03/02/2015

Revan Annoys Me

When I completed the final Revan fight on Yavin 4 for the first time, I thought that it was pretty epic. It was a very cinematic finale to what I considered to be a solid story. Of course it was also bugged, which didn't cast a great light on Bioware, but you know... at least the encounter looked like a good idea in principle.

Since then I've repeated the fight more than a couple of times, sometimes on alts going through the story for the first time, sometimes because it's also a weekly quest that rewards a sweet 192 companion weapon. And the more often I do it, the more it annoys me.

The problem is that the awe caused by the story and cinematics wears off when you see them for the umpteenth time, which causes your focus to shift towards the basic gameplay mechanics of the encounter instead. And those are pretty terrible for two reasons:

1. Your actions don't actually matter (except during the "orb phases").
2. You spend way too much time being stunned.


Just another day on Yavin 4...

I'll admit that the first point is a matter of preference, as there seem to be a lot of people who really enjoy ambling about in the wake of a nigh invincible NPC while they just get to enjoy the scenery. That's why people love the new solo flashpoints, and that's why people loved the Battle of Undercity in WoW. I disliked both. If you just want to show me something without gameplay getting in the way, show me a damn cut scene, and make it a good one. But don't force me to run around and "pretend" to fight while nothing I do actually matters because the NPCs actually have everything under control.

The weird thing is that in early guides to the encounter there was mention of Revan starting to cast an ability towards the end that would kill you if you didn't interrupt it. I also remember seeing him start to cast this when I enlisted my guildies to brute-force the encounter while it was still bugged (though we never allowed him to finish his cast, so I don't know how devastating that ability's effects actually were). However, when Bioware fixed the major bug in the encounter, they apparently also took out the one ability that may have actually required the player to act.

I'll admit that the initial implementation of this mechanic may not have been the best anyway. Revan casts multiple things, so one might have been tempted to interrupt one of his other abilities first, and with the new and improved much longer interrupt cooldowns introduced in 3.0, this could have turned out to be fatal in a very annoying way when - surprise, surprise - a new and even deadlier ability suddenly showed up at the very end when your interrupt's already on cooldown. But making the player's actions in combat completely irrelevant instead was not a good solution either, as it just turns the entire encounter into a giant bore-fest.

This is compounded by point 2: the sheer amount of stuns that Revan has. I'm not against stuns in principle - especially in group content they give people a good reason to use crowd control. But in a solo encounter where you're pretty much invincible anyway, they just take you out of the game for no real reason.

It's easy to complain about there being "too many" stuns, but I actually wanted to be able to back my claim up with numbers - so I recorded my Guardian as she was fighting Revan, counted how many times she was stunned and for how long, and put that into perspective compared to the total duration of the fight.

In its entirety, the encounter lasted about 6 minutes, 15 seconds, or 375 seconds. The two orb phases took up about 110 seconds in total, leaving 265 seconds of actual fighting, which is about four and a half minutes. In that time, my character was stunned 14 times, with most of those stuns lasting 6 seconds each. Or in other words, I spent more than a quarter of an already tedious fight being incapacitated, which actually surpassed even my most dire estimates. And this was a fight where my character managed to dodge a couple of stuns as well.

Do I really need to say more?

Basically, story can make people overlook bad game mechanics the first time around, but if you make content repeatable it really has to be able to hold up better than this.

11 comments :

  1. Do you not have any anti-knockback tools?

    On my Sniper, I avoid the vast majority of stuns by Entrench-ing at appropriate moments. And then rolling out of that one attack if necessary.

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    1. My Guardian has a brief window of knock-back immunity after leaping, but obviously I can't use that at will. I seem to recall finding out on my Commando that Revan ignores a trooper's Hold The Line (which is supposed to prevent knockbacks). Two of the stuns can also be interrupted, but considering how long the cooldown on interrupts is these days (and just how many stuns Revan has) there doesn't seem to be much point.

      I can definitely see how Gunslinger/Sniper would be a special case for whom the fight isn't as much of a pain though.

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  2. I agree with a lot of what you say here. I too find the fight annoying, and there's just no rhythm to it. I get bounced around, can't really complete a rotation, or build up stack of whatever. Not that any of that is needed.

    One thing I started doing this week was using a tanking companion in 192 gear. I find that helps a lot to take much of Revan's focus off of you. Still not great, but helps.

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    1. I may try it with a tanking companion next time just to see if it feels any different. So far I've mostly been using DPS companions in hopes of making the fight at least a little bit shorter.

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    2. I *never* go in here without a tank pet anymore. Believe me, it will make the fight a lot shorter just because you will not be stunned all the time. Player DPS vastly beats companion DPS anyway; it's better to have that companion stunned most of the time than you being stunned most of the time. It is safe to spec DPS and go with a tank companion: the NPCs will keep you (and him) healed up in my experience.

      It still is an annoying fight, though, I grant you that.

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    3. I just wanted to say that I tried with a tank companion for the first time today and it made a world of a difference! It didn't exactly make the fight not annoying, but Lord Scourge eating at least half the stuns certainly toned down the annoyance factor significantly...

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  3. I've not finished the Revan fight with 3 toons because the last fight is so boring. :X I mean, the first time was great because I could experience it without others demanding that you know the mechanics or not get invited (which is, regrettably, happening on the HM60 FPs. But at this point, I'd rather just run the Revan fight with others for something new.

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    1. Oh yeah, I've definitely found myself wishing that it was a group phase instead of a personal phase. At least then we could group up and share the pain of the many stuns around a bit (while still completing the quest for everyone).

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  4. Is Revan an OPS boss? Just curious, since if he is I'll likely not see him.

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    1. He's kind of both. When you do the last quest on Yavin, you're given a choice of either completing the mission by doing the operation; or doing the dailies and then killing Revan in a solo mode fight.

      After you've done that, the solo-mode Revan fight becomes a weekly. It gives you a companion weapon, which is very nice.

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  5. I completely agree with everything you said. The problem persists in Knights of the Fallen Empire where almost all bosses (and minibosses) stun and knockback left and right, and these also last for 4-6 seconds. It's just very unengaging and poorly designed gameplay.

    Story: thumbs up.
    Gameplay: Major thumbs down. At least as a melee character. Haven't tried a ranged on those fights.

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