14/12/2018

2018 Companion Reunions: Volume 4 [Jedi Under Siege and Nathema Conspiracy Spoilers]

These pictures being in ascending-height order is completely unintentional.
Well, 5.10 has come at last and with it the final four reunion moments in 2018. With this patch we had the first companions since Raina Temple whose appearance requires completion of more than just Yuun's Alliance Alert, certain chapters of Fallen EmpireEternal Throne in its entirety, or the Iokath storyline.

All Republic players get to interact with Archiban "Doc" Kimble and Nadia Grell on Ossus, but only their respective former allies get to reclaim them as companions in a subsequent Alliance Alert. The Imperials aren't afforded such luxuries for Jaesa Willsaam and Khem Val, but that's due to some very specific "what-if" moments that would always have been exceptionally problematic to deal with for these companions should they have been made available to all.

In this post I will not be referring to any particular outcomes from either perspective of the 5.10 story. However, I will be making passing reference to what the Imperial characters are doing when they come across their respective companions. There are, however, far more overt spoilers for The  Nathema Conspiracy since there's a certain outcome which needs to be touched upon. 

~~~

That winning smile!
Doc is the first Knight companion since Fideltin Rusk to have a return scene scripted, closing a gap of over two years and three months between the two Knight companions. Consular companion Felix Iresso still has that record beaten by three months, however.

While I initially thought it was weird that Doc would come before infinitely-more-popular Kira and Scourge, this was before we learned that he'd feature on Ossus as a fairly integral part of the Republic story in his position as medic of the enclave. He absolutely shines in this role, and I'm not just saying that because I owe him my eternal gratitude for one of his accomplishments in the Republic version of the story. He gets on a lot of people's nerves but because of his effectiveness nobody wants to be shot of him.

Essentially, this is what a lot of people playing Knight would have been likely to feel about Doc from the class story back when companions were role-locked and Treek wasn't available; he may be aggravating and pushy at times, but as he was the only functional Healer on the team you wouldn't exactly want to be rid of him. Now that everyone can heal all most people have to go off now is his personality alone which is going to create something of a very different perspective of him nowadays.

Doc's true love?
We finally get some hints as to what Scourge is up to, since in his Alert Doc mentions that Scourge has been obsessing over "something to do with the Emperor". Presumably this is something to do with his original body, since Charles Boyd has been saying for quite some time that he'd like to touch on that at some point and Scourge would be an easy vessel through which to do it.

This Alert was the first of the four I did, and it also revealed a very... interesting... side-effect. Each of these missions starts in the open world of Odessen. While Jaesa and Khem take us to other parts of Odessen, Doc and Nadia stay in the cantina and on the landing-pad respectively.

Which means that there's a very high chance that you'll see somebody else partaking in your cutscene.

Miorahna senses a disturbance in the Force. Either that or the Jedi behind her isn't wearing any deodorant.

Some people just don't know the meaning of personal space...

~

She's just a bit too happy about that cannon being in the background.
Nadia Grell was always the companion I was most cautious about reuniting with. Long-term readers may recall that whenever I've discussed Nadia I would always say that I found it disappointing that she was one of the most naive companions in the game, alongside Ashara Zavros. It became my hope that in reuniting her with the player several years later, BioWare would have developed her character further and improved upon that unfortunate quality.

I am happy to say that I consider Nadia as of 5.10 to be a massive improvement. It helps enormously, of course, that she's somewhat in her element on Ossus. She knows a lot of people there and can work off them with remarkable effectiveness at times. She particularly shines as the straight-woman to Doc's standard egotistical routine and I love the interactions they share with one another, as limited as they may be.

Disappointingly it doesn't seem possible to learn how Nadia discovered the colony. You can ask Doc how he got there, not being a Jedi and all, but everyone - including the Consular, unless I made the wrong choices - just seems to assume that Nadia's there because she's a Jedi. No mentions of Zenith or Tharan or how and when they got separated, just nothing.

If I indeed missed something, please let me know!

Interestingly, Nadia is the first companion since Vette to have an updated base-model. While most companions retained the same looks as they did prior to 4.0, there were those who received a touch-up. Xalek lost his hood and gained a brighter skin colour, Qyzen's yellow horns turned green, Blizz gained a new robe, Vette's shock-collar disappeared, and now Nadia's hairstyle has changed. I've never been a fan of the original, and it just so happens that her new style is one of my new favourites so big thumbs-up from me for this change.

While there is a 'classic' customisation for her, its acquisition is rather baffling. It can be purchased as a Reputation item across both factions, despite only the Consular having access to her, and it's given for free as part of her Alert. I'm guessing its being on the vendor is to account for people who lose or delete the free one so they can always have access to it, but why not make it faction-specific similar to the Gnost-Dural and Malora decorations?

Nadia is also the first base-game companion I've interacted with in this series who has a romance option that can be started afresh. I'm curious to know whether or not this applies to both sexes, since while it was confirmed on the 5.10 Twitch-stream that she would be a same-sex-romance option I feel it would also be prudent to open up a fresh chance for romance for everyone at the same time. This would cater to veterans who missed out and had a change of heart as well as instant-60 Consulars (and now those instant-65s whose only possible romance option would be Arcann) who missed out altogether. This is something which I wish had been an option for the other class-romance options, but I'm glad that it's finally being explored.

Since my Sage never 'took on' a partner, she eventually became the only character of mine to either not have an old flame or to have hooked up with somebody new. It took me a few good minutes to decide whether or not to go forward with this, but eventually I decided that I liked Nadia enough now to be happy with Vhiallia being in a romance with her.

Unfortunately, this moment is where the open-world nature of this mission has its severe drawbacks in this particular mission.

WTB: 1x Infinity Gauntlet to snap those three out of existence.
~

When these reunions were originally announced, I was expecting to only write about the Knight and the Consular in this post. While Jaesa was announced to be coming back in the Roadmap at that time only dark-Jaesa was confirmed. A few weeks later on the 5.10 stream, Eric and Charles revealed that light-Jaesa was one of two companions they'd been able to work in at the last-minute.

Okay, where is this on Odessen and why can't we come here more often?
Light-Jaesa reconvenes with the Warrior just after they disable the colony's communications. She ambushes the player and Anri, believing them to be threats, only to stop when she realises who she's confronting. In this little snippet she reveals that she had been constantly on the run since the Warrior's disappearance, having fallen into a trap when pursuing leads about another light-minded Sith. This was before she heard of Gnost-Dural's colony; she barters asylum in return for information about the Sith. It's nice to have an Imperial class companion have some connection to Gnost-Dural and it does make sense for Jaesa to be in this position.

Who's That Padawan?
Despite the fact that my Juggernaut didn't convert Jaesa to the dark side, I actually can talk about dark-Jaesa's return since it was accessible on the PTS and, for some bizarre reason, now on Live as well. I haven't attempted doing it on Live since I'm a bit worried that might screw some things up somewhere along the line, but I did do it on the PTS (no screenshots of this from me though, sorry).

Rather than appear on Ossus and meeting back up with us later, dark-Jaesa has a separate Alliance Alert on Odessen since she attacks Alliance forces and even attempts to assassinate Lana.

She fails.

Similar to Andronikos Revel tearing apart the Eternal Fleet in his search for the Inquisitor, this act can earn Jaesa some punishment; depending on how this goes it is actually possible to duel and kill her outright. So... the Warrior takes this padawan, corrupts her to the dark side, and could end up killing her because she becomes too uncontrollable. I'd be very interested in knowing how many people take this option, because to me that just sounds so very wrong!

Light-Jaesa can be romanced for the first time with her return and, alongside her dark self, she is now a same-sex-romance character. My own Juggernaut is happily betrothed to Malavai Quinn and I don't want to break up a (mostly) happy relationship just because there's a new option to explore.

Well, unless you count Cal pursuing Koth, but then she was in a romance with Corso and of the two I know which one I prefer!

~

Literally the only time Khem looks at the camera without his subtitles over him.
The other last-minute companion of 5.10 is none other than our morose monster himself, Khem Val.

Khem is a very interesting case. Along with Jaesa, his character changes based on choices made during the base-storyline. Unlike Jaesa, however, the choices made then actually have more tangible consequences for Khem. Namely, if you chose to banish him into the Mind Trap and let Zash take over his body this means that Khem will never return to your side.

During The Nathema Conspiracy, Khem Val is one of the potential victims of ZILDROG's ritual and as such will actually die. This makes him the first character across both 4.0 and 5.0 to be potentially-deceased yet still be made recruitable in a future update. This isn't a case of an already-recruited character being written out and thus fading into the background for others as with Koth, Aric, and Kaliyo; this is a character outright dying for some people before a chance to recruit him ever came about.

Since the only Khem people get back in this update is Khem-Khem and not Zash-Khem, it is possible that Zash-Khem may yet return in a future update. We'll have to wait and see on that score, but if she does return then Khem will be the only companion to have two alerts. Incidentally, for those wondering, Zash will die during the events of Nathema instead of Khem should you make the only sensible decision and imprison her in the Mind Trap.

Anyway.

Hey, look, the yellow glow's harmful now!
The Inquisitor meets Khem when approaching the supply drop in the farms, feeding upon a Jedi knight. This is the first time we see this in action, with the after-effects being the aged look that nearly always occurs whenever a character is drained of their life-force in most media.

Dead + Jedi = Dedi?
In this little snippet Khem reveals that the Inquisitor's imprisonment by Valkorion essentially broke the bond of servitude established on Korriban, as this showed that they were weak. The Inquisitor can convince Khem of their strength either by boasting of Zash's death or their status as Commander, but they can also shock him with lightning. Either way, Khem's faith in their power is entirely restored.

As for why Khem is on Ossus: it's a Jedi colony world with many a Force-user to feed upon. As also revealed by Anri minutes prior to meeting him, the Sith forces coming to Ossus has given Khem another source of food beyond his original Jedi targets.

Thanks, Malora!

There's one... additional... element to Khem's return. If you so desire you can flirt with him, and he will accept your advances.

So.

Khem Val.

Who starts out wanting to actually eat the Inquisitor.

Is now a romance option.

I think this image sums up my thoughts on the matter best.

I'm not sorry.
~~~

All in all, I'm very happy with these companions' reunion scenes. While I did see the dark-Jaesa mission on the PTS I can't say I particularly enjoyed it, but then that's mainly because I really don't like that version of Jaesa and thus have no connection to her.

What really helps with these four specific Companions is that they can be interacted with on Ossus beforehand. While light-Jaesa and Khem only get very brief scenes (they do have cutscenes placed in instances which the other Imperial classes will access without them being there, after all) this is where Doc and Nadia really shine. It's great to have something of a connection with them even on characters who never knew them, and the varying dynamics of the scenes they're in allow them to showcase their characters in a much more satisfactory manner than the majority of the returned companions in 5.0 and even some in 4.0.

Additionally, with this update I now finally have a character who has seen all of their companions rejoin them without turning any away. Huzzah.

As I mentioned earlier I'm absolutely ecstatic that we finally have same-sex-romance options for vanilla companions. It's just a shame it came in seven years later than it really should have done and that presently only two companions have it. We'll likely see it being introduced for Kira in a later update given her extreme popularity.

The most surprising thing to come from these reunions is that we now have a companion who couldn't be romanced before in any form as a new full romance option. This is a very interesting move and I'm curious whether or not we'll see it again. Lord Scourge's emotions were removed with his immortality but if Vitiate's death has returned both of these as it did Nathema's life we may see him become available. Similarly, Zenith could be an option just for those Consulars who like their bad-boy companion.

Tharan will almost certainly want to stay with Holiday for all-time and not be interested in the slightest. She's more than welcome to him.

In general, it's just nice to finally have the option to initiate a romance with a class companion post-KotFE. I don't yet know whether a male Consular or Warrior can initiate a new romance with Nadia and dark-Jaesa or whether it's solely restricted to female characters, but I do hope they've included that as an option. Given that light-Jaesa is a new option in her entirety I'm assuming that romancing her is an option for both sexes.

If anyone has any confirmation of this, please comment below and let me know.

2 comments:

  1. Not reading most of this because of spoilers, but I just wanted to comment on the Dark Side Jaesa thing - I was so happy to finally be able to kill her; for me it was the only right choice! I've been wanting to at the very least slap her around and tell her to get a grip ever since she showed up on my Marauder's ship. Turning to the dark side shouldn't mean putting on some goth make-up and talking about randomly wanting to kill people 24/7! When she came back randomly killing people (as usual) and instantly started moaning about how wronged she's felt by my warrior it was an easy choice. Happy days!

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    1. I'd have to put dark-Jaesa on a pedestal as probably being among one of my least favourite companions in the game simply because of just how exaggerated her dark-side persona is. It still just seems so bizarre that this choice yields an outcome that just screams "I made a mistake!" more than anything else, and the kill / imprisonment outcome could well be BW's way of amending that.

      As much as I despise DS-Jaesa I honestly don't know what I would have done in that situation had she been my only option. I wouldn't have brought her back, I know that much. Killing and imprisoning are very much the same in terms of functional outcome of course, so it wouldn't have really mattered which route I would have taken, I suppose...

      In general, I'm mostly-against killing companions when there's another route available to getting rid of them. That route does need to be quite obvious though, and I've offed at least one before realising there was another option I could have taken that would have achieved the same result more peacefully. Oh well.

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