So, yeah. 4.6 and Chapter XV have come in the same month as 4.5 and Chapter XIV. No exact reason has yet been given, but the commonly accepted reasoning is that it's because they were trying to get as much out as possible before Celebration in July (which, incidentally, will also be the first ever time I have met people from any of my guilds if all goes to plan) before any potential Season 2 reveal.
The same would apply if Chapter XV was to be released next week if Chapter XVI is still not to be released until after the Celebration Cantina, of course, so maybe this theory doesn't hold as much water as people like to postulate.
Chapter XV: The GEMINI Deception
We're nearing the end of season 1, so as you might expect from the penultimate episode, Chapter XV cranks things up a notch. Following on logically from Chapter XIV's ending point, we take the fight to Arcann, and it's a glorious sight to see the Gravestone take to the skies once more.
What's not so glorious is the fact that the third act was basically spoiled by the official synopsis. Outlining the fact that we're taking the fight to Arcann? Fine; we knew that was going to happen at this point anyway. It's not fine to say "yeah, the Outlander will have to deal with this as well" casually as if nobody would notice it. There are tell-tale signs that said event was going to happen, but still; telling people to expect something is the biggest way to lessen the dramatic impact for those who preferred not to speculate.
The various individuals you come across in this Chapter are all in their own way very fascinating; the GEMINI Captain is absolutely brilliant, and there are three particular other parties whose involvement makes for a rather interesting choice at the end (although when all is said and done, there really is only one sensible course of action here).
The mechanics of the Chapter are also very good. You can have a pet Skytrooper as part of the (seemingly incompleteable) Bonus Mission, and preceding the main bulk of story you can have five of the six remaining Main Characters from Chapters III - IX (the only ones missing from the original seven are T7 and, of course, HK) following you. Much like Vette and Gault in Chapter XIII, they can all be talked to and shout their combat lines in the one area where you fight alongside them. This is absolutely brilliant!
The final fight of this Chapter is very nicely done; it uses a mechanic from the Shroud and Nar Shaddaa Bounty Crime Lord fights, whereby multiple copies of said boss appear and hitting the correct one causes the 'real' one to persist. I'd even be willing to say that this is the best boss fight in the newer Chapters thus far.
This Chapter does also have a very annoying final final boss; the much-revered and oft-blamed bridge boss has trudged its way across space and settled in an area where you wouldn't really be prioritising checking your feet. I died once to it myself. The appearance of the bridge boss at this stage indicates that it will, ultimately, become the next major villain of KotFE, especially as it was also recently the bane of Han Solo in The Force Awakens.
This is also the first Chapter which I have completed on the first run on another character besides the Sniper since she was ousted as KotFE Main by the Sage, so that's fun.
The Slippery So-and-So
Guss Tuno was supposed to have been the Alliance Alert for this patch, but he decided not to show up. We were, at least, notified of this on the 27th of June, but still...
This is the fourth time something has gone wrong with Alliance Alerts. First Bowdaar was delayed, then Ak'ghal and Guss's missions erroneously showed up with Blizz, then Bowdaar was delayed again, and now Guss has been delayed. This system would be actually worth talking about if it didn't go wrong at virtually every other opportunity!
Achievements for attaining Level 65 with all classes, as well as 550 in all Crew Skills, have been added, but they will not be retroactive until 4.7. All the more reason to begin work on working on these various requirements to help with the Dark vs. Light Event!
I'll shut up now.
Speaking of the Dark vs. Light Event, all of its requirements have their own Achievement points section. As if veteran completionists needed any more reason to call this a "slap in the face". It's not as if they ever were going to code in an entirely separate interface for this, so how else would they allow people to track what they needed to do?
The Dark vs. Light Event
I've touched on this before, of course, but I have now started my first character - Smuggler #7 and Gunslinger #3 - in this Event. I will, of course, follow this up with another Sniper to complete Eternal tier, but beyond this I don't know how far I'm going to get. I'll go over what I've done for Fexiros, who is also the first ever Male Gunslinger of mine, in more detail next week. He's already Level 50, and I've yet to talk about fast levelling since 4.0, so why not use this as a catalyst?
Thankfully the Guild I'm with is very friendly, and has quite a few people doing bits and bobs, so finding groups for Flashpoints is not going to be as tedious as I had first feared, although this fear did mainly pertain to Hard Mode Flashpoints which are still some ways off.
Based on this so far, and because we can get so much XP nowadays (even more with the 50% XP Armour Set), it honestly shouldn't be at all that difficult to do everything now that this Guild-plan has been put into effect. It's still an awful lot to do for one person, of course, so casual players are definitely going to suffer considerably compared to players in my situation.
Presumably because of this Event, they've reinstated the missing Social and Light/Dark Tier titles. Curiously, titles for Social Tiers Seven and Eight - Extrovert and Charismatic - are still missing.
- Vicious - Dark Tier One
- Sinister - Dark Tier Two
- Loathsome - Dark Tier Four
- Respectable - Light Tier One
- Upstanding - Light Tier Two
- Benevolent - Light Tier Four
- Friendly - Social Tier One
- Outgoing - Social Tier Two
- Coordinator - Social Tier Three
- Guide - Social Tier Five
- Chatterbox - Social Tier Six
- Leader - Social Tier Nine
There is one last thing I'd like to touch on; the Event Packs. The loot table for these can be very annoying, as you don't get full Armour sets - only Upper, Supplementary, and Lower - and not every item within is desirable to a lot of people. For example, the Ceremonial Armour is not exactly a light/dark themed set, and yet it's one of the more frequent drops; so much so, that one poor guildie received four Lower Armour boxes from the very first tier reward - remember this tier drops five crates in total.
I can't really talk about the best bits of loot I've received so far without receiving jealous glares from the community, but there are always worse things to be judged for, so; the best bits of loot I've received so far from my free crates have been a Black/White Hawkeye Crystal (which annoyingly will not unlock in Collections due to a bug) and a Cathar Honor Sword.
Yay for free high-quality things, I guess?
Lemme Just Check the Trunk
At long last we can finally summon remote Cargo and Legacy Cargo banks. This has been something which a lot of people, myself included, have been asking for for quite some time now - even if Strongholds make this request somewhat redundant - so it's very nice to see it come along at last. At least now people won't need to go back to Strongholds or Ships to check their banks for their gear or what-have-you, but of course this still won't help anyone who has left it on another character.
If they can afford the incredibly high price. The Cargo and Legacy Cargo Holds are 4.25 and 8.25 million Credits respectively per character for all tiers.
There's also another character perk which reduces cast time of Companion Gifts by 20% per tier, meaning that with a 60% total reduction the cast time has gone down from 3 seconds to 1.2 seconds. They made the animation faster in 4.5, and it's nice to get the cast speed bonus now as well. All three tiers for this cost 1.2 million per character in total, so still not cheap.
Whenever you step in an area which causes environmental damage, the game now projects an 'aura' of appropriately-coloured smoke around the edge of your screen to indicate that you are in a bad place. This is first most noticeable in Chapter XV, but has been added to all other instances of toxins, fires, and so on and so forth. I don't know quite what to make of it; it's easier for newer players to spot, of course, and the effects can be very pretty, but at the end of the day it's a change which could ultimately be seen as unnecessary and another (albeit very minor) thing for veterans to get used to.
In conclusion, 4.6 is a mix-and-match of good things and not-so-good things. Obviously the Event is the most contentious part of it for several people, but it can't be denied that yet another Alliance Alert going wrong is very worrying. The new Character Perks are very nice but too expensive.
On the positive end of the scale, the new Chapter is definitely one of the most interesting yet released, both because of the GEMINI Captain and her interactions with the Outlander and SCORPIO, and because of one other very important factor...