20/11/2019

Thoughts on 6.0 #7: The Characters, part 3 (Onderon, Mek-Sha, and Corellia)

This is the seventh post in my "Thoughts on 6.0" series. You can read the previous entries here:
  1. Gear
  2. Crafting Changes
  3. Group Content
  4. The Locations
  5. The Characters, part 1 (Empire)
  6. The Characters, part 2 (Republic)
Onderon and Mek-Sha both provide a few interesting characters for players to interact with. Most of these characters can be interacted with by everyone regardless of their faction, but there are a couple who are faction-specific. The characters who are seen during and after Corellia are particularly interesting...

~~~

Onderon

Lana Beniko



Okay, so this may be cheating somewhat. Lana is obviously not a character specific to Onderon, nor is this the only place she shows up throughout the expansion; this is just the easiest place for me to bring her up.

Quite honestly, I believe this to be Lana's best expansion if not her best story inclusion since Forged Alliances. This is entirely because, unlike virtually every single moment since Shadow of Revan, she no longer gets to do or say pretty much exactly the same thing for everyone.

While she and Theron weren't the only characters who did pretty much the same thing for everyone regardless of base-faction after their introduction, they were by far the most heavily-focused upon. This, to me, made them both particularly uninteresting as - outside from maybe one or two different conversations which promptly tailed off into universal activities - once you'd seen them do their thing one time, you'd seen most of what they had to offer.

Bringing back the faction vs. faction conflict and putting our characters onto one side or the other means that all characters within the Alliance will be put into very different situations than they were before. Some, such as Talos and Jorgan, may move on and leave to rejoin their factions, but others, including Lana, are sticking around for good.

While some part of my above criticism will hold true in this era still, it does at least soften the blow considerably when you play through a character of a different faction. You get to see Lana feeling moderately uncomfortable being with the Republic and to see her interacting with Jedi, but you also get to see her feeling more at-home when amongst the Empire and the Sith.

In case you're wondering why I've given her brown boots, this is my attempt to replicate their colour during the Forged Alliances storyline, where they are completely brown
Indeed, she actually gets a starring role in one of my favourite scenes from Onslaught; she has a brief conversation with none other than Gnost-Dural about interpretations of the Sith Code. This was a really interesting insight into her character and perspective and I absolutely loved it. 

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm really looking forward to seeing what else the story has in store for Lana.

~

King Petryph


Regalun Petryph is the son of the former queen of Onderon, Lina, and at the time of Onslaught has been the reigning monarch of Onderon for three years.

As for Lina herself? It's not really discussed as far as I know. I don't believe anything like assassination is on the cards, however, since at no point during the faux-assassination attempt arranged on Petryph by Darth Savik does Petryph say anything about assassins getting to Lina. I feel it's most likely that Lina just passed away of natural causes.


Petryph himself is a very arrogant and paranoid monarch. He likes being in power, so much so that he fears that the nobles, led by Senator Deja Nebet, are plotting to take his throne out from underneath him. It is this paranoia which the Empire are able to stoke as part of their plan for destroying the Republic Fleet, and Petryph falls for their tricks every single time.

One thing which is particularly telling about Petryph's character is that his hunting lodge is crammed full of taxidermied beasts from across the galaxy, making it seem like he himself killed them. The Codex entry for the Royal Hunting Lodge reveals that none of his advisors can recall him leaving the planet since becoming king. He makes a big show out of his power, but that's all he can really do with it. Show, not substantiate.

Given his close connections to Darth Savik, he does make a small appearance in the Republic storyline, but at no point does he interact personally with the Republic Commander. That, I feel, is a bit of a missed opportunity but oh well.

~

Senator Nebet


With Petryph serving as the primary character for Imperials, it is Nebet who fills the same shoes for Republic characters.

Unfortunately, she is probably also given the least attention of all of the various 'key' characters throughout Onslaught and as such is also subsequently one of the least-interesting. Granted, a large part of that also stems from the fact that the Onderon Republic story itself feels more like an after-thought rather than truly logical progression, but it's also not helped by the fact that Arn and Tau pretty much take the wheel throughout leaving her not much to do.

But still, we do get to see her holding her own during the attack on Iziz. As a former captain of Queen Lina's guard, Nebet is able to kill the leader of the Untamed in both versions of the story. So that's something.

~

Jakarro and C2-D4


It wouldn't be a story set on Onderon without the two most prominent characters we knew to be associated with it.

Jakarro and C2 are recruited as guides for both factions whilst we're on Onderon and thus are obligatory companions for the majority of the story set there. We are given the choice to allow them to join the Alliance afterwards on a more permanent basis, and I'm pleased we were given that choice. Jakarro and C2 weren't exactly the most pleasant characters to deal with before, but in Onslaught they appear to be a lot better-written.

Granted, they don't have any personal vendettas against anyone this time, and most characters reveal some form of viler side about themselves in such a situation. 

We don't really learn a lot about what they had been up to since we last saw them on Yavin IV; C2 mentions that they'd been working for a whole host of "idiots" and Jakarro has lost an arm, but beyond that it's mainly left open to interpretation which I think is fair enough. 

I'm very pleased to be able to add them to the companion roster, if only because it means that finally we can have a Wookiee companion who can wield a Bowcaster. Sorry, Bowdaar, I like my Wookiees to have some crossbow, y'know?

~

Beast-Lord Akoru


Akoru is the first identified leader of the Untamed. He features most prominently in the Imperial story, as it is decided that the Untamed's forces are necessary to back Petryph's army up as they attempt to take Iziz. Only his corpse is seen in the Republic story.

Akoru's loyalty can be attained in two ways; he can either be blackmailed by threats to reveal that Beast-Lord Brutann, his brother, eventually went and joined the Sith before being slain by Republic forces on Hoth (as the final boss of the Bonus Series, no less!) or he can bear witness to the Commander killing his prized Pritarr, Krashilok. 

As much as he appears to be a savage, there's evidently some wit about him. Krashilok's name is apparently a very clever pun in ancient Onderonian, suggesting that Akoru is well-learned. The pun, incidentally, is never explained although it leaves C2 laughing about it for some time.

~

Bregan


Bregan becomes leader of the Untamed following Akoru's death, and is such is the character to whom the Republic must appeal for information about Darth Savik's whereabouts.

That's pretty much all there is to him as a character!

~

Anosek and Anoser


These two only appear in the Imperial version of the story. They are the cousins of King Petryph, and as such are targeted by Darth Savik in a scheme to get Petryph even more riled up. As soon as one of Petryph's (unnamed) royal advisors mentions them and how they could be under threat from the Republic just as he himself had been, Savik immediately sends us to "rescue" them.

By "rescue", she of course means "kill and make it seem like you arrived too late to stop the Republic and the nobles from killing them heartlessly", although imprisonment (and still making it seem like they died) is an alternative option. 

Oh, lord are these two the most annoying characters in the Onslaught storyline. If you think Petryph is entitled, he has nothing on Anosek and Anoser. They constantly remind anyone within earshot that their cousin is the king and, if imprisoned, will constantly make all sorts of extravagant requests for various things that they apparently simply cannot live without. 

I really hope Queen Lina wasn't anything like the rest of her family...

~~~

Mek-Sha

Huttbreaker


Gritha Dar was originally one of countless slaves sent to work on Mek-Sha whilst it was still run by the Hutts. As her new moniker suggests, she eventually organised a revolt that saw the slugs expelled and five gangs - hers, the Junkers, Harido Wald, Dar'Manda, and the Brothers - take full control of the station.

As the de facto leader of Mek-Sha, Huttbreaker organises a fuel-auction which is crucial to the Republic fleet. We get to see her make a speech to the crowd and she really seems more like a chat-show host rather than a gangster. She does make it very clear that she wants things to remain neutral; she enforces a strict penalty on the Republic in their version of the story due to Arn's actions and she is horrified by the implications of the Empire's plan and its 'best' outcome in their version of the story. 

She may just want money, but she is very particular about how things go about prior to clinching the deal.

Oh, 2014-computer graphics, I do not miss you
Huttbreaker is also the first female Nikto to appear in the story. It's nice to see one finally appear as a proper character rather than a cameo or background appearance, particularly since they first only appeared as NPCs with the Nightlife Event back in 2014!

~

Junker Jott


Junker Jott is the primary character for Republic players on Mek-Sha. He's a particularly fun character to interact with and has a lot of good lines, but his best achievement by far is slipping it under the radar that his voice actor is Darin De Paul, the man behind Valkorion, TYTH, and General Daeruun.

That man is easily one of SWtOR's best catches on the voice-acting front.

Jott, as a former Republic serviceman, is one of the few characters who has a markedly different response to meeting an Imperial Commander. He will just wave them on, deriding them as "Imp-lovers". I have no idea if an Imperial saboteur can begin to open his mind to the possibility that "not all Imps are bad" but I don't feel it'll stick with Jott one bit if so.

~

Indigo


Indigo is the leader of the Dar'manda, a group of ex-Mandalorians exiled for various misdeeds that called their honour into serious question. This organisation, despite receiving a lot of build-up and even a section of this article describing the thought-processes that went into designing them, ultimately fades into the background somewhat. While some characters were identified explicitly in the above article, only Indigo himself is identified in-story.

Indigo is a decent character. Like Huttbreaker, he really doesn't care what happens as long as his crew gets good honest work, but he draws the line at getting heavily-involved in any sort of warfare. He's keen to improve the quality of work his crew gets to such an extent that he's happy to eliminate anyone who he feels is compromising that, even if they happen to be one of the five ruling gang-leaders.

Speaking of which...

~

Veek the Sneak


Most of the unique characters on Mek-Sha are interesting and good fun to interact with. Veek the Sneak is a far departure from that.

Veek, the leader of the Harido Wald, is one of those characters who appears to be quite cocky on the surface, branding the Commander very readily as a "friend", but he's also extremely naive. His intention is to reach out to the Hutts and attempt to repair the bond between them and Mek-Sha, but he doesn't seem to consider that his very abrupt expansion of his criminal organisation has interfered with other criminal organisations such as the Exchange. They are all too willing to have a piece of him, as evidenced by the fact that both of the divergent storylines on Mek-Sha involve somebody wanting to take him out.

I'd be very pleased if I never have to see this character again even on those who spared him.

~~~

Corellia

Tharan Cedrax

I will not apologise for the filename

...

Moving on.

~

Kira Carsen and Lord Scourge

Yes, they're finally back!


After years of a lot of people asking "where's Kira?" and the occasional person wondering if those same people have forgotten about Scourge, both of the Knight's final returning companions have re-entered their lives.

Their absence is explained away relatively simply, albeit with complicated consequences. They had spent the last few years searching for Vitiate's original body; as long as this remained intact, Vitiate himself could never die. After receiving guidance from "an old ally", they locate it and destroy it at roughly the same time that the Commander destroyed Valkorion.

Coincidence! 

Unfortunately, in so doing they unwittingly released an ancient Sith Ritual which had been carved into his very flesh; they were only rendered comatose since the Emperor pouring his power into them at various points acted as a vaccine, but it's revealed very quickly that had they not had this defence something worse could have happened. Satele and her followers awaken them, but soon also collapse from the ritual; their minds begin merging through the Force, connecting into some unknown gestalt entity.

It's hinted that this may be Vitiate's final way of ensuring that he could still return; you may destroy the body, but you yourself will become the very man you sought to destroy. Insert "you were meant to destroy the Sith, not join them" here.

It's unknown exactly how that story-thread will pan out but we'll be seeing it in the next story-update.


If the Commander is a Knight, they have access to two Alliance Alerts where they just catch up with Kira and Scourge. Primarily, this is the official "romance reunion" moment for Kira, but there are some interesting additions to the Alerts alongside this.

Firstly, if a female Knight responded to Kira's claims of concern with a flirt during the actual Epilogue mission, Kira will subsequently bluster her way to saying "I love you" during the Alert. Yes, we finally have another same-sex-romance character from the base game. First Nadia, now Kira!


... and Scourge, apparently. Vitiate's death, apart from allowing Nathema to blossom with life again, has rendered his former Wrath mortal and returned his emotions. With this sudden new insight, Scourge realises how much he valued his former team and particularly the Knight. This can be followed up with either a confirmation of mutual attraction or just hand-waved away as "friendship". 

Regardless, it's great to finally have two characters from the base-game open themselves up for new romantic options. Once again I think it would be great if a male Knight could start a relationship with Kira at this junction, but I sadly don't think that's the case. BioWare have steadily been improving with making more romances available for instant-60, 65, and 70 characters but there's still a bit of a ways to go.

It's nice to have Kira and Scourge back again, particularly as they're a part of the main story so everyone can get them (Wrath and Wrath team-up combo, yay!) and I'm curious to see how they fare in later content. It's heavily implied that Kira may be able to leave a loyalist Imperial once Vitiate's final weapon is taken care of, but we'll have to wait and see if that's possible or if there are any other... outcomes.

~~~

Conclusion

For the most part, the characters on Onderon and Mek-Sha are decent. There are a few which aren't quite as well-rounded as others, which can lend itself to some faction dissonance at times. The Republic Commander, being led through the Onderon story mostly by Arn and Tau, doesn't get nearly as much interaction with Deja Nebet as an Imperial Commander does with Regalun Petryph, for example. 

I don't know how many of the new characters I'd like to see come back from this selection. Huttbreaker, Junker Jott, and Indigo were all good characters so I wouldn't mind seeing them back again in some form, but everyone else? I could happily live without seeing a single one of them again. 

It's nice to see not one, not two, but three companions be featured in some way in the main story again. Now we just need to see Zenith again.

Next up: The Story, part 1 (Onderon)

2 comments:

  1. I hadn't realised that the story of Akoru's brother was also based on a heroic. Nice catch!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I really do like the "new" Lana. She seems much less "stick up the butt" than before, something that actually started during the first Nathema/Zildrog thing. I particularly like the fact that she's not above playing up the big bad Sith to the new padawan.

    ReplyDelete