13/07/2013

Level 50 Flashpoint Nerfs

Another thing I spent a lot of time on during the last couple of double experience weekends was running level fifty flashpoints, mostly on hard mode, but some of them on story mode as well. It got me thinking about how some of them have already been nerfed over time, even though the game is only one and a half years old.

As a general rule, I'm not completely against gradual nerfing of content, as long as it's not done as a kneejerk reaction to people struggling on day one, when everyone is undergeared and has no clue what to do, and as long as it's done in a thoughtful manner, by reducing requirements only where it's most needed instead of applying blanket hitpoint and damage reductions.

The flashpoints where I found the nerfs the most noticeable myself are:

The Esseles (hard)

I cannot swear for sure whether Ironfirst's head shot has been nerfed, but I recall wiping a lot to him whenever we failed to interrupt it during our earliest visits. However, this is something that we simply might have outgeared over time.

One boss that has definitely been changed however is Vokk and his lightning storm. It used to be that it hit so quickly after the warning circle appeared on the ground that it was basically impossible to accelerate out of it in time if you happened to be standing still at the moment it appeared, especially since more than one tick from the lightning meant that you were dead. Due to this, the only way to avoid it reliably used to be to basically keep moving throughout the entire fight and only stop every so often right after he had just cast lightning storm (since you were then safe in the knowledge that he wouldn't immediately cast it again).

This has been changed to give people time to actually move out of the purple circle before damage starts ticking, even if they are stationary at the moment when it appears. It still hurts a lot though. This is actually a nerf that I approve of. The mechanic hasn't been trivialised, but it feels less twitchy now, and classes that can't operate as well on the move aren't at as much of a disadvantage as they used to be.

Maelstrom Prison (hard)

This flashpoint contains one of my least favourite nerfs in the game, and that's the one applied to Colonel Daksh and his optical implants. It used to be that you absolutely had to avoid his eye lasers, as more than one hit from them meant that you were dead. A tank could maybe survive two, but that was it. Kiting him around the boxes off to the side wasn't massively challenging by itself, but while the tank was on the run he was at risk of losing aggro and having the boss suddenly turn and nuke someone else. Line of sight issues for the rest of the group were also a consideration. I had many a wipe on this guy back in the day.

Now, I can understand why this encounter was nerfed, but I really don't like the manner in which it was done, which was basically to reduce the eye laser damage by such a high amount that it's become completely trivial. Any class can pretty much just stand there and tank the boss throughout the entire thing now, as long as they continue to receive heals. Pointless! I think there would have been other ways to make this fight easier, for example by increasing the boss's cast times, without making his unique mechanic completely irrelevant.

False Emperor (either)

The first thing that always strikes me when I do this flashpoint is how much of the trash has been removed since launch. To be fair, there was a lot of it, probably more than in most other flashpoints, and it's not as if any of it was particularly challenging... but it's still a bit strange how empty the place is now, especially when you spend long stretches of the instance running through abandoned corridors on what's supposed to be a space station bustling with activity.

The thing that really makes me sad every time I run this flashpoint though is what they have done to Malgus himself; I think it was only done in 2.0. Considering that he's a key NPC, his fight was designed to be one of the more epic small group encounters in the game. Most notably he became invulnerable towards the end of the fight, and the only way to finish him off was to make him fall to his doom down a nearby chasm via use of knockbacks, in a moment that's very reminiscent of the Emperor's death in Return of the Jedi. For classes that didn't have a knockback ability, grenades with a similar effect were available at the door.

Now, this could be another tricky encounter, and again it's one where I had a fair number of wipes in the day. Malgus becomes very hard to move once he gets low on health due to his chain-casting of uninterruptable force lightning. All the while there is also the risk of him casting his "unlimited power" insta-wipe ability which needs interrupting, or him using a knockback on someone who's poorly positioned and sending them to their doom. To successfully knock him off, you also needed to apply two knockbacks in a row, as he resisted if you only used a single one. This obviously required some coordination.

Again, I can kind of see why Bioware decided to nerf this encounter, especially considering that level fifty flashpoints aren't endgame anymore. There were just too many things that could go wrong and cause a wipe. However, I was still sad to see that the way they decided to go about it was to completely remove the need to knock Malgus off the bridge. He simply never goes invulnerable, so you just continue shooting or stabbing him until he falls over. The grenades are still there, but completely redundant. It feels extremely anticlimatic, considering how big a part he plays in the story beforehand and that the rest of the fight isn't really that challenging. Again, I can't help but feel that there would have been different ways to make the fight more accessible without completely draining all the flavour from it, for example by making Malgus easier to move and only requiring a single knockback.

Which nerfs have other people noticed?

3 comments:

  1. The biggest nerf I can actually remember (most of the fights you listed got easier when you out geared them anyway, I tanked mentor on my sent pre 2.0 cos we locked the tank out :P ) is Zorn and Toth Story Mode, there is literally no punishment for standing in range of fearful, not even the tiniest amount of reflected damage nor is there any real punishment for killing one before the other as the enrage damage is pathetically low, again in the same instance another big nerf would be Kephess himself, his damage just feels week in contrast to when he first came out I remember watching the tanks hp spike up and down and thinking god I'm glad I'm not healing. They're the two biggest ones I can think of.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, I wasn't even thinking about ops when I wrote this, just flashpoints. But yes, EC story is definitely a prime candidate. Also with the indestructible shield generators on the tanks! I suppose these would usually be the kind of nerfs I hate, what with completely making certain mechanics irrelevant, but I guess I don't mind so much in this case because the mechanics are still there on the higher difficulties and to be honest I did think that EC story was way overtuned at release. While my fairly casual old guild did manage to complete it after a couple of weeks, it still felt incredibly demanding for what was supposed to be the "accessible" difficulty mode.

      Delete
  2. Basically all level 50 normal mode instances are nerfed to the ground. In battle of Ilum, Serevin no longer casts 1-shotting spell that must be interrupted, and at the boss who flashbanged everyone and summoned very hard-hitting adds, the adds now cannot even kill a sorc who uses force storm on them. Directive 7 can be 3-manned with no tank. Sav-Rak is now the most deadly boss of the Lost Island (other bosses don't have 1-shotting move). You do not have to CC probes in Kaon Spaceport robot fight any more, with a good tank you just AOE them down (with the bad tank they tend to disperse but at least they don't 2-shot non-tanks any more).

    ReplyDelete