The Hunt for the Best View Returns... Again!

Last year, I mentioned that the "Best View in SWTOR" contest, first held in 2021 for the game's tenth anniversary, made an unexpected return. I was even more surprised when I saw the announcement yesterday that it was coming back for a third round this year. If the SWTOR team wants to make a habit out of this, they'll have to give us a lot of new planets this year or else start repeating some of them on the featured planet list next year.

Anyway, I immediately felt inspired and spent some time traipsing around the galaxy and taking screenshots - none of which I'm going to show here yet of course. Instead, I'll share my submissions from last year. Back in 2021, I only submitted shots for three out of ten possible planets, but last year I actually entered nine out of ten possible screenshots, with Odessen being the one planet I left out since I just couldn't find an angle I was happy with there. Anyway, these were my submissions - you can compare them to the actual winners here.

Coruscant will always have a special place in my heart, and the quintessential experience of the Republic home world is stepping out of the spaceport into that perpetual dusk while the music swells and sky cars roar past overhead. There was no question that this was going to be the focus of my screenshot, and it was for the winner as well, but they basically faced the other way. It's a worthy shot, but I'll admit I still prefer my own submission in this case.

The winning shot of Quesh shows grass, water, trees and part of a Hutt Palace, and it's interesting to me that I took some similarly-themed shots during my own exploration of Quesh, but ultimately I opted for submitting the refineries blowing smoke into the sky, since to me, the toxic air is what defines Quesh more than anything else.

I had a hunch that this one wasn't going to be winning shot material, since I noticed that while NPCs are technically allowed to be featured in your submission, no winner has ever included one in the foreground. However, to me it was perfect since swamp and rakghouls are what defines Taris above all else. The winning shot was of the wreck of the Endar Spire instead (I think?) which is of course a KOTOR reference but never meant much to me personally.

There's something to be said for the stark beauty of driven snow, but while taking shots of Hoth I struggled with how empty it always looked, which is why I opted to include these tauntauns in my submission. Same problem as with the rakghoul I guess... though I also notice now that perhaps I've been using the full width of the screen too much, seeing how the winning submissions get cropped down to 4:3 for the in-game decorations. Half of that tauntaun wouldn't even be in the shot then.

Alderaan is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful planets in the game, but I find that this beauty can be a bit challenging to capture accurately in screenshots, so I was quite pleased with myself for managing to take this wide shot of the Glarus Valley. The winning shot ended up being one of Castle Panteer however, which I guess was kind of the more obvious choice. I had taken pictures of it myself as well, but opted against submitting them.

Dromund Kaas is an interesting mix of rain-swept jungles contrasted against the stark, futuristic spires of Kaas City, and I simply decided to submit this rather old screenshot I took of the city since I really liked it. The winner shows both the jungle and parts of the city in the background, which I really can't fault.

With Manaan there was the question of whether to screenshot the new invasion zone or the serenity of the old entrance area. For me it was an obvious choice since I really don't like the visuals of the invasion zone all that much. This particular shot was actually taken inside the Depths of Manaan flashpoint. The contest winner was from the new area though.

Iokath was a challenging place to frame, since it's incredibly cluttered visually, in a way that I honestly find kind of ugly. I eventually found this view at the edge of the expanse, which looked much cleaner and more serene, with just the Eternal Fleet ships taking to the sky in the background. I will admit that this isn't very "typically" Iokath though. The winner managed to take a much better shot of just outside the Republic (?) base that manages to be visually busy but still look good.

Rishi was a tough one because I couldn't decide whether the Rishi Maze or Raider's Cove were more iconic for the planet. I eventually opted for the former, with a grophet in the foreground because I love grophets, OK? I was quite surprised that the chosen winner actually included neither.

Anyway, I'm off to take more pictures of this year's featured planets! If you want to take part, you can find all the details here, and you have until the 29th of September to make your submission(s).

1 comment :

  1. You know, I'd forgotten about that galaxy in the skies above Rishi. Still looks stunning to this astronomy nerd.

    I will say that this sucker for great screenshots loves your submissions!


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