Under the sea
The long anticipated player housing on Manaan has made a real *splash* in the galactic real estate market!
If you really want to get in the mood, push play below and listen to this Manaan music as you “dive in”, Sorry, I’ll stop.
↓ Press play for music ↑ Press play for music
Read on for my impressions of the brand new Manaan stronghold. There will be some screenies and spoilers further down but I will warn you when we get there.
For absolutely everything to do with the the Sisters of Carnage Game Update, including this stronghold, class changes and more, tune into Vullk’s realtime livestream of 5.3 on YouTube or check the replay at Vulkk.com
Welcome to Waterworld!
Wait, not that one!
The Manaan stronghold is compact but it packs a solid punch whether you like the lore or the shore. The new stronghold location is not only stunning but Manaan has a rich history. Did you know that we healers owe a lot to this waterworld, as it is the only naturally occurring source of Kolto in the galaxy!
Manaan in Knights of the Old Republic
“Manaan’s an unusual place. Not for its water, mind you… it’s the kolto. Healing juice. Only place where it occurs in the galaxy.“―Jolee Bindo, KOTOR
This underwater wonderland, inhabited by the amphibian Selkath species, was home to the only source of Kolto, which was the primary healing agent used before the advent of bacta. At one point, the perpetually pushy Rakata enslaved the Selkath for the furtherance of the Infinite Empire. Later, Revan himself visited Manaan. Throughout history, Republic and Sith both tried to take control of this world for its resources but the Selkath were determined to remain neutral. Staying out of it is pretty hard to do in Star Wars, so you can guess how that went…
Manaan in Star Wars: The Old Republic
The devastation of the planet Manaan was an act carried out by the Sith Empire during the Great Galactic War, sometime between 3681 BBY and 3653 BBY. After centuries of hiding in sectors of space unexplored by the Galactic Republic, the Sith returned to the known galaxy and initiated their crusade against the Republic’s member worlds and other planets. In their campaign for dominance, the Empire traveled to the water world of Manaan, a planet known for its staunch devotion to neutrality during periods of war. The Sith refused to accept the native Selkath’s tradition of impartiality and bombarded the planet, destroying almost all of Manaan’s free-floating surface structures. As a result, the Selkath species entered a period of extreme isolation from the galaxy, and it was many years before they reestablished contact with the rest of galactic civilization, though they remained wary of both the Republic and the Sith Empire. –From “The Setting”, background from the SWTOR offical website ca. 2011 via wookieepedia.com
Players in both KOTOR and SWTOR have a chance to visit Manaan. In SWTOR, this has been limited to a pivotal flashpoint (*waves at Lana and Theron*) and small surrounding area with some Shadow of Revan cutscenes. There is no explore-able world of Manaan in game currently, but it has long been requested by fans.
The new stronghold is set in the ocean with portions above, below and at sea level. Invisible walls prevent cliff diving and an immediate exhaustion zone is an effective anti-swimming measure. But if you were hoping for a dip, there are plenty of centerpiece hooks for your Luxurious Spa arrangement.
Speaking of hooks, there are 700 of them spread across five areas. There are a starting area (sea level plaza) and four additional expansion areas: interior access corridor, the Deepwater Sanctuary room 1 & 2 and the rooftop garden (indoor and outdoor portions).
The cost has been widely published but just in case you missed it, this is how much it will set you back:
- Initial Stronghold unlock: 2,500 CC or 2.5M Credits
- Room 1 – Interior Expansion: 1,400 CC or 2M Credits
- Room 2 – Rooftop Garden: 800 CC or 975K Credits
- Room 3 – Deepwater Sanctuary (South): 1,150 CC or 1.45MCredits
- Room 4 – Deepwater Sanctuary (North): 1,150 CC or 1.45M Credits
- TOTAL for everything 700 Cartel Coins or 9.5M credits
In my opinion this is fairly priced and not too shabby when you look at the cost of previous strongholds, especially given ingame inflation since the launch of Galactic Strongholds over 3 years ago. (I love that expansion- Legacy storage is the best thing evah!)
|Location||Initial Cost||Cost for all expansions|
See Dulfy.net for more information on previous stronghold costs and guild HQ unlock costs.
Inside the Retreat
**Spoilers Start Here**
For me the highlights are mostly to do with style. The Selkath homeworld is sleek and elegant. The tranquil setting is enhanced by the music and ambient sounds and the stronghold boasts a unique feature: an underwater observatory where you can pull up a Selkath chair and watch the space fishies swim by.
The hooks are mostly very well placed with lots of max configuration and an abundance of centerpiece hooks (unlike Coruscant *cough*). There is only one starship hook and it appears to be inaccessible to the player. You can reach it for decorating but can’t travel to it. Hmmm. This is unfortunate since I really like how my interactable Odessen Command Center deco looks here. Minus 5 points.
Initial Unlock: Landing Zone
This is at sea level and very serene, that is until you add your animal mounts, jukebox collection and a few Gambler’s Party Floor decos! There are lots of hooks of all sizes covering a good portion of the space. As I mentioned earlier, you can’t swim from here. The water is insta-death.
There are a LOT of small hooks lining the pathway into the building and I think I would be hard-pressed to use them all. I mean I can see lining my companions up, or a lot of datacrons and I could probably make something work, but I am leaving most of those hooks empty for now. This doesn’t matter much to me; I’m okay with empty hooks and a less-than-full completion status. However, if you are going for 100% stronghold completion- either for conquest or because you are lovably OCD- this might result in some clutter.
This aside, I think the arcade between the placid fountains is lovely and I predict that quite a few RP weddings will be happening here (I’m talking to you, Ebon Hawk.)
First Locked Door
This is actually a sizable unlock. At first you think you’re just getting the corridor, and it is true that the first bit of this is basically a hallway. It reminds me of a submarine but I bet you have a better imagination than I do and will turn it into something incredible. But there are two more areas included here, downstairs and upstairs on the lift. For me, the real magic starts when I take the elevator down to the underwater observation area. I could just chill and watch the sea life go by all day. Well not really, I am a bit hyper for that, but I did stand still for something like 30 seconds to take it all in. I’ll discuss the upstairs room after we explore the rest of this level.
Second and Third Locked Door
These lead to two identical rooms, one on each side of the observatory with windows into the underwater world. I think they did a good job with hook placement here and the configurations are customizable enough to make each room look totally different. They kindly unlocked all the doors to the rooms rather than have symmetrical access doors to the same room require a separate purchase (e.g. balcony on Nar Shaddaa or Coruscant.)
Fourth Locked Door
For the last area, you take the elevator up to the “Rooftop garden” which is actually two rooms, one inside with lots of windows and one area that is an outdoor courtyard with sweeping vistas and an invisible safety wall to keep you from becoming a statistic.
The indoor room is actually part of the the first unlocked area, (see above). I love the this room, it’s massive and I feel the sky(light) is the limit as far as what players can do in here. As elsewhere, there are lots of hooks and versatility here, though a few more rug hooks might be nice. To me, as the cruise director (i.e. social event coordinator) of my guild, this room screamed DISCO! so I am going with a cantina theme here.
The door to the outdoor courtyard area is the fourth and final unlock. This is a rectangular space with a variety of hooks including two centerpieces.
My Speed Decorating Video
Decoration is very much a matter of personal taste (and budget) so what appeals to me might not grab you, but this is what I came up with. I knew in advance that I wanted to lean heavily on Zakuulan items to add luxury and a sense of quiet wealth to this retreat. But I did not want to leave Iokath or Selkath furnishings out either! When I heard that there was a Selkath-themed decoration pack hitting the market, I lost my mind. So I came up with a what we’ll call a blended style. 🙂 I am sure I will find ways to fine tune this and change it up and that’s half the fun!
Here is my 90 minutes of decorating reduced to 5 minutes. I will be showing off the finished project on Kid Lee’s stream today and then I will update this post with a walkthrough video as well.
Short update video showing decos in place
Kid Lee’s Manaan Livestream
In Summary, I think Manaan makes a solid addition to the stronghold offerings and I see it as a direct response to player feedback, which earns extra points. The community has asked for more strongholds and this has been a popular location request. The price is fair for what you get and I think there are a lot of decorating themes that would lend themselves quite smartly to this location.
The stronghold has a less palatial and expansive feel than some of the other locales, notably Tatooine (still my favorite) and Yavin 4 (too spread out to be very practical, in my opinion.) This can be a plus or a minus, I suppose. I like compact and concentrated housing but some may feel limited here, and it is possible that one could tire of the placid blue view. Along those same lines, there are some opportunities to expand this stronghold, and I hope SWTOR takes them. There are vast areas that are closed off and could be developed. Finally, we really should be able to access our starship hook.
I think the team has done a great job with the feeling of the place, the art and design are lovely and some light ambient sounds add to the overall atmosphere. As I have mentioned, I think that hook placements are overall quite good with some exceptions. Decorating this stronghold is fun and I think it’s a worthwhile investment for the amount of time you’ll potentially spend here, both designing your décor and throwing lavish parties once it’s finished.
Well, that’s it from me but I can’t wait to see what everyone does with their oceanfront property! So please, send me pics or link me your TOR Decorating submissions!
Incidental find: Sunset Over Manaan official video