The last two chapters of Fallen Empire have brought something into very stark focus for me: My (main) character is losing her identity.
I haven't roleplayed with other people in a long time, but I always immerse myself in the in-game conversations and try to consider them from each individual characters' point of view. I'll admit though that I'm quite lazy with my main: Most of the time, she's really just a stronger and braver version of the real me.
Havoc Squad has been another important part of her identity. She's been a member since she was level one and has been its acting commander since about level ten. That's a long time to get used to and settle into the role of valiant defender of the Republic.
When Knights of the Fallen Empire was originally announced, I looked at it in the same way I treated any of the planetary story arcs that have been released since lauch: There's trouble afoot in the galaxy, and I (in this case the commander of Havoc Squad, but a fairly generic hero) was going to take care of it. I missed the class story, but overall I was OK with what was going on.
But things quickly turned out to be different. I lost all my companions. And let me state it outright: I'm actually not a huge companion fangirl. I like them well enough, but I rarely romance them and to be honest, since I spend so much time in content where they don't feature (raiding and PvP), I often kind of forget that they are there - but as it is so often with things, you don't know how much you'll miss something until its gone. I immediately missed that comforting security blanket of having my own squad, and part of what's holding me back from starting KotFE on more of my alts is not knowing whether I'll even canonically see all of my companions again once I let them go.
The new companions aren't great replacements either. Don't get me wrong, I think they are great characters. But it's pretty clear that they all have their own agendas and that ours is an alliance of convenience that will fall apart as soon as we disagree on something strongly enough. They don't provide my character with somebody to rely on.
Personally, I thought that my first priority after getting thawed out of that carbonite block should have been to get the old gang back together and look into getting the Republic back into shape. But Bioware had different ideas for Fallen Empire: you're given some tidbits of information about your former companions and your old faction, but somehow, you're not supposed to care that much. Overthrowing Arcann, a guy whom you've known for all of five minutes of your real time, is suddenly your sole focus. I decided to run with it because there were many things about those initial chapters that I enjoyed, but my "real" objectives kept nagging at me. I almost got teary-eyed when I got my old ship back. Finally something to connect me to my old identity!
Then things looked up for a while. That Tanno Vik had returned to a life of crime and had no interest in re-joining my cause was a bit annoying but no real surprise - it's not like I ever liked the guy that much anyway. But I got both Yuun and M1-4X back and they were both highly enthusiastic about rejoining me and said that they'd pretty much been waiting for my return, like good sidekicks are supposed to. I was halfway there on the road to re-building Havoc Squad.
And then chapter eleven happened, with the re-introduction of Aric Jorgan. He, too, was happy to see me, but also a bit surprised. For him, time hadn't stood still. He had become the new commander of Havoc Squad, and aside from the cat himself it consisted of a bunch of strangers.
(On a side note, particularly as a trooper it's kind of disappointing that you don't get a chance to get to know these characters a little better, but it's implied that Kanner, the lady with the bun, is Jorgan's XO, and if you take the time to wander around a bit after the first fight in the swamp and read all the squad members' tooltips, you can learn a bit more about them. Kanner is designated as "special assault", Xaban (the Twi'lek) as "tech rifleman", Torg the Kaleesh is a "heavy shot" and one-eyed Dengril is the field medic. Apparently I forgot to take a screenshot of Abbeth the Kel Dor, oh my. But that just as an aside.)
The point is, in this chapter it finally hit me that there really was no going back. My character was no longer the commander of Havoc Squad, because Havoc Squad as an entity had moved on. That didn't make her unimportant, but it took away one of the core features that have defined her for the past four years, and that's been quite disorienting.
Chapter twelve then took this confusion and made it even worse. Without going into the actual content, there is a lot of talk about the Force, and as a non-Force user I felt a little lost. There was one moment where people talk about you needing a new weapon where I was genuinely worried for a moment that maybe I was going to get a lightsaber now and - surprise, surprise - we would all become Jedi/Sith canonically. This wasn't the case, but it came close, with the story even bestowing a little bit of Force sensitivity on us if we didn't have any before.
The problem is: I don't want it. Sure, I'm interested in the Force as a concept and Jedi are cool, but I chose a trooper as my main because I was interested in all the other stuff going on in this galaxy far, far away. I think the very first Star Wars EU novel I ever read was Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina, and while I honestly can't recall any of the stories in it off the top of my head (it's been a long time), I do remember that it instilled me with a fascination for the "side characters" of the Star Wars universe and the sorts of lives they lived. I liked that SWTOR at lauch wasn't just about the Jedi and Sith.
I have to admit that by now, I'm actually a little worried about where the story is going. I don't think it will be bad or unentertaining, but I do worry what its outcome will mean for my main. She was never meant to rule the galaxy or use the Force or any of that stuff. I'm a little afraid that in a post-KotFE universe, there won't really be any room for the random troopers, smugglers, bounty hunters and agents of the galaxy anymore as we all get shoehorned into following the Force, and that would be a real shame.