Thoughts about Companions

As part of the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion, several new and old companions have been released to be used in the players Alliance.  However, barring a few cutscenes here and there, a couple of missions, and a few Alliance alerts, there has not been any real interaction with any of our companions.  For me, this has been one of the biggest let downs of the new expansion.  Interactions with your vanilla companions was the biggest way to get to know them, their personalities, history, etc…  We’re missing that with the 4.0 companions.

And while it would tick off the people who have invested large amounts of credits and gifts to raise their influence level, I would still like to see more individual companion conversation missions, and maybe a few actual missions with those companions to help flesh them out more.

  • I know Theron Shan quit/was forced out of the SIS because of his secret military unit and Ziost.  And we certainly have been able to see him and his personality going back the Shadow of Revan prelude.  However, I would still like to see some more from him.  Maybe some conversations regarding his parents, and how that whole situation as progressed.  We still haven’t told him, at least from what I recall, about the training with Satele and Marr.
  • While Lana has been a primary speaker for most of the Alliance missions, theres still so much mystery to this woman.  As an Imperial, we become aware of her promotion into the head of Sith Intelligence at end of Shadow of Revan.  Republic players hear of this at the beginning of Ziost, if I remember correctly.  That’s it.  Again, we get some insights into her personality through different mission cutscenes and what not, but this woman’s history is still a complete mystery.
  • Koth is another one, where we get some idea of why he is rebelling against Arcann’s rule, a partial reason why Senya was hunting him, but that’s it.  There has to be more there.  He shows an overly zealous devotion to Valkorion, despite us repeatedly bringing up what the Vitiate side has done, and all we get was a “but he was good to us.”
  • In my opinion, Senya has been one of the more fleshed out companions.  We know of her regrets with the children.  We know she was in love with Valkorion at one time.  We know she hunted Koth as a traitor to the throne.  And thanks to the ending of chapter 16, we know she still believes there is hope for the redemption of her children.  But I believe there is still more there to discover.
  • I would like to see some better interactions between characters and the return of their vanilla companions.  Some companions when they return have given a brief summary of what they’ve been up to for the last five years, but thats it.  In fact the common thread for most of these companions, is that five years ago, they thought the Outlander died, and that was it.  I know romancable companions that you marry mention looking for you, but again, thats it.  So I want to see more there.
  • I want to see more interactions with vanilla companions that were not apart of our crews.  I believe Kaliyo in her chapter is the only one that has her personality fleshed out enough.  Jorgan, Gault, Vette, and T7-01 don’t have enough interactions for a player to determine why they should be joining your new crew.  So I would like to see some more insight into these other companions.  Maybe some mentions regarding their former leader, as we are made very aware that while you become the Outlander, that there are still other heroes who disappeared 5 years ago.
  • I want to have some more interactions with the Star Fortress companions.  We helped them blow up a bunker and destroy/maim the Star Fortress over their planet, but then that’s it.  I think it would be cool, maybe as a [WEEKLY] where you are required to help them, maybe through the completion of a Heroic, or some other type of interaction.  This could even be tied into the Conquest stuff, as it could be supplies  they require.  But most importantly, I would like to see some more insight into the companions life.  Other than Arcann invading their world, what motivates them?  Why do they stick around?  Are they continuing to look for more recruits to the cause?

I realize some of these ideas would require some major time and costs to implement, particularly regarding voice acting.  Personally, I would be okay with the Bioware choice list and paragraphs of text to read.  But I do believe there is an audience out there hungering for this type of content.  We want to get to know these companions more, than what is being given through the story content.  We want to see all of our companions more in cutscenes and missions doing things.  These last few chapters if anything have shown we can have additional companions involved in missions, even if we cannot control them directly.

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Knights of the Fallen Empire Wrap-up

Going back to the analogy that Bioware was trying to use TV show cues in Knights of the Fallen Empire, season one was put together really well.  I’m not even mad that there were several loose ends, especially with major plots.  I do believe they will be mostly wrapped up in season 2, or be there for a longer term story arc.  Yes I’m seeing a season 3, 4, and 5 possibly.  So here’s just some thoughts regarding different things about KOTFE.

  1. Regarding Senya and her actions, going back to the cutscene on the Gravestone, and the one in the next chapter in the sewers, its easy to see that she still loves her children, and would do anything to help them see the error of their ways.  Senya blames herself for leaving when she did, and not trying harder to undo what Valkorion was doing to them.  You can even see this effect on the children, as Vaylin says something like, “you left us.  you left me…”  So it was no shock to me then to see Senya trying to save Arcann, believing that she could undo all of the harm that Valkorion did to him.  In fact, I used the conversations with Senya, and the final confrontation speech with Arcann to determine which option I picked, because for me, thats what made the most sense.
  2. Regarding Vaylin and her motivations, I think Valkorion did the most damage to her, whether intentionally or not.  Valkorion can sense Vaylin is very powerful, and yet, based on the Sacrifice trailer, he was more worried about training Thexan and Arcann as his heirs.  So Vaylin could definitely see this as a slight to her, and going back to the above sentence regarding Senya, she could have felt very alone and vulnerable.  So Vaylin starts building walls, and and learning her own manipulative techniques based on what she witnesses with Valkorion and her brothers.  The attack on the 5 worlds cutscene, watch how Vaylin manipulates that.  Plus there are several other key cutscenes, including chapter 16, where her manipulation of Arcann is what is driving the events that are taking place.
  3. In regards to SCORPIO, even taking in the meta regarding how an Imperial Agent discovers her, and what the Star Cabal was using her for, her “training” of Vaylin has me a little perplexed as to a final resolution.  I can use the above statements to extrapolate that maybe SCORPIO has some insight into Vaylin’s upbringing and what little affection was shown to her from Valkorion.  Given what we see of Arcann and his actions, it may be possible that SCORPIO has an understanding that it was Vaylin pulling those strings.  But even with all the possibilities, SCORPIO’s motivations going forward are a bit puzzling.  Its definitely going to be interesting to see where this leads.
  4. I am perfectly okay with SCORPIO giving her “children” free-will, after all her whole story arc meta is this constant need to improve herself.  So when SCORPIO sees what is happening with the GEMINI droids, she makes a decision to help free them from what they’ve been programmed to do.  We see some of them leave, even receive a letter from someone claiming to see a GEMINI droid on Hoth.  However a bunch of the fleet stays, with SCORPIO as the one who controls them, not the Eternal Throne and the GEMINI Frequency.  With that being said, I am left wondering if there was an ulterior motive to this release.  Could SCORPIO be looking for who created her and the GEMINI droids, using the Eternal Fleet as a means to track them down?
  5. I have not seen the bad ending yet where the Gravestone is stolen.  However, I am hoping there is going to be some type of resolution for this event.  Because if there is not one planned, then it means the Gravestone is inconsequential to next season, and the mystery of who built it, as well as what is in the Dark Sanctuary is now loose ends with no resolve, and that would make me very angry.
  6. I’ve seen some comments regarding the maps used like in chapter 16, and as one commenter put it, “like rats through a maze.”  I can agree to a certain extinct the maps can make you feel a bit claustrophobic.  Its definitely a different feel than the vanilla starship maps.  Vanilla maps definitely had an advantage, and you could plan encounters and how to work on a group of enemies.  However, I do like some of the “ship guts” maps in KOTFE, because it does give a different feel to the map.  A perfect example of this, was the old 1984 mini-series “V” and “V: The Final Battle”, where the motherships were these clean craft from the exterior, but when Donovan and the others get into the heart of the ships, where the humans are being kept and such, its a darker feel.  I would love to see more of these types of maps in future content.  Oh look, here’s a vent, where does this go?  How will it help me to escape this pack of skytroopers, or angry Koth’s.

I know theres probably some things I’m leaving out, but these were some of the topics I wanted to get on paper first.

Overall, I am happy with the story and the possibilities of what Season Two has in store for us.  I know there is a Producer livestream tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to see if anything new is revealed, or if they give some hints as to what they were thinking behind some of the KOTFE story points.

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Character Profile: Nurithia

nurithia

  • Human Female
  • Sith Warrior – Marauder (??)

Head-canon:

Nurithia has been groomed for something more.  What that is unknown at this time.  Nurithia was born to Lord Vahm  and Lady Narthura, Sith lords who govern a small province on Ziost.  Nurithia’s Force sensitivity did not show up until her adolescent years, but her father took the time to make sure her swordsmanship and blade-work were on par with even the most skilled fighter, before sending her to the Sith Academy.

There are rumors that Darth Marr is looking for an apprentice, and its believed Nurithia is the likely candidate.  However, there are some members of the Dark Council who have been looking at Nurithia as a potential replacement for the current Emperors Wrath, Darth Kain’haru who has been off doing his own thing and not paying attention to the whims of the Dark Council.

 

Notes:

Nurithia was originally created to finish up some Korriban and Dromund Kaas achievements.  However, I couldn’t delete her after getting the achievements, so she is currently not being used.

That being said, I do like the brief back story I came up with for her, and it does open a possibility for future enhancements.  For example, what if all of the above, minus the history part, is taking place in the weeks leading up to Vitiate destroying Ziost?  And Darth Marr IS looking for an apprentice, but the Alliance stuff has kept him busy from this search.

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Character Profile: Orth’enal

orth'enal

  • Twi’lek Male
  • Imperial Agent – Sniper (??)

Head Canon:

Orth’enal is the son of Lor’fula, a former Nexus Room Cantina dancer, and a Twi’lek Imperial Intelligence officer known as Minder 18, who was killed in a freak explosion while processing security footage in the archives when Orth’enal was a teenager.  While Orth’enal did not know who his father was, or what he did, his mother would always reinforce that he was doing something right, not just for them, but for all aliens in the empire.  When he was old enough, Orth’enal tried to apply for service in the Imperial military but was turned down several times, with the only reason given being that he was an inferior alien.  After his last attempt, Orth’enal left Dromund Kaas and joined an anarchist group determined to fight the alien bigotry in the empire.  During a violent protest on Ziost, Orth’enal was severely injured and left for dead.  However, one of the local citizens, a human named Murin, helped to nurse him back to full health.  Orth’enal became aware of Murin’s history with Imperial Intelligence as Fixer 2, who knew his father.  Murin used his connections to get Orth’enal into Imperial Intelligence, with the idea being he would make a great Minder like his father.  However, during his training, Orth’enal exhibited abilities and traits that his instructors figured he would make a better Cyper agent, than a minder.

Notes:

For game purposes I have been playing Orth’enal in a very Total Recall type of way.  I’ve used certain events from the Dromund Kaas series of missions, to justify that he’s a sleeper agent for Darth Jadus, and even had him join him during the chapter 1 finale.  Because Agent is the one class that has several different branches and endings based on your choices, I wanted to try and experience them all.  To that end, some of the above back story is actually implanted memories.

 

 

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My Dark Vs Light Characters

So I decided to participate in the Dark vs Light event, primarily because I hope we get the Chiss companion, Master Ranos, and not Darth Maulette.  In addition, I figured with the XP boost armor, it could help when creating any new characters, or useful with my existing ones that I haven’t finished.  Like I mentioned before however, I can’t see myself completing the last challenge tier, especially with the HM flashpoint objective.

vyogori

  • Vyogori
  • Jedi Consular – Sage
  • Human Male

Head canon:

Vyogori is the son of Taelitha’s aunt, Ehrith, her mother’s sister.  She hasn’t seen Vyogori in ages, primarily because his Jedi training kept him away from the rest of the family.  She ran into him again at the Alliance base on Yavin 4, where he was leading a group of Jedi Knights.  Vyogori is somewhat stubborn with civilian authority, questioning the motives of their actions, especially those of politicians.  He has questioned at times the Jedi Council’s decisions regarding peacekeeping efforts, when its being done at the request of a senator.  However, he strongly believes in the Jedi’s duty to protect the weak, no matter what faction they belong to.

Notes:

I have never liked the male Consular’s voice, despite liking Nolan North’s voice-acting in other projects such as Final Fantasy XIV and Uncharted.  Usually I re-roll the character after leaving Tython because I can’t stand listening to him talk.  However, I decided my new character would be a male consular, and that I would make it to level 65.  Mission accomplished.

i'drusul

  • I’drusul
  • Sith Inquisitor – Sorcerer
  • Togruta Male

Head canon: I’drusul is the son of dewback farmers from Tatooine, former slaves of Vorga the Hutt.  I’drusul was found to be Force sensitive at a young age, and was trained briefly at Mos Ila before being transferred to Ziost for further training.  He originally used his rage and anger at being a slave to help harness his Force potential.  However, after working through his trials on Korriban, he learned that a bounty hunter had killed Vorga and freed several of his slaves, including his parents.  Now he works to end the bigotry that the Empire shows towards aliens.

Notes:  I have been going straight light choices for him, again because of the Dark vs Light companion.  That being said, I did pursue the full romance option with Ashara, including the whole “fixing what is wrong with the Empire”, because again, it makes sense for his story.  Since I haven’t published my Nar Shadaa stronghold post, the inclusion of Vorga the Hutt was a way to bring in that part of Ashallia’s story with another character.

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Nostalgia: Star Wars Galaxies

I had tried to play Star Wars Galaxies a few times, never on my own, usually at friends requests.  There were parts of the game that I definitely liked, and others that felt restrictive.  I liked the fact that I could begin as an artisan, and just do crafting and sampling all day.  I liked the skill system for the most part, even though it felt constricted in its implementation.  I remember getting Sampling IV in just a few days, with no more leveling to be done for it.  I liked being an architect and building houses for other players.  I liked the idea of player cities and voting on mayors.  I didn’t like the combat as much, as it felt clunky, especially when I was coming back after playing Final Fantasy XI.

So I had heard about the SWG Emulator project a couple of years ago, but was interested at the time in reliving the nostalgia of Galaxies, for whatever reason.  Hell, I wasn’t even sure if I could find my old game disks anymore.  So the other day the thought came back up, and I did some research into what they had implemented so far.  While it didn’t look like all of the Jump to Lightspeed stuff had been implemented (ie. space battles), it did look like the “new” professions had been added, such as shipwright.  So I found a boxed version of the Total Experience on Amazon, and when it arrived installed the game.

I have to say it was very weird going back to a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

I forgot how many choices you had in creating a character.  I was tempted to make an old man, but decided on someone who looked more middle-aged.

swgemu_cethil

So here is Cethil Barithor.  I started in Theed on Naboo, since it felt like a good starter city.  I still went artisan as my initial class.  I knew if anything, that at some point when trying the combat professions, I could at least make my weapons and armor.  In the week that I’ve been playing, I’ve maxed Sampling, gotten to Business I and Engineering II.  I have loved the AFK sampling, and since the game is running on a laptop next to my gaming rig, I can still play SWTOR or FFXIV while I gather!  The crafting grind has been different, but I’ve been running the 1k+ credits missions to build up what money I need to keep buying skills.  I haven’t picked up a combat profession yet, although I recall Scout had a skill needed for making clothes.

I’m not sure yet what my long term plans are for this game.  I haven’t joined a guild yet, but have tried to be friendly when people are around.  On any night I’ve seen about 20 people in Theed, most have been AFK sampling, but others are running around doing their missions.  At some point I know I want to visit Corellia and Tatooine, but haven’t checked on transport ticket prices yet.

I may start another character at some point, going the pure combat route, but still not sure.  This character would be a perfect choice if I wanted to join the Imperial or Rebellion factions.  I don’t think I would want that for the Artisan as it may restrict what I can do, or where I can sell.  I can’t remember, but do need to look this up at some point.

Well that has been a trip down memory lane.  I will probably post more updates when I hit certain milestones, such as getting my first house or whatever.

 

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Star Wars Celebration Europe Wrap-up

I wanted to put some thoughts down regarding some of the news revealed this weekend at Star Wars Celebration Europe.

  • the Grand Admiral Thrawn teaser in the Rebels season trailer was the best thing period!  I remember reading the Thrawn trilogy in paperback when I was serving in the Army.  When the whole Disney takeover happened, and the Expanded Universe was pushed to Legends canon, I was hoping at some point characters like Thrawn, Mara Jade, Talon Karrde, and Dash Rendar would find their way into the normal canon as well.
  • That Rebels season 3 trailer got me really excited for whats to come!  It will be interesting to see how they explore the light and dark use of the Force.
  • May have to pick up a copy of Star Wars Battlefront, especially with the new expansion coming out.  I still hate the fact that they did not create a single player campaign though.  Worst oversight in a Star Wars game ever.
  • I’m not surprised the only thing revealed for season 2, was the title:  Knights of the Eternal Throne.  If the chapters would have been released on time, starting in January like the originally planned, then we would’ve been finishing up chapter 16 in July, and maybe they could have revealed more.  As it stands however, they pushed back chapter 16 for good reasons apparently, we don’t even have a teaser trailer for it, so anything revealed could have been a spoiler for the end of season 1.
  • I’m interested to see what this Star Wars game planned for sometime in the near future is all about.  We’ve had some brief teases of different things, including the Mos Eisley concept from Visceral Games.  The thing that was peaking my interest the most was during the panel, how Amy Hennig was describing the need to get everything right to make a Star Wars story.

Finally some thoughts about SWTOR.

  • I really love the music in SWTOR, and it still holds a prominent place for my memories of the game.  From the music playing when you first arrive on Tattooine, Alderaan, or Coruscant, to the music playing when you get your ship, to the KotOR music playing anytime Revan appears.
  • The other night I dreamed that KotFE, the 5 years in carbonite, everything past Ziost was a dream, which startled me awake.  Please, Bioware, don’t use this trope!  If we get the Pamela waking up to find Bobby in the shower dream, or the Bob Newhart waking up next to Suzanne Pleshette and the whole Newhart series was a dream, then I will revolt!
  • I think I’ve written about this before, but seriously, whoever designed some of the planet stories, needs to have their head examined!  I was doing Imperial Taris last night, and just the running back and forth was getting frustrating!  Besides the initial and final meetings, all of the other Gravus meetings should have been conducted by holo-call.  There was no need to be going back to base for these short cuts, period!
  • I’ve been making changes to all of my strongholds.  I still need to release pictures of my Nar Shadaa, Tatooine, and Yavin ones.
  • I am debating a series of posts regarding exploration in SWTOR, with a focus on possible places to have hooks to new content.

 

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