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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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menofhorror's Avatar


menofhorror
06.30.2017 , 03:54 PM | #81
I think honestly the biggest problem of the swtor story since 3.0 was this quote you made: "Beyond that, I don't like explaining every single detail of everything anyway."

It's not boring for the player to get a full grasp of what's going on.

Costello's Avatar


Costello
06.30.2017 , 03:55 PM | #82
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
While it is possible to retcon Valkorian in it makes no sense from the Vitiate character arc.

He master minds a war against the republic unleashing his children his loyal soldiers even deploying his wraith and his hand and yet he has:

The power to consume all life on planets (he is at the height of his power) as opposed to Ziost as expressed by Marr when the ritual on Yavin failed and he was only partially successful.

Had an eternal fleet and Zakuul which were able to easily defeat the Republic and Isotope 5 fueled Empire as nothing they had to compete. So with the combined might of his Sith Empire and his Eternal Empire would have been able to wipe out the republic and bring about the deaths he needed. Yet the Eternal empire is strangely absent, worse case if killing the republic didn't do enough damage he could have turned the fleet on the empire which would be just as useless against them as they 3 years later.

Was in control of the Eternal Empire and Valkorian while trapped on Voss. Yes he was a little distant from Senya but he wasn't missing during this time. So why didn't he send his fleet and army to rescue his body but instead relied on the Sith to save him a servant of the empire he no longer cared about.

As a side note only really applicable to the Sith Warrior but why is he bothering with Servant 1 to 12 and the Wrath when he no longer cares about the Sith Empire or their ways. He seems to have a very personal connection with the warrior and the knight given his not meant to care. Hell it makes Baras right in what he did and the warrior the idiot.

Nor is it explained why Marr and State say his definitely dead in RotHC, when his alive and well with his own body, say he doesn't have a body in SoR when he clearly does. It can be said they were wrong and made a mistake but then anything can be said to be wrong and a mistake and we end up where it was all just a dream. Or why he doesn't send the Eternal Fleet in to stop Revan on Yavin and turn it into a complete blood bath to fuel his rebirth rather than leave it up to others which has far less guarantee of working.

Further leaving open the question of how much more immortal he hoped to be, over and above being a world devouring super force god that lives forever, can't be killed no matter the best efforts of the original story and why 3 Zakuul kids were so great compared to all the other children of the empire.

Not to mention how bipolar he appears, is he the benevolent god emperor of Zakuul who the people worship and adore, who in the words of the traitor 'has always been good to Zakuul' and whose people are unwavering loyal to him and his kids yet before 5.2 is over the hero, the outlander, the saviour of the galaxy is already being betrayed for the 5th time since he go frozen in Carbonite (Arcann (if you side with him), Heralds, SCORPIO, Koth (if you do something when his not even around), Saresh/Minister whatever his name, Senya (and the people of Voss who try to heal a guy that ordered the destruction of 5 worlds just because, even while your fighting to save them). I'm sure there are more betrayals culminating with republic and empire trying to take a super weapon to use on you. Yet this same benevolent god wants to wipe out all life in the galaxy (though now all life except one planet) which includes his own Sith Empire who his written off as a lost cause after spending 1000 years guiding them and having them build his empire.

And while mystery is good I feel we have never answered the question from Chapter One, A mistake has been made but by whom? Was this a dig from the writing team at whoever made the decision that Valkorian and Vitiate should be the same person despite how that made so little sense from the original story. And that despite some vague references to Valkorian being the Sith Emperor it had almost no impact on the story with perhaps the biggest commission being for the Wrath who was supposedly his chosen yet Vitiate had long ago given up on the Sith and their ways so it seems what that was all about is a little confusing or why he was looking to corrupt the Jedi Knight when he was already grooming his three new children and is not meant to be caring about the sith and the jedi. As his found a new better way.

NSaynKnutt's Avatar


NSaynKnutt
06.30.2017 , 04:05 PM | #83
Quote: Originally Posted by CharlesBoyd View Post
/SNIP
Thank you so much for that!

I, like many others, found Valkorian confusing, mainly because the impression I got from playing SoR and the Warrior story (I haven't finished the Knight story) was that he only had one body at a time. And then suddenly he turns up on Zakuul with three grown children and I'm like, okaaaay, when did that happen? I realize it's not realistic for Valkorian to lay out all of his plans to the player, but somewhere, maybe in the final level where you are Valkorian, it should have been pointed out that he was living in two places at once. There's the line about the Empire being his "distraction" from Zakuul, but I still couldn't figure out how that worked with him being in a physical form somewhere else at the same time.

Also, a little nitpicky thing that I noticed: You don't explain that Senya and Valkorian were actually married until the final battle where she calls him "husband." The codex entry just calls her his "consort." I assumed they were unmarried lovers until that line in the last chapter and I was like

It didn't need any extra dialogue, but if the codex entry had said "wife" instead of "consort" it would have been a million times clearer.
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LordAppius's Avatar


LordAppius
06.30.2017 , 04:29 PM | #84
They won't admit the 2 latest expansions were a total fu*k up....

everyone here is stating the most obvious points that bioware did not take into consideration.

When you finished Ziost, as the Wrath, Vitiate said "you are still precious to me", that seems what i say to a girl everytime i tell her "i will call you tomorrow babe. I will 100 % call you!"

The expansions makes no head or tails, they are not related to the previous stuff. The only thing that is remotedly linked is Marr appearing when you start 4.0, but then they just kill him right away. If Bioware killed Satele no one would actually care about it, let me rephrase, some ppl would not, but not as many as those that were pissed with Marr getting one shoted as a newb (yeah his boddy was all screwed up, but he still died a shameful death ....)

I don't have high hopes about the upcoming "expansion". That hope died with 5.0, well what remained from it after enduring 4.0 month after month.

indelible's Avatar


indelible
06.30.2017 , 04:34 PM | #85
Quote: Originally Posted by CharlesBoyd View Post
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...
Seem like this might be a heavy handed hint as to where the story is going to go next? So I'll ask the question to end all questions: is He Who Has Many Names actually dead (in the definitive "no longer the big bad guy" sense, won't be coming back, his story is done, etc)???
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Ylliarus's Avatar


Ylliarus
06.30.2017 , 04:37 PM | #86
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
This just skyrocketed by already insanely high adoration of Vitiate/Valkorion... wow, I wish we'd have this somehow in the game explained to us but at least we got it with this post. Amazing and epic post, Valkorion really is my all-time favourite Star Wars character, he may surpass Sidious even now that I read this. Amazing!
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.
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JonnAndCo
06.30.2017 , 04:37 PM | #87
Three thoughts:

First, I really enjoyed your post Charles Boyd. An overview such as this immerses me even deeper into the story. Please do this again sometime in the future.

Secondly, I am glad you left a few mysteries out there. Hopefully we get to explore them again some day.

Lastly, I am concerned that condensing the expansions will leave us shortchanged when our missing crew members finally return. I agree they have been gone too long, but we deserve more then a "Long time no see. Let's rock!" sort of reunion.

Thanks for sharing.

indelible's Avatar


indelible
06.30.2017 , 04:40 PM | #88
Quote: Originally Posted by NSaynKnutt View Post
Thank you so much for that!

I, like many others, found Valkorian confusing, mainly because the impression I got from playing SoR and the Warrior story (I haven't finished the Knight story) was that he only had one body at a time. And then suddenly he turns up on Zakuul with three grown children and I'm like, okaaaay, when did that happen? I realize it's not realistic for Valkorian to lay out all of his plans to the player, but somewhere, maybe in the final level where you are Valkorian, it should have been pointed out that he was living in two places at once. There's the line about the Empire being his "distraction" from Zakuul, but I still couldn't figure out how that worked with him being in a physical form somewhere else at the same time.

Also, a little nitpicky thing that I noticed: You don't explain that Senya and Valkorian were actually married until the final battle where she calls him "husband." The codex entry just calls her his "consort." I assumed they were unmarried lovers until that line in the last chapter and I was like

It didn't need any extra dialogue, but if the codex entry had said "wife" instead of "consort" it would have been a million times clearer.
I don't think he ever was in two places at once. He was either on Zakuul as Valkorion, or he was in the Sith Empire as Vitiate. I think that once he became Valkorion and took on Zakuul, his manifestations in the Sith Empire were merely puppets he controlled via the force rather than distinct "copies" of his spirit. Either he did this via moving between bodies, or he remained in Valkorion's body and simply "projected" himself via the control of an avatar.
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indelible's Avatar


indelible
06.30.2017 , 04:42 PM | #89
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"
This criticsm is so weird, given that the reviews for the game skyrocketed in scores with both 4.0 and 5.0.
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Ylliarus's Avatar


Ylliarus
06.30.2017 , 04:44 PM | #90
Quote: Originally Posted by indelible View Post
I don't think he ever was in two places at once. He was either on Zakuul as Valkorion, or he was in the Sith Empire as Vitiate. I think that once he became Valkorion and took on Zakuul, his manifestations in the Sith Empire were merely puppets he controlled via the force rather than distinct "copies" of his spirit. Either he did this via moving between bodies, or he remained in Valkorion's body and simply "projected" himself via the control of an avatar.
I'd pretty much envision it like this, like his main conciousness was in Valkorion and significant portions in his Voices, but those were mere puppets while the Valkorion body was the one he resided in mainly.
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.
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