I was hoping a recent thread in the General Discussion forum on swtor.com would bring to light a problem those of us who like decorating our strongholds have been facing for awhile now. I posted a response there, but wanted to expand on it, as well as put some other thoughts down here.
At the heart of the matter, is what I see as an across the board nerf to the drop rate of decorations for all game activities. While I have seen some veteran flashpoints drop decorations on the bonus bosses, most Group Finder groups do not do the bonus boss, as most people are just trying to get their daily done as quick as possible. The interesting thing here, is that for the Shadow of Revan flashpoints that used to drop special tokens, they no longer do, which means the Jedi and Sith decorations that required 25 tokens per, can no longer be acquired. The Story Mode flashpoints do not drop decorations for their bonus bosses at all, which means an avenue we used to have available to acquire these decorations no longer exists. I remember several weekend afternoons, whether by myself or sometimes with others, going through the pre-4.0 flashpoints on my level 60-65, just to get the decorations.
If that wasn’t bad for normal in-game activities, the constant reworking of the Cartel Market packs, has seen a shift that means not as many decorations are dropping. I believe this is just one symptom of the current price ranges seen on the GTN for decorations from the new packs. Its simple supply and demand really. If there are not enough decorations dropping from the packs, like in the past, then the prices will be higher for those items deemed in demand. When the current pack with the latest reworking went live, i purchased two hypercrates, and got 8 decorations total, with 4 being duplicates. I’ve been watching the GTN closely to purchase additional decorations that I am wanting, but again, if prices are higher than I am willing to pay, then I won’t be purchasing the item. In my personal opinion, this lack of decorations could be alleviated with a pack design like so:
- 1 guaranteed new item from the current pack, can be armor, weapon, mount, decoration, title, flair, emote, etc..
- 1 guaranteed decoration from the current pack. drop rate could be based on the rarity
- 1 item from any pack, which would include grand chance cubes and armor boxes
- 1 jawa scrap or cartel certificate
- 1 companion gift or reputation token
As I mention in the above post, the prefabrication droids have not had an update since the launch of strongholds. They really need to add some new things, common or even uncommon decorations, to these droids. Someone mentioned in the post, that there are new grades of crafting materials that have been added since the stronghold release, but no new rank for prefabrications. So lets see that new Mark 4 Synthetic, Industrial and Universal Prefab Kit. This new rank could have some decorations that have never been released before, but decorators have been clamoring for, like statues that are in game, more computers, etc… You could even have a new droid added, that takes a mix of different prefabrication kits, or kits and credits for decorations. And while I understand, the Universal prefab kit should be the real hybrid kit, mixing different kits, including Universals could be a neat way to introduce some cool decoration designs that are already in the game. For example, two universal kits, and one industrial kit, could create a interactive moisture vaporator for a large hook.
In addition, the basic decoration vendor list is needing some new items to sell. The good thing here was that when the Yavin stronghold was released, we got two new ruin pieces and a couple of moss decorations. Now that Manaan has been released, and with the upcoming Umbara train stronghold, we need some new basic decorations that are themed to these locations.
There has been some discussion on the official forums regarding the fact that you can no longer acquire cartel market certificates, but no official response has been given for this. Well, if there are no plans to bring them back, then the certificate decoration vendor on fleet, needs to have those items converted so they can be purchased with credits, just like what happened when the data crystals were removed. In addition, new items need to be added to this vendor on a somewhat regular basis, like two or three new items per quarter. With all of the stuff surrounding Zakuul, Iokath, and in the next patch Umbara, theres a wealth of items that could be added that would freshen up strongholds and make decorators happy.
I like the thoughts presented in this post, but it would take away from the use of the prefabrication kits. That being said, some type of vendor or interface that would allow the customization of decorations would be great. I like the idea of customizing the rugs and carpets with different dye modules. However, for customization of lights, a different dye kit would probably be best, as a Deep Purple and Medium Pink light doesn’t make much sense to me.
I believe I had mentioned a customization of computers in a previous post awhile back, but I will repost those thoughts here as well. So throughout the world of SWTOR, there are examples of different, customized computers, monitors, and other technology, that essentially looks like hybrids of different pieces. I would like to see a vendor that could either take existing decorations and combine them, or a vendor where you purchase the different pieces you want, either through credits or prefabrication kits.
- So for an example of taking existing decorations and combining them, take the Computer Desk (Republic), and the Server Monitor, to create a computer with a large display monitor. They have released some decorations that have a hybrid look, such as the Multi-State Mainframe Terminal, which is an interactive, single-sided version of the Ship Computer: Republic (Full) decoration. In addition, the Republic Data Storage Unit, is a combination of the Computer Desk (Republic) and two Czerka Data Cores.
- An example of the second customization option, would be for example, take the Czerka Data Core as your base, which costs 1 million credits or 5 Universal prefab kits. You then purchase just the stand portion of the Datacron pedestals for 200000 credits or 2 Synthetic prefab kits. This combination could create an interactive decoration for showing holographic items stored in the data core. In fact, whether or not the item is interactive could have a cost to it as well. Or for things that need to show a hologram or display, what is being displayed could have a price to it. Random pictures of ships or people, could cost one price, while generic planets could be a another price.
- Either example could have some basic customizing as well, so that maybe the monitor is higher up with some type of attachment, or the pedestal could be on the left, right, or center of the data core.
While I would really like to see someway to scale some decorations, I would prefer some actual thought by the designers be used when designing decorations. I don’t mind the large hook microscope, but I would also prefer one that could fit on a medium hook. Or items like the Sun Generator that is currently a starship hook decoration, but could have easily fit on a centerpiece hook. Or if some of the decoration designs are intentional, then make some changes to the hook layouts. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a starship hook like in the hangar on Tattooine, with the XS Light Freighter, but now you have people decorations or items like a generator or desk computer with wires and hoses running diagnostics. Adding some basic hook patterns to the centerpiece or starship hooks, similar to how the Large hook is designed, could go along way to creating some really cool scenes. Since we are restricted by the hook system to begin with, we need some better layout patterns that allow for some creativity.
I would to see a z-axis configuration when placing decorations. I realize it might not make sense for all decorations to have this, so maybe just apply it to the ones that it does, or at least to the floor decorations.
And finally, while I am against some type of collection unlock for decorations, I would be ecstatic for an interface similar to the way decorations can be purchased for a guild, but for personal strongholds. The obvious down-side to this would be that some decorations that people want a bunch of, and can currently only be found on the GTN, would decrease in value because of the lower online demand for them. However, similar to the way it is used with guilds, it would be a great way to remove large amounts of credits from the game. I watched 30 million credits shrink to 5 million for a guild I was in, and that was just from purchasing decorations for a new guild ship. I would make a stipulation though, that only unlocked decorations can be purchased, just like with the guild version. that would at least mean anybody wanting to purchase multiple decorations, especially the rare ones, would have either had to have it drop from a cartel pack, operation, flashpoint, etc… or purchased it from the GTN.
Unfortunately I realize most of this is just pie-in-the-sky daydreaming, and that no one from Bioware Austin will probably read this, but it is my opinion that implementing some of these, especially the changes to the prefabrication kits and basic decoration vendors, would go a long way in making those of us who enjoy decorating our strongholds happy.