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Is it wrong that, revisiting SoR, made me think what the hell went wrong w KotFE?

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion
Is it wrong that, revisiting SoR, made me think what the hell went wrong w KotFE?
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MeNaCe-NZ's Avatar


MeNaCe-NZ
06.30.2017 , 04:52 PM | #91
Quote: Originally Posted by CharlesBoyd View Post
Hey, that's the line I was going to quote!

Since Valkorion is one of the biggest discussion points lately, and it's been a while so I feel like it's free range to discuss, I'll just lay out everything we had in mind for Vitiate/Valkorion and y'all can have something concrete to discuss and/or kick me about

**HEAVY SPOILERS BELOW**

Centuries before our story begins, Tenebrae becomes Vitiate, becomes Emperor of the Sith, and leads the survivors of the Sith into exile to Dromund Kaas. He rules directly for many years.

As years go by, he becomes more and more dissatisfied with the Sith Empire he's created. He finds himself increasingly distanced from the Sith philosophy that first brought him to power and sees it as a dead end (as he expresses several times in KOTFE/KOTET) and, with the immense power at his disposal, begins striking out in search of something better. This is when his "long periods of silence" begin.

He discovers Zakuul, which is in a comparatively primitive state (by Star Wars tech standards, anyway) and dominates Valkorion, as he describes in KOTET Chapter 2. He learns the ancient legends of the gods, of the Eternal Fleet, etc, and investigates them with his considerabe resources. By this point, he has certainly already started the collection of rare and powerful technologies and artifacts that we find in the Arcanum, his vault on Nathema, etc. He (or perhaps agents working for him, such as the Servants) finds the Eternal Fleet disabled in deep space and is able to seize control of it (based on how ARIES talks, we can be fairly sure that neither Valkorion nor his agents ever visited Iokath itself).

The technology of the Fleet helps him raise Zakuul still further. In his Valkorion persona, he constructs a more stable society that he finds more interesting, one that has more potential to let him explore different experiences for centuries to come (his quote above and his many claims of Zakuul being the bestest thing ever). So now, he just needs to ensure that he'll live forever, and that nothing else will threaten his new creation. The ritual (the one the Jedi Knight ultimately stops) will serve both purposes, so he sets that plan in motion, kicking off the Great Galactic War between the Sith Empire and the Republic. (I don't think it's much of a stretch to believe that he could avoid destroying Zakuul, which is waaaay out at the outer edge of the galaxy, when using a ritual that he himself is creating over many, many years, but that should've been something we at least let Jedi Knight players ask.)

Then, Vitiate abruptly stops the war, proposes a treaty claiming seemingly-random planets, and starts the Cold War. An obscure step in his plan to complete the ritual? Makes sense, though if we look at how old Valkorion's children appear to be, they'd be getting born right around this time... coincidence?

Senya tells us that Valkorion started becoming colder and more distant as the children grew up, so we can surmise that he's splitting his attention again during this period. The assault of Sel-Makor and the final attack by the Jedi Knight take a lot out of him. His ritual is thwarted, and he is too weak to dominate another body or risk Valkorion until he's reinvigorated by Revan's plot in SoR - otherwise, he would've surely done so. He could've used the Fleet to cause the necessary deaths, but he wasn't ready to reveal its power to the galaxy yet - more on that shortly.

The events of Shadow of Revan give him the boost he needs to become active again - and he does so in spectacular fashion on Ziost, all while playing up his "evil destroyer of everything" Vitiate persona to the max. He's greatly reinvigorated, he's dealt a significant blow to the Sith Empire (which had been rapidly increasing in strength after Rise of the Hutt Cartel), and he's baited the player and their allies in one fell swoop. All of which leads inexorably to the confrontation in the throne room in the beginning of KOTFE - but why?

For this, we just have to look at the last person who ever stood up to Vitiate at anywhere near the level that the player's character did on Ziost: Revan. When Revan took a crack at him, Vitiate locked him up for centuries, picking and prodding at his mind the entire time. So we know that Tenebrae/Vitiate/Valkorion doesn't destroy people who are a legitimate threat to him; he's fascinated by them. He entraps them, studies them, manipulates them, and corrupts them. (He did it to Vaylin, too! And Dramath!)

So, to review: Valkorion has been revitalized; he's got a tremendously powerful fleet; he's got the Republic in the weakest state it's been since the treaty of Coruscant and the Sith Empire not far behind; he's discovered a new threat that can actually take a shot at him; and he's got a wife who's left him and children that he finds deeply disappointing (see pretty much any time he ever deigns to speak to them) in line to take over his supposedly perfect society. Time to solve all of his problems at once!

He spurs his son's bloodlust and ambition by setting him and the fleet loose on the galaxy (now that they're definitely in no state to resist the fleet's power or endanger Zakuul). He lures his new enemy into a trap and captures them. He arranges his own "death", whether by the player's hand or Arcann's, and invades the player's mind. Arcann and Vaylin do exactly what he expects, which is to generally muck up the galaxy and establish themselves as tyrants in need of overthrowing. And then he arranges and guides the player in doing just that, all the while laying the groundwork for dominating their mind at the moment of their victory and commanding a newly-reshaped galaxy as a heroic liberator - an all-new experience to try out. Too bad it didn't work out for him

So, all of this leads to a perfectly reasonable question: why didn't we just come out and say this in the game?
  • First, we only have so much room to tell a story, so we have to pick what seems most crucial. If a detail isn't vital to understanding the plot or really entertaining or personal, then we don't have time to spend talking about it. Maybe we assessed things wrong, or aimed to cover too much ground in too little time so too much was left out - perfectly fair feedback, and something I would certainly take moving forward. But in principle, there will always be details we don't explain purely because we don't have time to do so.
  • Beyond that, I don't like explaining every single detail of everything anyway. I think it's boring. It's boring to write, and it's (almost always) boring to experience as a player. It's fun to read in a Wookieepedia article sometimes! But I don't think it's the job of the story to lay out every single thing (the movies certainly don't do so). Plus...
  • Mysteries are fun, and I like leaving at least a few things up to players to work out, theorize, or decide for themselves. Surely it's more fun to leave some things to the imagination?
  • Selfishly, it's good for us as writers to leave some things vague so that we can expand or change them later. For example, I never said anything about Tenebrae/Vitiate/Valkorion's original body anywhere up above, because I think it'd be a pretty cool plot element to explore someday. Maybe we won't get around to it, maybe we will, but if it's something that we can't give a lot of love now and want to do later, I won't hesitate to leave it out so that we have room to do so. Plus, as this thread plainly demonstrates, people don't like it when you retcon past details, so if those details aren't there to retcon...
  • Lastly, and this is specific to this particular situation, but the only real source that could give the player all of this information directly is Tenebrae/Vitiate/Valkorion himself. There's clearly no reason he would tell someone about a lot of these things if his goal is to seduce and destroy them, so we used more indirect means to reference them where it made sense.

So, there's my giant post about Tenebrae/Vitiate/Valkorion and our reasons for going about it as we did. Having a reason to do something doesn't make it the right thing to do, of course, so I'm happy to hear everyone's feedback and take it in mind going forward. But, as usual, please be cool about it and be respectful to one another


It's treason, then!
Though as others have clarified, I haven't been the Lead Writer since late 2015
Awesome post Charles. I personally think does a great job of putting some of the more unreasonable haters around here in their place. Good job.

MeNaCe-NZ's Avatar


MeNaCe-NZ
06.30.2017 , 04:54 PM | #92
Quote: Originally Posted by LordAppius View Post
Thank god..... The game is a train wreck followed by a second one...
Next time ask the players what we want... The last 2 expansions i have no words to describe how bad, lacklusting and uninteresting and shallow they were. And still continue to be, since the game continues to deliver horrible story and "content"
Yet here you are ... BWA thanks you for your money for something you seemingly dislike with such disdain, making money has never been easier it seems.

Eshvara's Avatar


Eshvara
06.30.2017 , 04:58 PM | #93
Quote: Originally Posted by MeNaCe-NZ View Post
Awesome post Charles. I personally think does a great job of putting some of the more unreasonable haters around here in their place. Good job.
I suppose you're not talking about Kiregan Freem
Spoiler
#Arcannite
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💫Darth Malgus💫

Ylliarus's Avatar


Ylliarus
06.30.2017 , 05:43 PM | #94
Quote: Originally Posted by CharlesBoyd View Post

So, all of this leads to a perfectly reasonable question: why didn't we just come out and say this in the game?
  • First, we only have so much room to tell a story, so we have to pick what seems most crucial. If a detail isn't vital to understanding the plot or really entertaining or personal, then we don't have time to spend talking about it. Maybe we assessed things wrong, or aimed to cover too much ground in too little time so too much was left out - perfectly fair feedback, and something I would certainly take moving forward. But in principle, there will always be details we don't explain purely because we don't have time to do so.
  • Beyond that, I don't like explaining every single detail of everything anyway. I think it's boring. It's boring to write, and it's (almost always) boring to experience as a player. It's fun to read in a Wookieepedia article sometimes! But I don't think it's the job of the story to lay out every single thing (the movies certainly don't do so). Plus...
  • Mysteries are fun, and I like leaving at least a few things up to players to work out, theorize, or decide for themselves. Surely it's more fun to leave some things to the imagination?
  • Selfishly, it's good for us as writers to leave some things vague so that we can expand or change them later. For example, I never said anything about Tenebrae/Vitiate/Valkorion's original body anywhere up above, because I think it'd be a pretty cool plot element to explore someday. Maybe we won't get around to it, maybe we will, but if it's something that we can't give a lot of love now and want to do later, I won't hesitate to leave it out so that we have room to do so. Plus, as this thread plainly demonstrates, people don't like it when you retcon past details, so if those details aren't there to retcon...
  • Lastly, and this is specific to this particular situation, but the only real source that could give the player all of this information directly is Tenebrae/Vitiate/Valkorion himself. There's clearly no reason he would tell someone about a lot of these things if his goal is to seduce and destroy them, so we used more indirect means to reference them where it made sense.
I'd be very down for that, I think it could provide an amazing narrative that would also allow us to dive in deeper into how the Sith Empire of old looked like and expand the lore of it. Also, it would be the perfect comeback moment for Scourge or Kira or even both. I'd also say that it would be a good moment to finish the Hand of the Emperor arc we had with the Sith Warrior and tie that loose end, as to this day we have no clue what had happened with them. The last time we saw them was on Rishi with the Opticron droids and Vowrawn (sidenote: please make him the next Sith Emperor, I beg you or have him reform and lead the Dark Council).
ATTENTION: Include the Twi'lek into the 3 new eye colours from Appearance Options: Expanded Selections in the next patch. It was a huge mistake to not do this from the start as they are being grossly neglected as a playable species.
Oh yeah, and this is my referral link!

menofhorror's Avatar


menofhorror
06.30.2017 , 05:49 PM | #95
Quote: Originally Posted by Ylliarus View Post
I'd be very down for that, I think it could provide an amazing narrative that would also allow us to dive in deeper into how the Sith Empire of old looked like and expand the lore of it. Also, it would be the perfect comeback moment for Scourge or Kira or even both. I'd also say that it would be a good moment to finish the Hand of the Emperor arc we had with the Sith Warrior and tie that loose end, as to this day we have no clue what had happened with them. The last time we saw them was on Rishi with the Opticron droids and Vowrawn (sidenote: please make him the next Sith Emperor, I beg you or have him reform and lead the Dark Council).

Definitely agree with that.

Quraswren's Avatar


Quraswren
06.30.2017 , 06:47 PM | #96
Quote: Originally Posted by Lundorff View Post
Nobody cares, fix the game.
BINGO ^

It was a mediocre, plot hole filled trollop of a story and an even worse play through with a spawn infested right on you joke.

Yes, please fix the game and steer clear of the one story for all because you're not good enough at it.
Current subscriber: Refer code: http://www.swtor.com/r/t4QfLH
What you get: http://www.swtor.com/info/friends

Jdast's Avatar


Jdast
06.30.2017 , 07:41 PM | #97
Quote: Originally Posted by Quraswren View Post
BINGO ^

It was a mediocre, plot hole filled trollop of a story and an even worse play through with a spawn infested right on you joke.

Yes, please fix the game and steer clear of the one story for all because you're not good enough at it.
You can take this how you will but...I rejoined the game 7 months ago after a 4 year absence. I joked with my boyfriend when I saw your name as the most recent poster. I said:

If Quraswren writes a post totally crapping all over the game, you cook and clean dishes tonight. Sadly, he was smart enough not to take the bet. He said to me, "isn't he the one who constantly *****es?"

Point being: I don't know you from Adam but...

From some posters, I know I will get a lecture about forum etiquette.
From some posters, I know I will get a lecture about how they have been victimized.
From some posters, I know it's all about old jedi robes and tracer missile animations.

But after six short months I know that EVERY single post of yours is going to be about how this game sucks, which begs a question that need not even be asked...

Regards,

Dasty

HuaRya's Avatar


HuaRya
06.30.2017 , 07:46 PM | #98
Quote: Originally Posted by CharlesBoyd View Post
Hey, that's the line I was going to quote!

Since Valkorion is one of the biggest discussion points lately, and it's been a while so I feel like it's free range to discuss, I'll just lay out everything we had in mind for Vitiate/Valkorion and y'all can have something concrete to discuss and/or kick me about
Inspiring and fun read Charles. Thank you.

ZionHalcyon's Avatar


ZionHalcyon
06.30.2017 , 08:16 PM | #99
Quote: Originally Posted by CharlesBoyd View Post
Hey, that's the line I was going to quote!

Since Valkorion is one of the biggest discussion points lately, and it's been a while so I feel like it's free range to discuss, I'll just lay out everything we had in mind for Vitiate/Valkorion and y'all can have something concrete to discuss and/or kick me about

**HEAVY SPOILERS BELOW**

Centuries before our story begins, Tenebrae becomes Vitiate, becomes Emperor of the Sith, and leads the survivors of the Sith into exile to Dromund Kaas. He rules directly for many years.

As years go by, he becomes more and more dissatisfied with the Sith Empire he's created. He finds himself increasingly distanced from the Sith philosophy that first brought him to power and sees it as a dead end (as he expresses several times in KOTFE/KOTET) and, with the immense power at his disposal, begins striking out in search of something better. This is when his "long periods of silence" begin.

He discovers Zakuul, which is in a comparatively primitive state (by Star Wars tech standards, anyway) and dominates Valkorion, as he describes in KOTET Chapter 2. He learns the ancient legends of the gods, of the Eternal Fleet, etc, and investigates them with his considerabe resources. By this point, he has certainly already started the collection of rare and powerful technologies and artifacts that we find in the Arcanum, his vault on Nathema, etc. He (or perhaps agents working for him, such as the Servants) finds the Eternal Fleet disabled in deep space and is able to seize control of it (based on how ARIES talks, we can be fairly sure that neither Valkorion nor his agents ever visited Iokath itself).

The technology of the Fleet helps him raise Zakuul still further. In his Valkorion persona, he constructs a more stable society that he finds more interesting, one that has more potential to let him explore different experiences for centuries to come (his quote above and his many claims of Zakuul being the bestest thing ever). So now, he just needs to ensure that he'll live forever, and that nothing else will threaten his new creation. The ritual (the one the Jedi Knight ultimately stops) will serve both purposes, so he sets that plan in motion, kicking off the Great Galactic War between the Sith Empire and the Republic. (I don't think it's much of a stretch to believe that he could avoid destroying Zakuul, which is waaaay out at the outer edge of the galaxy, when using a ritual that he himself is creating over many, many years, but that should've been something we at least let Jedi Knight players ask.)

Then, Vitiate abruptly stops the war, proposes a treaty claiming seemingly-random planets, and starts the Cold War. An obscure step in his plan to complete the ritual? Makes sense, though if we look at how old Valkorion's children appear to be, they'd be getting born right around this time... coincidence?

Senya tells us that Valkorion started becoming colder and more distant as the children grew up, so we can surmise that he's splitting his attention again during this period. The assault of Sel-Makor and the final attack by the Jedi Knight take a lot out of him. His ritual is thwarted, and he is too weak to dominate another body or risk Valkorion until he's reinvigorated by Revan's plot in SoR - otherwise, he would've surely done so. He could've used the Fleet to cause the necessary deaths, but he wasn't ready to reveal its power to the galaxy yet - more on that shortly.

The events of Shadow of Revan give him the boost he needs to become active again - and he does so in spectacular fashion on Ziost, all while playing up his "evil destroyer of everything" Vitiate persona to the max. He's greatly reinvigorated, he's dealt a significant blow to the Sith Empire (which had been rapidly increasing in strength after Rise of the Hutt Cartel), and he's baited the player and their allies in one fell swoop. All of which leads inexorably to the confrontation in the throne room in the beginning of KOTFE - but why?

For this, we just have to look at the last person who ever stood up to Vitiate at anywhere near the level that the player's character did on Ziost: Revan. When Revan took a crack at him, Vitiate locked him up for centuries, picking and prodding at his mind the entire time. So we know that Tenebrae/Vitiate/Valkorion doesn't destroy people who are a legitimate threat to him; he's fascinated by them. He entraps them, studies them, manipulates them, and corrupts them. (He did it to Vaylin, too! And Dramath!)

So, to review: Valkorion has been revitalized; he's got a tremendously powerful fleet; he's got the Republic in the weakest state it's been since the treaty of Coruscant and the Sith Empire not far behind; he's discovered a new threat that can actually take a shot at him; and he's got a wife who's left him and children that he finds deeply disappointing (see pretty much any time he ever deigns to speak to them) in line to take over his supposedly perfect society. Time to solve all of his problems at once!

He spurs his son's bloodlust and ambition by setting him and the fleet loose on the galaxy (now that they're definitely in no state to resist the fleet's power or endanger Zakuul). He lures his new enemy into a trap and captures them. He arranges his own "death", whether by the player's hand or Arcann's, and invades the player's mind. Arcann and Vaylin do exactly what he expects, which is to generally muck up the galaxy and establish themselves as tyrants in need of overthrowing. And then he arranges and guides the player in doing just that, all the while laying the groundwork for dominating their mind at the moment of their victory and commanding a newly-reshaped galaxy as a heroic liberator - an all-new experience to try out. Too bad it didn't work out for him

So, all of this leads to a perfectly reasonable question: why didn't we just come out and say this in the game?
  • First, we only have so much room to tell a story, so we have to pick what seems most crucial. If a detail isn't vital to understanding the plot or really entertaining or personal, then we don't have time to spend talking about it. Maybe we assessed things wrong, or aimed to cover too much ground in too little time so too much was left out - perfectly fair feedback, and something I would certainly take moving forward. But in principle, there will always be details we don't explain purely because we don't have time to do so.
  • Beyond that, I don't like explaining every single detail of everything anyway. I think it's boring. It's boring to write, and it's (almost always) boring to experience as a player. It's fun to read in a Wookieepedia article sometimes! But I don't think it's the job of the story to lay out every single thing (the movies certainly don't do so). Plus...
  • Mysteries are fun, and I like leaving at least a few things up to players to work out, theorize, or decide for themselves. Surely it's more fun to leave some things to the imagination?
  • Selfishly, it's good for us as writers to leave some things vague so that we can expand or change them later. For example, I never said anything about Tenebrae/Vitiate/Valkorion's original body anywhere up above, because I think it'd be a pretty cool plot element to explore someday. Maybe we won't get around to it, maybe we will, but if it's something that we can't give a lot of love now and want to do later, I won't hesitate to leave it out so that we have room to do so. Plus, as this thread plainly demonstrates, people don't like it when you retcon past details, so if those details aren't there to retcon...
  • Lastly, and this is specific to this particular situation, but the only real source that could give the player all of this information directly is Tenebrae/Vitiate/Valkorion himself. There's clearly no reason he would tell someone about a lot of these things if his goal is to seduce and destroy them, so we used more indirect means to reference them where it made sense.

So, there's my giant post about Tenebrae/Vitiate/Valkorion and our reasons for going about it as we did. Having a reason to do something doesn't make it the right thing to do, of course, so I'm happy to hear everyone's feedback and take it in mind going forward. But, as usual, please be cool about it and be respectful to one another


It's treason, then!
Though as others have clarified, I haven't been the Lead Writer since late 2015
Kudos. THAT makes sense.

But here's the main issue. While you painted a great picture, there were NONE of those breadcrumbs to even HINT that Vitiate was more than a world eater.

Because while yes, you have that line, keep in mind also according to the previous story with the Jedi Knight, Vitiate's plan was to consume all life in the galaxy, and then become a god, creating a new galaxy with his power AND THEN trying out being a farmer, living different lives. That was the progression players were lead to believe prior to KOTFE.

And it's fine and all to say you don't want to spell everything out and love to leave some things of mystery, however in a decent mystery there are always bread crumbs left behind that when you go back and play it again you go AHA and see how it connects.

If there were some real hints other than that one line about Vitiate holding that same dissatisfaction in the vanilla game then I could buy into what you're selling here but there was none of that. The context for the farmer line had already been given in the greater purpose of the story.

What you said could certainly work however it's going to require going back and actually leaving hints of this in the vanilla game. And frankly despite your playing it up of him just putting on the show for Ziost, it just isn't convincing. That's because the way the emperor acted has been consistent all the way through Ziost.

I'm not saying that what you put out there can't work. In the context you gave everything it's certainly can. However there are not enough hints in the vanilla game that point to any sort of that being a possibility.

Let's be frank for a minute. The original development team never intended for the emperor to go down the path that was chosen for him in Knights of the Fallen Empire. That team has long since been replaced with a different team for the most part. The new team has taken the story in directions that are different than what the original creators had intended which is why much of some of these stories revolving around the emperor come across disjointed from the original game.

I understand creative changes happen and teams can come and go as well as people, but respect to the original Source material is a must if you want to write a quality story for the game. Therefore if you are planning on taking the game in a different and unexpected direction that requires some leg work put into the vanilla part of the game to care for where you are taking it better context as you are going in the direction the creators of the original levels 1 through 50 stories never intended.

Again I am not saying that you have to stick to their original Vision but you have to give the players enough bread crumbs to lead us willingly into the direction you want to take us and not by dragging us kicking and screaming there and blame the plot inconsistencies on "mystery".

HKtheindomitable's Avatar


HKtheindomitable
06.30.2017 , 08:48 PM | #100
Quote: Originally Posted by CharlesBoyd View Post
Hey, that's the line I was going to quote!

Since Valkorion is one of the biggest discussion points lately, and it's been a while so I feel like it's free range to discuss, I'll just lay out everything we had in mind for Vitiate/Valkorion and y'all can have something concrete to discuss and/or kick me about

**HEAVY SPOILERS BELOW**

Centuries before our story begins, Tenebrae becomes Vitiate, becomes Emperor of the Sith, and leads the survivors of the Sith into exile to Dromund Kaas. He rules directly for many years.

As years go by, he becomes more and more dissatisfied with the Sith Empire he's created. He finds himself increasingly distanced from the Sith philosophy that first brought him to power and sees it as a dead end (as he expresses several times in KOTFE/KOTET) and, with the immense power at his disposal, begins striking out in search of something better. This is when his "long periods of silence" begin.

He discovers Zakuul, which is in a comparatively primitive state (by Star Wars tech standards, anyway) and dominates Valkorion, as he describes in KOTET Chapter 2. He learns the ancient legends of the gods, of the Eternal Fleet, etc, and investigates them with his considerabe resources. By this point, he has certainly already started the collection of rare and powerful technologies and artifacts that we find in the Arcanum, his vault on Nathema, etc. He (or perhaps agents working for him, such as the Servants) finds the Eternal Fleet disabled in deep space and is able to seize control of it (based on how ARIES talks, we can be fairly sure that neither Valkorion nor his agents ever visited Iokath itself).

The technology of the Fleet helps him raise Zakuul still further. In his Valkorion persona, he constructs a more stable society that he finds more interesting, one that has more potential to let him explore different experiences for centuries to come (his quote above and his many claims of Zakuul being the bestest thing ever). So now, he just needs to ensure that he'll live forever, and that nothing else will threaten his new creation. The ritual (the one the Jedi Knight ultimately stops) will serve both purposes, so he sets that plan in motion, kicking off the Great Galactic War between the Sith Empire and the Republic. (I don't think it's much of a stretch to believe that he could avoid destroying Zakuul, which is waaaay out at the outer edge of the galaxy, when using a ritual that he himself is creating over many, many years, but that should've been something we at least let Jedi Knight players ask.)

Then, Vitiate abruptly stops the war, proposes a treaty claiming seemingly-random planets, and starts the Cold War. An obscure step in his plan to complete the ritual? Makes sense, though if we look at how old Valkorion's children appear to be, they'd be getting born right around this time... coincidence?

Senya tells us that Valkorion started becoming colder and more distant as the children grew up, so we can surmise that he's splitting his attention again during this period. The assault of Sel-Makor and the final attack by the Jedi Knight take a lot out of him. His ritual is thwarted, and he is too weak to dominate another body or risk Valkorion until he's reinvigorated by Revan's plot in SoR - otherwise, he would've surely done so. He could've used the Fleet to cause the necessary deaths, but he wasn't ready to reveal its power to the galaxy yet - more on that shortly.

The events of Shadow of Revan give him the boost he needs to become active again - and he does so in spectacular fashion on Ziost, all while playing up his "evil destroyer of everything" Vitiate persona to the max. He's greatly reinvigorated, he's dealt a significant blow to the Sith Empire (which had been rapidly increasing in strength after Rise of the Hutt Cartel), and he's baited the player and their allies in one fell swoop. All of which leads inexorably to the confrontation in the throne room in the beginning of KOTFE - but why?

For this, we just have to look at the last person who ever stood up to Vitiate at anywhere near the level that the player's character did on Ziost: Revan. When Revan took a crack at him, Vitiate locked him up for centuries, picking and prodding at his mind the entire time. So we know that Tenebrae/Vitiate/Valkorion doesn't destroy people who are a legitimate threat to him; he's fascinated by them. He entraps them, studies them, manipulates them, and corrupts them. (He did it to Vaylin, too! And Dramath!)

So, to review: Valkorion has been revitalized; he's got a tremendously powerful fleet; he's got the Republic in the weakest state it's been since the treaty of Coruscant and the Sith Empire not far behind; he's discovered a new threat that can actually take a shot at him; and he's got a wife who's left him and children that he finds deeply disappointing (see pretty much any time he ever deigns to speak to them) in line to take over his supposedly perfect society. Time to solve all of his problems at once!

He spurs his son's bloodlust and ambition by setting him and the fleet loose on the galaxy (now that they're definitely in no state to resist the fleet's power or endanger Zakuul). He lures his new enemy into a trap and captures them. He arranges his own "death", whether by the player's hand or Arcann's, and invades the player's mind. Arcann and Vaylin do exactly what he expects, which is to generally muck up the galaxy and establish themselves as tyrants in need of overthrowing. And then he arranges and guides the player in doing just that, all the while laying the groundwork for dominating their mind at the moment of their victory and commanding a newly-reshaped galaxy as a heroic liberator - an all-new experience to try out. Too bad it didn't work out for him

So, all of this leads to a perfectly reasonable question: why didn't we just come out and say this in the game?
  • First, we only have so much room to tell a story, so we have to pick what seems most crucial. If a detail isn't vital to understanding the plot or really entertaining or personal, then we don't have time to spend talking about it. Maybe we assessed things wrong, or aimed to cover too much ground in too little time so too much was left out - perfectly fair feedback, and something I would certainly take moving forward. But in principle, there will always be details we don't explain purely because we don't have time to do so.
  • Beyond that, I don't like explaining every single detail of everything anyway. I think it's boring. It's boring to write, and it's (almost always) boring to experience as a player. It's fun to read in a Wookieepedia article sometimes! But I don't think it's the job of the story to lay out every single thing (the movies certainly don't do so). Plus...
  • Mysteries are fun, and I like leaving at least a few things up to players to work out, theorize, or decide for themselves. Surely it's more fun to leave some things to the imagination?
  • Selfishly, it's good for us as writers to leave some things vague so that we can expand or change them later. For example, I never said anything about Tenebrae/Vitiate/Valkorion's original body anywhere up above, because I think it'd be a pretty cool plot element to explore someday. Maybe we won't get around to it, maybe we will, but if it's something that we can't give a lot of love now and want to do later, I won't hesitate to leave it out so that we have room to do so. Plus, as this thread plainly demonstrates, people don't like it when you retcon past details, so if those details aren't there to retcon...
  • Lastly, and this is specific to this particular situation, but the only real source that could give the player all of this information directly is Tenebrae/Vitiate/Valkorion himself. There's clearly no reason he would tell someone about a lot of these things if his goal is to seduce and destroy them, so we used more indirect means to reference them where it made sense.

So, there's my giant post about Tenebrae/Vitiate/Valkorion and our reasons for going about it as we did. Having a reason to do something doesn't make it the right thing to do, of course, so I'm happy to hear everyone's feedback and take it in mind going forward. But, as usual, please be cool about it and be respectful to one another


It's treason, then!
Though as others have clarified, I haven't been the Lead Writer since late 2015
Gratitude: Thanks for posting this. It has been so difficult for myself and others to try to explain the story.

Observation: I find it interesting how many completely missed this stuff. It really is obvious. Some will replay KotFE and kick themselves when they realize just how obvious it is.

Theory: I can only assume that many meatbags went in with the attitude of "They don't know what they're doing, so if one thing doesn't make sense, then none of it does!" (or something to that effect).

Statement: If one steps back and tries to put it all together, removing all bias about anything, it's easy to understand and put together. Playing it several times and not skipping each time helps too.

Acknowledgement: I can fully understand that if one plays parts of it here and there with large gaps of time between playing, one can completely miss everything.

Clarification: My point is this: This post is a sigh of relief to those that did pick up on all of this (whether right away, or after playing it a few times) and attempted to help those that didn't, make sense of it. Now we can link them to your post instead. It's nice to see some of those that didn't get it understand it now and appreciate it more. Thank you so so much for this post.

(Yup, I'm an evil selfish being with a sense of superiority. But what do you expect from an assassination droid that is perfectly constructed and far superior to any meatbag?)
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