26/05/2013

The Shroud Revealed And Other Heroics

It took me over a month, but I finally finished the main quest lines about the macrobinoculars (the one about the Shroud) and seeker droids (the one about the Dread Seeds). The following post will contain some spoilers about their quest mechanics, but none about the story.

The reason it took me so long to finally get these quests out of my log is that they follow what I'd call a rather old-fashioned philosophy of quest design, in that the majority of each chain can easily be soloed, but then ends in a [Heroic 4] that actually requires four people. Usually I wouldn't have an issue with this as I'm happy to group up even for stuff that can be soloed, and Pet Tank and I routinely tackle [Heroic 4]s with just the two of us... but the soloable part of each chain is really long and tedious at times (lots of travelling from planet to planet), which doesn't make it particularly attractive as a group activity even at the best of times, and there are parts of the [Heroic 4]s that actually require a full group of four due to multiple people having to click on things in different places.

Since the first couple of steps of both chains were really rather dull, I only worked on them when I felt that I had nothing better to do (which was not that often), and when I finally got to the heroic bits I wasn't sure who else in the guild still needed them. Pugging seemed like a rather unattractive option for something that required considerable coordination, and assembling a random group seemed like a pretty difficult proposition anyway, seeing how the group finder is no help when it comes to these quests, and the people who are currently progressing through them are bound to be scattered all across the galaxy (which makes "looking for more" in general chat rather difficult).

Eventually I ended up making a post about it on the guild forums which netted me a few volunteers, and Saturday afternoon we finally had the right number of people online at the right time to get started with a group consisting of me, my pet tank, Mogle and a certain Squishy Shadow Tank.


What am I looking at in this screenshot...?

First we did the Dread Seed heroic, which I had attempted once before in a group of three, but we failed to complete it at the time as the monster from the next-to-last fight seemed to heal up faster than we could kill it with our limited dps. This time around we fared much better and it wasn't much of a struggle. I still have to give credit where it is due though and say that I really liked that monster fight for being interesting and atmospheric.

On the next encounter we learned that standing in pools of water with electric currents running through them is not healthy. Who knew?

The Shroud heroics were where things got really interesting though. The first one involved an epic chase across the top of air cars flying through the streets of Nar Shadaa. I had fun bouncing from taxi to taxi for a bit, though I was absolutely terrible at it and fell to my death many times. Mercifully, the developers put in checkpoints of sorts, which allow all members of the group to leapfrog ahead once a single person passes them, which meant that I eventually got to the end purely thanks to other people's jumping skills.



The second heroic was even madder though, with plenty of mechanics that made full use of the four player requirement. I suppose that at its core, a lot of it pretty much came down to simultaneously pushing buttons in different locations, but the details certainly made things interesting. In one instance Mogle's Sage and I had to leap down to a lower floor to reach two consoles and then couldn't find a way back up once we had done our clicky bit. Fortunately duelling was allowed in the phase, so we challenged Pet Tank and Squishy Shadow to one each and they yanked us back up. I have my doubts whether that was the intended way of doing it though...

My absolute favourite bit was when we gained access to a shielded security console, and I immediately had a go at it to "press the shiny buttons". I then promptly got locked behind an impenetrable shield that seemingly left me with no other option than to continue pressing the buttons on the console. The really funny part however was that people then accidentally pulled a group of mobs without me and died, and then all the mobs came to me, trying to kill me... except that I was invincible behind my shield! The rest of the group eventually revived and picked them off the pile on top of my head one by one, but it sure was funny while it lasted.


Can't touch this!

It's worth noting at this point that we didn't use a guide or anything but rather figured everything out ourselves as we went along. While I've previously struggled with some puzzles in the game, such as the ones on the Theoretika, I have to admit that a challenge like that in a [Heroic 4] is quite fun. With four people working together and everybody providing some input, you're pretty much bound to figure things out after a little while. I do shudder to think what parts of this quest must be like for a group without voice chat though, especially the bit which required multiple people to press buttons in the right sequence without anyone being able to see anyone else (other than on the mini map).

Doing the whole thing with guildies though, I had an absolute blast, even if the entire exercise took quite a while. As one of them put it, it felt a little bit like a flashpoint (think Colicoid War Game but more complex), with lots of mechanics that were just familiar enough that they were relatively easy to figure out, but at the same time different enough to provide an interesting new challenge. All I can say is, if you're anything like me and have been sitting on those heroic quests for a while because they felt like a pain to get a group for: do put the effort in; the experience is definitely worth it.

3 comments:

  1. I'm glad you have fun with it! (And no, I didn't read the details because... well... spoilers.)

    ReplyDelete
  2. FYI, there's a steam pipe on the right near where the first obvious button is. That lets you use it to get back up from below.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I'll have to keep an eye out for that if I get to go again some time. :)

      Delete