Late night adventures on Balmorra

Two nights ago I was questing on Balmorra with my bounty hunter, specifically working my way through the Okara Droid Factory. This was my third time playing through that area so I had a good idea where everything was by now, except for one thing that remained a bit of a mystery to me: two elevator shafts that led to heroic areas according to the map, but I'd never actually been given a quest to go there.

Feeling confident and curious, I decided to have a bit of a nose around and see whether there was anything interesting down there. I immediately felt rewarded for my exploration when an [Area 4] quest popped up for me as soon as I descended on the first elevator. Since I've generally found area quests to be a bit easier than regular heroics and being a Powertech with a healing companion makes you very powerful at low levels, I decided to see whether I could solo any of it.

I managed to down the first two pulls without too much difficulty, but when I turned around after finishing the last mob I suddenly found myself face to face with an inquisitor and a juggernaut. They immediately threw me a group invite, and this turned out to be a very lucky coincidence for me as I'm pretty sure that there's no way I would have been able to solo some of the later pulls.

We didn't talk much but our progress was very smooth, as the juggernaut and I took turns tanking the elite and champion mobs while quickly burning down the weak and strong ones. Meanwhile the inquisitor crowd controlled, threw lightning around and dispensed heals where necessary. It struck me that since the story for the mission was very thin, we were effectively simply grinding mobs as a group - and it was very profitable for me too, as my bounty hunter is a scavenger and (what with everything in the factory being droids) could salvage crafting materials from pretty much every single mob we killed. I think Bioware has a pretty good grip on when to deliver a great story and when to let it take a step backwards to simply let the player enjoy playing with other people.

Once we were done, we headed straight for the other elevator, and lo and behold, at the bottom of this one another [Area 4] quest awaited. I only had a brief glimpse at the map to take in the objectives and decided to simply follow the other two guys' lead, which meant that it took until we were about halfway through the area for me to notice that we weren't actually on the same step of the mission. Apparently the two Sith had come down here before, had already completed the first step and had thus moved straight on to the ones afterwards. I felt pretty bad when I stopped and asked whether they would mind going back and getting me caught up, but while there was a bit of hesitation at first, nobody complained and in the end we did it. Since everything respawned pretty quickly, it took us bloody forever to go back and forth again through the entire complex.

When we were finally done, the inquisitor suddenly asked whether I had picked up the local datacron. I said that I didn't even know there was one, but that I wasn't too bothered. I felt that I had already "stolen" enough of their time with all the backtracking we had to do during the second mission and didn't want to impose any further, but the inquisitor happily led us back to the first heroic area, we fought our way through half of it again, and then jumped down some hole towards the datacron. My heart was in my throat for a moment when I saw all the pipes around me, as I've previously established that I suck at pipe-jumping, but fortunately this was more a case of falling down on two pipes in a row instead of jumping, which I just about managed.

I always try to be nice to people who need help or don't know what they are doing, but that night it was interesting to be in the role of the clueless newbie for a change and experience other people giving me a gentle leg up. I should really be used to how nice people in this game are by now, but WoW's pug culture has clearly left a very deep impression with me.

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