Expansions and major game updates can do funny things to your expectations, plans and routines. I thought I was all set for Knights of the Fallen Empire, with both my main and two beloved alts having completed all the previous content and being ready to jump into the new story without missing out on anything.
However, I realised not long into my first playthrough of the new story chapters that I really didn't want to do my next one on one of the alts I had specifically prepared for this purpose, at least not immediately. Ever since the Outlander trailer we've known that Valkorion would ask the player to join him at some point, but I was kind of surprised that this choice already came up in chapter one. My trooper was never going to agree to this, even more so considering what happens just before that scene. But I also immediately knew that I really, really wanted to know what would happen.
The problem is, I don't enjoy playing dark side characters. If you look at my character page, you'll notice that most of them are light side, a couple are neutral, and only one or two are dark side (and even then not fully). Both of the alts that I had prepared for alternate playthroughs were paragons of virtue as well, and I couldn't see either of them accepting Valkorion's offer. The only character I have that I could imagine siding with him in a heartbeat was my Marauder - a rarely used alt that I can't play for toffee.
So my mission over the course of the last two weeks or so has been to get her up to scratch. I could have jumped straight into KotFE of course since she was level 60, but the thought of potentially locking myself out of some major storylines and leaving them unfinished didn't sit well with me. I pugged Temple of Sacrifice, since I had done most of the Shadow of Revan story but had abandoned it at the "storm the temple with a small strike team" stage. I did Makeb and Oricon, and was surprised by just how much fun Oricon still is, even on the nth replay. (The little lore holocrons allowed me to pretend that datacrons are still a thing.) I did Directive 7, Battle of Ilum and False Emperor on tactical to complete the storylines associated with them (and died a lot in the runs where we didn't have a healer, but otherwise things went quite smoothly and my groups were friendly). I went through the story on Ziost and found yet another fate for Agent Kovach. And eventually... it was time to step into the Knights of the Fallen Empire content.
As was to be expected, people are already criticising the KotFE choices for not mattering enough. It's certainly true that there are a lot of events that take place regardless of what you do - but to be honest I expected nothing else. Personally I still enjoyed making a lot of choices that were completely contrary to what my trooper had done, and I did see a lot of interesting reactions to those choices. I heard new lines that made me laugh, and I'm curious to see where it will all lead, because a lot of the moments when I was told that my actions would be remembered haven't had any obvious pay-off yet. I do suspect that more interesting developments are yet to come in the next seven chapters. And I was actually kind of impressed when after repeatedly flirting with Koth over the course of the story, he rudely rebuffed my Marauder when I tried to speak to him privately at the end of chapter nine - I guess he really did remember all those times I had been a jerk to his people!