24/01/2014

More Rakghoul Adventures

I've now killed the Eyeless (the instanced event boss) on three of the four available difficulties, with 16-person hard being the only one I haven't done yet. I have to say that it's not exactly an encounter full of innovation, as his mechanics are limited to bad circles on the ground and add spawns, but it can still be a fun fight. If nothing else he's very "puggable" as no lengthy "when X happens, do Y" explanations are required. When I wanted to go for 16-man story mode with ten of my guildies, I just put a LFM request in general chat, invited everyone who responded and within a minute the group was full. I should've spent time checking people's class and gear, you say? Bah! Not needed. Not even level matters anymore, as you get bolstered to fifty-five inside story mode at least (not sure about hard). One of my guildies brought his Scoundrel healer who's only in his thirties and seemed to do just fine.


While I'm not sure about bolster in hardmode, the difficulty seemed very puggable from what I've seen, and I usually avoid pugging hardmodes. On one of the 8-person hard runs I did, two of our four damage dealers died (repeatedly, as combat res came off cooldown twice!), the fight went on for something like fifteen minutes and we still won. We expected to hit the enrage timer at any moment, but either the boss doesn't have one (which would be very unusual for a hardmode) or it must be very lenient, considering that we could complete the fight with half the suggested dps.

I also found out that there is actually a good old-fashioned open world boss on the surface as well (called Shellshock), even though he isn't part of any achievements or required for any quests. I can only guess that Bioware decided to keep his presence a bit more low-profile to reduce the rate of spawn-camping? I know that it's quite hard to ever find the Ilum world bosses alive, what with them being required for a quest and achievements. Shellshock is quite popular anyway, as one of his bind on pick-up drops is required to buy some of the more prestigious event rewards. But more on that later.

There are also a couple of strong champions roaming in the tunnels that are required for achievements, and it's hard to ever find those alive either. I have yet to see the Catalyst dead or alive, and I've only run into the Tunnel Lurker twice. Once I was fleeing from some PvP-flagged Imps and had other things on my mind, the other time people attacked him basically instantly and he died before I could even get close.


Some of the achievements and the cost of the more interesting event items are pretty insane in their requirements, needing either an insane amount of luck, a heavy amount of spawn-camping and grinding, a significant financial investment (as some currencies can be traded) or a little bit of all three of those. I've seen people criticise this, but as much as I've hated on RNG-dependent mechanics during previous world events, I don't actually mind these. Why? Because Bioware took it to such a high level that expecting to get everything this event has to offer done within a week is outright insane, so I don't think that anyone is expected to. I haven't seen the official confirmation yet, but from the fact that a reputation is tied to the event, it's pretty much bound to be reoccurring. I'm ok with not getting everything done right here, right now. I like the idea that I'll still have things to work towards whenever the rakghouls come back.

Another one of the crazy achievements is to kill a hundred PvP flagged players in the tunnels. I kept out of the PvP action initially, but at one point I saw some guildies forming a dedicated PvP group and decided to join them. They had been racking up a nice amount of kills before I arrived, but unfortunately (for me) I chose to show up just as the Imps had mustered a proper resistance force consisting of a whole raid group full of skilled and PvP geared players, against which the hodgepodge Republic force didn't stand a chance. We quickly got pushed back onto the ledge leading to and from the Republic base, where we engaged in a sort of stand-off for what felt like ages. Every now and then an Imp would try his luck and jump up, and every now and then we'd even manage to kill one of them, but more often than not people fell or got pulled down and just died within seconds. Not a very successful night for my achievement hunting then, but it was still fun.


Overall I'm really enjoying this event so far, even if a lot of it has a bit of a "been there, done that" feel to it in terms of mechanics (e.g. the way they handled the daily quests and the ops boss feels quite similar to the Gree event). I get the impression that the SWTOR devs generally like to slowly improve on what works instead of constantly trying out new extremes (unlike the guys at Blizzard for example). The downside of this is that sometimes things will feel a bit "samey", but I think I still prefer that over constantly having to worry about my way of playing being turned completely upside down with the next patch.

Based on how active the Rakghoul Tunnels are, I think that the event is receiving an overall positive reaction from the player base as well, though as usual you can find some people complaining on the forums that others puking on them on the fleet offends their sensibilities. Unfortunately some people will never be happy as long as other players are able to affect and interact with them in some way. Personally I think that Bioware has struck a really good balance with the vaccine allowing you to be completely unaffected though. Maybe consider the option of letting it persist through death to make things easier for lowbies and PvPers.

Personally I quite like to get infected occasionally and blow up in a big group of people, but there are also times when I really don't want to get stunned in the middle of a fight, such as when in a hard PvE encounter or while engaging in PvP, which is when I'll use a vaccine too. It's just funny to me how much more annoying the effects of the plague feel this time around compared to Tatooine. I'm not sure whether the stuns and puking are actually more frequent now than they used to be or whether it's a psychological side effect of having the exact stun percentage listed on the tooltip (which definitely wasn't the case on Tatooine), but especially on a character with a lot of cast-time abilities it feels massively disruptive now if you're actually trying to play while infected. I know that I see a lot more vaccinated people on the fleet than I ever saw during the first event, and getting the "infecting others" daily done can actually be quite a challenge due to that.

5 comments :

  1. Boy, I'm having a harder time infecting people than I thought. Seems that everyone on Alderaan is inoculated already, so I have to go back to the fleet to do it. And I've not been lucky enough to last long enough to get back to the fleet yet. Of course, I've seen the reactions of people who DO make it back --"You asshole!" was a milder term-- so maybe its for the best.

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    1. Not sure why people would get so pissed off on the fleet. When I'm just banking or browsing the GTN, it really doesn't matter...

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  2. Here's how I get my daily in a single blow (hasn't failed yet, on 8 separate attempts): Go to the medical droid on fleet, there's usually a lot of people there. GTN area is a good second option, also has good amounts of people present to be infected.

    My first (and thus far only) experience with PvP in the tunnels was when I was trying to right-click Jeelvic, and accidentally clicked the tagged imp that was jumping around there instead. It led to a lot of hilarious situations after that, being in a group with 3 fellow guildies. Hopefully over the weekend I have some time to take my shadow and/or assassin into the tunnels specifically to PvP.

    PS. I'm the sage that responded to your LFG earlier. ;-)

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    1. Oh, and another tip: If you don't want to be affected by the coughing fits, just mount up, then it won't affect any browsing or anything. I don't really understands the complaining either, it adds a fun element to the event, that spreads beyond just the area in which the quests take place. That's a good thing, it ensures a broader involvement of players. :)

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    2. I've tried both of those spots with mixed success. Sometimes there are just too many people in the crowd that are already infected or inoculated.

      And it's always nice to meet readers in game! Makes it feel like a small world. ^^ Sorry we didn't get to group up, but when you're just LFM dps, people pretty much fall over each other to join and the group fills up within seconds, hehe.

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