Hyperspace Beacon: So SWTOR’s Update 5.8 happened

Yesterday, Star Wars: The Old Republic launched the delayed Update 5.8: Command Authority to the servers. BioWare now offers its first complete operation since Shadow of Revan. For those keeping score at home, SoR was launched way back in December 2014. We also see some much-needed improvements to the guild questing system that was originally launched with Strongholds expansion earlier in June of 2014, although BioWare has been adding to and improving strongholds since then. And lastly, we are introduced to some of new interactions companions Arcann and Ashara.

It’s only been a day since the launch, but I’ve had a chance to take a long look at most everything BioWare introduced in this expansion. And overall, I’m glad to see an update, but it’s just kind of… there. I have to wonder whether it was really necessary to make the bulk of what was introduced into a major update at all – or the developers could have placed the individual pieces into a much more impactful update. Let me explain what I mean by breaking apart the major pieces.

Izax the giant robot cobra

Unfortunately, I don’t really raid anymore. The raiding content for SWTOR wasn’t coming out fast enough or varied enough for my particular raid team. So I cannot give a proper impression of the new and final boss to the Gods of the Machine operation. I have watched many playthroughs of the final fight, and to say that it’s tough is a bit of an understatement.

I have always felt that SWTOR raiding was a bit underrated and under appreciated. The fights are always nuanced and challenging. Of course, they always seem a bit undertuned for a group of players who exclusively raid in the game, but for the average player, the raid bosses were always interesting.

The Gods of the Machines series of fights have a great premise and tie really well into the story of the Eternal Empire. They pull enough influence from the vanilla version of the game where you don’t feel completely pulled out of the setting but are unique enough so that you don’t always feel that you’re fighting the same old tank-and-spank.

On a side note for those who have been watching MJ’s and my livestreams of SWTOR, you might recognize Izax as Darth Jar Jar, the emblem that sits on Valkorion’s chest. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you might want to check out our Stream Team videos.

Conquests get a facelift

When I think about the conquest system for SWTOR, the first issue I think about is not the interface. Putting a new coat of paint on a rotting support beam isn’t going to stop the house from toppling over. Unfortunately, that’s what the BioWare developers did to the conquest system. But that’s not to say that there aren’t good ideas buried in there.

The first good idea is different tiers of conquest rewards and difficulty. In the image above, you can see that my friends at the Unholy Alliance are attempting to conquer Ilum. In that tier, players in the guild need to corporately earn 460,000 conquest points for the character who have met their 20,000 point personal goal to gain the guild rewards. The different tiers have different point goals. For instance, guilds attempting to earn the rewards for Hoth will have to cooperatively earn 2.53 million points. It’s no longer required for guilds to be in the top ten to earn their rewards; they simply have to meet the guild point goal.

The problem with the new conquest system is that there aren’t any real improvements in the individual goals, which make up the bulk of what the conquest system is. Minor improvements were made, especially to crafting, but overall, people are going to feel the same old grind that they have felt for the last few years. And ultimately, it will feel like work, unless you can meet your goals by doing the things that you would normally do for fun.

But let’s end the conquest revamp on a bit of a positive note: The interface does look really nice, and it makes it easy to see where you and your guild stand and what needs to be done to improve your position.

The Arcann romance is surprisingly good

This may be controversial, but I think that the Arcann scene is great, only because I understand the limitations that were put on the writer and the talent of the voice actors involved. So it’s good with some caveats. I can imagine the assignment from the producer to the writer: You know that villain that wanted to kill the main character? Well, you have to turn him into someone likable and the main character has to fall in love with him. Oh, and you only have seven lines of dialogue to do it. Good luck.

Resources (time, game assets, and animations) play a big role in the limitations of story arcs. Although SWTOR does a better job with the assets that it has now, there are still many limitations that can take an audience out of a scene if pushed too close to the edge. The best example in SWTOR is any time a character has to interact with an object in his or her hand. It’s just terrible. So a writer has to avoid things like that when writing a good scene or find ways to cheat it.

Arcann was never meant to be anything but a villain. And when a voice actor and producer settle on a voice for a character, it’s usually chosen with the original scope of the character in mind. Arcann’s voice is rough and mincing. Although Arcann’s voice is similar to his voice actor Erik Dellums‘ natural voice (he also voiced Three Dog in Fallout 3), it’s still rough with nuances that can be hard to add emotional range to.

Given all of those limitations, if the game walked away with something serviceable, it would be surprising. But not only was this serviceable, it was pretty good. Arcann’s motivation was clear and not too contrived. And Dellums gave his voice an emotional tone that didn’t break the character. When I say that it’s surprisingly good, I mean it’s much better than what should have come out of all those limitations, and if you appreciate all of those factors, then you should check it out, or at very least, take a look at the videos on YouTube.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking forward to taking down Izax or conquering the galaxy with the improvements to the conquest system? Or maybe you just want to fall in love with Arcann. Let me know in the comments below.

Every other week, Larry Everett jumps into his T-16 back home, rides through the hypergates of BioWare‘s Star Wars: The Old Republic, and posts his adventures in the Hyperspace Beacon. Drop him a holocom on Twitter @Shaddoe or send him a transmission at larry@massivelyop.com. Now strap yourself in, kid — we gotta make the jump to hyperspace!
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Terry Holland

What came out on 2017 in a full Year for SWTOR, was 1’ish Patch in ESO. Let’s do a little comparison: SWTOR had 2 Strongholds ESO Released 41 houses, & a Furniture Crafting system with thousands of items to Construct. SWTOR had 2 short Flashpoints – ESO Released 12 Dungeons/Delves. SWTOR “Wrath of Mictrotransactions as in Today :/ ” Released 3x Bosses of 1x Raid in 1x mode – ESO Released 2 Full Trials (Raids) in both Normal & Veteran Mode. SWTOR released a new Daily area – ESO released 2 Full Zones with Tasks, Exploration, etc.

Takes about 1x hr to “Explore” Used ” ” Cause not really Cause No Actual Explorable Planets since Early Days :/ That for SWTOR’s new “Zones” whereas it takes 15-25 Hours to Complete the Zones released in ESO. SWTOR added 0 new Armor sets in the Game “Cartel Whale Market not included cause not really so..” – ESO added 26 new ones. SWTOR added more RNG with the Horrible Galactic Command Farming system – ESO Removed some RNG. SWTOR added 1x Copy & Paste Warzone – ESO added 4x Battlegrounds each with 5x Diff. Modes.

ESO has new Expansion Coming Soon again & y ESO has Equal amount if not even More of Voice Overed content than Swtor. I Said this cause i remember the Day when some Half Blind Swtor’s Lack of Content Defenders Said that it takes more time to create content in Swtor. Cause of it’s V.Overed content & the Nature of it’s Design. Lolz.. Y it has Outdated & Glitchy Game-Engine, but it doesn’t delay Development. Also Fun Pvp & Good Storylines & Housing.

ESO’s Next Expansion is “Summerset” :) More about it in here: http://massivelyop.com/2018/03/21/the-elder-scrolls-online-announces-summerset-chapter-for-june-5/ A while since Tamriel Fans been there & soon it reopens <3 I’ve been a sub to ESO since it’s Original Launch. Happy to support ZeniMax Online Studios Devs & Bethesda as They Treat their Customers well & One way is that they do live show’s with Q&A & Livestreams. They Also provide Content worth the money & time.

Finalizing Sad Facts: I could go on about a lot of things that were added in ESO above & Beyond that including a NEW Character Class (Something SWTOR has never Done). In addition, the same Comparison could be made between SWTOR & Almost any other MMO out there & SWTOR would come in Dead Last in content Cadence to Customers. Yet they charge the same amount for Sub as those Putting out Regular, Good Amounts of Content for the Sub Money.

It is not Impatience, it is Embarrassment. Customers are seeing what other MMO’ss Give People for their Money & SWTOR Sadly is a Joke in what they Deliver while Asking for the Same Premium Sub Price. However, I also bring ESO up for a reason as there is Quite a bit of Discussion in Zones Chat. It’s about people who have switched SWTOR –> ESO for the Reason Mentioned Above – Regular Delivery of a Decent amount of Content & also cause of Devs & Community Managers interacting with Supporters.

Even if Being Veteran or New SW Fan this Kind of Shameful Development Doesn’t Cut it Anymore. Kindly: Sub since launch up to end of 2016. Returned in Oct. 2017, but Sadness cause lack of Actual Mmo Development so Sub Auto Renewal Axed at early Dec 2017. #WaitingForSwtorsSubWorthyNews #Tamriel #ElderScrolls #ZenimaxStudios #Bethesda

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Witches

The general vibe is the soundtrack for this update is “Everything’s Ruined” by Faith No More.

This MO of not communicating changes and hiding when the shhh hits the fan is pretty annoying.

Even the Cartel people are disappointed with the lack of a new pack.

I think they should just lease the game to someone who actually wants to do it, they clearly don’t.

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Chris

This update was a joke, the conquest changes are like galactic command all over again. Conquest objectives are legacy wide now, and now for PvP you no longer get credit for participation.

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spencer quinn

my opinion I thought the arcann romance and the ashara romance return was beautifully written. The conquest UI is very good can’t say I played much of conquest before 5.8, I did meet my conquest goals, and it pretty feel the same, I still enjoy before and after. I am glad of the crafting changes because that will slow down the point bigger guilds get, can’t comment on izax don’t really play OPS

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Jeremy Barnes

This game needs to be Star Wars Galaxied so someone can try again on a Star Wars MMO

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spencer quinn

I am 99 percent sure that they will never be a star wars MMO (classic MMO, like WOW, wildstar, or galaxies) a good chance of something like warframe, destiny, or anthem. but swtor will be the last star wars classic MMO.

Purewitz
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Purewitz

I agree with you to some degree. The writing is definitely on the wall and the days of traditional MMORPGs are numbered. As much as I’ve enjoyed my time with both SWG from 2004 to 2011 and SWTOR from 2011 to the present. I hope we do get an online Star Wars game in the future in the vein of Warframe, Destiny, etc. Maybe something with a combat system similar to the old Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series, but of course with modern sensibilities. Perhaps something along the lines of Overwatch’s combat system, where you still have abilities and skills that use cool-downs.

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Witches

How would you distinguish that from Battlefront?

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Roger Melly

Never is a long time . It might not happen for a few years (or even decades ) but its silly beyond belief to say one of the worlds biggest franchises will never again have another MMO .

I suspect once EA loses the franchise Disney whoever takes over will at least consider an MMO because if it is done properly its a cash cow that needs a good milking .

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Syrath Xaj

Agree with Spencer, AAA MMOs are so expensive to build that no one wants to build them outside of KS and to purchase the SW IP adds a huge cost. It is a huge risk that no one wants to undertake in part because of what occurred with SWTOR and Wildstar. It is a shame if SWTOR would’ve waited a year or till patch 1.2 things could’ve worked out much difference. Add that to BWs continued bungling of focus and path they really bungled this. Which is too bad because the PvP is really fun and there is still nothing else like Huttball, the 1-50 story quests are excellent and havent really been topped story wise in an MMO. In general it is sad what happened with SWTOR I loved this game but the disregard from BW and dishonest approach like removing the West Coast server without telling the players is pure BS and they deserve to lose players for that type of crap.

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Malcolm Swoboda

“The Arcann romance is surprisingly good” Indeed. I’ve seen lots of complaints in comments here and elsewhere, but the dialogue and setup for Arcann romance is not at all bad to me.

That said, I don’t trust Bioware to put enough resources into carrying on any plotline in a smooth and consistently enjoyable and high quality fashion.

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mysecretid

Agreed on your last point. As I’ve said before, in my less-poetical fashion :-) , it just feels to me like nobody’s actually driving the bus over there.

I want SWTOR to be good; I want it to be fun for me to play again.

I have all these great SWTOR characters that I really like … and nothing worthwhile to do with them any more when I log in.

I’m not angry or sneering, I’m disappointed and I’m frustrated.

I honestly don’t believe the current developers don’t care — but I do wonder how much creative latitude (and funded enablement) they are actually granted by their corporate bosses at EA.

Other times, I honestly wonder if the current SWTOR dev team — no matter how pure their intentions might be — are simply just a “bad fit” for the Star Wars The Old Republic game.

For all that they might sincerely profess to love Star Wars, and gaming, they may simply not be in tune with what the majority of players are hoping for from a Bioware-inspired style of Star Wars story-driven game.

I don’t profess to know, but I do wonder, regularly.

Good to see you posting here, Malcolm, as ever

Cheers,,

Polyanna
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Polyanna

Bioware, what happened to you, man? You used to be beautiful.

Seems to be Bioware’s “thing” to couple every overhaul of a major UI element with changes to the underlying system that turn it to hot dogshit.

Also, one op in four years. Just . . . whatever. I can’t even.

As much as I loved this game, and still do, a bit, I have to say that at this point, we would all be better off it it was shut down to make way for a new Star Wars MMO run by a company that gives a shit, and that is in no way associated with EA.

At the rate Bioware is losing people recently, and with the impending flaming burnout that Anthem seems to be heading for, it’s not even really Bioware any more, or anyway it won’t be whatever is left of Bioware for very long. It’s just a hollow shell with the name of a company that used to be something amazing. Sad to see.

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mysecretid

In my saddest moments regarding this topic, I agree with you on all points.

Absolutely, Bioware is no longer Bioware anymore, no matter how I might wish it otherwise.

Too many of the creative people who made Bioware what it was are gone now, and many of them have been gone for a long time.

Basically, it’s all just EA wearing a Bioware t-shirt and name-tag at this point, because EA’s characteristic (defining?) heavy-handedness as a publisher seems to have squelched all the creative qualities which once made Bioware famous.

How many development houses have they acquired and done this to now? Honestly, I’ve lost count.

It’s like they see an outfit with a reputation for creativity and innovation and say “Ooh, we want to be popular and respected while we make money, just like them!”

So they buy the dev house, but they just can’t leave it to do what it does — they have to “manage” it, and ensure that it strictly conforms to “the EA way of doing things” — so everyone used to a different kind of creative environment who can afford to flee, they flee, and EA is left with a mere shell of what it thought it wanted, as you say, because they couldn’t let their newly-acquired talent just do what they always do, without “managing” them to death.

It’s vaguely tragic to see the same errors being made, over and over.

Cheers,

Korithian
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Korithian

5.8 is the culmination of Keith Kanneg as producer, his been in for about a year and focused on getting a raid out, which may be argued at the expense of nearly everything else, such as open world, story and solo content, which has been fairly none existent. And how has the guy done.

Well like so many people, I don’t raid any more my raid group left after we found we were running 5 year old raids week after week just for something to do. So that Izax has been added means nothing to me, not a reason to log in and from my guild roster at least none of my old raid group have been lured back by it.

The change to conquest, this seems to have picked up a lot of complaints because it was done badly and underhandled with changes that were not communicated. Whats new, class balance was done badly, companions were returned badly, the last year nearly everything can be suffixed with badly. But what is hard to understand is why people care, conquest isn’t about conquest its about doing old content for points to get some rewards that aren’t very useful. Its highly addictive but it turns out if you don’t get some jawa junk, some crafting material that looks like but isn’t used to craft the lastest (soon to be defunct) augments and some pot plants, the world doesn’t end. Once how little value conquest actually has and long before the points are fixed the spell will be broken.

As for the Arcann romance, if anyone came from the Vanilla game where you watch as Vette or Risha or any of the original love interests developed feelings for the player and then went to that you would be questioning what the hell happened. But luckily, expectations were set so low that 3 minutes of cut scene where your captor and attempted murder and war criminal and sick bully who kills his own people or sends them to fight to the death in a pit is can become your lover is deemed fine. But what sort of people find Arcann attractive is a mystery to me, far worse is that clearly story is a joke and they will just phone in whatever nonsense and call it a day.

Supposedly the Eternal Alliance soldiers defected from the empire and republic to take down Arcann and the Eternal Empire. Yet not one seems to have an issue with you granting a full pardon to Arcann for his crimes, without him even asking for it. In fact you act like it never happened, then to really rub it into the faces of anyone that lost anyone in Arcann’s genocidal bombardments and temper tantrums you take him as your lover and at no point does anyone in the writing team go hang on would your alliance be okay with that. So if you were hoping for deep realistic story, such as Bioware was famous for you had better look elsewhere cause there seems no interest in offering that here. I’m playing through Dishonored 2 which shows what can be done with both good story telling and making choices matter.

So it seems Keith’s focus is on raiding, even conquest is supposedly now impossible for pvp, solo, crafting or gsf. Which only leaves raiding. So we get it SWTOR is Keith’s playground he likes raiding so thats what they will deliver. While solo, story, pvp etc players should go elsehwere as you aren’t the type of player this game is designed for any more. Long as your a raider who takes a year to complete a raid, Keith may have done alright for everyone else, I guess there is a reason they are down to 5 servers and 2 of them are mostly empty.

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Malcolm Swoboda

Haven’t been playing, but pretty sure that you being the Commander in itself is a semi-dictatorial position that you just treat more or less benevolently or viciously), and that while the Alliance itself may always continue due to game systems (just as companions, your ship, faction basic allegiance, etc), you’re being well prepared for a fall from power (well whatever they allowed the PC to have anyway), and fighting to survive as both sides heat up conflict again. The Zakuul arc is just to unify the storyline and make it cheaper to produce, in my opinion.

So yes the other factions would have issues with Arcann. But right now at this moment of the plot, they can’t do much about it. What you say, more or less, barring betrayals, goes. There are uprisings, but you squash them, for better or worse. You can express regret that it has to be this way, but the writers make it so you can’t just give up the power that you had to fight for to defeat the Eternal Empire and Emperor. You can express ambition in waiting more power and control, but the writers make it so you’ll never have total influence and various factors will diminish your commanding status (though if the game actually lasts long enough, you’ll still progress to something even bigger; yes I think its possible).

I don’t know all the options, but its my understanding that Arcann is more or less in a quest for redemption or at least a perceived better orientation. This won’t be welcomed by all, you’re totally right. In fact, if Bioware does this right (ha), they’d include objections by some characters, resistance from factions, etc. They could even insert it into stories instead of revolve stories around it. But the point is that if you spare him, he believes you’ve shown him ‘the way’. If you’re benevolent, you want to help him or anyone that you think you can save. If you’re devious, you’ve found a good tool that can help intimidate foes. Whatever works.

I never regarded SWTOR to be a ‘realistic’ story anyway. Neither was KOTOR though, nor Star Wars as a whole. Except as a young child, I’ve always laughed at people demanding maturity throughout all of the property. No, its always going to be silly space laser shooting and slashing heroes and villains.

Korithian
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Korithian

Arcann never sought redemption, he was force brain washed by his mother cause she didn’t like the person he had become. Though despite her endlessly going on about justice when it came down to it no justice, not even the mention of what he would do to make up for the 5 worlds he bombed to dust.

I believe it was George Lucas that stated even in fantasy or sci fi once you had set the rules of the setting you had to keep to them. So with realism its about things following on logically and making sense. If you establish humans can’t survive in space without a space suit, you don’t then have one blown into space unconscious then open her eyes and magically fly back to the ship to knock on the door.

The same goes with following the story through, come the next chapter the writers could include a Valkorian romance, you thought he was dead, everyone told you he was dead but sod continuity or having a story that makes sense. Keith has a thing for Valkorian and he wants a Valkorian romance, that is what we will end up with (I don’t think Keith does his not really into story). Out of the blue Valkorian will meet you in a grove and say all those times he tried to kill you was his way of playing hard to get and now his come to realize his true feelings. And this appears to be what the story in SWTOR has come to.

You can say the story was never very good, it never made much sense, hell the trooper can shoot a senator in the senate building and nothing bad happens. But compared to what we have now it was A Song of Ice and Fire for consequence and realism and the actions playing through the narrative. As it stands now the writing is so bad its a negative for the game, which is so sad from the early amazing days of being a Sith Warrior landing on Korriban for the first time.

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spencer quinn

can’t say how long it takes pvp or gsf to get to conquest done, I can say solo and crafting is 100 percent possible to do conquest

Korithian
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Korithian

You done it since yesterdays patch? Cause they made some massive changes to crafting and while you can now turn in 10 invasion forces for 500 command points I think that is 400 for one week. While Solo I’m not sure what content you did to get the points not counting the current bug where random champion mobs count as world bosses.

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spencer quinn

yes I did conquest for this week (5.8), while I did different things not just solo. However if you just want to do solo (this is just for this week I don’t know what the objectives will be like for the next week) then do the gree daily’s ( also the heroic as well counts ) , false emperor, and the ilum heroics, your already at 10,000 ( I did the calculations) their also other stuff you can do solo for this week but this I think this the best way, and those are repeatable so you can do it one last time the next day, or when ever. if you just do crafting, I don’t know about that, I have never just done crafting and nothing else for conquest I have always considered it as something that helps you along the way. and I think it something that’s still useful imo

Korithian
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Korithian

While I like the suggestions, from what I can see the Ilum Heroic is a weekly so can only be done once and the Iokath mission is the weekly so can only be done once. The saving grace for this week is the Gree events which gives a massive (in comparison) number of points and can be done daily.

Ultimately when I heard of a conquest revamp I thought more conquest, this however remains as little to do with conquest as before but appears to have upset a lot of people on the forms who are claiming the only way to get the points is through raids (not even flashpoints as I understand flashpoint weeklies have been taken out). Now if the upset people remain upset and if they quit I don’t know, I’m really not sure if conquest was a big enough deal to rage quit over. But it just adds onto a very disappointing year, with little content, little story, poor class balancing (it was all done on a target figure on a dummy), poor companion returns, server mergers (with no west coast server) and minimal communication, hell the roadmap that wasn’t a roadmap took longer to write than the period it covered.

While ESO and STO both announce expansions, SWTOR has yet to even talk of 6.0 and hinted heavily if you thought 2017 was a bad year, expect more of the same in 2018.

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spencer quinn

the regular illum heroic is a daily, and I believe also is the gree heroic is also a daily in which I think you can do that solo. so no OPS are definitely not the only way. I don’t know what the new or old objective are going to be next week and how much points they give.

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Witches

Ilum heroic is weekly.

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IronSalamander8 .

The official forums are really ticked off at the conquest changes. My guild had left before they even existed and as a solo player who still kept the guild tag alive for some time I only ran some FPs and rare ops, mostly I RPed until the last merger so I never dealt with the conquests.

Now this is an MMO patch, and more importantly a SWTOR patch, so I presume its rife with bugs but even taking that into account the new conquest system has few fans. It sounds totally dreadful too. GSF has always floundered but now it’s even less worth it for conquest apparently? The mind boggles as what BW are doing or trying to do with this thing.

I can’t comment on how the raid would play as the lack of raids is a big part of why my guild quit. It has taken them far too long to get this one done though. My favorite boss fight was Jarg and Sono as they had great banter and it was fun to tank. They were especially enjoyable after the hated Bonethrasher before them in the same raid; getting people to stop getting others killed when targeted by his attacks and of course no aggro table and me being one of our tanks made that fight a nightmare.

I never liked the Zak stuff at all so an Arcann romance is meaningless to me. My characters would all kill him if that were a choice though, I believe it is reading the forums but not 100% sure if its people that did kill him or just want to.

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Malcolm Swoboda

He can die in KOTET (2016). “He ruled in Valkorian’s shadow. Now he dies in mine!” If you’ve spared him through this, he takes it seriously.

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IronSalamander8 .

You can tell that while I finished KoTFE I never even started KoTET!

Has it really been 2 years since KoTET? Wow.

Also I fully admit that by the time I hit KoTFE I was in full space bar mode. >.<