Flieger, grüß' mir die Sonne, grüß' mir die Sterne und grüß' mir den Mond. Dein Leben, das ist ein Schweben, durch die Ferne, die keiner bewohnt! - Hans Albers, F.P.1 antwortet nicht (Adaptation in the 80s: Extrabreit)

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Nar Shaddaa

Where Taris glowed in a bright, almost eye hurting greenish bright yellow, Nar Shaddaa´s colour sceme is dark red, with some purple and yellow in the mix. It tries to imitate those clichée neon signed streets anyone imagines in Hong Kong (and for what it´s worth, that city might even be full clichée, never was there!).

 - I wish there were more open skies

Again, spoilers ahead, because this somewhat is my heroine´s diary.

The goal in this particular chapter is to find one of the three secreat weapon projects of the Old Republic. Agent Galen had gone ahead to warn and secure the project against Darth Angral, who had received all the secret files from his son on Coruscant before. As usual, some general Republic missions accompany this task in parallel, and some mission requests from locals are sprinkled-in between.

First, my heroine gets pitted against another crime cartel who rules another district, which of course is against vital Republic interests. In the middle of that district, there are vital clues in dropboxes as to where Agent Galen might have gone; the secret project is so secret that nobody knew about it even in the local Republic´s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). Which, foreshadow, foreshadow, has more and more agents missing in the field. The local ambassador allied with a Hutt, who turns out to have been the previous head of the Kintan Kings. Some rescues from slavery, some cutting of local swoop bike gangs who went overboard versus citizens, a drying out another wanna be powerplayer gang which supported Republic dissidents, and we have to realize that the Empire already stormed the facility who would take "voluntaries" for the secret superweapon project, which is not a single superweapon this time, but about augmenting voluntaries into super cyborg soldiers.

 - Jedi in action; notice the glowing eyes; subtle effect which I still cannot link to which skill it belongs


My heroine is sent into the red light district, of course an even more criminal place, but behind the curtains. A gang war rages, and my heroine is employed by a do-gooder private detective to look after abducted Republic fleet officers, and by a local police chief to rescue people from slavery and pit fights, to cut down the "Bleeders", a gang who steals organs and genetics like other gangs steal money. A local drug fighter wants to destroy some drug stores to dry out supply. No deal, all along the way, at the game designers discetion.

In order to find the main lab where the super soldiers are created, my heroine has to cause power distrubtions in the local grid, thereby indentifying the lab which is supposed to have its own independent power supply. They are conveniently placed all over the map, to be disrupted on the side while doing the tour of tasks from all those other missions.

- moody places, but it could have been captured a bit better, as the elements when no looking up seem a bit too generic

I find out that those hijacked soldiers were mostly killed and their skins were used to disguise empire sleeper agents. Yuck. And this was just a mission on the sideline. Talk about getting insensitive to cruelties. Of course, the that particular holocaust doctor who was pressed into service by the Nazis/Empire gets sent to prison and not to shift flags to the Republic.

The main lab for the supersoldiers has of course also been taken over by the Empire, led by Sith Lord Sadic. He gives the usual evil man exposition and lets his cronies, along with the first version of created super soldiers, attack. The fight is over within four seconds. An encrypted file is supposed to have data on where the Empire removed the volunteers and the production arrays for the supersoldiers. SIS says they can decrrypt the file, but when I arrive, all that foreshadowing is reveiled and the base has been obliterated by mark 2 supersoldiers. Of course, all guys are annoyed with my heroine, even though she had advised in the beginning to evacuate because SIS was likely compromised. Instead of force-persuading, one well meaning remaining SIS agent decrypts the data and my heroine can finally move on to what should be the showdown with Lord Sadic.

In between, I take breaks and finally start to level up my crafting. I took artifice, in order to be able to construct my own lightsabers and portable shield systems, and I realize that also some dye modules for dressing up something different than the omnipresent brown or black robes are in the list. A very cool crew skill guide is here. In the end, I realize that a level 16 crafted lightsaber already is stronger than what my heroine currently wields. And the game was already easy as is. However, the temptation to use a more powerful item is stronger than my wish for more challenge!

 - crafting is much more easy going than in the past

On my way through the industrial complex, again I am contacted to end some abductions to slavery, destroy an Empire factory which produces bioweapons and help out an Evoci agent (humanoids with flat big noses) of the Republic to look after a Empire prison where they capture and experiment on aliens. It turns out that the latter once more is about a holocaust, specifically on Evocii. In the end my heroine again gets to decide what to do with the depraved commander of the facility, and sends him to prison. A heroic mission about some Mandalorians (kind of futuristic barbarians) wanting a challenge complements the mission setup, until I finally reach the lab where the supersoldiers are supposed to be, along with Darth Sadic.

Unfortunately, it is just Agent Galen, transformed himself into a mark 3 supersoldier and remotely commaned to attack my heroine. She is careful in disabling the former republic agent and can thus turn him again "to the light side" in order to fight Lord Sadic together. Another trip to another quarter in Nar Shadaa´s bowels, the shadow town.

Things are grim down there. This quarter houses another Empire prison which holds war heroes and other former strong enemies of the Empire. Getting in there is a difficult task and requires some preparatory missions, coordinated from the local SIS hideout. A heroic mission to capture some of the cranial bombs which all prisoners wear, is offered by a mission terminal as a sideline. I still remember from the past that getting those access keys to drop from the Empireal guards took me hours. This time, however, they almost drop instantly; finally a useful change of the former random mechanic.

In the meanwhile, my heroine has reached level 38; she is cut down to level 26 on Nar Shadaa, but as usual and anyways, she tears through the enemies like a hot knife through butter. Good, because the sheer numbers of enemy groups would make anything else rather tedious. SWTOR has defnitely become a hack&slay type of game. I don´t mind, it just seems that the original MMO combat mechanics seem not very suited for hack&slay, which would imo require more fluid combat control than meshing and coordinating about a dozen buttons on a cooldown cycle.

 - a dozen buttons on deadly rotation



The generic Republic mission wanted me to save a war hero from the prison, a Jedi. This guy unfortunately has turned dark side after years of torture. My heroine dispatches him, and can conveniently convince the beaten former Jedi to turn himself in for healing and atonement. The Jedi Knights class mission ends the whole adventure on Nar Shaddaa, taking about 10 seconds of a fight versus Lord Sadic and his cronies. Well, they could make the boss fights again a bit more difficult, no? Lord Sadic was so ugly that my screenshot camera refused service (well, I need an excuse for constantly confusing the sceenshot button "printscreen" with the one used in Elite: Dangerousm namely "F10" ...)

Also, I guess repetition seems to be unavoidable. How many guys has my heroine by now turned back to the light side, stomped how many prisons and slavery markets, saved civillians from certain doom? I lost count, but at least the tale is summarily retold here.

- bye, Nar Shaddaa

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