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Call of the Tempestarii made me have feelings (spoilers)


Steel_Rook
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Disclaimer: There's a reason for the dumb title. I'm generally an old, cynical bastard who can't enjoy storytelling any more. I've pretty much seen it all, read it all and can't help but seeing through the narrative into the plot devices below. I'm aware that "Call of the Tempestarii" as a quest is very rushed, quickly thrown-together and somewhat internally-inconsistent. I'm aware that it's shallow and hollow and mostly built as a tech demo for new systems (specifically, Railjack quests and Railjack Spy). I know all of this, but still... Between "that song" and Vala Glarios, I can't help but feel a certain draw to the themes that the story touches on, ever so briefly. If you want to disregard my opinion for being anecdotal and highly personal, then please - do so. You're probably right. However, I want to share regardless.

 

Sleeping in the Cold Below

The first and foremost aspect to address is "that song," the one the update shipped with. It may be solely responsible for my experience, it may not, but it deserves special mention. Yes, it's a sea shanty. That's weird and funny and quirky and all that. Not what I noticed. The song has a very powerful melody, a very capable lead singer and - crucially - a theme that DE have explored before: Finality. Give it a listen and pay attention to what it's actually talking about. It touches on "age of sail" daily life here and there, but predominantly it calls to "sisters below below," i.e. comrades long since dead. It's spoken not just with an understanding of the reality of harsh life, but with the melancholic acceptance of one's own ultimate fate. It continually acknowledges that the singer is "going where the winds don't blow." It speaks of a person come to terms with their mortality, but committed to facing it head on regardless.

Now, this may just be my own susceptibility to themes of melancholy - fair enough. It's a pretty song. However, I feel that it works so much better in the actual game, within the context in which it appears. Now superficially and gameplay-wise, this is just a very basic arena combat encounter where the player can't die or fail. Narratively, however, it carries a lot more weight. The writing there is a bit clumsy in an obvious attempt to crowbar it into the themes of the song which obviously came first, but still... Note what Vala says immediately before and what the player is actually doing in the encounter. Immediately before this scene, Vala reveals her reasons for pursuing the Tempestarii - revenge and finality. The ship hurt her and killed her sisters, leaving her adrift with her grief long enough to make it personal. We've seen this angle before with Rude Zuud in Fortuna, but to me this resonates far more in how it's delivered.

The encounter is admittedly a bit abstract in that it's not literally happening, but consider what's metaphorically happening. In song, Vala is relaying her grief and pain at the loss of comrades to Sevagoth's Tempestarii, while the player controls Sevagoth's Shadow killing large numbers of Corpus soldiers - Vala comrades in metaphorical form. On first viewing, that scene may come across as triumphant, with the player defeating a large enemy force to the tune of an upbeat song. However, again - Sleeping in the Cold Below may have an upbeat tune, but it has a very dark theme. In practice, I see the scene as immensely tragic, as we end up unwittingly participating in the manifestation of Vala's loss as the very perpetrator thereof. I mean sure - she's Corpus, she's the enemy, she can't stop talking about killing us, but the motive underneath it all - that motive is not malice. It's trauma. And that, honestly, makes me feel sympathy for her.

 

Vala Glarios

To get my bias out of the way, I think Vala is my favourite new character pretty much since I started playing this game. She's not the coolest, she's not the most powerful, she's not the most charismatic... But she has some of the most direct, raw emotion worn on her sleeve IN the actual narrative she takes part in. People like Eudico, the Business, Ruud Zude and company - they do have depth, but most of that's found in supplemental materials. Superficially, they appear very simple, almost one-dimensional - something I consider to be... Maybe not a failure but certainly a flaw in their writing. Vala, by contrast, manages to get an entire narrative across in two, maybe three real scenes. To me, that's commendable.

Vala's initial introduction is to me quite powerful, partly due to the framing but also partly due to her character model. She's a bitter old woman with silver hair and a raspy voice, carrying herself with equal part dignity and contempt. In a world with such broad, over-the-top cartoony characters like Vor and Vay Hek and Alad V, a character who simply appears... Human is honestly quite a rarity. It reminds me of a single of fan art of Captain Vor from the codex, where he's seen without his sunflower headgear. He goes from looking like a space alien thing, to just a guy suffering from injury and disease, but still attempting to hold himself with dignity. To me, that one image holds far more weight than the entire rest of his appearances in the game, where he comes across less like a real person and more like a meme. That's the light in which I see Vala.

Her second big scene paints Vala closer to a Captain Ahab character - a broken individual at peace with their own death and with only a single-minded drive of revenge. I know the narrative isn't particularly introspective, but I can't help trying to see through it, trying to imagine what could make a person like that. What could convince a person that their life is forfeit - a useless thing to endure until it can be expended to make the pain go away - if only for a little while. If you think I'm reading too much into it then that's probably true, but I refuse to believe that whoever wrote those scenes wasn't at least intuitively aware of what they were implying. I guess that just got to me.

 

Sevagoth

I don't think the narrative pulled this bit of the story nearly as well, so I've had to struggle to fill in what might have been intended... Or at least what might have made for a good story. I believe that Vala's tale of trauma and revenge was intended to mirror Sevagoth's similar tale. They're both people who've lost purpose in their lives, replacing it with a cold, unyielding refusal to die until one final task is done. Vala's task is revenge. Sevagot's task is closure. There's a reason you don't find the Warframe on the ship. Only his shadow remains, wandering aimlessly, trying to finish a mission long since rendered pointless, before it can finally pass. It's not just a nice bit of parity between the two main characters, but also a possibly unintended commentary on the "cycle of violence." One's pain and lack of closure robs them of their humanity, causing them to hurt others - making them the same.

I say this is "unintended" because the mission resolves by us killing Vala Glarios as our final action, with her cursing us in hatred in her last breath. If a condemnation of hatred were the theme, then I don't think the story would have ended with a one-sided apparent murder. Now, she survives (and I'll get to that), but we don't know that. The Tempestarii's final act of salvation was - in terms of what was said - the recovery of Sevagot's capsule. In practice, however - in terms of the story beats - the Tempestarii's final act of salvation was destroying Vala's ship... And killing her. The story, however unintentionally, makes the point that trauma can be fixed with revenge. That's... I'll admit, not something I like. I'm also not sure that THAT was the intended takeaway, either, though. It's a mission, Vala's a boss fight and whatever beleaguered developer was tasked with making those missions just made the crescendo of the narrative a combat victory because they needed to ship it for console cert by next morning, or some such.

I think part of what affected me about this story is that I honestly felt for Vala Glarios. Blame it on the song, blame it on the damn good voice actress, blame it on the framing - I don't know. However, I liked Vala, while the story very clearly wanted me to like Sevagoth, instead. Vala is the enemy, Sevagoth is the ally. Cheer Sevagoth, boo Vala. And I went through these motions, certainly - it is a video game. But I went through these motions feeling disenfranchised and honestly alienated from my own allies. It felt like Cy was leading me down a path I didn't want to go, and I had no means of protesting. That sort of feeling is hard to describe, but I've gone through it with at least a few video games - most recently Ghost Recon: Wildlands. When my character starts saying or doing things that I fundamentally disagree with, it tinges the entire narrative in ways that can't really be taken back.

 

Parvos Granum

The above makes it seem like I'm upset. Normally, I would be - at least thematically. However, the ending in the Granum Void I think does a lot to undo that feeling. We see Vala having survived the Void Storm and been stranded - or pulled - into the same Void pocket as Parvos Granum. Her revenge failed, her life forfeit, she collapses... Only for Parvos to turn up and offer her a golden hand up. This I want to see. The logistics there are a bit iffy - how did Vala end up there? Why is Parvos there? Didn't he escape? Can he just go in and out at will like we can? However, for once I don't think the logistics of technobabble don't really matter. The underlying story this implies matters far more.

I have to assume that Vala Glarios will become a recurring character. I hope so, anyway. I'm curios to see where her character will go. Are we going to see a redemption arc for her? Character growth, perhaps, where a bitter old woman come to terms with her mortality perhaps finds reason to live again. Reason to abandon hate in favour of something greater? Or will we see a the victim of violence become its perpetrator, with Vala growing even more bitter and vindictive, now that she no longer has anything to lose? Will she burn bring and take everyone down with her? Obviously, I would personally prefer the former as I'm a softie at heart, but both have their merits.

Crucially, though, this is probably the first time since... I think The Second Dream that I've cared about Warframe's story and characters to this extent. After Deimos gave us the embarrassing Orokin recreation of Married with Children where everyone's a funny-talking cartoon character, I honestly wasn't sure if I even COULD care any more. But I guess it goes to show what good music, good staging, strong voice actors and decent writing could do.

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19 minutes ago, Steel_Rook said:

I say this is "unintended" because the mission resolves by us killing Vala Glarios as our final action, with her cursing us in hatred in her last breath. If a condemnation of hatred were the theme, then I don't think the story would have ended with a one-sided apparent murder. Now, she survives (and I'll get to that), but we don't know that. The Tempestarii's final act of salvation was - in terms of what was said - the recovery of Sevagot's capsule. In practice, however - in terms of the story beats - the Tempestarii's final act of salvation was destroying Vala's ship... And killing her. The story, however unintentionally, makes the point that trauma can be fixed with revenge. That's... I'll admit, not something I like. I'm also not sure that THAT was the intended takeaway, either, though. It's a mission, Vala's a boss fight and whatever beleaguered developer was tasked with making those missions just made the crescendo of the narrative a combat victory because they needed to ship it for console cert by next morning, or some such.

I think part of what affected me about this story is that I honestly felt for Vala Glarios. Blame it on the song, blame it on the damn good voice actress, blame it on the framing - I don't know. However, I liked Vala, while the story very clearly wanted me to like Sevagoth, instead. Vala is the enemy, Sevagoth is the ally. Cheer Sevagoth, boo Vala. And I went through these motions, certainly - it is a video game. But I went through these motions feeling disenfranchised and honestly alienated from my own allies. It felt like Cy was leading me down a path I didn't want to go, and I had no means of protesting. That sort of feeling is hard to describe, but I've gone through it with at least a few video games - most recently Ghost Recon: Wildlands. When my character starts saying or doing things that I fundamentally disagree with, it tinges the entire narrative in ways that can't really be taken back.

Yep, commented something similar on another thread, we are forced to blow up Vala's ship without any reason behind doing it. All our actions up to and including escaping were justifiable actions, blowing her ship up just to enter the void had no reason behind it. We could have completed our objective without destroying her, since we just needed to get to the void. Deadlock protocol made Parvos morally ambiguous and Vala could have also been, but now we blew her ship up for no reason, giving her a good reason to hate us.

You mention that she sings about losing her sisters and here we are just blowing up another ship filled with more of her people. If you want to go full on meta you could claim that the whole song is a critique of (most) players' desire to slaughter waves and waves of enemies. I'd wager to say that most player have tens of thousands to millions of corpus kills and much more if you include all those killed in the destruction of vital systems on ships. I'm honestly just surprised that any faction still thinks it's a good idea to be against us.

Edited by PhiThagRaid
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hace 55 minutos, Steel_Rook dijo:

I say this is "unintended" because the mission resolves by us killing Vala Glarios as our final action, with her cursing us in hatred in her last breath. If a condemnation of hatred were the theme, then I don't think the story would have ended with a one-sided apparent murder. Now, she survives (and I'll get to that), but we don't know that. The Tempestarii's final act of salvation was - in terms of what was said - the recovery of Sevagot's capsule. In practice, however - in terms of the story beats - the Tempestarii's final act of salvation was destroying Vala's ship... And killing her. The story, however unintentionally, makes the point that trauma can be fixed with revenge. That's... I'll admit, not something I like. I'm also not sure that THAT was the intended takeaway, either, though. It's a mission, Vala's a boss fight and whatever beleaguered developer was tasked with making those missions just made the crescendo of the narrative a combat victory because they needed to ship it for console cert by next morning, or some such.

 

hace 38 minutos, PhiThagRaid dijo:

Yep, commented something similar on another thread, we are forced to blow up Vala's ship without any reason behind doing it. All our actions up to and including escaping were justifiable actions, blowing her ship up just to enter the void had no reason behind it. We could have completed our objective without destroying her, since we just needed to get to the void. Deadlock protocol made Parvos morally ambiguous and Vala could have also been, but now we blew her ship up for no reason, giving her a good reason to hate us.

 

There was no other way, Vala wanted to destroy the Tempestarii and even could jump to our position in the middle of nowhere so maybe she would interrupt the "funeral", destroy the Tempestarii and take the body of Sevagoth.

You see, Vala and the Shadow's goals intersect, not directly but still, and what happens when two opposite goals cross between? one should "loose", one should change the direction or make way for the other.

hace 54 minutos, Steel_Rook dijo:

I don't think the narrative pulled this bit of the story nearly as well, so I've had to struggle to fill in what might have been intended... Or at least what might have made for a good story. I believe that Vala's tale of trauma and revenge was intended to mirror Sevagoth's similar tale. They're both people who've lost purpose in their lives, replacing it with a cold, unyielding refusal to die until one final task is done.

Now this is something... deep

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31 minutes ago, VoidArkhangel said:

There was no other way, Vala wanted to destroy the Tempestarii and even could jump to our position in the middle of nowhere so maybe she would interrupt the "funeral", destroy the Tempestarii and take the body of Sevagoth.

You see, Vala and the Shadow's goals intersect, not directly but still, and what happens when two opposite goals cross between? one should "loose", one should change the direction or make way for the other.

Perhaps it could be seen that way, but based on what happened we can assume the Tempestarii was basically untouchable with its shields up, so there's little chance she would be able to destroy it.

This is also the last voyage of the Tempestarii, getting decommissioned right after the funeral, so once Sevagoth is obtained there's no conflicting goal anymore. At worst the corpus could do research on a void affected railjack. Sentimentality over a warframe and railjack does not seem reason enough to blow that up.

Vala's goal wasn't to destroy the Tempestarii, but that only changed when we escaped her captivity, I'm pretty sure it could change again once it was decommissioned and no longer a threat. 

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Responding in something of a reverse order, but...

 

13 minutes ago, VoidArkhangel said:

Now this is something... deep

Thanks :) I used to pretend to be a writer a long time ago. Most of what I wrote was along similar lines of melancholy, self-determination (and the difficulty separating one's self from society's projection thereof), finality, hope and the need for a helping hand. That's probably why Call of the Tempestarii struck such a chord with me - it has kind of the right mix of depressing hopelessness and resilient spirit that I feel makes for good drama. It's just a shame it's so obviously rushed. Maybe we'll get a continuation down the line, but who knows.

 

17 minutes ago, VoidArkhangel said:

There was no other way, Vala wanted to destroy the Tempestarii and even could jump to our position in the middle of nowhere so maybe she would interrupt the "funeral", destroy the Tempestarii and take the body of Sevagoth. You see, Vala and the Shadow's goals intersect, not directly but still, and what happens when two opposite goals cross between? one should "loose", one should change the direction or make way for the other.

That's a fair point, yes. Vala is ostensibly Captain Ahab. Her mix of trauma and melancholy make her reckless, at times even suicidal. It was pretty clear to me from the moment "Sleeping in the Cold Below" played that Vala's goal wasn't to best the Tempestarii. Her goal was to die while bringing it down. To join her sisters where she belongs, as soon as that last task is done. There's pathos to these sorts of characters if they manage to survive the one thing they wanted to die doing, because they're left with quite literally no reason to live... Yet without the strength to do anything about it. The moral, typically, is that revenge is an ultimately hollow goal which can't bring back the dead and can't heal trauma. All we do in achieving it is hurt ourselves further and cutting off our path to recovery.

In short, I'm willing to believe that Vala was stubborn enough to stand and take the Void Storm, cursing the Tempestarii to the bitter end, dying in the process. It fits her character. I just don't think it fits Sevagoth's character. Where Vala is motivated by a quest for revenge, Sevagoth is motivated by a quest for redemption - to complete his final, now symbolic rescue mission. To me, it feels like even a few minor tweaks to the story could have driven the themes of the narrative home a lot stronger. In fact, let me propose a few. "If I were writing this..."

Vala captures the Tempestarii while we're reliving the memory of her trauma. We sabotage her ship and free the Tempestarii, defending ourselves until we can charge up one final blast - not to kill Vala, but simply to escape. In a cutscene, we jump out of the area, leaving her behind. On the comms, Vala can be heard wailing in pain and anger, refusing to admit defeat and cursing our names until the feed cuts out due to distance. Her ship is dead in the water, she can't follow us. We appear in the Void, near where the Capsule is and approach it slowly... Only for Vala's ship to emerge from the Void after us, collapsing and melting down. She is pushing her ship, her crew and herself beyond a breaking point, hoping to do nothing more than kill us in her final breath. She sets the ship to self-destruct. We can escape... But there isn't enough time to get the capsule. So we board her ship for a simple Volatile mission, delaying the destruction. Vala's crew abandon ship and we get ready to leave, but she's still on board, hoping to ram us in one final desperate move. Cy pleads with her to stop, this is madness, but she just spits it back in our faces and drives full speed ahead. With no other options left, we jump out, leaving her to die alone in the Void.

Cut to Vala in the void, dejected and distraught, falling apart... Until Parvos Granum shows up and offers her a golden hand. Another chance at vengeance. Cut to the "Sleeping in the Cold Below" chorus as we transition back to the Tempestarii for the capsule opening. Perhaps give Cy a single line talking about the importance of saving even a single life, and lamenting how we couldn't save hers. Right at the end, when Vala's stoic appearance fully fell apart, even Cy saw the tragedy of her past. Roll credits.

Basically, I feel that we should have made an attempt to save or at least evade Vala Glarios, and have HER be the one to bring about her own doom... And all for nothing. That would then make Parvos' appearance even more powerful, as we would wonder - will this make Vala worse, or will it make her reconsider?

 

1 hour ago, PhiThagRaid said:

You mention that she sings about losing her sisters and here we are just blowing up another ship filled with more of her people. If you want to go full on meta you could claim that the whole song is a critique of (most) players' desire to slaughter waves and waves of enemies. I'd wager to say that most player have tens of thousands to millions of corpus kills and much more if you include all those killed in the destruction of vital systems on ships. I'm honestly just surprised that any faction still thinks it's a good idea to be against us.

Yeah, I don't think it was intentional subtext, though you are correct :) It does read like a deconstructive criticism of typical player behaviour. Other is enemy. Kill enemy. Win! That's why I brought up Wildlands - that game breaks its own themes on numerous occasions, having the protagonists wonder if they really are doing the right thing, only for them to brush it aside because being an awesome spec-ops team is KEWL! The reason I don't think it's intentional here, though, is because it really feels like the writer(s?) for this Quest didn't have a lot of resources to work with so they threw together a basic core gameplay loop. Show up, get beaten, run, come back stronger, win. That I ended up deeply sympathising with the tragedy of the villain's story I think is an unintended side effect, owing to a STELLAR performance from Vala and Cy's deliberately limited emotional range. The villain had a very powerful presence whereas our hero stand-in spoke like Microsoft Sam.

Hopefully DE will realise what absolute TREASURE of emotional baggage they have on their hands and actually expand upon it, rather than letting Vala turn into just another talking head for one mission type.

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hace 8 minutos, PhiThagRaid dijo:

Perhaps it could be seen that way, but based on what happened we can assume the Tempestarii was basically untouchable with its shields up, so there's little chance she would be able to destroy it.

This is also the last voyage of the Tempestarii, getting decommissioned right after the funeral, so once Sevagoth is obtained there's no conflicting goal anymore. At worst the corpus could do research on a void affected railjack. Sentimentality over a warframe and railjack does not seem reason enough to blow that up.

Vala's goal wasn't to destroy the Tempestarii, but that only changed when we escaped her captivity, I'm pretty sure it could change again once it was decommissioned and no longer a threat. 

I guess the tempestarii would dissapear after the funeral or something since it has no captain, after saying that tho Vala seeks revenge what do you think would happen if she founds that the ship is "dead" and we helped to pass away? Most likely she will start to chase us and so would ended the same way or even worse since if something bother us...

hace 7 minutos, Steel_Rook dijo:

In short, I'm willing to believe that Vala was stubborn enough to stand and take the Void Storm, cursing the Tempestarii to the bitter end, dying in the process. It fits her character. I just don't think it fits Sevagoth's character. Where Vala is motivated by a quest for revenge, Sevagoth is motivated by a quest for redemption - to complete his final, now symbolic rescue mission.

Yeah, kinda ironic but we can say that the Shadow's final mission was to rescue lost- oooo, nah, Vala didn't wanted to be saved she wanted conflict anyways you could say that the final mission of the Tempestarii was to rescue Sevagoth or more Orokin troops (since its a ship from the Old War) and nothing else. We even know that the Orokin were no allies of the Corpus meaning that by the time Sevagoth went on the mission they were seen as a trouble.

hace 11 minutos, Steel_Rook dijo:

Vala captures the Tempestarii while we're reliving the memory of her trauma. We sabotage her ship and free the Tempestarii, defending ourselves until we can charge up one final blast - not to kill Vala, but simply to escape. In a cutscene, we jump out of the area, leaving her behind. On the comms, Vala can be heard wailing in pain and anger, refusing to admit defeat and cursing our names until the feed cuts out due to distance. Her ship is dead in the water, she can't follow us. We appear in the Void, near where the Capsule is and approach it slowly... Only for Vala's ship to emerge from the Void after us, collapsing and melting down. She is pushing her ship, her crew and herself beyond a breaking point, hoping to do nothing more than kill us in her final breath. She sets the ship to self-destruct. We can escape... But there isn't enough time to get the capsule. So we board her ship for a simple Volatile mission, delaying the destruction. Vala's crew abandon ship and we get ready to leave, but she's still on board, hoping to ram us in one final desperate move. Cy pleads with her to stop, this is madness, but she just spits it back in our faces and drives full speed ahead. With no other options left, we jump out, leaving her to die alone in the Void.

Cut to Vala in the void, dejected and distraught, falling apart... Until Parvos Granum shows up and offers her a golden hand. Another chance at vengeance. Cut to the "Sleeping in the Cold Below" chorus as we transition back to the Tempestarii for the capsule opening. Perhaps give Cy a single line talking about the importance of saving even a single life, and lamenting how we couldn't save hers. Right at the end, when Vala's stoic appearance fully fell apart, even Cy saw the tragedy of her past. Roll credits.

Basically, I feel that we should have made an attempt to save or at least evade Vala Glarios, and have HER be the one to bring about her own doom... And all for nothing. That would then make Parvos' appearance even more powerful, as we would wonder - will this make Vala worse, or will it make her reconsider?

Yes, much better.

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For me I felt some sympathy for Vala and the trauma she went through but at the same time I've spent however many millions in creds and resources freeing Solaris members, some of whom also have children, I've also seen the Vent Kids and through other quests got an idea of what The Corpus do and have done to people for generations. They aren't good, Vala staunchly and proudly representing them has me leaning on the side of her deserving what happened even though I can understand how messed up it is. What the Corpus do and continue to do in order to drive ever increasing profits reminds me of real life parralels in countries where foreign companies will set up shop illegally and exploit the local population, some of what the Corpus do to the bodies of people reminds of King Leopold and what he did to Congolese people - practices that were imitated by other empires and with future generations still dealing with the impact of those things today.

Some of the issue with the story is that the elements regarding the character backstories are in tiny snippets and are not given any proper shine. Sevagoth and the Tempestarii are legendary for the amount of rescues they've done, why wasn't there a cutscene with some civilians encountering Vala/her crew and potentially being under attack, then sending out an SOS signal which caused the Tempestarii to appear? What is the Lucretia Platform? Was it a place where they took people they had captured/taken into forced enslavement? Did Sevagoth hear an SOS from there and save those people and in the process/aftermath annhilate the Corpus there?

There's a lot of extra imagintive work required from the players but really some of these things should have been included in the story. The whole thing could've been 45mins to an hour and been fleshed out properly instead of us having to figure out story elements. I'm guessing they'll add more with Corpus Queenpins but it's a shame they didn't add proper context to characters/history/motivations here.

Edited by Almxce
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5 minutes ago, Almxce said:

For me I felt some sympathy for Vala and the trauma she went through but at the same time I've spent however many millions in creds and resources freeing Solaris members, some of whom also have children, I've also seen the Vent Kids and through other quests got an idea of what The Corpus do and have done to people for generations. They aren't good, Vala staunchly and proudly representing them has me leaning on the side of her deserving what happened even though I can understand how messed up it is.

This is absolutely true. I wouldn't argue for a second that Vala Glarios is a good person. She is Corpus and embodies some of their worst tendencies. It speaks to the power of her vocal performance, then, that I still managed to feel sad for Vala and her pain, despite knowing all this. Being able to understand if not directly sympathise with the villain of a story is the sign of a well-written villain. I know that most stories opt for the "wrestling heel" style of villain whom the audience is supposed to boo, but... I personally find that the "sympathetic but still evil" villain grants stories far more depth by their mere existence within them. Ultimately, I do want my comic book super hero black-and-white morality... But it helps to have a villain compelling enough that I want to see more of them. I don't want Vala to die, because I want to see her in more storylines the same way I really wanted to see Hunhow in more stories, as well.

There's also the matter of "moral victory." Typically, a story like this would ideally resolve its moral grey areas by the end, with the heroes achieving a moral victory from which they draw the strength needed to win the fight. And sure, not every story has to be a shonen anime :) However, allowing your heroes to stand strong and tall on their morals as a prelude to their final battle is a good storytelling hook nonetheless. Call of the Tempestarii fumbles at exactly this moment, because it gives us - the heroes, presumably - a dishonourable finale. Rather than standing on principle and building off theme, we spend the final battle charging up for what amounts to a "Finish her!" style unwarranted fatality. Vala was already beaten. We could have simply left, but we stuck around to make sure she was dead.

For one thing, that shifts some of the moral grey area onto us. It feels unnecessarily malicious. For another thing, though, it diminishes Vala of her own pathos because we denied her the opportunity for self-destruction. A villain is tragic when they clearly need help but refuse to take it. A villain who was never even given the choice is made slightly lesser for it. Everything Vala says and does tells me she wants to get revenge and then die by her own actions, but she never gets to do that. I feel it's a missed opportunity, is all. And again - not every story has to be high drama, but... A setup this powerful just feels like a waste if it doesn't get used.

And mind you, it doesn't make the story bad. I wouldn't be here talking about it still if I thought that. It just frustrates me that it could have been better with fairly superficial changes.

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2 hours ago, Steel_Rook said:

To join her sisters where she belongs

I didn't see her as someone longing to end it, they obviously went that route with Sevagoth, but it felt like Cy made up a goal for him too quickly. He saw him once, read from some corpus databases and he instantly had the plan to give Shadow the chance to save someone. If Cy had this knowledge, wouldn't the corpus aswell?

Her survival indicates to me that she didn't want to go down with the ship, where she ended up makes 100% sense. She's on a corpus ship filled with with granum gateways and she most likely has the ability to easily obtain granum crowns to enter the granum void. Going through the gateway might be more taxing on a human than a warframe, though, resulting in her collapsing at the end. We go through in warframes and all the others sent through have been Solaris test subjects.

2 hours ago, Steel_Rook said:

Cy pleads with her to stop, this is madness, but she just spits it back in our faces and drives full speed ahead. With no other options left, we jump out, leaving her to die alone in the Void.

Yes please, rather let them hate us for our inaction than our actions.

2 hours ago, Steel_Rook said:

The villain had a very powerful presence whereas our hero stand-in spoke like Microsoft Sam.

Yeah, this might somewhat be due to the tendency most people have towards siding with the person/idea they discovered first. But, Vala was definitely more relatable than the shadow. 

 

2 hours ago, VoidArkhangel said:

I guess the tempestarii would dissapear after the funeral or something since it has no captain, after saying that tho Vala seeks revenge what do you think would happen if she founds that the ship is "dead" and we helped to pass away? Most likely she will start to chase us and so would ended the same way or even worse since if something bother us...

I'd take this over what we got. I'd rather her seek revenge on us out of principle than out of hatred for our disproportionate use of force.

But, we can always copy Cy's plan for the Tempestarii, it didn't disappear as soon as we blew up Sevagoth, so we could pretend to be it and suffer a pretend defeat to her. The ship won't be used again, so why not help her out the same way we did with Sevagoth.

1 hour ago, Almxce said:

For me I felt some sympathy for Vala and the trauma she went through but at the same time I've spent however many millions in creds and resources freeing Solaris members, some of whom also have children, I've also seen the Vent Kids and through other quests got an idea of what The Corpus do and have done to people for generations.

Since the deadlock protocol I've been looking at them differently, the main bad apple among the corpus is Nef Anyo, owner of Orb Vallis, the Index and the one that would experiment on the Solaris to find the granum void. Alad V is a large player, but he always seems focused on improving the corpus tech, being willing to tinker with warframes, infested and sentient. Parvos has yet to show ill intent as far as I can tell and he basically disowned Nef, preferring a philosophy of self reliance and hardworking, he did start a pyramid scheme, but as far as I can tell it's all a personal choice to join it.

Thus now that a new corpus figurehead comes along I can't instantly put the same guilt on them as Nef deserves. Thus, I would like them to be very grofit oriented and only having reason to attack us when we interfere with their goals, instead of having a reason to hate us which we gave to them.

1 hour ago, Steel_Rook said:

Rather than standing on principle and building off theme, we spend the final battle charging up for what amounts to a "Finish her!" style unwarranted fatality.

Exactly all of this.

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55 minutes ago, PhiThagRaid said:

Since the deadlock protocol I've been looking at them differently, the main bad apple among the corpus is Nef Anyo, owner of Orb Vallis, the Index and the one that would experiment on the Solaris to find the granum void. Alad V is a large player, but he always seems focused on improving the corpus tech, being willing to tinker with warframes, infested and sentient. Parvos has yet to show ill intent as far as I can tell and he basically disowned Nef, preferring a philosophy of self reliance and hardworking, he did start a pyramid scheme, but as far as I can tell it's all a personal choice to join it.

A bit off-topic, but it's not just Nef Anyo. The Corpus of today is rotten to the core. Nef's sleazy "used car salesman" con artist schtick is just the easiest counterpoint to Parvos' more idealistic, proud ruthlessness but he's hardly the only one. Ergo Glast is arguably far worse in his pursuit of the Animo Project, risking devastating consequences if his machines ever ran out of control. He's also just as rotten, operating on a warped perception of what people "deserve" and have "earned" purely centred around his own self-interest. Alad V, though the game has turned him into a "frenemy" of late, is still just as bad. Let's not forget that he was the one cutting up Warframes in order to stitch their pieces together and play mad scientist. He was the one toying with the Infestation to the point of getting infested himself. Ergo Glast is pretty much the only decent person among them, and even he has his faults - hubris being chief among them. During the Glast Gambit, he repeatedly banks on the heroes and loses, all the while attempting to project his influence onto an independent community. He certainly means well, but - and this applies to all the "good guys" in Warframe - isn't shy about exercising his power in blunt ways.

The Corpus as an organisation strikes me as a magnifying glass onto one's innate character. If you're a scumbag, power makes you sleazy bastard - like Nef Anyo. If you're a self-righteous, arrogant know-it-all, the Corpus turns you into a power-hungry tyrant - like Ergo Glast. If you're an amoral opportunist, the Corpus turns you into a mad scientist - like Alad V. And if you happen to be a bitter, vindictive soldier with survivor's guilt, the Corpus turns you into a single-minded engine of revenge. Because the Corpus religion is one of excess without checks, people's worst instincts and most damaging behaviours emerge to the forefront. To a point, Parvos Granum stands as a counterpoint to all this, because he DOES represent something of a check to the Corpus. He embodies excess, but with purpose. He embodies greed, but towards a goal. His ideology seeks to empower those with the power and vision to create while exploiting those who would only consume.

That's part of why I liked the Deadlock Protocol as much as I did :) When DE want to, they can make compelling characters. It's just we get to see them so rarely as they do so little. Without much in the way of story content, it's just grinding missions.

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Think Vala will be the first Queenpin, also did get allot of Moby D i c k vibes, hope they build up on those themes. This story is not finished.

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1 hour ago, Steel_Rook said:

Frohd Bek is arguably far worse in his pursuit of the Animo Project, risking devastating consequences if his machines ever ran out of control.

I do not see this as that horrible, he might be playing the odds, quite similar to Alad, I guess. He's creating powerful machines and does not care about the risks, sure, might have devastating consequences, but he is not actively affecting the lives of others(as far as I know, only joined end 2016, so I wasn't around for lore before then, like the gravidus dilemma, I think that's what it's called). He's basically just letting a self adapting AI run free. Not the best idea for safety reasons, but if all you care about is making an effective combat proxy it's not too insane. There is a discussion about General AI safety in our world thus we have started looking into restricting AIs to prevent disasters, but this is still a new field, so I wouldn't fault Bek if he's the first to generate self learning AI in the WF universe that he does not consider these implications.

1 hour ago, Steel_Rook said:

Alad V, though the game has turned him into a "frenemy" of late, is still just as bad. Let's not forget that he was the one cutting up Warframes in order to stitch their pieces together and play mad scientist. He was the one toying with the Infestation to the point of getting infested himself.

Same as Bek he is willing to take risks that most others would not, cutting up WFs doesn't seem as bad since the Second Dream since it's just deconstructing a machine, this machine just happens to be made of a biometal. Infestation and Sentients are indeed something risky to experiment with, but is not inherently a bad thing to do. Imagine if Alad instead discovered methods of easily dispatching of these factions during his research, he would be considered a hero to the solar system if he released such information. He is obviously more focused on weaponising all his research, but historically there have been quite a few things invented purely for warfare reasons that have turned out useful for everyday life.(I guess Glast gambit had a bit of a defense against the infested, but I never heard of that again)

1 hour ago, Steel_Rook said:

Ergo Glast is pretty much the only decent person among them, and even he has his faults - hubris being chief among them. During the Glast Gambit, he repeatedly banks on the heroes and loses, all the while attempting to project his influence onto an independent community. He certainly means well, but - and this applies to all the "good guys" in Warframe - isn't shy about exercising his power in blunt ways.

Not too much of a corpus anymore, but perhaps that is due to their change in policies with the initial disappearance of Parvos.

1 hour ago, Steel_Rook said:

The Corpus as an organisation strikes me as a magnifying glass onto one's innate character. If you're a scumbag, power makes you sleazy bastard - like Nef Anyo. If you're a self-righteous, arrogant know-it-all, the Corpus turns you into a power-hungry tyrant - like Frohd Bek. If you're an amoral opportunist, the Corpus turns you into a mad scientist - like Alad V. And if you happen to be a bitter, vindictive soldier with survivor's guilt, the Corpus turns you into a single-minded engine of revenge. Because the Corpus religion is one of excess without checks, people's worst instincts and most damaging behaviours emerge to the forefront.

Perhaps this is true, basically the quote: "Power corrupts and Absolute power corrupts absolutely".

1 hour ago, Steel_Rook said:

His ideology seeks to empower those with the power and vision to create while exploiting those who would only consume.

Doesn't sound too bad to be honest. xD Except you can't really exploit those that only consume, you would first have to turn them into something that can produce. But hey, then you would have turned everyone into a productive member of society, quite literally.

1 hour ago, Steel_Rook said:

That's part of why I liked the Deadlock Protocol as much as I did :) When DE want to, they can make compelling characters. It's just we get to see them so rarely as they do so little. Without much in the way of story content, it's just grinding missions.

Yep a bit sad, the game's reaching 8 years and the world still feels very empty, we rarely receive quests that are about the history of the universe and loads of stories about individual characters. I guess it might just be DE's style to focus on singular characters. Open worlds get close to telling some history, but still have the quests being about a handful of people. Glast Gambit was nice before the open worlds as it was the first time it showed us that there were space colonies that were not overrun by the corpus or the grineer.

I find Alad's frenemy status a bit weird, how many times have we helped him already? But, I liked Parvos's ambiguity as we meet him as neither friend of foe but only that we indirectly end up helping him, whereas Alad is first met as a foe on Jupiter then lots of stuff happens along the way. But, obviously not all characters should be made exactly like Parvos, it's just great that there are some that are not immediately friend or foe.

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17 hours ago, PhiThagRaid said:

Doesn't sound too bad to be honest. xD Except you can't really exploit those that only consume, you would first have to turn them into something that can produce. But hey, then you would have turned everyone into a productive member of society, quite literally.

Well, my main point here was theme. The current Corpus leaders appear to have fallen into excess and obsession for its own sake, whereas Parvos appears to have an end goal broader than just his immediate objectives. Alad, Forhd, Nef - they exploit the system to benefit themselves and their own pet projects. Parvos' goal appears to be to fundamentally dismantle and rebuild the system into something he considers superior. Whether it's actually better or not is up for debate, but that's what makes a good villain - one who not only considers himself the hero of his own story, but also has some kind of ultimately constructive goal. He can still be wrong, he can still be "evil," he can still be an antagonist, sure. However, Parvos' primary draw as a compelling villain is that he conducts himself with dignity even in disgrace and that he seems to be keenly aware of his own faults and the damage that his ideology is doing.

In the past, I've written about the "villain by choice" character archetype - my favourite kind of main antagonist. That's not necessarily a character who chooses to be "evil," but rather one who recognises the drawbacks and damage of their ultimate goals, perhaps even regrets them, but still feels the need to push through towards an end which ultimately justifies everything. The French animated series "Wakfu" had an interesting villain of this type by the name of Nox. His goal was to roll back time and prevent the death of a loved one, for which he needed tremendous power. Enough to uproot and destroy entire civilisations. His justification? He'll roll back the timeline and undo everything, so it literally doesn't matter what lengths he has to go to. It makes a certain kind of sense in terms of cold logic, even if the execution is still ultimately heartless and unthinkable.

Parvos also has the benefit of being one of the game's few actually serious characters who doesn't veer off into Saturday morning cartoon antics. Vor, Vay Hek, Alad V, the Worm Queen, the Antrati family - they HAVE depth if you dig into their backstories, sure. However, most of what the game highlights is them goofing off and hamming it up.

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(I've watched it on YT because I hate RJ).

Songs are amazing. However there are gaps between songs and other parts of the game, especially game play.

As you said it was rushed. For me Vala's story/reasons seems to be "shallow" because we don't have enough information. I've even made a topic about this:

We don't know why Tempestari attacked "Vaya's friends". We don't know her, what she have been doing when "Tempestari attacked". For me she is just "revenge... bla bla bla... kill... bla bla bla". Knowing how she wants to kill us without reasons... I don't care about this character. She doesn't strike as character that lost someone valuable nor some evil character "with reasons".

Even Deimos gave us some interesting concept (lose memories) and nice characters. Even the execution wasn't perfect... it was far better than this... quest.

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21 hours ago, quxier said:

We don't know why Tempestari attacked "Vaya's friends". We don't know her, what she have been doing when "Tempestari attacked". For me she is just "revenge... bla bla bla... kill... bla bla bla". Knowing how she wants to kill us without reasons... I don't care about this character. She doesn't strike as character that lost someone valuable nor some evil character "with reasons".

Reasons would certainly help, but they aren't necessary for a good story - not critically so. I don't really think it matters why the Tempestari killed Vala's sisters. Whether it was just a random freak accident (which is what it sounds like, given the ship's conduct), whether she was doing something overt to provoke it - it doesn't matter, because that's not the focus of the narrative. Grief isn't something you can explain away or justify, especially grief of this magnitude. Now of course - you can simply not accept the magnitude of grief the story is proposing because it's not set up very comprehensively and that's fair enough. It is a rushed quest. However, I believe in meeting fiction half-way and at least attempting to accept the premise I'm being given. It tends to make for a more impactful experience overall.

Similarly, I don't think it matters why Vala wants to kill US. We - our player character, our ship - aren't really part of this story. We have a role to play, certainly, but we aren't part of its emotional core. Said emotional core is the relationship between Sevagoth and Vala, without character serving as the catalyst rather than a participant. We can assert that Vala wants to kill is because we are Tenno - enemies of Cocoon the Corpus and the story would make just as much sense while losing none of its dramatic impact. We inject ourselves into a story where none of the characters have any meaningful relationship with us beyond broad tribal boundaries. What matters is Vala's reasons for wanting to destroy the Tempestarii, and that one is spelled out in plain text. The Tempestarii attacked her and hurt her, she now wants revenge. A compelling personal narrative doesn't really need to be any broader than that.

Consider what you're saying here for a moment - yes, it's all about "revenge" and "kill." That's where the tragedy lies. Vala's design, mannerisms and story tell of an old, weathered individual with a lifetime of experiences behind them, yet her state of mind has reduced her to quite literally just those few basic concepts: destroy the Tempestarii, avenge her sisters and then... Nothing. That right there is what I find so tragic - that a character with obvious allusions to depth has been reduced to this extent by their trauma. Again - this could just be my own bias. However, I happen to feel that a story doesn't need to be epic, broad or even intricately explained. A story can be intensely personal to one or two characters and still be just as heartfelt as any world-shaping epic.

When we experience trauma that we can't fully work through, our world begins to shrink as we look inwardly, dwelling on our own pain. We go through the motions of life necessary to keep us going, but we lack motivation for them. That's why people who suffer like that tend to have a much easier time ending their own lives - because life itself becomes more trouble than it's worth. This is precisely why I wanted Vala's "death" to be by her own hand - a demonstration that she has been broken down to the point where revenge trumps living another day. Bring a character to their literal lowest point... Then introduce Parvos Granum and build them up again. But build them up into what? That's your cliffhanger.

Obviously, I'm projecting more than a little bit. Obviously, I'm assuming and filling in the gaps. You didn't care, you didn't do that, fair enough. There's no "wrong" way to experience fiction, I don't think. I just wanted to lay out why the Quest managed to affect ME as much as it did, and acknowledge what good writing and acting there is to it.

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22 minutes ago, Steel_Rook said:

Obviously, I'm projecting more than a little bit. Obviously, I'm assuming and filling in the gaps. You didn't care, you didn't do that, fair enough. There's no "wrong" way to experience fiction, I don't think. I just wanted to lay out why the Quest managed to affect ME as much as it did, and acknowledge what good writing and acting there is to it.

Sadly you are not "filling in the gaps" but creating your "own" story. It's not that I don't care... but there is not too much to fill in. It's like when you had to write short story (150/250 words) about given topic in school. Vaya's "story" is just a topic and your text is more than short story.

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, quxier said:

Sadly you are not "filling in the gaps" but creating your "own" story. It's not that I don't care... but there is not too much to fill in. It's like when you had to write short story (150/250 words) about given topic in school. Vaya's "story" is just a topic and your text is more than short story.

Fiction of all kinds works by inspiring us to imagine and fill in the gaps. Fiction is successful when it motivates us to do that. Fiction fails when we staunchly refuse to do so. Call of the Tempestarii was successful for me, because it made me think about it and think about its underlying themes. It wasn't successful for you, because you didn't care to do that. To each his own. You don't owe stories a moment of your time if thinking about them doesn't feel natural or warranted. It did, however, feel natural to me and I feel happier having done so.

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3 hours ago, Steel_Rook said:

Fiction of all kinds works by inspiring us to imagine and fill in the gaps.

Filling the gaps is not sign of a "good" fiction. You cannot, for example, say "a red car", ask me to build whole world/story for you and call your "fiction" good.

Imagining, on other hand, is nice thing. You expand from something that's already there.

4 hours ago, Steel_Rook said:

It did, however, feel natural to me and I feel happier having done so.

If mere "revenge because someone killed my coworkers" makes you create such nice things (no sarcasm) then that's ok. You may read some TV tropes or something. There are a lot of interesting stuffs here.

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1 hour ago, quxier said:

If mere "revenge because someone killed my coworkers" makes you create such nice things (no sarcasm) then that's ok. You may read some TV tropes or something. There are a lot of interesting stuffs here.

I've explained in detail the emotional state that the Quest put me in and my reasons for it. If that isn't convincing for you then fair enough. If, however, you're going to discredit my subjective experience with the Quest because it doesn't match your own, then I don't think I have anything else to say.

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On 2021-04-17 at 1:25 AM, Steel_Rook said:

If, however, you're going to discredit my subjective experience with the Quest because it doesn't match your own, then I don't think I have anything else to say.

I cannot do this. It's "your" thing. Whatever I think about your experience doesn't matter because it's "subjective", hence you can think whatever you want.

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