The most recent content update to Star Wars: The Old Republic gave us both the planet of Ziost and the continuation of the Shadow of Revan storyline. Lots of players tired of Yavin dailies were eager to continue the tale and see a new locale, although after having gone through it I think we’re trading downward on the experience. Yavin IV is lush and beautiful; Ziost is brought to you by the color grey. It’s a world that was pretty dead and lifeless even before really horrible stuff (no explicit spoilers here) happens to it. I do not think I’m going to be spending a lot of time here to do the new round of dailies, is all I’m saying.
Anyway, I’m grateful that we did get more of the story — and it’s an interesting bit at that. The late, great Emperor is now alive and running rogue, having returned to Ziost to basically take over the entire planet and mind-dominate the population. As such, there’s very little feel to Ziost as a place with culture or personality, which is further backed up by the environment being somewhat industrial and sterile. It’s not lived-in, which is what I’m saying.
The story has us player characters reuniting with Lana and Theron to try to devise a way to counteract the Emperor (because he can mind-control a planet and I have a big knife I occasionally stick into things, so that’s a totally fair match-up). There’s also a new character, a spy who plays right into the whole Imperial Agent theme, although what little is interesting there quickly peters out.
Lana and I are totally on the outs, by the way. After romancing her in Shadow of Revan only to have her abruptly break it off with me AND take my deserved job as head of Imperial Intelligence, I have turned quite frosty to her. I’m so glad that the the devs gave me ways to be short and critical to her, even getting some measure of revenge. Hell hath no fury like a Syp scorned.
There wasn’t a lot of new in terms of mission variety, but occasionally I’d hit a moment that created interesting memories, such as hopping across a statue, using grappling hooks, and doing wild jumps on a speeder. At least I got a bit of a gear upgrade through all of the quest rewards.
Definitely the highlight of the patch’s storyline was the use of its cutscenes. There’s a major event that happens that gave me chills and had me feeling — just for a moment — like I was a very small character in a great big struggle, instead of the central hero.
Returning to a greyscale world of ash and death was quite interesting, although perhaps less impactful considering how dull Ziost’s population and cities were beforehand. I love the neat art touches, like the ash blowing off the trees (above).
So with Ziost done — sans dailies and whatever new operations or group stuff — I’m contemplating what to do next. I haven’t maxed out my rep on Yavin yet and I was enjoying the cash income from doing that, so I might well return there. I probably should start running flashpoints here and there to gear up better, but that’s a time thing.
And then there’s the whole temptation of subscribing and doing the 12X leveling track with some characters. I guess that would be cool? But I have a gut feeling that I’d ultimately feel that such advancement would be hollow, especially with the lack of companion affection choices. Plus, there really isn’t any class that appeals to me as strongly as the IA. I have a lowbie Sith Warrior with some unlocks on standby for a possible run, but lightsabers are actually duller than my trusty carbine. I have also pondered rolling a second IA and playing him or her as a sniper for a different combat experience.
Or I could just putter around until the next patch/expansion while giving my other games more time. Choices, choices.