Here is a collection of my thoughts about the final Chapter of Knights of the Fallen Empire, The Battle of Odessen and the overall KOTFE Story and Expansion. I’ve played through the whole story on a Sith Warrior who is more Dark Sided (but not always) and a Jedi Knight who is more Light Side inclined.
**SPOILERS FOR CHAPTER 16 BEGIN AFTER IMAGE**
The Battle of Odessen
I have mixed feelings about this Chapter. On the one hand hand I’m glad that we finally got to confront Arcann again. On the other hand, I’m unhappy with how the story differs if you’re more Dark Sided. It really doesn’t work at all. The most bizarre occurrence was choosing to kill Arcann. You beat him down and then your character pauses for a few seconds when they’re about to deal the killing blow. In that pause there is more then enough time to strike the killing blow. It was as if my character was hesitating to kill Arcann despite the choice I made to kill him. Then the debris falls down and you end up getting separated from Arcann. It was, for me, the most frustrating moment in the Chapter.
This Chapter flows much better if you made predominantly Light Sided choices throughout the KOTFE expansion. For instance, Koth’s appearance was quite jarring in this Chapter (if you made Dark Side choices). He shows up out of the blue to ‘help’ with the Gravestone. At the end, he commandeers the Gravestone from the Alliance and escapes on it. If you’re Light Sided this of course never happens at all as Koth is still part of the Alliance. The whole Koth situation highlights a degree of bias towards going Light Sided in KOTFE.
It was also nice to finally have a moment, however brief, with your romantic interest. It did feel a little jarring though. It really is such a shame that the romances weren’t more fleshed out over the last few chapters. The romances were much better handled in the Class Stories and even throughout the Shadow of Revan arch.
Senya’s ‘betrayal’ shouldn’t have really been a surprise. She never stopped caring deeply for her children. Back in Chapter 6, when we meet Heskal and the Scions, Senya makes it clear that she feels justice can be served without killing Arcann and Vaylin. So it really shouldn’t be that surprising that she doesn’t want us to kill her children to bring them to justice. When she is taking an injured Arcann away she says that justice has now been served and that she wants him to have a chance of redemption. So defeating Arcann is ‘justice’ to her.
I have to admit that I do like that Vaylin is now on the Eternal Throne. It’s interesting to see SCORPIO partner up with Vaylin. Undoubtedly, SCORPIO has her motives and is likely to eventually betray Vaylin (like she unsurprisingly betrayed ‘The Outlander’). So it will be interesting, going forward, to see them interact in future story. I still have misgivings about taking a companion, SCORPIO and making her such a major character but I suppose it makes sense given her background.
Overall Thoughts on KOTFE
I’ve had misgivings about the direction they were taking the story from the beginning. Rise of the Emperor (Ziost) was the last true ‘SWTOR’ story for me. I’m not that knowledgeable of the Star Wars Legends (Expanded Universe) but to me, it felt really weird introducing a third (powerful) faction into a Star Wars game (universe). It still feels weird. I want to be a part the classic light side verses the dark side struggle, The Empire verses the Republic/Rebels that is such an iconic part of Star Wars. Vanilla SWTOR started out like that, which was great. But that has now fallen by the way side completely which is such a shame.
I miss vanilla SWTOR where each of the 8 Classes had their own Stories and Companions. I miss the individual flavours the class stories had. The opportunity to play different, iconic roles in the Star Wars universe. That’s what was so great about SWTOR. KOTFE has taken away these flavourings and forced all of the iconic Star Wars roles into one story that doesn’t suit all of the ‘roles’. This ties into another one of my major issues with the KOTFE Story is it’s relevance to non force sensitive Classes. The story still doesn’t make any sense for non force sensitive characters. The story feels like it was designed for the Jedi Knight/Sith Warrior.
KOTFE is a mishmash of Characters and Companions all jumbled up and it just doesn’t feel right. Like a Guildmate said, there is no (very minimal) connection or interactions with our companions (old and new). The interaction and character development of Companions, that was signature to the Class Stories, feels underdeveloped in KOTFE. It wasn’t as bad in the earlier Chapters, but, in the later Chapters, more of the interactions feel forced and unnatural. This is again in part due to there being too many companions.
The KOTFE story was also too cinematic in nature and ‘on rails’. Many have remarked on how it feels like they’re watching a TV Show rather then playing a classic Bioware RPG. It’s okay to show what is happening beyond our characters’ scopes (eg. the Arcann and Vaylin scenes throughout KOTFE). But these should be short and not drag on too much like they have been. Cutscenes involving our characters, likewise, should not be so drawn out with minimal dialogue options like we’ve seen a lot throughout KOTFE. Again the on rails nature of KOTFE took away our characters individuality and made it less of an RPG and more of an interactive TV Show where the story is already predetermined.
Also, I hate what they did with Vitiate’s (The Emperor’s) character. Vitiate, (The Emperor) was made out to be the big bad guy from the beginning of SWTOR. By ‘ascending’ Vitiate and morphing him into Valkorion, they’ve turned him into this godlike, ridiculously powerful being who is seemingly impossible to defeat. (Yes, The Emperor was going to be hard to defeat but he still seemed somewhat ‘mortal’ despite he’s ‘immortality’). They made a big deal out of Valkorion in advertising for KOTFE but he quickly became relegated to being a side character after his ‘death’ in Chapter 1 which felt anti-climatic. The Shadow of Revan and Rise of the Emperor stories were gearing Vitiate up to be a big deal but then that just fell flat with his ascension to true immortality. Vitiate/Valkorion to me was the character I was the most interested in seeing developed in the KOTFE story. But we have been left with so many lingering questions about him which is quite frustrating. We still don’t know where he is or what his endgame is.
KOTFE had some good chapters and random moments but overall, it doesn’t feel right. The flow of the story, while it started out smooth became disjointed from Chapter 9 onward’s with time gaps and random happenings that didn’t make sense. I did not like the monthly release pattern of the last few chapters. It drew out the story too much and added to the disjointed feeling of the overall story. I believe it would have worked better if the story had been released in bigger chunks with each chunk having a clear start, climax and conclusion while maintaining an overarching story. The worst Chapters were the ‘Companion recruitment’ ones (Chapter 10 and 11) where nothing really happened to advance the story. They felt quite wasteful. Hopefully there won’t be any more companion recruitment Chapters in future story.
One thing I really liked about playing through the KOTFE chapters was the interactive nature of playing through the Chapters. In some of the Chapters, you get items such as weapons and abilities which you can use to aid you while playing through the story. It would be great to see the use of items implemented in other types of content such as Operations and Flashpoints. For instance, you could have some members of the group on turrets during certain phases of a boss fight while others used grenades to interrupt abilities etc. Even adding NPC’s to to make raids feel more epic in scale or vehicle use would be awesome. The possibilities are endless. Note I do not want additional weapons and abilities used to make Operations easier, I want them to have to be used to get past boss fights as well as all the usual following mechanics and doing enough DPS/Healing. Speaking of Operations, I liked a lot of the boss fight mechanics that were used in varying fights throughout KOTFE especially in Chapter 16. It would be great to see these mechanics used in future Operations.
The whole ‘choices matter’ thing they pandered to us since they announced KOTFE and kept insisting was a thing was an overhyped, under delivered vice. They never should of made a big deal about ‘choices mattering’. It was a major selling point which led to conjecture and unrealistic expectations. There was too much room in that slogan for misinterpretation which they never effectively addressed. Surely they could have found a better ‘slogan’ or selling point to use.
A linear story which doesn’t allow you to group up with and complete with other players has no place in an MMO. Vanilla SWTOR introduced a new way to group up and do stuff with people in an MMO, Class Stories. People who enjoyed all types of MMO gameplay styles liked being able to experience stories in groups. Everyone in the group being able to progress their story while experiencing other stories was fantastic. Having the choice to do Class Stories on your own or with a friend was a big deal to a lot of people. KOTFE took away this choice and forced you to do it on your own.
Overall, I feel that the KOTFE experiment failed. Not just because of the issues I have with the story but also due to the lack of additional new group content and mini game type activities to do in addition to the story. Overally focusing on story while ignoring other aspects of the game ruined the game for a lot of players. Single player story isn’t enough to keep most people engaged in an MMO environment. Hopefully in the upcoming expansion, there are additional new things to do besides story which involving grouping with other players.
What did you think of Chapter 16? Did you enjoy the KOTFE Story/Expansion? Are you looking forward to finding out more about the Knights of the Eternal Throne Expansion?