03/06/2012

Explosive Conflict Completed

This past Wednesday my guild cleared Explosive Content on normal mode for the first time. After we spent all of Sunday night wiping to Kephess over and over again, often missing out on killing him by just a smidgeon of health, it felt well-earned when we got him down on what was only our second attempt on Wednesday.

I have to stand by what I said in my early impressions of the operation, specifically that story mode feels considerably overtuned. Again this isn't really a personal complaint as I enjoyed the challenge level that we came up against, but we were already mostly Rakata geared when we started. I just can't see any raid group going straight from Eternity Vault and Karagga's Palace story mode to EC and having any success there. I think this is definitely a case where Bioware either needs to nerf the content to bring it in line with story mode progression, or they need to redefine what exactly the progression curve is supposed to be. However, requiring clears of the previous hard mode to get into the newest story mode strikes me as sort of defeating the point of having a story mode (that is to say, a decidedly accessible one) in the first place.

I suppose for now I can only recommend that if you are in a guild that is struggling with normal mode EC, try going back and getting some Rakata drops from hard mode EV and KP first. (You don't necessarily have to clear the entire place on hard.) I know it's called hard mode, but with the current design EV and KP don't really require any more skill on hard than on normal, only more gear - which is what you should have accumulated naturally after successfully clearing both on normal mode first.

Minor story spoiler ahead I suppose: at the end of EC's one-time operation quest, you briefly get to meet the same bad guys that indirectly caused Karagga to go rogue through their expansion into Hutt space. I wonder if the next operation will feature them as bosses, whether they are going to be built up as a threat any further by causing some more trouble from a distance first, or whether it will be about something completely different.

I really like how Bioware seems to be tying it all together, even if all those little connections might be slightly wasted on people. I mean, after playing all these different characters week after week (remember, the game encourages alting), who can remember every little detail of every quest? I had actually completely forgotten about the connection to the ending of Karagga's Palace myself, but then I got to do the one-time KP quest on my Sage on Friday and had an aha moment when I was reminded of how it all fit together. Really, it's all interconnected so well that you probably don't just have to play all the different classes to 50 to get the full story, ideally you would then have to do some of the first ones you did all over again, just to take note of all the things you missed the first time.

Another fun note about the baddies at the end of EC was the fact that when they first appeared, I had the following conversation with my boyfriend:

Him: "Uh, I know those guys."
Me: "Oh? How so?"
Him: "I was the one who set them free. On my Sith."
Me: "That's what you get when you let people play Empire alts..."

Just more evidence of the interconnectedness.

I suppose it's just a shame that the 1.2 operation didn't last us longer than a month on normal mode, even with a very limited number of nights devoted to working on it. With 1.3 not containing any new raid content, PvE endgame will be a bit dry for the next couple of months.

On the plus side though, I expect the group finder to invigorate interest in flashpoints and the first operation tier, so it will be a good time to get some alts geared up. And well, in terms of progression my guild still has nightmare EV and KP left, as well as EC hard obviously, which is supposed to be very tough. It's not the same as getting a new story, but chasing after Campaign gear should tide us over for at least a couple of months.

We might even be able to get some 16-man raids going, though I'm not holding my breath for that. It's kind of funny, because from what I can tell the game currently offers zero incentive for going for the larger group size... but there is this other guild on our server that seems to be really keen on teaming up with us to do 16-mans anyway. I suppose we're just that awesome. And well, if we do get the people together for it... I guess there is little harm in at least giving it a go.

6 comments :

  1. Time for some single-player action :)

    Give Mass Effect a try, it's pretty easy to pick the first one up for a couple of quid on ebay; I expect Steam sells it cheap also.

    I've generally been quite glad to get some downtime once content is beaten, either for playing alts or other games altogether. There's a lot of content out there! Equally, I find it a bit annoying when Guilds attempt to enforce heroic progression to "keep people in the game". IRL if we have a quiet day I'm generally very happy to let people slack off work an hour early. I personally don't see why lulls in content have to be a bad thing.

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    1. Nah, I play single-player games very rarely these days. It's more fun with other people around! And SWTOR has a big chunk of solo action left for me to do anyway.

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  2. You are so right about needing Rakata for this. It seems silly to need rakata for an ops that drops rakata... but that's the way it is. We backed off from EC for 2 weeks and went back to HM EV & KP for more gear. We then came back to EC and started making serious progress. I'm pretty sure we will clear it soon.

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    1. I do wonder whether it would be doable in full Columi and I'm thinking maybe... but the players would have to be godly and never mess up even in the slightest I think.

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  3. So the baddies at the end of EC would be a group of people from a planet with lots of ice? Now I'm really really curious how the same looks on the Imperial side.

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    1. Erm, I think so, but I've been told that they are not friendly with the Empire anymore either. So I expect that the Imperial cut scene must be similar.

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