SWTOR – just give me… more.
So! I’ve done it. I’ve finished both the personal storyline and the addenda Forged Alliances and Shadow of Revan and afterwards moved on to Knights of the Fallen Empire with my Jedi Knight. Next week, Knights of the Eternal Throne starts and I’m really looking forward to it – but first, I thought I’d give you a little recap of my SWTOR experience so far.
HEAVY SPOILER ALERT.
A short summary.
Jiune, my Jedi Knight, is very lightside, even though she does not agree with a lot of Jedi philosophy. She redeemed all of her fallen fellow Jedi, took Praven in, does not really like Supreme Chancellor Saresh (but is still loyal to the Republic) and was promoted to Jedi Master at the end of the personal storyline. She started to romance Theron Shan in Forged Alliances. She was very happy to work with the Sith in Shadow of Revan and still believes in peace between the Empire and the Republic. In Knights of the Eternal Throne, she did her best to save the Zakuulan people, was very wary of SCORPIO from the beginning, killed Skadge, enjoyed working with the Mandalorians, never gave in once to Valkorion’s temptations and really feels sorry for Arcann and Vaylin (“Imagine being a child under such an influence”) and thus let Senya leave with Arcann without regrets at the end. She really does believe that Senya can help redeem him. She’s a cinnamon bun, truly.
All in all: I love it. Most of it. I still have the on-and-off immersion problem that I always have with MMOs but I love my character, I love the storyline, the implications, the cross-overs and the companions – but aye, there’s also the rub.
Personally, I am a very character-oriented player – which is why I play role-playing games after all. But while the story is superimportant (most of my disappointment about Dragon Age Inquisition comes from the storyline), even more important is character interaction for me. Dialogues, character development both in my OC (original character) and in the NPCs (non-player characters, i.e. the companions). The characters are the ones that drive the story and it’s through them that I experience the story. And sadly, that’s the part where SWTOR lacks the most.
It started in the personal storyline already: the further you go in the story the less character interaction you have with your companions. There are so massively interesting conversations with so much implications and ideas – and none of them are followed through. Just as an example: T7, my loyal and awesome little droid kept telling me about his former master and that something shady happened. I kept waiting for an opportunity to go off with him to investigate – but all there was were some conversations where he told me how immensely important and fascinating and all it was. Same with Kira, our first-padawan-then-Jedi-Knight-friend: we get a glimpse in what happened to her before she came to train with the Jedi and it’s HUGE and not all of it good – but a glimpse is all we get. And do I even have to mention what Lord Scourge tells us and which we never get to follow up?!
I did not play a romance in the personal storyline (because Doc, the only romance option available for a female Jedi Knight is reeeeeeally not an option) so I can’t say anything about the depth of the relationship there but I started a romance in the addenda with Theron Shan. And while I have a huge headcanon that still keeps building, the game itself does not give you much. And I’m not talking about visual sex scenes like we (can) have in the Dragon Age games but actual conversations apart from some few flirt lines and three or four kisses.
And this carries over to the other companions. While the first nine chapters of Knights of the Fallen Empire include a lot of character introduction which led me to this tweet:
— Gaming Nerd Girls (@gamingnerdgirls) October 23, 2016
Everything that came afterwards lacked in that compartment. We don’t get to talk with Koth or Senya about what Valkorion did to “our” part of the galaxy, including Ziost, we don’t get to talk with Theron about the meeting with his mother (whom he searched for for years and without any luck) or with Lana about the meeting with Darth Marr. There are several letters one gets from companions with very heartfelt and wonderful messages – but we can never talk about them. Example: after “disappearing” in Chapter XII, the OC gets a letter from the romanced Theron about how absolutely terrified he was not knowing where the OC was, thinking about how he could lose them again. (A romanced Lana sends something similar and I presume that the same is true for all romanced characters.) But when coming back, the cutscene is no different if no romance is active. There is not even a single line hinting at their worries and no cutscene afterwards.
While I don’t expect such scenes to happen in the last two chapters which are basically only hours apart, there would have been many opportunities to include such scenes to make the characters even more tangible and loveable.
I talked to Anna about it and she mused that Bioware kind of overreached themselves when they planned for a monthly release schedule and just didn’t manage to put such scenes in. I guess she’s right – but I still hope that they will make up for it in Knights of the Eternal Throne.
What are your thoughts about KOTFE and companion conversations and interactions? And what did your character do within the story?