Hyperspace Beacon: Exploring Oricon in SWTOR (Exploricon?)

Hyperspace Beacon Exploring Oricon in SWTOR Exploricon
Star Wars: The Old Republic announced a few weeks back that Update 2.4: Dread War would introduce players to not only arena PvP but also two new operations and a daily quest area by way of the planet Oricon. The next update has been sitting on the public test server for a bit over a week now, but unfortunately thanks to lag issues, I've barely been able to spend any time there. But now most of the lag seems to have disappeared, and I can give you my take on the new daily area and the story that goes along with it.

Warning: I will spoil a lot of the story that leads up to Oricon!

Hyperspace Beacon Exploring Oricon in SWTOR Exploricon

To begin the story of Oricon, we should talk about the Dread Masters. Although we are unsure of the origins of the Dread Masters, we know that there are six of them, and they create fear and terror for any who oppose them. Some Jedi, like the famous Bastila Shan, could use the Force to elevate the unity and drive of her allies to help gain victory in large battles, hence the name Battle Meditation. The Dread Masters do a dark-side version of that. They create subjugation by fear and manipulation. In fact, many people who have fallen prey to their power have been driven insane.

Based on the bioscans performed by Master Kaeden when the Dread Masters were captured, all six are human; two are female and four are male. And according to Sith records, their names are Brontes, Tyrans, Calphayus, Bestia, Styrak, and Raptus. However, like most Sith names, their names have likely been changed over time. And unfortunately, we are not sure of their system of origin. Based on human lifespans, they might hail from Dromund Kaas as do most humans during the Sith invasion, but by Sith magic their lives have extended beyond that of a normal human. Therefore, it's possible that these Sith masters could have been born nearly anywhere in the galaxy.

During the Sith invasion, the Dread Masters led the primary thrust of the Imperial forces, causing fleets of Republic vessels to lose control when their crews went mad with terror. Fortunately for the Republic, Jedi Master Jaric Kaeden eventually discovered which Imperial dreadnaught the Dread Masters used as a base of operations. He was able to lead a Republic strike team on board and eventually capture the Sith Lords. Master Kaeden then destroyed the dreadnaught, claiming the Dread Masters were still on board. But in fact, Kaeden actually had the six transported to the Belsavis prison for the duration of the war.

Hyperspace Beacon Exploring Oricon in SWTOR ExploriconAfter the treaty

When the Empire discovered the prison planet of Belsavis, all its secrets began to leak throughout the Imperial intelligence community. The Royal Guard eventually discovered Master Kaeden's secret and sent a single operative to Belsavis to free the Dread Masters.

Once back in Imperial space, the Dread Masters set out to conquer the galaxy for themselves. The first incarnation of their growing presence was Karagga the Hutt's attempted expansion of the Hutt empire. Then other incidences popped up around the galaxy. The attempted theft of the Aurora cannon on Belsavis, the Trandoshan mercenary attack on Denova, and the experiments on Asation are all examples of the Dread Masters' attempt at building an army.

Then, on the smuggler's planet of Darvannis, a strike team set out to stop some illicit arms deals, only to find out that Dread Master Skyrak was behind them. The strike team ended up defeating Skyrak and thwarting his plans, but for some reason the other five Dread Masters were not present.

Hyperspace Beacon Exploring Oricon in SWTOR Exploricon

Oricon, an inhabitable moon in the Corva sector, originally housed the alchemical experiments of Darth Vitus. Perhaps the dark energies radiating from the moon drew the Masters there, but whatever the case, the Masters now rule the moon, twisting its fauna to their own maniacal purposes.

The Republic discovered the moon and sent a fleet to the planet. Of course, this was an obscenely ignorant move. Just as they had before during the first Sith invasion, the Dread Masters disabled the fleet by projecting fear into the Republic troops, causing most of them to crash on the moon's surface or destroy each other in orbit around the moon's surface.

The Empire followed the Republic to the moon but sent only a scouting party to investigate. I guess that proves true Dark Helmet's statement from Spaceballs: "Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb." Unfortunately, Lord Hargrev and his scouting party have not been heard from since entering the system -- 12 hours before you arrive.

Hyperspace Beacon Exploring Oricon in SWTOR ExploriconIt's up to us to save the galaxy, again.

My lone frigate was able to skim the surface and avoid detection by the Dead Master's defenses, but that meant only that I was able to reach the scouting party, not save them. Lord Hargrev and his team were whittled down to next to nothing, surviving only by Hargrev's skill to block the minds of most of the soldiers from the thoughts of the Masters, which isn't that reliable. Soldiers periodically still lose themselves in fear-filled projections.

Next week, I will dive into the details of the Oricon missions form a mechanical point of view, but from a storytelling perspective, it won me over. I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it. At this point in the game, I had expected to just be going through the motions, but I am surprised to admit that I feel more invested in my character than ever. And the supporting characters have just as much depth as any of the characters I encountered during the leveling process.

Normally at this point I'd tell you to join me on test center to try this out, but actually, I'm going to discourage that. If you are the type of person who is deeply invested in your character's story, then avoid test center because I'm afraid it will ruin it for you. The writers, once again, performed beautifully, and I think if you love the game's story as much as I do, then you will want to complete this edition on the live servers. (If you are a mechanics-oriented player, then test to your heart's content. The BioWare team is still tweaking things, and it needs your help.) I'll see you next week.

Hyperspace Beacon Exploring Oricon in SWTOR Exploricon
The Hyperspace Beacon by Larry Everett is your weekly guide to the vast galaxy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, currently in production by BioWare. If you have comments or suggestions for the column, send a transmission to larry@massively.com. Now strap yourself in, kid -- we gotta make the jump to hyperspace!
This article was originally published on Massively.