You seem to take ol Barry's words for truth, and hoo boy would that make him proud, I imagine.
For me, it was quite instantly apparent that Baras cheats, manipulates and lies through his teeth like a career politician. The whole scene in the end of Balmorra raised my "Wow, such a not suspicious at all coincidence!" flags, and when the Voss prophecy happened I was, "Bingo!" The whole "romance" angle works into the set of things quite well, given how it's pretty much a textbook case of sexual harassment, which makes betrayal much easier. As "For the Empire!" thing -- again, Baras is a master manipulator and Quinn probably isn't the only one who bought his "My infighting will end all other
infightings and it's for the best of our Empire!" spiel.
You believed Baras? I mean what was he going to say to you? "Hey, take Quinn with you, he's totally my spy and is going to backstab you, but you know me being Sith and all I can't lie." Baras set you up to have a spy in your group that was loyal to him. Anything he said to get you to accept the spy was well... what he needed to say to get you to accept the spy.
Again, he's a long term spy in your camp. What did you think he was going to say. "Wow, you survived Baras's backstab, I'm working for Baras as well, but my backstab won't happen until later. You know because us long term under cover spies have to be honest to the people we are spying on."
Baras is an accomplished liar. That doesn't matter at all in this particular instance. In fact, it could, and ought to, work against
him. Quinn's debt to Baras was based on a sense of honorable debt. It would be bizarre for him to agree that this debt remains in operation for the sake of a lie. So, what, Baras calls in after Voss and says, "oh, by the way, I lied, you still totally owe me"?
Furthermore, Baras' assistance to Quinn - getting him the Balmorra post instead of allowing him to be flung into the outer darkness - is pretty much peanuts compared to what the Warrior does for Quinn over the course of the game. That's even if you assume the last few Quinn companion conversations haven't really happened - no marriage yet, perhaps no Broysc abduction. It's very difficult to understand how Quinn can believe that Baras' service would in any meaningful way outweigh the Warrior's.
But then again, the entire Quinn line is based on that sort of unfathomably strange connection between the man's "honor" and his service to an ideal that is completely execrable and contemptible. No normal understanding of "honor" could justify Quinn's continued service to Baras, but Quinn does not possess a coherent and normal understanding of "honor". That's what makes him a poor character. You don't really know where he's going to jump next.
No but to Quinn Baras is trying to take over the Empire and push it in a better direction. By the time the Betrayal happens Baras is one step away from absolute power, and only one other sith warlord stands in his way. Not only that be he seems to run things better for the Empire than the other options.
Quinn's entire character storyline is about how horrible a leader his old enemy, Moff Broysc, is. Not only is Broysc incompetent, but he virtually wages war on subordinates and colleagues who possess any shred of ability. He is, in effect, a symbol of many of the things that are wrong with the Empire, and Quinn's struggle with him mirrors the overall struggle to introduce a shred of intelligence into the Imperial war machine. The problem that Quinn has with Broysc, though, is the exact same problem that Baras creates
. Where have we seen competence from Baras throughout the game? All of the relevant actions during the hunt for Jaesa Willsaam were undertaken by the Warrior, not him. The dismantling of the War Trust was a) done almost solely by the Warrior, b) not all that damaging to the Republic judging by the course of the war so far, and c) only done as a stepping stone for some idiotic Sith power struggle
By comparison, we see the Warrior acting in a more or less competent manner for the entire storyline. She defeats all comers, makes chicken crap into chicken salad, and depending on alignment can act in a decidedly more honorable fashion than Baras. The Warrior's struggle with Baras aligns perfectly with Quinn's struggle against Broysc. Any reason Quinn would have for assuming that Baras would be an adept leader of the Imperial war machine would be dwarfed
by the reason he would have for assuming that the Warrior would be even better.
That's the thing about under cover spies. In order to work they have to feed you information that seems to help you but that they think you would have come to on your own in the long run. Nothing Quinn said on either of those two planets seemed to be any great source or hint of something that my character wouldn't have figured out or didn't already know. Sure he said stuff that was helpful, but not stuff that was beyond helpful.
I suppose this is one of those "agree to disagree" things.
Not to me, his story line worked as somebody who was a long term undercover spy and fed you just enough information to make you think he's critical to his success, without giving you anything that you wouldn't have already gotten. That's how under cover betrayals work. Was it the best one I've ever read? No... but it worked. The fact that you still are having problems with it shows that it was a really good one. That's how the best betrayals work, the people backstabbed still are left puzzled about things long after they are done.
I like a good backstab plot as much as anybody else. And it's not like it wasn't possible to see this one coming. Even if I had been able beforehand to avoid forum grumbling about the Quinncident - and I wasn't - there were key bits of dialogue throughout the story that made it seem like Quinn's allegiances were messed up. And, of course, after the vision in the Shrine of Healing it became blatantly, embarrassingly clear. Whatever else, it's impossible to say that the backstab wasn't foreshadowed.
The problem arose not because the backstab couldn't be seen coming. It's that the reasons you could see it coming conflicted with my basic understanding of Quinn's personality. And since, you know, our companions' personalities are hammered into us with every bit of dialogue we choose, that sort of thing is fairly important. Quinn was a spy, but the reason he was a spy sucked
. That's what was most annoying about the whole thing.
You know what was a good betrayal in this game? Nomar Organa on Alderaan in the Inquisitor storyline. A light side Inquisitor can work to try and get him back together with Rehanna Rist, feel all happy about how she made everything work out in the end...then she goes to the Elysium and finds out that Organa never trusted you in the first place and was waiting with a team of Jedi to keep you from Tulak Hord's artifact. That betrayal pissed me off at the time, because I was angry with Organa for dying for no reason and for denying himself his happy ending with Rehanna. I also didn't really see it coming, partially because I wasn't paying attention to the metastory and partially because I'd been conditioned to see LS choices in this game work out in the end every time, so when one didn't I was surprised. But I thought it was a betrayal that made sense
. Of course Organa would be mistrustful of a Sith's intentions. Of course he'd place his duty above his relationship with his old flame.
The Quinncident didn't work out like that. You say that it's a good thing that it inspired so much discussion. That's nonsense. If a hitherto good story takes a bizarre twist and becomes a bad story, people are going to talk about it. That doesn't make the story magically good again. Here's an example most people might be familiar with: by general consensus, the fifth Harry Potter
book was one of the worst in the series. A lot of characters, especially Harry, seemed to have had personality transplants. They started acting in annoying ways that didn't tally with how they'd acted before, which often caused drama for the sake of drama. (It didn't help that the book was ridiculously overlong.) Because of the popularity of the series, many readers were talking about their negative impressions of the book. But they were still negative impressions, and correct ones, because the book sucked
. The fact that it sparked a conversation didn't turn it into a good book.
I would also like to note that I have and had zero investment in Quinn's character. This isn't a problem with the One Blot on My Husbando's Personality (like it is with, say, bright_ephemera). I don't like Quinn very much at all, really. I don't like his voice, I don't like his casual brutality, I don't like that he's okay with the Sith and the Empire. I think that he has an annoyingly high opinion of himself and his abilities that isn't borne out by what he actually does. Also, he's male. For me, the Quinncident looms no larger than any other story development in SWTOR does. I just find myself talking about it at length here because a) other people really care about it and like to talk about it and b) I talk about almost everything "at length".