08/07/2016

Flashpoint Friday: Mandalorian Raiders

... because it came up in my Assassin's random queue and I haven't covered it yet.


General Facts

Mandalorian Raiders is the last of the six story-light levelling flashpoints available to both factions that were in game at launch. That is to say - it's the last one that I haven't covered yet; in terms of the original levelling curve it was designed for levels 23-29, making it third in line after Hammer Station and Athiss. It didn't originally have a hardmode version but received one with the release of Rise of the Hutt Cartel.

These days it's available from level 15 onwards as a tactical and from level 50 onwards as a hardmode instance, like most flashpoints. Like its other story-light brethren, it doesn't have a solo version.

Fights

Mandalorian Raiders takes place on the Republic battlecruiser Allusis, which has been hijacked by the Mandalorians of Clan Varad. Their troops consist of Mandalorian warriors, their pet hounds and - as pretty much in all flashpoints - loads of droids.

The environment is your typical ship interior and therefore not very interesting, though attempts have been made to spice things up a bit with things like a bunch of lifts, but they don't really add that much.

A lot of the trash is however actually fairly challenging, with some pretty large packs here and there. Especially the ones with multiple hounds can be quite deadly.

Mandalorian Raiders features three boss encounters (plus a fairly nondescript bonus boss on hardmode), and all three of them are actually fairly interesting.


First there is Braxx the Bloodhound, a Mandalorian with two untauntable pet hounds that do more damage if they are close to him. If you have a tank, the strategy is generally to tank Brax somewhat off to the side, while the rest of the group tries to kill the hounds, who are usually jumping around like mad, constantly switching targets. If you don't have a tank, this fight takes on a whole new level of manicness.

Secondly we have the Boarding Party - which uses the premise that both factions are after the Mandalorians and takes it to an interesting new level. Basically you enter a room with a whole bunch of Mandalorian forces in it, when the back wall suddenly gets smashed, burying the Mandos, and a boarding party of the opposing faction comes through, consisting of one member of each base class of that faction. They cannot be crowd controlled, which makes the early stages of the fight pretty crazy, with what's effectively four bosses all over the place. They also get madder and madder as you kill them one by one, so that you want to make sure to kill the last two close together or the last enemy standing will be so buffed that your group runs the risk of being wiped out by powerful AoE.

It's worth mentioning that the Republic and Imperial boarding parties get treated as different bosses by the achievement system, meaning that this flashpoint requires twice as many runs on hardmode as any other to reach 100% achievement completion (as you need to do each faction's version 25 times).

Finally there's the clan leader himself, Matrix Mavrix Varad, who repeatedly leaps towards different corners of the room and summons turrets there. The trick is that these turrets need to be killed before you continue attacking the boss himself, or he'll go on to the next corner, summon more turrets, and you'll get overwhelmed. I remember having quite a few interesting wipes on him throughout the years.

Story

Clan Varad of the Mandalorians has decided to break with the rest of the Mandos (who support the Empire) in order to "search for battle", as the Empire is not offering them enough of it. For this purpose they have hijacked a Republic battlecruiser and are now running rampant raiding both Republic and Imperial colonies, giving both Republic and Empire a reason to hate them. You board their ship and fight your way through it to regain control. About halfway through, you get the option to either trap (light side) or kill (dark side) some engineers to create a disruption. The crisis ends once you have defeated the clan leader himself.

Conclusion

Like most of these early levelling flashpoints, Mandalorian Raiders features mechanically interesting boss fights and some challenging trash pulls, making it very engaging instance in terms of gameplay. In terms of atmosphere however, I always found it a little lacking, even compared to its siblings which also don't feature a very in-depth story. It doesn't feel as unfinished as Red Reaper, but just lacks a certain something in my eyes to make it truly memorable. There is a reason I didn't feature it any earlier in this series, and that's because I keep forgetting that it even exists! Hammer Station is a flying superweapon, Athiss features varied environments populated by dark Force users, Cademimu is just plain fun, Colicoid War Game is all about the puzzles, and Red Reaper has an intriguing back story. Mandalorian Raiders has.... um, Mandalorians?


This may well be personal bias speaking here, as I'm simply not very fond of the Mandalorians in general. They remind me a lot of the Klingons in Star Trek, and I never liked those very much either. Both are meant to be intriguing warrior cultures based on a code of honour but in practice usually end up being incredibly one-dimensional, so that characters from both respective cultures are often just portrayed as antagonistic douchebags purely "because it's their way". I suppose if you like Mandalorians, Mando Raiders is a good place to visit to hear Mavrix Varad go on about how you're not bad fighters but not as good as Mandalorians. The fights are definitely worth seeing! The overall setting however is a little less interesting than usual, though your mileage my vary.

8 comments :

  1. It does come to something when the ship the Mandalorians steal has more significance than the actual clan themselves, but even this isn't emphasised particularly well.

    The Allusis was, of course, named after the war hero Belth Allusis whose heroic final stand death during the battle of Bothawui was covered in the Galactic Timelines before the game launched.

    I don't think Imperials ever get to learn this interesting bit of information, but Satele does point it out in the prelude on Republic side if the correct conversation choices are made.

    Shame that this isn't emphasised enough, really. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Freakishly quick at commenting again, and again before I'd even finished the first round of editing...!

      I actually never cared about the ship's name until I checked it out before writing this article. As you say, it's not really given much emphasis in the story.

      Delete
  2. Since I started playing the game about 3-4 months after release, I never found out whether you had the possibility of actually fighting Battle Team Royal at launch. I'd think it'd be a nice diversion that you could start playing Battle Team Royal and then the opposing faction blasts in and effectively resets the fight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm pretty sure you've never been able to fight them.

      Delete
  3. Mandalorain Raiders was a great teaching flashpoint while leveling when you were learning to tank, in my opinion. It had some interesting mechanics and without many abilities at low level (especially AOE ones) it was very challenging. With so many "larger" trash pulls it was a difficult to protect everyone, though I get tired of the "more dogs from the closed door over there" tactic that is just overused.

    Sadly, a lot of the challenge due to available skills was removed in 3.0 with disciplines giving tanks real tanking abilites at low level. Don't get me wrong, it's good that tanks get to be tanks before level 45, but it really changed the feel of the leveling flashpoints. I recall running it just before and just after 3.0 with my Guardian. The pull just before the first boss with a few mobs in plain sight and then 6 dogs that come at you from the sides was very hard to keep threat during with only cyclone slash and force sweep. After 3.0, you learned Guardian slash around level 26 and it became cake to hold aggro at that point.

    Still, I find it fun for what it is, and it continues to teach LOS pulls, even though fewer and fewer people are following those in my experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the feel of the levelling flashpoints has been changed more by the fact that they cover such a wide level range now!

      And I can't really comment on the tanking challenge, I always found it the bigger issue to keep the tank alive through those hound pulls... but that's of course due to me playing a healer most of the time. :P

      Delete
  4. I share your feelings about Mandalorians. I think the fact that there are so many gushing fanboys and girls out there doesn't help. Makes them easy to mock.

    And that stupid "language" of theirs. It sounds so ridiculous that I laugh whenever I hear it in game. Sounds like the gibberish that the Sims use to communicate with each other. I really can't take them seriously.

    Recently I started my first Powertech (which I'm loving, by the way). It was fun when I met their leader and he offered me the great honour of becoming a Mandalorian myself. So satisfying to throw it back in his face with scorn. He was so angry! Really glad they gave us that option.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The thing about Mando'a that always throws me is that they throw in random phrases and even whole sentenes in it without offering a translation! You wouldn't do that with Huttese, would you? I remember being particularly annoyed by this during the bounty hunter class story on Taris, where two characters have a whole exchange in Mando'a and I was like... do I really need to google translate that to understand what's going on?

      I care so little about the status of Mandalorian that I can't even remember if either of my Powertechs actually joined them or not.

      Delete