Ever since the Return trailer, people have been asking after Nico Okarr. Much like Shae Vizla, there was never any sign of him and there were no answers as to where he had disappeared off to.
We're finally getting those answers with Fallen Empire, which many are happy about. What people are not too happy about, however, are changes to particular elements of his equipment. We as players will be receiving copies of his coat and blasters, but they are noticeably different from his trailer counterparts which has caused a bit of an uproar.
I have decided to take it upon myself to look over the gear in detail and analyse whether these complaints are justified and whether there are any "suitable replacements" for people disgruntled with the actual items. I will also be offering my own views on the matter which I shall get out of the way first.
As always, any images within just click to view larger.
Although I am a perfectionist by nature and understand why people are miffed about these looking as different as they do, I can understand that, as by the time we meet him it shall be forty-six years after his actions in the Return trailer, he will have needed to change equipment for various reasons. However, this argument may not hold all too much weight as I'll explain later.
The blasters which Nico uses in the Return trailer can of course already be found in-game; its model is shared by pistols such as the Black Nebula and the Campaign Mercenary and Scoundrel Pistols. Because the vast majority of pistols using this design have been retired, this "breed" of pistol is on the "brink of extinction". The Campaign Pistols - including the only "standard" acquirable Mainhand still in existence - have, however, managed to survive two Expansions and it is logical to assume that they shall survive a third. I believe that the crafted Two-Finger's Revenge is the only known opportunity for Republic Players to acquire a "standard" off-hand variation of this pistol.
These are the pistols which we shall be receiving with Nico. They are of course noticeably different from the trailer counterparts yet are at the very least completely unique rather than a re-used model. It remains to be known how they sound, but for what they are they are more than decent.
I've made this point in a previous post, but we won't only be seeing them as pistols. As this image shows, Koth Vortena seems to wield one as a Carbine. This could simply be the cutscene making him wield the pistol thus and it might not actually be a rifle at all, Regardless, they're certainly going to be seeing a bit more use than just being Nico's weapons which I'm more than alright with.
So as far as I'm concerned, the pistols are a welcome upgrade. They are unique and, based on the screenshots of characters wielding them from SWtOR's Twitter Account, thankfully don't seem to be overly-large. Sizeable, to be sure, but compared to what they could have been the size is decent enough.
Okay, so whilst the pistols are passable, the Duster Coat is far more questionable in this regard.
Whilst HK-51 shifts the player character to the background, this is the first and so far only screenshot of the actual in-game Duster Coat. As many have pointed out already, this is essentially the (actually quite appropriately-named) Troublemaker's Duster coat recoloured with a Primary Pale Brown Dye, as Vector attempts to model.
Back in the days before the Outfit Designer, I would have loved to receive a Legacy-Bound coat of this sort, but that isn't relevant here so moving on.
Whilst finding a decent shot from the trailer of the "other" coat is difficult due to the lighting, I did manage to come across this image from Blur Studios which shows Nico and that coat in all their glory.
As you can see, the two are radically different; one is the Smuggler fur-lined coat without as annoying a fur collar, which only has one faction-neutral equivalent, and the other is the typical "Agent"-style overcoat which has no fewer than five variants on the Cartel Market.
You can tell that his trailer self has the "Smuggler" coat because it not only shares the same-style gloves - albeit fingerless - and boots as sets such as the RD-06B Eliminator, but it also shares the same shoulder-drape. It is possible that it also has the fur collar but it could just be extremely flattened as opposed to puffy.
Indeed, a flatter version of the fur collar would have been a very nice thing to see since the only in-game model of this coat which lacks the collar but retains the shoulder-drape is not only hideous but noticeably incomplete when put next to the trailer coat which definitely has a collar of some sort.
Coats with a full fur colour certainly do look the part more but when compared to the trailer coat they are not only too puffy but they also have additional peripherals, such as a pair of goggles and back-pouches, which are not found on the original. The best of both worlds - thus necessitating at least a re-tooling - would be the above coat re-skinned with a far thinner collar based on the coat below; the collar itself would also need dyeing to be much more similar.
Additionally, not a single one of these coats exists which has Nico's waistcoat, so that would also need to be accounted for.
Without any re-tooling involved - don't get me wrong, I would have loved to receive the "proper" coat - as a basic re-skin and re-colouring I do prefer the coat they've given us but then that's because I have a great disliking of the puffy-collared coats simply because of the collar. The Troublemaker Duster isn't without its flaws, however, such as the bulky shoulders, so at least both of these coats have very similar issues which ideally I would love to see looked at in future for a Reputation set or something of that ilk.
The Remainder of his Equipment
I'm very interested in seeing what the rest of his gear looks like since it could either justify the change of coat or render it essentially pointless. We know that he is keeping his hat, since it makes a celebrated appearance in the Story Blog Vacation. Additionally, since Vaylin was shown to have hair under her hood during the Fallen Empire Chapter 3 Stream, it is entirely possible that for Nico they'll create a special hat which lacks the "balaclava" and shows his hair. I do hope so.
As for the rest of his gear, if he retains the same design of boots, gloves, and trousers as his trailer counterpart then the defensive argument of "forty-six years" necessitating a different coat goes completely out of the window and the unfamiliar coat will stand out even more and the complaints made against it will be more or less justified. If, however, these are all different as well then that argument once more jumps to the fore.
The only full-body image of Nico attached to the Fallen Empire press release could answer these questions.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1920"] We are ignoring the fact that he is actually firing into the Republic lines.[/caption]
Whilst his trousers and boots are semi-obscured by his makeshift barricade and the rubble at his feet, the gloves are clearly the "puffy" variants similar to the ones in the trailer. The outline of the boots also seems to match that of the in-game equivalent of his trailer boots.
Until we see an actual screenshot of Nico's actual in-game model, I am assuming that his coat is the only piece to have completely changed whilst everything else is allocated its closest in-game counterpart.
For what we're getting, Nico's equipment and weapons are not bad in any way, but when compared to what they could have been and even when accounting for actual in-game limitations, the actual result is definitely lacking. Personally I don't mind the change if they can find a way to justify it, but unfortunately it seems likely that the coat in particular shall stand out a mile against the rest of his more-trailer-like equipment; any justification would thus be much harder to locate.
It doesn't help that the items which come closest to emulating this coat are not only Republic-only but also so noticeably different to the coat from the trailer both in design and colour, which is of course thanks to the overly-puffy fur collar. This doubtless exacerbates the frustration since receiving the Smuggler-style coat with a thinner collar would be a welcome addition to gear acquirable by Imperial Players, who can only receive the green-and-white coat pictured above, but with the full fur collar, from the Cartel Bazaar for 40,000 Credits and it doesn't dye well at all. Additionally, Friend Rank with the Contraband Resale Corporation is required to even purchase this.
On a positive note, I'm of course looking very much to finally meeting Nico in-game and seeing what he brings to the table. Much like HK-51 and Treek, he is a "Non-Story Essential" Companion and shouldn't comply to the more traditional "archetypes" present in the other Companions. As such, it will be interesting to see what animations and abilities they give to him and whether he can come close to ousting HK as "Best Ranged DPS Companion". Regardless, he should be a fun guy to have around!