As of yesterday via an update to the general Knights of the Eternal Throne story page and the Influencers being allowed to post videos of the ESNE and AIVELA fight, we do now finally have something more tactile to comment on.
Sisters of Carnage
|AIVELA on the left, ESNE on the right.|
What doesn't make sense - to me, at least - is why ESNE is the one with 'horn-like protrusions'; in "Firebrand's" Codex Entry, it is stated that she is often depicted as a "a horned woman engulfed in blue flame", which is the traditional portrayal of AIVELA, whose headpiece doesn't resemble horns at all. As it is, she is at least "engulfed in blue" effects, but it's her sister who has the horns. Maybe the traditional depiction was accidentally combining the two deities into one portrayal?
Bit of a side-step, but I had to get that out at some point.
As mentioned previously, several videos of the fight have now been allowed onto YouTube, as well as various bloggers describing the fight and tactics. I won't steal their thunder by attempting to describe the fight in full, and I'll link the appropriate items a bit further down.
From what they show, the fight does look very interesting. The general concept of the fight is very similar to the first two bosses of Explosive Conflict, with certain mechanics from Revan, Valkorion, Dread Master Brontes, Master & Blaster, and the Infernal Council all being recreated in in some way or other. I'm looking forward to attempting it soon, even if it is complicated to attempt to execute.
As an additional, I'm extremely surprised that their 'lips' are just cosmetic. I was fully-expecting these two to be very much like SCORPIO, maybe implying that she and the GEMINI droids were based on their schematics, but no, they're just moulded onto their faces for no reason besides trying to make them look feminine. It was slightly creepy before, but now it's just going to be deeply unsettling.
(This also probably spells the end for many people's hopes for ESNE and AIVELA-themed SCORPIO customisations).
Anyway, as promised, the links to the various sites and videos:
Stardust's General Overview (also contains links to the below videos)
The Boss Fight: SWTOR Central's Perspective
The Boss Fight: Kid-Lee's Perspective
It looks to be one of the smallest of the Strongholds, which, after enormous Strongholds like on Tatooine and Yavin IV, is very welcome in my opinion. Yes, it's nice in theory to have this big vast area to call your own but it becomes impractical to decorate really quickly due to there just being too much space to fill effectively.
This Stronghold is also fairly unique in that it actually could have a proper Lore reason for existing. The initial four are just houses on planets which you'd expect The Old Republic to open houses on most, whilst a personal temple on Yavin IV makes no sense no matter how you look at it.
Being a diplomatic hub, it would be expected for Selkath to offer important citizens of the Empire and Republic a place to stay and call their own on Manaan, as we saw in the original KotOR with the hotel in Ahto City. Whether they'll still think that's the best idea when they see what some Players may do with their esteemed new property remains to be seen. After all, I'm saying this as someone whose Yavin temple is literally crammed full of Republic Guardsmen just to make some form of point.
Of course, something else which makes Manaan special is, well, Manaan itself. If you were to ask veterans of the KotOR series what their favourite planets were, expect Manaan to top quite a few lists. This is largely because of just how peaceful the ambience is; the architecture's clean, the water's serene, and the music helps to set the scene.
That rhyme wasn't intentional. It just happened.
In all seriousness, the music is a very large part of what makes Manaan so memorable to so many people, including myself, and I know a lot of people will be very disappointed if that beautiful theme doesn't feature somewhere along the line.
As mentioned at the start of this section, Musco hinted quite heavily at what this Stronghold was going to be, in a post which also contained information about the prices.
- Stronghold Unlock: 2,500,000 Credits/2,500 Cartel Coins
- Room 1 - Interior Expansion: 2,000,000 Credits/1,400 Cartel Coins
- Room 2 - Rooftop Garden: 975,000 Credits/800 Cartel Coins
- Room 3 - Deepwater Sanctuary (South): 1,450,000 Credits/1,150 Cartel Coins
- Room 4 - Deepwater Sanctuary (North): 1,450,000 Credits/1,150 Cartel Coins
- Total: 8,375,000 Credits/7,000 Cartel Coins
You can see what I meant by "small"; this is only five rooms in total! This Stronghold, despite its maximum size, is still relatively expensive, though still ends up cheaper than the entire Yavin IV Stronghold by roughly 5,000,000 Credits/4,000 Cartel Coins and the entire Tatooine Stronghold by 2,250,000 Credits/3,100 Cartel Coins.
Clearly the Selkath are in dire need of more of an income to tide their Kolto production over before the inevitable discovery of Bacta makes it redundant.
There will also be a new Decoration bundle on the Cartel Market, simply filled with Manaan-themed Decorations. I'm a huge fan of Decoration bundles so I'm really looking forward to what's being included here. We don't yet have any idea of what exactly will be included at the moment, however, so we'll just have to wait and see.
I'm interested in seeing which planet they choose next. Hopefully it'll be something sensible once again that doesn't entail risk of daily intrusion by neighbouring pirates or savage locals, but it's never sensible to guess with these things. Rumours persist that they'll make Vaylin's palace from Chapter VI of Eternal Throne into a Stronghold itself, which I'm not a particularly huge fan of. Much like Yavin, it's just far too big, and therefore harder to decorate appropriately, for my liking.
On the other hand, I can't see why my desired Alderaan Stronghold wouldn't also fall afoul of this size issue, given the nobles' preference for castles. Hmm.
Advisor in Skimpy Clothing
5.2.2 allowed Players to change the gear of Theron Shan and Shae Vizla, which also unfortunately allowed people to see that for some reason Shae wears brown undergarments. Hey, maybe her line of work is just that dangerous.
5.3 is following this up by allowing us to customise the gear of Koth Vortena and Lana Beniko. Okay, so this is the "punishment" Patch, then; I can just imagine all the images which show Koth running away and then accepting his fate wearing pink versions of Jori Daragon's loincloth and XoXaan's tunic...
Lana being made customisable is not going to be... pleasant. There are already far too many people running around with her as their Companion as it is, and now she'll be able to be put into Slave Girl or Dancer gear or anything else which is for some reason deemed as "alluring". Sigh. It's a good thing I'll have Manaan to keep me occupied to just hide away from Fleet...
One thing which I am interested in seeing is how they've adjusted Koth and Lana to make them customisable. Both use fairly-unique body frames and their clothes were also a part of their model, hence why they were so much more 'realistically-rendered' (e.g. baggy, not skintight, trousers and rolled-up sleeves) than clothes which Player characters and other Companions can wear. If they 'simplify' their current outfits so that they match their rather quite awful Cartel Market equivalents rather than their nice unique variants, I'll be extremely disappointed.
This now only leaves Senya and possibly Arcann, Hemdil Tre, Veeroa Denz, and Rokuss as Companions who 'need' to be made customisable. I'm looking forward to the day Veeroa in particular is potentially made customisable if only because, like a lot of alien species (this also affects Gormak and Arcona) which only show the head or hands, a Nautolan has no proper skin texture. Her gray, 'dead', and featureless skin should hopefully deter people from putting her in skimpy clothing just for the sake of it.
Unless this is fixed, in which case there is a nice positive here in that it's the first true step towards Nautolans actually being made a playable race.
Back to the main point of this section. As much as I'm not a huge fan of the outfits that will inevitably be seen being given to Lana and Koth, part of me is interested to see the inevitable sport of "Koth humilitation" which will emerge as part of this, and I'm somebody who actually likes Koth!
Those Darn Pesky Bugs
It's nice to see them actively commenting on bugs which they intend to fix before they implement the fixes, since it's something nice to look forward to.
For me there are a number of standouts here. The first is that the Nightlife Decorations can finally be donated to the Guild, which will doubtless be very useful for creating a 'proper' social area; the second is that we can finally search for items on the GTN with two-letter words properly; the third and final is that the annoying glitch on Ziost with the droids self-destructing and yielding nothing is being rectified. Oh, huzzah!
Yeah, not much more that really stands out to me. There's something for pretty much everyone here except PvPers, so there's going to be a lot of diversity about the most important things being hopefully fixed.
On the whole, 5.3 looks very solid. We're seeing the first Stronghold since 3.3, another Operations fight, and people who want to stick Lana and Koth into whatever outfits they deem appropriate can do so.
One thing is missing, though; in the initial stream when Gods from the Machine was announced, they stated that with the release of each next boss the previous boss would receive a Master Mode iteration. As it is, there is presently no sign that TYTH will be seeing a difficulty upgrade, which is perhaps a good thing given that a lot of groups have yet to down him even in Veteran Mode. It's not good for those Players who have already beaten him in both difficulties and will likely go on and beat the twin sisters in Veteran shortly after release, of course, because they doubtless would have appreciated a bit more of a challenge.
Still, it should be a good Patch nonetheless.