Legacy of the Sith Story Review: Elom

Let's talk about the second half of 7.0's story, the flashpoint "Ruins of Nul" set on the newly introduced planet Elom. I won't cover fights or mechanics here; those might become the subject of a separate post eventually. This is all about the story, so be prepared for spoilers and opinions after the screenshot!

The story on Elom is pretty much the same for Republic and Empire again, with some minor variations in terms of how characters react to things. With things wrapped up on Manaan, either Tau (Republic) or Darth Rivix (Empire) show up to tell you that a team that was sent to the planet Elom to learn more about the mysterious Darth Nul has gone silent and that you need to go there to find out what happened, like, now.

This is where I have to immediately go off on a little tangent. The last story update we got before the expansion was one of those Odessen meeting room interludes called "Whispers in the Force", and I actually meant to write about it at some point but just couldn't really muster up the enthusiasm. Vulkk had already done a pretty good write-up of it anyway and he loved it way more than I did!

As part of that small bit of story you send a group of Force sensitives (which can potentially include Arcann) to a mysterious planet to learn more about Darth Nul, the even more mysterious creator of the relic that Darth Malgus stole from Dantooine. The planet is not named, but I always thought that this was meant to be a lead-in to the Elom flashpoint - and I was not the only one! However, for some reason the writers thought it wouldn't be at all confusing to have this whole bit about sending some of your troops to a mysterious planet to search for more information about Darth Nul, just to follow this up with your character also going to a mysterious planet to look for a research team that was looking for information about Darth Nul, but they are not the same planet and team.

So your character, your faction-specific companion and Lana fly to Elom and find that a mysterious (have I used "mysterious" enough times yet) energy shield has been erected around the area you were meant to investigate. There also seems to be other strange technology active, and it's driving the wildlife mad.

Soon you find a bunch of dead people from both factions - but don't worry, it's nobody you know since as I said before, your team went to a different planet! Tau knew a lot of the recently deceased from Ossus though and is quite upset.

You investigate further and soon encounter more crazy tech that you have to fight off before you can deactivate the energy shield around the area. You also encounter living members of the opposite faction... and then the Force users in your group sense it - Malgus is here! I believe that the events of the trailer are meant to take place around this time.

You follow a trail up the mountain, and Malgus bursts out of the temple at the top, presumably after having just finished his cinematic appearance. At last, finally we'll learn what he's been looking f... no wait, he just makes some more vague comments about how he's not the same man he used to be and then you fight.

You emerge victorious of course, and eventually you subdue him. With the shield deactivated, reinforcements come in to help as well, allowing/forcing(?) you to capture him alive.

After this we cut to a shot of Malgus being imprisoned on a throne inside a special force field, surrounded by a chasm, and members of your faction explain to you how this is a special prison just for him. The Republic is excited to get all kinds of valuable intel out of such an infamous prisoner. You can express a preference for just having Malgus killed, and Darth Rivix will even agree with you on Empire side, but otherwise you're outvoted.

Throughout this, Darth Malgus mostly stares at you moodily from his throne, though he eventually speaks up to give a vague warning about how what he's unleashed can't be stopped anymore and is bigger than him now etc. To drive home the point, we cut back to Elom where we see Sa'har from the trailer timidly emerge from the ruins and find the holocron that Malgus dropped. After a brief moment of hesitation she grabs it and runs away.

You regain control of your character next to Malgus' prison, and when you exit the area you find that Malgus' special prison is right on Carrick Station/Vaiken Spacedock for some reason?! That seems incredibly unsafe... though I won't deny that the idea of a follow-up story featuring a Malgus prison breakout and rampage across the fleet has something appealing to it.

So here's what I liked about this part of the story: There's some nice banter between Lana and your other companion again: She verbally spars with Tau about what it means to be a Sith and absolutely mops the floor with her on the subject, and she tells you that in her opinion, Rivix is a snake and not to be trusted. Malgus is still a badass and looks cool, and the scene where he's captured features a number of different characters whom it's nice to see work together. On Empire side, even the Empress/Emperor her/himself shows up to help! Also, the new Sith Lord in charge of Malgus' prison, Lord Eldrid, is intriguing.

Now here's what I didn't like about this part of the story: The confusion about the two different planets and research teams seemed like it could've been avoided very easily. But most importantly... we still haven't got any real answers about Malgus!

You could argue that this is just the beginning of the Legacy of the Sith storyline, but my problem is that it's not the beginning of the Malgus arc! If you need a reminder, Darth Malgus' return now happened more than three years ago in real time - and I freaking loved it back then! Then he broke free in Onslaught and I was like: Cool, I'm so glad we didn't kill him and I can't wait to see what he gets up to next. Then we detoured to other storylines for two updates, and after that the plot still didn't really advance with Secrets of the Enclave but I was willing to forgive that because I saw it as more of a quiet character-building interlude and it worked really well as such. But surely next time, we were going to get something more meaty, right?

Unfortunately the answer is no, we didn't. I didn't exactly expect a conclusion to the Malgus arc at this point, but something about what it is he's trying to do, so that we can act on it and move the story forward! But then we get nothing but another couple of vague lines about how he's been up to something big... presumably for us to tune back in in another six months to maybe find out more, or maybe we'll even forget all about him again for a while to deal with the Mandalorians again.

I'm just kind of frustrated that a storyline that started so strong has been drawn out to the point where it's not nearly as fun anymore. On LotS launch day, the official SWTOR Twitter account tweeted: "It's time to dive in and find out what Darth Malgus has been planning." However, after playing through all the new story content on both factions, I'm still none the wiser on that subject. Instead I just feel vaguely bad for Malgus (yes, really), for being so unceremoniously imprisoned again. On Imperial side, Darth Krovos comments in an unimpressed tone that the Empress/Emperor just wanted their pet back, and yeah, that really doesn't feel like a great thing to have helped with. I thought he was going to be allowed to be a bigger deal, honestly.

And yes, I know there'll be more to come. The new character Sa'har will undoubtedly have a role to play too and I'm sure we will learn more eventually. I just wish we could have gotten there at a better pace, and without all this build-up leading to nothing but a capture scene and no more clarity about Malgus' motivations than we had two years ago.


Shintar's Galactic Season 2 Diary, Week 1

I wasn't sure whether I should keep a diary of my Galactic Seasons progress again with the launch of season two, what with the many changes coming to the system and the novelty potentially having worn off, but I thought I might as well do it at least for the first week, just to see how things shake out.

Reminder of the biggest changes: There's now only one daily season objective (to earn 25k Conquest points, down from the initial PTS iteration of 50k), and a selection of ten weekly objectives which are the same for everyone, include a greater variety of activities, and count as fully completed as soon as you've fulfilled seven of ten, meaning you can pick your three least favourite ones and ignore them without missing out on any progress.

Day 1:

My daily objective completed itself just from me playing through the new story on my main.

I then had a look at the weekly options to consider which ones I liked/disliked the most. Here's the full list and my initial thoughts on them:

  • Do some space missions: I initially misread the description of this one as requiring heroic space missions and therefore instantly discarded it, as I've never been able to complete anything but the easiest ones. A guildie later pointed out to me though that you just get more points for doing the heroics, but you can still complete the objective with normal space missions as well.
  • KotFE chapter 6 on veteran or higher: I wasn't keen on this one either as chapters aren't fun repeatable content to me, and I didn't have a character at the right place in the story to actually be close to needing this for story progression.
  • Killing the Coruscant / Dromund Kaas world boss: This seemed like a viable option to me that I figured might be nice to do with guildies.
  • Do some quests and kill mobs on Coruscant or Dromund Kaas: An easy but boring one. Perhaps something to do with a lowbie alt that actually needs some of the quests there.
  • Play some GSF matches: Definitely an option, as I don't mind GSF.
  • Collect Underworld Syndicate Plans: Something to do with the mechanics of the new season, but I hadn't yet looked into how time-consuming this was going to be, so I mentally marked it as an unknown. The fact that I'd apparently already gathered a few without noticing was a good sign though.
  • Do flashpoints: Easy, we were going to do that to gear up anyway.
  • 200k Conquest points across your legacy: This one actually completed itself on that same day without me even trying, after I'd run a few flashpoints.
  • Gain Shadow Syndicate reputation: Similar to the Underworld Syndicate Plans, I didn't really know what this was going to be about yet.
  • Craft some stuff: I figured I might want to save myself the materials if I could easily get the points elsewhere, but in general this was going to be an easy enough objective to complete.

Day 2:

On day two I completed my daily objective the moment I logged in, because I'd had a Dark Project craft and some crew skill missions queued up, and the latter caused one of my companions to go up an influence level. Both of these together added up to more than 25k points instantly.

I also completed three more of the weeklies with ease. Running some more master mode flashpoints with guildies completed the flashpoint objective, and the flashpoints also dropped enough Underworld Syndicate Plans to tick that one off. I decided that the crafting objective was ultimately too easy for me to pass up and completed that one too.

While doing the flashpoint objective, we discovered our first seasons-related bug: According to the objective description, certain flashpoints were supposed to award bonus points, but in reality they not only didn't give the bonus, they gave zero (unless you killed the bonus boss, but that was a separate item on the list). Fortunately we were running so many of the things anyway that this barely slowed us down.

Day 3:

My daily was once again completed with a single Dark Project craft and the gain of a companion influence level.

I decided to make a start on the Coruscant questing objective by taking a lowbie alt through some of the story quests she had there, just to discover that class missions didn't count towards the tracker. A guildie later pointed out to me that the objective description actually did specify that the quests had to be repeatable, exploration or bonus... so basically anything but class missions for some reason.

I also completed the Shadow Syndicate reputation objective, bringing me to five out of seven weeklies completed. I'd actually gained a bit of rep the previous days already, after trying to figure out what to even do with those Underworld Syndicate Plans, but decided not to blow through all of the rep tokens at once since there's also a daily Conquest objective to increase any reputation.

Day 4:

Mr Commando and I agreed to do some heroics together since one of the new gear upgrade currencies pretty much requires you to grind dailies or heroics (bleh). Doing so completed my daily season objective, and since we chose Alderaan and Coruscant as our destinations, the Coruscant round also completed my weekly objective there.

Day 5:

I completed the daily once again pretty much by accident when I popped a Shadow Syndicate reputation token, which instantly gave me something like 45k Conquest points.

Looking at what objectives I had left, I decided on a whim to try to get into a group for the Coruscant world boss. My guild hadn't shown any interest in doing it, but I had seen people talking about it in Coruscant general chat, and guildies also reminded me that shared tagging was now a thing, so I could potentially even get credit if I joined a kill already in progress.

When I asked in general, no group was currently active though, so I actually ended up building it myself. It didn't take long at all and the boss went down fast! It was only when the seasons objective failed to pop up that I realised that it actually stated that you needed to kill both the Coruscant and the Dromund Kaas world boss, making this the third time I had misread a weekly objective description.

Day 6:

I was playing through the Imperial Manaan story on my bounty hunter around lunch time, so I completed the daily automatically shortly after reset from simply getting Conquest points for story progress.

It being a Sunday, I figured that this would also be a good time to finish my last weekly. The world bosses were at least half done, and getting into a run on Dromund Kaas probably wouldn't have been hard, but I wasn't really feeling it. Instead I decided to queue for some GSF, especially since guildies had mentioned that it was an excellent source for gear upgrades at the moment.

My first match was a domination that we won by a landslide, but after that it was only losses. Still, overall it only took five matches to complete the seasons weekly that way, and I also got a pair of new boots from the new thrice-a-weekly quest. With that, I had completed seven of the ten weeklies and the rest became greyed out.

Day 7:

I ran a couple of story mode operations with my guildies, and the daily seasons objective completed itself when we finished the first op. I was actually surprised it took that long.

Week 1 thoughts:

As expected, the second Galactic Season has a very different feel to it with all the changes Bioware made. I didn't have to concern myself with hitting the daily objective even once, because 25k Conquest points "happen" very quickly with a maxed out stronghold bonus and if you play the game at all.

What did kind of surprise me was how many of the weeklies also got done without me having to think about them much or at all. From the early examples that were given of the system, I expected them to be more extravagant in their requirements.

Even with the ones I did have to pay actual attention to, I never felt like I had to choose the "least annoying" option (like I sometimes felt with the season one dailies), but rather I would've been happy to do almost all of them anyway and it was just a matter of what I fancied more at the time.

I also noticed that the rewards feel much better so far. No more "here are bracers for a cosmetic gear set you'll never wear". Literally the next time I went to claim a reward I got a pair of cosmetic bracers, so I have to take that back. Also, ten copies of the same dye, something that doesn't stack! Argh.

I also ran into only one bug, the one with the flashpoint weekly... though it's kind of funny that based on my experiences last season, I expected there to be many more and was way too quick to blame Bioware whenever stuff wasn't updating instead of admitting to my own lack of reading comprehension.


Legacy of the Sith Story Review: Manaan

I said in my first impressions post that I found the story of LotS somewhat lacking both in length and content, but I've got to admit that I'd only played through the Republic story once at the time of writing that. When I went on to play through the Imperial storyline afterwards and started sorting through my screenshots, I felt that I'd perhaps judged things a bit harshly, because I kept thinking "yeah, that was actually pretty cool" as I recalled various moments.

The first half of the expansion narrative, which is set on Manaan, is a peculiar beast because the overall plot doesn't really have strong ties to anything that came before, and it doesn't feel like it's setting up a follow-up story either (though you never know, I suppose), which makes it a very odd fit for an expansion called Legacy of the Sith. It makes me imagine a Bioware road map from long ago that perhaps had this story update slotted as the last patch of Onslaught, with Legacy of the Sith instead being supposed to launch with a bundle consisting of the Elom flashpoint and whatever story update(s) are meant to come after. But then the pandemic hit, everything got delayed and they had to reshuffle things to still be able to launch an expansion for the tenth anniversary... this is 100% blind speculation on my part, but it would certainly explain a few things.

Anyway, let's talk about this oddball of a story that makes up half of 7.0. I'll discuss the other half in a separate post. There will be spoilers for all things Manaan after the next screenshot, so if you're not ready for that and don't want to know what happens there, feel free to skip this one.

Even though we've established at least since KotFE that Republic and Imperial stories can't both be true at the same time (anymore), events from the Republic Manaan storyline are referenced in the Imperial one, so I guess at least some version of events is meant to take place in both continuities.

We start things on Republic side by witnessing Arn captaining a ship watching over the Manaan system as part of Task Force Nova, which gets shot down by a mysterious weapon that is later identified as an Imperial ion cannon. The player character shows up to the rescue and you descend onto the planet to take the cannon out. You meet some Selkath, who are not best pleased to have you there, but grudgingly help you out because they like the Empire even less. And that's really the gist of the Republic story, which is why I found it a bit underwhelming to be honest.

The two main character threads throughout are Arn struggling to get to grip with what it means to be in command, now that he's been promoted from padawan to knight, and the player character interacting with a grouchy Selkath colonel called Gallo. The former is only really interesting if you like Arn a lot as a character (and he's not really one of my personal faves - sorry, Arn fans), and the latter is fairly by the numbers: she helps you, you help her, you grudgingly grow to respect each other etc. About the most interesting aspect of it is that you learn a lot of strange new expressions involving water or fish...

The big choice at the end is also a classic Star Wars trolley problem, where you have to choose between saving some people now, or sacrificing them for a presumed greater good later, which is the sort of thing that always gets people arguing about whether Bioware flagged the wrong option as light side but which isn't really particularly compelling to me.

None of this is badly done, but neither does it do anything particularly new or exciting, and the characters that got the main focus just weren't that interesting to me. I was reminded a lot of how the Republic story on Onderon didn't exactly wow me at first either. I do have some sympathy for the writers and for how hard it must be to write an interesting "good guy" story in this game, because when Republic characters are supposed to live up to their ideals, it's easy for them to end up simply being nice to everyone, not arguing (much) and being thoroughly bland. The last time Republic-specific stories had some spice (in my opinion) was pre-KotFE, when Satele decided to team up with Darth Marr against official policy, and Theron as a spy was at least occasionally doing questionable things. Things were generally more exciting back when Saresh was Supreme Chancellor... because she was on your side but she was also an annoying politician and that was always good for drama. Sadly that also meant that most people hated her and the devs eventually wrote her out by just making her outright evil and therefore safe to dispose of.

I digress a bit, but basically I was thinking about this because the Imperial story manages to be much more interesting due to focusing on internal conflict. It starts with your character saving Major Anri's ship from being chased by Republic fighters, after which we learn that the events of the Republic story just happened, but the Empire is still trying to hold on to some kolto extraction facilities, which is where you come in to help them.

You rescue and make the acquaintance of a certain Colonel Korrd who gives you various tasks to shore up local defenses and fight back against the Republic, supposedly relayed from the real person in charge, a Sith called Darth Norok. Korrd is cagey about letting you talk to Norok directly because he's worried his Sith superior will be annoyed by being bothered unnecessarily, which seems sensible enough if you've ever dealt with any Sith in this game, but the snippets of holocalls between them that you do catch seem ever so slightly off in some way.

Eventually you take over a Republic transport and find none other than Darth Norok himself in a prison cell there - apparently he was shot down at the start of the invasion and has been imprisoned ever since, meaning that Korrd has been using his name as a front to issue his own orders. You free Norok and he accompanies you to destroy the Republic's biggest, baddest gun... but when you get there he orders you to hijack it instead to sow chaos, even if it means being unable to accurately choose your targets and risking friendly fire. If you defy his orders, he'll draw his lightsaber on you and you have to kill him. He's flagged as both a champion mob and a tank by the way and therefore takes forever to die!

When you return to base, you and Anri confront Korrd about his lies, and he's unrepentant as he thinks Norok was a fool anyway and he (Korrd) only did what was best for the Empire. If Norok is alive, he comes in at this point to start choking Korrd, which is when Darth Krovos calls in to ask how it's going (she also does this if Norok is dead) and tells Norok to stop choking one of her direct underlings. During this conversation you can decide to rat Korrd out to Krovos or cover for him when Norok raises his accusations.

I killed Norok in one of my playthroughs and covered for Korrd there, and in another I left Norok alive and spoke up against Korrd, but didn't act against Krovos' follow-up request to have him arrested so that she could deal with him personally, which oddly enough, still left Norok angry with me for some reason. I don't know if he actually likes you if you ignore Krovos' orders and just murder Korrd on the spot, which is also an option. Apparently it's also possible to turn against Norok in front of Krovos at the very end if you prefer that. Lots of choices!

I really liked this story because while clashes between nutty Sith and the interests of ordinary Imperials are not a new theme, this was a unique take on it that I honestly didn't see coming. I also mentioned in my review of Onslaught that many of the newly introduced Sith in recent updates have seemed almost too nice to me, so I enjoyed seeing a violent brute like Norok again (as strange as that may sound) - yet at the same time he wasn't so over the top insane that it made you wonder why anybody put up with him at all.

So, looked at in isolation, the story on Manaan is a solid enough content update (though I've got to confess I found the constant rain and darkness somewhat off-putting in terms of environments I like to spend time in); it just feels a bit disjointed in the way it drops you in medias res, with no connection to anything, and then ends just as abruptly when either Tau or Darth Rivix show up to whisk you away to Elom.


First Impressions of Legacy of the Sith

I can't lie, my first impressions of Legacy of the Sith are not as positive as those I had of Onslaught, though it was hard for me at first to articulate what exactly is wrong, because I am having a good time. Trying to sort out my thoughts for the purposes of writing this post has certainly helped with putting things into perspective though.

If I had to sum my issues up in a nutshell, I would say that one is that there are a lot of mechanical and visual changes that I'm not sure how I feel about yet, and the other is that the content feels incomplete.

Point one is about both the UI updates made with 7.0 and the class changes that included some ability pruning. The UI updates have generated a lot of public complaints that I've got to say feel very out of proportion, buuut... I do have at least a little bit of sympathy because I can't say that I really love them myself. I'd like to think that there were probably good reasons for all of the changes the designers decided to make, which may not be evident to me, such as needing to increase scalability for larger monitors, improving accessibility or whatever, but the main thing I see as a long-time player and layperson when it comes to UI design is that a lot of things that used to be very colourful, detailed and representative of a style that strongly set SWTOR apart from other MMORPGs... are now more flat, less detailed and minimalist in a way that makes things look a lot more generic. It doesn't really actively bother me, but I can't claim that it feels like an improvement to me personally either.

Old class/origin story icons vs. new

As far as the ability pruning goes, the situation is actually kind of similar, though here it's more a case of "I'm not sure how I feel about this yet". What changes I experienced on the PTS for myself didn't seem too bad. Playing my Commando after the update has been fine too! In fact, I did kind of like having fewer combat abilities that don't fit onto my main two action bars, because that does feel neater somehow.

On the other hand though, I've already been in numerous situations where I found myself missing almost every single ability that I now had to cut out of my arsenal due to the new system forcing you to choose between different options. I can't tell though whether that's just a temporary thing while I get used to the new normal or something that will bother me in the long run. Either way, it's once again a change that I can't simply gush about as a cool new feature.

As far as the content feeling incomplete goes... I was perfectly fine with Bioware delaying the release of the new operation, because other MMOs also stagger the release of new raids and that seemed completely reasonable to me. I was fine with them leaving crafting updates for some time after 7.0, because I'd rather they had a good think about them than rush out something that feels bad. When they said they'd have to push weapons in the outfit designer back to 7.1 as well, I was like: "Whatever, it's just a small cosmetic feature!" But when I wanted to do the new daily zone on Manaan and was told that this, too, had been cut out of the initial launch, that didn't feel good at all. Apparently Bioware had announced this somewhere previously, but I'd completely missed the memo somehow. It does mean that once you've completed the story, there's nothing to do other than work on getting new gear through existing content and re-running the new flashpoint perhaps. That's a pretty thin offering.

Speaking of the story... I won't go into any spoilers in this post, but I can't deny that even I thought it was kinda short. Now, people have complained about SWTOR's expansion stories being too short pretty much since Rise of the Hutt Cartel (aka the very first expansion), and I've always found that ridiculous because a lot of these complaints tend to be rooted in comparisons to certain other MMOs that are made by much bigger teams, and which also charge a lot more money for their expansion content.

But in this case, you can very easily compare to what we got only one expansion ago in this very same game, with Onslaught, which launched with a story that spanned two planets and a flashpoint, while this time around it's only one planet and a flashpoint. I had some hope that Bioware would compensate for this by making Manaan bigger and longer, but that simply hasn't been the case, so we got about thirty percent less story than last time. That's very noticeable.

As for the content of the story... again, I won't go into spoilers until a later post, but again the comparison to Onslaught is quite striking. Onslaught had three acts that were logically tied together and finished with a solid climax, followed by a little epilogue that teased the next update. It also made great use of the large existing cast of characters, showing lots of love for little details. In contrast, the story that LotS launched with consists of two parts that are completely disconnected and which focus on a much smaller cast, leaving you with a certain sense of: "Where is everyone?" It's not awful, but compared to most of what Bioware has served up over the last couple of years, it falls rather flat.

All that said, I'm still managing to have fun. There is something fascinating to re-discovering your class with the combat changes in place, and gearing up through group content with my guildies is as fun to me as it has always been. The new season has also been enjoyable so far. It's just that... I should really have better things to say about a freshly launched expansion than merely that? I'll continue to focus on the bits I enjoy for now and here's to hoping that 7.1 fleshes things out a bit, considering how much content they held back for it.


Launch Night!

Whatever else I or anyone else wants to say about it, Legacy of the Sith's launch felt like much more of an "event" than that of the previous expansion. The game's official Twitter account did a countdown during the last week leading up to it, and on the day before, they revealed that a new cinematic trailer was going to launch on the day as well - something that they had already teased to fans back in November.

I was very excited to see SWTOR's first CGI trailer since the one for KotET back in 2016 go live at the set time while the servers were still being patched:

I think it lives up to the previous standards set by these vids, showing a classic Jedi vs. Sith conflict that's understandable with no real context, while also tying into the expansion story and adding meaning for those of us who actually know who the characters are. Also, I haven't done a word count, but I think this might be the most dialogue that's ever been featured in one of these?

The only thing that kept throwing me off was that the green Twi'lek's name, Sa'har, sounded a lot like the nickname of someone I know, meaning that all those exclamations of her name triggered associations with that person, which was very weird. That's not anyone's fault though, just life.

The intended end of maintenance crept closer and closer... and then we got the almost inevitable tweet to say that it had to be extended. As a guildie memed very appropriately:

I used the extra time to shell out for the digital collector's edition that Bioware decided to release for Legacy of the Sith (the expansion itself is freely accessible as long as you're subscribed). To be honest I'm actually not that fussed about any of the items, but if you consider the value of the subscription time and Cartel Coins included, the cost of the actual items is only a few quid, which seemed like good value to me and I liked the idea of supporting the concept.

Otherwise I kept busy for the rest of the extended maintenance by talking to my guildies on Discord - the wait certainly made some people a bit crazy; at some point we were even talking about Selkath porn! And yes, I know, I've just made things worse by actually using that phrase on the blog, but it was just too funny.

Then the servers went up and... I got stuck on the loading screen. People were saying that sometimes restarting the game helped, but I didn't notice a difference after doing that myself. Eventually I just left the loading screen alone and did other things on my second monitor, and after about ten minutes I made it to the character selection screen after all - I guess the servers were just overloaded and slow.

This was also in evidence when I started playing through the story and everything was super laggy, with combat freezing for several seconds at a time and my latency indicator spending a lot of time in the red. To be fair, things got better as the evening went on though. Also, unlike others I didn't really run into any noteworthy bugs... but this is getting close to talking about first impressions of the expansion itself, which I will save for my next post.


Book of Boba Fett Season 1

The deluge of Star Wars content on Disney+ continues, and the first season of "The Book of Boba Fett" wrapped up this week. Like Bad Batch, it initially didn't strike me as a particularly interesting premise, but I was willing to give it a try. The first episode seemed decent (if not amazing), and I was optimistic to see where it was going to take things next. It seemed to borrow a lot from the Mandalorian, but I was hoping to see it come into its own with time.

Sadly... that didn't really happen, and I found my interest declining with subsequent episodes. The season finale was admittedly quite a spectacle and pretty entertaining in a somewhat over-the-top way, but couldn't entirely make up for the issues I had with the show up to that point.

In a nutshell, I think the showrunners got carried away with trying to be clever with all kinds of references, both to old movies and other Star Wars material, and this ultimately came at the expense of actually telling a compelling story. Boba's motivation for wanting to become the Godfather of Tatooine only receives a fairly weak explanation, and he spends a lot of time just staring at things with little expression. (That's not necessarily a knock on the actor, but probably more of an issue with the writing and direction.) I wanted to like him and care about what was happening, but the show provided very little to latch on to. When a certain character asks Boba "What's your angle?" in the last episode, I couldn't help but shout at the screen: "Good question!"

Instead we get a lot of moments and scenes that were clearly conceived primarily to reference something else or because someone thought it'd look cool, with little consideration for how each item would serve the story and whether what's being shown made any sort of logical sense in-universe (spice trains with snipers hunting down sand people on a desert planet). I had this issue with some parts of Mandalorian as well, but was mostly able to forgive them there because they were balanced out by some very strong material and characterisation. This was not the case here, so the result just felt bad and disappointing.

Ultimately, I didn't dislike the show, but I didn't love it either. Of all the Star Wars TV shows I've seen so far (Clone Wars, Rebels, Mandalorian & Bad Batch), it's easily my least favourite. Sorry, Boba.


Less than Two Weeks! Are We Hyped Yet?

It's been quiet on here, because as I hinted at the end of my post about the expansion delay, I've been taking this additional time without any meaningful updates to the live game as an opportunity to focus on other things, such as playing more WoW Classic. But of course I haven't forgotten about SWTOR...

What have I been up to?

My streak of claiming my daily login reward every single day since the introduction of the feature at the end of 2020 remains unbroken, and of course my guild always demands some degree of attention.

I've continued to flog items from my massive stash of crafting materials on the GTN, though having seen comments about Jawa Junk becoming less common in Legacy of the Sith, I stopped trading it for things to sell as aggressively as I did before. Still, the money's kept rolling in, especially as inflation has been going nuts in some areas! I know that's been a topic for a while, but guild flagship plans have about doubled in value in the last few weeks alone... is everyone trying to open up a ship for their own private guild nowadays or what's going on?!

The other thing that had me more involved were the three Total Galactic War Conquest events that Bioware crammed into the holiday period. They know that this is something that draws people in, and it worked on me as well. My guild came out of it pretty well too, conquering Voss for the first time, which was one of three large yield planets we still needed, and also re-conquering Ziost for some members who didn't have that achievement yet (though the guild as an entity had already done it once before). I did consider writing about those events at some point while they were going on, but ultimately decided that I didn't really have anything new and sufficiently interesting to say on the subject.

Story Teaser

About a week ago, Bioware posted a one-minute "story teaser" for Legacy of the Sith on YouTube, which I really liked. I'm always a bit wary of previews of anything related to story, as I don't want to be spoiled and prefer to be surprised, but Bioware know not to accidentally give away their best bits, so it's "just" a series of cut scene clips without a clear narrative connection, overlaid with a voice-over by Darth Malgus that goes on to confirm that aside from looking down on the Republic (obviously), he also still holds the same general disdain for the Empire that he's been struggling with since his younger years as described in Deceived, as he still despises the Sith's lack of honour and their endless politicking and treachery. We'll see just what kind of alternative model he's dreamt up this time, and whether he ends up doing any better than on Ilum...

Looking forward!

As I said back in December, I've been feeling kind of "mentally ready" for the expansion for a while, even if I didn't finish every last pre-expansion goal that I'd come up with previously.

I'm looking forward to the new story, which I'm sure will be enjoyable and fun to replay on multiple characters.

I'm also looking forward to the start of Galactic Season Two! For as unimpressed as I was with the original announcement of Galactic Seasons, I can't deny that the first one made me play more while it was going on, and I generally had a good time with it. Plus the changes they've announced for this next one should address a lot of the previously existing "pain points" as it were.

Combat styles I'm largely neutral about at this point. I still think the concept of decoupling class story from play style is neat, but I don't actually have any personal desire to change any of my existing characters in that regard... I'm not saying it's impossible that I'll feel inspired later on, but at the moment I just draw a complete blank whenever I even try to think about it. The related class changes didn't seem as big a deal on the PTS as some people made them out to be, though we'll see whether my opinion changes upon longer exposure on live.

The new gearing system sounds overly complicated to me to be honest from everything I've read, but as long as it doesn't turn out to be another Galactic Command (which seems unlikely), I'm sure I'll be fine. Anything that creates a bit of friction will at least make for good blog fodder.

To be honest the thing that fills me with the biggest trepidation is the change to dailies and weeklies and how they'll be forcefully reset if you don't complete them that same day/week. I did a bit of an "audit" of my alt stable this past week and I've currently got 25 characters with partially completed PvP weeklies for example. I'll likely try to finish off the ones that are close to completion, and I won't cry about having a quest that was on 1 out of 10 reset to zero, but it illustrates the unfocused way in which I usually play, and which under the new rules would mean that I'll get very little done anymore. Though who knows, maybe knowing that I can't keep progress forever will actually encourage me to play in a more focused manner? I'll get to find out soon.