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Friday, 27 January 2017

Who is Tyth? The War for Iokath and the Old Gods: SWTOR raid boss speculation


After having focused on storytelling since Knights of the Fallen Empire, the call of SWTOR players for multiplayer content (the "MMO part of SWTOR") in Star Wars: the Old Republic has become stronger and stronger. While the Knights expansions have attracted new players that were looking for a KOTOR experience, many old time players - endgame oriented ones in particular - have left the game in search for new multiplayer challenges. It is this MMO focused playerbase that the SWTOR dev team addresses with their latest announcement: SWTOR will release a new raid this year.

As an endgame fuelled gamer, I am thrilled by this news. It means that the year has barely started and my number one wish of SWTOR changes I'd love to see this year has already come true! Even better news is that we won't have to wait until the end of the year. You can listen to everything the developers had to say about the upcoming content at their January 26th devstream.

Of course I don't want any stone left unturned, so in this post I will get you up to date with the news, and then I will share some of the suspicions I have about the bosses we may come to fight in this upcoming raid.

Tyth, the first boss of the Iokath raid as presented on the devstream

Raid news

So what do we know? In the livestream, the developers told us we are going to get a new operation with five boss encounters, as part of a War for Iokath update. We don't know anything about these bosses apart from that the first one is called Tyth. One dev refers to him as "the super weapon" (15:08), presumably one that the factions on Iokath (the Republic and Empire) are fighting each other over for control. The livestream showed the concept art of Tyth above (16:25).

Fun fact: the developers made a Reddit joke about lacking a banana for size on their picture of the operation's first boss, Tyth. Apparently Tyth is really tall. Jessie of the Stardust Legacy responded aptly on Twitter with a community manager Musco for size:


The Tyth encounter will be available to us with update 5.2 in March or April; the other four boss encounters will be released during the rest of 2017 - before the end of the year, the devs promise us. When this was revealed, some people started complaining in chat, but personally I think this is much nicer than the alternative: to wait another half year before we get new group content. Just last week five new uprisings were released; it's unrealistic to expect the developers to magically let a whole new operation emerge within a week.

There is another positive aspect to having a new boss be added to the game every once in a while: with every new boss, master mode (previously called nightmare mode) will be unlocked for the previous boss. So in every new period you don't just have a new boss to fight, you can also challenge yourself by trying the previous one on a higher difficulty.

The dyson sphere Iokath, where the new raid will take place

Iokath boss fights

This is as much as we know for sure, so now the wild speculation starts! You've been warned: everything that follows is entirely made up. If that's not your thing you can stop reading now; however, you can take the opportunity to learn something about Zakuulan lore. As we will be diving deep into Zakuulan culture, the following may contain slight spoilers for people that have not played through the Knights expansions yet; nothing that concerns main events, though.

When I was listening to the devstream with Conrad, he recognized the name Tyth as one of the Old Gods on Zakuul. A coincidence? Seems unlikely. The armour Tyth wears in the concept art resembles that of a Zakuulan knight, so he definitely seems culturally related to Zakuul.

Much like the Romans, Zakuul had its own pantheon, referred to as 'the Old Gods', before Valkorion took over and reformed the planet. It consisted of six primary gods: Izax, the chief deity, his wife, Scyva, and their four children: Tyth, Aivela, Esne, and Nahut. The demon serpent Zildrog was another entity worshipped by the Old Ways, although some argue that he was merely a metaphor for a certain aspect of Izax.

So what if the Old Gods of Zakuul can be found on the ancient world of Iokath in some form or another? Legends often have a seed of truth, and Iokath seems to precede Zakuul, although its history is wrapped in a veil of mystery since its inhabitants have disappeared. It is also possible that the artificial intelligence on Iokath have created androids based on elements of Zakuulan culture - we know they love to challenge people. What if we get to fight the Old Gods (real or not) in the new Iokath raid?

A potential scenario would look like this:
1. Tyth
2. Aivela
3. Esne
4. Nahut
5. Izax & Scyva
Bonus boss: Zildrog

It's possible these names sound familiar to you. Knights of Zakuul often invoke their Old Gods when fighting, exclaiming sentences like "Izax take you!" Furthermore, the gods are incorporated in Zakuulan sayings. Senya references the Old Gods on multiple occasions and sometimes you hear them mentioned in conversations between Zakuulan citizens when you pass by.

Zildrog should also ring a bell. You run into the Heralds of Zildrog when exploring the Old World of Zakuul in chapter 7 of Knights of the Fallen Empire with Senya. These zealots still follow the Old Ways but are nowadays considered a cult. We learn that Arcann granted them power over the Old World during his reign.

The Exalted leads the Heralds of Zildrog cult on Zakuul

The Old Gods

The only way we can currently find out more about these Old Gods is via devotional texts that can be found at randomized places in Star Fortresses (small group/solo content in Knights of the Fallen Empire). These texts count for the Zakuulan Devotee achievement that grants players the legacy title Follower of the Old Ways. However, they cannot be looked up in the game afterwards, as they do not grant codex entries. I've gathered them here for you to save you the hassle of playing through all those Star Fortresses to collect clues.

Tyth
<The Firstborn>
The Awe of Tyth: "Storm the battlefield with Tyth, god of rage. The Firstborn of Izax and Scyva leads us to victory against the profane outlanders. Raise your bloodied fist and cry triumph..."

Tyth was the warrior god of the pantheon and the eldest of all siblings. It is said that his sister Aivela was present together with him on every battlefield. However, there is no mention of a sister in the same encounter so far. It is also possible she will be present but not actively fighting, as the lore just tells us she accompanies him.

Senya sings: "-a love the hand of Tyth could not deny..."

Aivela
<The Favored Daughter>
The Proclemation of Aivela: "Burn all doubt in the fires of Aivela, our goddess of passion. The Favored Daughter stands beside her brother Tyth on every battlefield, radiating grace to the fearless..."

Aivela was the goddess of passion. She accompanied Tyth on the battlefield and was the twin sister of Esne. If Aivela is going to be an operation boss, she could also be paired with Esne.

Esne
<Goddess of Envy>
The Admonition of Esne: "Beware the shadows of Esne, goddess of envy and twin of Aivela. Forever eclipsed by her sister's incandescence, she will use her venomous tongue to test the faithful and cull the weak..."

Esne was was envious of her sister Aivela, because she was the favored daughter. The Eyes of Esne was a common metaphor for jealousy among the people of Zakuul.

Information about the Old Gods can be found on datapads in Star Fortresses

Nahut
<The Hated Son>
The Lamentation of Nahut: "Bear a single torch for Nahut, the Hated Son. Gray, formless and cold, he is denied by all but the Mother of Sorrows. Do not follow him into the dark. Light the way to lead him home..."

Apparently nobody liked Nahut apart from his mother, Scyva.

Scyva
<Mother of Sorrows>
The Grieving of Scyva: "Walk the path with Scyva, the Constant Companion. Wife of divine Izax and avatar of sorrow, she weeps beside those who gladly march to embrace the Ultimate Devourer..."

Scyva carries two titles: the Constant Companion and the Mother of Sorrows. She was the wife of Izax. She was the goddess of sorrow, because she wept besides those that went to Izax - which sounds like a metaphor for death. The Heart of Scyva was a frequent invocation among Zakuulans.

Izax
<The Ultimate Devourer>
The Veneration of Izax: "Honor the omnipotence of Izax, the Ultimate Devourer: father, ruler and bringer of death to us all. His forms are infinite, but his great glory flies on serpent wings..."

Izax was the chief of the Zakuulian pantheon, the husband of Scyva and the father of Tyth, Aivela, Esne, and Nahut. His name is used as a metaphor for death ("Izax take you!"). As the first boss is going to be the eldest son, it would make sense the last boss would be the chief deity.

What do you think? Will the Old Gods of Zakuul have something to do with the upcoming SWTOR raid? Or is it all going in an entirely different direction?

11 comments :

  1. I highly approve of the degree of nerdiness in this post. :D Now I'm looking forward to this operation even more...

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    1. Yay! Shintar approves, +10 affection. :D

      I'm really looking forward to the new operation, too! Iokath is still much of a mystery that I'd love the unravel (how did its Eternal Fleet end up under the command of Zakuul? Was that Valkorion's doing, or earlier?) and I'd love some more background of Zakuul as well. Can't wait!

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    2. From the Codex Entry for the Eternal Fleet:

      "Valkorion had heard rumors of the fleet before his arrival on Zakuul; it was the main reason he chose the planet to house his new empire. Once he gained control over Zakuul, he began his search for the fleet in earnest, using the Scions' Force visions to eventually find the dormant ships. He built the Eternal Throne to reactivate and command the lost fleet."

      We obviously don't know much beyond this, such as how and where he found it, or how he was able to bind it to the Throne in the first place, but Valkorion was certainly responsible for bringing the Fleet under the control of Zakuul.

      If the 'Old Gods' actually were these Iokath Droids then this doubles as a very symbolic gesture. Valkorion has brought the very tools of the Gods themselves under his power, and thus the Zakuulans revere him for conquering the deities and proving himself superior.

      Which then raises a pertinent question about the symbolism of the Gravestone - the ship that defeated these mystical tools - under our possession prior to Eternal Throne. Sure, we have the ship that defeated the Fleet, but we weren't the ones who conquered the Fleet with words and power alone like Valkorion seemingly did.

      However, now that we have both the Gravestone and the Fleet, our power is more undeniable than Valkorion's himself in the eyes of the Old World's historians.

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    3. Thanks, Calphaya! I must've read that codex entry at some point, because I did think Valkorion had something to do with the Eternal Fleet - I didn't know whether I was making it up myself, though.

      So what you mean is, Valkorion proved himself superior to the Old Gods; if new Old Gods emerge on Iokath, the Outlander will have to beat these to gain the approval of the Zakuulan populace?

      I do wonder what the Zakuulan think about the Outlander, after having been brainwashed for years. I mean, power alone doesn't grant the populace's goodwill. It will be hard for the development team to create a nuanced approach to this in their storytelling, since it would depend on how KOTET ends per character.

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    4. It will certainly be interesting to see play out.

      Looking at it realistically, Zakuul can't remain at all prominent in the galaxy for long, and our characters do have serious political ties elsewhere so not only do we have to question what Zakuul thinks of the Outlander, but we also have to question what the Outlander makes of Zakuul.

      There are, sadly, too many layers for all of them to be explored properly, which is a real shame because it has been seen thus far to result in 'glossing-over' which just makes everything feel so much shallower. :/

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    5. ...and what the rest of the world thinks of Zakuul, now the war against them 'has been won' (even though it is by a third party, aka the Outlander). Do people make the distinction between ruler and planet? Do people want (more) retribution for their suffering? There is plenty of material for really interesting storylines here, if one pays attention to what goes beyond the power play.

      I agree with you that there are probably too many layers to be explored properly. Bioware did a stellar job in that regard with Mass Effect, but it seems hard to pull off in an MMO. Especially since an MMO never truly ends and choices that would *actually* matter would drift storylines further and further apart.

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  2. You are a wonder! I'm terribly impressed by the insight and research here, published a mere day after the developer stream. I would not be in the least surprised if you are 100% correct in your predictions.

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    1. You're making me blush! I was really excited myself when doing the research, because I just can't wait to find out more about this operation. It's going to be really interesting to see if things head this way, or somewhere totally different.

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  3. I'm terribly behind in SWTOR having not completed the second Knight expansion. [Excuses: ill health, new level 65 smuggler as original guy doesn't want to leave Akaavi, trying to get crafters to 66 & eight crafting companions, new President, Brexit, Sauron ate my mouse.......] So haven't done even an uprising, but suspect either the Pub or Imp guild I'm in will do one soon = more organised, hopefully.

    But looking forward to new Operation and chance to perhaps fight a God. Love your Zakuul lore pointers and suspect you are correct.

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    1. Haha, your excuses cracked me up! I hope you'll find the opportunity to play the Knights expansions soon. They're really quite good! The place of the new raid, Iokath, is significant in the Eternal Throne one, so it's nice to play through that to get some background info before heading there in 5.2 for the new dailies and raid.

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  4. So is it just me or what. Izax sounds like an ancient term for the sith emperor/possessed valkorian. "He takes infinite forms." and sith emperor/possessed valkorian leashed the enternal fleet which sounds like the newer version of "serpents wings." Also, since the sith emperor said he found Valkorian and used his body, does that mean the sith emperor was just as old or older than the orginal Vakorian? If so...could Izax be like the sith emperor? I mean, sure Valkorian said he didnt know much about the fleet...but he said alot of things that were twisted...

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