Republic Library – Coruscant Stronghold

So I wanted to try and create a library where Republic characters could go and research whatever they wanted.  I like how it turned out for the most part, but would like to have some additional decorations that would help create something like this easier.  The good thing, is most of the decorations are purchasable from crafted components.

Taelitha’s Republic Sanctuary – Star Forge



I wanted to create a conference area of sorts where someone could give a lecture.


I like how this small area turned out with the archives.


This is the library core, where information is stored for later processing.


I wanted to have a place where people who are researching could go and decompress or continue to look over the stuff they are researching.


This is the main research area of the library.  I like how the archive decorations turned out in the squares, but would also like a medium decoration that did the same thing.  I know there is the Czerka Data Core and Mentor Processing decorations, but a decoration that looks like the square one above would be really cool.


This is an area where people can continue their research after getting a datapad, or sit and rest or read.


This room is used for military research, and is only accessible by members of the Republic military.


This area can be used to research Republic cultural subjects.


This area is used for researching Republic history and political subjects.


Posted in Strongholds | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Temple Ruins – Yavin Stronghold

The next stronghold I wanted to show off, is my first attempt at some Temple Ruins, using the Yavin Stronghold.  I have actually done this theme on three of the Yavin Strongholds, to varying degrees.  One thing I failed to mention previously, is I am not looking to get 100% completion with these strongholds either.  The Jedi Academy I showcased previously, was only 70% complete, and this Temple Ruins one is only 75% complete.

I will say in trying to come up with some good looking ruins here, there number of decorations that can be used effectively is rather small.  For example, we have a Yavin corner ruins, where the wall ruins?  Or we have one Yavin rubble decoration, why not another with some different rubble pieces in it. And while I am happy we have some really great working fountains and such, non-working varieties would be great too.

In addition, while the potted plants and trees are great for city areas or inside areas, we could use some more non-potted varieties as well which could be useful for outside scenes.  I found myself using lots of the Yavin Flora decoration because its not potted.

Taelitha’s Chamber of Truth – Star Forge


While I didn’t necessarily want this to be a Rakata themed ruins, this particular decoration is one of the best available for showcasing ruins.




Unfortunately, a lot of the interior pictures will appear dark because I didn’t want to use any of the lights because again, this is supposed to be a temple ruins.



Again, not necessarily a Rakata themed ruins, but the transporter is another really good decoration.  I wish for this one, there was a non-working variety.





Like the Yavin Rubble and Yavin Flora, I use alot of the Yavin Pottery decoration because its not tied to anything else.  You will see later, I like to use the pottery decorations on pedestals you get from Section X reputation, but because they are on pedestals, it makes them hard to place in some areas.











I really like the Voss decorations, especially the ones that can be purchased from the reputation vendor.  I just wish there was some more of sculptures and statues available.  There’s a quest, I believe for the Jedi Knight or the Sith Inquisitor, that occurs near the Temple, that has you interacting with some artifacts that are hanging on walls.  I would really like to see these things become available at some point.



I wish there were some more hooks available in the cave, not just on the floor, but the walls and ceiling as well.



A lone researcher getting ready to tackle the mysteries of this ancient temple.


Posted in Strongholds | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Jedi Academy – Coruscant Stronghold

So when Bioware announced that as part of the server merge, it would be possible to have multiple instances of strongholds, and all of them active even if it would mean the player would be over the new cap of 10, I got to thinking of what I could do to make some cool looking strongholds that I could open for public usage, like for role-playing groups and such.  The first thing I had to do was to make sure I had at least one character on all of the servers that would make up Star Forge after the merge.  The second part wouldn’t get finished until server transfers were suspended last week, and that was to make sure I had unlocked the most decorations I could, especially Cartel Market ones, since I would have a temporary copy of them after they were placed.  The final thing was deciding what I could do with each of the 24 unlocked strongholds, which didn’t include the ones on my main server which are still set up for conquest.  While I have had similar ideas for some of the strongholds, I am working on different implementations to give them their own unique feel.

Taelitha’s Jedi Academy – Star Forge

While this is not a full Jedi Academy, its meant as a study place for older padawan’s and masters.



Here a Jedi padawan can learn the art of meditation, as well combat techniques, and lightsaber building.


Theres a classroom for students training to be Consulars to learn the art of diplomacy and galactic history.


Students have access to a wealth of knowledge that the Jedi have accrued over many thousand years.



In the main conference room, Jedi can learn from lectures that are given, or entertain foreign dignitaries who may be speaking on the affairs of their planet.




There are individual classrooms or meeting areas as well for Jedi masters and padawans to use.


And if you need to decompress after a long lecture and take in the scenery of Coruscant, the balcony gardens provide a perfect place to meditate and reflect.


Posted in Strongholds | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How I would Have Done KotFE and KotET – The Setup

So a few days ago, I responded to a thread on the official forums, asking if it was time to end the alliance.  I started to detail a way they could have done the Knights expansions, without turning the player into a powerful being, and making the story the ridiculous mess it has become.  I have decided to take these notes, flesh them out here, and make this the new head canon I will use for the remainder of the Knights story line.

Forged Alliances

I am of the opinion that the Forged Alliance and Shadow Revan story lines are good and do not need any major tweaking.  However, something that would occur while on Yavin, is that after the Revan fight, some of the ancient Sith spirits that were sealed away, have been freed.

One of these spirits, Exar Kun, for example, finds a way to possess an Imperial trooper, leaves Yavin, and stows away on Darth Marr’s flagship.  Exar Kun is looking for a way to Korriban in order to retrieve his special holocron which will allow him to return to his full powerful state.  However, Darth Marr’s flagship is not heading back to Korriban, and instead is searching for the Sith Emperor’s spirit.

While the events on Ziost play out, the Sith spirit realizes that the Sith Emperor could be its chance at returning to a powerful state, so it continues the charade on Darth Marr’s ship.

Vitiate is not Valkorion

One of the biggest missteps in regards to the story of KotFE/ET, was the early reveal that this beloved emperor of Zakuul, was actually the vile Sith Emperor, and this was his side project where he could be a good guy.  Here was one of the greatest villains in Old Republic history, the guy who created Darth Malak and Revan, who destroyed worlds in order to extend his life and power, and here he is in some unknown region, with his pet project Zakuul, where he is this benevolent ruler.  And while Charles Boyd had to come in a few months ago and give us their logic for creating this “twist”, it hasn’t set well with most fans, because it took a great villain with some depth, and turned him into a chump.

So I would not have Valkorion be Vitiate.  Instead, Valkorion is the former emperor of Zakuul, seen as benevolent by most of the people, however he ruled more as a dictator.  Most of the people, including some in his family, do not know what is actually going on during his rule.  He starts making plans to conquer some nearby systems in order help fuel the Eternal Fleet, but dies under some mysterious circumstances about five years before the events of KotFE.

The next person inline to rule is Valkorion’s oldest son, Arcann, who continues the plans set in motion by his father.  While Valkorion’s authoritarian rule was subtle, Arcann is more up front, and there are some people who start to resent him.  This leads to some rebellion by some of the Zakuul citizens, and Arcann becomes more compelled to rule with a tighter iron fist.

Valkorion’s other son, Thexan, is the leader of the Scions and is seeing the suffering brought on from some of the actions Arcann is taking.  However the Scions have seen that these actions are necessary, in order to bring on the next phase of life for the people of Zakuul.

Valkorion’s daughter Vaylin, is the current leader of the Zakuul Knights, a position her mother had held 10 years prior before her exile.  While she can be brash and a little hot tempered, she is not the psychotic individual portrayed in the existing stories.

Senya, the former leader of the Zakuul Knights, and mother to Arcann, Thexan, and Vaylin, has been living in exile on the planet Odessan, after she chose not to kill hundreds of Zakuul citizens who had started a riot in a market area, after some food supplies ran out.  While she did love Valkorion, she also believed that something had changed in him some time before her incident.  She is aware of Valkorion’s death, but not the circumstances behind it.

Game Systems

  • Level increases
    • KotFE would have still had the level 65 cap
    • KotET would have still had the level 70 cap
    • third expansion would have had the level cap raised to 75.
  • Companions
    • i would have still done the change from affection to influence, and kept the cap at rank 50.
    • I would have kept the change regarding companions being any role (healer, tank, dps) and kept their type (ranged or melee).
    • You don’t lose your companions at the beginning of KotFE either, however after the new rebel alliance is created, story line suggests that companions will be participating in missions.  So it could be possible to participate in some story missions with companions from other class stories.
      • So for example, the heist mission from chapter 13 of KotFE could still be possible, although you wouldn’t be getting Vette or Gault as a permanent companion afterwards.
  • Alliance Specialists
    • i would have kept the alliance specialists, but their rank would have been increased to 100.
    • i would tie alliance companion alerts to the rank of the specialist.
      • For example, Sana Rae is the Force user specialist and is rank 20.  Since there was no Dark vs Light event, you can get the alert to recruit Master Hexhid now.  At rank 60, you would get the alert to recuit Master Ranos then.
    • The specialist rank is also tied to vendors that are located in their area.  These vendors would sale things specific to that specialist, such as armor, weapons, mounts, toys, and decorations.
  • Alliance companions
    • While some new companions such as Thexan, Koth, Senya, and Shae Vizla will join you during the story, because they are necessary, you will also have the ability to get other usable companions that may or may not have been apart of your class story, as well as some new companions.
      • For example, Master Sumalee could be available as a rank 40 companion alert from Sana Rae.
      • Or Jonas Balker as a rank 60 agent type companion alert from Dr. Ogurubb.
      • This would allow some of the current Star Fortress companions as well to be added here.
  • The Galactic Command System
    • introduced with the level cap increase to 70, it is designed to reward players for doing daily activities.  it would be released with 3 tiers for level 70, and an additional 3 tiers when the cap is increased to level 75.
      • when the level cap is increased to 75, the new tiers of gear would cost the same as the previous set, including the fact that the tier 4 gear would not require a previous item.  this would allow boosted characters to still be able to gear without having to go through the previous 3 tiers.
    • while the data crystal change from KotFE would stick around, GC tokens would be rewarded for doing various things, such as Daily areas, Heroics, operations, PVP, flashpoints, and GSF.
      • there would still be a bonus activity for the day, that would give double the rewards.
      • the type of content and difficulty would determine the reward
      • so if we use the below examples of costs for tier equipment, i could see something like, a Daily area giving 10 tokens per completion, or a heroic giving 5 tokens per completion.  story mode ops could give 25 tokens, while veteran gives 50, and master mode gives 100.
    • these tokens could be used to get the newest tiers of gear for raiding or PvP, or for cosmetic things such as decorations, mounts, and toys.
      • for the gear and weapons, i would make it where the previous tier item is required to have in order to complete the purchase.
      • so for example, tier 1 chest piece costs 200 tokens.  the tier 2 chest would cost 3000 tokens and the tier chest piece.  The tier 3 chest piece would cost 10000 tokens plus the tier 2 chest piece.
      • so the grind is still there for progression raiders and pvp people
    • there might be a need for the legaccy perk or buff consumables still

So thats pretty much the introduction for how I might have done the Knights expansions.,  The next three posts will detail some of the story elements involved in each expansion.



Posted in Thoughts | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Umbara Stronghold

So when the announcement was made of a moving train as the newest stronghold for SWTOR, I was interested to see what Bioware was going to create.  After seeing a walk through of what it would look like, I had an idea of what I could do, even if the idea itself may not be unique.

So I just kept with the theme of hauling supplies, and went about decorating the way I thought it would look cool.

A video walkthrough of this stronghold can be found here.

I decorated the half of the first car as a mobile medical area, capable of transporting wounded individuals to better equipped hospitals.  I also added my basic needs area here, since its the first area you are transported to.

The next train car I decorated as an operations center, capable of monitoring stuff that is happening on the planet or in orbit.  However, I may be moving this one further up the train at some point.  I failed to notice some background decorations that could make an area like this cooler.


The next area is one of the first cargo flat bed areas, and I just added some cargo containers to it.


This is a shot on top of the train looking towards the back of the train.  Once the additional strongholds are added, and they are all used for the conquest bonus, I will be removing most of the cargo containers from the top of the train, as they really don’t make any sense being up there.  At the very back on the starship hook, I believe I have the Alliance fighter decoration, and not the Koth’s Shuttle one.

On the next hauler car, the one with the sides, I have more storage containers.  Lots of food, medical supplies, and other things required to keep the Alliance going.


The next car is used for transporting troops to different parts of the planet.


The next flat bed train car is decorated with more storage containers.


This is a view on top of the train, looking towards the front.  Again, I plan on removing the storage containers from the top, once the shared conquest bonus is implemented.


While this car currently has storage containers in it, this is the one I was thinking of moving the operations center to, as you can see in the middle of the walls, what appears to be data units built into the side.


The final flat bed car on the train has you guessed it, more storage containers.  However, as you can see from the picture, there is clipping for any decorations placed on the outside, if the hook layout is changed from the default centerpiece style.


And finally, the last area which only has some single hooks available, so I put some personnel down.

Overall, I like this stronghold for its uniqueness, and I actually do like the train track sounds that accompany the area.  However, there are some hook placement issues that hinder what could be a really cool area, although it doesn’t suffer as bad as the Manaan stronghold.


Posted in Strongholds | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Why the Decoration Market is Volatile

For the past few months, I have been trying to desperately to bring attention to a real problem within the decoration market.  Several people have written posts on the official forums and reddit trying to bring attention to this problem as well, and while some of these posts have been been met with derision, others have sparked real discussion.  I am hoping that I can get some attention to this post, and hopefully get some insight from Bioware on this.

An Example of RNG (Random Number Generation)

I was introduced to the concept of RNG in two separate instances at a pretty young age:  computer programming and Dungeons and Dragons (DnD).

In computer programming, trying to get a real RNG value can be hard based on different factors.  So most computer languages have existing functions to get a random value, although these values again, are not truly random.  The Random class/function that exists in the .NET framework for example, will take a seed value to try and create a random value.  By default however, if no seed is provided, it will use a time value (look at the constructor definitions to see this).

In DnD, a dungeon master (DM) would use RNG to determine what type of treasure, weapon, armor, or even random encounter a party had discovered.  For example, the DM might roll a d10 (10 sided dice) to determine what type of item the party had found, ie. armor, weapon, magic item, etc.  Based on that value, the DM might then roll a d100 (100 sided dice), or two d10’s, and then consult a loot table to determine what the actual item is.  For example, the DM rolls a d10 and gets a 3, which means the party found a weapon.  The DM then rolls two d10’s, with the first being a 7, and the second being a 1, for a value of 71.  The DM consults their loot table and determines that rolls of 70-75 mean the weapon is a broadsword of giant strength.  Some DM’s or even some published adventure modules, will use a single loot table to determine what item is found.  So in the previous example, a roll of 71 is that broadsword of giant strength, while a roll of 70 is a potion, a roll of 72 is something else, and maybe the general rolls of 1-30 for example, is some coins.  These loot tables could be as generic or specific as needed.

The Current State of the Cartel Pack

So a few weeks back, they put one of the old stronghold packs, if I remember correctly, the Gatekeeper pack, back up on the Cartel Market.  As one of the first packs with decorations in it, its always good to see some old items back on the market.  At the time the stronghold packs were released, there were 7 slots in each pack that could be filled, which had both positives and negatives to it.  For example, a positive was the fact that you could get up to 4 or 5 new items in each pack, with the other 2 or 3 slots being things like Jawa junk, cartel certificates, or companion gifts.  The big negative with this however, was that there was also the large opportunity to get a ton of stuff you didn’t want in each pack, like in this group of packs with the Series ### cybernetic armor pieces, or the Antique Socorro weapons.  Because the market was flooded with these things, I don’t know how many times I just destroyed them, because I couldn’t sell them and they were taking up valuable inventory space.  This is one of the big reasons why I love the bronze/silver/gold item packs, because it focuses on a specific item type and except for the gold armor packs, doesn’t give extra items that you need to get rid of.

The current packs however, only give four items, with two of those slots being used for Jawa junk and companion gifts.  In fact, you are now only guaranteed to get a new item from the current pack in one of those slots.  I believe the current pack changes mean the other slot can be a grand chance cube, or any item from the current or previous Cartel packs, with armor being full armor set boxes, and not the individual pieces or upper, lower, supplementary boxes.  That’s what, at least 1000 items from the entire Cartel Market that can pop up in that second slot.  That’s a lot of RNG right there.  The argument can be made for a new player it might not be that bad however, because they get an opportunity to possibly get an item through RNG that they missed out on because they weren’t playing at the time, and that may go for several million credits on the GTN.  Okay, thats a valid argument.

The problem however, is it is taking a guaranteed slot from an item in the current pack.  Most of us who buy packs now, are doing so to get the new items, not old ones.  With only a single slot dedicated to the new pack, it means there are less chances to get an item from the new pack.  So the economists out there might say thats a great thing, because it means less items are flooding the market for sale, and people who are looking to make some credits can do so, without massive undercuts going on.  However, it also means that there are multiple items from the current pack fighting for that spot.

The Good, the Bad, and the Collection

So a few years ago, the Collection interface was added to the game, which allowed players who got an entire armor set, weapon, mount, toy, pet, or emote, to purchase an unlock of that item for their entire account.  This was a great thing, because it allowed those of us who had multiple characters, or played on multiple servers, to only have to get one item from a Cartel Pack, and then we could unlock the ability to get a copy of that item on any character we had now, or created in the future!

However, this feature was also met with some outrage from players who were selling Cartel Market items on the GTN.  The prime example here, was before the change, I would have to buy multiple Tulak Hord armor boxes if I wanted that armor set on multiple characters.  At the time, this was seen as a valid argument, but at the same time, the argument was made that it still meant a player had to get the item and for armor, they had to unlock the entire set before it could be unlocked in the collection.  For those who were unlucky, you still had to chance buying the armor set from the GTN, which meant someone was still making some credits on it.

For me, this mimicked a feature that guilds had, where users who had unlocked a Cartel Market decoration, could then spend credits and unlock one or more copies for the guild to use.  The only limits there were the number of that item that could be unlocked, up to 999 items for several item types, and the number of credits the player wanted to actually use to unlock the decorations.  Prefab decorations, or those bought from vendors with cartel certificates or credits, as well as trophy decorations, are not eligible for guild unlock.

A Volatile Market for Decorations and Stronghold Decorators

So one factor I haven’t discussed yet, is who is actually decorating strongholds for something more than conquest bonus.  If you are someone who is trying to create a good looking stronghold, and do not want to have rooms full of basic chairs and meat trees, then you are either looking to buy decorations from the GTN, buying Cartel Packs to get the latest decorations, or looking to buy the gold/silver/bronze decoration packs when they go on sale.

If you are looking to buy items from the GTN, then you will have noticed that most decorations, no matter their assigned rarity, can be going for several million credits.  This has led to several posts on the official forums and reddit, on what many consider ridiculous prices for these items.  Some of these posts are then met with comments of stop whining, or other derisive or immature comments, but some people cannot see what the actual issue is here.

And what is that issue?  Unlike every other Cartel Pack item, you can only unlock one decoration per item you get.  If you get a volcano deco out of the current pack, you as the player, can only unlock one volcano for your personal use.  If you do not want the volcano decoration, then you will probably sell it on the GTN.  However, if you are looking to get multiple volcano decorations for your underwater Manaan area for example, then after the one you get from your cartel pack, you will either be trying to get another from an RNG pack, or be frantically searching the GTN waiting to snipe the next one that pops up for sale.  If you are like me however, you have a max amount of credits you are willing to pay for that item.  The buying and selling of items for profit on the GTN has actually created a type of player who will create multiple characters, one per server, who are looking to make a profit or get a good deal on an item, and will move items between servers in order to make the most profit!  Theres nothing wrong with that either, I just thought it was a weird thing that has popped up in the SWTOR economy.

Which brings me back to the RNG examples from before.  If you have only one slot per new cartel pack that is guaranteed to drop an item from that new cartel pack, then what are the chances you will get an item you want, especially if it is a decoration.  Well i know the rarity of the item will probably have some weight in the item that can be obtained.  So using my previous example, lets say a d10 rolled to determine the item type, and then two more d10’s are rolled to determine the actual item.

For our current Cartel Pack example, lets say the type rolls look something like this:

  • 1-2 is armor
  • 3-4 is weapon (including tunings)
  • 5-6 is mount
  • 7-8 is decoration
  • 9-0 is misc (toys, emotes, pets, flair)

Well if we rolled a 1, then we get armor.  So lets see how the armor would break down.  Each armor set could be found together in the result list, or spread out across the result set.  Well, unfortunately for this pack, all of the armor sets are considered gold, so the break down would be pretty even:

  • 1-11 – Diligent Engineer Supplementary
  • 12-22 – Keeper of Iokath Supplementary
  • 23-33 – Shikaakwan Royalty Supplementary
  • 34-44 – Diligent Engineer Lower
  • 45-55 – Keeper of Iokath Lower
  • 56-66 – Shikaakwan Royalty Lower
  • 67-77 – Diligent Engineer Upper
  • 78-88 – Keeper of Iokath Upper
  • 89-99 – Shikaakwan Upper

So what about a decoration from this pack, how might that loot table look:

  • 1-15 — hex light: red
  • 16-30 — set light bar: green
  • 31-45 — house organa banner
  • 46-60 – aquarium – see scalefish
  • 61-75 – volcano (i thought this was gold and not silver)
  • 76-87 – cooling tower
  • 88-99 – manaan: fountain of knowledge

Now my example assumes that based on the rarity, there should be an equal division of chances for each item in that rarity.  But what if thats not always the case?  What if some items are given more chances to hit since there are no more bronze items, but Bioware still wants to consider some silver items common.  What if the decoration results looked like this:

  • 1-20 – hex light: red
  • 21-40 – set light bar: green
  • 41-55 – house organa banner
  • 56-70 – aquarium: see scalefish
  • 71-81 – volcano ( i essentially make this a gold item rarity)
  • 82-90 – cooling tower
  • 91-99 – manaan: fountain of knowledge

Obviously, there are more chances to get one of the “common” light items now, than one of the rarer items like the fountain!

So What Does This All Mean?

Well if you love decorating your stronghold, you might be thinking that just waiting for items to pop up on the GTN is the safest bet.  And if you don’t have a lot of disposable income then you would be correct in thinking that.  The problem is, how many other people are thinking that as well?  How many of those rare Manaa fountain items are being put up for sale?  If you do have some disposable income, then buying a hypercrate or two might be what you think is best.  If you open the packs, you have a chance on getting the items you want, and those that you don’t want can be sold.  Obviously this plays into the mess of gambling on RNG, and praying you have lots of luck to get the items you want.  And if you do just sell the hypercrate, the packs, or even the items, then you have to hope that you make enough credits to buy the decorations you want.  The other problem here, is how many other people are wanting that volcano, or the manaan fountain?  how many of those decorations could pop up on the GTN?  again, you have to be really lucky sometimes to get the chance to get the items you want.

Is There a Good Solution?

Yes, I still think there is a solution to the volatile decoration market, and I’ve provided that solution in a previous post:  have the same type of interface for buying decorations for a guild, just make it for individuals.  Just like the guild version, you have to have previously unlocked the decoration in order to buy copies of it.  if the individual unlock has to cost more than the guild unlock, in order to satiate the fury of those who think paying 100M credits for the Yavin head sculpture deco is a good thing, then so be it.  However, that unlock cannot be more than double the guild unlock price.  For example, it costs 50K credits to unlock the volcano decoration for a guild, then it cannot cost more than 100K credits to unlock a copy for an individual.

Theres no good arguments against this idea, at least none that I have seen.

  • You have to have unlocked the decoration before.  This is the same as weapons and armor in order to unlock it in collections.
  • It has the huge potential of removing large amounts of credits from the economy, which has the added benefit of fixing the massive inflation that exists right now, which could bring other GTN item prices under control.
  • and with the ridiculous GTN prices on not just decorations but armor and weapons under control, it means less people being tempted to buy credits!

Hopefully I’ve got everything I wanted to say on this topic, off my chest now.  I just hope an influencer, Bioware employee, or other SWTOR player sees it, and wants to get other opinions on it.


Posted in Strongholds, Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Thoughts on Update 5.4

Well first off, for those who have not played the update yet, I will not spoil the plot twist here.  I personally had the twist spoiled for me, because several Tumblr users decided to not put the twist behind some type of spoiler tag.  So thank you Tumblr users…

I am going to be giving my thoughts not just on this update, but everything going back to the release of Knights of the Fallen Empire, because it all ties into something that has frustrated me with this storyline.  So if you haven’t played any of the story going back to Patch 4.0, then everything below here is a giant spoiler.

Continue reading

Posted in Thoughts | Tagged , | Leave a comment