a ‘This is none of my business’ option (which mechanically means you help the Jedi kill the Sith and the Gangster). If you don’t help the Sith willingly, she will try to mind control you which you have the option to simple laugh at her for, then she tries to mind control your companion. Now I don’t know if this is different for other companions, but I had Treek with me (I usually do) and Treek just stared blankly at the Sith which was hilarious. The gangster gets fed up and calls in a bunch of droids to kill everyone – you, the Jedi, the Sith, his own lieutenant – and the rumble begins!
And when the dust settles it’s just you and whoever you helped left (and maybe the gangster if you help the Sith, but I doubt it. She just wanted a little red box, so why keep him alive?) You stroll over to the corner, grab the computer you came to this litter box of a world for and leave. The end. Oh okay, you can flirt some with the Jedi or Sith. It actually finally clicks that you want some lovin’ with the Jedi too and she promptly shuts you down BECAUSE SHE’S A JEDI! It’s kind of a core tenant that they don’t get their freak on, and everything about this girl has indicated that she is a tried and true Captain flippin America of a lawful good light side Jedi. Not a shocker. Funny. But not a shocker.
Alright, home stretch on this treasure hunt. We only got three delivery/trades left and then we can go grab that sweet sweet loot. Luckily, two of them are here on Alderaan. The first is that old junker robot that Skavak stole way back on Ord Mantell. It’s going to a pair of siblings from House Teraan who want to prove that their house is owed a considerable debt from the other houses and want to use it to propel their family back into the big dogs of the Alderaan Nobility Circuit (Now on ESPN-15). However, they need an ancient datapad ‘acquired’ from their former holdings now controlled by their dreaded rivals of House Baliss. Of course. Is there anyone or anything on Alderaan that doesn’t have ties to the Noble Houses? Like some farmer off in the hills named Larry Smith who has no ties to nothing save his land, his nerf, and his shotgun? I’d like to see that. I really would. You go and shoot your way through a bunch of Baliss goons, grab the datapad, and bring it back. Easy as pie and you got a new radiation shield schematic for your ship.
The second delivery however is where things start to get more complicated. This one is to deliver that creepy head in a jar to the museums of House Alde. And because I’m sure someone will bring it up if I don’t – Yes, the head belongs to Darth Bandon from the original Knights of the Old Republic who killed Trask Ulgo, distant ancestor to the current King Boris Ulgo of Alderaan. Trask is apparently revered as a hero, and thus the head of the Sith who killed him is some way for House Alde to kiss up to the King, despite the fact that Trask didn’t even make it out of the prologue/tutorial level of that game alive. Oh, but I said it got more complicated didn’t I? Well, here’s the thing. Someone already delivered that head you just walked in with.
Yes, you read that correctly. Someone else already sold the Head of Darth Bandon, and it was already authenticated by the Curator’s lovely female assistant Neva who confirmed that it was authentic. So clearly yours is a fake. Right? Well after finding that Neva has vanished and some double checking (What? Check something more than once for authenticity?! Truly a scandal for any museum!) it turns out that YOUR head is the real one and the other was a fake. But why would Neva lie? Well, if you’ve been playing the smuggler – and I have – you probably already have a guess as to why the pretty female character lied about something. Say it with me now in your best Seinfeld ‘Newman’ voice: SKAVAK! It seems our persistent annoyance has jumped ahead of us in line to grab the Arkanian Hyperdrive Engine that the museum promised as payment. Not sure what Skavak is going to do with it without all the other bits, but he could probably sell it at least. Another strange note here is that I don’t think we ever actually SEE Nava. Like at all. Which I thought was weird since we’ve had face time with every other traitorous Skavak groupie.
So now begins another Skavak hunt. You run to the space port where he left a nice note mocking you and introducing you to the team of Mercs (who I’m sure have ties to House Gorgonzola or something) he hired to kill you and also drop the plot point that he hasn’t had time to install that hyperdrive yet. So he does plan on installing it. Without all the other pieces. That’s kind of like stealing the remote without the TV or DVD player and then running off into the night laughing about how you are so going to use the remote to watch a movie when you get home. It’s not gonna work. Skavak is either really dumb, or just being a #$%&. I’m going to assume the latter. Risha says she knows where Skavak got to, but it’s in a House Thul (the house that works with the Empire) hanger. I’m assuming the Imps have just forgotten about that whole incident on Coruscant. So to sneak into the hangar, you meet up with a baron who speaks exclusively in Huttese because no one else on Alderaan does and thus its easier to keep secrets with and he’s happy to help you sneak in. Mainly because Risha is blackmailing him with photos of unknown content or context from a ‘vacation’ on Nar Shadaa.
When you bust into the hanger, you find not Skavak but his mechanic there waiting for you. Skavak apparently had to run some errands. The mechanic however will happily hand over the engine to you. He was kidnapped to install it and has no loyalty to Skavak but he wants to get the heck outta there before Skavak comes back and finds out what the mechanic did. You get the choice of letting him go, killing him, or forcing him to sabotage Skavak’s ship first. The last two are both dark side options, namely because the mechanic won’t have enough time to get out if he sabotages the ship essentially dooming him at Skavak’s hands instead of yours.
So you’ve made your deliveries and got your ship parts, so now it’s time to leave right? Noooope. This mess of a planet won’t let you go just yet. See those two House Teraan siblings have one teensy little favor still to ask. It seems your smash-and-grab visit to House Baliss kinda was noticed (Dunno how. I was really subtle with those 20 corpses in their courtyard.) So their champion gunslinger duelist demands a formal duel to settle their grievances. The siblings have come to you because you have a gun, and they suck at anything involving danger, pain, weapons, leaving the house, etc. So you go and help them by fighting their fights for them. You can have your silly honorable duel between men, or you can have some fun and play dirty. I enjoyed shooting the gunman before he was ready by shouting “READY? GO!” really quick. Then I did it a second time just to drill in the point. That got the Baliss twerp to shut up and leave. Now I can leave Alderaan. Finally, no more nobility.
With everything in place there’s only one thing le- hold on. We’re getting a call. A pair of Togruta you say? Kidnapped? Demand to see Risha alone. I see. Why are you calling me then? Oh fine. Apparently we need to go help Risha’s childhood friend and her husband. The childhood friend has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom in some mine on Tatooine, her husband wants Risha (and by Risha’s insistence – You) to go get her back. Risha arrives to find the kidnappers who apparently multi-criminal-classed into assassins ready to kill your… I guess Risha is kind of like a boss. Maybe a partner? I dunno. They’re gonna kill Risha on orders of ‘His Majesty’. No clue there, but that sounds Noble. Buddies, I just got back from Alderaan. I’ve had it with Noble. You are all dead.
Once the assassin-nappers are down, Risha meets up with her friend and reunites her with her husband. They then never want to see Risha again. Ever. Cause they say it’s Risha’s fault any of this happened in the first place. You can be a good person and help Risha patch things up with her friend, or you can join the friend in on the suspicion that there’s more to Risha than being JUST a business mogul/treasure hunter/starship mechanic/negotiator. After all, there have been a lot of people we’ve bumped into that have had bad blood with Risha. Heck, the only person that has anything good to say about Risha is Vette, and she’s in another class’ storyline! So what is going on here? Well, Risha can only ask you and her friends to trust her and that all will be explained soon.
That soon is actually soon for once as it comes right after your next and final delivery – the man frozen in carbonite – to a medical facility on Nar Shadaa. It’s there that the man is unfrozen and is revealed to be… DUN DUN DUN! Nok Drayan himself! The legendary space pirate himself! In the flesh! And cyborg bits! And in a stranger twist… DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN! He’s Risha’s dad! Did we just stumble upon a soap opera episode? Who changed the channel on my computer? It seems old Nok is dying from a horrible disease inflicted on him by a mutinous crew years ago. Before he dies though, he wanted to ensure that his family’s fortune was found and retrieved. He froze himself in carbonite with instructions for Risha on all the things she’d need to gather to get to the fortune which is on a ship headed directly for a black hole. Nok promises you the entire fortune save one family heirloom which is reserved solely for Risha. That heirloom being the family crown. See Nok’s not just a pirate king, he’s an actual king. The King of Dubrillion to be precise. The Drayan line is the rightful rulers of the planet, but they were ousted years ago. Meaning Risha is a princess. Because every scruffy looking smuggler type needs a princess to romance. (Does that mean now that Disney owns the rights that Risha is a Disney Princess?)
With surprise revelation theater now come to a close it’s time to go get that treasure. Using every single new fangled gadget that Risha scrapped together, you make your way to the ship. Which again makes me incredibly curious what on Hoth Skavak was going to do with JUST the Arkanian Hyperdrive. Was he going to go after Risha on your ship next to get everything? The ship with the wookie. Yea, I would have loved to see that. The ship is fairly simple. Just a bunch of rooms filled with lethal robots who are on orders to kill any living thing on the ship. Including the former crew you find out. Apparently way way long ago, before even Nok Drayan’s peak, Nok and Risha’s ancestor – Arak Drayan III – sent this here ship on a slow stroll to the edges of the galaxy and into a black hole. He then activated the droids to kill all the loyal citizens that were operating it to ensure it would never be found. Which is a perfect setting to end a pirate story on. With a black hole. So a space pirate story. Also, I know this is nit picky and this is just one of those suspension of disbelief things you have to just go with in an adventure story on the high space-seas but daaaaaaaaaamn Arak III had some insane good planning skills. He sent a ship on course for centuries to fall into a black hole? It never hit a planet, an asteroid, got noticed, or nothing? That is some skill. Anyway, you grab the treasure and head back to the ship to head home only to find someone waiting for you.
Sigh… Skavak. It just had to be Skavak. He apparently knocked out your crew, stole Corso’s favorite-est blaster (Torchy) and is now gonna kill you, take the treasure, and steal your ship. Oh, and if your a female smuggler you can apparently sleep with him. Cause there’s time for that on the ship falling into a black hole. It pretty much always ends up with fighting him though and he dies. No there’s no choice in that matter. He doesn’t even die in a cutscene. You just kill him and loot Torchy. Kinda wish I could have left him on the ship to get sucked into the hole though. That would’ve been a fitting way for such a sucker to go. Honestly, it’s a bit of an anti-climax but on the same hand it’s also not like there was some huge rivalry post getting your ship back. Hell, his insane ex-girlfriends gave you more trouble than he ever did. So in a way it’s almost fitting that the weasel goes out with a whimper instead of a bang.
Once you get back to Nok and Risha, Nok tells her that as a Queen she must now make the hard decisions and that a single spacer’s loyalty isn’t worth a fortune. She should kill you and take everything. Risha then actual defends you and says your a decent if not good man. Wow. I think that’s the first non-sarcastic comment she’s paid me this entire playthrough so far. Nok collapses and dies cursing the ‘weak’ daughter that was raised in his absence. Risha (Queen Risha?) ends the story of Nok Drayan’s fortune by deciding to stay with you on the ship. She may have the birthright to the throne of Dubrillion, but she doesn’t have the means to claim it or to keep it once she doesn’t. No army, no fleet – just a crown and a captain, and neither of those are gonna change the minds of the current rulers who are already sending assassins to kill her.
So Chapter One of the Smuggler’s tale ends with you being the hero that found Nok Drayan’s Lost Fortune. Not that it actually means anything in terms of in-game money. Do you how hard it is to pawn off priceless relics of antiquity? So for now it’s kind of like having a lot of high priced stock in some major company. You’re rich in theory, but not so much in the pocket book. For now at least.
Chapter One continues the prologue’s tone of fun and wacky adventure across space. You flirt, make smart ass remarks, and generally can be as nice or as mean as you want without it ever really coming off as out of character. The storylines are diverse and despite it being a looping task of trade X for Y planet to planet, it never goes about it in the same way – or at least never feels like it does. It kind of reminds me of the Bounty Hunter in that regards only without the unsatisfying conclusions some of those bounties had. Instead, everything in the smuggler story feels like it has some kind of weight to it. Like you could honestly see these people come back and remember you later on in the story and for the most part you’d remember them. With the Jedi Knight I saved so many people I started to forget faces and names (luckily there’s always one conversation option to remind you who they are) but with the Smuggler most of the NPCs you deal with are positively memorable and fun. Even the bad guys as one note as they can be at times are some of the most memorable in the game. Skavak is right up there with Tarro Blood as a guy you learn to love to hate (or for the female smugglers, just learn to love. And then kill.)
Your companions feel fleshed out as well even before they join your party. As much as I never did and still don’t like Corso, I would be lying if I didn’t ‘get’ his character by the end of the prologue. Same thing with Bowdaar. You only briefly interact with him during the B-plot on Nar Shadaa, but when you do it is 100% character development and getting to know this wookie. His plotline does nothing to advance the plot of trying to find the PETA wannabes, so it’s free to just give you tons of personality for the walking rug. Risha spends most of her time doing two things: telling you what the next job is, and talking about Nok Drayan. There are a few gems of character development for her like when she actively shows concern for you when you leave on the interlude mission only to cover it in classic tsundere fashion with that she doesn’t want to get stranded in space. To be fair, the lack of personal story on Risha’s part does play the bigger role of making her very mysterious. She has contacts for days, continuously exhibits proficiency at task after task, and knows encyclopedic knowledge about the illustrious gangster for whose treasure you hunt. By the time you get to the hints starting to drop in the early parts of the finale, you are on the edge of your seat ready to find out exactly who this woman is, and the payoff doesn’t disappoint – heiress to both a planet and the legacy of a pirate king, spent over a decade preparing for this mission, and pulled it all off to boot? Risha’s one of those characters that you actually appreciate more on a second playthrough and can see what she’s doing and why. One of my favorite companions to be sure.
In the end, like so many of these class stories, the prologue and first chapter form a complete narrative. Unlike some of the others however, you will find that some of the groundwork has already been laid for where the story goes next. Next time we dive into the exciting world of selling out to ‘The Man’ and becoming a privateer.
|| SMUGGLER || Chapter One —>
Warning: This post contains spoilers for the prologue of the Smuggler storyline in Star Wars: The Old Republic. To see a spoiler-free summary of the storyline please check this page instead.
Are your morals too loosey goosey for the Jedi Order? Do you prefer to be your own boss instead of enlisting in the Republic Military? Is the Space England accent of the Empire too hoity toity for you? Well my friend, you may have a future in smuggling. Ah yes, the Smuggler. That class that sort of doesn’t make sense in the grand scheme of this two faction system we call The Old Republic. You don’t really have any invested interest in the Republic winning beyond the Empire is probably gonna check your cargo hold more often and give you more discerning looks at the docks. I mean heck, the bounty hunter has more ties into this whole war due to the fact that the Mandalorians are semi-permanently hired en masse by the Empire, but you? The smuggler has no real official ties to the Republic when the story starts. Heck, you are pretty much on an imaginary third side where you don’t like the Republic, but are scared of the Empire more so, and thus enemy of my enemy… is still my enemy?
So what do you get for a story when you have nothing at stake in this cold war? Well… a lot of fun actually. Let’s take a look at the Smuggler Prologue.
Knights are born heroes, Consulars are the top of their class, Troopers are members of the most elite troop in the military, and you, dear smuggler, your story begins with you getting your ship stolen and getting duped by two timing weasel. If that doesn’t set the tone for you, nothing will. Yes, the story of the smuggler is one of the underdog fighting for his cut in the world in seems. On a routine potentially less than legal delivery of some weapons to a local crime boss/”importer” working for an even bigger crime lord, a dirty backstabber going by the name Skavak steals the weapons and your ship and heads off. Now unless you can get those blasters back, you and the crime boss named Vidu are gonna to be having an unpleasant visit from your mutual employer: Rogun the Butcher. I’m sure he got that name because he LOVES to make roast beef sandwiches.
So the job quickly turns from deliver blasters to get blasters back or get dead, and the only way to find out that is to figure out where Skavak was taking them. He mentions in his last holo transmission that he was apparently working for the separatists so that’s a great place to start. And the easiest way to do that is to get the data from the Mannett Point computers, but how? Well it just so happens that Vidu has an old buddy that knows how to smuggle goods through the back tunnels of Mannett Point, so it’s time to pay him a visit and drop off some supplies for the intel. You show up and find out the supplies are for him and his… uh… lady friends? The implications are kinda scuzzy in my opinion. But it also does something for the tone of the story. This isn’t a trooper. This isn’t a jedi. You are not necessarily on the right side of the law. You are essentially a criminal, granted a criminal that may have a noble cause, but a criminal nonetheless. And as such you get to see the seedy underbelly of everything. Including books on bird watching!
Yes, apparently the secret to getting into the tunnels below Mannett Point are disguised as a treatise on bird watching that you get the code to decipher. Ugh. Reading. About birds. Such is the trials and tribulations of the lowly Smuggler. No damn Jedi have a mission to go read about birds for hours. But you get down into the lower area and slice into the computers, with the possibility of some fun antics with the separatists. Which highlights yet another difference in the Smuggler story compared to some of the others: It’s funny. Like really funny. Not just a general chuckle here and there. But the smuggler can easily be played for full on yuks if you want. Hell, his first line when you start the game can be an instant dismissal of how you immediately hate being on Ord Mantell. If the Jedi Knight is an epic hero tale, the trooper is a war story, then the Smuggler is a wacky buddy comedy at its heart. Or it can be at least. But it’s so unique in that regard why wouldn’t you play it that way?
Following retrieving the files, your friends back at the base start working on cracking it while they send you on a mission to make a bit of cash to hopefully distract Rogun. A suicidal wacky side quest to go meet an insane old man and get his “Boom Juice” and bring it back. The quest is honestly just filler, but continues the comedy vibes of the smuggler’s tale. The old man you meet with is particularly humorous with his strange remarks of confirming that you are definitely not a gundark and other weird quips. His wife immediately offers you dinner as soon as you run into her as well. They’re like a homelier and more insane version of Miracle Max and his wife from the Princess Bride almost. Though Billy Crystal is missed here.
After the boom juice death run (or if you are like me, you just quick traveled with the stuff as soon as you got it) the files have been cracked open and you’ve got a lead on Skavak. Seems like he’s got a meeting with the Separatists inside their secret volcano base. Secret… volcano… base? The heck? Do they also have sharks with laser beams? Or at least ill tempered mutant bass? Anyway, it’s off to stop Skavak, get the blasters and save the ship! Except this time you’re not going alone. Vidu is sending you with Corso. Oh Corso. How I hate you. I honestly believe Corso is one of those love/hate companions. I don’t know many who have experienced long periods of time with the boy and not developed a sense of fondness or utter loathing for him. When playing my smuggler it seems that “SHUT UP CORSO” has become a reoccurring catch phrase for the entire class story. I don’t know if it’s his country bumpkin attitude, old fashioned ways, or simply his insistence on being overly chivalrous that makes me want to punch him. Like he wants to be a white knight for everyone, unless it involves his own revenge fantasies. THEN it’s okay.
So you get through the uh… *cough* SecretVolcanoBase… only to find that Skavak ain’t there. Naw. He tricked them just like he tricked you. Stole a robot too. An old beat up useless robot that no one would ever want or find a use for. Well, if that’s not foreshadowing, I don’t know what is. The separatists start a fight because if you’ve played through Ord Mantell before you know they ain’t that bright. Corso wants to kill them because his family was killed by separatists. Fine, whatever shuts you up. But not before it’s revealed that Vidu’s girlfriend was actually working with Skavak the entire time! Vidu’s girlfriend that you had the option to flirt with. A lot. Heh… heh… ehhh… Okay, I said already that we’re dealing with the scum of society right?
So it’s a rush back to the base to confront her and find out where Skavak’s gone. Turns out she’s killed Vidu and Skavak is mid-dumping her as you walk in. Bad day? She spills that Skavak is on Coruscant, and then you get the option to kill her. I don’t believe much in second chances when it opens you to getting shot in the back so I killed her. Oh yea. Course that gets Corso’s boxers in a bunch about how you shouldn’t treat girls that way, it ain’t right. God damnit, Corso. Not ten minutes ago you shot a defenseless man who never did a thing to you in cold blood. DON’T GO SOFT ON ME CORSO. And then on your way out, Rogun the Butcher has sent bounty hunters after you. So clearly, the boom juice didn’t go far to getting him off his back proving once and for all that it was just a pointless fetch quest so you’d go and get all your travel points on the map. The bounty hunters die with NO complaints from Corso and we’re off to the Big City!
Ah Corsucant, city of dreams. And buildings. Lots of buildings. It’s kind of easy to see why Skavak would run to Coruscant. The various levels of the city are swamped with the worst scum outside of the Empire and there are lots of places to hide. Pretty much right off the boat we are treated to a reminder of exactly where in the social strata the smuggler falls, as you have to hack the customs machine to recognize a false ID so you can get in while Corso distracts a security droid. I suppose since you technically had your own ship, you didn’t have to deal with official channels THAT much before (or considering how quickly you trick the system into thinking you are an admiral, maybe way too much.) Of course now that you are in, the question of how to find Skavak is the real task. Corso suggests finding a gambler/info broker named Darmas Palloran.
Darmas is quite happy to help put you on the right track with his various contacts, and because he was friends with Viidu and doesn’t want to take advantage of a man down on his luck with no ship, he does so for free. He points you first to a slicer for the Migrant Merchant’s Guild (worse gang name ever) named Kixi. Turns out Kixi is being held there against her will to do the Guild’s bidding and is happy to not only undo the scrubbing clean she did of Skavak’s record, but also dirty it up even more (my favorite is noting that Skavak is an undercover agent for the Republic. Ouch!) So after all that you are given a choice to either free Kixi likes she wants, keep her locked up because you might need her still, or just kill her. I don’t know about you, but killing someone who is essentially enslaved who happily helped you is probably one of the scummier things you can do in a prologue. And I’m including the Empire here. I can maybe see the whole keep her locked up because you might need her, but what exactly is her incentive to help you the next time? Oh yes, you totally will get free *snrk* this *chuckle* time… for *HA!* realsies. I generally just let Kixi go free. That gives her incentive to help me in the future cause I helped her, and is not a totally monstrous thing to do.
After completely ruining Skavak’s record, your next tip from Darmas leads you into Black Sun territory to find a holo-recording of Skavak’s meeting with the gang. It appears that our good buddy Skavak is having issues with the law now as well, as a Sullustan cop – whose name I couldn’t be bothered to remember but I remember is had alliterative M’s so I shall call him Meow Mix for now – is hot on his trail and Skavak wants Black Sun to deal with him. So it’s off to the spaceport to save Meow Mix, who reveals that Skavak stole a precious gem that the Sullustans worship. Meow Mix mistakes you for a good hearted, noble, and helpful citizen and deputizes you with the deal that you will track down Skavak together.
Darmas’ next lead has you headed into Justicar territory to meet up with some punk teens with bad attitudes that apparently have zero education beyond what they learned wandering around the pipes of Coruscant (they call cameras ‘Droid Eyes’ and have no clue what the actual name for them are). Mostly it seems a throwaway mission to pad it out because all you do is rescue the brother of the sibling duo from the justicar jail (the jay-jay if you will) because only he knows where Skavak went and also happen to find Meow Mix there, who you can leave in there or let him out. All you that you gather is that Skavak made a run for the Works, the industrial machinery area below Justicar territory and I refuse to believe that the sister DIDN’T know that because the elevator that goes there is 25 feet away from their hideout. Or maybe they don’t know what an elevator is either. People tube or something. Damn kids and they’re lingo.
You finally find Skavak deep in the works meeting with some of his imperial buddies where he trades the gem for some “gruesome trophy” that is being delivered to his (read: YOUR) ship. Meow Mix then makes the scene and confronts the Imps, demanding the return of the gem and then gets himself shot. I should have left his funny face back in the jail. He might still be alive then. So you blast the Imps, watch Meow Mix die, find out the gem is a fake, and high tail it back to the hangers to get your ship back from the sleazy ship salesman who is holding it for Skavak.
On your ship, you find a bunch of weird cargo. An old robot, a weird alien mutt, a carbonite frozen person, a head in a jar, and a pretty lady. Wait. Lady? Ah yes. Risha. Risha is your new boss apparently. She offers you a simple deal, help her deliver all this stuff and she’ll lead you to the fabled treasure of Nok Drayan, a gangster who accumulated more wealth than some outer rim planets and then hid it before his death. Her former partner in this endeavor – Skavak – was (surprise surprise) unreliable, so now she’s offering you the same deal which naturally angers Skavak and pushes the plot into Chapter One.
The smuggler story is just plain good fun. It has a light hearted feel with plenty of jokes, but it doesn’t do any of it at the expense of the story. I loved the story here. It was one of those plots that seems really simple until you look at it in hindsight because then you start noticing things like what Skavak is actually trying to do. The old robot? The grisly trophy? All things Risha needs to trade with. It all seems random and petty, but as you go forward it all builds and builds and that continues all through chapter one as you’ll see.
The only thing I didn’t like – and this is strictly personal – is Corso. Oh the force, does Corso grate me. The joke when we play at home is whenever Corso says anything, it’s pretty much immediately followed with “Shut up, Corso(tm).” We had to trademark it because it’s a fricking slogan for the class thus far. I don’t know if it’s just the country bumpkin act or the blatant hypocrisy of “We can kill people in cold blood as long as they are tangentially related to our problems but don’t you dare be mean to girl.” I’m not saying that women should be hit, and by no means is that any kind of default response. I’m not donning a fedora on this. But killing someone who just joined up with the separatists for something other separatists did YEARS ago is fine, but don’t you dare harm a woman who we just caught backstabbing us, selling us out, killed our boss, and is working with the guy who royally screwed us and lying about it is somehow crossing a line that shan’t be crossed? Bite me, Corso.
So that’s my take on the prologue for the Smuggler storyline. Hope you enjoyed, and I’ll be back soon-ish with more Class Storyline reviews. I want to say Trooper Chapter 3 should be done next.
|| SMUGGLER || Chapter One —>