Review & Analysis of SWTOR Game Update 3.2 Rise of the Emperor Storyline **Spoilers**

Hey everyone,

I have already touched on my thoughts of the Ziost story arch in my PTS Impressions Blog Post I did back in April. So in this review, I’m going to be focusing more on what wasn’t on the PTS ie. the conclusion of the story and comparing to events described in the Revan novel. Then I’ll briefly compare the varying dialogue between each of the classes I’ve played through so far and round that up with my overall thoughts on the story as a whole and the one thing I feel is missing from the overall story.

Please note there will be spoilers not only for the Rise of the Emperor story arc but also for the Revan novel. If you have not yet read Revan I would highly recommend that you do. There are also spoliers for the Jedi Knight story.

** Spoilers below this image! **

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Ziost Conclusion and Comparisons to Nathema

The conclusion to the story was spot on perfect! Basically the story arc concludes with a cut scene showing you what the former Emperor Vitiate does to Ziost. He gains enough power from the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people to consume all biological life, stripping a world of everything, even colour, only leaving behind some technology and Monolith spawns of the Dark Side.

This is similar to how Nathema, the planet the Vitiate first wiped of all life, was depicted in the Revan novel. It was described as a barren, dead world not only stripped of life but also the force itself.

There are differences between what happened on Ziost and what happened on Nathema. While the ritual on Nathema granted Vitiate immortality, we don’t know for sure the purpose of the ritual on Ziost. My speculation is that he used it to regain more power possibly so he could inhabit a body and have a Voice again. We know the defeat of the Emperor’s Voice by the Jedi Knight weakened and crippled Vitiate until Yavin IV where the Coalition Forces and Revan’s forces, confronting each other, was fuel enough for the former Emperor to rise from his slumber. So what was next in his grand plan? Does he still want to extinguish all life in the galaxy? (see Something to Ponder.. for additional comments).

There are also visible differences. Our characters are able to use the force on Ziost. It was impossible to do so on Nathema. Obviously with the game designed as it is, well, it wouldn’t really work to have half the players in the game not be able to do anything. There is also life on Ziost (albeit very little) the Monoliths survive Vitiate’s purge. The survival of the monoliths is easy enough to make sense of based of their codex entry:

monolith coedx

So these spawns of dark side energy are impervious to the effects of the ritual Vitiate performed, having been created by him in the first place more then likely. Of course we know they are not completely immortal but they aren’t easy to deal with. Another minor difference I noticed is that there are bodies (ashen remains) on Ziost. There were no bodies left on Nathema. There are clumps of clothes on the ground where people were when they were consumed by Vitiate with no biological remains whatsoever.

It is highly likely that Vitiate performed a different ritual on Ziost then on Nathema. What it was exactly we won’t know for sure until the story expanded further. It’s clear that in any case he still doesn’t have the power to extinguish all life, as of yet. However…

Something to Ponder..

Vitiate says something quite interesting if you pick the right dialogue option in your final conversation you have with him on Ziost. Your character says something along the lines of ‘I wasn’t going to sit idly by and let you destroy/consume all life in the galaxy’ to which Vitiate replies with something like “I have other plans now’. What does he mean by that? Does this mean he no longer wishes to consume all life in the galaxy? Did he finally realise how boring life would be all by himself?

I guess only time will tell, but it’s interesting to see them take a new direction with Vitiate’s story if this is the case.

Overall, I am impressed with the way they rounded up the story. I was concerned that they might twist it into a happy ending where you somehow are able to delay Vitiate. But thankfully, that didn’t happen. It was nice to see a dark and unhappy ending.

Character Dialogue Comparisons

One of the main complaints about the recent Shadow of Revan storyline and now the Rise of the Emperor storyline is that they are too similar and practically identical for each class. Yes, the story is essentially the same for everyone, but, there are differences in the dialogue in both story arcs for some classes but not so much others. I have only done Ziost on my Bounty Hunter, Trooper, Sith Warrior and Jedi Knight so far so I’ll be commenting the dialogue of those four classes only.

The Trooper and Bounty Hunter dialogue on Ziost, compared to each other, does not differ that much except for a couple of lines, which are references to who they are. The Sith Warrior and Jedi Knight however, both have sequences of differing dialogue. The most poignant example being in the first instance on Ziost when Vitiate first comes and says hello via the people he has possessed. Both the Sith Warrior and Jedi Knight each get their own special dialogue which relates heavily to their respective class stories.

Another notable instance where the dialogue differs for each class is when you’re trying to draw the Vitiate to the electric super weapon to try and stop him. Each class has different speech they say over the holo to get his attention and make him angry.

So yes, the story is the same but the differing dialogue makes the story repeatable especially for Sith Warriors and Jedi Knights. I would highly recommend doing the story on both of those classes if you have not yet done so.

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My Overall Thoughts of the Story

Overall I felt that the story was very well written and the visuals captured brilliantly a world in chaos and again, post catastrophe. It was very intriguing and I’m looking forward to seeing where the story is headed. Vitiate is such a brilliant villain and it was great to hear a lot of dialogue from him. The interactions with both Theron and Lana are a nice continuation from the Shadow of Revan. I like both characters and I’m looking forward to dealing with them again in the next chapter of the story.

I was particularly fond of this story having read the Revan novel. The moment I landed on Ziost and saw what was happening, I knew exactly what was going to happen. I immediately thought of Nathema and was excited to see the direction the story was headed in and I was not disappointed with how it ended! Like I said above, it’s nice to see a dark, unhappy ending to a story.

I do however, have some issue with the ‘playabity’ of the storyline and how or if it even relates to some classes’ stories. The Shadow of Revan and now The Rise live ziost 26 w water 01of the Emperor story arcs are essentially a continuation of both the Jedi Knight and Sith Warrior stories molded into one. It’s becoming increasingly harder to feel that say a Trooper or a Bounty Hunter (let alone a Smuggler) should even be on Ziost when the Sith Warrior or Jedi Knight are far more qualified to deal with the Emperor/Vitiate. As a Jedi Knight or Sith Warrior you feel this is where you should be and it’s a logical for both classes to play a crucial role in attempting to deal with the Emperor/Vitiate.

A Missing Character

There is one last thing I wish to touch on before I conclude this post. It is something that is been of great annoyance to me since the Forged Alliances story arc and continues on through Shadow of Revan and now, Rise of the Emperor.

Lord Scourge.

Any of you who have played a Jedi Knight or have read the Revan novel would be well aware of the huge role he plays in both stories. You would think he would have a role in these new stories not only concerning dealing with Revan, but especially once it’s revealed that Vitiate is involved. You’d think from that point on he’d want to do everything in his power to help stop Vitiate after everything he’s been through.

But he just stands around and says nothing and it’s so frustrating! I took Lord Scourge through both the Shadow of Revan and Rise of the Emperor story arcs on my Jedi Knight and he says absolutely nothing! It’s unbelievable! He doesn’t even have a comment when you first land on Yavin IV where most other companions have some kind of dialogue? Also how fantastic would it have been when the Emperor/Vitiate returns at the end of Shadow of Revan, and you have Lord Scourge with you, to have the Emperor/Vitiate say something to him? He has a special comment for the Sith Warrior and acknowledges them but not Lord Scourge? What is going on here?

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How could the writers at Bioware reprimand this? I don’t think they can. It’s too late. I don’t think a companion conversation or even seven conversations would be enough. I can’t really think of a way it would work? In the situation we are in now with the Empire now being against Vitiate, would Lord Scourge want to stay with the Jedi Knight or would he want to help the Empire, maybe team up with Lana Beniko? Or would he still be considered a traitor to the Empire?  But then again, there is the vision he had depicting the Jedi Knight as the one who ultimately defeats the Emperor. Would he still be going by his vision at this point in the story?

Despite being disappointed by Lord Scourge’s absence in the story, I’m still looking forward to seeing the direction the story takes. Maybe there is a chance Lord Scourge could get involved in the next chapter of the story, maybe they could figure out a way to make it work but I doubt it. Also, perhaps they can find better ways of integrating other classes stories better into the story arc involving Vitiate going forward? Make those classes feel they have a purpose which compliments their expertise.

Hopefully more will be revealed soon about the upcoming story and we’ll get to find out what the ‘Fallen Empire’ is about.

Thank you for reading my review of Rise of the Emperor. I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on this interesting story arc.

What did you think of the Rise of the Emperor story? Are you also upset about the lack of involvement from Lord Scourge in the storyline?


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  • Ruoe

    So I found this rather intriguing and applaud your style of critique. Many would be bashing on the way there was no separation of class individuality pretty heavily, whereas you did not. I also read the Revan novel and enjoyed it and was also disappointed to see no interaction with Scourge and Vitiate. Overall, I liked your blog a lot, only thing, it’s kind of nitpicking, but you misused reprimand in the conclusive statements, think you mean repair or remedy. Otherwise, I love your blog, keep it up!

  • Menzaladoc

    Good piece, Rachel. Totally agree. Love this storyline and especially the big finale. Wow. I totally DID NOT expect that. I didn’t think Bioware would go there. Props to them. But us poor Warriors. Screwed over by Baras and then Vitty. We just can’t seem to back the right horse.