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.