For my first Flashpoint Friday I've decided to post about a flashpoint about which I've apparently never posted before on this blog: the Imperial-only Boarding Party.
Boarding Party is the first of the two mid-level "Revan flashpoints" on Imperial side. (The Republic has its own two faction-specific flashpoints, which tell the first half of the story.) In the low thirties you can pick up a quest on the fleet called "Call to Arms", which asks you to first complete Boarding Party, and then the follow-up flashpoint The Foundry. The gist of it is that the Emperor "allowed" an unknown, powerful Jedi master to escape from his clutches (/cough), and his trail has led the Empire to the Foundry, an extremely powerful installation which is currently in Republic hands. Of course the Empire can't let that stand, but since the Foundry is so powerful, any attack on it will have to be sneaky. You need to steal a Republic ship, which you can then use to infiltrate the Foundry. This is what Boarding Party is about: You're off to board the Republic cruiser Dorin's Sky.
The trash mobs in Boarding Party consist of random Republic soldiers, droids, and a bunch of Jedi. You kind of have to wonder why the Dorin's Sky has so many (not even particularly competent) Jedi on board! None of them really stand out as noteworthy. About the most interesting thing that can happen with the trash during a pug run is that someone accidentally knocks a mob down into the pit located about halfway through the flashpoint, which then ends up pulling a bunch of mobs from below.
Back when the level fifty hardmode of this was endgame, it wasn't surprising that a lot of people liked to skip as much trash as possible. There is one section in particular where this involves some jumping however, and I pretty much always fail on that one and end up pulling. I fully expect this behaviour to make a comeback once this flashpoint is scaled up and becomes relevant endgame again.
The boss fights are a mixed bag, with some slightly boring ones and a couple more interesting ones. On the more boring end we have the first boss, a droid that zaps people with electricity, and Lieutenant Menerus, who is so forgettable that you could almost miss the fact that he is a boss. "Storm Squad" at the end is also pretty tank-and-spank, though it's clearly beneficial to kill them in what I would say is the logical order (meaning first the medic, then the security chief, then the big guy).
What makes the other fights a bit more interesting is that they try to challenge the group's ways of dealing with crowd control and kill order. Major Alvena comes with two droid adds which are best CCed until she'd dead, because they spawn additional adds when they die, which can wreak a considerable amount of havoc if it happens at a bad point in the fight. Jedi master Do'nair appears to have a similar gimmick in the form of two Jedi healers, however if you start off by CCing them, he will immediately free them at the start of the fight. He also has super stealth detection and hits like a truck, so it can be beneficial to try to just burn him down quickly and then deal with the two healers afterwards. If your dps is decent, they won't stand a chance of keeping him up.
The most interesting encounter in my opinion is the bonus boss, which is why I'm always sad when people don't want to do it. It's about stopping the ship's power core from overloading and involves killing the ship's chief engineer and his two powerful droid guardians while generators overload all around you, hurt people and knock them back. Again the fight encourages you to deal with the problem of adds in a different way, as this time the adds will enrage if you try to kill the boss first, so you're better off focusing them first. This is definitely one of the more challenging low-level boss encounters.
Story (spoilers I guess?)
The story is pretty straightforward - you board the ship and fight your way to the bridge to take over. What is notable is that the ship's Togruta captain keeps sending troops after you with gusto, until she finally threatens to blow up the ship rather than letting it fall into Imperial hands. Not exactly endearing, but personally I can hardly blame her under the circumstances. I have however found that a lot of Imperial players seem to find her extremely annoying and can't wait to get to the bridge, where they have the option to choose the conversation option "Someone shut this woman up", which causes one of your soldiers to knock her out with the butt of his rifle.
"Is this some great victory to you?" - Captain Yelto and crew
At the end you also get to choose whether to take the crew prisoner or shoot them. I always feel bad when my party chooses the latter option, because there is this sad shot of two of the Republic crew members holding each other's hands before they get killed.
No matter which faction I'm playing, I always try to make sure to do the two "Revan flashpoints" on each new alt, even if I'm not really taking said character into instances otherwise. It's no wonder that this is one of the flashpoints to which Bioware will add a solo mode in KotFE, because it's a story you don't want to miss. It just gets a bit tedious when you're grinding this at max level because the trash mobs are quite numerous and not particularly interesting.
Note: Writing this post actually reminded me once again how much I miss having a comprehensive database for the game. TORCommunity is working on theirs, but it's still pretty bare-bones and there is no section for NPCs for example. After I had written the first draft of this post, I actually realised that I hadn't paid enough attention to all the bosses and their abilities the last time I was in the instance to be able to remember them all. Since I didn't have a good site to look things up, I ended up re-running the flashpoint purely to gather more information for this post. Life's hard when you actually have to do your own research!