22/05/2020

An End, Once and For All!

This has been a day I've long been anticipating.


Throughout the past two days, I finally managed to drag my Powertech through her remaining chapters of Fallen Empire, completed Eternal Throne, slogged through Iokath and the Traitor arc, and took a breath of fresh air on Ossus and Onderon.

This may not seem like much, particularly to the more altaholic readers out there, but I have very specific reasons to be celebrating this.

I'm done

Never again will I have to sit through Fallen Empire and its subsequent storylines. At long last, I have all characters from each base-class caught up to one another again, a feat that hasn't been accomplished since partway through 3.0 - almost, if not over, five years ago.

Appropriately, since Phirella is the last of my characters to be going through these storylines, I thought I'd shake things up somewhat just as a "last hurrah". I hatched the idea of maybe making her my saboteur while she was finishing up her class story at the start of 6.0 and the threat of Fallen Empire et al. loomed ever nearer. So it was that when she started Iokath and eventually Ossus, she became my first and only character to support a faction opposite to her own.

I didn't look up any videos of saboteur activity pre-Onslaught as I had heard second-hand that some of the choices made by a saboteur, particularly during Hearts and Minds, were absolutely hilarious. Having now seen the speech given to Imperial troops with a character who deliberately flubs the speech, I can confirm that part of it caused me to burst out laughing. Grey Griffin's voice-acting certainly added to the hilarity, so I'm curious to hear what the other Imperial VAs sound like when delivering their own flubbed speeches.

As for the other saboteur-specific stuff? Well, it means I finally got to see Emperor Vowrawn at last as well as properly meet Jedi Master Sal-Deron first-hand rather than through someone else's recordings, so I'm happy about both of those. It's a bit too soon to gauge how other choices will impact things, especially as with letting the Republic fleet escape I proceeded to choose the Dark Side option in the subsequent conversation with Malgus. No spoilers for people who haven't done or seen the saboteur storyline yet, of course.

~~~

I don't begrudge anyone liking the Chapters as a means of storytelling. Heck, I myself can appreciate the theory behind them and some of the stuff that's been in the Chapters have been among my favourite story moments in the entire game. However, as time went on and as more and more characters of mine reached the point where Chapter I: The Hunt became their next mission, I began to feel very disillusioned with them.

More than anything, this is simply because of the sheer onslaught of cutscenes that is presented to players nowadays. When 4.0 launched with its Chapters, The Alliance was the break-point, and it made good logical sense. With each addition to the story, however, the break-point got extended further and further to the point where, unless you stop yourself deliberately (while making sure to do so in an area that doesn't launch you straight back into a Chapter the moment you enter the phase), you will be presented with all twenty-five Chapters back-to-back. At least as they were coming out we had the means to start them deliberately at our own pace!

I know, I know, people will say "you know you can stop at whatever point you like, right?" but I feel this is still indicative of the issue I have. Yes, I know I can halt a chapter after it starts and take a break, but you still can't prevent any chapters from starting outright. Once you initiate the final cutscene of any given chapter, hey-ho, it's another cutscene and possibly an entire loading screen that greets you afterward. At least with the subsequent storylines, while you mostly get given the missions automatically, you can start them from scratch whenever you desire.

I'm pleased BioWare indulged in experimenting with the Chapters as the content we're seeing now feels like a BioWare making use of the experiences they picked up from writing them while merging them with the more traditional open-world story content of the base-game.

However, I'm even more pleased - in fact, I'm going so far as to say that I'm thrilled - to have finally escaped them at long last.

Since I haven't been updating my blog in the past few months (because... reasons...), I should also follow up on my Vanguard, whose progress I also last briefly touched on back in Tasks and Signals. Like my Powertech, I've only just got my Vanguard up to all the story content within the past week, so this has been too long I've spent on Iokath this week alone.

Still, at least it meant that I finally got to see the Trooper's conversation with Elara Dorne as well as the Hunter's reunion with Torian and Mako this week. Extra rewards to be reaped for having to put up with all that other nonsense!

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