This week, barring shocking surprises, Bioware/EA will be releasing the next chapter of the Knights of the Fallen Empire story in Star Wars: The Old Republic. It’s been a few months in coming, and is the start of what the developers are hoping will be a monthly cadence. I’ve heard that song before, though, and I remember how it usually ends, so we’ll see if they can actually get the storyline complete before Christmas.
There’s been some info that’s come out concerning the near future. A couple of companions will be returning with the next two chapters, while another is…well, I imagine that it’ll involve a choice between two companions, because the primary character involved with the new chapter isn’t known for her ability to play nicely with others without a strong hand to keep control of her more psychotic tendencies-and by all appearances, her tendency to not mind collateral damage is going to really rub another of your companions the really wrong way. My prediction is it’ll be a “you’ll get one or the other” here, because their viewpoints are entirely antagonistic. The devs did say that this chapter would involve a choice with consequence, after all….
With the chapter dropping this week, I took stock of where my characters stood in terms of the story-which is to say, my eight primary characters representing each class. (I’m not insane enough to run my class alternates through…am I?) My two main characters, my Smuggler and Agent, have not only finished all story chapters to date, but also managed to unlock every companion available to them with the exception of their respective PvP-required ones. No offense to Pierce or M1-4X, but no reward is worth that. All star fortresses have been downed in the heroic mode on those characters, and all of the Alliance contacts are at least influence 10. So as far as I’m concerned, these characters are well positioned for anything coming their way. One of them even managed to loot one of the 208 rating barrels for his primary weapon; the other managed to pull out a barrel from an offhand weapon and stick it into his main before the devs decided that wasn’t allowed. That’s really annoying, since no main weapon damage mods are available-or for that matter, no main hand weapons period-on the data crystal vendors for advanced gear. That limits your main weapon to either a 190 mod or a non-customizable weapon drop, which is annoying. Crafting is supposed to gain the ability to craft up some better mods, but I’m withholding judgment on that one until I see the material requirements-if they involve stuff from operations and the like, I’m going to be unimpressed.
With those two characters out of the way, there are six others that I’d been planning to run through the content. Of those, five have completed the story chapters, which is a pretty good percentage, all things considered-particularly since I chose, as a part of the whole process, to make sure they ran the Jedi Prisoner/Foundry flashpoints, the Ilum flashpoints, the prelude to Shadow of Revan flashpoints, and the Shadow of Revan expansion through Ziost. I was willing to leave Makeb incomplete for a few of these characters, and few of them have set foot on Oricon-considering that the Dread Masters story is mostly via operations, I didn’t lose sleep over that last one. Portions of Makeb are a pain in the butt for some classes, too, so in the end, I was okay with letting that one just slip into the dustbin of history. One character, however, has not made the jump to the expansion; at this writing, my Jedi Counselor is still on Rishi, working through the Shadow of Revan content, and he’s not likely to get complete before the new chapter drops. His story, accordingly, is likely to encounter a significant pause as I work the current group of characters through the new chapter.
There’s been an additional bit of amusement on my end. I made the “mistake” a month or two ago of taking a peek at someone’s Yavin stronghold, and was impressed enough that I decided to make a run for my own. The problem was that this is probably the most expensive stronghold to purchase and unlock all the “rooms” for (can’t recall if Tatooine is pricier, but I imagine that Yavin may be the winner here). Well, make that the second problem. The first problem was determining which stronghold I already had to shut down. At this time, you are limited to three active strongholds. I had Nar Shadda, Coruscant, and Dromund Kaas all unlocked and decorated (although not to the maximum amount; I don’t have THAT many decorations). One of the three had to go. Shadda was never on that list-it was the priciest one I had thus far, and as a guy who considers his Smugger a main character, it just couldn’t happen. I liked the atmospherics for Kaas, so the Coruscant one was stripped of decorations and closed down as I started working to gain the millions needed to purchase the Yavin stronghold and unlock rooms.
The heroics that have been readjusted for the KotFE story have helped a great deal in this respect. I’ve been able to complete a whole lot of objectives at once doing those. First, I made credits-and that was a big deal. Secondly, I got crates of stuff to donate to the Alliance contacts, allowing me to get their influence ratings to 10 for my two mains. Thirdly, the Voss ones allowed me to max out my Voss reputation just in case I want to get something from their rep vendor, like dye recipes. Not a bad plan, and thus far, it’s allowed me to unlock all but two rooms in Yavin-and I expect that before the month is out, I might be able to unlock the remaining two.
Since Coruscant was closed down, I chose to make this one a “Jedi Temple” with a Republic Military annex attached. I got to use some of the new decorations I’d gotten thanks to my star fortress runs (like a pair of big sun-reactors), slapped up some turrets at key points for defense (it’s all appearance-it’s not like they actually fire on anyone), and put in the usual utilities I demand in my stronholds: mail, legacy bank, cargo bays. Plus I decided to construct a couple new GTN terminals so that Yavin and Kaas could access the trade network. I’m still debating constructing guild banks for those two as well; Shadda has one (and it already had a GTN kiosk from earlier work). It’d be easier just to purchase parts from GTN, but since I have a bunch of characters, I have a wide range of crafting skills available, so putting in the effort to build them myself seems cheaper; it’s what I did for the starship decoration I have on Shadda, after all (I did have to buy a couple things from GTN for that one, though).
With the next chapter incoming, I’m looking forward to seeing a couple old companions make a return appearance, and dreading the choice that I predict will be forced upon me (I’ve got a good idea of what my Smuggler will do, but the Agent is probably going to be a game-time choice). And I can’t forget that this chapter should also include the January monthly subscription reward of an HK-55 companion. I’m not sure if we’ll see the February one as well, which is the HK-inspired jetpack, but we’ll see. Most important, though, I’m looking forward to seeing the continuation of the story of the Eternal Empire and the Alliance that is slowly building to oppose it. Hm, an Alliance versus an Empire. That sure has a familiar feel to it….