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.

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