Around the SWTOR-sphere: April 2024

April has been a busy month for me! I spent a lot of time both playing and writing about Galactic Seasons, to the point that I thought I wouldn't have a lot of other people's content to point to at the end of the month, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I'd managed to accumulate a decent number of links anyway.

  • April started with April Fools' Day of course. I remember simpler times, at the height of the MMO hype, when every MMO dev would post their own fake patch notes or whatever to join the fun every year. (This included SWTOR.) Sadly, in times when people are spreading blatant lies on the internet all year round, the whole thing just isn't as funny anymore... so I was surprised to see Kal from Today in TOR go ahead and post a fake announcement for an expansion called "The Rise of Malgus", but I did still appreciate the effort. I'd only deduct some points for the bottom half of the page being an obvious copy and paste of last year's "The Ring Forge of Morrod".
  • ... that said, Kal immediately earns those points back for releasing a full list of all the fitted armours with images at the end of the month. Last month I said that I was optimistic that it was only a matter of time until someone released a more detailed guide about all the new ancient armaments and it turns out it only took a bit over a month. Nice to see!
  • A different kind of guide that caught my eye earlier this month was "How to Hide Your Lightsaber as a Sith Sorcerer or Jedi Sage in SWTOR" on Vulkk.com, authored by Endonae. Mostly I saw the headline and thought "What? Why? And how?" - so I clicked. Endonae gives a lot of explanation for the why, and the how is basically a combination of a specific weapon and a specific tuning to make your saber look so opaque as to almost be invisible (though it's not truly hidden). I thought that was interesting, though I wouldn't go for that effect myself as I don't mind my Sages or Sorcerers holding a weapon, and as someone who enjoys lowbie PvP, Saber Strike is definitely not worthless in an environment where you can find yourself running out of Force quickly with no means to regenerate it yet. Better to keep fighting with a low damage ability than to die picking your nose! Though I guess whacking people with a near-invisible saber could still be entertaining for its sheer confusion value...
  • I feel a bit silly giving Swtorista a shout-out every month - it's not like she needs me to give her publicity! - but I admire how she's got something major coming out pretty much once a month. The big thing in April was the unveiling of the new and improved decorations section on her website, now that TOR Decorating is supposed to be gone soon. I like that it doesn't just list all the decorations, but that there are also collections of similarly themed items, for example if you're looking for items to create an office space or need some decos that emit light. It was only the latter that made me realise that a lot of things that are officially classified as "lights" don't actually produce any, which is very weird and I can't believe I hadn't noticed that before.
  • On the YouTube front, this month's entry in the "how's SWTOR doing this year" genre was "SWTOR In 2024 - Is It Worth Playing?" by Gaming For Immersion, whose channel is still small but whose voice I found very pleasant to listen to. What I liked about this impressions piece was that it didn't focus too much on the nitty-gritty of gameplay details, but talked about how the ease of combat kind of clashed with his overall enjoyment of the story, which I thought was an interesting point to highlight. I do agree that combat in the open world is still quite easy, but the rebalancing of level scaling a couple years ago has improved things a lot compared to where we were shortly after KotFE, and I actually see the occasional reddit post going "I keep dying and I don't know why" again nowadays, proving it's not impossible to struggle.
  • Another type of "evergreen" SWTOR content I enjoy is class story rankings, and this month, "SWTOR All Classes Ranked From WORST to BEST" from tiny YouTuber (only 71 subscribers at the time of writing this!) basiccTV ended up on my feed. Not gonna lie, I found this one a bit hard to listen to since he's got a strong accent and doesn't seem to believe in doing another take whenever he ends up stumbling over his own script, but his thoughts were still interesting and I can respect his ranking. Not like when I saw Nixxiom ranking SWTOR's class stories last year and went "WTF" at some of the choices.
  • On the SWTOR subreddit, there wasn't a single post that really grabbed me in April, but there were a couple that were kinda neat. Both "What character or group introduced in SWTOR would you have liked to see expanded on in other SW media (books, comics, etc) " and "What are some wasted story potential swtor just gave up on or never advanced?" touch on interesting side characters and plot points that were never fully explored but had the potential to be more.

    This meme made me smile even though I'd seen it on /r/SWTOR_memes before - I didn't even realise it was a movie reference at first, but it was still funny to me because it's wild how tiny the objectively normal-sized rooms in the Copero stronghold feel when compared to the absolutely bombastic layouts everywhere else in the game.

    Finally, someone linked to an old Games Radar article from two years ago that is pretty thin and whose contents are basically "a dev said some stuff on Twitter", but I liked it for the headline if nothing else: "Star Wars: The Old Republic's exploding barrels are filled with shrunken invisible people"


Drop In: Rishi

Last weeks' season objective to visit a Rishi stronghold had me a little worried in the sense that like Alderaan, the Rishi stronghold is huge, and I was wondering whether it would get a bit boring again to look at how the chairs had been arranged in every single room. There was definitely a bit of that, but I somehow felt it less on Rishi because it has less of a focus on those small rooms (though there are a few) and it was easier to quickly get the general lay of the land when comparing the different outdoor environments.

Like in previous weeks, I visited a stronghold on all servers except Darth Malgus. The first one was once again Shae Vizla, where there isn't that much going on (yet) in the stronghold scene and the most "filled up" stronghold I could find was Zenna Dusk's stronghold at 16%. This percentage sounds very low, but the owner did the best they could by placing at least a few decorations in every major location. Since this was also my first Rishi stronghold of the week and I couldn't even remember all the different sub-zones anymore, this felt a bit like a game of hide and seek, trying to find the most interesting spots. I didn't take any screenshots of it since I only noticed it towards the very end, but the Overlook seemed to be their main base of operations as thats where they had actually put their utilities and more "regular" furniture like a bed.

On Satele Shan, I visited Senséi's Pirate Roost at 100%, which was immediately a dramatic contrast because of how full it was. The most striking thing about this stronghold was that the owner was clearly a big Republic supporter as Republic guardsmen were everywhere. I was so impressed by how many there were, I ended up looking up the source of that deco and was reminded that it's accessible for cheap from a vendor, something I'd completely forgotten about myself even though I'd unlocked some myself in the past.

Oh, and dancing twi'leks, there were quite a few of those too.

On Leviathan, I ended up visiting Alita Darkangel's Marketplace Cantina at 96% completion, and was immediately delighted when I zoned in right next to the giant cat droid from Nathema Conspiracy (a decoration I use in one of my own strongholds too). I generally noticed that whatever I found at the default zone-in spot usually made quite a strong first impression, and it was annoying that it was hard to get good screenshots of everything on that slightly elevated platform.

Exploring the stronghold further, I saw more of the holo Christmas Life Day trees and indicators that unlike the last place I visited, this one was owned by a staunch Imperial. I actually giggled when I found that they had used one of the rooms on the patrol carrier to construct a prison, with Republic troops in a cage guarded by Imperial soldiers. Pretty inventive!

On Tulak Hord, I visited Ghost Leathercoat's Jedi Academy at 99% completion, because I hadn't seen a Rishi stronghold with a Jedi theme yet and was wondering whether this one would deliver. The answer was: partially - they definitely made use of a lot of Jedi shrines, but there wasn't much of an academy vibe, more of a general stronghold since there were also a lot of Republic guardsmen around again.

I haven't mentioned the PvP areas yet, which are unique to Rishi - in the free-for-all zone at the arrival point, it was interesting to see most players place different kinds of obstacles while seemingly still preserving its general purpose, while this person seemed to be like "screw it, I don't care about PvP" and just filled it up with mounts, trophies and plants as if it was any other space. I never looked too closely at the Huttball area on the patrol carrier in any stronghold since I figured it has limited customisation options, though this person had plopped a tree in there too.

Inside the patrol carrier there was also this giant root, which had me a bit baffled - is "giant root that sticks from floor to ceiling" an actual decoration (in which case this seems quite out of place) or is something clipping in a weird way there?

I also had a funny experience in the Overlook in this stronghold as one of the rooms in it contained a bar and a few NPCs. I turned around to run into the next room and... was wondering whether I'd accidentally turned myself around completely since I saw the exact same room again. It took me a few moments of of running back and forth to confirm that no, they had actually decorated two adjacent rooms in exactly the same way for some reason.

My final destination for the week was Akiara's Black Market on Star Forge, which also sat at 100%. I liked that this one had some very strongly themed areas, such as a "junk shop" with droids in various stages of (dis)repair and housing the jawa vendors.

I also liked these barracks on the patrol carrier. 

A room featuring bunk beds, regular basic beds, tables and chairs in a tight arrangement

This med bay impressed me as well, except that something clearly went wrong in that tank on the right, ew!

Two rows of kolto tanks, the contents of one of which are a sickly green colour and seem to include a corpse

I did find this one corner though that felt like they had just placed down random small items to get to full completion, never mind the visual result.

A corner of the Rishi stronghold filled with totems, flags and other similarly random decorations that fit on small hooks
What do you think of the Rishi Hideout? Did you encounter anything particularly interesting while visiting other players' version of this stronghold?


Shintar's Galactic Season 6 Diary, Week 6

Week 6's objectives excited me for two reasons: It was the first week without a flashpoint objective, and it was the first week with not just one, but two PvP objectives. I don't like that it took six weeks to get any overlap between PvP Season 5 and GS6, and looking at the PvP track made me realise that after my initial excitement about the new PvP season, with plans to do at least the basic reward track on multiple servers, too much time had passed already for me to still complete the PvP track on Star Forge and Shae Vizla without buyouts, due to how focused I'd been on Galactic Seasons instead.

Anyway, in detail, the weekly objectives were:

  • Earn 200k Conquest points: As usual.
  • Visit another player's Rishi stronghold: Easy enough to do.
  • Craft war supplies and two invasion forces: Once again something I was likely going to do on Darth Malgus but nowhere else, due to the lack of skilled crafters in my stable of alts.
  • Dig up 3 treasures at a seeker droid dig site: Probably something I was going to do at least on some servers.
  • Complete 15 missions as a trooper or agent: I was definitely going to aim for this one everywhere, as I usually do with the origin story objectives.
  • Kill four named champion mobs on Corellia (2 Republic, 2 Imperial): Once again, not my favourite but one I was likely going to do at least on some servers to get the numbers.
  • Kill both Taris world bosses: Easy and fast to do, I was counting on getting this one done on most servers again.
  • Play 5-10 arenas (wins count double): I was definitely going to do that one on Darth Malgus, and maybe on other servers depending on whether I could get pops in the sub-80 brackets.
  • Heroic space missions: I've never been good at space missions, to the point that I haven't even completed all the normal ones, so this was a definite no.
  • Play 4-8 warzone matches (wins count double): I was probably going to aim to do that one on all servers, even if it's a bit time-consuming, but I do love warzones.
  • Do dailies on Ruhnuk or Kessan's Landing: I figured I might do that one on Darth Malgus with Mr Commando, but nowhere else as I don't have that much story progression on any of the other servers.

Day 1 - Tuesday

I had another surprise working from home day after it turned out that the previous night's heavy winds had caused damage on my usual train line and I couldn't get into London. I was also feeling a bit tired and unwell though, so instead of using the time saved not commuting for gaming, I ended up napping instead.

In the evening I did ops with my guild, and then expanded my Copero stronghold to hit the daily seasons objective (I'd been saving up the unlocks for this kind of thing instead of using them the moment I got them).

I then logged over to Leviathan, where I had weird server lag problems when trying to transition between areas. It didn't just seem to be me either, as I played a warzone match and everyone else seemed to have issues leaving at the end as well, though it did eventually resolve itself. I then killed the Taris world bosses on both factions, which was nice and easy as lots of people were doing it and it basically took no time at all to find an impromptu group. I did the same circuit (one warzone plus both world bosses) on Tulak Hord, Star Forge and Satele Shan.

A large raid group of Republic players taking down Subject Alpha on Taris

On Shae Vizla, I had no luck with warzone pops or world boss groups at this time of night, so I just parked two characters at their locations, visited a Rishi stronghold and did a couple of missions on my trooper.

Day 2 - Wednesday

In the morning I logged into Shae Vizla since I figured that was a better time for group content with the Aussies. I got both world boss kills done, and since level 80 warzones were popping instantly for me, I also played enough matches to complete the weekly. 

After the reset at lunch time, I returned to Shae Vizla to do some questing on my trooper, followed by a Black Talon run with my agent on Leviathan, which counted as 7/15 missions completed.

Later I was supposed to help out with an ops run on Star Forge, but it kinda ended up being cancelled, so the four of us that actually showed up ran a couple of master mode flashpoints instead (in the one week where this wasn't a seasons objective - typical! Still, it counted as ten missions done as a trooper.)

In the evening I first logged into Tulak Hord, where I did a warzone and a couple of missions on my trooper over there. I then spent some time PvPing on Darth Malgus, and finally I did exactly one warzone again on Satele Shan; plus I paid a visit to a Rishi stronghold.

Day 3 - Thursday

I was back in the office so didn't get any play time until relatively late in the evening.

On Leviathan, I visited a Rishi stronghold, did some warzones and killed the Imperial named champions on Corellia. Logging over to Tulak Hord, a single warzone there was enough to get my daily Conquest done, so I left it at that.

I then did some more PvP on Darth Malgus (both warzones and arenas), followed by a few warzones on Star Forge. While in the queue there, I also went around and killed the Republic champion mobs on Corellia. I started doing a couple of missions on my agent on Satele Shan, but it was late and I was tired, so I decided to leave any additional action for the next morning.

Day 4 - Friday

In the morning I logged back into Satele Shan and did an Esseles run on my little trooper there. Because of the Galactic Rampage Conquest objective, this completed her personal Conquest immediately, while also giving me several missions worth of credit towards questing as a trooper or agent. I then logged onto Shae Vizla and continued my trooper's class storyline on Belsavis for a bit.

A female Mirialan trooper about to vent chief engineer Salen into space

In the evening I did more PvP on Darth Malgus, which resulted in me completing the arena weekly before it was time for ops. After that I logged into Leviathan where I played exactly one more warzone for the weekly mission (it was a Vandin Huttball in which I rocked by the way). Then I did the same thing on Tulak Hord, except that the match I played there was a Voidstar where we got properly spanked but still won on objectives.

On Star Forge I queued for a few midbie arenas (since this was the only other server where I could get them to pop without too much of a wait), followed by a couple of level 80 warzones on Satele Shan. Finally I did some PvP on Shae Vizla as well, even though I didn't need any more games for seasons there, but the guild I'm in was organising some level 80 warzones and I wanted to take part, so I completed another warzone weekly mission while killing some champion mobs and digging up treasure between matches.

Day 5 - Saturday

I didn't play until after reset, and then I started by going to Leviathan, where I dug up some treasures on my knight and did a few missions on my agent. Later on Tulak Hord, I visited a Rishi stronghold, and since that was my fourth weekly objective, I was immediately close to being done with the daily, so I just hopped over to Corellia and killed the named champs there to get myself over the finish line.

On Satele Shan I did some more missions on my agent, before logging into Shae Vizla to kill the champion mobs on Republic side. I was surprised by how tough this was on my level 74 Sage (my highest level Republic character on the server). I basically spent five minutes kiting Lord Rashal around a nearby pillar, whittling down his health one DoT at a time, until finally someone else showed up and helped to kill him. This was relevant in so far as I'd kind of forgotten at the start of the week that the reason I never did this objective on all servers before was that I never had a high-enough level Imperial character to kill stuff on Corellia. Now my Imps on Leviathan and Satele Shan were in their low forties, which is high enough to go to Corellia, but still low when it comes to killing level 48 champions. I'd been optimistic about my chances since I previously had pretty good experiences while doing the equivalent objective under-levelled on Taris, but my level 74's struggles made me seriously doubt myself.

I wanted to put the matter to the test right away, so I returned to Leviathan and took my level 42 bounty hunter to the first Republic champion on Corellia. Killing any mobs that dismounted me during the trip was definitely a lot slower than usual, but perfectly doable. I was happy when I got to the droid's spawn spot and saw someone else already waiting there. Unfortunately it turned out that person was also in their low forties and clearly waiting for help! Fortunately an 80 came by and took charge, so we were able to leech off their success easily. Unfortunately the trip to the next champion took a while since I didn't have any of the quick travel points unlocked yet, so I arrived just in time to see the 80 port away from the second champion's corpse. Fortunately another 80 was right there when he respawned.

I then re-did the same tour on Tulak Hord, where I'd forgotten that I actually got my Sorc up to 51 already. She killed the droid by herself with no problems whatsoever and would have done the same with Jimmy Weasle if someone else hadn't shown up to contribute some damage near the end. Are the Imperial champions just that much harder than the Republic ones? Let me know your experiences in the comments!

Emboldened by my success, I was going to try my luck soloing the champs on my level 42 Sniper on Satele Shan, but it just so happened that there were always other players present to support her anyway.

In the evening it was time for social ops with my guild on Darth Malgus, and doing Scum and Villainy on 16-man counted as completing four missions as a trooper. I finished the evening by completing the arena weekly in the midbie bracket on Star Forge.

Day 6 - Sunday

In the morning I logged into Shae Vizla and did a few missions on my trooper there, since I hadn't quite hit the Conquest target before getting distracted by the whole thing with the Corellia champions the previous day. This also took me to 7/7 weeklies completed.

In the evening I did a round of Kessan's Landing dailies with Mr Commando, which got me to 7/7 on Darth Malgus as well. On Leviathan, I did some questing on my bounty hunter for the daily - I still needed a few more missions on my agent as well but wanted to work towards my bounty hunter's personal Conquest target first. This was followed by a round of freeing Sobrik on Tulak Hord to get credit towards 15 missions completed as a trooper.

On Star Forge, I continued my trooper's class story on Corellia until I hit 15 missions completed there too, and swung by the remaining two champions as well since I was already in the neighbourhood, taking me to 6/7. Similarly, I did two warzones on my consular on Satele Shan and killed the champions during the wait time between matches, which took me to 5/7 weekly objectives completed.

Day 7 - Monday

In the morning I wanted to quickly catch up on what I had been a bit too tired to finish the previous evening. I did some quests on Shae Vizla for the daily and visited a Rishi stronghold on Star Forge. On Satele Shan I wanted to "quickly" dig up three treasures on Hoth but had the worst luck. The first dig site I visited was inactive, and the second had a guy already there who found the special treasure and depleted it just as I was honing in on my first target (and this was middle of the night for the west coast, FFS). I went to the last remaining site on Hoth in the Glacial Fissure and eventually got my objective done there, but for some reason every single treasure I found was inside a lava flow, which made it a pain to hone in on it without getting my poor guy set on fire. 

A cowled Jedi using a seeker droid to digg up treasure from inside a volcano in the Glacial Fissure on Hoth

In the evening I logged into Leviathan to finish off my last few agent missions, though since I also had some juicy Conquest objectives close to completion, I also played other alts for a bit to easily reach their personal targets for extra rewards. On Tulak Hord I dug up some treasure (less painful in the Outlaw's Den this time) and then did some questing on my inquisitor for the daily Conquest.

On Satele Shan I completed my agent's class story on Tatooine to tick off my daily and last weekly objective, and on the other servers I only needed to do a bit more stuff on alts to finish off the daily objective there too.

Week 6 Thoughts

I had weirdly mixed feelings about this week. On the one hand I was happy to finally see a PvP objective pop back up as part of the regular season, but on the other hand they take ages to complete across all servers (and I was actually quite lucky with wins vs. losses). I think I completed a total of seven warzone weeklies and two arena weeklies this week, which is similar to the kind of craziness I would usually only engage in during a Total Galactic War.

In general there was little overlap between objectives, so getting to 7/7 felt quite time-consuming, no matter which route you decided to take - though again, this is in the context of doing it all on multiple servers. If I had only focused on a single one, it still would've been a breeze.


Shintar's Galactic Season 6 Diary, Week 5

I didn't have any particular feelings or expectations going into this week beyond what I'll note down about the individual objectives:

  • Earn 200k Conquest points: Yes, naturally.
  • Earn the seasonal currency: After last week, I was happy to see this objective return as another easy one to complete on all servers.
  • Visit another player's Nar Shaddaa stronghold: Of course.
  • Kill four named champion mobs on Nar Shaddaa (2 Republic, 2 Imperial): Like the Quesh objective in week one, not my first choice to complete but an easy filler to round things out if needed.
  • Complete 8 repeatable or side missions and kill 100 mobs on the Unknown/Wild Space planets Ilum, CZ-198, Iokath and Zakuul: Easy to achieve with dailies, but one to watch out for in terms of not burning myself out with a billion CZ-198 runs.
  • Kill 100 mobs with a healer companion: Easy to do in combination with something else.
  • Complete 2 out of 4 selected flashpoints (Battle of Ilum, False Emperor, Legacy of the Rakata, Shrine of Silence): Now, I actually liked this one because two of the featured flashpoints were ones that are also required for the first GS6 story mission, and I'd only completed that on Darth Malgus so far, so I figured this could help with progressing it on the other servers (even if sticking to those two was going to make it particularly repetitive).
  • Earn 25 medals in Galactic Starfighter: Same as last week, not a fave due to how many matches it takes me to get there.
  • Play 3-6 GSF matches (wins count double): ... however, combined with this one it certainly seemed like an attractive combo to do on Darth Malgus at the very least.
  • Kill Nightmare Pilgrim: Since you can get credit for at least the seasons objective without even being in a group nowadays, this actually seemed somewhat viable to do on multiple servers, as you just need to hang out at the boss's spawn point and wait for a group of either faction to show up (and due to the nature of the fight, the groups always take a while to sort out, so you can usually tell some time in advance that it's a work in progress, it's not a quick "blink and you'll miss it" job like on some of the other world bosses)
  • KotET chapter 2 on veteran mode or higher: Now, I've always rejected the chapter objectives so far because I don't like repeating chapters... however, with this one, I actually had a character on Darth Malgus that was exactly on this step of the story, so I figured I might do it as a two-for-one.

Day 1 - Tuesday

What was supposed to be a normal office day turned out to be very sad as it was revealed to us that a (fairly young!) co-worker had surprisingly passed away over the weekend. As everyone was upset and in shock, people were allowed to go home early, and unsurprisingly, I didn't feel like doing much of anything for most of the day.

In the evening I was ready for some distraction though and logged on to do ops with my guildies, followed by a GSF weekly, which progressed me to 4/6 on one objective and to 9/25 medals earned.

On Leviathan, I put myself in the queue for False Emperor and Legacy of the Rakata and instantly got a vet mode pop for the latter. This resulted in a nice triple whammy of seasons progression, credit for the GS6 story mission and credit for the Prelude to Shadow of Revan story mission. I then meant to park myself at Nightmare Pilgrim to hopefully get a kill later, but there was already a group of Imps assembling there so I hung around (I was on a Republic character so couldn't join them). Sadly they wiped on their first attempt. The second one went better, though I myself got mowed down by the Pilgrim's Rapid Fire that time. Funnily enough, since I wasn't actually in the ops group the fight "belonged" to, I could just revive on the spot even as the fight continued.

On Tulak Hord, I did a round of CZ-198 dailies and then parked myself at Nightmare Pilgrim's spawn spot. It being past midnight in Germany, I wasn't surprised that nothing was going on anymore.

On Satele Shan, I decided to just do the Ilum heroic, including the bonus. As I also gained a legacy level while doing so, this was enough to complete the daily objective. Still, I wanted to park myself at Nightmare Pilgrim again before logging out, and once again there were some Imps already there. I waited for a bit, but when nothing seemed to move for more than ten minutes (and there weren't that many of them), I started to wonder whether this was actually a group or just some randoms doing the same thing I was, waiting for someone else to do the actual work. I actually relogged to Imp side just to check whether there were people actually LFM on the fleet but saw nothing. When I returned to my Republic character, there were suddenly a lot more people there and the battle was already in progress, but fortunately I had enough time to join in.

On Star Forge I just did a round of Iokath dailies on my boosted Sith inqusitor, before logging over to Shae Vizla to join a Nightmare Pilgrim group organised by my guild there.

Day 2 - Wednesday

After reset, I briefly logged into Leviathan to visit a Nar Shaddaa stronghold and knock out the named champion mobs for both factions. Some clickies pushed me over the required Conquest point amount for the daily objective.

Later in the evening, I logged into Tulak Hord and once again, there were some Imps at the Nightmare Pilgrim's spawn spot. Why is it always Imps? I once again waited for them to assemble and do their thing, but unfortunately this group just wiped three times and then gave up. Since I was having dinner around that time and was mostly AFK in game anyway, I hung around to wait for the next group to come by (the area had never fully emptied out). Eventually a huge Republic group came by and got me the kill. Then I just did the Ilum heroic plus bonus to complete the Unknown/Wild Space missions objective and the daily.

After that, I returned to my home turf on Darth Malgus for some PvP and GSF. One of the characters I did PvP on was a lowbie on whom I did some quests while waiting in the queue, which got me a good way towards the companion kills objective already. The GSF matches completed one of the related weeklies and brought the other one up to 16/25 medals.

When I visited Star Forge later, my inquisitor (whom I'd also left at the Nightmare Pilgrim's haunt) logged in to sounds of a battle and a group having the boss down to 20% or so already. I quickly ran in to hit him for credit before travelling to Ilum and doing the Imp side heroic there (including the bonus again) to complete the planetary missions objective.

Over on Satele Shan, I put myself in the queue for False Emperor and Legacy of the Rakata just to get an instant pop for the latter on veteran mode. The run was smooth and fast, bringing me one step closer to completing the GS6 stronghold mission on this character. I then also did a round of CZ-198, which ticked over three things at once: the planetary missions, killing things with my companion and the seasonal currency.

On Shae Vizla, I did the same thing with the group finder but without getting an instant pop, so I took care of my GTN listings and started on a round of CZ-198 in the meantime. Just as I was about to get to the final mission in the waste disposal area, I got a pop for veteran mode False Emperor. It was another smooth and fast run, and we even did the bonus boss.

Day 3 - Thursday

The first thing I did in the evening was log into Leviathan and do some quests on my bounty hunter to work towards the "kills with a healer companion" achievement until I'd hit my daily 25k Conquest points. (Reminder: My knight is a healer and doing stuff with double heals is a no-no even for me.)

On Tulak Hord, I queued for False Emperor and Legacy of the Rakata and got into a vet mode run for the latter, which I did not enjoy. We had two healers, which can make things a little slow but isn't usually a big deal... unless both of your damage dealers are really slow and erratic in their participation (one of them spent half of the first boss fight AFK from what I could tell) and the other healer absolutely refuses to press a single damage ability despite the group comp, both of which were the case here. I actually opened up Starparse purely to see whether the other healer was doing anything other than run in circles and spam AoE heals while we were all at 100% health anyway, and the answer was no. Nobody talked either, not even to respond to my greeting at the start, so I was just glad to get out of there (eventually). To cheer myself up, I went and visited a Nar Shaddaa stronghold, which got me to 4/7 weeklies completed.

I then spent the biggest chunk of the evening on Darth Malgus, first getting myself to 4/7 weekly seasons objectives there as well by completing one more GSF weekly mission, then by helping out another ops team by wiping in Dxun master mode for two hours.

After that I logged into Star Forge, where I basically did the same things as on Tulak Hord, only that the Legacy of the Rakata run on this server was smooth and pleasant. This was followed by a similarly smooth False Emperor pug on Satele Shan (bonus boss included again). Finally, I logged into Shae Vizla and just did the heroic on Ilum there, which ticked off three more weeklies there as well.

Day 4 - Friday

I had made such good progress over the first three days, I felt like a could relax and not fret about seasons too much for a day. I just logged into Darth Malgus in the evening to do a bit of PvP and that was it for my day in SWTOR.

Day 5 - Saturday

Late in the morning/shortly before lunch time, I did a round of all the other servers to get my daily done. On Leviathan, Tulak Hord and Satele Shan I did some story missions on Imp side, plus on the latter I also visited a stronghold since I hadn't done so yet. On Star Forge I queued for False Emperor and got a quick run in, which was okay, though a bit rushy and nobody responded to my saying hello.

Finally, I queued for Legacy of the Rakata on Shae Vizla and got a pop, but one person timed out so it didn't go through. It was getting close to reset time so I started work on getting Conquest points from some other sources to be on the safe side, but I did eventually get another run just in time to finish it before the reset. This one had two guys always pushing ahead while one always lagged behind, and the lagging guy actually apologised for his slowness, bless him. 

I didn't play again until the evening, when I killed Nightmare Pilgrim with my guildies on Darth Malgus and then did a couple of operations with them. After that I did some more PvP, and the questing I did between pops finished my companion kills objective. I finished the evening by doing KotET chapter two on veteran mode on the smuggler who was actually at that point in the story. I died a few times, but that wasn't entirely unexpected. With that, I was on 7/7 on Darth Malgus.

A female Mirialan smuggler with Empress Acina in her personal shuttle

Day 6 - Sunday

On Sunday morning I decided to visit the other servers again. On Leviathan I did a False Emperor run in which someone was chattering away in French for a while until they rage-quit after the second boss. I couldn't entirely make sense of what they were saying so I opened up Google Translate on my second monitor, but it was of limited help in this instance as it didn't know what "tous au cac" meant either, a phrase that was repeated several times. Considering the context in hindsight, I can only guess it meant something like "everybody stack"? But then I'm still not sure why this was important enough to rage-quit over, especially on the second boss in False Emperor. All I did was run to the cannon to make the ship go away... I took some solace from the fact that I understood what someone else in the group said after the rage-quit: "what an angry guy".

Interestingly, I seemed to get the answer to what had upset that French guy on Tulak Hord later, when I did another False Emperor run there too, and someone complained about me using the turret on the Jindo Krey fight there as well. At least they made it clear why: they felt that the absorb shield it puts on him for a few seconds "wastes time". I appreciated being able to have a conversation about it, but to be honest my real (private) response to this was to file it away under "stupid pug strats", because I can't quite fathom why anyone would think it's a good idea to make a fight ten seconds shorter by taking 300% increased damage. Plus as a healer, I always hate the attitude of "let's ignore simple mechanics and let the healer deal with it".

On Star Forge, I just did some clickies for my daily Conquest, while on Satele Shan and Shae Vizla I played alts for a bit. On the latter I cut it so close that I only got the "influencing the galaxy" pop-up two minutes before the daily reset.

I went through all the servers again in the evening, mostly just doing a bit of questing on alts, as I was either already 7/7 everywhere or just missing a few more companion kills or Conquest points towards the 200k objective. On Darth Malgus I played a few PvP matches as well.

Day 7 - Monday 

All that was left to do was to cycle through all the servers and earn some Conquest points for the daily, which I did with a mix of questing and clickies. The only thing worth remarking on is that I finally finished my first class story on Star Forge while doing so! Oddly, it was the smuggler, not the trooper I've had since forever, but the latter is still working her way through some side missions, so the smuggler (on whom I only did the class story) ended up overtaking her on Corellia.

Week 5 Thoughts

After how much of a slog week four was, this week was a pleasant surprise in terms of how quick and easy it was to get to 7/7 everywhere. Also, I can't believe I'm already halfway through the season track on all servers! So much for not pushing myself too much... but it's still been interesting to document my progress.


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.


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?