30/05/2012

On Thana Vesh

I've been playing my Imperial agent again over the last couple of days, a character that has been languishing in her mid-thirties for a while now. It's an interesting side effect of the heavy focus on story that while it can really grip you and make you want to keep playing until the early hours of the morning, if you do end up putting a character aside for a while for whatever reason (such as getting distracted by playing your main a lot /cough), it can be quite hard to get back into it. While the loading screen gives you a brief summary of where you last left your class story, you also have to remember things such as that your first companion wanted you to go to another planet, you were trying to romance your second companion, the main planet storyline you were working on was about that crazy Sith, and those other quests were about... I got nothing.

Anyway, I'm hoping that I'll be able to remain focused enough to at least finish Act II of my agent's story in short order, as it's really interesting, and getting access to the crit buff on all of my characters would be a nice bonus. The other night I got to the point where I got my third companion and it was quite a WTF moment considering what he turned out to be. But I shall say no more.

Anyway, I didn't actually want to talk about the agent story in this post, but about the main storyline for Imperial side Taris, which I finished last night. There'll be heavy spoilers, so continue reading at your own risk.

Basically a powerful Sith Lord forces you to work on driving the Republic off Taris, together with a Sith warrior called Thana Vesh, presumably because he enjoys tormenting people at every opportunity. Thana displays all the worst attributes of a Sith: she's aggressive, arrogant, impatient and only moderately competent. Every time you're given a new task, she goes on and on about how the player character is useless, and how she will do it all on her own anyway, with the occasional death threat sprinkled on top. Then when you get to where you're meant to be, she's either slow to the party, or she's already there but has got herself into trouble somehow.

As I quietly seethed at her being a nuisance yet again, I couldn't help getting a bit meta (it's an unfortunate side effect of being a blogger for a while I think). Where was Bioware going with this story? Clearly Thana was being set up as a character that you couldn't help but loathe. To what end? Probably so that you can give her a satisfying beat-down at the very end, when she inevitably takes things that one step too far. Yes, that had to be it. I was looking forward to it.

When we got to the final step of the mission, blowing up the Republic spaceport, I started to become a bit paranoid. Surely something was going to happen with Thana any moment now. She was going to turn on me so that she could get all the glory and so that I couldn't tell anyone about how badly she continued to fail at everything. Any moment now.

But no, we just kept on ploughing ahead, through Jedi and other Republic soldiers, and while Thana continued to be annoying, she also seemed very focused on the mission. When it came to making a light/dark side choice, she actually allowed me to have the final call, much to my surprise. And then... that was it. She threw one last insult at me and told me to scram, but nothing more. And I was presented with the option of simply saying bye or killing her by shooting her in the back.

The strange thing was that I couldn't do it. All this time I had wanted to kick her behind, maybe even kill her, but not like this. She should have earned it, by threatening me one more time or even attacking. But just quietly shooting her in the back when she didn't even perceive me as a threat? That wasn't like my agent at all, so I chose to just say goodbye.

It left me really thoughtful though. Clearly I had underestimated Bioware's storytelling in this case, expecting Thana to just be a foil that turns on you eventually. However, she wasn't just mindlessly aggressive after all. For all her threats, she seemed to have no particular urge to kill a powerful ally. I suppose she just has a really bad inferiority complex for which she's overcompensating by being a loud-mouth? Interesting...

Curious whether other people had been thrown for a loop by this development too, I decided to put "swtor thana vesh" into Google. Yep, "kill or not" was one of the first suggestions it made. However, the others just baffled me: "thana vesh companion"? Flirt? Romance? Yegads! Indeed, the first result is a thread on the official forums where people talk about how much they love her and how they wish she was available as a companion. I guess some people would love to romance anything and anyone... or maybe Bioware is just good at making characters that can evoke a wide range of emotions from players.

9 comments:

  1. I actually did kill her on my agent, because he holds grudges. And the Sith Lord lets you take her stuff, but is also regretful because he felt she had a bright future. You also get some of her backstory in your codex.

    And I was all "Well if you thought she had a bright future, why did you let her needle an imperial agent with a hardcore ruthless reputation?"

    On my warrior, I let her go, because she reminded me a bit of myself :@)

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    1. (To be fair, I was playing my agent as all kinds of messed up in Act 2. I think the end of Act 1 and the mind control really got to him.)

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    2. That mind control is freaky. The visions you have just before passing out on your ship are pretty messed up.

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  2. I spared her, because quite honestly my agent flirted with her every chance he got. She was such a powerful, fearless woman that my agent basically had no choice. In fact, good ol' Targ didn't even romance any of his companions, just in case Thana showed back up at some point. The story started as a standard "Look at me, I'm evil!" scenario, but as you competed against her (and rescued her) I actually grew to like Thana. Knowing what the Sith training does to people, I imagine that Thana could have been a very funny, very engaging person if she'd not been chosen for Korriban. I thought it was fantastically done and really one of the very, very few bright spots on that crap planet Taris.

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    1. I imagine that Thana could have been a very funny, very engaging person if she'd not been chosen for Korriban.

      Eh, I have to disagree with that as it says in her codex that she was a brat pretty much from birth and even killed her own parents before being sent to the Academy.

      I'm curious though, is she any nicer when you flirt with her?

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  3. I am just finishing up Taris on my Sorceror (my first toon, coming late to the party) and while I've been dedicated to keeping the balance on my toon (made Dark 1 but brought it back to Neutral) I like Thana a lot and have flirted with her every chance I've gotten (and enjoied keeping her penned up in the cell to boot!) Have not done the final quest, but I honestly can't see killing Thana and would welcome her as a companion.

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  4. I .. err.. killed her almost every time. The only one where she survived was my Bounty Hunter (which is lightside, damnit, even though I occasionally lapse) and I hated letting her go. Someone as hellbent on being evil should be lightside to murder (from behind, with a poisoned missile, if need be).

    I am probably useless at grasping the deeper meaning behind stories, though, as I usually find out when I get betrayed and had not the foggiest idea it was coming.

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  6. There's no deeper meaning. She's just a Sith that happens to be hot. That's all there is to Thana Vesh.

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