15/04/2024

Drop In: Nar Shaddaa

This past week's seasonal objective to visit other people's strongholds directed us towards Nar Shaddaa... and was honestly a bit disappointing to me, as an awkward part of strongholds' past reared its ugly head. More on that in a bit.

I once again toured strongholds on five out of six servers, skipping Darth Malgus once more as I easily got to 7/7 weeklies completed doing other things I enjoyed.

The first Nar Shaddaa stronghold I visited was on Leviathan, where I took a trip to Rhodania's Jedi Academy, mostly because the name intrigued me. Alderaan may have been a popular place for Jedi-themed strongholds, but Nar Shaddaa didn't strike me as a location that naturally leant itself to that, so I was curious to see what the owner had done with that theme.

Sadly, the answer was "not much". I'm honestly not sure why they chose the "Jedi Academy" moniker for their Sky Palace, because there didn't seem to be anything particularly Jedi about it.


For the most part, the decorations were just a slightly random mix of basic furniture, plants and (presumably) favourite companions standing about. Plus the owner seemed to be fan of Valkorion:


Nothing wrong with that, I had just hoped for more based on the name. Also, this giant dead tree on the balcony struck me as a bit out of place:


Next I opted to travel to Teyla Yue's Lair of Shadows on Tulak Hord. The listing said it was 100% complete and that with over 1.5 million prestige! Yeah, I was today years old when I learned that that number has absolutely nothing to do with what you'll actually find inside the stronghold. I didn't think too much of it at first when I saw nothing but a bunch of utility decorations at the entrance - I figured it was someone being very practical and wanting to have them close at hand when zoning in - but I sure was baffled when I moved on to the next room and found it to be completely empty.

Then I turned into one of the side rooms and... oh.

A room in a Nar Shaddaa stronghold filled with lots of small bioanalysis node decorations and several copies of the same poster on the wall

For those who don't know, when strongholds were first added to the game, the Conquest point bonus they granted was based on stronghold completion percentage, not on how many strongholds you owned and whether they were fully expanded. This meant that in order to min-max, people who didn't care that much about decorating would fill their strongholds with cheap random decos just to maximise their Conquest bonus, and Nar Shaddaa was a popular target for this as all subscribers got it for free when Galactic Strongholds launched. I resisted initially but eventually gave in too and was glad when this system was changed in 2018. However, I never went back to undo the mess in my Sky Palace either, so its walls are still plastered with boss kill posters to this day, and I'm not surprised that other strongholds of this type are still around... just that the owner thought this was worthy of being made into a public listing.

I guess I was kind of surprised by how many rooms they managed to leave entirely empty while still getting to 100%. I went back to double-check my own Nar Shaddaa stronghold and it had to have posters on every single wall, plus a bunch of speeders and pets on various floors to get to 100% completion.


Fortunately Bubba's Game Room on Star Forge (pictured above) was a much nicer place to visit. It actually matched its theme, welcoming both Republic and Empire players (I liked how one of the dual stairways was Republic-themed and the other Imperial) while offering the kinds of amenities you'd expect in something called a "game room", such as a bar, slot machines and a dance floor.


However, my favourite stronghold of the week was undoubtedly Dalroti's Marketplace Cantina on Satele Shan. The owner really put some thought into what it would mean for something to be both a marketplace and a cantina, starting with the entrance featuring a receptionist on a red carpet, flanked by security.

Inside you'll find a Hutt with cronies, as well as tables with food laid out, plus of course the obligatory bar and dance floor.

Finally, I visited Gracey's Stronghold on Shae Vizla and... I guess it should've been a warning sign when there were once again nothing but utility decorations at the entrance. Just... why?

A room in a Nar Shaddaa stronghold filled with basic metal benches and chairs stacked right next to each other

At least this "forest" of lightsaber displays managed to look kind of ominous in an abstract way:


The thing that gets me with this one is... it's on Shae Vizla, a server that only opened last year! While we have server transfers now, your stronghold's layout doesn't transfer with you, so this cannot possibly have anything to do with the way Conquest used to work back in the day. This was someone deciding in 2023/2024 that haphazardly stuffing their stronghold with chairs and benches to get it to 100% completion would be a good idea; I'm just not sure why.

12/04/2024

Drop In: Manaan

When the weekly seasons objectives for weeks 5-9 were posted the other day, part of me was hoping there would be one week without a stronghold drop-in objective soon to make it easier for me to get caught up with my posts about these, but it seems the devs are keen on keeping us visiting these public strongholds, so I just have to be better at getting my summaries out in a timely manner! With that said, let's talk about what I saw in various Manaan strongholds during week four.

For some reason I had it in my head that Manaan was another really big stronghold, which was why I was quite surprised when I first visited one and was reminded of how small it actually was. In fact, it's one of the smaller options out there... I think I somehow must have conflated size and price in my head, because it's quite pricey for what it is.

Also, I once again didn't visit a stronghold on every server, with Tulak Hord being left out this time, though this was due to accident more than intention. I didn't make it a priority to do the stronghold visits early in the week, so I somehow got to 7/7 on Tulak Hord without even realising I'd skipped that objective. Could have saved myself a lot of work if I'd realised that earlier!

Anyway, on all the other servers I did visit one public Manaan stronghold each, and the first one I checked out was Koqh'rotzhim'evoss' Temple of Light on Shae Vizla. I would have loved to choose a stronghold with any other name considering how much of a pain that character name was to type out every time, but there were only two public strongholds available at the time I checked and the other one was at 2% completion, while this one was at 37%, so...

I still expected 37% to look pretty barren to be honest, so I was quite surprised when I zoned in and saw rows and rows of NPCs, palm trees and holocron decorations at the entrance. The holocron decorations in particular surprised me because they are quite rare nowadays, so accumulating that many would require you to keep an eye on the GTN for a long time. I can only guess that the owner acquired at least the bulk of them back in the day when they were much more common as drops.

When I entered the hallway leading to the rest of the stronghold, my immediate first impression was "whoa, these planters are kind of big for such a narrow hallway". I had no idea what was still to come in other strongholds.


In one of the underwater chambers they had this weird swirly statue that intrigued me and that I didn't recognise. Also, I didn't know you could have huggable wookiees as a deco in your stronghold (pictured to the left). Does hugging one of these count towards the achievement?

On Leviathan, I visited Zayn Dora's Chamber of Truth, and was surprised to see a similar arrangement of palm trees and rows of holocrons at the entrance. The holocrons in particular caught me out, because like I said... they are rare. I did like the HK statue though.

Inside, I was intrigued by this room with the strange purple glowy things in big jars. From a distance they look a bit like brains, though I don't think that's what they actually are. It all looks a bit ominous either way.


I also liked the way this giant Revan statue was positioned to poke its head through the skylight, creating the impression of Revan being surrounded by a bit of a halo when looked at from below.


On Darth Malgus, I was surprised to find that the top listing in the Manaan directory at the time of me checking it out was actually someone I knew. It's not someone I particularly like though, so I opted for the next stronghold down the list instead, Leah Clarke's Jedi Academy.

I zoned in and... immediately those rows of holocrons again! What is going on with that? Is there some meme I'm not aware of?


Turning around, the other half of the outdoor area was really nicely decorated with trees, shrubs and statues though. I feel like plants make more of an impact in this stronghold than in others because it's so stark and white by default. It really invites you to inject some life and colour.

In the underwater area I always looked out the window to see whether anything had been placed on the big hook outside the stronghold itself, and this was the first place where I noticed someone actually doing something with that, which pleased me.


This room really lived up to the Jedi Academy theme, what with the Jedi NPCs, the crystals and the giant holocron. I really liked that.

On Satele Shan I ended up visiting Endonae's Pursuit of Peace at 69% completion. I think this might be the same Endonae that writes for Vulkk.com

Uh-oh, a hypergate at the door seems like bad news!

I really liked this arrangement with the statues, Onderonian palm trees and plants. I appreciated how things were intentionally somewhat spaced out and not every hook filled, in order to let things breathe.

This room in the underwater area made me doubt the "Pursuit of Peace" in this stronghold for a bit because that sure looks like some dark side shenanigans going on in this scene! I was quite fascinated by the weird lava sarcophagus and fire floor tile though, neither of which were decos I recognised.

Now this room definitely looked very serene and inviting, once again making good use of empty space to make it feel more welcoming and less crowded. It was this room in fact that made me think that it's the closest one among all the strongholds I've visited so far that actually looks somewhat like the kinds of environments the devs themselves tend to build, both in its use of space and thematic coherence.

Finally, on Star Forge I must have done this objective I think at what was the middle of the night for the Americans, because there were only four public listings available, with the highest one at 56% completion, which is pretty dead by that server's standards. I ended up visiting said 56% completed stronghold, called Dathayde's Galactic Stronghold.

Right at the entrance, I was greeted by a giant Revan statue and, like, all the companions, even if they were all just holograms to me. I imagine it looks better when you actually own them.

So remember what I said about that first hallway feeling crowded to me with the big planters in the first stronghold I visited? I didn't take screenshots of it everywhere I went, but I soon found that this was pretty standard in a lot of Manaan strongholds - until I got to this one, where the owner had decided for some reason to put the biggest possible ceiling decorations in this hallway, to the point that they almost block it entirely. I don't know why they did that, but I thought it was funny and weird.

Also, someone was really proud of doing the first boss in Eternity Vault on all three difficulties (back in the day...)

Did you notice anything of interest in these or other Manaan strongholds you visited last week?

10/04/2024

Shintar's Galactic Season 6 Diary, Week 4

After the madness of trying to push for a win in Total Galactic War while also doing seasons across all servers at once, week four looked like it was going to be positively chill. There was some oddness in the weekly objectives though, as there were two origin story objectives as well as two flashpoint objectives. Here's how I viewed the lot of them:

  • Earn 200k Conquest points: Yes, easy, no problem.
  • Visit another player's Manaan stronghold: Sure, of course.
  • Complete 8 repeatable or side missions and kill 100 mobs on the capital worlds Coruscant or Dromund Kaas: I was definitely going to do this one, as I had plenty of alts in that level range across all servers.
  • Complete 15 missions as a Jedi knight or Sith warrior: Another definitive yes.
  • Complete 15 missions as a Jedi consular or Sith inquisitor: While the doubling up seemed weird to me, I saw no reason not to do both.
  • Dig up 3 treasures at a seeker droid dig site: So, I generally like this one and there's a reason I made sure to unlock the seeker droid on at least one character on all servers. It's very chill and can be done while queueing for something else, but it can be kind of time-consuming as well if you're unlucky with your digs, so I figured I was going to do it on some servers, but not all.
  • Complete 2 out of 4 selected "Underworld" flashpoints (Mandalorian Raiders, Cademimu, Directive 7, Spirit of Vengeance): I figured I might do this on a couple of servers, but not all.
  • Complete 2 out of the 4 Revan flashpoints (Taral V, Maelstrom Prison, Boarding Party, The Foundry): Now this was super odd to me and I figured I might do either one flashpoint objective or the other, but there was no way I was going to do four flashpoints on each server.
  • Earn 25 medals in Galactic Starfighter: I'm not a huge fan of this objective as I'm not great at GSF, so this one takes me at least three times as long as the regular "play matches" one. Still, I figured I might maybe do it on Darth Malgus.
  • KotET chapter 7 on veteran mode or higher: As usual, no.
  • Colossal Monolith on any difficulty: Like other lair bosses, I figured this was a given with my guild on Darth Malgus, but unlikely (though not impossible) to happen anywhere else.

Day 1 - Tuesday

I slept very little that night, followed by a long day in the office (where I was biting my nails around lunch time waiting for the results of Conquest to come in). As soon as I got home, it was time for our usual Tuesday raid, where we all (somewhat unusually) played like muppets. I had a brief look at the Conquest results that our... "Conquest accountant" sent me but was otherwise happy to go to bed early, not doing anything for seasons that day at all.

Day 2 - Wednesday

I decided to do a quick round of all the servers around lunch time, but before the reset. On Leviathan and Tulak Hord, doing few missions on Dromund Kaas on my inquisitors there got the daily objective done quickly (and offered nice synergy for the weeklies).

On Satele Shan, my knight still had a bunch of completed side missions from Coruscant in her log from god knows how many months ago, so I started by running around and handing all of them in. I was somewhat dismayed to find that only one of them counted as an exploration mission for the Coruscant seasons objective, but nonetheless I picked up some more where I had left off. As Conquest gains for low-level missions were much lower on a higher-level character, I eventually relogged my consular to finish off the seasons daily with a quick companion level-up.

On Star Forge, I logged into my lowbie consular and did some more missions on Tython. I smashed some flesh raiders and levelled up a couple of times until the daily objective was done.

Since it was getting close to reset at this point, I just expanded my Coruscant stronghold on Shae Vizla and ranked up a crew skill. On Darth Malgus I gave a companion gift to push me over the daily requirement (the previous night's ops had earned me some points already).

It was a busy day for me and I didn't get to play more until relatively late in the evening. I started by playing two GSF matches on Darth Malgus, before switching to Leviathan to continue questing on Dromund Kaas on my inquisitor. I only had to hand in two missions before hitting the daily objective.

On Tulak Hord, I decided to mix things up a bit by queueing for a random veteran mode flashpoint on my inquisitor. She was only eligible for nine of them, and five were featured seasons objectives, so I figured what were the odds? Of course I then got Black Talon, which was one of the not featured ones. Someone expressed annoyance as soon as we zoned in and quit the group the moment not everyone space-barred on the first cut scene. Ironically it went much faster after that person had left... at least the run completed my daily objective and counted as my inquisitor completing several missions.

On Satele Shan, I did a few more missions with my knight until I hit the Taskmaster Conquest objective and with that also my seasons daily. On Star Forge, I continued on Tython with my baby consular, and it didn't take long until she achieved Taskmaster and the daily objective too.

On Shae Vizla, I was about to continue my consular's class story for the missions as a consular when I realised I'd never done the Coruscant or Dromund Kaas side missions on this server. So I returned to Coruscant, hoovered up all the exploration missions and killed Migrant Merchants Guild members until I saw that lovely "influencing the galaxy" pop-up. I was ready for bed by then.

Day 3 - Thursday

After another long day at the office, I logged into Darth Malgus and just played a GSF match there. We won and this completed my 200k Conquest points objective, but only advanced me towards the 25 medals for GSF by one.

On Leviathan I did some more Dromund Kaas missions on my inquisitor, and on Tulak Hord I decided to spin the wheel in the group finder again. This time I got Cademimu and had a smooth enough run. The lowest-level person got a bit lost at one point after dying and having to run back, but I'm happy to say that we backtracked to rescue them and no unfriendly words were said. Apparently this counted as having completed 15 missions as an inquisitor already.

On Star Forge I continued on my baby consular on Tython, until she too hit the 15 missions completed objective. On Satele Shan, my knight handed in one mission on Coruscant, which completed her business there - since I still needed to complete more missions as a knight, however, I then continued with her class story on Alderaan until the daily objective was complete too. My consular on Shae Vizla also finished the objective on Coruscant before getting her daily done.

Day 4 - Friday

I did a bit of PvP on Darth Malgus around lunch time, and got put into four Voidstars in a row, three of which were losses. Thanks, game!

Later, I logged through all the servers to do a bit of tidying up - one side-effect of last week's Conquest mania was that while I had found time for some seasons objectives, I'd neglected to clear out my bags and they were full of junk everywhere. On Leviathan I followed this up with a few more Dromund Kaas missions on my inquisitor, and on Tulak Hord I decided that my inqusitor there might as well finish her "Searching for Allies" weekly mission by queueing for one more random flashpoint. I got the Foundry this time, which was also on the list of featured flashpoints. I also liked this run because we actually had a polite conversation about whether to do the bonus or not - we ultimately decided not to, but only after talking about it!

On Star Forge I decided to try my luck with the random queue on my knight, but unfortunately she just got a Hammer Station. At least that completed the daily objective, and somehow counted as no fewer than six missions completed as a Jedi knight. On Satele Shan, I completed my knight's class story on Alderaan, which ticked her over the 15 missions completed there.

On Shae Vizla, I decided to queue for a random veteran flashpoint on my consular. After a few minutes of waiting I realised that since it was still relatively early in the evening for me, most APAC players were probably still asleep, but just as I thought about going to do something else I got a pop after all. After a quick Taral V run with lots of trash skipping, I was halfway towards another flashpoint objective and had 15 missions as a consular ticked off on this server as well.

Later in the evening, I returned to Tulak Hord and did 15 missions on Tython on my littlest Jedi knight who is too low-level to do Conquest as of yet. By the time he completed the objective, he was level 9.

Day 5 - Saturday

In the morning I decided to log into Shae Vizla and queue for all the featured flashpoints on both veteran and master mode on my warrior. I got into a vet mode Boarding Party with a level 80 Sorc healer who used their knockback on cooldown to scatter trash mobs to the four winds. After one particularly egregious example where one of my smashes went into thin air after they'd knocked three mobs away from me a half-second before I would've hit them, I politely asked if they could stop doing that. They didn't respond and continued doing their thing, so I put them on ignore at the end of the run. Kind of petty, I know, but Boarding Party is a long flashpoint, and being trolled on every single trash pull was getting pretty damn aggravating. At some point I don't care anymore whether they were doing it intentionally or just a complete newbie who doesn't know their abilities and doesn't read chat, I just didn't want to get grouped with them again. At least this completed one of my flashpoint seasons objectives, plus it counted as completing five missions on my warrior.

I queued again for the remaining four flashpoints and got Mandalorian Raiders this time. I had a brief sweat drop moment when on the second pull the Sniper in the group catapulted a group of mobs away from me, but he was actually trying to defend himself and it was just a one-time thing. I enjoyed this run otherwise.

In the afternoon I mostly played GSF and did PvP on Darth Malgus. The GSF matches went a bit better than before and got me to 20/25 medals for the seasons objective.

In the evening I used our social night to kill the Colossal Monolith and get both flashpoint objectives done with Mr Commando. We chain-ran master mode Boarding Party, Spirit of Vengeance, the Foundry and Mandalorian Raiders in a single session. It felt long. On the plus side, since I made a point of asking to do this on Imp side (where we usually spend less time), we also got a bunch of achievement progress.

On the other servers I did the following things in the evening:

On Leviathan, I did a couple more Dromund Kaas missions on my inquisitor. The daily was done after only two of them and I was starting to realise that, since I usually switched servers after hitting the 25k Conquest for the daily and for some reason that was happening really quickly while playing my inquisitor, I had completed zero weeklies on Leviathan yet. I made a mental note to push myself a bit more on Sunday.

On Tulak Hord, I did a Dromund Kaas heroic on my inquisitor since I had run out of exploration missions for her to do. Interestingly, when you do this objective via the optional one-time quests, you'll usually get your kills way before you've completed enough missions, but the heroics seemed to be shaping up the opposite, though she did hit the 200k Conquest points earned objective. Logging over to Republic side, I put my trooper into the queue for all the featured flashpoints on master mode, though it was kind of late and nothing popped. I went and did a heroic on Coruscant to pad my kill count on the capital worlds and push myself over the 25k required for the daily objective.

On Satele Shan, I thought I'd queue for some seasonal flashpoints while digging for treasure on my consular, but I got a pop before I even made it to the dig site. I got into a vet mode Taral V that was... stressfully fast. Look, I've resigned myself to people wanting to skip and rush to some degree, and at times I even welcome it! But there are degrees, and the guy who took the lead in this run was just driving on and pulling more while completely ignoring the rest of the group, whether anyone got dismounted or aggroed a group we were trying to skip... the vibe was definitely "I can solo this so the rest of you don't matter to me". We completed the run smoothly enough but I felt unhappy and wished that people weren't like that.

Since I was now halfway done with one flashpoint objective and I wasn't sure I wanted to do both on this server, I queued again for Taral V and Maelstrom Prison only. And I got Taral V again! With the same guy! This time I managed to fall off a bridge at one point, something that hasn't happened to me in ages, though I was fortunate enough to not die... I landed safely further down the path we had originally taken, so just had to loop back around while the rest of the group continued on. To the guy's credit, they did give me a moment to catch up eventually... or maybe they were just slowed down by the unskippable mobs on the bridge... Either way: so not necessary.

On Star Forge I braved the random veteran queue on my Jedi knight again and got a Cademimu run this time, which counted for one of the flashpoint objectives. Nothing remarkable about that one other than that General Ortol almost forgot about his rockets... he only fired a single one towards the end, just before he was about to die.

On Shae Vizla, I queued for the set of four featured flashpoints again and went to visit a Manaan stronghold in the meantime (fortunately a public one was available). This gave me a bunch of Conquest for completing four weekly objectives, so when nothing popped after ten minutes or so, I just used a rep token to push me the last bit of the way to the daily requirement and called it a night.

Day 6 - Sunday

Around lunch time before reset, I logged into Leviathan to play a bit of catch-up. I queued for the featured underworld flashpoints and got into a vet mode Mandalorian Raiders that was interesting in a couple of ways. First off, we killed Braxx before his hounds and the world didn't end... I thought they had an enrage or something! But then on the last boss, most of us were still killing the turrets outside his room when one guy charged in and pulled the boss, and by the time we joined him, the boss was almost dead while only having spawned a single set of turrets? I have no idea how that went down. Anyway, the guy /stucked because of course the remaining turrets kept us in combat and he told us to do the same, but we just killed them instead. Afterwards I dug up some treasure with my seeker droid. While I was still only on one weekly completed at that point, I was partially done with a lot of others and felt like I was in a much better place.

I then logged over to Tulak Hord and queued for all the featured flashpoints on master mode again. I got into a Cademimu run where we even did the bonus boss and I was happy with that.

After reset I logged into Shae Vizla and queued for the underworld flashpoints first and got an instant pop for Mandalorian Raiders vet mode. This run completed both that flashpoint objective plus 15 missions as a Sith warrior, taking me to 7/7 weeklies completed on this server.

A bit later I logged into Leviathan and queued for the underworld flashpoints on my knight again. I got an instant pop and was pleasantly surprised to find myself in Spirit of Vengeance. Having four flashpoints to pick from for variety is less effective when a lot of people specifically avoid certain ones - I was fully expecting to see nothing but Cademimu and Mando Raiders in the public queue all week. It went fine and completed that flashpoint weekly objective for me.

A female pink twi'lek Jedi knight approaches Agent Protarius, a male yellow twi'lek and heroic quest giver on Balmorra

Afterwards I visited a Manaan stronghold and since I was still short a few missions as a knight, I took her to Balmorra (where she's currently in her class story) and cleared out Sobrik to get that done as well. This put me at 5/7 weeklies completed on Leviathan, with two more almost complete and easy to finish off the next day.

I visited Star Forge next and decided to complete my knight's vet mode flashpoint weekly by queueing for one more random. I continued to have bad luck and got into a Hammer Station. The group had a level 80 Sage healer who took point. When we expected them to make the first corner pull, they just kept running... and running... all the way to the drill, where they then stood and spammed heals on themselves. We eventually caught up and AoE-d everything down that they had pulled, but I was glad I wasn't the only one who expressed confusion about this strat in chat. When we got to the retractable bridge, they raced across just before it turned off, and then slowly soloed the next pull on the other side while the rest of us actually killed the turrets. I got the feeling they quietly cursed our "inefficiency" as they didn't say another word the entire run and quit instantly the moment the completion message came up. While I'd now completed 15 missions as a Jedi knight, I was only on 3/7 weeklies otherwise and not too happy about that, but I wasn't sure whether I could be bothered with a push for much more.

I decided to log over to Darth Malgus for the time being, where I did a GSF weekly on one of my Sith warriors, pushing me over the 15 missions completed as a knight or warrior and earning the last medals I needed. Then I visited a Manaan stronghold to take me to 7/7.

I logged into Tulak Hord while eating dinner and put myself in the queue for master mode Taral V and Maelstrom Prison, but nothing popped. I ended up just doing a couple of Coruscant heroics and logging off to do something else for a while.

Late in the evening I hopped onto Satele Shan, dug up some relics, visited a Manaan stronghold and did a few missions on my consular until I hit 200k Conquest points.

Day 7 - Monday

I logged into Star Forge shortly before reset, visited a Manaan stronghold and knocked out a couple of Coruscant heroics on my trooper main. After the reset, I knocked out the last couple of missions on Dromund Kaas on my inquisitor on Leviathan, to get that server to 7/7.

I then put myself in the master mode queue for the Revan flashpoints on Tulak Hord again, even though I knew it was a bad time and ultimately nothing popped, but I was able to also do the seeker droid objective while waiting.

In the evening I logged back into my trooper on Tulak Hord again and put myself back in the queue while questing, but I barely lasted ten minutes before also listing myself for the veteran versions. I just wanted to get that last objective done! I was surprised that it then still took another ten minutes to get a pop, considering this was German prime time. The actual Taral V run then only took another ten minutes too, though this time I was quite grateful for that. Also, the guy leading the skips in this one would instantly turn back and help kill any extra mobs that were aggroed, which I thought made a world of a difference. I guess it's less about skipping or not skipping and more about working together and with the other members of your group. Anyway, this brought me to 7/7 on Tulak Hord as well.

Hopping over to Star Forge, I put my trooper into the master mode flashpoint queue for the underworld flashpoints and did more heroics on Coruscant until the related seasons objective was ticked off. Just as I was about to start digging for treasure, I got a pop for master mode Mandalorian Raiders. This was a smooth and pleasant run that stood out to me for the tank's perfect calculation of number of mobs needed for the bonus boss, as we killed exactly 80 and not one more (and the reason I could tell this was calculated was that he was a Shadow, which allowed us to skip some pulls, but he got just the right number for us to unlock the bonus boss too). Once done, I dug up three treasures on Alderaan and with that, was 7/7 on Star Forge as well.

On Satele Shan I just had to complete a couple more story missions on Belsavis with my consular to go 7/7, which just left me to earn 25k Conquest points for the daily objective done on Darth Malgus and Shae Vizla, which was achieved easily enough. (Incidentally, one of the random master mode flashpoints I decided to run on Darth Malgus ended up being Ruins of Nul, but that has nothing to do with seasons... let's just say it was still a pain but we got there in the end.)

Week 4 - Thoughts

I was kind of surprised by how much effort this week took. By Sunday I was definitely considering forfeiting full credit for the week on some servers, but then I was pretty close already, so giving up so close to the finish line would've been annoying as well. In hindsight I think the problem was that this week was one that greatly benefitted from synergies between different objectives (such as doing the planetary missions or flashpoints on one of the featured origin stories) but I didn't always min-max that aspect and when I didn't, it actually increased the time required by a lot. I also wasted some time on the random queue without getting into the flashpoints I actually needed, clearly overestimating my odds with a total of eight flashpoints eligible for seasons objectives. I need to learn to resist the lure of that, even if it's much easier than trying to find the correct boxes to tick in the unsorted jumble that is the full flashpoint list in the group finder panel nowadays.

Some of the objectives also highlighted to me the differences between the "efficient" way to do them and what I find fun, and again, they didn't always align. Doing four flashpoints on master mode with my guildies, including all the bonuses, was certainly interesting and enjoyable, but it also took us more than two hours. Comparatively, veteran mode Taral V with a pug that just rushes to the end barely takes ten minutes, but is also quite boring. Same with doing exploration missions on Coruscant or Dromund Kaas on a lowbie that's levelling (which includes watching all the cut scenes) vs. just blasting through the heroic circuit on a level 80.

08/04/2024

Drop In: Alderaan

A bit less than three weeks ago I wrote about how genius I think it is that Galactic Season's 6 unique weekly objective is to visit another person's stronghold. It's simple, educational and fun. I wanted to write more posts about visiting different planetary strongholds as each objective appeared, but then week three was so busy with Total Galactic War and everything that I didn't get around to it. I still took screenshots though, so it's time to catch up!

The drop-in objective in week three was to visit an Alderaan stronghold. This was an interesting contrast to week two as the Mek-Sha stronghold is very small, while the Alderaan one is huge. I'm honestly not sure I've ever checked out all the rooms in one. Sadly, this did have the side effect of me growing a bit tired of the whole thing after the first couple of stronghold visits. Like, I'm sure they're all meticulously decorated, but there's still a degree of diminishing returns in terms of interest by the time you check out how the third stronghold owner has arranged the chairs in the northern lodging in the mountain retreat, if you get what I mean. I also didn't visit a stronghold on Darth Malgus this time, since the Conquest madness meant that I hit 7/7 weekly objectives from other sources anyway.

So the first stronghold I visited was Starbuck's Jedi Academy on the Leviathan server, and once again the work of a French architect turned out to be my favourite. They have style! This one was 99% decorated, and unlike on Mek-Sha, I made no effort to seek out places with lower completion rates, because as mentioned, the Alderaan stronghold is huge and definitely won't feel overcrowded even if you fill the maximum number of hooks.

So what did I like about Starbuck's Jedi Academy? Well, I thought it was all very tastefully done. The outdoor area where you arrive was filled with a lot of trees and vendor stalls, and the first room you enter had a bunch of those posable taxidermy decorations that commenter Thander mentioned in a reply to my previous stronghold post.

There was a room that looked kind of like a classroom, which seemed very fitting for an academy.

The balcony featured a bunch of benches under a pergola and looked properly serene.

Finally there was what looked like a chamber intended for the Jedi Council to meet.

Now, as nice as that had been, I noticed from the listings that (at least based on the name) a lot of decorators had decided to go with a Jedi theme for their Alderaan stronghold, so my next goal was to intentionally visit strongholds whose name implied a different focus, to see what else people had come up with. This led me to Bejarah's Trade Emporium on Tulak Hord. I think this was a much less obvious fit for an Alderaanian castle, but they definitely made it work.


The outdoor area contained a lot of building structures I didn't even recognise, including what looked like a mini fighting arena for duels? It kind of made me wish there was a better way to check what decorations were used in a room than trying to come up with a decently descriptive Google search.

The statues outside made it quite clear that the owner was quite fond of bad guys, featuring Revan in his "Returned" get-up, Darth Malgus, Valkorion and Darth Marr (don't @ me about calling Marr a bad guy).

The first indoor area was filled with a lot of stalls and terminals, plus some indoor plants, which seemed fitting for a market.

The balcony was an amusing contrast to the serenity of the Jedi Academy, as it featured hot tubs and skimpy dancers.

There was also a cantina with a lot of booths, a med bay (I was really fascinated by the deco that looks like a guy undergoing some sort of full-body scan) and a second cantina with a dance floor filled with a whole load of dancing NPCs. I had no idea there were so many of these.

Still, after this is when my enthusiasm for visiting every single room in each stronghold started to wane, so that the other three I visited were only treated to a quick look around the initial set of areas.

Ayaleeta's Stronghold on Satele Shan didn't seem to have a single, clear overarching theme that I could make out, which to be honest is quite similar to most of my own strongholds. There was a landing area with a lot of shuttles and ships.

Inside, one thing that stood out to me was that the large main room had been split into lots of little alcoves via use of those placeable wall decos.

There was also a kind of council chamber similar to what I'd seen in the Jedi Academy on Leviathan, only apparently overseen by... Z0-0M?

Finally I screenshotted this room of "miscellaneous tech decos", mostly because it's a vibe I can relate to.


On Star Forge, I visited Terria Mazi's VIP Lounge, where the first thing that stood out to me was a ginormous deco just outside that was kind of reminiscent of Soa's platforms, and I spent a little time trying to climb them (with no success). Once again I would've loved to be able to check what it was called (feel free to tell me in the comments if you know).


The inside didn't particularly wow me, but as mentioned I was getting a bit bored by this point. My main impression of the main hall was that everything seemed a bit too symmetrical, as if every deco was placed exactly where the hook is by default, with no moving around or turning. I'm not even sure whether that was actually true though, I just know that something felt ever so slightly "off" to me.

I was also surprised to see that this decorator had actually created a little hangout in the Killik cave - a place I'd visited once or twice but had otherwise given up on checking out as most people didn't seem to put anything there.


As I mentioned in my Galactic Seasons Diary, the Shae Vizla server was a bit trickier as I at first couldn't find an Alderaan stronghold in the public listings, but at a later point I was able to visit Slayerassassin's Stronghold at 23% completion. Now this was a true fly-by visit as I didn't even bother with most of the rooms and was off to kill a world boss with my guild minutes later, but I did like giant solar system decoration outside, and how the wealth of Imperial flags left no doubt about the owner's faction allegiance.


What are your thoughts on other people's Alderaan strongholds that you visited?