Thursday, 29 October 2015

SWTOR Lowdown: KOTFE Impressions!

Hey Guys, Joe here with my thoughts on the First 9 Chapters of Knights of the Fallen Empire, the latest expansion for SWTOR. 

This expansion doesn't feel like an expansion, but more like a re-vamp of the current game. Or launching a 'new era' of swtor almost upgrading the game ready for future content. This pivot makes the game feel more like an RPG with a side dish of MMO. (Take that as you will). With a much larger focus on story based content, something that many players have wanted since launch, giving you 9 chapters to explore through. 

Despite the increased story content of the game, nothing new 'gameplay' (as in Operations PVP etc.) is available in this expansion except for a flashpoint mission called the 'Star Fortress'. Most of the content has just been bolstered to 65 which again makes this expansion feel more like stage one of a huge revamp with more content later to come. Knights of the Fallen Empire has me a bit worried that once the nine chapters are completed, players will return to the less captivating reality of the endgame grind and even start to leave the game again and only come back for more story, not the most healthy thing for an MMO. 

Also other downsides are, Most of the story is instanced so that you never see another player, there is no incentive to group together. Many times I had completely forgotten I was even playing online until someone in the general chat started to ping. It leaves Knights of the Fallen Empire at an odd tension between  an RPG and the reality that STILL IS is meant to be an online game. That said the story content that is in the expansion is exceptionally well done. 

The story really does feel like KOTOR style story telling, which is ironic considering that later companion interaction is done in that style. The story of the expansion introduces us to the Eternal Empire, a utopian society ruled by Valkorion, the Immortal Emperor that ends up having a personal attachment to your character that, as the story progresses, casts the Emperor in increasing shades of grey. Unlike the previous incarnations of the emperor where he was shown to be an elusive maniac who were were meant to hate. Though he might seem like a typical power hungry egomaniac—and he certainly can be—after the first few chapters he becomes a much more 'Real' figure. The story revolving around the tension brewing between his family is intimate, an really helps humanise the character and sort of makes me like him! (Don't tell Lana).

Sadly, his children aren’t as threatenting. With Prince Arcann acting like a spoilt child for most of the opening chapters (as Valkorian Rightly points out!). Also, the emotional betrayal of his brother seen in the opening cinematic lacks consequence within the actual story and it is barley touched upon. His sister, Vaylin, fares slightly better thanks to being a more immediate threat to your survival in the first chapter. And seems to posses real power. 

Overall, For newer or more casual players who just want to experience a Star Wars, quality story, Knights of the Fallen Empire is great. Despite the problems, I have really enjoyed Knights of the Fallen Empire thus far. The story and characters are strong and dynamic. It’s just a shame that it needs to come at the expense of the actual game. The Old Republic feels torn between the duality of telling a good story and delivering a great online experience and doesn't seem to know which to focus on. That said, this is still a quality expansion, and with the option to jump in with a fresh 60 what's stopping you? A world of posibility awaits, let's just hope that we get some new content soon to match the class A story telling that Bioware has produced. 

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