Testing Out Galactic Strongholds
This weekend I downloaded the PTS to try out the Galactic Strongholds update! I only copied over my main toon from the live server, so I didn’t have a lot of credits to work with. However, I was still able to see all of the different stronghold locations!
I purchased the Dromund Kaas apartment, which is priced cheaply at 5,000 credits. The thing I was most impressed with was the rain! I live in the desert and get excited when it rains just a little bit in real life, so this was awesome to me. It was beautiful seeing the rain from the different rooms and also when I went outside to the balcony. It was very gloomy and Sith-y, and I think there was more than enough room to decorate and hang out inside of it.
On the other hand, the Coruscant apartment has great lighting! I liked seeing vehicles zooming by, the skyscrapers, and the purple and golden clouds. If I ever take any screenshots of my outfit in the future, I will try to do it at this stronghold! The tricky part will be to get a friend on the Harbinger to buy it, unlock the balcony (which is 1 million credits, I think! Way out of my budget to spend just for screenshots), and give me a key so I can do that! I wouldn’t be able to visit one in the public listings with my Assassin, who is the only toon I ever care about taking screenshots of. Otherwise, the layout and pricing is exactly the same as the Kaas City stronghold.
The Nar Shaddaa stronghold comes with 5 rooms unlocked if you were a subscriber by a certain date, which is more than half of the rooms. My favorite area was the bottom floor balcony, which has three little balconies coming out of it. The only issue here was that in order to unlock all the rooms, you have to unlock two doors that go to this same area. I’m not sure if that is a bug or working as intended, but there weren’t other rooms to unlock. Essentially there are only actually 8, not 9 rooms in this stronghold.
Besides that issue, I liked seeing the circular billboard as well as the party barge in the Nar Shaddaa skyline! There is also a large “stage” area where you can place a ship. You can only get to this area by jumping off a higher floor and skillfully landing on it. I did quite a lot of duels with a friend here, and the amount of fighting space plus the city view was really great and made that a lot of fun.
This place is huge! It was really easy to get lost with the different levels and rooms. It felt like your own huge, desert compound. The garage is very cool; it’s a bit underground with an open ceiling, so you can see that beautiful Tatooine sky. This one is really nice, but I personally still like my cheap Dromund Kaas stronghold—small and easy to decorate.
Decorating and Interacting With Furniture
As far as decorating goes, I did a little bit of it in my Dromund Kaas stronghold. It was pretty easy to figure out the hook systems, the UI, how to click, etc. I felt a bit limited on the furniture that I had, but I hadn’t bought anything from the vendors and simply used the decorations that were given to me. I did feel a little giddy using the /sleep emote, which made my character curl up cutely on the bed! Additionally /chair makes it so your character sits normally on a piece of furniture, not the weird, sitting on the ground pose.
Keys and Inviting Others
In the PTS, you are limited on the amount of keys to other people’s strongholds. I think I was only allowed 5 or 6, which was a low number, especially if a friend gives you keys to all of their strongholds. I suppose on the live server people might just focus on one stronghold, so maybe the limitation doesn’t matter that much.
You can only invite and give out keys to a character that is of the same faction of yours. However, once a person has your key, it doesn’t matter what faction they are on. If you have unlocked the Coruscant apartment and get on an Imperial character to give your key to your Imperial friend, they can still visit your stronghold! Keys are bound to your character, so be sure to remember to get keys for every one that wants to travel while your friends are offline or cross faction!
There are two types of keys that you can give out: silver and bronze. Silver keys allow your guests to invite others while bronze keys do not (both allow you to visit the strong hold when the owner is not online.) It will be interesting once Strongholds goes live to see how I utilize these different key functions, i.e. who I would even give a key to and if I would want them to invite others. I don’t really plan on having parties, but I may have to!
It’s easy to invite friends to your stronghold, and there is actually an achievement for doing so! The top tier achievement is for having 50 people at your stronghold at the same time. I think I’m going to have to get a guild event in my empty stronghold if I’m going to be able to get this achievement!!
There is a lot of potential for a controlled PvP environment here! You would be able to create your own arenas by giving a friend in the opposite faction a silver key, and having them invite friends from their faction to your stronghold. Since they can visit your stronghold while you are offline, you might get a pleasant (maybe not) surprise when you log in and load into your house.
I haven’t tried out the guild ships or strongholds yet, and I don’t know if I’ll get around to it before Strongholds comes out on the live server. I think this expansion has so much going on, so much for you to do and figure out, and I’m very excited to discover everything and make my stronghold look awesome!