09/12/2019

Kuat Drive Yards Can Be... Fun?

Last time on "levelling through flashpoints" I decided that I'd had enough of Hammer Station and that going forward, I was going to exclude it from my flashpoint selection before queueing. Somewhat to my surprise, queue times with Hammer Station unselected really were longer, though it was mostly a difference between mere seconds and waiting a couple of minutes. Things really are more dire than I had thought if that many people are queueing for nothing but Hammer Station in specific.

Also, fun fact: When I went to unselect Hammer Station, I noticed that what inspired this whole project, to find out at which level each flashpoint unlocks now, is actually a pointless exercise since it says right there in the tooltip of the group finder interface what each flashpoint's level range is! D'oh!

Cademimu
I levelled: 30-31

Ahh, Cademimu, an old favourite. My team for this one consisted of two other Shadows and a Sentinel, which led to a lot of sneaking. Mostly we were successful in skipping the pulls we tried to, though other times we did end up aggroing things by accident and once, just before the first boss, this even led to a wipe. Oops!


Order 66 executed successfully.

We were mostly carried by the level 75 in full 306 gear, while the poor lowbie tank seemed a bit lost. I took it as final confirmation of his newness when he died to General Ortol's very first rocket firing - you know the one, where only one of the four quadrants is dangerous and the other three are safe, yet he managed to run right into the one that killed him.

Maelstrom Prison
I levelled: 31-33

I briefly considered unticking Cademimu from the list on my next run to avoid getting it again, but then decided against it because after all those Hammer Stations two Cademimus in a row would have been nothing anyway. As it turned out the question was moot in any case as I ended up in Maelstrom Prison. I've always considered this one a pretty nice flashpoint to pug, as it's one of the easier ones overall but has a couple of tricky bits that prevent it from being a snore-fest.

My party this time around consisted of three Guardians, one level 75 tank, and two labelled as dps, level 60 and 45 respectively. While everyone said hi at the beginning, there was virtually no conversation after that, so I didn't bother bringing up the question of the bonus boss when it became obvious that some people were keen on quickly running past anything that was skippable.

Our tank had a clear understanding of the basics of tanking, as he was taunting and using his cooldowns appropriately, but displayed a surprising lack of tactical knowledge when he attempted to face-tank Colonel Daksh, which eventually resulted in a wipe. The next time around we got him down okay, and the level 60 revealed himself to be the most experienced by using his taunt to take over kiting duty.

The level 45 was a funny one in so far as he kept running ahead to be the first to jump into as many pulls as possible and died multiple times from that. However, every time he was revived he went straight ahead and did the same thing again, undeterred by the obvious negative consequences. Some people play this game in (to me) very strange ways.

At one point he also accidentally pushed a gold mob into a patrol and then said "mb" in chat. After my recent adventures in WoW Classic my brain immediately went to "mana break", which obviously made no sense, until I realised that he was apologising for the bad pull: "my bad"!

Kuat Drive Yards
I levelled: 33-36

Kuat at last! I never thought I'd say that, considering that this used to occupy a similar position as Hammer Station does now, as in: the easy place to spam for rewards (though it used to be more of a levelling thing than about max-level gear).

The group I got for this one was fairly low-level, with the highest character a level 51 Guardian, and the other two slots being filled by a level 16 Gunslinger and a level 21 Sentinel.

I got a bit worried when the Guardian started the introductory convo before the Sentinel had even loaded in and asked people to skip if they'd already seen the cut scene, but then he aborted the conversation when he realised that we were still missing someone and didn't actually complain when we did watch the cut scene. He was sporting the title "Friendly" and I was curious to see whether he'd live up to it. (He did.)

Remembering how rush-rush people used to be in this flashpoint it felt odd to go through it as slowly as we did, but at our level every pull was a challenge and we had to heal up in-between. We got the armoury and the gun emplacements as our random segments. We even did the bonus once! The second time the Guardian completed the final objective before we'd found the Elite Defender, but oh well.

The final boss was Lieutenant Krupp, and of course we wiped the first time due to the two lowbies being completely oblivious to the grenade mechanic. I explained. On the next try the group split and activated both degaussing stations at the same time, so that we were unable to cleanse the second round of grenades and wiped on that one. Friendly Guardian put a star over my head and told everyone to follow me whenever the grenades were thrown.

We continued in that vein but wiped about another half dozen times without much progress, barely shaving twenty percent of the boss's health off before dying. I was getting increasingly worried that someone was going to get angry/frustrated and leave, but that didn't happen. Friendly Guardian and I just kept trying to come up with additional advice to improve our performance, such as to kill the adds as soon as they appeared, while the two lowbies did their best to execute it (though with limited success).

As survivability was our biggest problem, I eventually took it upon myself to personally run back and forth between the kolto stations - I had expected our Guardian to heal himself there since he was the one with boss aggro most of the time, but after a few tries of that not working I decided to just do what I could myself. I also taunted the boss every now and then to spread out the damage a bit, and the Guardian let me take some hits, then taunted back when I got low. We were obviously on the same page on that point.

I think it must have taken us ten or twelve attempts until we finally got the boss down. On that final successful try the Sentinel died early on too, so that we three-manned most of the fight. I was doing very little actual damage, mostly just running back and forth between the kolto and degaussing stations, but eventually we got him down. I checked the time and the fight that finally led to the kill had taken us a full seven minutes. Quite hardcore for a group of lowbies fighting a flashpoint boss - and easily the most satisfying run Nautalie has been in so far. (EDIT: I actually uploaded a video of that fight to YouTube in the end, you can see it here.)


I don't mind showing these guys' character names because they were all goddamn heroes.

Cademimu
I levelled: 36-37

I guess after the positive excitement of the previous run, karma decided that I was due for a train wreck. I got put into a Cademimu run in progress, though they were only on the second trash pull. I saw two level 75s still in levelling gear designated as tanks, a Vanguard and a Shadow, and another dps Shadow a few levels below me.

When we got to the bit at the bottom of the first elevator where you can run past a lot of mobs, one of the other Shadows charged right in and pulled half the area, causing us to wipe. The Vanguard yelled some expletives. We re-grouped and the Shadows (or one of them, I couldn't quite see) ran right back in to pull the same group again. The Vanguard left as soon as that happened and we wiped again.

We re-grouped for a third time and someone was obsessed with getting revenge on that Champion drone now as they unnecessarily pulled it yet again... but we got two at once and wiped yet again (well, I stealthed out just beforehand). That resulted in the level 75 Shadow leaving as well.

The lowbie Shadow had been passed group lead for some reason and I told him that he had to re-queue us if we wanted replacements but he was completely non-responsive and just seemed confused. I summoned my crappy influence level four Qyzen Fess and tried to gently guide him onwards. He did follow me for a bit, which got us past the cantina and to that bit where you can take a shortcut through the fenced area. We both snuck up to the next pull right outside it in stealth and I was pondering whether we should just bypass it entirely, when the Shadow decided to jump out of stealth with an AoE, dying a few seconds later. I still tried to help him but died as well.

We started running back once again, and I watched him jump to his death while the elevator wasn't there, just like that. I didn't know what to say. Suddenly he seemed to have found the queue button as the prompt for getting replacements popped up... but before we could actually get any, he left the group, causing it to disband. I returned to the fleet, somewhat bewildered by what had just happened.

Kuat Drive Yards
I levelled: 37-38

I re-selected Hammer Station just so I could get the weekly Searching For Allies quest done, fully expecting to get thrown into it right away, but the instant pop I got actually took me to Kuat Drive Yards again!

This time the group consisted of three other dpsers just below max level, two Shadows and a Commando. There was a bit of confusion at the beginning as one of the Shadows lagged behind and eventually asked us to kick her. I was glad that the other two didn't immediately oblige but rather asked why. She said that she couldn't see her UI, which prompted the other Shadow to explain how to reset your UI. I imagined the Commando rolling his eyes as he announced that he was going for a bio in the meantime.

Eventually we got everyone onto the station though, and this time around we got the hangar and starship assembly scenarios. Nice variety! My attempts to get people to do the bonuses before completing the main objectives were once again only moderately successful. I did grit my teeth a bit when people didn't want to do the Elite Defender in the hangar even though he was right next to the exit, so that when we eventually had to kill him anyway, we didn't get anything for it since the bonus quest had disappeared. On the starship assembly someone customarily mashed all the buttons before I'd even had a chance to figure out the puzzle and the prototype exploded. Nice to see that some things haven't changed.

The final boss was Station Guardian One, whom we dispatched easily enough as everyone used the two kolto stations responsibly (thankfully). I just found it amusing that I was once again the lowest level by far yet ended up tanking the boss for most of the fight - until I got caught in a tight spot with no kolto station in reach and stealthed out to avoid dying.

It does still feel a bit strange to get this much satisfaction out of running Kuat Drive Yards of all places, but right now anything that's not Hammer Station is a win.

7 comments :

  1. Boy, I miss Cademimu. I need to get back into playing SWTOR.

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    1. Yes, you do! What was the last update you played anyway?

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  2. This weekend someone did the same while assembling in KDY and stuff exploded and I was surprised to see what happened -- I think I only had gone through this situation once before! Hahahah Idk, maybe I'm just lucky or maybe I have deleted it all from my memory

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    1. You must be extremely lucky if you'd previously never had the prototype explode in the Starship Assembly!

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    2. I hardly ever got into KDY (and didn't it stay bugged for almost a year?), even less likely to totally pug it and NEVER had a full run lowbie pugged until Onslaught. So, I didn't have that many run ins with Startship Assembly (normally it's prison + arms or something), even less with clicky people screwing it up hahahah

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  3. Last night I had an achievement pop and found out I only ever ran Assembly Components 6 times! So if twice was a mess, that's already 1/3 of my runs! Hahaha. Clearly I don't get much KDY! I didn't see the other scenarios, but I think bomb-guy was even less than that. I'm always getting force users & robot.

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    Replies
    1. That's still a pretty good ratio; personally I've found that pugs that assemble the prototype correctly are very, very rare. :)

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