Even though they were released over a month ago, it was only this past week that I finally got around to trying the hardmode versions of the new 3.0 flashpoints, Battle of Rishi and Blood Hunt. (This is not a bad thing by the way. It's nice when the content is coming out faster than I can actually work my way through it.)
Since I had heard that both of them contained at least one very hard boss, I made sure to get a full guild run together for each one. I'm glad I did it that way, because things got pretty rough at points in both flashpoints.
Commander Mokan in Battle of Rishi is probably the most elaborately designed bonus boss I've seen in the game so far, even more so than the droid boss in Depths of Manaan. He has a whole room to himself that is unused in the tactical version, with clickable things on the tables, and his mechanics are fiddly and extremely unforgiving. The short of it is that there's a stacking debuff going around that needs to be at 3-4 stacks at just the right time or you will die... yet if the debuff ever reaches five stacks, you also die instantly. I don't think it's hard to see how that can be quite difficult to get just right. He's pretty much a mini version of an operations boss, and even with a group that knew the tactics, communicated on voice chat and was way overgeared for the encounter (everyone was in a mix of 192/198 gear), we still wiped many times until we got him down.
I would say that he's overtuned, especially considering that it also seems to be pretty important to have a second dispeller in addition to the healer, but then again, he's "just" a bonus boss. If you're in there with a random pug, you can just skip him and it's no skin off anyone's nose.
The really scary fight was Jos and Valk Beroya in Blood Hunt's hardmode. Specifically we found that during the phase when you fight both of them at once, one of them casts a stacking debuff on the tank that increases damage taken, while the other one spams a high damage ability every now and then, with the result that even in our highly overgeared group I was unable to outheal the incoming damage from that combination. The only way we eventually managed to beat the encounter was by having one of the dps players off-heal whenever another high damage phase came around. I would imagine that you could also work around it with a dps that can taunt off the tank on occasion, but neither an off-healer nor an off-tank are guaranteed in a four-person group, so having that as a requirement to successfully complete the flashpoint just seems wrong.
All in all I was very much reminded of the discussion surrounding the difficulty of level 50 hardmodes at launch, and then again when Lost Island was released. Comparatively speaking, the level 55 hardmodes were relatively easy on release. I never wrote a post about the hardmode flashpoints that came with 3.0, but I thought that they were about on par with the level 55 ones, except for a couple of tough bonus bosses.
Blood Hunt and Battle of Rishi feel more like a throwback to an earlier time, and I'm not against high difficulty in small group content... but I do feel that it's a bit of a problem in this particular case. In a post group-finder world you are expected to frequently run instances with random strangers, which is not at all compatible with high difficulty, and unlike Lost Island back in the day, Battle of Rishi and Blood Hunt don't have a separate category in the group finder, which makes running a random hardmode flashpoint a lot less appealing now, considering that it's complete luck of the draw whether you get something relatively easy or an absolute killer.
Also, at least level 50 HM flashpoints gave tier gier equal to what you could get in normal mode operations back in the day. In Shadow of Revan, Bioware decided for some reason that flashpoints could not be allowed to drop anything worthwhile at all. It's not really a big deal to me personally since I mostly gear up in operations, but it does strike me as incredibly bizarre that the default drop from a hardmode flashpoint boss is a piece
of blue 184 gear. I mean, you can buy gear better than that from the
basic comm vendor pretty much the instant you hit level 60 - using basic comms which you received while levelling. The effort/reward ratio is just completely out of whack here.
Have you successfully completed these hardmodes yet? What did you think of the difficulty? Would you dare to brave them with a random group?