Once again, I won't just be covering the newly-returned Companions; there's a new Alliance Alert for Arcann to look over and my Juggernaut recently completed the story up to and including the Iokath story, so there are the Companions she's re-encountered along the way as well.
In fact, let's start with the Juggernaut.
Because Ferok'ia was the first character of to skip Fallen Empire and jump to Eternal Throne, I was not aware of just how screwy this decision was, something which was expanded upon all the more once my Sorc Vahnora did a similar thing a couple of months later.
In Ferok'ia's case the screwiness was noticeable immediately as Vette's Influence Level of 41 did not carry over to her Alliance self (it's entirely possible the same would happen to Agents, Hunters, Knights, and Troopers with their 'Main Character' Class Companions as well), but the original Vette and Jaesa Willsaam decided that they didn't like the idea of being shoved into a cupboard and forgotten about; instead, both Companions are still fully-summonable even though nobody else was.
Oh, and HK-55 still ended up irretrievably dead even after his Alliance Alert was completed afresh.
I swear next time this series is continued it won't start with a "don't skip Fallen Empire no matter how much you might want to!" anecdote.
Anyway, even though Vette was automatically prevented from having her reunion scene with Ferok'ia, there were two Companions from the Fallen Empire-era which could due to the Alliance Alerts; Major Pierce and Broonmark. Warriors thankfully have the option of skipping the Warzone grind to get Pierce, so this was incredibly straightforward, if incredibly unsatisfactory because pre-5.7 Alliance Alert, yay. Broonmark's reunion scene, on the other hand, was a lot more deadly.
Having replayed the Sith Warrior storyline throughout last year, I was reminded about just how much I despised Broonmark as a character. Sure, his brutal and animalistic tendencies absolutely suit a Dark Side Warrior, but for a Light Side and as-close-to-'honourable'-as-you-can-get Sith Warrior, he's just a menace. So it was that when the two reunited, I took great pleasure in ending the blighter's life.
For the fifth time.
Then, finally, the interesting reunion scene presented itself.
Malavai Quinn was one of the most anticipated returning Companions ever since the Devs hinted that it would be possible to kill certain characters shortly before 4.0 launched, an option which could be witnessed for the first time with Xalek. Many a Warrior suddenly found themselves salivating at the prospect of finally being able to end Quinn and repay certain actions all those years ago.
I originally counted myself among those people when my current Warrior was Ferok'ia's predecessor, Cynare. However, Ferok'ia's playthrough, which came approximately two years after that of Cynare's, reminded me that Quinn is a Companion who I actually really like. I had been planning on romancing him again in this new playthrough anyway just to push the limit and get that extra 'spin' on the reunion, and it definitely helped reinforce this view.
So rather than satisfy some people with an image of Quinn being stabbed I'll end this section with this image:
At long last I can begin talking about the new missions with 5.8. In terms of reunions, Inquisitors got their fourth Companion, Ashara Zavros, back this Patch while Agents received their fifth and final Companion, Vector Hyllus.
I've noted this before, and I'm sure nearly everyone has as well, but Ashara is the second Inquisitor Companion to return in as many big Patches. I am pleased for the Inquisitor mains but for everyone else bar the Smuggler, who also received Companions last Patch, it does feel a bit like overkill. While this will be rectified in 5.9 Consulars have only received one Companion back in the time it's taken for all these other Companions to have been returned and Knights still have no official idea whether or not they're actually going to be seeing a returning Companion in the 5.0 cycle.
All gripes aside, Ashara's mission, Padawan No More, is a decent one. Ashara has gone from being a meek apprentice to a fully-fledged one-woman relief effort, travelling around the galaxy and providing aid wherever she sees fit, an act which she finds significantly easier now being free of both the Jedi and the Sith.
While it does definitely sting to see her having advanced beyond the Inquisitor's guidance without their direct input to the end, it can also be seen to be a logical jump as six years is a long time for someone to try and find their place. Indeed, Ashara's settled so well into having outgrown the Inquisitor that I was actually sorely tempted to let her remain in her new position and not re-recruit her. Both the amicable parting and the rejoining as equals conclusions are very good options for this quest, although there is also the option to attempt to force her to submit which she will resist and duly walk out on you because of.
Again, another logical choice for the mission and Ashara's character evolution, but easily the most unsatisfactory option in my opinion.
The Agent is the first Class to have reunited with all five Companions and have the 'Canon' option to get them back as Companions, to be followed next Patch by the Smuggler and Hunter. Counting Tanno's new way of life and his potential death as of Chapter VI: Asylum as his reunion scene this means that all four Tech Classes will have reunited with all of their Class Companions by 5.9. But hey, at least the Consulars will have another Companion by then to balance it out I guess?
Amusingly enough, despite the fact that I main Smuggler and Agent, I'll have to wait until the Knight, Inquisitor, and Consular get their remaining Companions back until I have a Class which will have got all five Companions back. Agents lose SCORPIO no matter what, but I've also kicked out Kaliyo and Corso, meaning that the most I can get back on Pip is 3 and the most I can get back on Cal is 4. As you've already read above my Warrior has already killed Broonmark and, should I ever get her up to Fallen Empire, Skadge won't be coming out the other side for my Powertech.
It's amazing how much I can find to say about something without talking about the moment in question; allow me to rectify that.
Vector's mission - literally called Vector's Vector - leaves something of a sour taste in the mouth. He reveals that due to the Empire's recruiting of the Killiks for the war effort against Zakuul large numbers of Killiks were slaughtered as cannon fodder; because of this, the Killiks have rescinded their agreement with the Empire and are now seeking an allegiance with the Alliance.
That's pretty much the mission in a nutshell since sadly Vector himself doesn't really stand out as a personality during this mission unless you resume the romance. Due to the nature of the Joining, the opinions and feelings he expresses aren't necessarily his own but more those of the hive mind, which also makes him feel rather detached despite severing ties with his former home and employers. However, I can't complain too much about this since at least the Killiks survive in a great enough number that he still has a 'true' home.
|This angle is not good for Screenshots, BioWare! Also Pip has a severe case of hover-hand.|
Finally, and the one which is most relevant to anyone who spared a certain character regardless of Class, is the new Alliance Alert for Arcann.
This mission should be available to everyone who spared him once they've completed Eternal Throne, but something is preventing my Sorcerer from even seeing this mission. I'm guessing this is related to the fact that she's in 'romance-limbo' because skipping Fallen Empire after locking in a romance (I forget who with) meant that this romance was both nonexistent and persistent, meaning that it can never be ended via Things Left Unsaid thus preventing Arcann's mission from potentially providing another? Not that a romance with Arcann is on the cards for her anyway, as she now has Andronikos back and I'm keeping romances unique to specific characters.
Unmasked Regret is a nice mission to experience even for people who don't desire a romance with him. Arcann pretty much does the whole "I couldn't have imagined my life leading to this" spiel, provides a rather ugly gift (it's the thought that counts, right?), and mentions how he has grown to feel more than hatred for people.
As you can imagine, it's at that moment when the first hints of romance begin to blossom.
This mission is nice for multiple reasons. Firstly, regardless of whether or not you pursue the romance, it's wonderful to actually have more of a chat with Arcann regarding his feelings of being a part of the Alliance. Secondly, despite the fact that it was - and still is - a reasonably unpopular idea in some circles, it is really nice to have Arcann as a romance option. More than anything, it's nice to be able to see our characters interact with and express sympathy towards Arcann outside of a critical mission; beforehand, every interaction with Arcann was always a 'side-event' of a much larger thing so it's excellent to finally see him get a moment all to himself.
Also there's this very screenshot-worthy moment of your character giving Arcann the puppy-dog eyes. Whimsical!
This little scene is very welcome in my opinion. The music in this moment is absolutely glorious, the writing is excellent, and of course we finally have a male Force-User romance option in SWtOR. At. Long. Last.
All in all, I'm satisfied with the majority of these specific reunion scenes, even though of the ones I've touched on only two are new and thus relevant to the most recent Patch. Ferok'ia's reunion scenes are definitely more of an indulgence in comparison, although it was still nice to finally get to see an expanded Companion scene on Iokath.
Of the 5.8 reunions, Ashara's reunion scene and character evolution were really nicely done, and while Vector could have been given a better hand in his reunion scene it was still excellent to catch up with him. Additionally, both Ashara and Vector have clearly been seeing better stylists than Risha, Corso, and Andronikos over the past six years, to the extent that I'm actually keeping Vector in his new outfit permanently.
Despite not being a reunion, Arcann's mission was very nice despite the fact that he gives you an absolutely awful chestpiece - a simplified and mustardy version of the Zakuul Knight breastplate - as a gift. Sure, in-universe it's a nice idea especially as it provides some more in-game insight into events of Arcann's childhood, but I sincerely doubt I'll be seeing anyone using this Chestpiece in-game.
Although the Arcann Alert did provide a screenshot-worthy face none of the new Companion missions thus far have given us a face which is quite as glorious as Smug Quinn, so it's time for Quinn to round this post off in style.