Bringing Up a Bounty Hunter
Before I write about chapter thirteen and fourteen of Knights of the Fallen Empire in detail, I really wanted to get one of my bounty hunters into KotFE because both chapters see the return of a bounty hunter companion as part of the main storyline. I've taken to watching YouTube videos of certain setups that I'm unlikely to ever experience myself (e.g. male characters reuniting with a companion love interest), but there are other variations of the story that I definitely do want to see for myself.
So I picked up the only one of my two Powertechs that had completed Shadow of Revan and took her through Ziost. I always kind of struggle with replaying Ziost because while I do think it tells a valuable part of the story and features some interesting characters, I also find the linearity kind of tedious. I eventually decided to overcome my desire for completionism and left out the side quests this time, which sped things up considerably.
I hadn't had very high expectations for playing through Ziost as a bounty hunter, as the beginning of the Emperor's involvement sort of marks the point where things get a bit awkward for non-Force users. I needn't have worried though and I have to give credit where credit is due: There were some pretty good bounty hunter-specific lines in there. Like how the Emperor wouldn't be a good employer because he wants so many people dead that he'd probably ask for a bulk discount...
I also realised to my delight that I had never actually finished Gault's companion story on this character, which was convenient as I'd really wanted a refresher on what exactly it tells us about his relationship with Hylo Visz. Turns out that it actually explains why she doesn't quite look her true age: She was trapped in a stasis chamber on Belsavis for a while until Gault ended up rescuing her. The story also ends with Hylo taking him back (they hadn't been on good terms for a while), though I'm not sure if that can vary depending on whether you encouraged the whole endeavour or not. From a bounty hunter's view, the setup for chapter thirteen should make a whole lot more sense in any case.
Sadly, taking yet another character through KotFE feels a bit like a chore (this is my fifth one). There are parts I genuinely want to see from a different perspective, but there is a lot to content to get through that doesn't really vary that much. It took some mental effort to finally press that button to start the expansion, as it kind of locks me into several hours of single player gameplay when I'd rather be doing something with my guildies. Once I was actually in, I quite enjoyed replaying the first couple of chapters, which still make plenty of references to your past. I was quite amused when I got the option to sass Arcann in chapter one by saying that he should either offer me a job or shut up. From around chapter four onwards though, things start to get a bit samey as the focus is more on developing relationships with your new companions, with limited options to truly change the direction of events. Still got another five chapters or so to go before I get to the (to me) interesting part...
I suppose the one thing I can look forward to in the meantime is seeing how well the KotFE story adjusts to a truly neutral character that takes light and dark side choices in a somewhat unpredictable pattern. For example it was clear to me that my bounty hunter would be enough of an opportunist to kneel to Valkorion, however she's also proud enough of her abilities that she keeps rejecting his help in combat. I also found it interesting that when I met former sergeant Ralo again in chapter six, he didn't like my character even though she had gone to save the trapped soldiers in chapter one - apparently setting the ship to ramming speed and not giving people enough time to get to the escape pods was bad enough to cancel out that good deed. It's kind of heart-breaking how many little variations there are that most people are unlikely to ever see simply because it requires too much repetition of sections that don't really change.