20/07/2016

Knights of the Eternal Throne - Hard to Have an Opinion

I feel I should really comment on the announcement of Knights of the Eternal Throne at Star Wars Celebration... but it's hard to have much to say about it at this point, considering that it was very much a non-announcement. Seriously, I've never seen an expansion announcement that was this thin on actual content. Literally all we've got is the name, a teaser image, a vague release window ("this fall") and promises that it's going to be great (one of the largest updates since launch). OK?


It's been suggested that Bioware may have mucked up their marketing schedule with the delays to chapters ten and sixteen - if those had been out on time, KotFE probably would have been wrapped up by now and they would have been able to give us more information about how it all ties into the next season. Still, that doesn't really explain why they were so shy about revealing any sort of technical details, such as whether there will be another level cap increase, how many new story chapters and so on and so forth. Anyway, let's try to work with what we've got.

The name: I have to admit, I'm kind of disappointed that they went with another "Knights of the Something Something" title. It's uncreative and pretty much asking for people to get the two expansions mixed up in casual conversation. Not to mention that I still don't know to this day why KotFE is even called KotFE. The only Empire that has fallen is the Sith one, but the only one that has knights is Zakuul, and the only one of those that really features prominently is Senya. I guess we theoretically still have a chapter to go that might answer the question of who the title "Knights of the Fallen Empire" is really referring to, but I'm not holding my breath. I can only guess that there is a directive from marketing that all expansions now need to have "Knights of the" in the title to make sure to draw in as many KOTOR lovers as possible... As an aside, for a German speaker like me, "KotET" is a really unfortunate acronym - in German, it literally means "(he/she/it) defecates".

The image: Pictured above, it shows Senya facing off against a slender figure, possibly Vaylin? If nothing else, it's good to see Senya, because this pretty much guarantees that she will survive whatever happens in chapter sixteen, which is not exactly a given with Bioware. Since she's a great character, I would have hated to see her die. If the slender figure is Vaylin, what's with the weird blue glow around her hands? Either way, people have been speculating for a while that KotFE might end with us finishing off Arcann but Vaylin somehow taking over or getting away, offering an opportunity for a tie-in with the next season, which this image seems to confirm. I have to admit I'm not super keen on dragging out the whole Zakuul story arc even longer, so I do hope it goes into a different direction eventually. I want to see what's happening with the Republic and the Empire, damn it!

Release window: I was actually surprised to hear that the expansion is already supposed to be out this fall, or autumn as we call it on this side of the pond. I was almost convinced that we wouldn't see the new season until the very end of the year or even the start of the next year, and I think we all kind of assumed that the Dark vs. Light event was meant to keep us occupied through a major content drought. I suppose autumn could still mean as late as November, but that would still "only" leave three months between the release of KotFE's last chapter and the start of KotET, which isn't too bad in the grand scheme of things.

Grand promises: Already I see people doing the same thing they do every time Bioware tells us that they've got something great in store - project all their hopes and dreams onto that vague promise, hoping against hope that this will finally bring whatever change or content they've been waiting for, whether it's a change to the business model, new operations or whatever. Hold your horses, people! We really don't know anything at this point, so let's not get too excited, OK?

All that said, I do look forward to hearing more about this. Call me weird, but I do actually kind of like the way you never quite know what you're going to get with a new SWTOR release. There are areas where I absolutely loathe change and surprises, such as when it comes to core class gameplay, but experimenting with adding different types of content in different ways is fine by me. Getting a predictable cookie cutter expansion every X months or years gets boring after a while anyway.

16 comments :

  1. I kind of agree about the title. I can sort of see why they chose to go with the "Knights of the..." but do also wonder if "Tales of the..." might not have worked as well (harking back to the "Tales of the Jedi" comic series).

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  2. I do think that Senya's prominent position suggests that she may be the next antagonist; the Alliance self-destructing to an extent and losing Senya, Koth, and their allies could be an interesting path to take and would force us to look to the Republic and Empire.

    Certainly, it would discredit Lana and her trusting skills, which I personally wouldn't mind!

    I don't think the slender figure is Vaylin; whilst she is powerful with the Force, we haven't seen any 'visible' demonstrations of power save for her telekinesis. Due to the anonymity, I'm more inclined to believe that it's the Outlander with Valkorion's power.

    If not the Outlander then it could be whomever Valkorion is in cohorts with now we know he can go elsewhere without needing to be by us the entire time.

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    1. That would be an interesting twist, if they started representing the Outlander as a lithe female in the promotional materials. It's also an interesting theory in general, but I just don't get that same feeling from the art. Senya looks stoic and resolute, while the mysterious stranger (no, not that one) looks poised to attack. That, and I don't want Senya to become the bad guy. :P But we'll find out soon enough.

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    2. I don't really see the character as female; they're certainly in a position where it's VERY hard to tell, so I could be wrong.

      As for Senya - I also don't want her to be the villain, so I'm loathed to have come up with that theory - we know that she follows her ideals to the letter, so her stoicness could be to do with her goal and ours now being at odds.

      The fact that they've said that a big plot twist with one of its characters in Chapter XVI (which people will either love or loathe) and Senya's prominent position in the promotional artwork can't be a coincidence, though...

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    3. You're right that the character in the picture doesn't have to be female... looks quite feminine to me though.

      Have they actually said that there is going to be a plot twist? Damn you, Bioware, this better not be like Anders in Dragon Age 2...

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    4. From what I've seen of the Cantina write-up, they mentioned it then and there. Nothing officially-official.

      More officially, clips from Chapter XVI regarding a certain character can be glimpsed in the 5-year montage video (as well as the KotFE in-game cutscene montage at the Celebration booth) so this could also be a part of the twist. Regardless of whether or not it is, that's a bit of a big spoiler right there!

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    5. Also: Knights of the Fallen Empire name-theory.

      I think it refers to Zakuul. Knights of the Eternal Throne refers to the ultimate goal, which is either gaining control of or outright eliminating the Eternal Throne. KotFE could also have all this time have been referring to the end outcome: the fall of Zakuul.

      Assuming Arcann fades into obscurity or disrepute following Chapter XVI, the Empire will have lost not one but TWO Emperors, and the throne is of course presently under control of a usurper. It will still be a major galactic powerhouse, but it will be merely a mockery of an Empire now.

      Thus, it has "Fallen".

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  3. That's not Senya in the knight armor. Hair is wrong, face is too youthful, and Senya dual-wields regular sabers, she doesn't use a marinara.
    The "default" protagonist image for KotFE is a male Jedi Knight. Whatever the other character is, she's not male, she's not a melee fighter, and the imagery doesn't fit with the Jedi tradition.

    As far as Fallen Empire as a title, with Saresh functioning as a dictator, the Republic is, for all intents and purposes, an empire, in that it's a dictatorial overgovernment comprised of smaller semi independent states. I would even consider pre-Saresh Republic to be an Empire in the"geopolitical" sense. Compare to British Empire, which had quite a lot of representative republicanism by the end. It's quite clear that Republic law is "supreme" over local rule on Republic planets, and that the constituent states are not fully sovereign. The Republic Senate takes a lot of cues from the Roman Senate, which was a functioning governmental institution well into the Imperial period of Roman history.

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    1. I suppose I'm biased because people told me "Senya is on the teaser image for the new expansion" before I'd even seen it, even though I did notice the same things you mention. However, they aren't really clear evidence that it's not her either. Use of a different hairstyle and weapon is not that crazy (Lana grew a whole body type between expansions), and the youthful looks might be an "artist's impression" thing or simply a side effect of the distance from which we're looking at her. I take your point though that there's some ambiguity here as well.

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    2. If that's supposed to be Senya, then their art director needs a talking to for accepting the piece with so many changes.

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    3. Or they could be there for a reason, to underscore how it's the aftermath of a pitched battle? The hair looks like Senya's current do, dishevelled after long combat, and she might have lost her weapon in the fighting, forcing her to improvise by picking up the one of a fallen knight.

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  4. Replace marinara with naginata. #DamnYouAutocorrect

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    1. Lol, wielding marinara. I didn't know those saber-staff things had a proper name either, so thanks for that!

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    2. Naginata is a Japanese polearm, basically a short sword on a stick. Associated, in fiction, anyway, with young warrior women, for some reason.

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  5. I did the infamous "Eye roll" when I heard what the next season is going to be called. I read it from a few people I follow on Twitter.

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