07/10/2016

Knights of the Eternal Throne Officially Announced!

The link to all the information provided so far can be found here - time for a first impressions post!



First off, we have the new trailer of course! Like all of the game's cinematic trailers, it's extremely well done, though I would nitpick that young Vaylin's hair looks a little off at times and her face at the end looks downright strange? I guess some things are hard to get right even for the pros. Those are minuscule nitpicks however.

KotET's trailer forms an interesting juxtaposition to the one for KotFE - while the latter focused on the men of the family and showed a distant father driving his sons to distraction, this one shows us the women's point of view - and a loving mother who tries her best but still gets it wrong. The title, "Betrayed", can be read in two ways - Vaylin betraying her mother by showing no interest in coming with her during her rescue attempt, or Senya betraying Vaylin by allowing Valkorion to take her away in the first place. (Oh, and there's the opportunity for obligatory jokes about "betrayed" raiders of course.)

I like that this trailer shows us a very different side of Vaylin and her relationship with Senya than we've seen in the game so far. Let's be honest: in game, Vaylin has been kind of limited to acting like a crazy hag - she's the classic chaotic evil character who just likes to watch the world burn. When Senya tells you in chapter 7 how dangerous Vaylin was even in early childhood (crippling a guard for dropping a ball etc.), you kind of get the impression that she was bad news from the start.

This trailer however paints a very different picture, showing us a young and innocent Vaylin whose attempts at using the Force (and hurting people in the process) come across more as childish acts of wilfulness than as genuine malice. She doesn't look happy when Valkorion takes her away either, and it reminded me of Vaylin's line in chapter 16 about how Senya's "always too late". That line really had me wondering when I first heard it, but it seems to match the events in the trailer perfectly, implying that there was a point where Vaylin would have wished for her mother to come and rescue her.

Last but not least, I'm kind of glad that all the crazy speculation about the identity of the people in the teaser image and the teaser clips of the trailer turned out to be baseless and it really is just Senya and Vaylin. I like a wild conspiracy theory as much as the next person, but let's be honest: the current storyline has enough going on without the introduction of even more wild cards.

While the new trailer does a good job at giving us a case of the feels, it doesn't tell us anything about what's coming up in the expansion. Unfortunately, the current expansion page doesn't really do so either! What it does do is confirm that we'll get nine new story chapters, though it's still very much unclear how these will be released - staggered, all at once or something in-between (three times three)? If they are released all at once, what comes after? The brief one-liners that describe each chapter in a vague manner basically seem to confirm that we'll have to go up against Vaylin but don't tell us anything else.

The feature list briefly mentions "Uprisings", which sound like the new Star Fortress-like flashpoints that had been brought up by dataminers not long ago. There is also an odd focus on light/dark side choices: "Fight to influence the galaxy for the light or dark side of the Force™!" Does that mean that we'll be in a permanent Dark vs. Light event affecting the eventual outcome of something? Too many marketing buzzwords, not enough meat.

Like KotFE, KotET will be free to subscribers... which I guess is nice, but I can't help but be baffled at EA/Bioware's generosity here, as new content is the best opportunity to get some cash flow going without annoying anyone and relatively few people seem to mind paying for an expansion from what I've seen. (Wilhelm keeps joking about how Daybreak probably makes most of its money from selling $140 special editions of each of their Everquest expansions.) Can SWTOR really afford to give that much away for "free"? Or does that kind of thing really boost subscriber numbers so much that it actually pays off?

Oh, and speaking of subscribers, for some unknown reason they are suddenly referred to as "premium" players on the KotET page, getting everyone confused about what that means and forcing Musco to take to the forums and explain that it's literally just in change in terminology and nothing else. Is subscriber becoming a dirty word now, like MMO?

Anyway, it was a nice reveal but I'm glad to have it out of the way now. Hopefully we'll be able to get some real talk about what to look forward to in Knights of the Eternal Throne soon.

6 comments :

  1. I'm pleased that I'm not the only one to see the ambiguity behind who was doing the betraying; I love it when two differing points of view can come about from what seems to be a simple premise! :D

    Senya also looked off to me; her face is too pointed and almost too stern for the kind round-faced Senya we know and love. Granted, she'd be more effective 'on the job' with a sterner face...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great analysis! I won't comment super much right now because I'm working on a blog post of my own (what blogger can resist this topic?), but I'll make sure to link here.

    The "premium player" thing makes me sigh, though. I much rather have words convey what they actually mean. -_-

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure, I want to see everyone post about this! ^^

      Delete
  3. I suspect they're getting ready to mess with their monetization plan. Regardless of subtext, the "subscription model" is pretty long in the tooth and basically nobody is launching new games with that as their primary monetization model. Be interesting to see if they're going to be trasitioning more towards a a la carte monetization model. (Done right, this can be a win/win for players and for providers. Done wrong, this can be a horror show. We will see).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not that I'd put it beyond them to fiddle with monetisation again, but I can't see the subscription going away any time soon. It's a steady income from their most loyal customers, and the fact that they continue to offer expansions to subscribers for free seems to imply that it's working well for them to push that angle.

      Delete
    2. Well, they need to do something about the secondary effects of the collapse of the Credit vs the Cartel Coin; namely that it's just not worth it to buy unlocks for CC to sell on the GTN for credits - it's exponentially a better idea to just buy packs and sell those. The escrow limit basically won't allow non-subs to be able to afford to pay the seller of an unlock what the CCs used to buy them are worth. (BW/EA shouldn't care whether a sub/preferred buys the unlock and resells it or a preferred player buys the unlock themselves, in either case the CC were obtained from BW/EA in the first place, and if the sub/preferred sells them via GTN, 6% of the sale cost is sunk in GTN fees).

      Of course, I suppose BW/EA could still be irritable that they have to have non-subs in the first place...

      Delete