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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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YlliyaXor's Avatar


YlliyaXor
06.30.2017 , 11:27 PM | #111
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
Why make him immortal? That way he can only be killed either by his own stupidity or some kind of deus ex machina device.

I think that is too much effort put into a character that is just a maniacal mass murderer, the whole point of the Sith seems to be crime on a massive scale with complete impunity, how is this a compelling story, i want to know about the plight of their victims and how they eventually topple them.

So he destroyed a couple of planets, so did Angral, he stands out because you want him to, nothing he does is noteworthy in an universe where destroying planets is commonplace.

It just doesn't make sense to have someone being that powerful, yet all he wants is to posses the smuggler or a random hired gun, Vitiate is basically an idiot god.

This game needs a nerf to the power of both the protagonists and the antagonists, this isn't a movie where you can blow up a bunch of planets and move on to the sequel, we need to have the scale of destruction greatly reduced.

Oh and while you're at it please find a way to have Jaxo miraculously escape and be a companion.

MandFlurry's Avatar


MandFlurry
06.30.2017 , 11:35 PM | #112
Quote: Originally Posted by ZionHalcyon View Post
Just wanted to single this out. Because Retcons are only useful for the reader if the prior story sucked, and the retcon is leading the reader/viewer to a better quality product.

That was NOT the case.

No, what happened was you had players who LOVED the original class stories and companion stories, and you decided to Retcon THOSE - sorry, but when writers retcon beloved stories, it usually is because of lazy writing or bad creative direction, and its the surest way to lose an audience.

And I have to tell you, after having been away a year, it sure is a lot less lively here on the forums and in game than it was when I left a year ago, when players were making post after post about leaving because of what the KOTFE Retcon did to the game's overall story.


Now, if you want to use a retcon properly?

Retcon KOTFE and KOTET somehow and get the story that the players LOVED back on track, and stop being stupid and careless with the story.

I don't know what goes through the minds of people who think that the Writers were not ever going to bring us our Orginal Companions back, it's like what has gone wrong with peoples heads nowadays.. They had full Intention, as they said years ago, to bring us back our original Companions, but first People Need Patience?. It's hard for me to without some of them. People need to grow-up, as in War We lose our Loved ones for a very long time sometimes, That's Realism, and they tried to do that, but people whined, including me once in a great while, but being around War I know this is also good and bad realism.

The Story Devs should have been given' more time, that just a month or even 2, so that the Writers could really say without a doubt that they put out a Solid story, and They were not fullu given' that chance most of the time, which i hate, because the Writers Deserve Better

Yes, we do Need Ops and more Fp's and Uprisings, (which are good) and of course i love PvP. I love story-lines to. It always comes to how they are implemented, and each Class really does deserve their own piece of Cake.
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Eshvara's Avatar


Eshvara
06.30.2017 , 11:52 PM | #113
Quote: Originally Posted by KeithKanneg View Post
Hey Charles,

Although a portion of this is a gold post, please read it from my perspective as a player. Thank you for taking the time to write this up. I can tell how much you wanted to explain and how diligent you were to provide the details about KotFE and KotET. Everyone has been asking for more communication from the Dev Team, and you have done just that and I know we can count on more insight from you going forward.

I find it strange when anyone, who's never been on a Dev Team, been a writer, had to deliver a story, work with the voice actors, adjust the dialog, make changes to the Cinematics, and keep our attention through a great story, simply brush it aside or make snide remarks. It may nor may not be what we all wanted and we all have our opinions, but personally, if I was sitting across the table from you, and you told me this story, I would be more in awe and feel very humbled to just have that opportunity.

Now from Keith the Lead Producer and the guy who happens to sit next to you each day, I loved reading this tonight and am extremely thankful you are on the SWTOR team. Every day I get the chance to interact with you, discuss ideas, kick around new functions and features, talk about where you want to take the story, what areas of the game we want to see enhanced, what threads we should be responding to, what we want to do at our next Live Stream or the upcoming Cantina, and more. I seriously cannot wait to give everyone more details about what we're planning and when we plan to release it.

I sincerely appreciate your enthusiasm for the game and your leadership. Have a fun and safe 4th of July weekend.

All the best,

Keith
D'awwww!! That's so nice to read! I'm happy you took over Keith, for our sake and also your colleagues! You seem to bring positivity everywhere and there aren't all that many people capable of that. Cheers for you and cheers for Charles for wanting to communicate with us, it isn't always easy I bet.
But I think most of us agree we're all very happy there is no longer silence from the other side.

🤗 Keep up the good work!
#Arcannite
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💫Darth Malgus💫

ZionHalcyon's Avatar


ZionHalcyon
06.30.2017 , 11:54 PM | #114
Quote: Originally Posted by KeithKanneg View Post
Hey Charles,

Although a portion of this is a gold post, please read it from my perspective as a player. Thank you for taking the time to write this up. I can tell how much you wanted to explain and how diligent you were to provide the details about KotFE and KotET. Everyone has been asking for more communication from the Dev Team, and you have done just that and I know we can count on more insight from you going forward.

I find it strange when anyone, who's never been on a Dev Team, been a writer, had to deliver a story, work with the voice actors, adjust the dialog, make changes to the Cinematics, and keep our attention through a great story, simply brush it aside or make snide remarks. It may nor may not be what we all wanted and we all have our opinions, but personally, if I was sitting across the table from you, and you told me this story, I would be more in awe and feel very humbled to just have that opportunity.

Now from Keith the Lead Producer and the guy who happens to sit next to you each day, I loved reading this tonight and am extremely thankful you are on the SWTOR team. Every day I get the chance to interact with you, discuss ideas, kick around new functions and features, talk about where you want to take the story, what areas of the game we want to see enhanced, what threads we should be responding to, what we want to do at our next Live Stream or the upcoming Cantina, and more. I seriously cannot wait to give everyone more details about what we're planning and when we plan to release it.

I sincerely appreciate your enthusiasm for the game and your leadership. Have a fun and safe 4th of July weekend.

All the best,

Keith

Keith.

Please now read this perspective from a player.

I am just going to be blunt here. This comes across as tone deaf and developers playing grab ***. That may not have been the intent, and I think before this you have been incredibly on point.

Here is what you need to understand.

Yes, its true a great many players have never been on a Dev Team, been a writer, had to deliver a story, work with the voice actors, adjust the dialog, make changes to the Cinematics, and keep their attention through a great story.

However, gamers have played a great many games over their lives, and while not all of them appreciate the hard work that goes into it, many do, despite never having been a part of the game making process, have a unique perspective that often those who develop these video games lose sight of, even if they are gamers themselves - They know what they like, they know what's good and what isn't generally, and they are passionate.

See, the old "those who haven't done it shouldn't criticize" argument, no matter what form it takes or whether it is insinuated or flat said, always backfires. ALWAYS.

Because that sort of deflection is not just in games. Take sports for example. You hear a LOT of times from particularly bad teams "I don't know why the fans boo. We played our hardest, and these fans don't know the game. They don't know the X's and O's." While that may inherently be true, speaking that out to a fanbase is a surefire way to bring on unneeded grief and oft times, write that player's ticket out of town.

Because guess what? Sure, a fan might not know how to diagram a play, or know what particular role a positon plays in a given situation, nor could call a defense or design an offensive play.

But the real fans of the sport know a good team from a bad one. They can see which players are not cutting it on the field, or when a player flat gives up on a play. They've seen enough that while they may not be in a position to fix it, it would be utterly wrong and insulting to say they don't know what they are looking at.

Because at the end of the day, a fan is tuning in, is paying to go to a game, for THEIR enjoyment. To turn it back to gamers, a development team that develops only for itself and not for its players is a development designed to fail. And like all fans, they can be catty at times, make a snide remark, or be overly critical. You find that in fan bases of bad teams where fans don't feel listened to. Its an outlet for the passionate fan who wants to still cheer for his team, but the team seems to not be interested, else not capable of fixing the product to put something the fans can enjoy out on the field. Those frustrations tend to go away when a team gets better, and there is something worthwhile to watch.

My ultimate point is this:

Sure - many people with our snide remarks may not know how to make your game. But we know what we like and don't like about it. We may not always be right, and no development team should be a complete slave to their fans (I saw how that ruined SWG from launch - ugh.), but the team needs to understand the feedback, understand where it is coming from, and understand that if they continue this creative course with the story of the game, it just isn't going to hold up in the eyes of the players, and you will (and have) lose and continue to lose players - players who as of right now, many of them have a better handle on the nuances of the story of a game they have been playing for over 5 years than some of the development team seem to have, and they don't need to know how to develop a game for that.

You have my respect for the increased communication. However this thread and others like it have shown that many players did not like the sudden shift in story with the Valkorion/Vitiate retcon - a retcon that was never asked for, never wanted, and equally not well received.

I do not demean the work that went into the story. However if a person puts in a ton of work to write a TV show that is poorly received and it goes off the air, that neither takes away from the hard work put in, nor does it make the TV show any less bad.

You opened the communication lines - thank you for that. And while I dislike and continue to challenge Charles on his defense of the KotFE story (dislike his defense of it, not him personally), I do appreciate that you guys are hard at work making a game for our enjoyment.

But a word of advice - no matter the blow to the ego, never double down when you put out a product that your consumers are telling you is bad. It may sting, and it may hurt given the hours put into it. But it also is an opportunity to grow, to improve, to get better, and to better learn the tastes of your consumer and better tailor your product to their desired experience, not those who make it. Ask yourself which is more important for a chef who owns a restaurant - to create a meal that can satisfy his own tastes, or create meals that satisfy the palate of those who come to dine in his restaurant?

When you get defensive and double down on things your customers are telling you that you are doing wrong, sooner or later, people stop coming to your restaurant.

I think I've made my point - understand it is coming from a place meant to be constructive, and to hopefully get through some of the self-defensive haze I've seen being projected when it comes to new direction of the story.

Thank you.

ZionHalcyon's Avatar


ZionHalcyon
07.01.2017 , 12:05 AM | #115
Quote: Originally Posted by MandFlurry View Post
I don't know what goes through the minds of people who think that the Writers were not ever going to bring us our Orginal Companions back, it's like what has gone wrong with peoples heads nowadays.. They had full Intention, as they said years ago, to bring us back our original Companions, but first People Need Patience?. It's hard for me to without some of them. People need to grow-up, as in War We lose our Loved ones for a very long time sometimes, That's Realism, and they tried to do that, but people whined, including me once in a great while, but being around War I know this is also good and bad realism.

The Story Devs should have been given' more time, that just a month or even 2, so that the Writers could really say without a doubt that they put out a Solid story, and They were not fullu given' that chance most of the time, which i hate, because the Writers Deserve Better

Yes, we do Need Ops and more Fp's and Uprisings, (which are good) and of course i love PvP. I love story-lines to. It always comes to how they are implemented, and each Class really does deserve their own piece of Cake.

Frankly, I wasn't even talking about companions - they communicated what happened with that, and most people get it.

The major story issues had more to do with the Valkorion/Vitiate retcon that was never asked for, the shift in story away from your character and towards Valkorion and his family, the story not feeling like star wars, and the very repetitive level design which would consist of a narrow tunnel and wave after wave of MOBs. Those seem to be the major points people are upset with. I'd mention group content too, but based on feedback from the new producer, it seems that message was already received loud and clear. Right now, it seems like story is the only sacred cow above criticism in the dev team's eyes.

Glzmo's Avatar


Glzmo
07.01.2017 , 12:36 AM | #116
Quote: Originally Posted by ZionHalcyon View Post
Well at the very least I'm glad there are others out there who feel the same way I do. The sad thing is I have very little hope that anything will change. In another thread the lead writer Charles Boyd defended both expansions. I hate saying it but if he thinks that level of writing is what makes it passible then we may need a different lead writer, one that understands the importance of consistency and continuity within an overall story.
Vince Russo, perhaps?

MandFlurry's Avatar


MandFlurry
07.01.2017 , 12:55 AM | #117
GIZMO, that You from SWG, Love You and TUX so much, even if we dont always agree. So so much.
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Mewsy's Avatar


Mewsy
07.01.2017 , 01:07 AM | #118
Thanks so much for sharing that Charles, it was a very interesting read. I for one enjoyed KotFE and KotET, though as others have mentioned again and again (and again) its flaws. I hope you don't totally abandon the Zakuul storyline - it's been really nice to have a third option, I'm very invested in my character's new position, and I'm interested in seeing where things lead next.

FDrage's Avatar


FDrage
07.01.2017 , 03:00 AM | #119
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.
A very interesting post to read (and long) .. so thanks for that .

quiet some time ago I read a writer (cant recall who it was sadly and I quote from a bad memory ) say that the worst thing a writer can do is write a character that people are indifferent to. Love or hate a character, but people react to them. Be indifferent and people just move on and forget them. I guess the same applies to a story (to some degree).

Personally I enjoyed the story and the character of the Emperor over the whole story arc. I do like some opened ended things as it leave room for speculations etc. Granted there are always things that can be done better, more expansive or less drawn out or just being present at all or leaving stories out just so they can be sold down the line to players when they could have fitted into something present. The Story in SWTOR is/was one of the highlights for me.

LordAppius's Avatar


LordAppius
07.01.2017 , 03:13 AM | #120
Quote: Originally Posted by MeNaCe-NZ View Post
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.
GG man... now go and lick their arses a bit more.... If i'm not pleased with something i'm paying i will complain.

Since ppl nowadays are pleased with the average crap they receive (you sir seem to fir into the description perfectly)