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SWTOR Class Storyline Review: Sith Warrior – Chapter Three

<– Chapter Two ||

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

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Now that you’ve crushed Darth Baras’ opposition, secured his power, and help him ascend to the Dark Council, what reward shall you reap for all your loyal work?  Well, how about being blown up in a cave and left for dead by Darth Vengean’s former apprentice turned Darth Baras’ replacement for you?  Oh yes.  That Sith that worked side by side with you to create a vacancy in the Dark Council for Darth Baras to fill is now after your job – at Baras’ request no less!  Luring you to Quesh for a mission and then collapsing the cave on you and leaving you to die.  However, you have a pair of mysterious rescuers and no, they’re not a pair of mice.

They call themselves the Servants of the Emperor’s Hand and suddenly I’m having Elder Scrolls Dark Brotherhood flashbacks.  They have come to tell you that you have been more or less drafted by the Emperor (Yes, the actual real Sith Emperor) to be his “Wrath”. Essentially, you are to go around and kill whoever stands in the Emperor’s way or whoever the Emperor wants.  The Servants tell you that your now former master Baras is telling the Dark Council that he is the Emperor’s Voice, essentially the guy the Emperor talks through to the Dark Council and whoever.  But the Servants know that this isn’t true, and the Emperor knows it isn’t true, so it’s actually Baras making yet another power play to be above even the Dark Council.  What a jerk.  Or what a Sith.  They’re interchangeable really. Chapter Three is essentially set up as trying to break Darth Baras’ power base and stop his attempt to be declared by the Council to be the Emperor’s Voice and to be obey Baras’ no matter what.  The Council seems kind of dumb like that.

Belsavis

Your first task is stopping Darth Baras from freeing his insane sister, Darth Ekkage, from Belsavis prison.  Go ahead and take a moment if you need a second to wrap your head around the fact that Baras has siblings.  I’ll wait.  Ready?  Okay.  There really isn’t much more than that.  You are chasing/racing with Baras’ goons to the deepest depths of Belsavis where the whackjob Sith is locked up.  Okay, there is kind of this whole B-plot where you have to work with a Jedi who wants to stop them as well and more or less forces you to team up with him to accomplish your goal (He’s the only one around the let you out of a sealed room.  Why you don’t just cut your way out with a lightsaber Qui-Gon style is beyond me.  Maybe Breaking and Entering is a Jedi only technique?)

What’s funny with a Sith and a Jedi teaming up to take down the baddies is that it turns the whole planet into a buddy cop movie almost.  The Jedi is constantly scolding you for unnecessary violence, and you keep telling him that he’s weak and your going to kill him when this is all over.  It’s cute.  Ultimately, you do end up tracking down Ekkage, who just gets freed and then immediately kills the goon that frees her ‘because’. You fight her with the Jedi and then get the choice of killing Ekkage because that’s what your told to do or turn her over to the Jedi to be taken away and face justice.  Just for a bonus, if you kill Ekkage you also can kill the Jedi if you really want to.  You can also just let him go for helping you.  But then again, Jedi-cide.  Is there any better way to end a planet? I think not.

If it seems like I’m not going into a lot of detail here it’s because there really isn’t a lot of details to go into.  Belsavis is just a really simple planet where you have a clear cut object and you just have to keep overcoming the crap tossed in your path along the way (traps, foes, etc) until you get what you want.  It’s not bad in that way, it’s just simple.  Which is fine for a single planet.  Plus Ekkage is just gleefully chaotic evil.  It’s worth it all just to watch her kill people just for the lolz but at the same time seem bored by it.

Voss

In case you’ve been wondering how the Servants and Emperor know that Baras’ isn’t the Voice of the Emperor, it’s about to be explained on Voss.  You see when an aspect of the Emperor (voice, wrath, etc) is destroyed or killed, it reverts to the Emperor.  It’s a part of him, so he kind of would know if his Voice was killed.  But then how does the Dark Council NOT know?  Well, that’s because apparently Darth Baras has trapped the Voice somewhere on Voss, the last place the Voice went for some kind of spiritual journey to get dark power or some Sith thing.  It’s up to you to find him and free him.

Your first objective is to go and find the old Voss sage that guided the Voice when he came.  This involves mostly just doing a bunch of tedious rituals in order to get him to show up.  Which I will tell you, puts my Sith in a BAD mood.  You finally talk to the damn Voss who tells you that the Voice wandered off into a place called the Dark Heart in the Nightmare Lands, a place of powerful dark side…  energy…  stuff.  But the only way to follow him is to get a blessing from the Shrine of Healing and a Talisman of Bone from the Voss soldiers fighting in Gormak territory.  Now I am already suspect at this point because I will tell you, I’ve been to the Dark Heart before on other characters, and I didn’t need ANY of this crap.  But whatever.  I wander off to the Shrine of Healing and they explain that in order to receive the blessing it must drain life energy from someone and possibly even kill them (spoiler: No, it doesn’t kill anyone. At all. Not even close.)  You are given the choice of sacrificing your own life energy, one of your companions’ life energy, or forcing the Voss healer to sacrifice her own life energy to perform the ritual.  I personally forced the Healer to sacrifice her own to do the ritual, because my team and I needed to be in peak condition.  We’re going to the Nightmare Lands! You get to sit in the Shrine of Healing.  HEALING.  I mean really.

The talisman however is where I drew the line with these people.  The Voss always get on my nerves so this mission was probably a god send.  The troop of soldiers will only agree to part with the talisman if you help defeat a bunch of Gormak because they have some insane superstition that the trinket is helping them win.  So only by killing their enemy will they no longer need it and be willing to part with it.  So you go and do their jobs for them and come back only to find that they want you now to go back and kill MORE gormak.  You have got to be killing me.  Are they gonna keep stringing me along and having me run back and forth through enemy territory until every last gormak is dead?  I guess I never will found out.  Because blessed be Bioware they give you to option at this juncture to just straight up kill all the Voss commandos and take the damn talisman.  Oh and I did.  There are no words for the sheer amount of joy beaming through my skull at the appearance of that option.  It’s a big ‘Skip the BS’ button for a measly 150 dark side points.  HOW COULD I SAY NO?

So you finally get the Dark Heart, which to my shocking surprise has NOTHING to do with the second Care Bears movie.  Inside you find the Voice of the Emperor, but there seems to be a slight problem.  The host body of the Voice has gone insane in the face of the Dark Heart’s madness.  The ancient evil that slumbers there has claimed the body of the Voice so you are faced with the dire situation of having to kill the Voice in order to free it.  Once the body is dead the Voice can return to the Emperor, but at the same time it means that until a new host is found that for all intensive purposes Baras wins.  Either the Voice stays trapped in an insane body on Voss, or the Voice dies.  Either way, no evidence to prove that Baras’ isn’t the Voice.  Which is one of the reasons that the Sith Warrior storyline is actually really fun is because you’re not up against a stupid opponent.  Most are so blinded by their beliefs or convictions that they become desperate and stupid, but Baras has had this all set up way in advance and has clearly proven himself to be a chessmaster in the previous two chapters.  Now he’s guaranteed that the actual Voice can in no way be used against him and his pursuit of power.

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Interlude

So after you finish up with a less than successful mission on Voss, your trusted right hand man Malavai Quinn tells you that he has located a space station that contains some highly useful items to take a stab at Darth Baras with.  After congratulations all around that Quinn has scored a big win for the team, he leads you to a station and then proceeds to turn two massive war droids on you.   Wait.  What?

Yes, it would appear that our dear Mr. Quinn was and is firmly in the pocket of Darth Baras.  Serving him loyally since you first went to Balmorra and keeping him regularly informed of your progress.  So in case you were curious of how Baras’ goons got the drop on you continuously on Belsavis – look no further.  Quinn has calculated that these two droids which have been specifically constructed to kill specifically you have a success rate of 99% of doing so.  So naturally, you completely dismantle the damn things and beat Quinn around like a ragdoll.  Channeling the full power of the Emperor’s Wrath you are pretty much unkillable and deal insane damage during this fight even without a companion.  It’s awesome to watch really.  But not nearly as awesome as force choking Quinn and then flinging him around the room into the walls and floor over and over.  That, my friends, is what we call “Stress Relief”.

Unfortunately, the aftermath of this whole betrayal only ends in one of two ways: Angrily allowing Quinn back to the team, or forgivingly allowing Quinn back to the team.  No matter what he renounces Baras now and forever and swears fealty to you and only you and totally isn’t lying this time he promises for realsies.  This is probably one of those points back during the beta of the game where you could kill a companion but was taken out for reasons that have been explained hundreds of times by now.  Way too much buyers remorse and lack of saves in a MMO mostly.  But damn do I wish I could do something to not have that weasel on the ship anymore.  Or at least put Vette’s shock collar on him.  She’s been loyal! Quinn not so much.

Guess I’ll have to just survive with me knowing that I beat the ever loving &*%# out of him for even thinking of trying to kill me.

Corellia

Well, it seems that Baras is getting really good at keeping you on the ropes.  So now it’s time for the big one.  We’re going after his power base.  To do that we’re going to need some help though.  Turns out that the only Sith that is outright opposing Baras’ claim to being the Voice is overseeing the war on Corellia and unfortunately that has him completely vulnerable for an assassination.  So not only do you have to break into the secure REPUBLIC fortress he’s hiding out in and stopping all THREE assassins coming after him and then having to prove that you’re not an assassin and you need his help.  *deep breaths* Okay.  You get all that?  Luckily the convincing is pretty easy when you stop the third assassin right in front of him but dang hasn’t anyone in this galaxy heard of texting?  This is getting ridiculous to just ask for some help. Yes, all that is solely for asking for the help of a Sith.  For some planets, that could encompass the entirety of the story but here it’s only the first area you visit. Welcome to Corellia, where Sith gets real.

However, once you have gained the help of the Dark Council member, things fall much more into line with what you can expect.  There are three areas left on Corellia and each one has one thing that Baras is using to maintain control over the Dark Council and his power base in general.  That fits a bit better with what you expect.  The first area you have to tackle is the a large database in a secured bunker that holds all of Darth Baras’ blackmail information.  With this wiped out you pretty much remove the leash that Darth Baras has on the other Dark Council member.  These missions really aren’t ridiculously over the top, it’s mostly just fight through a secured area and hit the button to do the thing or kill the person or something.  So beyond the context of what each of these things are there sadly isn’t much to talk about here.

The next task is to eliminate the source of information and scheming that Baras has on the Republic side.  It turns out to help manipulate things in the war to his favor and tip off his own forces to give him seen downright clairvoyant, old Barry has himself a plant in the Jedi.  Yes, a loyal Jedi is on a Darth’s payroll.  Such a shame.  Luckily the best way to deal with that is to simply sever the source of information and to do that we can simply murder the Jedi.  However, before that you can also try to expose him for the traitor he is and then kill the Jedi.  Which is fun.  It’s always nice to shatter the spirits of the enemy.

The final strike against Baras comes in the way of breaking his connection to a powerful dark side spirit that he literally has chained up in a basement…  or a tower…  somewhere not on a first floor.  What’s interesting about this bit is actually the mystery around who this dark side spirit is supposed to be.  It’s been hypothesized that the spirit is actually Kreia from KOTOR 2, and supposedly the writer of the Sith Warrior story confirmed that this was the intent but I really can’t find a primary source on that, just forum talk.  It definitely seems from some of the dialogue that the spirit is more than just some malevolent dark side creature, but there really isn’t a confirmation one way or the other. I still like to assume that its supposed to be Kreia when I play through it though.

To break the connection with the spirit and Darth Baras, you need the help of the Dark Council member that you saved at the beginning of the planet.  However, there’s also a trap waiting for you.  Lord Draahg (yes, that’s his name) – the apprentice to Chapter 2’s Darth Veggie – is waiting for you to finish what he started at the beginning of Chapter 3.  He is going to prove he is the bestest ever to Darth Baras and then Darth Baras will love him like a son and they’ll be happy forever and ever and you will not mess it up! Okay, not really, but it sure as heck comes off like that sometimes.  Draahg uses some sort of life draining force curse on the Dark Council member (in case you weren’t convinced that the Force is just a re-skinned version of Magic at this point) and fights you to the death.  The only real advice for the fight is to keep moving a bunch because he likes to drop a crap ton of AOE attacks that stick around for a while and hurt like heck.  If you’re using a healing companion, keep Draahg away from them because he will drop AOE on their heads and they won’t be smart enough to move 3 feet to the right (QUIIIIIIIIINNN!)

With this Dark Spirit freed, the Dark Council dude saved, and the rest of Darth Baras’ power base left in tatters, the time has come to head for Korriban and confront Darth Tubby himself.  The Dark Council dude says he will happily announce you and will meet you there.

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Grand Finale

Wow. When was the last time I got to write about an actual grand finale?  This is pretty much the ultimate showdown that’s been built up for three chapters.  You enter the Dark Council chambers and face off with Baras who demands the Dark Council destroys you because he is the Voice of the Emperor.  However, you are the Wrath of the Emperor so it’s kind of a stand off.  Each of you says the other is lying.  So the Dark Council in their infinite wisdom (or complete lack there of) decrees a duel, and whoever wins is clearly the true servant of the Emperor!  Which honestly seems kind of a weird line of logic to me, and at this point its becoming increasingly clear that the Empire’s government is a complete mess.  The Emperor sends off bits of himself to do different things?  Why?!  Just call the Dark Council and say “Yo. Do this.” But no, now we have a duel to decide who gets to run this whole thing…   which to be fair is a lot more entertaining than actual elections.

Of course, you ultimately beat down Baras after multiple rounds of smacking him.  Honestly, I didn’t find Baras to be harder than Draahg.  Baras does have some slow cast abilities that probably do massive damage but are easily interrupted.  He finally stays down (after you finally get to see him without his helmet on finally) and the Dark Council declares you to be the real Wrath and him not to be the Voice.  Yay?  Couldn’t the Servants of the Hand tell you that?  Oh do they only speak to other Emperor body parts?  I dunno.  It’s weird.

The only thing to note here is this is chance to see some other members of the Dark Council that pop up in the storylines like Darth Marr who recruits you for the Rise of the Hutt Cartel storyline.

My Thoughts

Chapter Three honestly does a great job of feeling like a culmination of everything before it.  Darth Baras’ treachery and tactics are well established by this point and to find yourself on the outside of his forces now fighting against him is a way to put a lot of that to use.  If there was ever a real weak point it would be Belsavis where the struggle to stop Darth Ekkage from being freed doesn’t seem to have much of an impact beyond killing his family.  Yes, she’s a psychopath that would have brought ruthless and unrelenting power to Baras’ cause, but compared to a genius plan to trap the true Voice and destroying Baras’ power base, it seems a bit lesser in ways.

The betrayal of Malavai Quinn could have been done better if Quinn actually had tipped his hand at points showing that he was willing to listen to Baras over you.  But he may have and I just didn’t pick up on it.  Again, more to look for in the second playthrough.

I just really don’t get the incredibly weird way the Emperor runs things.  Like seriously, what the hell.

Looking Back

If the Imperial Agent shows life outside the ranks of the Sith and cleaning up their mess, and the Bounty Hunter shows what life is like outside of the Empire in general, then I would describe the Sith Warrior storyline as the definitive Sith experience.  In service to a master, the careful dance of treachery and loyalty, betrayal and internal power struggles – everything that I would view as a Sith trait is found in this plot line.  It has a ton of memorable moments that stand out such as the corruption of Jaesa, the betrayal of Quinn, the revelation of Draahg backstabbing you on Baras’ orders…  there’s some great stuff here and at no point do I find myself shaking my head at like some of the other stories.  While some parts don’t seem to have the impact as others, nothing feels like a waste of time or anything to make your character feel unworthy of his position.

Most importantly, the storyline feels like a whole single narrative.  The chapter breaks are not clear lines of this is a different plot like you find in the Trooper storyline.  The events of chapter one help set up the events of chapter two and likewise with chapter three.  It’s far easier than almost any other storyline for me to think of it as “The Sith Warrior Story” instead of “Sith Warrior Chapter X’s story.”  And I really like that.  Definitely worth a play through in my opinion.

<– Chapter Two ||

SWTOR Class Storyline Review: Sith Warrior – Chapter Two

<– Chapter One || Chapter Three –>

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

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So last time we completely dismantled a compromised spy network, rooted out a hidden padawan and then converted said padawan to our side using manipulation, lies, trickery and cookies.  So how do we follow that up?  Do we ascend to being a powerful Lord with a spy network and servants of our own? No!  We get to work for our boss’ boss.  That’s right, there’s someone even above Darth Barry and his name is Darth Vengean.  And while your first instinct may be to pronounce that Darth VEGEN (Also not to be confused with Dark Vegen, the toast loving villain of the Johnny Test TV show), it is actually pronounced like Vengeance but without the -ce. So like Ven-Gen.  Not much better.

Anyway, Vengean and Baras have a new job for you: Plan Zero.  Which despite it’s cool name, is actually just “Kill this list of big wigs in the Republic brass”.  Well, okay. I can do that. I’m very good at killing things.  Just like Jaesa’s family and master.  Right Jaesa?  Jaesa? OH GOD PUT DOWN THE MEDICAL TABLE!

Taris

Taris is where suprisingly four of the generals you need to kill are.  That’s convenient. So the entire planet quickly devolves to “find a general, kill a general, repeat.”  I’m not going to go into every little detail of tracking down these guys because honestly for the most part it isn’t worth it.  However it is worth noting that we do meet our next companion: Lt. Pierce.  Pierce is a soldier.  That is his defining characteristic.  He is not a boot kissing promotion craving soldier like Quinn, but more of a rough and tumble, down and dirty, smoking in the mess with the boys while playing poker kind of soldier.  But he also knows his stuff. And is bad ass to boot.  He actually holds off several hundred republic soldiers by himself. Now it’s important to note, he does this off camera.  When he’s actually in your party, he can maybe take like…  three?  That said he is a tank, so killing isn’t his strong suit. (Neither was tanking really so he stays on the ship)

No, the thing I really wanted to talk about here was the final mission on the planet.  You, Pierce, a small army, and all your other companions team up for a giant assault on the Republic base.  Yea, that only interesting thing from all of Trooper Chapter 2?  It’s just a regular planet mission here.  Oh, and they do it right in this storyline too.  See, the mission requires you to divide up your forces into three teams.  One is the assault team, one deals with the traps, and one deals with stopping reinforcements and Quinn stays at the base coordinating (There goes my healer…)  Now the big difference here is that it actually matters who gets sent where.  If you send the wrong person on a job, they will fail and it will make things harder for the assault team.  Extra mobs if the reinforcements arrive, turrets if the traps team fails, and dealing with mercenaries if you can’t apply the right pressure to make them run.  Quinn makes it fairly clear who should be assigned to each team, but you can put Vette, Jaesa or Pierce on any of them. I was just happy that there were consequences to incorrect team assignment.  See, Trooper storyline, THAT’S how you do a mission.

Narratively, the generals all seem to be working on a super power battery to fuel weapons, ships, droids…  anything really.  That increases the power of whatever they’re installed into tenfold.  Which doesn’t sound scientifically possible.  Wouldn’t that just break most things?  Don’t most devices have some sort of ceiling to how much power they can use, hence the term “overload”?  So they invested billions of credits in a battery that will overload their stuff?  I mean, if they were built to use that 10x power, sure that’d make sense.  But then it wouldn’t be 10x the power, it would just be the expected amount of power because it was built specifically to use those batteries.  Republic military! What the heck is wrong with you?  Anyway, it’s implied Vengean and/or Baras wants the tech, but I was just told to kill them, so I did.  Just left the stuff there.  They can send someone else to collect it if they really want it.

Quesh

Quesh actually begins not on the planet at all but on a ship floating in orbit around it. The ship is apparently being attacked by the forces of one Admiral Monk, another target of Plan Zero.  You have to fight your way through the ship and stop the attacking Republic forces but unfortunately, once you reach the bridge Monk is nowhere to be found.

According to the captain, Admiral Monk shot off in an escape pod to the surface of Quesh.  You get ready to depart, but the Captain appears to be quite upset.  He doesn’t want to be part of these ‘games’ of Darth Baras and attacks you.  Honestly, I pleaded the fifth.  I was just sent to kill these guys.  Not to play schemes & scenarios.  That’s my Inquisitor’s job.  So I had to kill the captain. It was self defense. And fun.  Lots of fun.

Down on Quesh, you finally find Admiral Monk who claims to be one of Baras’ deep cover agents, and that there’s some sort of scheme against Darth Vengean?  And that Monk knows the truth and he won’t be silence because he’s loyal and his cover is intact!  But I don’t know anything about all that, and honestly I am getting tired of being dragged above my pay grade.  I was told to murder kill destroy, and murder kill destroy I shall. Farewell Admiral Ninja!

Hoth

The final stage of Plan Zero sends you to the frigid world of Hoth, and the target is a Jedi master named Xerender.  A notoriously pain in the butt Jedi to find it seems as he constantly is able to give you and Baras’ flunkies the slip. (I am not Baras’ flunkie, I’m his apprentice.)  Not to mention that this troublesome Jedi has employed the help of an entire clan of Talz!  Okay, not an entire clan.  Apparently, the Talz are also being hunted by a former clan member that was ousted out and wants revenge: Broonmark.  You and Broonmark sort of compete for the kill as it where as you keep running into him, fighting him, and ultimately working with him to get what you both want.

The trick to finding the Jedi is really to find what he’s after.  Some sort of secret super weapon hidden among the icy caverns and wrecked ships.  Of course, the mystery is actually fairly quickly banished as you figure out that the Jedi is after not a “weapon” in a traditional sense, but his former master named Wyellett who crashed on Hoth years ago, and has been living off the Force ever since (cause you apparently can do that) and thus has granted him profound insight into the nature of the Force.  To make things interesting and way more personal, it seems that our stranded Super-Jedi was also a former rival of Darth Baras and even captured Baras’ lightsaber years ago.  Which honestly seems like a bit overkill in the ‘it’s all tied together’ area, but it also allows Baras to find the Wyellett because he can kind of sense his lightsaber? And read its mind?  Crystal?  I have no clue.  It’s space magic. I give up trying to make sense of this stuff since man first asked why the lightsaber stops at yay high.

So you find Wyellett and Xerender, and pretty much just kill them.  Yea.  That’s about it. Okay, well you also help Broonmark get his revenge and he agrees to come with you.  I like him.  He’s all super bloodthirsty and grumpy, but also fuzzy.  Kind of like a really tall Treek that can’t heal.  You are also given the chance to spare the Wyellett or even just hear out his gift of wisdom about the true nature of the Force.  Which I really didn’t take him up on either offer.  He’s a Jedi, I’m a Sith.  It just makes more sense to not listen and just kill the old man.

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Finale

It seems that all those people I killed talking about schemes and tricks may have been right, because no sooner do you get back to Darth Baras on Dromund Kaas then he explains that this whole thing was a trick to get his master, Darth Veggies, out of favor with the Dark Council so that he can (read: YOU can) kill him and Darth Baras can take his position on the Dark Council.

You end up teaming up with Darth Vegemite’s apprentice who has betrayed his master to join up with Darth Baras.  Clearly he wants to bat for the winning team.  Which is a sports metaphor or so I’m told. He helps you break in to the fortress of Darth VeggieTales by doing absolutely nothing as you kill your way through the Darth’s servants.  Supposedly he’s handling the security, but honestly I couldn’t tell you if he did or not.  I know he shows up at the end to help take his share of the credit.

The battle with Darth Vegeta is pretty epic as well, combined with the dawning revelation of Baras’ plot against him and the warnings that Baras will betray you as well it serves as a good capstone on the Chapter 2 plot.  The whole bit ends with a return to Baras who welcomes you and his former boss’ apprentice as his new lieutenants in his new order of his new Sith-y-ness.  Wonder how long that will last.

My Impressions

In terms of middle chapters, the Sith Warrior does a pretty good job.  It builds on the scheming nature of Darth Baras but no by blatantly letting you in on his plans.  Instead you find confused military officers and Sith that you kill for just doing what they were told.  You get to be in that position of ‘our mutual boss told us both to come here and kill each other…  hmmm….’ kind of plot that is so fun to watch unfold, but this time from the inside.

Maybe its just me but the idea of getting to watch a grand chess master scheme unfurling from the perspective of one of the pawns (ie YOU) is actually really cool.  It does a great job of establishing Baras as this powerfully manipulative magnificent bastard that really does have everyone around his finger.  Which you got a bit of that in the first chapter, but not nearly to this degree.

The villain of the chapter is however less than interesting.  Which I suppose is fine since his only real purpose is being someone to off so Baras can make a power play for a seat on the Council.  If there was anything else to be done with it I suppose he could have tried to make a deal with you behind Baras’ back to try and take out your master.  Something like “I know what Baras is up to. It won’t work.  Come join me.”  but then Baras knows that Veggie knows and plans around it with you retrieving some kind of powerful tool to get the upper hand. But that might have been a bit much for the short middle chapter.

As for your new companions…  meh.  Pierce makes an excellent foil for Quinn as the pragmatic soldier versus the cunning officer.  Quinn does things by the book, but Pierce realizes that the book isn’t prepared for everything and sometimes you have to go with your gut.  It’s a nice change of pace that shows the difference in the mentality of the troops that serve the Sith.  Broonmark on the other hand is a giant hairball that hangs out in the cargo bay of the ship.  Really all you get to know about him in his initial encounters on Hoth is that he is A) Ruthless and B) Out for vengeance.  Which naturally makes him useful but he does not make much of an impression.

<– 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.

sithwarr01

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 –>

SWTOR Class Storyline Review: Sith Warrior – Prologue

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 Chapter 1 –>

Sith Warrior…  RIIIIIIIISSSSEEEE.

If you ever wanted to be the dragon to a scheming master, traveling around under orders to silence his enemies and carry out his will to the masses, then you’ve selected the right class for that.  You can think of Sith Warrior as being Darth Vader.  You are at the beck and call of a dark master who you serve, you are a threat to not be taken lightly, and you will – hopefully – command fear and respect.

I actually have two Sith warriors.  One is a strictly light side one that I only play from time to time, and the one that will I be basing most of these reviews on, the dark side (mostly) dark knight who wishes to carry out the will of his master, but is also honorable in doing so.  He will burn down and kill every enemy he finds, but takes no quarrel with the innocent souls that cross his path.  He does not kill for fun and he does not do so wantonly.  He believes in the Sith ways and the Empire, and will fight for it.  Essentially as I said, a dark knight.  So that is the mentality I’m applying to most of the decisions you will be reading about.

Korriban

The Warrior begins just like the Inquisitor with their arrival at the Sith Academy on Korriban.  However, instead of being treated like dirt by a racist prick you actually get immediately lumped into a conspiracy to undermine the admittance guidelines of the Academy to help preserve the Sith tradition from a “half breed” that seems to have been shooting up the ranks.  So in other words, Your new buddy Tremel IS a racist prick but this time you’re helping him.

Despite the somewhat less racially sensitive goals of your new…  um…  tutor?  Overlord?  Well, he’s not your master.  I do honestly find Tremel to be hilarious.  Especially when he threatens to cut someone in half with all the passion that you would declare that you are planning to open your mail.  Ho hum. Murder. Pshah.  I love this guy!

Your given various tasks like judging what to do with various prisoners in the jail and slaying a beast in the caves before the poodoo hits the fan.  It seems that you haven’t gone unnoticed by the Sith Lord that you’ve been trying to undermine: Lord Baras.  And depending on your definition of luck, he’s not planning on killing you!  Baras definitely makes his intimidating nature known though.  There are chills when he lectures you about everything that you have done wrong.  However, he’s willing to overlook it if you go back and kill the Overseer that brought you in and return with his hand.

As Tremel points out this is a brilliant move, because either Tremel is removed from the picture, or you get killed and either way one of Baras’ problems are dealt with.  Of course Tremel views it as either killing you, or admitting that he’s breaking the rules of the Sith.  You’re given a light side way out of the whole thing naturally to just take the hand and let Tremel leave but why would you? What favors has Tremel done for you?  All he’s done is use you to further his goals.  You clearly would have gotten to this stage of the Sith training on your own in time.  I pretty much always end up killing Tremel.  And with that the black guy who wanted to keep the ‘half breeds’ out of the Sith Order dies first.  That’s like… double racism?  Or something?  I don’t know.  He still had it coming.

So with Tremel dealt with, it’s time to have a good ol’ fashioned showdown with your rival, Vemrin.  Sith apparently always have rivals in school.  They share this lovely trait with Pokemon trainers, who also have a tendency of using others to do their bidding and make liberal use of slavery.  Really, the parallels are kind of creepy.  Pokemon is all about building a power base as an up and coming Sith Lord.

The rest of Korriban plays out pretty much how you imagine it.  You beat your rival, Baras takes you on an apprentice, you get a lightsaber from a creepy tomb and have to fight a bunch of Sith mummies.  What? You weren’t expecting the mummies?  Oh dear, what ever did you think you’d find in tombs?  Vampires? Hahahahaha. Not yet.  But there is one more nice touch with Tremel’s daughter showing back up and threatening you.  Even if you spared her dad, she still hates you (she just will hate him more).  You get a bit of a fight and she does down easy.  Still it was a nice throwback to an earlier quest, and those are always fun.

You also meet Vette, your first companion/slave.  And I don’t mean slave as in she’s mechanically a pet that has to do what you say, I mean she’s a slave.  She has a slave collar when you first meet her and you can shock her – A LOT.  She’s a sassy girl who likes to give lip to anyone and everyone she meets, regardless of their standing.  And about each time you are given the option to electrocute her for it.  Now, you can actually be a really nice guy and take the thing off of her as soon as you leave Korriban.  This is pretty much essential to trying to romance her, and as I understand it from others who have done so that she uh…  keeps it.  For kinky reasons.  Yea, not kidding there.  I on the other hand, left it on.  Because I’m a fairly dark side monster.  I’ve come to peace with that fact.

Dromund Kaas

The Imperial homeworld provides a new mystery to tackle as the apprentice of Darth Baras.  Apparently, some of your new masters deep, deep, deep, DEEP cover agents have been knocked off lately.  Baras has no idea who the heck could possibly discovered his agents, and wants some answers.  Getting this answers involves you running errands for the rotund ball of Sith all across the planet. Fetching a frozen SIS agent, eliminating some loose ends in Baras’ network on Dromund Kaas, and then finally fetching a torture device for the aforementioned SIS agent.  Really, the intrigue is in watching Baras’ paranoia grow as he struggles to get answers from the SIS agent. This ultimately culminates in a desire to ‘silence’ his spy network that might put him at risk.

Some of the best moments are probably when you get to infiltrate the rogue Sith lord Grathan’s place and fight him.  Yup.  The Sith Warrior is only class that actually gets to interact with the nefarious rogue lord and his family.  Or can at least. But the enjoyable part is actually getting to kill the Sith apprentice that Baras had working there under cover.  He does nothing but give you crap and then ultimately tries to back-stab you to further his own ambitions.  So you kill him. And no matter if you’re light or dark side, there’s something warm and fuzzy about giving someone their comeuppance.

Beyond that, there’s not a lot to be said for Dromund Kaas.  You have some excellent opportunities to drive Darth Baras nuts in the dialogue.  You can pester him, ask dumb questions, and at one point say something to him that amounts pretty much to a wordier: “U MAD BRO?”  Baras is shown to be a frustrated and paranoid darth who only maintains his position by having an edge over the competition via his extensive network of spies, servants and informants which is now all at risk from his old nemesis – a Jedi master that was convinced of Darth Baras’ agents infiltrating and betraying the republic a while back and made it his life mission to bring Baras down.  To top that off, it would appear that he has found the perfect tool to do just that.  A new padawan that can apparently see people’s true nature.  Frightful of the implications of this, your master gives you a ship and sends you off to silence his spies before they can be found and to hunt down this padawan, beginning chapter one of the story.

Final Thoughts

The Sith Warrior very much mirrors the Jedi Knight in that it seems very slow to build in the beginning, maybe even more so.  You’re given a ton of tonal establishment early on with the kill or be killed merciless nature of the Sith.  The power struggle and need to be constantly vigilant is hammered in quite a bit.  The dark and light side choices are pretty much what you would expect, with the only exception being one quest on Korriban where you are actually punished for choosing the light side.  After getting the stone tablets from the tombs, you find a guy who couldn’t get them. You can choose the light side and give him your shards, which will lead you to having to do the entire quest again.  So you have to do the quest twice if you want to be light side.  Granted, the guy you helped does lend you a hand later on if you do that, but it ends up getting him killed.  So he dies either way.

However in terms of actual story, not a lot actually happens in this prologue it seems.  Of course, I might be wrong and all of this could come back at some point of another showing it was extremely involved. But I’ve also learned not to judge a storyline by simply the prologue. Heck if I had done that with the Jedi Knight storyline, I would have missed the extremely epic chapter 3 storyline (we’ll get there eventually, I’m replaying the Jedi Knight for these reviews instead of just trying to remember them).

((Vry’s Note: And with that, I have officially caught up on all my backlogged Storyline reviews.  Some of them are less thorough than I’d like but the new one’s are being written one planet at a time to help make sure they stay fresh in my mind.  Look forward to more stuff coming soon.))

|| Sith Warrior Chapter 1 –>

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