15/12/2020

6.2 Story Time - Spirit of Vengeance

As mentioned in my last post, Echoes of Oblivion segues straight into the beginning of a new story arc, starting with a mission called Spirit of Vengeance. Once again, this post will contain full spoilers, so consider yourself warned.

In the last patch, Shae Vizla made a point of briefly introducing you to her advisor Jekiah Ordo, and we soon see her talking to him again about what sounds like internal unrest brewing among the Mandalorians. After you return from your showdown with the Emperor, it turns out that things have indeed come to a head and an as of yet unidentified rebel faction has attempted to seize Shae's flagship, the Spirit of Vengeance II. You agree to help her re-take it. What follows takes place in the new flashpoint of the same name, and I'll probably make a separate post about things like boss fights/mechanics there, so I'll mostly leave them out of this one and focus on what happens in the story.

You find the Spirit tethered to three smaller Mandalorian ships and it falls on you to board each ship in turn to detach the tethers from the inside. Your entire support consists of a Mandalorian called Rass Ordo, who's also Jekiah's younger brother.

On the first ship, the Champion's Glory, you find Mandalorians of Clan Varad of Mandalorian Raiders fame. The second ship, the Fortune's Folly, is crewed by Mandalorian outcasts (Dar'manda) such as you've met on Mek-sha. Besides the name there doesn't appear to be an obvious affiliation between this group and Indigo's crew on Mek-sha though, as they seem to be led by a rather smuggler-like Mando with the very punny name Bask Sunn. Finally the third ship, the Seeker's Vigil, belongs to the Ash'ad, a clan of Mandalorians who are apparently also the guys active on Onderon (I have to admit I'd missed that memo).

With the last restraint removed, you move on to the Spirit of Vengeance II itself, where Jekiah and his remaining loyalists find themselves desperately retreating to the bridge. You intervene and encounter the leader of the revolt, the self-styled Field Marshal Heta Kol. You fight but she gets away, though apparently her raiders captured a banner belonging to Clan Cadera and she seems quite content with that. Everyone's quite confused by this, considering that Torian's old clan has long been wiped out (he's there to comment on this if he's still alive in your version of the story by the way), though they acknowledge that it could be seen as a symbol of rebellion. Shae can't quite shake the feeling that Heta Kol must be driven by something more personal though.

As players, we're treated to a sort of epilogue cut scene that shows Heta "debriefing" her bickering lieutenants: Tyrus Brokenblade of the Varad, Bask Sunn of the Dar'manda (who was the only one of the first three bosses in the flashpoint that made it out alive due to begging to trade intel for his life), and Durn Wynnward of the Ash'ad. Clan Varad is blamed for failing to "contain the situation" when their ship was first boarded, and Heta Kol ends up throwing a thermal detonator at Tyrus. He catches it, but she then walks up to him and stabs him repeatedly in the side while going on about how they all need to be able to rely on each other more and as the rest of the room watches on anxiously to see whether Tyrus will drop the detonator or not. He seems to pass the "test" though and the Field Marshal deactivates the detonator before sending everyone away again, telling them that they should already be aware of their next mission. She takes off her helmet while looking up at the banner behind her and mutters "a Mandalorian never forgets" in Mando'a. (No, I didn't know that when I heard it; I had to look it up.)

I've stated in the past that I'm not the biggest fan of the Mandalorians, but this mission seemed like a good opening chapter to something new, as it featured interesting characters and lots of intrigue.

Rass Ordo, who gives off vibes of being meant to be a recurring NPC/companion later on, doesn't really do a lot other than simply help you along with the mission, but I agree with my friend Cal who said that it was nice to deal with a Mandalorian for once who just seemed like a "normal guy" - without speaking in tongues or wanting to start a fight every five seconds. Mostly he shows an ability to roll with the punches as he's not fazed by your character crashing a shuttle into the Champion's Glory, nor by you blowing up a console he's working on if you get impatient with him. He also clearly cares a lot about his older brother as he gets quite agitated when you get close to the cornered Jekiah. I look forward to seeing him again.

Heta Kol, the new big bad, is shrouded in a lot of intrigue. Who is she and why is she so mad at Shae? My favourite theory I've seen so far is that she could be the sister of the previous Mandalore (the Vindicated), whose regular name was "Artus Lok" - and Kol is Lok backwards, get it?! But I'm not too invested in any such theories either way, as I'm quite happy to accept the character on her own merits to be honest.

She makes it clear that at least one of the reasons she hates Shae is that she feels Mandalore the Avenger has taken the Mandalorians into a bad direction, working with the Alliance like mercenaries when they should be fighting for their own causes instead. With that in mind, it's confusing that she works with Dar'manda of all people, who are apparently only in it for the credits, which seems like a bad match on both sides. I'm hoping that this will be touched upon in a future update, whether through some sort of reveal or maybe Bask Sunn betraying her - I know Mandalorians like it rough, but the whole "threatening to blow up the room while repeatedly stabbing the guy preventing it" thing seemed a bit over the top to me even by their standards, so I'd like to know how her little faction has managed to hold it together so far (or watch them fail to hold it together - either would work).

Personally I also thought it was interesting that during the final showdown on the bridge, Shae opted to charge off and hold off the reinforcements instead of fighting Heta Kol herself. Now, obviously this kind of had to happen so we as players had a boss fight, but it seemed uncharacteristic for her to dodge the opportunity of a personal duel there and then. Is it because she still wanted to avoid making too big a deal out of the whole situation and in order to let you have the "honour" of potentially dispatching her enemy for her?

Lots of questions and not many answers, but that's fine for the beginning of a new storyline and I enjoyed it for what it was. Let's just hope there'll be an appropriate pay-off later.

4 comments :

  1. But this is the thing, isn't it? The whole issue is Mandos having become your personal bodyguards... And tehre is Shae, making you hers and proving to them all that it's an equal partnership.
    Politics, politics.
    Shae may not like them, but she plays them well enough, when it suits her needs.

    It felt very ironic-appropriate that they were stealing the Cadera banner in my storyline - because Cadera was outlawed for wanting to side with teh Republic rather than the Empire, and there is Shae, following my Republic-aligned Outlander into republic serving... (Without Torian, sadly. RIP) I wonder if they'll touch into that at some point.
    (Double ironic for the imperial saboteur storyline, no doubt. I haven't done it yet - and mine's a Mando to boot! - but I bet it'll be good fun. All in the family, amiright?)

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  2. damn...i think, i have to find my lone toon, on which i led Torian live and not rescued Vette...or do i just start a new toon?...might be easier...i got like 73+ or so...on five servers...

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  3. Yeah... I *used* to be pretty sure I would save Vette over Torian on any but my darkest characters (and my Mando-gal), but now.... with the new story-direction I may have to revise that policy. Sorry Vette.

    That just goes to show: It's not a bad idea to really take your time with taking different chars thorugh the story. I have a 'story-main', a Jedi Knight that takes on every new content blindly, so my reactions and choices are made in the moment - imo this makes the story feel more impactful. It also sometimes makes me regret decisions later on, but that's just part of it.

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  4. I’ll probably have to wait until they finish fixing it. Before 6.2a, I couldn’t clear the first boss on story mode. Now I can’t clear the second boss and the healing nodes don’t work.

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