14/10/2016

KOTOR Adventures: Leave My Wookiee Alone!

This series of posts hasn't really been a full description of my KOTOR playthrough in so far as I've skipped a lot of stuff and focused only on the things that have stood out to me, specifically as a SWTOR player. One of the things that I haven't mentioned for example is that one of the companions that I picked up back on Taris is a wookiee called Zaalbar. I pretty much never used him for anything because unlike the other companions, who all got pretty chatty about their backgrounds after a while, he never had anything to say to me. I didn't know it was possible to swear a life debt to someone and still keep them at arm's length like this!

Nonetheless, I wasn't going to visit the home planet of the wookiees without my very own wookiee in tow, so Zaalbar finally got the opportunity to grab some fresh air. I immediately had cause to wonder how things go differently if you don't take him along, because as it turns out he's the exiled brother of the local wookiee leader, appropriately named Chunder Chuundar, who willingly allows his people to get enslaved by the Czerka Corporation. Oh right, they are on Kashyyyk too and have gone from merely being annoyingly corporate to being literal slave drivers. Unsurprisingly, showing up with Zaalbar in tow immediately causes trouble. As I said, it really makes you wonder how things go down if you don't bring him along, unless the game enforces his presence somehow.


Anyway, next thing you know, Zaalbar is being held prisoner and you are being told to hunt down a crazed wookiee in the "Shadowlands" a.k.a. on the ground (wookiees live in trees, remember). As soon as you arrive there, you get ambushed by Darth Malak's apprentice with two flunkies in tow, and I'm super proud to say that I defeated them on the first try! Slowly but surely I am getting better at this.

Next you run into a grey-bearded Jedi called Jolee Bindo, whose name I immediately recognised as someone whom you can recruit as your companion (the last one I was missing). He turns out to be another grey Jedi - of which there seem to be a lot more than you would think - which mostly makes him a slightly grumpy old git. He tells you that he wants to join your crew to get off the planet and that he can help you find the local star map, but not before you get rid of some poachers for him first, and in a non-violent manner please. I failed at the latter by accident more than anything else, since I said one too many rude things to their leader, causing him to attack me and forcing me to kill them all in self-defense. Fortunately Jolee wasn't too hung up on it. Karma punished me in a way anyway as I realised afterwards that the poachers had apparently been the only way to get the quest items for Mission's brother, so that's that side quest closed off to me now.


Jolee leads you to some sort of Rakata doodad that wants to test your character by providing you with moral dilemmas. I can only guess that you are meant to answer as dark-side Revan would have, while I went down the path of the goodie-two-shoes light-side Jedi instead, which caused the device to sic two battle droids on me. I had a brief and panicky flashback to my encounters with similar droids on Dantooine and Manaan, which had been slow and painful, but lo and behold: Jolee has the ability to stun droids, so they both went down like a sack of bricks, causing the Rakata thingamajig to change its mind and hand over the star map to me anyway. Easiest map fragment so far! 

This also meant that I hadn't even finished any of the other quests yet and got to do so afterwards. There was one super annoying side mission where you're supposed to kill Mandalorians that only attack unarmed targets - which sounds fine in theory but in practice results in nothing but stupid busywork as you have to repeatedly unequip your entire party's weapons to lure them out, just to immediately re-equip them in the first combat round. The wookiee stuff was mostly fine and fun (I freed Zaalbar and disposed of Chunder of course), but the biggest disappointment was a quest to deal with a merchant who had betrayed a group of spacers... I was really looking forward to unmasking him, but when I returned to the spaceport the wookiees had stormed it and killed everyone! Talk about an overreaction! I mean, sure, don't let them enslave you anymore, but did you have to go and murder my quest NPCs? Sheesh.


Anyway, that was Kashyyyk, and I'm noticing that fights are getting dramatically easier. Malak's apprentice was the only one who gave me a brief fright and even he went down on the first attempt. I suspect it has something to do with levelling up, because even though the game lets you do the planets with the map fragments in any order and doesn't display any levels on your opponents, I suspect that there was no advanced scaling technology or anything involved and it's simply that they are all, say, level ten or something while you are supposed to go from eight to fifteen over the course of that part of the story. Two map fragments left I think...

4 comments :

  1. Yeah, if you bring other crew members along Zaalbar is automatically placed in Chuundar's hut, as I believe Czerka agents find him in a routine (though unscheduled as far as you're concerned) inspection of the Ebon Hawk.

    The game also impresses upon you the fact that bringing Zaalbar along is wise if you bring two different Companions along instead. Everybody - except for T3 - comments that Zaalbar would be beneficial not only for (seemingly) easier integration but for explaining the cultures of his people in greater detail.

    Not too different, really.

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    1. That's good to know, thanks! I do often wonder with this game how much choice it really gives you (since people complain that SWTOR doesn't live up to it) and how many are "fake" choices that will still lead to more or less the same outcome anyway.

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  2. Awww, Kashyyyk was one of my favourite planets (maybe *the* favourite even, I'm just a sucker for places with lots of nature). I love Zaalbar!

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    1. I didn't mean to say that I didn't enjoy it! While some of the side quests annoyed me from a mechanical point of view, I was very keen to see how the whole situation with the wookiees would resolve itself.

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