Fan Site Summit: Bounty Hunter Impressions
The Bounty Hunter is one of those classes that went through much iteration of changes since first introduction almost two years ago. Although the look and core functionality remains the same, we saw the class have its resource mechanic change, it gained an additional role in one of its Advanced Classes, etc. Therefore, I looked forward to playing a Bounty Hunter at BioWare's Fan Site Summit to see how far the class has come. If you wish to not have the Bounty Hunter class story spoiled, do not hit the story pages.
During my hands on time, I was able to reach Level 11 as a Bounty Hunter and chose Powertech as my Advanced Class. It is advisable for those that wish to avoid spoilers completely to skip the story section as there are many spoilers contained within.
Braden, a fellow Bounty Hunter, immediately greets you to inform you that he is looking for a partner for the Great Hunt. People following The Old Republic might recognize the name, as he is indeed Braden from the Threat of Peace webcomic. There is an early introduction to Mako, who will eventually become your companion but you don't know it at the time. This is when you gain your first target with Braden and crew. Braden, Mako, and Jory serve as intelligence gatherers for your target for a sizeable chunk of the starting quests. As with any BioWare game, one of the first characters you meet has to die, and your first few class quests leads to the demise of Braden and Jory.
Killing off minor characters is one thing, but in the case of Braden, he happens to be the one we are accustomed to seeing throughout the pre-launch marketing materials. It definitely threw me for a loop when it happened. This leads to Mako becoming the prime focus of the class' story on the origin world and the majority of what I was able to play on Dromund Kaas. The death of Braden takes a toll on Mako; playing through the story explains this contextually better than I can here, but l'll just say that she looked to Braden as more of a father figure. This wasn't explained very much at the time (likely due to the lack of time I had with the character), but it seems like that eventually becomes a prime driver of Mako desire for revenge.
Through accepting missions from the various gangs and cartels on Hutta, I spent a lot of time deciding what to do to gain enough favor and get a sponsor for the Great Hunt. Since Nem'ro the Hutt himself is one of the bigger factions that have the ability to sponsor a fighter for the Great Hunt, I chose that route. I solely completed quests for him so I would eventually gain enough favor to reach that final goal. Mako wanted revenge on the two Bounty Hunters that murdered Braden throughout this experience, and I later found out they already left the planet before I could track them down.
There are a few interesting side quests and main story quests that I would love to mention in detail, but I really don't want to spoil a significant amount of content that first time players will have fun experiencing for themselves, so skip this if you want to avoid the spoilers.
I will say this much: I cut off two or three people's heads and executed another four during my time on Hutta. One of the decapitation' segments follows the player and shows it via the cut scene. But in BioWare fashion, it fades to black leaving the player without seeing the gory details and more on the sensation with hearing the sweet sounds of the gruesome deed. There is a point where I had to bring the heads back to the person who sent me on the quest, and I assume the heads' models and textures are in such a way to keep a T rating. It is the first time I ever asked myself, "is this is a T-rated cartoony MMO?" It felt like the kind of action accompanied by an M rating to me but I digress.
The most important reason for pointing this out is to get across the morality choices for the Bounty Hunter, and Randy Begel spoke about this during the Writer Q&A session. Those players that want a Bounty Hunter that takes heads as trophies will get that in the literal sense, and that does not even cover all of the direct executions I performed during my time on the Bounty Hunter's origin world. I even killed a father in front of his son and sent the son packing to a Sith Academy.
It is worth pointing out that Mako didn't approve of my executions, as she does not favor outright murdering people for the sake of getting the bounty. This doesn't mean that she favors the light side options, as there were plenty of times where that choice caused me to lose affection with Mako. Mako became very hard to judge because of this; sometimes the neutral option was the right one, at other times it was light side, and in the very rare cases dark side. She seemed to favor the idea of a Bounty Hunter that stuck to what the true idea of what being a Bounty Hunter really is. There were also points where I was able to talk to her when prompted in the southwest corner of the screen that she wanted to speak with me.
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- Story Continued