10/06/2013

Scum, Villainy And Surprises

Some time ago I realised that while I wrote a first impressions post about Scum And Villainy two months ago, I never followed it up with any further thoughts. A commenter even asked whether I ever got to see the whole operation, considering that said first impressions post was about a run where we only killed the first five bosses.

I have indeed seen the whole thing by now; in fact I've run it quite a few times since then. Mostly I can simply stand by what I said in my original post: great story progression throughout the op, and some very original fights. I still love the Operations Chief and the silly shenanigans that he seems to inspire in my guild. My favourite so far was the one time when we fought him on 16-man and by the time we'd finally downed Blue Team, about three quarters of the ops group were dead. Then someone stealth-resed me, and since I was out of combat I could start a chain to get the entire group back on their feet before we proceeded to the actual boss encounter. Probably not quite working as intended, but funny as anything.


I suppose if I had to mention any negatives I'd say that a couple of the fights are kind of long and repetitive after the first time you do them, namely Olok and Styrak. Olok is the worst in my opinion, because both the credit stealing at the start and his constant vanishes at the end provide little in terms of challenge and just make the fight take forever. Styrak is a bit better because at least he keeps you on your toes throughout the whole encounter, but the alternating add phases ("big thing" and "little things" as a certain ops leader would say) do seem to go on for much longer than needed in my opinion.

I also have to confess that I'm getting just a little tired of the Dread Masters turning out to be the baddies behind every single operation except Eternity Vault. I hope Bioware won't make another five operations following the same pattern (based on Styrak's "five remain" comment as he dies). Just give us an epic finale where we finally defeat them for good and then let's move on to something else; how's that?

Generally speaking, I've been having a really good time with operations in the last couple of weeks, which honestly came as a bit of a surprise to me. While I was trying to maintain a positive attitude in my Operations Blues post from about a month ago, things weren't looking particularly rosy at the time. My group kept wiping on hardmode Operator in TfB and it kind of set everyone's teeth on edge, probably not so much because of the wiping itself, but because almost all of us had successfully done it at level fifty before and I think we were all kind of feeling as if we'd regressed.

And then the wind just changed one day, we walked in and one-shot the big droid, and then one-shot Kephess as well. Terror didn't go down that same night, but we did get him later.

In Scum And Villainy we cleared 16-man story mode, which was oodles of fun, and not just because the minions that Styrak starts out with are currently bugged and have only minuscule amounts of health (which encourages everyone to charge in at the beginning and make it a big free-for-all).


I wasn't particularly hopeful about making any kind of progress in hardmode S&V any time soon, seeing how the consensus seemed to be that it was harder than TfB, and we had already struggled a bit there (and that even though we knew the fights inside out).

Then Squishy Shadow Tank (who's already cleared all the content) put a S&V HM run together one night, taking the lead on his Sage healer alt. I was invited as well and certainly excited about the opportunity, but considering most of the group's lack of experience I didn't expect us to kill more than one or two bosses, even under Squishy's expert leadership.

Then we went on to kill all the bosses except Styrak that night. Wowie. We had some wipes, mind you, but it still felt like a crazy amount of progress for a single night.

Tonight we did another HM run with our usual team, and we pretty much breezed through the first six bosses. We had a couple of attempts on Styrak as well, and even though we hit the enrage timer waaay too early, the fight felt very doable in terms of mechanics. If we keep getting our damage dealers a couple more gear upgrades and everyone practises squeezing out just a little bit more dps (including the healers), we should see him downed soon enough.

And then we'll be ready for the new nightmare modes coming in 2.2, woohoo!

It's rather funny to have gone from pretty much no hardmode progression straight to 5/5, 6/7 within a couple of weeks, and with no major changes to the group or tactics.

4 comments :

  1. I'm just glad things are working out for you, Shin!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with Redbeard. It's good to see that your Operation Blues couldn't dampen your spirits. Personally, I would not have taken things this lightly! Being "benched" is simply unacceptable for me.

    If I remember correctly, however, you weren't really sure if you wanted to enter the "raiding game" at all in SW:TOR and now just look at you ... I do hope you're having a good time :)

    Have you cleared all Operations on all difficulty modes? What - if any - are your experiences with completely random Group Finder Operation groups?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Boy, do I ever remember all the doubts I had about whether I wanted to raid again at all! But I'm in a good guild and SWTOR operations keep hitting the spot for me. Maybe there's another post in that some time, looking at the reasons for that.

      I've cleared most difficulty modes at some point or another:
      EV&KP: all difficulties on all sizes
      EC: everything on 8-man except the last boss on nightmare (might go back for that at some point if I get the chance), just story and the first boss on hard on 16-man
      TFB: all (current) difficulties on 8-man, story only on 16
      S&V: everything but the last boss on hard on 8-man, story only on 16

      I've only done one or two operations via the group finder. The "problem" is that it's very unpredictable if you'll get a pop at all unless you're bringing one or more of the key roles. Easier to do it with the guild really! Old-fashioned group finding ("LFM!") still co-exists with the group finder, and the boundaries are fuzzy. As such, from my limited experience, group finder pugs behave in a similar manner to "old-fashioned" pugs and have a similar chance of going wrong (or right), depending on whether you've got people willing to take the lead, explain strategies etc.

      Delete