Dromund Kaas, the seat of the Sith Empire, is the second world Imperial players will visit on their trek to level 50. The Dromund Kaas spaceport is the first accessible location on this dark and stormy world, and is located some distance East of Kaas City. Dromund Kaas spaceport houses the ship hangers for each of the four Imperial classes, as well as a taxi service and a few basic vendors.
Players can choose to make their way West either by foot or taxi, though those who choose the former method of travel will encounter some of the first quests available on the planet. Initially, the most striking feature of Dromund Kaas is its lush forests. Surprisingly, these forests comprise nearly eighty percent of the planet’s environment. While this can make the planet feel a bit more open, it also makes it feel a little more confusing and intimidating at the same time. That feeling of “Wait, did I miss something?” prevails here.
Upon reaching Kaas City, players will find towering citadels cast in a palette of greys, blacks and silvers set against a stormy sky. While aesthetically the scale is impressive, upon digging into the actual content of the city, Kaas City actually seems somewhat small; not quite the Imperial capital one would expect. However, functionally the city includes everything players will need to train skills; engage the Galactic Trade Network as well as other vendors; and socialize in the Kaas City cantina.
As players strike out into the Dromund Kaas wilderness, they will encounter deeply immersive quest chains that effectively develop the current state of the Sith Empire; which is much more complex than one may expect. Off the beaten path, gundraks and other wild beasts wait to pounce on players seeking a shortcut, and those who choose to stick to the Imperial roadways may find themselves ambushed by bandits, escaped slaves and Mandalorian head hunters. Beyond the expected Imperial fortifications, a few unique structures stand out on Dromund Kaas.
The Colossus, an immense yet incomplete statue meant as a secret gift for a Sith Apprentice’s Master, is the scene of a massive slave uprising and serves as an extensive quest hub in one corner of the planet. BioWare does an excellent job of using vertical space here, as the primary Heroic quest for the area takes place in a deep chasm many players may not initially think to traverse. The personal estate of rogue Sith Lord Grathan houses many of the initial class quests on the planet. This area is the paranoid lunatic’s personal fortress, and it shows. From the first minute, players will wade through horde after horde of personal security, advanced war droids and even Sith apprentices. The area properly conveys the aesthetic of a compound under siege.
Quest progression comes to a head at the ancient Dark Temple. The Dark Temple is inhabited by possessed Imperials, slaves and Sith from a bygone era, all awakening to make life miserable for the Empire. It is a long and drawn out area, and it is quite easy to forget a quest objective here or there and have to go trudging back through hostile and densely populated areas. However, those who explore the area fully will discover the numerous secrets that lie within. In fact, there are stunning revelations throughout the Dromund Kaas quest arcs, and the planet never seems to drag or grow stale -- a valid concern for worlds of this size.
Players interested in developing their crew skills will find numerous opportunities to do so on Dromund Kaas. The wilderness is dense with raw materials for crafting, and those who take up scavenging, slicing, archaeology and the like will find their resource of choice with ease. However, the jump from tier one to tier two resource nodes is a bit hasty – players will begin encountering skill level 50 nodes a little too soon. Heroic quests — requiring two or more players to engage — encompass a large portion of Dromand Kaas real estate, and those who would rather engage SWTOR’s content alone will find many areas left unexplored without assistance. Some of the heroic areas are so vast they literally equate to outdoor instances, though the lack of a dynamic public questing system requires players to instigate groups manually.
Imperial society is astoundingly complex, and Dromund Kaas lays the foundation for what are surely to be profound developments. There are many surprises to discover, and players interested in uncovering Revan’s fate will leave the planet more intrigued than satisfied. Though surprisingly more rural than urban, Dromund Kaas provides a satisfying early experience for fledgling Imperial players.