24/02/2020

Battle of Ilum really IS Hammer Station version 2

I am now genuinely convinced that Battle of Ilum is a sort of Hammer Station for more confident players. I haven't timed it, but I'm pretty sure that when everything goes smoothly and you skip as much trash as possible, you can probably finish it even more quickly than Hammer Station. There is a bigger risk of something going wrong though, which I assume is enough to put off a large portion of the audience that isn't interested in anything other than a guaranteed fast and easy run.

Battle of Ilum
I levelled: 66-67

This run was the one that made me reconsider having Battle of Ilum in my rotation as it became clear that it seemed to pop a lot more often than any of the other 50+ flashpoints. It's not quite as bad as Hammer Station, but still...

This run also put me into a philosophical mood after the two Sentinels and the dps Sage who made up the rest of the group hesitantly started trying to drive past the first pull... on the wrong side. It gave me the impression that they'd all been here before, but probably without fully taking in what was happening, just tagging along behind someone else's lead.

So I felt compelled to take over... and guided them through all the stealthy shortcuts I remembered. I'm becoming the very sort of person that always annoys me by skipping everything! To be fair, I wouldn't have minded if anyone had shown any indication or desire to kill more mobs, doing the bonuses or whatever, but finding myself in a leadership position with three innocent pugs looking up at me I took the easy way out. /me hangs head in shame.


When you ding at just the right time... (my health was in trouble before the boss died)

Assault on Tython
I levelled: 67-67

With Ilum removed from my selection, I ended up on Tython once again. By the way, in case you're wondering about my criteria for which boxes to tick now beyond "not Hammer Station", I'm mostly going for ones where I don't have the "run this 25 times on veteran mode" achievement yet and that I rarely get to run on veteran mode since they are fairly high level already and I often find myself going straight for master mode.

Once again I ended up with three level 75s looking for leadership - unfortunately for them, I'm really bad at remembering the skips for Assault on Tython despite of having run it a fair number of times, so we ran around pretty inefficiently, fighting more mobs than required (gasp).

One guy suddenly went AFK without a word, and since he hadn't returned by the time we were getting close to the first boss, someone initiated a vote kick, which seemed fair enough to me at that point - I just wish they hadn't done it just as I initiated a big pull, as this meant that the other two were now busy with vote-kicking over killing mobs (priorities, people) and we almost wiped. One guy (not me) barely survived with a sliver of health.

The replacement we got was a Shadow tank who did know all the skips and quickly took over, though it was kind of funny to me how he immediately ran up to the side where people often climb some boxes to skip a trash pull, while we had already killed said pull and were in fact standing in its usual location, right in front of the boss.

Also, later on there was this bit where we climbed over a rock to skip - I think - a group of mobs that spawns as you run past, but the healer in the group just couldn't get up. Once again I stood there watching him flail helplessly against the rock, thinking about how much quicker it would have been to just deal with the mob spawn. The tank and other dps decided to simply run ahead and abandon the healer. I stayed with him and eventually just directed him back down to the regular path, where no mobs spawned anyway (ahaha). Oh pugs.

Hammer Station
I levelled: 67-68

Starting the new in-game week with another early morning, fully randomised run, I was neither surprised nor unhappy to be given a Hammer Station quickie. I was a little surprised that we couldn't take the elevator shortcut for once, as it seems quite rare not to have a slicer in the group these days.

When we reached the turrets by the bridge, the Scoundrel in our party actually moved us past them and across the bridge using Smuggle, the temporary group stealth ability, which did earn my respect because it's not something I see used well very often.

By the end of the run I realised that Nautalie's scavenging had bumped up against the 600 skill cap and sent her to train Onslaught-level scavenging on the fleet. Fortunately she had earned enough money while levelling to be able to afford it without having to draw from the legacy bank.

Legacy of the Rakata
I levelled: 68-69

Limiting myself to nine flashpoints once again, I nevertheless got an instant pop once more and ended up in Legacy of the Rakata, one Nautalie hadn't done yet. Nice!

During the intro cut scene, someone hit escape and then started running off. I said that you couldn't skip a cut scene by aborting it and he said people should be hitting space bar then. Another person said that their UI had been bugging out and that was why they hadn't been able to skip. The second time around everyone dutifully space-barred through the whole thing.


"Dude, why did you hit escape? That's not helping us go any faster."

Legacy of the Rakata is one of those flashpoints that I've done comparatively rarely in pugs, so observing our self-appointed leader guide us along various trash-skipping lines was educational. I can never remember the tricks for this flashpoint though, because my brain just files them under "climb up this rock by that one group of Rakata" and the pulls in the first half of the instance all look the same to me.

During several of the boss fights I found myself thinking that all the bosses in this flashpoint have way too much health on veteran mode. The mechanics aren't hard; it just takes half an eternity to kill them - or maybe our dps was just low, though we had two level 75 damage dealers in full 306 gear.

We also had someone who was nominally a healer but didn't seem to do much healing, so that we ultimately always relied on the kolto stations on the boss fights.

At one point I noticed that two people in the group had the same legacy name (Stormrider or something like that), so I asked whether they were related. They didn't humour me with an answer.

Battle of Ilum
I levelled: 69-69

Well, in this one there was no doubt that someone wanted to skip as much as possible, as the dps Vanguard set off like a bat out of hell to lead the way past as many things as possible, including the first boss. As we once again also had a second Shadow in the group, we were able to do the extra skips as well.

I do wonder if the second Shadow, who was a tank, didn't like skipping the bosses though, because on the next optional boss he ran right in and pulled before anyone had a chance to try and run past it. It's like the question whether to pull something or not is decided in a weird kind of race to be the first one to either pull or run past certain mobs and then the rest of the group is compelled to follow along with that decision.

Unsurprisingly, XP was once again thin on the ground, and I only gained three bars or so.


I'm getting a lot of variations of this shot.

Battle of Ilum
I levelled: 69-70

Another quick run with a second Shadow in the group. I noticed that this one, being level 75, also had the Tactical that allows you to Mind Maze two targets at the same time, which I think is pretty neat for runs like these.

When it looked like people were going to skip Pork Pie Gark the Indomitable yet again I got a bit too close and pulled him. I swear, it really was an accident; I think I was just too keen. Seriously though, my achievement counter for that one is so behind all the other bosses.

We actually had a wipe on Krel Thak - I'm still not entirely sure what happened, one moment everything seemed fine and the next everyone but me just exploded. Proximity probe or something? I vanished out and ran back to re-unite with the group as they were coming back in. They also pulled the two droid mini-bosses which we had initially walked past, presumably also by accident.

With his two cronies dead, it now would have been possible to simply walk past Krel Thak if we had wanted to and I did find myself wondering, but we did actually go ahead and kill him after all.

In the end our lone dark sider once again won the roll and executed Talsa-ko - this time it was a Jedi doing it no less!

Having hit level 70, Nautalie has now unlocked the remaining four veteran flashpoints and only has five more levels to go. I'll try to use those to actually target the flashpoints I haven't done yet or ones I still need for a story quest. Then it'll be time for a reckoning!

4 comments :

  1. Ahahah seriously, I can't believe how much BoI you keep getting! Of course, in the last month or so, it's been on conquest for 2 or 3 weeks, so it pops a lot - and, as you said, a lot can be skipped. Honestly, I prefer to solo-run BoI and the sith-ship ones for cq because it's faster -- if the guild has "fp rally" on, I'll call someone to group for last boss but that's it.
    That is ... On my Shadows/Assassins. Too much work on a healing stealther.
    It's not that I don't love full runs with complete bonus, but, let's be honest, if you have to run it once a day for cq, you're no longer caring about doing it all, just about getting the damn points.
    Unrelated: my Inquisitor finally had finished Nathema and recovered some of the companions that were missing. Letting Ashara follow her own path was easy enough, but it surprised me how hard it was to break up with Andronikus (who I have no memory of having romanced on this toonz butz whatever). It almost makes me take out my original inq through it all just to get them back together. Idk if she remembers how to walk after standing on fleet datacron for 4 yearsz butz who knows...

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  2. I prefer not to trash skip in fps because I'm usually doing it for the xp or credits. I've done the Battle of Illum multiple times, so a couple days ago when some of my guildies wanted to do the fp, I volunteered. We did a lot of trash skipping and I was amazed at how much faster we got through it. I was bummed that we didn't go for the bonuses though. There's pros and cons for trash skipping.

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    Replies
    1. I generally prefer to do the bonuses too, though I'm finding that when I run randoms more often I'm more inclined to be in favour of skipping. Like Diana says above, if you do it every day your priorities change.

      That said, I'm always easygoing and happy to go along with whatever the rest of the group wants, bonus or no bonus. I do hate it when someone gets all uppity and wants things done their way even though everyone else disagrees.

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    2. Oh, yes, I'm happy to go with the group's will. But if I'm doing it FOR CQ specifically, it more worth it to just solo and skip it all - specially since for some reason Solo's are also giving Social Activity achievement on cq. Now, I'm happy to just do all of it if people want to! :)

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