That was quick.
KOTFE had 16 chapters, and a fair amount of exposition in each of them (cutscenes). Generally, combat was an afterthought and minor padding. KOTET seems like a general change in direction. The story is there, but it’s a background to the combat. It also contains vehicle combat (twice!) which rarely is a positive (here included). There’s a fair chunk of deus ex machina (both figuratively and literally).
I think this is due to focus. In KOTFE you were aiming to take down Arcann by small bites. You’re like a mosquito, and only rarely provoke his direct wrath. This gives writers a tremendous opportunity to grow the world out, and frankly they do a solid job at it. Yet I gather than when this was recent content, the rate of chapters was too slow, and sometimes only chapters came out. The horizontal activities stayed pretty much the same.
KOTET compresses the story in half, at least. You are literally at Vaylin’s heels the entire expansion, and her lack of dimension (until the very tail end) makes it hard to stay invested. The best villains are those who do the wrong things for the right reasons. Vaylin does the wrong things for the wrong reasons – continuously. Two high points however. Iokath is a cyperpunk’s dream – and absolutely ripe for some solid stories. Nathema is one of those force voids that we saw in KOTOR2. The planet isn’t interesting, but I’ve always found that Darth Nihilus utterly fascinating. The death of the force would be an interesting storyline.
The twist at the end was entirely expected, but still delivered with quality. It was nice to see how the choices made throughout both expansions culminated in a final battle against a demi-god. The mechanics of that fight were not very good, but the setting and style were a-ok.
Running both KOTFE and KOTET now that a new expansion is out provides a much different view of the content. The MMO-grind portion doesn’t exist. I didn’t even have to touch the Galactic Command system.
I’m thinking back to playing an alt in WoW and the vast amount of story content available. Blizz’s leveling speed made all of that irrelevant, as there is not a single quest that gates expansion content, and all the gear you get gets replaced in the next 10 minutes (unless it’s heirloom). It’s entirely pointless.
Playing an alt in FF14 is the opposite. All content is gated through the main story quest, even most dungeons. It keeps all the content relevant, but imposes a significant hurdle on bringing in new players. What’s effectively a mandatory tutorial is dozens of hours long. But you only need to do it once, since the one character – multiple classes structure
I realize that SWTOR is not FF14, in that the “end game” is an apples and oranges conversation. Yet the path to the end game is very similar, with the exception of not having any group content. This gets more complicated when you realize the amount of times you’d want to go through it. 2 factions (guild restrictions) and 8 classes each. There are some tweaks in that the story progress is similar between the classes, but there’s enough variance in choices to make it seem like it’s unique to you. In that sense, it does feel like replaying an RPG-lite game, multiple times. And the whole level scaling portion allows for replays at any level.
Onslaught is next. The bits I’ve played so far seem more like Bioware throwing shade at Blizzard for their atrocious writing in BfA. High level summary so far:
- You brought peace/dominance from the world’s largest army as a 3rd unified faction
- Republic and Empire are still crazy and distrust each other (clearly shown in KOTFE/KOTET)
- You pick a side to support with your 3rd party (I went Empire)
- Bad guy from original launch comes back to help lead
- You do bad things for good reasons.
This works because you didn’t get the faction leaders to work together at any single point in time prior – you simply aligned their interests. The largest difference here is that YOU are the hero in SWTOR. In WoW you are a spectator to other heroes.