I Take Orders From Just One Person: Me
Breaking into a Secret Volcano Lair is dangerous work, and good ol' Viidu wasn't about to let me go it alone. Enter my old buddy Corso Riggs, who'd been hanging around ever since my ship was jacked, but so far hadn't really done too much, aside from providing me with a sexy new blaster pistol a bit earlier. Well that was about to change. In fact, the whole game was about to change.
Corso was my first companion character, but he was a far cry from the typical pets certain classes have in other MMOs. He had more HP than I did, was just as dangerous in a fight, and could even be outfitted with his own armor — heavy armor, I might add, that was a class above my own medium-grade stuff. Although he didn't have as wide a skill set as I did, what he did have was plenty, and as we gained levels, he would learn new ones as well, the first of which was a grappling skill that could pull distant enemies up close.
More importantly, Corso was a tank. His skills allowed him to draw threat easily, and his armor and health allowed him to absorb the inevitable punishment. His AI was quite good and I never really needed to manage his skills manually. While cover was still important, it was more to allow me access to my cover-specific skills and less about damage control. Even though I was playing the game solo, I was using tactics that would typically be reserved only for groups. The Old Republic was feeling less and less like World of Warcraft by the minute.
That wasn't the only thing that Corso's presence changed. Suddenly, conversations during quests became a lot more important. While previously I had been irritated that the dialogue choices I made had no real impact on the game, having Corso by my side made them a lot more relevant. Companion characters, it turns out, have their own likes and dislikes. Corso was a natural ladies' man and a generally pure soul. He liked helping out people who'd been dealt a bad hand, and had a real problem with hurting or being mean to women, no matter how awful they might be. He also had a real problem with the Empire and anyone who did business them. With these traits in mind, the tone I chose to take during conversations now increased or decreased his affection rating. As this affection rating increased, character quests were unlocked, which usually consisted entirely of a conversation granting a bit of background about his character, along with a nice experience reward.
With a new ally at my side, I set out to the Secret Volcano Lair to track down Skavak and get my ship back. However, things didn't go entirely as planned.
"In fact, the whole game was about to change."
It's a Trap!
After fighting my way deep inside the facility, I quickly discovered that Skavak was long gone, having been tipped off long before we arrived. Worse, his informant was none other than Syreena. The Separatists had been lying in ambush, but unfortunately for them, they underestimated my strength. After dispatching them, Corso and I rushed back to Fort Garnik to deal with the traitor and figure out where Skavak was before he disappeared forever.
Fortunately Syreena was still there when we got to Viidu's place. Viidu, unfortunately, was lying dead on the floor, and Syreena was on a holo-call with Skavak. Looks like Corso and I weren't the only people he'd screwed over. With the payment for her treachery literally flying away, she suddenly got a lot more cooperative. Luckily, she knew where Skavak was headed: the Republic capital of Coruscant. Better yet, she had tickets for a shuttle heading that way. She also had some bad news: apparently Rogun the Butcher had dispatched bounty hunters to come after us, and they'd be here soon.
With a new plan in mind, only one question remained: what to do with Syreena. Knowing Corso's distaste for hurting women, I opted to let her go, hoping that a bit of mercy wouldn't come back and bite me later on. It was a shame about poor Viidu, but hey, smuggling is a dangerous business. Corso and I set out for the starport immediately to get after Skavak as quickly as possible.
When we got to the shuttle, Rogun's bounty hunters were just getting off. An unfortunate coincidence that naturally led to one final showdown on Ord Mantell. Once they were dead, we boarded the shuttle and were on our way to Coruscant.