25/01/2017

Patch Day Fun

I love me a good patch day; there's nothing quite like some new content and features to shake off any encroaching feelings of boredom and ennui.

The first thing anyone with a level 70 and with an interest in gaining Command levels should do now is buy the new character perks to increase CXP gain! I didn't remember to do so until later in the evening, but every little helps.

An unexpected quality of life change made in 5.1 is that the area indicators for area of effect abilities were made a lot clearer than they used to be. This is kind of funny to me because there have been so many times when I found myself annoyed that my AoE didn't reach as far as the indicator would have suggested to me, yet at the same time it was something that I never consciously would have thought of asking them to change. Now that I've seen the much crisper outlines, I can't help but wonder how anyone ever thought that making them super fuzzy was a good idea.


I tried my hand at all the new uprisings with some guildies. We jumped straight into Veteran mode, thinking that story would be too easy, but in hindsight I'm not sure it wouldn't have been better to start with story anyway just to get a look at the basic mechanics. Some people (cough) got quite cranky when others messed up due to not knowing everything that was going to happen in advance (and how should they have known, it being their first time?), which then led to wipes due to Veteran mode not always being very forgiving in that regard. Specifically we managed to start three or four different fights with me (the healer) locked out of the room because a barrier suddenly appeared out of nowhere to limit the fight to a certain area. I'm guessing this is a new measure to guard against future exploitation attempts. I don't mind in principle, but in some cases it could have been made a lot clearer what was about to happen. The last boss in Devourer of Worlds in particular stands in a wide open area and the barrier around her literally appears out of nowhere.

Some of the new uprisings also seemed a fair bit harder to me than the first set, because where the first five liked to throw lots of weak adds at you at every opportunity, the new set turns this up to eleven and throws some strong mobs into the mix as well. It makes for a particular type of challenge that I'm not sure I like... mainly because it means that I as the healer get shot a lot because nobody can control all those mobs. Or maybe it was just the particular group setup we ran with.

My favourite moment was probably the bit in Trial and Error where the whole party can turn into rakghouls (even if it makes no sense from a lore point of view), complete with new action bars and everything. You'd have to be extremely jaded with the game to not let that bring a smile to your face. Too bad the boss fight right after that felt like a confused mess. Maybe it will make some more sense after we've done it a couple of times, but after the first time through I'm still not entirely sure what was going on.


My biggest annoyance was the second boss in Landing Party, who copies the "hide under a shield" mechanic from the last boss in Battle of Rishi... except that there is no shield, there's just a random circle on the floor and you're told to stand in it... because. It's a particularly egregious example of pointless red circles, which have become a pet peeve of mine. I suppose I have to give credit where credit is due though as at least most of the other encounters avoided falling into the same trap.

We also ran two operations, wanting to see how common the new gear drops were: one 16-man TFB story mode and then the same thing again on hard but with only eight people (and sans the last boss). The 16-man was quite generous, with two pairs of boots dropping from the Dread Guards, two belts from Kephess, and four pairs of trousers from the Terror itself. On 8-man we got two chests from the Dread Guards. Odd that the actual number of drops seems to be the same regardless of group size?

I did not win any loot myself and only had a cursory look at the new token vendors myself, but for now the whole system looks depressingly confusing, even to a veteran player. It doesn't help that you can only trade up the "legendary" (orange) versions of the set gear, so all those shells of regular pieces that I made sure to save will do absolutely nothing to help me get a leg up with getting the next tier of each item. Still, a bit more playing around will be required to see just how bad it really is, and for all we know more adjustments may already be in the works.

6 comments :

  1. I think the worst thing about the new AoE circles is that they're all green in PvP, including those of the enemy. It is fairly obvious to know when you're in a bad circle such as Force Storm or what-not, but you really do need to pay attention to know whether or not the Kolto Cloud you just stepped into is your own team's or your enemy's, for example.

    As for the Uprisings, yeah, there's a reason why I advocate always doing Story Mode first, no matter what. :P

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    1. Hah, the green circles in PvP sound like an oversight more than an intentional change though. Takes me back to launch when both faction's AoE circles had the same colour as well.

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    2. Heh, I would always advocate doing veteran mode first, with a group of friends that don't mind wiping. In my experience, it's easy to straightout overlook important mechanics on storymode because you usually just finish the boss without doing them, or even detecting them. Only when things become challenging, I become aware that there's a puzzle that needs solving.

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    3. Hm, I can see some logic in that, but I think pretty much everything we encountered in the uprisings (room closes off, adds appear) would have been noticeable in story mode as well.

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    4. The 1st boss in the Makeb one, for instance, wouldn't you just blast through the adds there on story?

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    5. Not necessarily. They can still tear right through the group if there is no dedicated healer present or if the healer gets locked out, plus it still takes a lot of time to kill them all. It's definitely less inconvenient, if you will, in Story compared to Veteran, but still a considerable nuisance.

      Similarly, the Demolition Droid can still be damaged and need repairing in Story since it's very easy for it to be overwhelmed if you're not careful and constantly rushing ahead to grab the attention of literally everything in its path (which itself is very risky in a group of DPS with no healer).

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