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Feedback and Suggestions for the Person(s) Placing Hooks in Strongholds

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion > Suggestion Box
Feedback and Suggestions for the Person(s) Placing Hooks in Strongholds

JediBoadicea's Avatar


JediBoadicea
07.29.2017 , 02:01 AM | #1
First off, let me start with a thank you to the dev team for giving us not just one but two new Strongholds this year! I was ecstatic to finally get Manaan, and am really looking forward to the unique idea of the Umbara train. I wanted to start with that thank you to make clear that I really do appreciate the work you are doing and what we are getting... because the rest of my feedback here is going to be a little forceful. I only feel as strongly as I do because I love Strongholds an awful lot.

This is primarily feedback, but intrinsic to it are suggestions for how things could be better. The main feedback here is this:

Whoever is laying your hooks in Strongholds is giving the impression of having never decorated a Stronghold ever. This began to feel very apparent in Yavin 4, and Manaan took it to a whole new level of hair-pulling rage and frustration. But whereas in Yavin 4 it just felt like your hook-layer wasn't very familiar with decorating optimally, in Manaan it felt like your hook-layer's goal was to make geometric art with the hooks, as opposed to anything actually even functional for decorating.

Hook layout should follow one very simple principle: place the largest hook possible for a given space, so long as that hook comes with layout options to break it down into smaller hooks. I would have thought I didn't need to explain why this is so, but looking at the hooks on Manaan I feel like maybe I do. A larger hook that can be broken down gives you options. If you start with the smaller hooks you have instantly eliminated greater than 50% of the decorations in the game from being used.

The rest of this post is going to try elaborate on this principle, with specific examples (including images) that point out exactly where the hooks in Manaan were rage-inducing.

Exterior Manaan - By the Fountains. There is absolutely no reason this row of Smalls couldn't have been a row of Medium Narrows. A row of Medium Narrows could have been broken down by the player into a row of Smalls if that's what the player wanted. As it stands, I now can't put any benches here, or more than half of the Environmental decos, or any number of decos from the Civic category. I get the feeling the hook-layer imagined a bunch of soldiers or flags here, and that's nice and all... but this is about giving us the freedom to do what we imagine. Place the largest hook that will fit, and let us decide how we want to break it down.

Exterior Manaan - By the Waterfront. There is absolutely no reason these hooks couldn't have been Mediums. There is ample room. In fact, there's no reason there couldn't have been a Large here, but at minimum Mediums for pity's sake. I could throw out names of all sorts of decos that could have been used here if the hooks were Mediums, but the specific decos don't matter - what matters is there's no good reason to limit us to only decos that would fit on a Medium Narrow here. I feel like the hook-layer was just trying to keep to the sleek Manaan design by framing the waterfront edge with svelte hooks instead of blocky Mediums. But it's not about complementing the angles of the SH. Place the largest hook that will fit, and let us decide how we want to break it down.

Manaan Exterior - Promenade. There is absolutely no reason this couldn't have been two Medium hooks. There is plenty of room. I feel like the hook-layer just thought the combination of a Medium and a Medium Narrow was prettier when looking at it in Editing Mode. That's not the point, guys. Place the largest hook that will fit, and let us decide how we want to break it down.

Manaan Rooftop Garden - Main Room. This is, I think, the most egregious piece of evidence behind my argument that your hook-layer seems to have had making geometric art as their principle goal. Look at this beautiful pattern: Medium, 2 Smalls, Narrow, 2 Smalls, Medium, 2 Smalls, Narrow, 2 Smalls, Medium. It's symmetrical, it frames the central space, it alternates colors in a pretty pattern. IT'S COMPLETELY IRRATIONAL FOR DECORATING PURPOSES. (I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I know caps are obnoxious... I'm just really passionate about this, guys.) The very fact that there are Mediums in this row is evidence that even the hook-layer realized Mediums would fit just fine. This should have been a whole row of Medium hooks. If we wanted Smalls or Narrows, we could have broken it down ourselves! By taking away that choice you are just limiting our imagination, and the satisfaction we get from exercising it! I mean, aside from the row I've already called out, this one picture has two more examples in it of the geometric art insanity: That row of 8 Smalls could have been a row of Narrows! Those two Narrows by the doors could have been two Mediums! There's more than enough room! I don't care about the pretty patterns, guys. I want to decorate.

Manaan Entrance Hallway. Here we have a Medium Narrow next to two Smalls. Typically this is something we see when a Medium has been broken down... but in this case it's enforced; a pair of Smalls completely disconnected from a Medium Narrow. Why? Why?? Is it because there's some geometry in the floor that has a slightly raised edge in the back where the Smalls are? If that truly will destroy a hook laid across that barrier then... okay, I guess. But in the event that wasn't the reason, and this was just arbitrary, please consider that this makes no sense. Just make this a Medium! If we wanted it to be a Medium Narrow and two Smalls we could have made that choice for ourselves! As it stands, by enforcing only the two smallest hook sizes available you are eliminating more than 50% of the decos from being used in here. Place the largest hook that will fit, and let us decide how we want to break it down.

Manaan Rooftop Garden - Outside Space. There's no reason this couldn't have been two Mediums as opposed to three spaced out Medium Narrows. Again, this seems to have been an aesthetic choice based on how things look in Editing Mode. Two Mediums, when broken down, would have given me the option of 3-4 Narrows if that's what I wanted. By enforcing the smaller hook rather than placing the largest that will fit in the space, you're just limiting my freedom to access my full inventory of decos.

Manaan Underwater Observatory - Center Room of Small Horrors. This is the second most egregious example of the crazy. The screenshot may not show it clearly, but the hook I have selected is one of the Smalls in the middle. The point here is that what you're looking at is a 5x2 grid of enforced Smalls with two enforced Narrows in the back. Guys... a Large hook has built into it already a grid of 3x3 Smalls. If I wanted a bunch of Smalls here I could have MADE IT by using the Large hook. Instead what I have here is a space more than large enough for a Large that is just taunting me. I could have put any variety of Furniture Arrangements in here, or Technological pieces, or Manaan Submersibles, or whatever the heck I felt like putting in here. Instead 75% of the game's decos are impossible to use in here, because I have no choice except to deal with a grid of Smalls. Just.... agahaghagaghaghagahgaghagagagh

Manaan Rooftop Garden - Evil Corner. Why in the world is this Medium Narrow not a Medium? There's ample room; just look at the comparison to the Medium hook visible here, to gauge space. This isn't about making a pretty blue shape to complement the corner! This should be about giving me the freedom to put, oh, I don't know... a couch and table here? Which would have, you know, required TWO HOOKS.

Manaan Rooftop Garden - Arbitrary Framing. What was the rationale behind making the sides of this space have a row of Narrows, while the end of it had a row of enforced Smalls only? Other than the geometric art? Those Smalls should have been Narrows. Place the largest hook that will fit, and let us decide how we want to break it down.

Manaan Underwater Observatory - Side Rooms. Why is this row of Smalls not a row of Medium Narrows? I don't need a pretty picture frame, I need freedom of choice! Place the largest hook that will fit, and let us decide how we want to break it down.

Okay, okay... <we're breathing... we're breathing... we're calm...> So I was probably a little obnoxious up there. The repetition was deliberate, of course, because it feels like it bears repeating.

I love Strongholds. A lot. If this post doesn't make that obvious, perhaps this other one does. I am grateful to have Strongholds, and I want the team to know their work is appreciated. But... for pity's sake... please reconsider your approach to laying hooks. Remember that this is about giving the players the freedom to create... not about making pretty pictures with the shapes.

Sorrai's Avatar


Sorrai
08.02.2017 , 12:03 AM | #2
I absolutely, unequivocally support every single word of this.


My profound gratitude goes to Jedi Boadicea for taking the time and energy to articulate so many of the glaring flaws that has made the experience of decorating Manaan a total nightmare. The images you provided as examples are absolutely spot on. Again, my sincerest thanks.

Keith, if you are the man in charge, then please, please do something about this. There needs to be a serious meeting with the Stronghold team because it has become all too apparent that THEY SIMPLY DO NOT GET IT. Echoing what Jedi Boadicea already said, it is abundantly clear to me that whoever was in charge of laying down hook tiles for Manaan is grossly incompetent and needs to be replaced by someone with a comprehensive understanding of the limitations and challenges the decorating community faces with the hook system! The hook layout for Manaan is intolerable.

Normally, I try very hard to offer as much constructive feedback as I possibly can, but the overwhelming disappointment and frustration I experienced with the Manaan stronghold dealt a serious blow to my morale. I'm a relatively level-headed and reasonable fellow, but this fiasco just took the wind out of my sails. It was so disappointing I could not even muster the energy to post my grievances to the forums. How does one even begin to untangle such a massive train wreck? Was this really not obvious to any of you? I am sadly disappointed by the utter disregard and short-sightedness demonstrated by the Dev team. Manaan is an incredibly bittersweet pill to swallow. It was something the community had been requesting for years and, when it finally arrived, it was like opening up a gift box only to find a bomb inside.

I put a considerable amount of thought and resources into my Stronghold layouts. I have spent countless hours and resources acquiring decorations and toiling over every hook tile in order to create something that brings me a lot of satisfaction and enjoyment. I find it completely unacceptable for a Dev team to lack the fundamental understanding required for a project they are responsible for implementing.


This can still be fixed so, please...


fix it.

Deewe's Avatar


Deewe
08.02.2017 , 03:08 PM | #3
  1. Great detailed feedback
  2. Wish there was a Stronghold team
  3. Hooks sucks. (Long before SWTOR, LotRO already proved it's not a good system).
  4. Mitigation:
    • Increase drastically hook axis range tweaking
    • Merge all hook categories. (If players want to drop a large item into a small room let them.)
    • Add 3rd axis tweaking
    • Allow to scale decorations
    • Add pan/tilt decos
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Kurj's Avatar


Kurj
08.03.2017 , 09:26 AM | #4
Great stuff, OP. /signed. I'm very thankful for the new SHs too, but better flexibility in decorating would make that new content even more fun.
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Estelindis's Avatar


Estelindis
08.03.2017 , 09:45 AM | #5
Amazing feedback. Agree 100%. Thrilled to get new strongholds but would love for the above principles to be applied to hook layout.
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xordevoreaux's Avatar


xordevoreaux
08.04.2017 , 08:57 AM | #6
Not to mention the set of enforced smalls on the lower level...in the middle of where people need to walk.
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BenduKundalini's Avatar


BenduKundalini
08.04.2017 , 12:11 PM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Sorrai View Post
I absolutely, unequivocally support every single word of this.


My profound gratitude goes to Jedi Boadicea for taking the time and energy to articulate so many of the glaring flaws that has made the experience of decorating Manaan a total nightmare. The images you provided as examples are absolutely spot on. Again, my sincerest thanks.
This.

As a nolifer who has spent three years decorating strongholds, I've stopped at 8% in Manaan. Nothing I can do there, really don't even feel like it. For some reason.

Xina_LA's Avatar


Xina_LA
08.10.2017 , 06:47 AM | #8
I hope they fix the hook layouts, but even more than that, I hope they fix the numerous bugs.
Here's the thread where many of them have been reported: http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=927080
The hook layout is terrible, but even worse are the dozens of hooks that permanently eat certain categories of decorations.
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JediBoadicea's Avatar


JediBoadicea
08.11.2017 , 12:12 AM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by Xina_LA View Post
I hope they fix the hook layouts, but even more than that, I hope they fix the numerous bugs.
Here's the thread where many of them have been reported: http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=927080
I certainly hope they'll fix the bugs! Sadly, often retroactively fixing something that's already been released is harder to get on the docket, because so many resources are already dedicated to the next thing.

Which brings me to my feelings after having seen some previews of the new Umbara train SH... where the hooks already make me want to cry. I saw a lot of the same stuff I called out in this post here, with hooks seemingly placed for the sake of the patterns they make, leaving vast swathes of space completely bare of hooks where much larger hooks could be.

There's not a whole lot of time left before the new SH comes out, but guys, there is still some time!!! Please make sure the message gets bumped to your hook layer person that they need to make sure they aren't making geometric art with their hooks, and instead are actually giving us usable spaces!!! The entire center of your train cars shouldn't be EMPTY, guys. Not everyone is going to want to make a passenger train with an aisle; it's not about forcing us to conform to your hook-layer's imagination of what they want us to do with it, it's about letting us decide what we want to do with it.

EHKodiak's Avatar


EHKodiak
08.11.2017 , 03:15 AM | #10
I'm just thankful we're getting new strongholds. Yes the hook layout could be better, but meh, I'll work around it.