03/06/2022

Imperial Saboteur, Part 2

Continued from part 1!

I completed the rest of the Onslaught base story on my saboteur agent and there were some interesting things to see. However, first I'd like to note that I also did a round of dailies on Onderon and was quite surprised when I realised that one of the daily missions has a cut scene with a different outcome if you're a saboteur! It's the one that tells you to hunt down a Republic assassin, and to be honest I always wondered why the end of that took place in a phase, considering that you just kill him (usually). However, if you're a saboteur, you get to talk instead of attacking straight away and you have the option to distract the guards to help him escape! How cool is that? Now if only the quest giver had remembered that King Petryph wasn't alive in my playthrough anymore...

As for Mek-sha and beyond: There are a couple of opportunities to randomly be nice to people aligned with the Republic, which generally didn't strike me as a wise thing to do in public, not to mention unlikely to actually achieve anything, so I didn't always choose those options, except to try out the concept on Tau, to whom my character said something like: "You have nothing to fear from me, Jedi". I think her reply was something along the lines of: "We'll see about that".

When you infiltrate Junker Jott's base to steal the schematics for the failsafe, you can intentionally leave evidence of what happened, which results in Anri's diversion at the end being less successful. At least I think that's how these two things were connected... it wasn't entirely clear to me what Anri's diversion being less successful actually meant in practice.

I didn't get to find out because I chose to commit maximum sabotage again by simply not triggering the failsafe and pretending that it just didn't work.

Darth Malgus doesn't go ballistic on Darth Shaar during the debrief at the end the way he did on Savik, so I chose to actively throw her under the bus by saying that her whole plan was bad when Malgus asked me about what I thought went wrong. It was fun to see Shaar get pretty mad about that, though Emperor Vowrawn downplays the whole thing when you talk to him later.

I already felt that my sabotage on Onderon was pretty suspicious, but having a second mission in a row fail in the exact same way - because I mysteriously couldn't press the right button when left in a room on my own - made things even worse, so I was pleased to see that at least Darth Malgus seemed to agree. He sent me a pretty angry letter afterwards in which he asks: "How is it that you, who have accomplished so much, display such incompetence?" Good question, Malgus; very good question.

In the run-up to the attack on Corellia, you can try to sabotage Krovos' proposal to bomb civilians on the other side of the planet by suggesting that she's hiding something, but it doesn't work. (Good on you, Krovos.)

During the actual attack on Corellia, you see the consequences of your sabotage on Onderon and Mek-sha, as the Imperial fleet struggles and several ships get blown up before your strike team can make it to the surface, which I thought was another neat difference compared to the very successful assault that loyalists get to experience.

The Objective Meridian flashpoint goes the same as always, with Malgus being back to talking nice to you. It struck me as kind of amusing that the ending with you escaping without displaying any concern for your fallen companion - something that always struck me as a bit weird - is something that actually makes sense for a saboteur. I mean, Malgus was obviously on to me, so good riddance to him!

At the end of the flashpoint you do actually get to choose again whether to do what the Empire wants or make the whole mission a failure. I did the latter, though this also made it the third time in a row that I mysteriously failed to press the right button when left to my own devices so I don't know how the Empire can continue to put any faith in me at this point.

Jonas Balkar actually gave my agent a holo call right in front of some Imperial guards just before I was about to meet the Dark Council and nobody batted an eyelid. You can chide him for calling you at a bad time and he responds that calling during the actual meeting would have been worse. That's a false choice, Jonas, and you know it!

Watching the Dark Council play blame games with each other about who was responsible for the mission failure was admittedly quite amusing, though it's once again surprising that the finger doesn't get pointed at your character more directly. One thing of note was that while Vowrawn talks about reinstating the Hand, he didn't ask me to return the Alliance to the Empire as a whole - though Lana kept making comments later as if he had.

In the chat on the fleet afterwards, Theron is actually very angry that so many civilians died on Corellia and questions the point of being a saboteur if we can't do more to prevent this kind of stuff. In the in-person debrief with Jonas later, you can also ask whether you can join the Republic properly now, and he's kind of evasive about it and says that you're more useful continuing to be an undercover agent - I can't say I'm entirely convinced by that argument. He does introduce you to Master Sal-Deron via holo, however.

I also had a note here saying ,"Why does Anri still admire me so much?" because she only met me on Ossus and I've done nothing but mess things up for the Empire since then. I guess she might still have been impressed by my character's prowess in combat.

All in all, Onslaught has some pretty interesting content variations for saboteurs - in fact, I found out while doing some reading up on the subject that there's an additional variant if you agree to become a saboteur at the beginning but then always choose not to sabotage at the crucial moments, making you a sort of triple agent... oh god, does that mean I need to take another character through this to see that dialogue?

I also have to say that your character's not really a very convincing saboteur here and I don't think it's great storytelling for the most part, as your repeat failures are just too obvious - you kind of have to tune out any concerns about realism at that point, and just agree to roll with it for the fun of seeing how much the game will let your character get away with while still praising you for how amazing you are. The question is whether that will actually end up going anywhere.

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