I’ve been hanging out on the PTS and have completed the Ziost story line as far as you can go (they deliberately blocked it so you can’t finish it). I completed it on both factions on my Bounty Hunter and Trooper.
I’m going to be covering both spoiler and non-spoiler content. I’ll be starting off with Spoiler free impressions.
My Mercenary (heals) had no issue doing the quests in PvP gear (hell, I even soloed some champion mobs I found hanging around in a couple of areas). My Commando (heals) was in PvE gear (192-198) so it was super easy mode for her.
Overall, difficulty wise, the quests are straightforward and easy. You shouldn’t have any issues unless you are extremely bad at jumping puzzles. But don’t worry, it’s super easy. Just two jumps and you’re bananas!
Spoiler Free Thoughts on the Story
The story overall is very intriguing. Character performances and voice acting are all well done. However, there are a couple of kinks in the flow of the story which add minor confusion/continuity issues, but you can figure out a sense of what is happening fairly quickly. It would make much more sense with an additional conversation from the character in question.
I think those who have read the Revan novel will find the Ziost story line particularly interesting and if you still have not read the book (
what the fuck is wrong with you) then read it ASAP.
If you have enjoyed the many stories told in SWTOR then you will likely find this one just as enjoyable. It adds to the events of the Shadow of Revan story and offers some answers, especially for those who may not have read the Revan novel and/or who may not know the back story for particular characters.
~ STORY SPOILERS! DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED! ~
So in case you missed the bolded, caps lock text above, there will be spoilers below this image…
From now on I will be talking about specific story spoilers from Game Update 3.2 Rise of the Emperor story line currently on the PTS.
Synopsis and Accompanying Impressions
The story starts of pretty typically with a holocall from either Theron or Lana, depending on your faction. They’re both pretty distressed and both calls get cut off. So your character high tails off to Ziost to try and save the day. Note the word ‘try’.
Early on, after some initial encounters with pawns possessed by the Emperor, you get to have have a chat with some of them (yes, the Emperor has a chat with you) before you kill them (naturally). You then run into Lana (regardless of faction) and meet an intriguing character, Agent Kovach, who is described as a ‘rising star’ in Sith intelligence. You find out along the way, depending on your faction, that Agent Kovach is an SIS spy. For both factions you reach a climax with this character which results in either his expulsion or death depending on the alignment options you pick and your faction.
Essentially, your initial purpose is to try and find a way to protect the people of Ziost and somehow ‘release’ the Emperor’s control on the Military and Sith. The Emperor, with the Imperial Military and Sith under his control, are killing off the rest of the population of Ziost. Naturally, a solution is found, but implementing it on a larger scale proves difficult. You run into Theron Shan during this process and he offers his assistance.
It is worth noting that your encounters with Theron and Lana happen at the same points along the story line regardless of faction. But, they are of course a little different depending on your faction.
After first encountering Theron, you are privy to a priority holocall Theron receives (again, regardless of faction) from a disgruntled Chancellor Saresh. She announces that she is sending in a Republic Invasion Force to take advantage of the situation on Ziost. After the holocall with Saresh, the cut scene abruptly ends, and you don’t have a conversation afterwards with Theron. So you’re sent off to the next location to try save the planet without being told to do so. It would make more sense if Theron actually says something to you about it like ‘go the this place and do this thing before the Republic forces become corrupted too’ or something along those lines.
Speaking of Chancellor Saresh, she is an idiot. I mean, she’s becoming increasingly arrogant as Supreme Chancellor, especially since Makeb. It’s been interesting to see her evolving into a crazed warmonger. She sends thousands of Republic troops to their deaths without properly assessing the situation all just to take advantage of a perceived weakness in the Empire which, unbeknownst to her, helps to strengthen the Emperor.
You then proceed to make preparations to save the planet. The solution is to electrocute the possessed so the Emperor loses his hold on them. You eventually make it to a Citadel building which houses your typical giant electrical doomsday weapon to subjugate the Imperial population, housed inside. But the Emperor, who naturally knows everything you’re doing (he’s like an ultra creepy Santa), makes it ‘difficult’ for you to reach your goal.
The Emperor takes control of a Jedi task force Theron sent to Ziost and he uses them against you. The last big fight is going up against the most powerful Jedi of the task force. You then get to choose whether she goes to the Jedi for healing or goes off to be experimented on by the Empire in order to understand how the Emperor’s power works (same choice for both factions). Theron or Lana, depending on your choice, get very upset if you make the opposite decision to what they suggest.
Then finally, when you think it’s all over, the Emperor interrupts your holocall with Chancellor Saresh or Darth Marr (depending on faction, obviously) and has a chat to you. The Emperor is a bad ass. The voice acting, his presence and all out evilness is all so full of malice and contempt. He’s perfect. He’s laughing at you. It’s so brilliant!
I really like (even though we haven’t seen the actual ending yet) how hopeless it feels that you, as a player, can do nothing against the Emperor. In the end you feel powerless as you only temporarily delay the inevitable. Hopefully the ending doesn’t turn out to be a dramatic reversal of the stakes and you somehow gain victory over the Emperor. Because that would suck.
You’re sent back to the Orbital Station, where you start from, and this is where you’re supposed to click on a console but nothing happens. So for now, we don’t get to see what happens next, although, I don’t think there will be much else story wise.
One final note, you get three mail messages on both sides. Two while you’re going through the story and a third one after you (almost) finish the story. (I’m missing the screenshot of the 3rd Republic mail unfortunately, I’ll grab a shot next time PTS is up).
Overall, I am very happy with where the story is heading and I’m very pleased with what I’ve seen so far. Hopefully, the ending, whenever we finally get to see it, will go in the direction I think it will. I’m very impressed most of all with how well it fits into the already established lore about the Emperor found in the Revan novel. Those who’ve read the novel will definitely appreciate the Ziost story even more and have a better understanding of exactly what is happening.
Have you been on the PTS? What did you think of the story? What direction do you think the story is headed in?