The Final End [Full Echoes of Oblivion Spoilers]

Usually Wednesday is my posting day, but SWTOR’s newest update deserves some rather special treatment.

SWTOR’s 6.2 update has been an exceptionally long time coming. It was originally scheduled for the summer before Covid-19 hit and caused delays. As a result, BioWare decided to combine both the finale to the Emperor storyline with the next “big” original storyline which will follow the Mandalorians.


I will touch on the Mandalorian story at some point, probably in a week and a half if the new Squadrons update comes beforehand. Today, I shall be focusing on the storyline which we have been waiting to see the conclusion of for months if not years.


I forgot just how yellow the standard green crystal looks in comparison to mint green
Echoes of Oblivion follows on from Kira Carsen and Lord Scourge’s destruction of the Sith Emperor’s original body which unleashed a mysterious Sith plague that later claimed Satele Shan and a group of her followers. We last heard about this back in January when the ship they were on was reported as going off-course. With this update, T7-O1 has now located it.

Although we have the opportunity to offer to summon reinforcements to aid in the rescue of Satele, such as Daeruun and Gnost-Dural, Kira and Scourge initially refuse to bring anyone else along: without the protection offered to them and us, any other people we bring along are potential puppets for the Emperor to exert his control over. 

Disappointingly, we never see Theron interact with Satele beyond him seeing her unconscious form. It would have been nice to see them interact again after the last time we saw them both on Yavin five years ago
Despite this, and depending on who we have alive at the end of the various storylines, a debate is held between us, Arcann, Senya, and Theron who all wish to come along given their various histories with either the Emperor or Satele. I was quite pleased to see the option to say “no” to all three coming along as I hoped this meant we finally had some means of control and our arguments had some weight – nope, all three end up tagging along anyway. Oh well.

This does, however, make me very curious to see how certain moments go for characters who have any or all these characters dead or missing. I do not imagine for a second that anything drastic will change, but there is one story moment which I am looking forward to seeing on my Sniper (my only character to have killed Senya and therefore Arcann).

As intriguing as Servant Four was, I am still curious to learn what became of Servant Two (EDIT: a Sith Warrior learns from Scourge that Servant Two is "long dead", as is Servant One regardless of whether or not a Knight confronts him on Nathema)

As is the way of things, things get complicated. The Emperor’s Servants and the remaining Scions have also located the ship and are using it for their own ends. The Servants desire to help their master’s plots once again while the Scions have decided that this is their “time to die” as foretold by Heskal all the way back in Chapter VIII: Taking Flight of Knights of the Fallen Empire. Time and a place, guys!

None of this character's moments are particularly photogenic

It is pretty evident that this is the last time that we shall be dealing with the Scions, and I cannot be happier to see the back of them. I am sure that they will have been interesting to some people out there, but I just find the “people bound to follow prophecy” trope to be a bit silly. Plus, this is only their second cutscene-based appearance beyond Fallen Empire: the last time they appeared before this was at the end of the Iokath story to say “hey, go kill TYTH” back in 2017!

I just do not view there to be enough justification to really care for these people at the end of the day, and now we hopefully no longer need to!

While clearing out the Servants with Scourge, we are reunited with a familiar face…

I am disappointed to see that he didn't spruce up his appearance since his death on Yavin


So, yes, Revan was the “old ally” mentioned by Scourge as being his guiding hand back at the end of the Onslaught storyline. Curiously, it is revealed that Kira is completely unaware of Revan being this guide, which I find to be particularly interesting. It is never mentioned or shown how she reacts to eventually discovering this.

Considering that this is the big finale of the Emperor character, I am not surprised in the slightest to see BioWare bringing Revan back for one last fling. He is at least given a much fairer treatment than he was during Shadow of Revan, although the lengths to which we have had to go to in ending his nemesis highlight just how futile his plan was back in 3.0.

Still, at least he is around to see it happen properly.

If nothing else, at least this means we heard Darin's excellent Valkorion voice one last time

Once all the interlopers are dealt with, we and our crew (except for Theron if he is around) enter Satele’s mind to begin their rescue attempt. Almost immediately upon arrival, we and Kira are met by Valkorion… or are we?

The new Sith Triumvirate

Despite his past dealings with us, Valkorion seems to have no recollection of who we are. After a moment where he splits his body into two additional forms – a pale hooded human and a heavily-tattooed Sith Pureblood – the reason becomes clear. The inscriptions on the body of Tenebrae were designed to resurrect him but only the version of himself at the time the inscriptions were made. The Valkorion and Vitiate personae he adopts are based purely on the memories of Satele Shan: everything else – his rise to power, his history with Revan, the Knight’s campaigns against him, and his tenure as Immortal Emperor – is apparently gone for good. 

This creates a quite bizarre phenomenon whereby we are dealing with our old nemesis, but it is only personal for us the player. Tenebrae is twisted and evil, sure, but he is not “our” Emperor.

His eyes are as dark as a blackboard - wait, that's not right...

Indeed, this feeds into a criticism which I have always had of this character since Valkorion succeeded Vitiate. Reconciling the past face(s) of this character with his future ones is not exactly a clean feat, and this bizarre scenario where not even Valkorion has absolutely no memory of his history with us just makes this even more complicated. 

This is particularly weird for the Knight and Warrior, who both have more history with the Emperor than any other class. While they will mention their own personal histories, both characters are now on more of a level-playing field to the others with how they relate to the Emperor.

A Star Wars protagonist wielding a red lightsaber? It's late 90's merchandise all over again!

After making the usual “bad guy boasts”, Tenebrae soon separates us from Kira, forcing Revan to step in and help us through more of Satele’s mind. It is rather surreal having this character as an actual companion given his history as a formerly playable character, but I can see some people really loving this.

Legitimately, this is the clearest shot we see of her during her introduction

After collecting some of Satele’s memories and breaking through other parts of her mindscape, another former KOTOR protagonist enters the scene: Meetra Surik, the Jedi Exile. Last seen and heard during the Jedi Prisoner Flashpoints, this is therefore the first time she has appeared in SWTOR in almost nine years. Talk about a late re-entry!

Unfortunately, her reappearance is at this juncture very brief. Tenebrae once again separates us from our allies, sending us to a part of Satele’s mind with seemingly no allies present. However, Satele is never alone…

Welcome back, sir!

Darth Marr’s spirit returns, providing some exposition about the aspect of Tenebrae which has been resurrected within Satele’s mind. It is not known exactly how long ago this “imprint” was taken, but  if asked Marr hypothesises that it was from before even Revan’s time. This is kind-of corroborated by Tenebrae's reaction to Surik's appearance; it is hard to tell whether he actually knows who she is or whether he knows of her only from Satele's memories. We never hear him acknowledge Revan.

Since Tenebrae's body was approximately 1,600 years old by the time of its destruction, there is a lot of room to play with for the exact age of the copy we deal with. I am thus happy with only getting a vague non-answer to the question of this Tenebrae's mental age here.

Since ARIES impersonated him in the past, it's nice to meet the "actual" Thexan at last

After chatting with Marr, we reconvene with the missing two members of Valkorion’s family: Thexan and Vaylin. Thexan accepts Arcann’s apologies for being unable to save him almost immediately, but Vaylin is less amicable. It seems that we somehow managed to drag her into the mindscape upon our entry, almost certainly because of the fragment of her spirit still floating around within her. Thexan is here because... er... reasons!

Although she is initially quite hostile, Vaylin's presence allows Senya to have a "proper" one-on-one with her for the first time that we have seen both characters. In her passionate speech, Senya blames herself for continually standing by while Valkorion dictated how Vaylin's life would turn out. It is not known at this stage whether Vaylin truly believes Senya, but she is at least convinced to take control of her life and turn on the spectre of her father.

Crazy but tragic

Vaylin is in many ways quite one of the most tragic characters from the Knights expansions. While a complete tyrant at many opportunities, most of her life is not “hers”. She had been caged all her life, betrayed by her mother, and had her life taken away from her just because Valkorion gave neither her nor us any other options. 

Bright orange just isn't your colour, Vaylin

However, options apparently do remain beyond this point. Two of Satele's students, Syl and Trad, are confirmed by Kira (and later Satele via a mail message) to have died aboard the ship, and yet Syl is up and about in the final cutscene. I am sure that this has absolutely nothing to do with this very meaningful glance given to her body by Vaylin...

About time!

Eventually, after finding a Jedi temple facsimile, we find Satele Shan. She is seemingly as comatose in her mindscape as she is in real-life, and the Emperor gloats that his full rebirth is almost upon them. However, Satele reveals that the Emperor only got this close is because she had laid a trap for him. Presenting him with many Jedi as opposed to just one, Satele has ensured that his progress was delayed long enough for reinforcements to arrive.

Arrive, they do.

We're all in this together

Every one of our allies who has been with us on this journey, from Kira and Scourge to Revan and Meetra, emerge from the darkness to confront the Emperor one last time. After a final fight where all three of his faces try their best to fend off the inevitable, Tenebrae falters.

You could say that taking down the Emperor was a golden opportunity

Recalling many faces from across his history, from Zakuulans to the Sixth Line to the Children of the Emperor, we and our allies overpower all three of Tenebrae’s most powerful forms…

Thus to all tyrants

… and reduce them to ashes.

Tranquillity after the storm

After this victory, we find ourselves in another part of Satele’s mind. This time, it is a replica of her camp on Odessen. She has a long talk with us, during which time she reveals that Tenebrae’s death has brought peace to everyone involved. Specifically, Marr, Meetra, and Revan are suspected to be One with the Force at long last. 

If Theron is still alive, she also thanks us for giving him the home he deserved. If he is dead, she will criticise us heavily for killing him, reminding us that everyone has a choice. A Dark-sider can elect to attack her, but she swiftly stops them by telling them that, even though they are talking face-to-face, neither character is actually in the clearing at that time. Attacks, though likely successful at any other time, are meaningless here.

After this talk, we awaken on a shuttle with Lana watching over us, having been carried out by Kira and Scourge. Together both characters set off on a heading of our choice: back home, someplace quiet, or back to the war.

Hello again!

On Coruscant, meanwhile, Satele finishes conversing with "Syl" when Aryn Leneer walks in. She has “quite a tale to tell”, having seemingly managed to leave Dantooine without attracting the attention of one Darth Malgus.


The Sith Emperor is no more. Finally, we have seen the end to his spirit. I understand I have referenced this before, as I originally believed that Chapter IX of Eternal Throne was his true “final end”, but here we are again. This time, it should stick.

I loved seeing all these familiar faces here!

There are a lot of things which I absolutely loved about this storyline. I loved seeing all the Children and the Sixth Line again in particular, as it was an excellent way of highlighting that it has not just been the major characters who the Emperor has affected. The entire galaxy has suffered from him for so long, and now in the end, as the darkness takes him, he is nothing.

A moment arguably sixteen years in the making

Revan and Meetra were utilised fairly well, although I suspect many KOTOR II players will feel that the latter was very hard-done-by. Her introduction is particularly muted, and I can see many players not even realising that she and the Jedi Entity are one and the same. The fact that there is no connection vocalised by a Republic character who has completed that storyline is rather disappointing, but oh well.

Speaking of Revan, I am curious to know who voiced him this time around. Seeing as they went to the effort of getting Doug Bradley and Michael Harney back to voice the Vitiate spectre and Darth Marr respectively it is possible that they also brought back Jeff Bennett. I would not be surprised if they just brought back Spencer Garrett who voiced him in 3.0, however, as he did a decent job of impersonating Bennett’s interpretation of the character in his light persona.

The Emperor being more of his own character rather than just the same character(s) we have dealt with over the past few years was... interesting. It is definitely weird encountering Valkorion and Vitiate and learning that neither remember anything about us, but it is also explained away relatively well. I can also see that if they had given both of Tenebrae's additional forms their "usual" personalities that the Emperor would do nothing but bicker with himself.

I am my own worst critic too, Tenebrae

Indeed, we do see a little bit of this when Tenebrae criticises his "future" selves for the personal goals they began pursuing. Rather than strengthening his power, he sees that he let himself get distracted and that, no matter how invincible he thought he was being during these periods, these distractions ultimately proved to be his undoing. As fun as it could have been seeing the three Emperors argue which one of them was right, I feel that simply making them alternate forms worn by the same personality was the better choice for BioWare to make.

Nothing says "ancient evil" quite like Resort Swimwear

One of the things which I find curious about Tenebrae is that his character design looks like it is mostly made up of reskinned armour textures. His crown is the Force Champion headgear, his chest is a version of the Resort Swimwear without the upper arm bracelets, his gloves are a version of the Wicked Huntress gloves without the fingerless gloves, his belt is the Revanite Avenger belt, his robes look like a more layered variant of the Karness Muur robes, and his boots look like they may also be a part of the Resort Swimwear set.

While it gives players a somewhat easy path to replicating the general style of his look, it is a bit strange that the “big bad” of SWTOR does not have a totally unique style. Valkorion of course looks the same as he always does, and I am quite fond of the updated look for the Vitiate spectre: it takes clear inspiration from his original look but is still updated to be more of its own thing.

One moment with the three of them took me out of the story quite a bit. The following lines from the trailer are spoken while we are traversing part of the mindscape:

  • “You believed you had won. That your achievements outweighed your losses. That your sacrifices meant something; anything…”
  • “After all that I have done, all that I have enslaved, all that I have destroyed… you should have known…”
  • “You do not know the true face of power, but you will. Very soon. You will…”

These lines are very badly edited together in the game proper. They are nicely spread out in the trailer but when they feature in the game, they almost intersect one another with how quickly each sentence starts after the previous one ends. Very off-putting!

Despite the conflicting lack of any real "personal" involvement with this iteration of the Emperor, the fights with each of his forms are interesting. I really like how cinematic each of them was, although there were perhaps too many things going on at times!

While things might not have been as personal as they could have been for our own characters, things are very personal indeed for one of our companions.

Beware the wrath of the Wrath

Lord Scourge has been in this fight for a very long time, having started his quest to end the Emperor's schemes three centuries earlier. Playing through this story as a Knight allows him to air his grievances  on a personal level and it is nice to be able to tie a neat little bow on his story after all these years. It will be interesting to see what becomes of him now that his life's mission is finally completed.

Seeing as this is the most that Scourge has featured since his return, this also allows us to have the most exposure to his newly-returned emotions. It is still very surreal to see and hear this normally stoic character give such raw reactions to certain situations. Since it has been over three hundred years since he last felt emotion he would not have had much opportunity to refine his newfound control over them, which is almost certainly why his reactions are so volatile at times. 

It is something of a shame that we have not had that much exposure to the "new Scourge" before this point, and I hope that he will continue to feature in future content (even if it is just in Alliance Alerts for the Knight) so that we can get more accustomed to him in different situations.

It's good to have you back, Grand Master

Then there is Satele herself. I like what BioWare did with her throughout this, keeping her direct involvement until the very end. However, nice though it was to interact with her for the first time since Chapter XII of Fallen Empire, it is going through her memories which I enjoyed the most.

It would be relaxing if the context wasn't so creepy

While nothing of-note happens (e.g., we never see any character beside an incredibly young Satele), it was nice visiting Tython again. Despite it very clearly being just a facsimile, just seeing it again made everything feel “normal” and “safe” somehow, even with everything else going on. For all the hatred of Tenebrae, he cannot ruin the tranquillity of Tython. Indeed, I believe that this is the only place in the mindscape where none of Tenebrae's minions can confront us.

I am intrigued to see where Satele goes next. I imagine, for example, that she will resume her duties as Grand Master of the Jedi Order for both factions. Beyond that? I hope that she just maintains a background presence without becoming “too involved” from now on. I will always be happy to see her, but I am wary that she could end up becoming over-used.

Then, at the end of it all, there is Aryn Leneer again. It is surprising to see her on Coruscant with no other interludes set on Dantooine to suggest what else Malgus may be up to, especially given that the last time we saw her she was retrieving her lightsaber seemingly to prepare for a fight. We shall find out what all that is about at some point, but as this is one of a few story-threads for BioWare to go down for future content, it may be some time until we learn exactly what is going on.


All in all, I was especially fond of this storyline. It wrapped up a lot of things – perhaps too many? – in one go while leaving a fair amount of stuff open. We have Satele back in action, another hint at the Malgus / Leneer storyline, and the indication that Vaylin may be coming back.

As a send-off to the characters associated with the Emperor, I thought this was almost the best we could have seen. I do feel that Meetra was under-done but beyond that I think everyone played their part well enough. It was good to see them one last time and to see them receive the farewells that they deserved – at least, in comparison to what came before.

Now we go forward, into a game-world without Tenebrae.

There are about four story threads which we know about going forward from before and after this storyline: Darth Malgus and his attempts to free himself from his control methods; the Mandalorians and how they fit into the wider galaxy; the quest to find the remaining Jedi and bring them back to the Republic; and now the opportunity for Vaylin to write herself back into proceedings.

We shall see where it all leads in due time. For now, the Emperor is done at last. That is more than enough to be getting on with for the time being.

1 comment:

  1. OMG, I didn't pick up on that Vaylin-Syl connection at all! I just remember seeing that shot of her looking down on the dead student and thinking: "Why is she looking at her like that..." I guess that would be a way of answering the many calls for bringing her back somehow.

    I, too, wondered about Revan's voice, because to me it sounded different from both previous voices, but not different enough that I wasn't sure whether it wasn't just the last voice actor not quite hitting the same timbre as in Shadow of Revan.