Less than two weeks after the release of the teaser trailer telling us about housing coming in the next expansion, Bioware has made an official announcement about it, complete with a proper trailer and a page full of information about the upcoming additions.
First off, it's going to be called "Galactic Strongholds". I wonder if "Galactic So-and-so" is going to become a theme when it comes to expansion names. I have to admit that I find the "Stronghold" title a bit silly because... it's an apartment. That's hardly what I'd call a stronghold. But I get that they wanted to make it sound like something big and... heroic. Or something.
Of the questions I had after first seeing the teaser trailer, few have been answered so far, as we still don't know just how far our ability to customise our new living space will actually go. The info page does mention crafting as a source of furniture, and the trailer hints at gaudy trophies dropping from operations bosses in the future. (Why I would want a statue of Karagga's ugly mug in my living room, I don't know, though I do find the idea vaguely amusing.) We know that the planets we can live on will be limited to each faction's capital and Nar Shaddaa for starters, which is a bit of a disappointment for those of us who were hoping to get a place somewhere more remote, but I guess there is always room for expansion in that area later on.
What really blew my mind however (and the minds of many other people, going by the reactions on Twitter) were the casual mentions of some of the additional features coming in Galactic Strongholds, most prominently guild flagships and legacy storage. It's funny because both of those features are things that I heard fans bring up during speculation about what else the housing expansion might bring, and personally I brushed them off as overly hopeful. Sometimes it's really nice to be wrong!
Guild flagships in particular are one of those things that parts of the community have been absolutely obsessed with almost since launch and that came up at pretty much every Q&A session with the developers. The answer was always something along the lines of "we'd love to have them, but can't see it happen any time soon". Hah! I guess the folks at Bioware are getting the hang of this whole "under-promise, then over-deliver" thing (which is better than building lots of hype about something that just falls flat on its face later).
I do like the idea of a guild having its own dedicated space in the galaxy - I was quite impressed with all the holdings you can acquire for your fleet in Star Trek Online as well - though I'm not going to get too excited until I know what you can actually do with/on those capital ships. As I've said while previously talking about housing in general, I don't see the point of just creating spaces to hang out in with no purpose and that just end up isolating people.
The one thing that concerns me a little is that, whether it'll be real money or in-game credits, I expect guild flagships to not come in cheap, and I wonder how this will affect smaller guilds, especially since my own has shrunk quite a bit over the last couple of months. Will we even be able to get one?
Legacy storage sounds like another excellent feature that (in my opinion) has been long overdue for SWTOR, considering its heavy focus on all your characters being united under the banner of a single legacy. This should bring great relief for those of us who are always mailing things back and forth between their alts and then forget who's holding what. One of my guildies went so far as to suggest that this would mean an end to all character-bound items: you could just put a bound bit of gear into the legacy bank and then get it out on another character. Personally I don't see that happening, as I can easily imagine Bioware placing a restriction on the legacy bank that prevents you from putting character-bound items in it... but that's not really what I'd personally want it for anyway. I'm more thinking companion gifts and crafting materials.
Either way, it's obvious that this expansion is going to be much meatier than most people would've expected when we only had that short teaser trailer of someone walking around an apartment to go on. I can't wait to find out more details!