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Choices Matter? Class Stories Matter!

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion
Choices Matter? Class Stories Matter!

Ylliarus's Avatar


Ylliarus
06.28.2017 , 05:28 PM | #1
Dear Bioware,

So there is something I wanted to briefly touch upon as I believe it to be an important part of storytelling for the future of the game. I really hope you will take note of this feedback, a reaction would be welcome but is of course not necessary. As long as you take it into account in the future I'll be more than happy.

It surely has been a critique that you heard often about KotFE and KotET, that the choices didn't matter or didn't matter enough. Yet my critique isn't primarily about the choices you make in those two expansions but it's about the choices we make prior to KotFE.
In my opinion the class story "flavour" we get in KotFE and KotET is very underwhelming. I am not asking for 8 versions of the two expansions or future content (would be ideal though), but you can't disregard our original class stories and the choices we made during them like you did in the two expansions.
Yes there were multiple moments where there was a reference made or brief dialogue about it, but it was too little. An easy example, KotET, Chapter 2. The Sith Warrior or Sith Inquisitor come to Dromund Kaas as if they're thinking "cool rock bro, but idc". Where was the moment of recognition, the longing to return home, the anger and rage at what was taken away from them? Especially with a return to Dromund Kaas, the Imperial capital (!!!), the Imperial classes should have had a lot more meaningful moments that had something to do with their time spent there during the original class stories. We should have been given the options to express way more feelings or thoughts about it, instead of being guided as if on a trail run.
And this is only one example of dozens of situations that should have been way more elaborate if played by a specific class. Sure, it should remain within the bounds of it being a flavour instead of its own story branch, but that doesn't mean the flavour has to be bland and underwhelming. I understand of course that doing more than just a flavour is less desirable as now you can maintain 1 story all classes follow with some potential branches in it. I personally will always say the multiple unique stories were a much better way of telling the SWTOR story (which is why I prefer leveling toons from level 1 over and over again as that story appeals to me much more than KotFE and KotET which I only played through twice, one light one dark), but nonetheless, if you do 1 story then please add as much original Class Story flavour as is possible.

We played through original class stories with our hearts, we experienced it and lived the story alongside and through our characters, don't just disregard that all because it doesn't fit in with forcing us into a trail run-narrative (sorry if it sounds a tad aggresive but you can't deny it isn't a bit like a trail run with a few branches that still lead you to the same end point).
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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Lunafox's Avatar


Lunafox
06.28.2017 , 08:41 PM | #2
Very nicely put. I agree. It would be ideal to have Class and companion stories again. They do matter. But what I'm taking away from all the posts about this over the years, is that they're unable to do all these, either because of the expense of it, or available manpower to make it happen.

Like someone said on another thread...unfortunately I can't remember who it was exactly, but they had the idea that it might have been better to have 3 new chapters for each class, rather than...the larger number of 'one size fits all' that we got.

I suppose a compromise would be to make four stories...imperial/republic force users and imperial/republic non-force user stories, that way there would still be adequate flavour to make it feel more unique to each class.

WorldSmasher's Avatar


WorldSmasher
06.28.2017 , 09:53 PM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by Lunafox View Post
Very nicely put. I agree. It would be ideal to have Class and companion stories again. They do matter. But what I'm taking away from all the posts about this over the years, is that they're unable to do all these, either because of the expense of it, or available manpower to make it happen.

Like someone said on another thread...unfortunately I can't remember who it was exactly, but they had the idea that it might have been better to have 3 new chapters for each class, rather than...the larger number of 'one size fits all' that we got.

I suppose a compromise would be to make four stories...imperial/republic force users and imperial/republic non-force user stories, that way there would still be adequate flavour to make it feel more unique to each class.
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Brummett's Avatar


Brummett
06.28.2017 , 10:12 PM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by Lunafox View Post
Very nicely put. I agree. It would be ideal to have Class and companion stories again. They do matter. But what I'm taking away from all the posts about this over the years, is that they're unable to do all these, either because of the expense of it, or available manpower to make it happen.

Like someone said on another thread...unfortunately I can't remember who it was exactly, but they had the idea that it might have been better to have 3 new chapters for each class, rather than...the larger number of 'one size fits all' that we got.

I suppose a compromise would be to make four stories...imperial/republic force users and imperial/republic non-force user stories, that way there would still be adequate flavour to make it feel more unique to each class.
I would love for this to happen.
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Estelindis's Avatar


Estelindis
06.28.2017 , 10:31 PM | #5
Quoting you from the Cytherat thread where we had some related discussion:
Quote: Originally Posted by Ylliarus View Post
You my friend have pointed out exactly what I believe to be the major flaw of KotFE and KotET. While not specifically with the Trooper, when playing through the chapters on my Inquisitor or Warrior there were so, so, so many times I was like "please say something more than this generic blabbing!". Like Dromund Kaas, I'd expect waaaay more emotion from my Darth Imperius like "how I long to be here again for good" or "all of this was taken away from me! [rage]". Like he was on Dromund Kaas like "cool rock, bro, but idc" like NO. That is not how I played Darth Imperius in my class storyline, he is a diehard Imperial loyalist and the return to Dromund Kaas should have been way more impactful and definitely leaving it. I had expected Imperius to be a lot more torn with having to go again, or having the ability to express to Acina you'd give up everything to be part of the Sith Empire again. It's the major flaw with the two latest expansions and I am sad that it will never be fixed.
I saw this thread you just started first, actually, and I thought "this is exactly what I was thinking when I made that post..." Then I saw your answer in that other thread and grinned! We're on the same wavelength when it comes to this. Anyway, might as well continue the discussion here rather than taking the Cytherat thread even further off-topic.

I haven't taken Darth Imperius through the Zakuul story yet. However, I did take my ruthless male agent through it and I had similar feelings once he got to DK in KotET. He too is a diehard Imperial loyalist, often to a fault (even in the Alliance, he tends to favour Imperials and thwart Pubs wherever possible). Yet, apart from a very small bit of dialogue towards the start of DK, pretty much everything was presented the same for him as it was for my Light V, conciliatory, coalition-building consular. She was stepping into the heart of darkness, but he was coming home - and both situations were shown in almost the same way.

Regarding the sameness of DK, what stood out most to me was how similarly Acina and the main character interacted, regardless of character background. This agent of mine would have knelt to her if he could. Before Acina lost the plot on Iokath, she seemed just like the kind of sith he would've been glad to work with. She presented a welcome contrast compared to most other sith (Cytherat actually being a welcome exception; Lana too).

That said, I appreciate that the story might not have benefited overall from the option to make some kind of public pledge of fealty to the Empire... The Alliance includes plenty of Republic folks who would not be happy with that, and more distractions are hardly needed at this point in the story. Also, at a meta level, the Zakuul arc presents the main character's rise to power and needs to continue to look like a rise to power in order to maintain coherence.

But... what I would've liked... would've been some kind of secret power conference between Acina and the Imperial main character. Acina would state that she understands that public appearances must remain a certain way for expediency's sake (no wish to weaken the Alliance by creating division). To the world, it can just appear that the Empire and the Alliance are, um, allies. But a private agreement between the two of them could allow the Alliance to serve the Empire secretly. The main character would have three options: 1) accept her offer and secretly make the Alliance subordinate to the Empire; 2) say that an alliance is enough for now and the relationship between the Empire and the Alliance can be properly determined once Vaylin is defeated; or 3) reject her offer. A second choice hub would handle the player's intention in making those choices. For example, option 1 could be designated a bluff: a wily sith could pretend to make the Alliance subordinate to the Empire but simply be biding their time until they decide to usurp leadership from Acina. Or, after rejecting the offer by taking option 3, a bold sith could say flat-out that they believe they have a better claim to be Emperor or Empress. Etc! In terms of consequences, nothing much would change on a visible level: like the decision to ally or not ally with the Empire, it'd just be a question of whether Acina thinks the Alliance Commander is on her side or not. A few bits of dialogue could refer back to the earlier decision when Acina returns. And the main character would remain free to stab her in the back on Iokath if they liked, regardless of prior promises.

My feeling is that Acina would not try this scheme with a Republic character, not even if they seemed sympathetic to the Empire, so this'd just be a "bonus" for Imperials. (Maybe Republic characters could get some more fleshed-out options with the Saresh side of the plot.)

What I'm describing might sound a bit odd, but I'm aiming for something that would achieve the storytelling elegance of the loyalty choice in the agent's class story. If the agent actually defects, there are very few callbacks that explicitly refer to their status - which makes sense, because it's a secret! But from the moment I decided that my main agent would defect (this is obviously a different agent from the one I referenced above), everything felt different whenever I played her. "The world" saw that agent just the same way as before, but I, the player, knew the truth.
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Aeneas_Falco's Avatar


Aeneas_Falco
06.29.2017 , 12:11 AM | #6
Unfortunately entirely separate class stories died in 2012, when this game nearly went belly up and much of the development team ended up out of work. Ever since then the game's story continually narrowed, first into two separate faction stories that were identical for each of the four classes within a faction, and finally into one story that was identical for all eight classes regardless of whether Republic or Empire aligned. I have no idea what is going on at Bioware behind the scenes, but given the history of the game you have to wonder if the money and human resources just aren't there for eight class stories.

As much as I'd love to see eight separate class stories with three missions each in the next major update, similar to the old planet arcs, that probably isn't a realistic hope. The best we can probably hope for is a mix of something like Rise of the Hutt Cartel, where there were separate Republic and Empire story arcs, and Shadow of Revan which featured a single unique class quest.

At the very least they need to return to having two separate Republic and Empire stories, with those two factions being opposed. Any story with elements of those two factions being aligned against a third party just does not feel like Star Wars. Jedi and Sith cooperating just does not fit in with the rest of the universe's canon. It's like having Orcs and Elves cooperating in Tolkien's universe, to take on some outside threat to Middle Earth. It just feels like bad fanfiction.

Eshvara's Avatar


Eshvara
06.29.2017 , 12:15 AM | #7
8 Class story was a mistake from the start. While I enjoyed them greatly and am happy they're always there for when I want a replay, it'll never be like that again. As quite a few people have said over the years, having stories for each faction could work. And maybe for those who don't like imp/reps the Alliance could potentionally stay. Although I myself prefer Imp/rep side stories only. It's also a lot less work! I always had the feeling that the alliance was a temporary thing.
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btmart's Avatar


btmart
06.29.2017 , 12:38 AM | #8
I dunno about story.. I guess you can retcon everything in your head I suppose. The worst thing about KOTFE/KOTET was the actual game play. It was every bit of the word horrible if you looked it up in a Thesaurus! Game play was NOT fun and repeating it was literally slamming my hands on the keyboard getting frustrated because of scripted mobs and endless stupid skytroopers. Terrible (TERRIBLE!!) game play.

It was mostly trying to keep me logged in as long as possible to complete the content. And BW, you know this, so lets not play. Don't try this ploy again. KOTFE/KOTET was the worst gameplay I've ever experienced.

Kolskeggur's Avatar


Kolskeggur
06.29.2017 , 12:44 AM | #9
I definitely want to see the return of 8 separate class stories. Or even just 4 different stories (one force-sensitive and one non-force sensitive per faction). Anything that won't have me play through a KotFE/KotET story on my Agent where it makes exactly no sense whatsoever.
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Ylliarus's Avatar


Ylliarus
06.29.2017 , 05:44 AM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by Estelindis View Post
Quoting you from the Cytherat thread where we had some related discussion:

I saw this thread you just started first, actually, and I thought "this is exactly what I was thinking when I made that post..." Then I saw your answer in that other thread and grinned! We're on the same wavelength when it comes to this. Anyway, might as well continue the discussion here rather than taking the Cytherat thread even further off-topic.

I haven't taken Darth Imperius through the Zakuul story yet. However, I did take my ruthless male agent through it and I had similar feelings once he got to DK in KotET. He too is a diehard Imperial loyalist, often to a fault (even in the Alliance, he tends to favour Imperials and thwart Pubs wherever possible). Yet, apart from a very small bit of dialogue towards the start of DK, pretty much everything was presented the same for him as it was for my Light V, conciliatory, coalition-building consular. She was stepping into the heart of darkness, but he was coming home - and both situations were shown in almost the same way.

Regarding the sameness of DK, what stood out most to me was how similarly Acina and the main character interacted, regardless of character background. This agent of mine would have knelt to her if he could. Before Acina lost the plot on Iokath, she seemed just like the kind of sith he would've been glad to work with. She presented a welcome contrast compared to most other sith (Cytherat actually being a welcome exception; Lana too).

That said, I appreciate that the story might not have benefited overall from the option to make some kind of public pledge of fealty to the Empire... The Alliance includes plenty of Republic folks who would not be happy with that, and more distractions are hardly needed at this point in the story. Also, at a meta level, the Zakuul arc presents the main character's rise to power and needs to continue to look like a rise to power in order to maintain coherence.

But... what I would've liked... would've been some kind of secret power conference between Acina and the Imperial main character. Acina would state that she understands that public appearances must remain a certain way for expediency's sake (no wish to weaken the Alliance by creating division). To the world, it can just appear that the Empire and the Alliance are, um, allies. But a private agreement between the two of them could allow the Alliance to serve the Empire secretly. The main character would have three options: 1) accept her offer and secretly make the Alliance subordinate to the Empire; 2) say that an alliance is enough for now and the relationship between the Empire and the Alliance can be properly determined once Vaylin is defeated; or 3) reject her offer. A second choice hub would handle the player's intention in making those choices. For example, option 1 could be designated a bluff: a wily sith could pretend to make the Alliance subordinate to the Empire but simply be biding their time until they decide to usurp leadership from Acina. Or, after rejecting the offer by taking option 3, a bold sith could say flat-out that they believe they have a better claim to be Emperor or Empress. Etc! In terms of consequences, nothing much would change on a visible level: like the decision to ally or not ally with the Empire, it'd just be a question of whether Acina thinks the Alliance Commander is on her side or not. A few bits of dialogue could refer back to the earlier decision when Acina returns. And the main character would remain free to stab her in the back on Iokath if they liked, regardless of prior promises.

My feeling is that Acina would not try this scheme with a Republic character, not even if they seemed sympathetic to the Empire, so this'd just be a "bonus" for Imperials. (Maybe Republic characters could get some more fleshed-out options with the Saresh side of the plot.)

What I'm describing might sound a bit odd, but I'm aiming for something that would achieve the storytelling elegance of the loyalty choice in the agent's class story. If the agent actually defects, there are very few callbacks that explicitly refer to their status - which makes sense, because it's a secret! But from the moment I decided that my main agent would defect (this is obviously a different agent from the one I referenced above), everything felt different whenever I played her. "The world" saw that agent just the same way as before, but I, the player, knew the truth.
We are very much on the exact same wavelength I completely agree with what you say especially about the part of Acina and an Imperial Outlander hosting such a meeting. Heck we had ample opportunity for that when both Acina and Commander crashed in the jungles, the inbetween scenes could have each a few dialogue lines abput exactly that issue, the Alliance becoming subordinate to the Sith Empire in secret. It would have given the entire chapter so much more dynamic and would have created a difference between Empire and Republic playthrough which would have resulted in a more veritable "choices matter". Also, what you describe would be perfect and give much more depth to the story as well, especially in the Iokath arc. It is such a missed opportunity there...

But yes the fact that you can play a Republic character and Imperial character and still have almost exactly the same playthrough with both is a major flaw. What is the entire point of chosing a faction at the start of your playthrough, be it at level 1, 60 or 65 if in the end there is no difference? It's something that should be mended and could be if we were given at least 2 unique storylines, one Empire and one Republic, or as I stated before in threads, KotFE and KotET should have had 3 unique storylines, one from the perspective from the Alliance like we already have, one from the Republic and one from the Empire. In my opinion in chapter 9 of KotFE we should have been given three choices, either to form the Alliance as happened, or to return to our original faction, the Republic/Empire, or to defect to the enemy faction, Republic/Empire. That would already have created story diversity and not the trail run-narrative we have now.

Quote: Originally Posted by Lunafox View Post
I suppose a compromise would be to make four stories...imperial/republic force users and imperial/republic non-force user stories, that way there would still be adequate flavour to make it feel more unique to each class.
You have my full support regarding this. Something like this would be enough to undo the trail run feel with the storyline as well as satisfy the desire for more variety in narrative. It sounds like an easy path to follow and something Bioware really should consider doing as the forced trail run-narrative is becoming bland and boring very rapidly
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!