26/01/2012

Colicoid War Game

It's been over a week since I did this flashpoint, but I still wanted to write about it because it really left an impression on me. I would describe my first experience with it as both hilarious and horrible, and I immediately found myself wondering whether it would turn out to be the SWTOR equivalent of WoW's Oculus back in WOTLK, a.k.a. an instance that took you far enough out of your comfort zone that most people ended up hating it and avoided it like the plague.

Obviously in discussing the details of the flashpoint, this post will contain spoilers about what happens in it, but I don't think that there's any reason to worry too much about it - there isn't really any story beyond what Master Satele tells you at the start, which is this: The Colicoids have lots of weapons for sale, but instead of simply handling trade like normal people, they want any potential buyers to go overcome a deadly obstacle course in order to prove themselves. What a ridiculous idea, why do we have to bother with this again? Oh, the Empire has already agreed to participate and we can't let them win? Sigh... I wouldn't be surprised if Imperial players got told in turn that they have to go because the Republic's already doing it.

Anyway, our group entered the flash point, saw some friendly Colicoids, entered the competition area... and was presented with four gun turrets in the middle of a field.

Nooo, not a vehicle fight!

Funnily enough, it wasn't actually that... vehicular? You just had to aim the gun at the enemies and it would shoot on its own. Silly us actually sabotaged ourselves on our first attempt because we expected there to be more button pushing, so we kept clicking and mashing keys, which just caused us to get dismounted over and over again. I even managed to make my gun turret disappear completely and we had to reset the flashpoint to get a new one, because three guns simply weren't enough. Take note, this is the first flashpoint where you definitely can't supplement your group with companions, you absolutely do need four real people.

Now, even though the gun firing turned out to be extremely basic, we still wiped on this encounter three or four times. How hard can it be to shoot a bunch of slowly advancing unfriendly Colicoids? Harder than you'd think, apparently. Specifically, there are some that start shooting from range, and if you don't target them fast enough, they'll seriously mess you up.

Anyway, eventually we finally got a message that we had apparently passed this trial, with me dead and everyone else on low health but alive.

Phew, let's move on... to another four gun turrets. Let's do the same thing again, only harder! /facepalm. Fortunately the encounter didn't actually seem to be that much harder, and we managed to beat it on the first attempt - though lots of enemies were still alive by the time the completion message came up, and they ended up killing all of us except our Shadow, who had the good sense to vanish when we got overwhelmed.

Still, that was the gun turret part of the flashpoint done. Next we died in a corridor full of rock-hard droids that wiped us until we made sure to use proper crowd control.

As we emerged from that corridor, I found myself reminded of... Huttball? What? Don't worry, they didn't actually make us play that in there, but the scenery with all the ramps and fire certainly bore a certain resemblance to The Pit. Some droids were patrolling the area too, so we pulled the first one... and learned that they all have a knockback, as more or less the entire party went flying into the lava below. This would quickly become a theme, because even though we knew about it now, it was still easy to accidentally get too close while trying to avoid the fire. Fortunately the rule of people falling down being funny still applied, but it was happening at such a high frequency that it came close to actually grating on some people's nerves.

All these things were just distractions though, as the real obstacle of the area were a bunch of linked forcefields that could be disabled if someone held a button down in a certain place. The idea seemed to be something like: one person holds down the first button, which opens the forcefield to the second button, so someone else then goes to press that to open the forcefield to the third button... it wasn't really too complicated, but I couldn't honestly claim to remember the details because I found that the droids and the fire were quite distracting. We only really muddled through because someone else managed to keep a clear head and figured out what to do in what order. It didn't help that the droids appeared to be on a short respawn timer as well, so someone caught on their own between force fields could suddenly find themselves facing a droid too. Good times.

Just like with the gun turrets, once wasn't good enough, and the Colicoids made us go through the whole spiel twice. At least it was smooth sailing after that: just a light side/dark side choice that was actually quite entertaining, a couple more mobs and then the last boss.

All in all, I had a lot of fun, but I have to say that I'd definitely be weary of pugging this one for a while. Vehicle fights, rapidly respawning droids that kill with knockbacks, and force field leapfrogging take a certain amount of patience to appreciate.

7 comments :

  1. I'm only level 30 on either of my characters, so I don't really have the world's best experience with flashpoints, but you've really scared me - particularly with that Oculus comparison. Granted I never really pug because I have enough friends to not, but... okay, that's a lie, I've pugged some heroic 4 man quests before, and those were small nightmares even without having to worry about the dreaded vehicle fights. Playing with pugs you learn really fast that the most basic of mechanics are going to slaughter everyone.

    And oh god, knockbacks...

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    1. Haha, don't be scared, it's not that bad. And there's no 3D movement! My group actually laughed a lot during our run, just be patient and prepared to die a couple of times until you figure things out.

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  2. I actually did this one more or less at level!

    The turrets were easy once we realized that we shouldn't click the mouse buttons or do anything other than use the left/right arrow keys. And if you aim between mobs, you can usually hit two.

    That middle section is horrific, especially when you get two droids, because the droids spread out making the tank more likely to be knocked off.

    The end section was pretty normal. Honestly, I think that middle section has one too many elements. Eliminate one of the fire, knockbacks, or respawning patrol droids, and it would be pretty solid.

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    1. That's a good point and I have to agree. I could easily do without the fire or the fast respawns in specific; it wouldn't really take away much but still make the whole thing a lot more manageable.

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  3. The deeply non-intuitive about the Turrets is the fact that (a) we don't actually fire them, we only steer them, and (b) it's FAR easier if we face inwards and shoot past our party members. Facing outwards, as the guns start, it's so easy to get swarmed and feel that you're being whacked from behind without any recourse, by mobs that have slipped into the dead zone in the middle. Turn the guns around, and that dead zone is gone.

    About the Fences part, it's actually possible to use the closed gates to stop yourself being thrown off. Put your back to a forcefield and just beat the robots down. It's also intended that the robots further in the maze are weaker and can be soloed quite readily by the people sent to open the last gates.

    Oh, and the keeping the gates open is Channeled, so you have to tell people to stay on that console till the puller brings the next robot back a bit to kill.

    It's a fun instance in retrospect, but what I dread is having to explain it to people that have never done it before...

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  4. I have only done this flashpoint once and we wiped 4 times before coming up with a plan. What we did, is I (healer) did not mount any guns, I actually jumped on top of the whatever that thing is in the center of the guns and healed. The other 3 turned around and shot over each others shoulders creating a cross fire. Worked like a charm.

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    1. Yeah, we tried that too at first after my turret despawned. Didn't work for us at all though.

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