Explosive Conflict: Early Impressions

I think it's telling that 1.2 has been out for almost a month and it's only now that I'm able to give as much as early impressions of the new operation. Like Burning Crusade-era WoW, The Old Republic gives me the feeling that it's okay to progress at my own pace, allowing me to finish what I'm currently working on without forcing me into the new content right away. It will still be there and relevant later, and I like that.

To be fair though, I was very keen on seeing the new operation from the start, it just wasn't possible right away for a variety of reasons. Guild leadership wanted us to finish clearing Eternity Vault and Karagga's Palace on hard mode first to gear up some more (which we did) and some nights we just didn't have the right people online to work on progression fights. I think most raiders know what that can be like.

Last night however we finally ventured into Explosive Conflict and it was great fun! We did some wiping on Zorn and Toth, adjusted our strategy with each attempt, and eventually got them down. It was a very satisfying learning process. I thought the difficulty was similar to that of hardmode Gharj: a fairly straightforward fight in principle, but with a certain sensitivity to movement - not in a twitchy way, but basically there are two or three boss abilities that can really wreck your raid if either the boss or any players are standing in the wrong place. For our group this worked very well, though I have to concede that considering that this is supposed to be "story mode", it might turn out to be a bit hard for the average pug group.

I have to admit I was initially slightly disappointed to see that the encounter "only" dropped Rakata gear, as I wanted to see some of the new shiny, but of course this is perfectly in line with the loot ladder system that Bioware seems to have set up for operations, where the early bosses of each new (difficulty) tier drop the same kind of loot as the last bosses of the previous tier. I suppose this more gradual loot progression is a good way of not rendering previous content irrelevant straight away and keeping gear inflation at manageable levels. And it's not as if we all had Rakata pieces in all slots already - the drops were definitely appreciated.

The trash to the next boss turned out to be a bit of an adventure - not because it was particularly difficult, but because our raid group was a bit like an overly excited bunch of weasels, running off in all directions at once.

"Hey, did you see that lore object over there? We have to get it!"
"Orokeets! Wonder if they drop Unusual Eggs?" Random bird slaughter ensues. No, we didn't find anything.
"I heard that they are hidden loot chests in this place! 'Hidden' similar to the way datacrons are hidden." Everyone starts trying to climb random cliffs and looking behind rocks. (For the record, we only found one loot chest, and that was pretty much in plain sight.)
"Look at that waterfall!"
"Hey, there are trash mobs over there! All we need to do now is kill them!" (That was one of our tanks, seemingly getting a bit tired of the randomness.)

The next boss was a fight against two giant tanks, and actually felt easier to me than Zorn and Toth did, but then I apparently got to heal on the easier one of the two tanks. We didn't get them down because the long corpse run delayed us considerably and eventually it got late and people had to leave, but it felt to me like victory was definitely in reach. I'm really excited about getting back in there and continuing. And that, I think, is about as good a feeling as I can get from any game.


  1. I got the same impression as you did about the tank fight being a little easier. I am lucky enough to be healing the hard side however lol. But, all I have to do is heal and run to a spot, run back to tank rinse and repeat. No problem, its everyone else who has the hard part this time.

    1. That's a good point, maybe it's just that Zorn and Toth (whom I keep wanting to misspell as Torn and Zoth for some reason) are more of a healer fight while the two tanks challenge other roles. On the former I sure felt mightly stressed out keeping up with all that damage and dispelling debuffs while the dpsers just happily chugged away on their targets.


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