4.2 launched just yesterday, bringing with it a myriad of decent changes and annoying bugs. Continuing this apparent monthly trend of mine from last time, here are my thoughts on what was included.
Chapter XI: Disavowed
Chapter X: Anarchy in Paradise had set the expectations-bar for this just a little on the low side; the gameplay was repetitive and the fights tedious, but to counter those points there was actually a moment where past choices mattered for Dark-Siders.
Disavowed, on the other hand, is almost an exact reversal. Whilst there were no instances where past choices seem to have been brought into effect and there were no memorable fights, the gameplay was at least a little more varied this time around.
Everything past getting to the story areas themselves is phased, so there isn't any waiting in a queue of players for your chance to spawn some Skytroopers before doing this seven times further. Additionally, there's even a little puzzle included towards the end, although it is sadly a simple "follow the coloured lines" puzzle and nothing more extensive.
The story itself is also very enjoyable, particularly if you're interested in the game's military operations. Unlike Anarchy in Paradise which was written by Agent-veteran Alexander Freed, Disavowed was written by somebody who has rarely, if ever, tackled the Trooper: Randy Begel, who was the writer for the Bounty Hunter story. His take on Havoc and particularly Aric Jorgan being very much outsiders since their glory days was very interesting.
Outside of this interesting perspective, however, I do wish that there was more to be said regarding the new Havoc Squad, consisting of Kanner, Dengril, Abbeth, Xaban, and Torg. As far as I know, we can only ever infer which one is Jorgan's second-in-command and nothing more, because for the most part they're just in the background with only a couple of lines here-and-there. We don't know who the medic is, the explosives expert, and so on and so forth. This non-focus is rather bizarre, considering that we're not recruiting Havoc because of its commander; we're recruiting Havoc because, well... it's Havoc Squad!
This lack of depth is particularly annoying when you consider that there is potentially a perfect lull in the story in which to slot the player-character going around and talking to each member of the Squad (much like the Agent can do with the Watchers and Fixers on Dromund Kaas), yet this lull is just glossed over in one long continuous cutscene.
Even if Troopers do get some exposition into who their successors are and what exact roles they fulfil - I haven't yet found any evidence to support this - no other character has the prerogative to be emotionally invested in what becomes of Havoc outside of Jorgan, and that is a real shame.
There are other characters to mention, of course, but there is far more to spoil regarding them than there is Havoc so I'll keep my mouth shut here.
Additionally, there are moments in this chapter where I honestly had a bit of a 'fan moment', in particular that scene where Battle of the Heroes is used as soundtrack. Always been a huge fan of when they manage to implement John Williams' phenomenal score into the game.
Okay, I acknowledge that that was a mean dig.
The Eternal Championship was, after an initial delay from 4.1, due to have been delivered in this patch alongside Chapter XI. Last week, however, BioWare revealed that their internal playtesting had highlighted the issue that the championship wasn't up to the standards which they thought we as players deserve, and thus they have delayed it until further notice.
I'm absolutely fine with it being delayed if it means that it is being 'perfected', but it does hurt considerably knowing that we won't even so much as hear information for another month at least. Additionally, it is in a way disappointing that they reserved the arena solely for their internal playtesting instead of putting what they had on the PTS which recently of course has seen action with regards to the new PvP maps.
Due to such short notice of the Championship being delayed, they were also not able to implement an Alliance Alert to replace Bowdaar as they had for Blizz in 4.1. Ah, well...
Update: The Developer Stream on the 9th of March revealed that the Championship will be being put on the PTS in late March, whilst its new full-release date will be revealed in the next Developer Stream on the 7th of April.
Bring me the head of HK-55
I didn't mention the HK reward from last month, the jetpack, because there doesn't seem to be all that much to say or even think about it. It's a jetpack, it does as it says, and it's... okay.
The most recent reward, however, is far too ridiculous to avoid talking about.
The HK-55 Helmet is by far one of the most bizarre items I think they've ever given us as a 'thank-you' for staying subscribed, and that's saying a lot. The concept of wearing your loyal ally's head is honestly a very creepy concept, and its looks don't make up for anything either, particularly the goofy chin opening.
I was honestly quite surprised to discover that it dyes. I was expecting it to be one of those items like the Dread Guard's Corrupted Mask or the Crest of the Dread Master whereby it would stay its original colours even when unified to the chestpiece. If there were any 'good' points about it, this would be on the list.
As mentioned above, 4.2 launched with some really annoying bugs.
Firstly, Nico Okarr has decided to take an unannounced vacation from our crafting list and can no longer be summoned.
Secondly, and more prevalently, Aric Jorgan decides to - for lack of a better phrase - go commando and then seemingly get access to beaming technology from Star Trek when you first meet him, resulting in a quest which cannot be advanced. Resetting the quest fixes both of these issues, and thankfully his head stays the correct way around after his initial beaming.
There are other bugs which I have seen reported, notably an objective counter bugging out, although I personally did not encounter them at all during my playthrough of Chapter XI. This does not diminish the issue of them having arisen for other players, however.
Bugs are to be expected, but it is always concerning when they stick through in such a manner that content becomes unplayable. Thankfully the issue with Aric is not as big as the infamous Revan debacle from 2014 as it can be fixed fairly quickly. Nico's vacation can only be cut short by 'divine intervention', as it were.
Only one thing sticks out here; Inquisitors can now choose between Legacy versions of both the single-bladed and double-bladed variants of Kallig's Lightsaber via their questline. It's a glorious saber and probably my absolute favourite legacy model now, although I can't help but feel that it does diminish the saber's very personal legacy. Minor complaint on my part, however.
4.2 is... interesting. Once you can get past the multitudinous bugs the story of the new chapter, in my view, makes for one of the best chapters of the new story, although it is still really rather short.
The absence of the Eternal Championship and replacement Companion really do make this patch feel really empty. Thankfully 4.3 next month is set to more than make up for this with its QoL changes and, more importantly, the new PvP maps. Let's just hope that this one isn't plagued by delays.