Well first off, for those who have not played the update yet, I will not spoil the plot twist here. I personally had the twist spoiled for me, because several Tumblr users decided to not put the twist behind some type of spoiler tag. So thank you Tumblr users…
I am going to be giving my thoughts not just on this update, but everything going back to the release of Knights of the Fallen Empire, because it all ties into something that has frustrated me with this storyline. So if you haven’t played any of the story going back to Patch 4.0, then everything below here is a giant spoiler.
So first of all to the twist in Update 5.4, even having it spoiled for me, based on dialogue and a mail you receive after, I see a great opportunity for story here, if its done right. We needed someone to get close to this Order that has popped up as a new antagonist, we got it now.
My biggest problem with the reveal however, is the reason given: the Alliance has become this monolithic entity and is causing more harm in the galaxy than good. Okay, I could have told you that was going to happen all the way back in chapter 9 of KotFE when my smuggler was being dragged into something she didn’t want to be a part of. That’s why this one story fits all approach is doing more harm to player retention than anything. I have built up my smuggler through her personal story, Ilum, Rise of the Hutt Cartel, and the Shadow of Revan. I know how she thinks, what her motivations are, why she helps people, and why she is looking for the next big score. I helped find Revan, working with Imperials who I couldn’t trust at first, and thought I was fixing to take on the Emperor himself before he disappeared after wiping out all life Ziost. And when Darth Marr thought he had found the Emperor’s location, I came to help. But everything after that, has been a train wreck that my smuggler never wanted to be a part of. She has lost all of her freedom, and has become the leader of something she feels pushed into. I have read from other players that they feel like lapdogs for Theron and Lana, and while I can agree, especially since it feels like the player is the one doing all of the action stuff and not really leading, my smuggler is fine in that role, at least in regards to the Alliance stuff.
Because thats the other thing my smuggler has lost, and thats her contacts from the smuggling world, including her home base of Port Nowhere. From the time she’s frozen, until the time where Uprisings are released, Port Nowhere is lost to unfriendly forces. For me, I couldn’t see this happening. If my crew was still looking for me in the time that I go missing, then Port Nowhere would still be the perfect home base. Instead, based on conversations with Bowdaar and Gus Tunno, the crew broke up some time after I go missing. So until Bioware deems it pertinent to give Corso, Risha, and Akaavi back as companions, I’m left in the dark on what really transpired after the smuggler goes missing. My point though, is I am fine being the leader of my own gang, a few people at most, but being tossed into the deep end of leading an entire Alliance, trying to make sure that former Imperials and Republic personnel are working together, thats actually a bit much. And again, if the Alliance has turned into this monolithic entity doing harm in galaxy, I still can’t see my smuggler as the leader of it. In fact, she probably would be looking for a way to end its tyranny.
So thats why I have problems with the direction of the story since the launch of Knights of the Fallen Empire. The one size fits all story is not written in a way that it truly allows for all player classes to be a part of the story. In fact, I still believe that a Jedi, primarily the Jedi Knight, or the Sith are the classes that will get the most out of the story. A Jedi Knight or Consular, Sith Warrior or Inquisitor will get the most out of the ending of KotET as well as the high points of the story in between, such as chapter 12 and the whole “both sides of the force” thing from Darth Marr and Satele Shan. A smuggler, trooper, agent, and bounty hunter will not get anything from this. A smuggler will probably have fun with the robbery chapter. A bounty hunter will have fun in the chapter with Torian and Mandalorians. The trooper will probably have fun in a couple of the battle chapters, and maybe the one with Aric Jorgan. And I believe there are two chapters that an agent will like because of the subterfuge that goes on.