Anarchy in Paradise, the tenth chapter of the Star Wars the Old Republic: Knights of a Fallen Empire expansion went live for all on Thursday. Subscribers have had early access since Tuesday. I’ve run through the new stuff a couple of times yesterday, mostly I’ll be talking about the experiences of my Jedi Sentinel and Sith Sorcerer.
As per usual: SPOILER WARNING!
HK-55 Returns – If you had been subscribed since like Feb. 1, you got HK-55 back. His inclusion and destruction at the hands of Arcann were both sources of contention. Many didn’t think they wanted a second HK unit or felt that his inclusion “cheapened” HK-51. Others (myself included) were pleased that 55 used the correct euphemism for organic life… meatbag. Further, many disliked that his “death” was unavoidable and thought it was cheap. Personally, I like him and found him to be funny and likewise was annoyed by his meaningless destruction. Well, now I have him back.
All that is needed is to have completed the prior content and to do a fairly quick quest. Basically, the Hutt scientist, Dr. Oggurobb, rebuilt HK-55’s body and restored his personality, but, not his memory. So, after a cutscene of HK-55 blasting droids into smoldering bits, the player must help him by instructing him as to what targets his free to fire on and which targets are not.
The quest was fun and humorous… especially HK’s answers to the player decisions. However, after a couple of times I can imagine it getting tedious. When talking to HK, there is an option that says something like: “nah, HK I trust your judgement”, my bet is that option skips the rest of the encounter.
The Firebrand – After starting the new chapter, we are treated to some exposition from Theron Shan about a possible new ally in an agitator called the Firebrand. While Koth voices his disapproval of the “terrorist”, Theron argues that they could be useful. To lure the Firebrand out, SCORPIO makes a deal to provide the Firebrand with explosives and the Outlander is the contact.
So off back to Zakuul we go. After beating down some Skytroopers, you find that the Firebrand is Kaliyo Djannis, she had been a companion for the Imperial Agent and has been on Zakuul for several years making a mess of things. In trying to get her on the team, she states that she has something big in the works and the you “stole her thunder”, but agrees to consider your offer if you help her finish her job.
What follows is you helping Kaliyo rig explosives to power relays that power a place/ organization called Overwatch, an internal security bureau on Zakuul before assaulting their headquarters. The plan is that since Zakuul depends so much on droids for the day to day living that without those droids, the people are almost helpless, Kaliyo wants to put the droids out of commission for a good long time. She also says that there are complete schematics of important targets on Zakuul stored in Overwatch’s computers. That would be useful for further attacks on the Eternal Empire. It’s only after confronting the leader of Overwatch that the player finds out that not only did Kaliyo formally work for them, but that her total plan is to blow up large amounts of civil structures, kill tons of people and make it so the droids can’t fix any of it. At that point you can choose to stop her, or let her go through with the plan… though she blows the droids no matter what.
I have to say… I don’t like Kaliyo. Though she is often one of the more humorous companions and her conversation with the Jedi Knight (part of the story with Doc) is funny (but disappointingly not mentioned here.) Did it not occur to BioWare that this motley crew already had enough betrayers and traitors? Cough… cough… Koth… cough Senya.
Choices and Consequences – I appreciated that you could choose not to take Tanno Vik’s bullshit, and instead of peacefully resolving the situation, you could kill him, I also approved of the similar choice to kill Xalek rather than have him join the Alliance. I don’t appreciate that there is no choice to do so with Kaliyo. She is an angry, petulant twit whose quick trigger finger and loose mouth write checks her ass can’t cash. I think the dialog where you compare her to the thrill seeking, but cowardly Zakuulan people is probably spot on. She is loyal to no one, and would not only sell out her own mother, but the family pet too. The player should have the choice to end her, or reject even the idea of helping her.
If you go along with Kaliyo and let her destroy to her heart’s contentment, it cause some drama back home. Most notably, Koth gets all butthurt about it and storms off… no, not just in the scene but actually leaves the Alliance and is no longer available as a companion. Afterwards Lana sends you mail that states Koth is probably just blowing off steam and will be back, she ends with a plea to not judge him too harshly. That’s all good and well as is a player choice actually have a consequence. But. This act makes Koth twice a traitor, once to Zakuul, once to the player. Also, one hell of big hypocrite. I am not first to bring this up, it has been argued over on the official forums, but Koth’s freak out over the player killing people is exceptionally two faced in the light of his continued fanboying for his epically genocidal emperor. I keep wishing that BioWare could have written him to some other than completely aggravating. When Koth invariably shows back up, the player needs to have the choice of killing him. Not the force choke, slam and beat up bullshit that BioWare pulled with Malavi Quinn.
If you manage to stop Kaliyo, Koth will thank you. But, no matter what the chapter ends with your allies discussing Arcann attacks on five separate systems and how to respond, that is followed by Arcann and Vaylin discussing the Outlander’s return to Zakuul and again, no matter your previous choices, Arcann states that the Knights of Zakuul failed them. He then orders Vaylin to send the knights to the dueling rings, two by two and have them duel to death. For the first time Vaylin seems to question this, to which Arcann tells her to go and follows his orders.
In the End – The chapter was short, it takes maybe an hour to 90 minutes to complete and most of it wasn’t very good. I sure hope the next installment is better… and that maybe, just maybe, the next companion they reintroduce is one I can give a damn about. Not going to hold my breath.