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Author Topic: Prospective Future Game Expansion Theme: Collapse of the Sith Empire  (Read 276 times)

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Offline TrickyNick87

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((Original post.))



I regret that so many members of the SWTOR RP community adopted a negative outlook toward the KotFE/KotET expansion.  I consider it absolutely brilliant that we got to look at the secret activities of the Sith Emperor outside his involvement leading the Sith Empire.  For those RPers who were turned off by the latest expansion story, I’d offer to you to keep in mind that the story was not principally about the Alliance Commander (your character), or the rise of the Eternal Alliance, or the short-lived dominance of the Eternal Empire.  That expansion was entirely centered on one individual: the Sith Emperor.  It was a brilliantly written story that filled in so many gaps SWTOR story fans like myself have had for years about what the Sith Emperor has been focused on during his prolonged “silence.”  Charles Boyd did a fantastic job in a previous forum post explaining and tying in how the Fallen Empire expansion brought a lot of those story puzzle pieces together.

I’m getting pretty stoked about the upcoming release of Star Wars: Battlefront II.  Story writing is the absolute best part of any game for me, and I’m excited to explore the Imperial perspective of the events immediately following their loss at the Battle of Endor.  My excitement over Battlefront’s upcoming release, coupled with my enthusiastic participation in SWTOR gameplay and RP has struck a very exciting idea upon me.

To my mind, the SWTOR game story is at the perfect spot for Bioware to start taking us down the road of the collapse of the current Sith Empire.

In Old Republic lore, at the conclusion of the Great Hyperspace War (5,000 BBY), the Old Sith Empire is nearly totally obliterated, all the major Sith figures like Marka Ragnos, Naga Sadow, and Ludo Kressh, have either passed, or are on their way out.  The Sith Emperor claims lordship over the remains of the Empire, and leads them into a long exile, eventually rediscovering Dromund Kaas and reestablishing the Empire.  From that point, the Empire-entire, including all the rival Sith lords, are bound by one thing: their total obedience to the Sith Emperor.  Loyalty to the Emperor is very much at the center of Sith and Imperial culture.

It must be that the events of Shadow of Revan and Fallen Empire had a tremendously profound impact on the Sith Empire with regard to its leadership continuity but also may have called into question things like how Imperials relate to the Sith after the Emperor’s betrayal.  If the center of an Imperial’s life is service to the Emperor, who has since betrayed the Empire, that takes Imperial culture and turns it on its head.

The events of KotFE saw not only the betrayal of the Sith Emperor to his former Empire, but the demise of the twelve-member Dark Council, and the ascension of Empress Acina (although player choices on Iokath make it possible for her to be killed as well).  There is a significant power vacuum in the Sith Empire right now, and given the tendency of Sith lords to engage in reckless infighting in the quest for more power, if a single, powerful figure (like Darth Jadus?) does not step in to take the reigns soon, I think it makes sense from a writing-perspective to start drawing up plans for the demise of the Sith Empire in its current form.

How might the collapse of the Sith Empire be written into game expansions and updates?


Certainly I’d like to see a story arc like this drawn out over a lengthy period (like KotFE/KotET was).  There’s plenty of existing lore information for several game updates to be introduced that periodically take use down the path of destruction of the Sith Empire.  A few ideas I’ve brainstormed include (but are most certainly not limited to.  Imagination on the part of the Bioware writers is the limit!):

Reappearance of the Emperor’s Hand.  The Emperor’s Hand were twelve Sith purebloods who tended to personal or important matters as directed by the Sith Emperor.  While the Dark Council oversaw the day-to-day management of the Empire, the Hand were the direct enforcers of the Emperor’s will.  Most people, including some Dark Council members, were not even aware of the Hand’s existence.  An important thing to remember about the Hand was that all members were exploited by the Emperor physically and mentally, as he fed off them for strength.  In Servant Two’s case, his mental bond to the Emperor was so strong he had lost more than one marble in his head.

I would certainly like to see the return of at least some members (Servants One and Two especially) of the Emperor’s Hand in a potential game expansion centered on the Sith Empire’s demise.  The final death of Vitiate is sure to have had a critical impact on them.  My ruling idea right now is that the members could be written back into the story as having gone mad at the loss of Vitiate and the breaking of their mental bond.  Borrowing a bit from the upcoming Battlefront II game, I’d like to see the Hand secretly return to the Empire and initiate their own version of “Operation: Cinder” to burn away what remains of Vitiate’s “failed” Empire.

Darth Vowrawn.  Bless the Bioware writers for already writing this excellent character back into the game.  I seem to recall prior to the invasion of the Eternal Empire, Darth Marr was the Dark Council’s most senior member (having been on the Council the longest), but Vowrawn was the oldest.  I think Vowrawn is a critical character in the Empire’s story right now and I’m curious to see what plans (if any) Bioware has for him.

For an Empire in chaos, I think a lot of people have overlooked Vowrawn’s importance, and what he likely represents to many Imperials, Sith in particular.  Vowrawn is a representation of the Empire’s strength, purity, tradition, and culture in the years before the emergence of Zakuul.  Vowrawn is best known to players as a sophistically-mannered, politically-savvy, self-interested Sith lord.  But I think that, story-wise, the events of KotFE could have had a profound impact on Vowrawn’s outlook and caused some reprioritization on his part.

I think one benefit of a game expansion exploring the downfall of this Sith Empire is to set the stage and connect the dots for the emergence of the next future Sith organization (which, in this case, I believe is Darth Ruin’s New Sith.  Forgive me if I have my lore wrong.)  I think Vowrawn could be an excellent puzzle piece to tie the collapse of the current Sith Empire to future Sith organization.

This is what I’m thinking.  Being the politically-savvy creature he is, I think Vowrawn is intelligent and realistic enough to accept that the Sith Empire is on its way out.  Now that it’s known that the Emperor betrayed them, and the realization that the Treaty of Coruscant really marked the beginning of their end has set in, I think Vowrawn is well positioned to start maneuvering to secure the future of the Sith.  I’d like to see him muster as many willing Sith as he can accumulate to follow his lead into a new exile.  Korriban probably would not be adequate since its location is known to the Republic but perhaps he leads them to the Malachor system, Ziost (who’d expect that), elsewhere in Sith space, or into the Unknown Regions.  This would be an excellent way to lay the groundwork for the eventual emergence of future Sith groups and entities in the far future, including those led by Darth Ruin.

Sith Infighting.  Much of an expansion about the Sith Empire’s collapse would address this subject.  I’d like to see an update that covers a lot of Sith and Imperial infighting.  Factions forming and turning against each other.  Perhaps it starts subtly as murders and ploys and evolves into open conflict between Darths and prominent lords.  In the same way Battlefront II will portray the Imperial perspective of events, I’d like to see Imperials in the Sith Empire and how they feel about being turned on their brothers and sisters by power-mad Sith lords.  This infighting would be the most significant factor in the downfall of the current Sith Empire.

Imperial Loyalists.  While many Sith would turn on one another for power, I’m sure there’d be a few Sith and many Imperials who’d struggle to maintain the current order of the Sith Empire.  I’d expect to see traditionalists rally to preserve their culture and place in the galaxy.  Even if it’s all in vain, aristocratically-minded Imperial moffs, admirals, and generals would proudly (and arrogantly) muster a token defense of the Empire. 

I’d like to see Minister of War Ilyan Regus lead the charge to preserve Imperial society, life, power, and prestige in the galaxy.  With Acina’s current status kind of up-in-the-air, I think Regus is a more-than-suitable spiritual successor as a great defender of the Empire to Darth Marr.  Inevitably, the Sith Empire will collapse, but I’d like to see the story be told of the brave Imperials that fought to hold it together.

Chiss Abandonment.  For all I know, November’s game update may touch on this.  The Chiss Ascendancy is the only real ally the Sith Empire has had in its latest conflict with the Galactic Republic.  The shock of the Zakuulan invasion, couple with a prospective increase of Sith infighting, might just be enough to convince the Ruling Families to cut their losses and retreat into isolation.  The Chiss seem to always act in accordance with what is best for their people first, and I don’t see them eagerly rushing to the aid of a declining Empire vainly struggling to retain power.  I think the time may be coming for the Chiss to respectfully tip their hats to the Sith and retreat into the isolative safety of the Unknown Regions, not to be seen again until the rise of Thrawn.



What are your thoughts on a potential game expansion focused on the fall of the Sith Empire?

Is that something you’d like to see?

What sort of things do you think we’d see in a story for this?

For Imperial RPers, do you think it’d kill your Imp-side RP?  Do you think it’d be fun to RP?  Can you write it into your own characters’ stories?

Offline Orell

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Firstly: My real problem with the Emperor in KOTFE and KOTET was that... it felt like a complete digression from the main story. I'm no fan of factional conflict in MMORPG's, it tends to end poorly, but at least Vitiate as Vitiate was integral to both sides. Valkorion felt like... well, a side-family, but happening to be so unbelievably powerful that they can conquer the galaxy with ease.

It just... felt like a "Sweep the board and try to create something new with what's left" situation.

But for the main point? I think that it shouldn't be the collapse of the Sith Empire... but a collapse of large governments entirely.

The Alliance is a cult of personality around the Outlander. The last few content pieces has seen the Outlander micro-managing many significant aspects of the Alliance with little regard for the bigger picture, and the whole thing feels like it's only a few harsh shoves away from collapsing.

The Sith Empire, well, that was destined to fall apart. Sith just don't do well with centralized governments, after all, and if they just don't have the means to conquer any more, then infighting is all that would remain.

But the Republic should crumble a bit too. The resource crisis that Bioware's been slowly building up since Iokath, the one good bit of story we got from that trainwreck of a content patch, is exactly the sort of thing that would tear apart a decentralized confederation like the Republic. Not fall apart entirely, of course, but...

...well, picture the United States, but where faith in the integrity of the federal government is all but zero (hard, I know). There's still the structure there, but if a citizen of Los Angeles becomes less confident in the federal government, they can look to state, county and city governments to pick up the slack a bit.

You could see something like that happen to the Republic: Crumbling, bit by bit, as the galaxy loses confidence in the Republic Senate, and individual worlds start growing in prominence, groups like the Rift Alliance (led by a certain former-Jedi maybe) and isolated kingdoms under charismatic leaders (like a certain daughter of a pirate king) growing stronger to protect their people.

The Republic would be more durable than the Empire, of course. Everyone sneers at a massive bureaucracy for being slow and ponderous, but it can take a lot of hits and still find a way to chug along. The Sith Empire without the Chiss and the Sith... what's left but the military and what passes for planetary governance?
Character List:

Pub side: Lien Orell, Kyri Orell, Shaantil (possibly Dumas), Norland, Everen (bank alt ATM), Quarashaa (Pub version of the real Quarasha), Merrant

Imp Side: Quarasha, Effet Ornell, Arazel, Zedney, Zhel, Asori-Alnas

Offline Noth

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My one thought, unfortunately, is that while it would be neat to show this kind of story, they are never going to, because the two wildly differing world-states depending on choice would have to come together first. They don't seem like they're going for that. If they show the Empire crumbling, it will be from the Republic side watching from the outside, if you pick the LS choices in the next story installment. And if you play DS, then the Empire will be alive and thriving and well, with the Republic faltering. That's what they've given us so far... It would be nice if they brought the timelines together again and told big sweeping stories with them, but I don't feel very optimistic about it. :(
The Jedi: Bren (Archaeologist), Iirim (Healer), Zorru (Recruiter), Orans (Master), Aybekk (Padawan)
The Politicians: Varooth (Senator), Seirion (Aide/Spy), Ayrak (King)
The Mandos: Urziya (Rallymaster), Terr (Chieftain)
The Outlaws: Telen (Slicer), Majia (Pirate/Smuggler)
The Imperials: Athuuna (Agent), Zhekrazh (Lord), Z'ridia (Apprentice)

Offline Darshendros

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I don't see Bioware doing anything like this unless they're planning on ending future updates. What would even be the point of playing after the Sith Empire's story ends, other than to play it repeatedly on alts? Where is the story even going, what with the split universes we now have?

I've made it pretty public how much I hate the FE/ET storylines, and it's mostly because of the whole "the Emperor went silent to go play house in another empire" crap, which was massively inconsistent with the Emperor we faced in SoR. They should have just made KoTOR 3 if they were going to make a single-player campaign that exists completely outside of the rest of the game.

Maybe the Zildrog cultists will blow everyone up. That's how it should really end; everyone dies.



Offline Joshmaul

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I have long feared and long expected that, even with the Cartel Market as an attempt to bolster it, SWTOR would go the same way as another EA-run MMO based on someone else's IP - Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (which is now run as a private server entitled "Return of Reckoning", and is apparently doing better than it was when it was run by EA/Mythic). The exact same deal happened there. Oodles of servers at launch. Then fewer. Then fewer. Then finally one for the western US, one for the eastern US, and one for Europe. Then shutdown.

This fear has been reinforced somewhat by the fact that the player character has been shoehorned into the role of the tyrant of the universe (benevolent or otherwise), with only minor recognition of any kind of their prior stories, usually in the form of "oh hi, haven't seen you in a while" when meeting a former class companion. With such power in their hands, how do they go back to just being another Jedi/Sith/spacer/agent/etc.? With WoW, it's not quite as narrow - granted, in-game, you're looked at as the "big damn hero" (especially if you are the outright leader of your class hall, like paladins), but the entire geopolitical setup of Azeroth has not been completely upended by the player character becoming the "big damn hero".
Circled tomb of a different age
Secret lines carved on ancient stone
Heroic kings laid down to rest
Forgotten is the race that no one knows


Online SquigglyV

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I think that it would be very interesting story-wise and it would make sense, and I could probably work it into my RP stories and such. I've been thinking that an Imperial collapse expansion would be kind of neat since RotHC, because it was obvious by then that they were losing the war. But with KOTFE/KOTET being a thing I literally could not care less what happens anymore. The problem with KOTFE wasn't the Emperor, it was the idiotic and completely irrelevant third faction coming in and stomping everyone in a month and destroying everything that mattered about the lore before. It was okay in previous expansions because Hutts and Revanites had a basis in lore and were actually relevant to the war, Zakuul literally comes out of nowhere though.

I think they could have still done a great betrayal story without fucking up all the other lore. Have the Emperor go power-mad like he does now at the end of SoR/Ziost, then have the Empire descend into full civil war between Imperial loyalists and Emperor loyalists. Your choices could be stuff like whether to save your allies/companions or the Empire/Republic, if they wanted to really do something new they could let you join the Emperor lol.

You could drag the pubs in because that's going to be a massive conflict, or do a reverse Makeb and have them secretly going in to fuck things up while the imps fight among themselves. Or the Emperor could be possessing people on their worlds, that would be a pretty good reason to get involved also. Hell, they could even do the stupid and overused "enemy factions teaming up to save the galaxy" thing.

If they want a return to the status quo afterwards, just have the Imperial loyalists win against the Emperor and find some scary artifacts after killing the Emperor to give them a competitive edge again. If they don't care about that, which would screw over RP but probably lends to a better story overall, then they'd have a lot more options to do stuff like taking over the Empire yourself or conquering the Republic or whatevs.

And we could still have an adorable empress.

Bioware plz.

Offline Karmic

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No I would not like that course of the story at all.

Not because I couldn't work Karmic into it - sure I could; your characters not only do what you want them to do but she's ruled on her Outer Rim Territories for a long time now - During Zakul she all but was separate from the "non-existent" of the Imperial government.

But I'm pretty sure it would kill the overall population of the game because a lot of people would agree with myself and Darsh - what's the point of playing now?  Most people want the Sith/Imperial experience - end that and then wth do we do?

Infighting has never been where this RP community has preferred to be - because we have so few active Sith players as it is.  We have even less currently; I can think of maybe...3....4.. who actually RP on a regular basis (i'm not counting people who have Sith but regularly play another as a main...).  Maybe.

Infighting between the three left...yea... fun... /not

As much as I like the idea and respect the history and the book-telling of how that goes (seems cool); I don't think it would make for much good RP after the story was told; if you found people leaving because of their dislike of the KOTFE storyline I don't see a storyline ending the empire for hundreds/thousands (however many) years resulting in the game having MORE people playing.   Certainly not MORE Sith RPers.

Sure would be nice to have Sith RP again...  real Sith RP. Between Sith and Imps and all!  Not everyone's third alt who shows up for the faction night once a month and has no plots to discuss.

History Posts:  Her Backstory , Darth-Hood

Offline Semah

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Being the politically-savvy creature he is, I think Vowrawn is intelligent and realistic enough to accept that the Sith Empire is on its way out.  Now that it’s known that the Emperor betrayed them, and the realization that the Treaty of Coruscant really marked the beginning of their end has set in, I think Vowrawn is well positioned to start maneuvering to secure the future of the Sith. 

It's hard to predict, since so much of the story is per-character. But small factoid (spoiler for news-broadcast flavor in the new Chiss flashpoint):
Spoiler: Chiss Flashpoint • show

If Acina dies on Iokath, Vowrawn takes the throne.
So he is still alive at minimum, even after brokering the treaty with Zakuul.