Please upgrade your browser for the best possible experience.

Chrome Firefox Internet Explorer
×

Companions - There HAS to be a better way than this to get them talking again

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion
Companions - There HAS to be a better way than this to get them talking again

ZionHalcyon's Avatar


ZionHalcyon
07.19.2019 , 12:24 PM | #1
In the original iteration of SWTOR, companions, like in KOTOR, had stories, backstories, had lives aside from just travelling with you. This was done to fantastic ability, and aside from class stories, was one of the items most favored by a majority of the fans at the time.

However, since then, development on companion stories and interactions came to a dead stop, unless they were lucky enough to get a "role" ala Torian, Vette, and Gault in the larger story. To make matters more complicated, you now had a system put into place in the alliance contacts that was essentially a "rent a bot" - no real story, no feel for these companions, nothing. And the companions who WERE a part of the original story in that and since - well, you get a cameo and then I think there is a SWTOR dev named Ursula who rips out their voice ala The Little Mermaid because we never hear from them again (oh poor unfortunate souls)!

So here's the thrust of my gripe:

SWTOR was LAUNCHED promising personalized stories, choices that matter and deep companion stories.

Since launch when EA lost their nerve, they killed class stories continuing, stopped development on companion stories, and instead have either tried to only give players the bare minimum (Makeb, only 2 faction stories) or gone off on some pretty stupid ideas like dropping a single player video game with lazy level design and more time spent on the cinematics right into the middle of an MMO, regardless of whether it makes sense or not (KotFE & KotET). The only exception was Shadow of Revan, which at least gave us a class feel again in the bonus quests.

However, since Keith took over, I feel like the ship is being righted. I know in MMO development, plans made can take a year to launch. With Onslaught development entering the final stages, I think NOW is a good time to bring this back up, as planning for "what's next" in terms of an expansion should be taking place now.

So let me say this - "what's next" should be the return of companion stories. Losing class stories was a huge blow for the player base when it happened (I still remember how uncomfortable Eric looked at the Chicago cantina back in the day trying to dodge that question on if class stories would be continuing, since it was the #1 concern of the community back then, and RIGHTFULLY SO). Don't continue to take the companion stories as well.

Give them their voices back. Give us story people more time to spend with them. 5 years or more in-game time passed - there's a lot to catch up on...

OlBuzzard's Avatar


OlBuzzard
07.19.2019 , 01:42 PM | #2
Quote: Originally Posted by ZionHalcyon View Post
In the original iteration of SWTOR, companions, like in KOTOR, had stories, backstories, had lives aside from just travelling with you. This was done to fantastic ability, and aside from class stories, was one of the items most favored by a majority of the fans at the time.

However, since then, development on companion stories and interactions came to a dead stop, unless they were lucky enough to get a "role" ala Torian, Vette, and Gault in the larger story. To make matters more complicated, you now had a system put into place in the alliance contacts that was essentially a "rent a bot" - no real story, no feel for these companions, nothing. And the companions who WERE a part of the original story in that and since - well, you get a cameo and then I think there is a SWTOR dev named Ursula who rips out their voice ala The Little Mermaid because we never hear from them again (oh poor unfortunate souls)!

So here's the thrust of my gripe:

SWTOR was LAUNCHED promising personalized stories, choices that matter and deep companion stories.

Since launch when EA lost their nerve, they killed class stories continuing, stopped development on companion stories, and instead have either tried to only give players the bare minimum (Makeb, only 2 faction stories) or gone off on some pretty stupid ideas like dropping a single player video game with lazy level design and more time spent on the cinematics right into the middle of an MMO, regardless of whether it makes sense or not (KotFE & KotET). The only exception was Shadow of Revan, which at least gave us a class feel again in the bonus quests.

However, since Keith took over, I feel like the ship is being righted. I know in MMO development, plans made can take a year to launch. With Onslaught development entering the final stages, I think NOW is a good time to bring this back up, as planning for "what's next" in terms of an expansion should be taking place now.

So let me say this - "what's next" should be the return of companion stories. Losing class stories was a huge blow for the player base when it happened (I still remember how uncomfortable Eric looked at the Chicago cantina back in the day trying to dodge that question on if class stories would be continuing, since it was the #1 concern of the community back then, and RIGHTFULLY SO). Don't continue to take the companion stories as well.

Give them their voices back. Give us story people more time to spend with them. 5 years or more in-game time passed - there's a lot to catch up on...
Ummm

Don't look now ... but I'm right there beside you on this one. Remember the other thread ? Companions being returned with a meaningful role. Some have termed them as being "bricked" .. I call companions current activity as a little more than a block of wood !

IMO... companions need expansion ... not subdued into a nearly comatose state !
(████████████████████████████]:|█[ioi]█[|||████]|█|

Xina_LA's Avatar


Xina_LA
07.19.2019 , 01:42 PM | #3
I would absolutely love more time and scenes with companions, especially ones that build story and connection and don't involve deadly danger. Relationship scenes, mysteries, celebrations, exploration, learning more about their history and what they did while we were gone, that sort of thing.

I also wish we could hear their location-triggered comments during the class story but... alas... they lag too far behind us now.

And on the topic of companions, if they didn't show up as holographic stronghold decorations, but as physical people (unless it's your active companion), that would be great, too.
--=# Decorating addict of Satele Shan server. #=--

IoNonSoEVero's Avatar


IoNonSoEVero
07.19.2019 , 01:52 PM | #4
Yes. I miss having conversations with some of the companions from the class stories. Not just LIs. My Sith Warriors miss talking to Vette even though she's not their LI. My bounty hunter misses hearing from Mako for the same reason. I'd love to hear whatever Blizz is up to.

I hope they won't forget the KOTFE era companions too. For some of us the relationships with characters like Lana and Theron were more meaningful than the class story companions and we don't want to lose them. I've long wished that the KOTFE contingent had separate conversations and personal missions (not related to the main story) the same way the class story companions did.

ZionHalcyon's Avatar


ZionHalcyon
07.19.2019 , 03:11 PM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by IoNonSoEVero View Post
Yes. I miss having conversations with some of the companions from the class stories. Not just LIs. My Sith Warriors miss talking to Vette even though she's not their LI. My bounty hunter misses hearing from Mako for the same reason. I'd love to hear whatever Blizz is up to.

I hope they won't forget the KOTFE era companions too. For some of us the relationships with characters like Lana and Theron were more meaningful than the class story companions and we don't want to lose them. I've long wished that the KOTFE contingent had separate conversations and personal missions (not related to the main story) the same way the class story companions did.
I absolutely am including them as well.

However, the one area they painted themselves into a wall with was introducing all those contacts in KotFE. My impression is that the original companions need to be included in your character's story. Those who aren't a part of the original list, but you can romance then are layered into that list. The rest are weaved in and out of the story.

Frankly, another idea I had is, because much of what made the class stories so good were the companions we came across and the adventures and interactions we had with them, why not use companion stories also as a player's "class story"?

From a story perspective, the most fun part of this game is the relationships you build. So why couldn't you further explore the class through the eyes and interactions of your companions, and then also have the "faction" story for each side?

IoNonSoEVero's Avatar


IoNonSoEVero
07.19.2019 , 03:27 PM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by ZionHalcyon View Post
I absolutely am including them as well.

However, the one area they painted themselves into a wall with was introducing all those contacts in KotFE. My impression is that the original companions need to be included in your character's story. Those who aren't a part of the original list, but you can romance then are layered into that list. The rest are weaved in and out of the story.

Frankly, another idea I had is, because much of what made the class stories so good were the companions we came across and the adventures and interactions we had with them, why not use companion stories also as a player's "class story"?

From a story perspective, the most fun part of this game is the relationships you build. So why couldn't you further explore the class through the eyes and interactions of your companions, and then also have the "faction" story for each side?
Got it. Whittling the 'meaningful interactions' down to the character's original five (or whoever they've chosen to keep from that original five - some of my toons have chosen to boot one or more) + LI seems like a reasonable and manageable approach. I'd also include whoever the toon chose to save from the Vette/Torian decision since that seems like such a pivotal moment.

They did paint themselves into a corner. I personally love having some of those companions on all of my characters (I love that everyone can obtain Talos Drelik for instance) but when you have 25+ companions available to every character now, there's no way to possibly keep up meaningful interactions with all of them.

Rolodome's Avatar


Rolodome
07.19.2019 , 03:58 PM | #7
Setting aside the resources required, I agree completely. I certainly have my complaints about some of the vanilla companions, but in the class stories, they were unquestionably your companions. And the interactions helped cement the idea that they specifically wanted to follow your character and be loyal to you, as well as showing a depth to who they are and what they are about (and in some cases, being a romantic partner).

KOTFE made a mess of that. Sure, you have companions who have some level of interaction and potential romance, but they aren't your followers. They are companions who flit in and out of your life for various purposes. It doesn't feel personalized and you wait who knows how long in the story to get all of your old companions back.

I'd be happy with even 1 out of 5 of your vanilla companion set having some new dialogue. At least give us 1. But it's just utter silence, both in gameplay and in conversation.

I have quite a lot of characters and very few taken through KOTFE to odessen, much less all of it and KOTET. There's just so little motivation to. On top of not enjoying the combat gameplay, I don't want to deal with my companions disappearing. And knowing I've reached a point in the story where they are now empty vessels. It's just depressing. I'd almost rather they not be available at all than have them available in such a silent fashion. It doesn't actually feel like they came back. Just like they were made available to you in combat again, through a brief story mechanism.

(Edit: I also find some of the alerts to be tedious as hell, but that's a whole other topic.)
Clicky referral link for freebies, read how referral works.

MikeCobalt's Avatar


MikeCobalt
07.19.2019 , 04:00 PM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by ZionHalcyon View Post
In the original iteration of SWTOR, companions, like in KOTOR, had stories, backstories, had lives aside from just travelling with you. This was done to fantastic ability, and aside from class stories, was one of the items most favored by a majority of the fans at the time.

However, since then, development on companion stories and interactions came to a dead stop, unless they were lucky enough to get a "role" ala Torian, Vette, and Gault in the larger story. To make matters more complicated, you now had a system put into place in the alliance contacts that was essentially a "rent a bot" - no real story, no feel for these companions, nothing. And the companions who WERE a part of the original story in that and since - well, you get a cameo and then I think there is a SWTOR dev named Ursula who rips out their voice ala The Little Mermaid because we never hear from them again (oh poor unfortunate souls)!

So here's the thrust of my gripe:

SWTOR was LAUNCHED promising personalized stories, choices that matter and deep companion stories.

Since launch when EA lost their nerve, they killed class stories continuing, stopped development on companion stories, and instead have either tried to only give players the bare minimum (Makeb, only 2 faction stories) or gone off on some pretty stupid ideas like dropping a single player video game with lazy level design and more time spent on the cinematics right into the middle of an MMO, regardless of whether it makes sense or not (KotFE & KotET). The only exception was Shadow of Revan, which at least gave us a class feel again in the bonus quests.

However, since Keith took over, I feel like the ship is being righted. I know in MMO development, plans made can take a year to launch. With Onslaught development entering the final stages, I think NOW is a good time to bring this back up, as planning for "what's next" in terms of an expansion should be taking place now.

So let me say this - "what's next" should be the return of companion stories. Losing class stories was a huge blow for the player base when it happened (I still remember how uncomfortable Eric looked at the Chicago cantina back in the day trying to dodge that question on if class stories would be continuing, since it was the #1 concern of the community back then, and RIGHTFULLY SO). Don't continue to take the companion stories as well.

Give them their voices back. Give us story people more time to spend with them. 5 years or more in-game time passed - there's a lot to catch up on...
I Agree with Basically all of this.
Without the meaningful companions SWTOR becomes the same as every other game and infact Lesser then some of the newer games (SWTOR set a precedence other game companies recognized as story boosters but now SWTOR itself is lagging behind in its own race). As the mechanics of SWTOR now many adventures don't even necessitate the *Help of the companion and their story/ Immersion benefits were ended with the reunions so really.... not much reason to even Drag them around.

Considering BioWare's Story background, What made SWTOR and its stories excel above the rest (Review sites) and special to its players the Companions should start playing some form role going forward in SWTOR. I don't care anything about new figures with no character and replacing meaningful "Companions" with cardboard stand-ups just adds more names to a list of "Who gets money spent on them". Lana already had a name and somewhat of a following and she burnt out earlier then the Zakuul story could end so how long could a characters last with ..
1, No Following
2, No Character
3, No Direction beyond a few updates
4, No Interest in the player base already sore on Missing Preferred comps and still sore over the Lana issue.
Instead of *Investing on new unwanted figures, Fix the originals and start them again, With character.

OlBuzzard's Avatar


OlBuzzard
07.19.2019 , 05:40 PM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by ZionHalcyon View Post
I absolutely am including them as well.

However, the one area they painted themselves into a wall with was introducing all those contacts in KotFE. My impression is that the original companions need to be included in your character's story. Those who aren't a part of the original list, but you can romance then are layered into that list. The rest are weaved in and out of the story.

Frankly, another idea I had is, because much of what made the class stories so good were the companions we came across and the adventures and interactions we had with them, why not use companion stories also as a player's "class story"?

From a story perspective, the most fun part of this game is the relationships you build. So why couldn't you further explore the class through the eyes and interactions of your companions, and then also have the "faction" story for each side?
I agree.

That said .. as someone else has pointed out ... we now have how many total companions. I also agree that would prefer to not go back to our original set group. I like the idea of keeping several of our newly acquired companions (since the advent of KotFE ).

My latest concern regarding companions is not being able to select the ones we believe to be the best choice for any particular part of the story. However, with the last few episodes (including JUS) .. we have zero choice. A companion is selected for us. I know that from time to time that is necessary ... BUT hopefully not through the entire story (again as with JUS).

Perhaps one solution might be for each player to select 5 - 7 as a core group (or inner circle ) . I'm not sure how practical that is or if it would actually help.

I'm just throwing some ideas out..

Also... over all I kind of like where this thread is going ... good thoughts !
(████████████████████████████]:|█[ioi]█[|||████]|█|

Damask_Rose's Avatar


Damask_Rose
07.19.2019 , 07:10 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by ZionHalcyon View Post
However, since Keith took over, I feel like the ship is being righted. I know in MMO development, plans made can take a year to launch. With Onslaught development entering the final stages, I think NOW is a good time to bring this back up, as planning for "what's next" in terms of an expansion should be taking place now.

So let me say this - "what's next" should be the return of companion stories. Losing class stories was a huge blow for the player base when it happened (I still remember how uncomfortable Eric looked at the Chicago cantina back in the day trying to dodge that question on if class stories would be continuing, since it was the #1 concern of the community back then, and RIGHTFULLY SO). Don't continue to take the companion stories as well.

Give them their voices back. Give us story people more time to spend with them. 5 years or more in-game time passed - there's a lot to catch up on...
I don't have the same faith in Keith that you do. With the dibbles of story we've had since he took over I haven't seen anything to suggest that he has any more interest in maintaining the story's integrity than his predecessor or in revitalizing class flavor or companion interactions. Mostly we've gotten little boxes checked off a to do list with no care or substance. I hope I'm wrong and Onslaught is much better than I think it's going to be, but my hope and optimism got squashed awhile ago.

What I want to see, in addition to meaningful interactions with more than one or two companions, are a lot of little fixes. Fix the mouths on returned companions. Let returned companions trigger the same environmental dialogue as they did in vanilla. Fix the skin issues that default Vector and Scourge have and that were introduced with some returned companions like Lokin. Give the rest of the companions gear slots that don't have them like Nico and Paxton. Put a toggle on companion decorations so we can choose holo or not holo versions. Add a ton of new customizations for everyone! (And for the love of god make as least some of them attractive...)

And my big #1 right now is fix the bug that is deactivating terminal retrieved Quinns and Dornes when I start JUS! I won't take any more characters through until I get them reactivated on the characters I did take through and the bug gets fixed so no other characters lose access to them. At this point I don't think I trust Bioware enough to take any existing characters through Onslaught.